Blowing through the nostalgia

I had the pleasure of seeing Funeral for a Friend live tonight. Funeral are almost certainly the band that I’ve seen most over the years and so I feel like I’m in quite a privileged position from which to comment on where they’ve come and where they’re going.

The last few times I’ve seen them have been largely for nostalgia purposes – allowing the crowd to pick the setlist in Exeter, playing Casually Dressed in its entirety in London – tonight it was the newer songs that were most impressive. With the release of Conduit at the beginning of the year and their performance tonight, I’m excited about the band again.

They seem revitalised, shaken up and hungry to get back to where they were.  Again showing that they know their best songs, hearing ‘Recovery’ and ‘Escape Artists’ side-to-side with ‘Conduit’ and ‘Travelled’ you’d be hard pushed to guess which album had been their biggest hit.

Casually Dressed was seminal but they have finally released an album that might be able to break the shackles. Encouragingly, they perform like they know it as well.

Welcome back, Funeral. It’s been a while, but it’s great to have you here.

Small steps

Well done, America. So often the start of another sarcy indictment of something backwards/ridiculous, now genuinely meant. Seriously, well done, America.

By repealing DOMA, America has removed perhaps the most significant roadblock to same-sex marriage equality in the States.

We in England are moving closer to allowing it, and we’ve been shown the way forward from across the Atlantic – and I think that come the end of the year/as soon as the Parliamentary process allows, we’ll be celebrating the possibility of same-sex marriage in the UK, too.

One thing sticks out for me here, and I’d like to see if it’s naivety on my part, or whether the generation I belong to is just ahead of the curve: I have never met anyone that disagreed with same-sex marriage. Not once.

Nor have I ever met anyone that seriously had a problem with homosexuality, and nor would I expect to. If it has become taboo to discuss or hold a certain viewpoint, it would suggest that particular topic or viewpoint is generally held as incorrect, unacceptable.

If the reason that I’ve heard no disapproving voices when it comes to marriage equality is because that is perceived as an unacceptable position, then surely the battle is well on the way to being won, at least socially.

I can only see the ongoing discussion and movement as an older generation refusing to accept that the world has changed.

No-one gives a shit if two men or women marry each other now, we just need them to have the right to.

TV stop it

The Universe should not be allowed to take Tony Soprano away from us before his time. It should not be allowed to do this in the same month that we have the Red Wedding to contend with. It shouldn’t happen in the same year that the US Office ends. There’s only so much I can take. 

James Gandolfini’s passing yesterday is a tragedy. As Tony Soprano he created the single most memorable, ambiguous, enjoyable character that I’ve ever had the pleasure of simultaneously loving and hating. It’s testament both to the writing and to Gandolfini’s portrayal that a character so eminently evil was also so popular and relatable. His fight with Carmela in Whitecaps is one of the greatest scenes I’ve ever seen in anything. 

As someone who wasn’t around when the Sopranos was in its heyday (around in the sense that I was interested enough in TV), that’s the biggest tribute I can pay him. Along with the Wire, he permanently changed the way I watch television, what I consider good and bad, and the expectations as to what TV is capable of. He’s almost single-handedly consigned plenty of okay shows to the never-watch bin of mediocrity. 

James Gandolfini raised the bar as far as I was concerned (and I’m sure millions of others agree) and the world as a whole is a worse place today.

14.02.12

Now I can sit through as many soppy status updates and Instagram photos of flowers and chocolates as the next person, fan of Valentine’s day or not.

Is this really necessary?

Is this really necessary?

I just feel if we really must have a day celebrating how fantastic relationships are, why don’t we have a day highlighting the darker side of all things couple-y? All the saccharine wonder of the 14th is unbearable if it’s just another day.

I’ve not seen any photos today captioned “another £75 bouquet of roses, standard day in our amazing relationship”. If Valentine’s gives couples an excuse to concentrate on the good, then I’m all for it.

But I propose we have a day, let’s say November 25th (cause it’ll be sufficiently dark and cold by then), where we focus on all the shit bits. They exist!

Every November 25th we’ll all sit around and lament our free time (best celebrated in groups of people you don’t like). We’ll reflect on all the post-break-up awkwardness and point-scoring that can only be prevented by marriage.

We’ll remember all those parties we couldn’t go to because they’d be there. We’ll read all our blog entries from years ago when we were vulnerable and online.

We’ll revisit all the probably-perfect-decent people who’ve we’ve pathetically irrationally hated because they liked one of our ex’s statuses about a cool band (that might just be me though).

Any why do we do all these things? To remind ourselves that they’re all pretty much inevitable if we balk at the m word.

My point is, it isn’t all sweetness and light, and Valentine’s Day makes me feel like everyone’s pretending that it is. Which is fine in itself, but why can’t we temper it? We can call it ‘Evening-Out Day’ or ‘Truth Day’.

It would just make all this over-romanticised sickly bullshit easier to swallow.

Shit is shit is shit

The last few days have been pretty huge, in music terms. But all that seems to really being discussed is the Fall Out Boy ‘reunion’ (they never broke up?)

Granted, they’ve returned in full force: new song, new video, new tour, new album. All announced in one fell swoop and thus ensuring that they word on everyone’s lips is Fall Out Boy.

The way they announced everything was refreshing, it certainly makes a change from the endless announcements of announcements.

But the song’s shit.

I’m sorry, believers everywhere, it is. And just because you’re a fan of any of their previous output does not mean you have to be a fan of this.

I’ve read numerous ‘believers never die’ and ‘if you were a true fan you’d get behind them regardless’ comments over the last few days and it just defies belief.

If you like the song, fine – but there is no need to like it for the sake of it.

I consider myself a music fan and will incessantly, probably annoyingly, champion anything that I think is worth listening to. There are few things more rewarding than introducing someone to something you know they’ll enjoy.

But there has to be two sides to the coin. It becomes impossible to support good music if you refuse to accept when things are bad. If this means admitting that your favourite band release a bad song, so be it. It just means that your opinion is actually objective when it comes to praising something.

Somewhat forced under the rug by FOB’s omnipresence on the internet, The Story So Far and Alkaline Trio both released new songs over the past few days.

Trio are one of my favourite bands of all time, and TSSF’s Under Soil and Dirt is the best pop-punk album released in the last ten years. But I have no problem in saying that I’m flat-out disappointed with Trio’s new track (and realistically their last 3 albums), and TSSF song left me a little underwhelmed.

I’d like to think that this would mean that when I say Trio are one of the best (pop)punk bands ever, and USAD is the best genre album in the last ten years, it is with a certain credibility.

I guess it just wrangles that FOB can make what is essentially a bad R’n’B song and a vaguely disrespectful video in which they burn their own records (why not just e-mail all the people that have JUST written ten-year commemoratives of Take This to Your Grave a big middle finger and be done with it?) and everything else is ignored and swept under the rug.

If their song had been released under any other name it would have been dismissed and people would already be talking about something else.

If something is shit we shouldn’t be afraid to call it shit, in the same way that we would call not hesitate to call a great song great.

HT(F)ML

Coding is hard. Really hard.

I know there are millions upon millions of you who are able to design a website from the bottom up in a matter of minutes. You’ve all constructed the new Youtube before I’ve buttered my toast, I know.

But for someone who is as close as it comes to computer illiterate, staring at a Mac screen littered with little <p>’s and <h1>’s and <ul>’s is as close as it comes to intellectual torture – especially when they don’t make any sense or do what I want them to do.

Image

JUST LOOK AT IT.

I will become murderous if I can’t make the <div> tags work soon. Seriously, the little bastards just will not go where I want them.

I want to be able to look back on this in six weeks and be all ‘what the hell was I moaning about!?’ Preferably from a website that I’ve just built.

Introducing: Moose Blood

Moose Blood are a four-piece band from Canterbury, Kent.

They play a brand of pop-tinged emo, addressing everyday issues but managing to make them sound urgent and exciting.

The lyrics from upcoming debut EP Moving Home, released on February 11th on Fist in the Air records, have the rare and charming quality of sounding like they’re describing a unique moment from your own life. They might not deal with the happiest feelings at times, but there’s always a warmth in the tracks that’s infectious.

The songs have the feeling of arriving home after a long time on the road – exciting yet comfortably familiar. Bukowski is a particular highlight, driven and uplifting with a few well-placed nods to the bands’ influences.

The band have recently played a few shows in the London and Southeast area to brilliant receptions – it’s well worth checking them out live if you get a chance in future.

Have a listen and do buy the EP/download it, it’s only £2 and it’ll make sure these guys can make more brilliant music.