Monthly Archives: February 2010

THE MONDAY LIST #14: Around The World In One List

Music loves the world. And the world loves it back. Some bands have decided to combine the two. Observe….

Around The World In One List
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MP3’s

1. Boards of Canada – Seven Forty Seven
2. Air France – Collapsing At Your Doorstep
3. Heroes of Switzerland – Soaring
4. Portugal. The Man – Lovers In Love
5. The Strange Death Of Liberal England – A Day Another Day
6. Everything Is Made In China – Automatic
7. Zoo Brazil – Technik
8. USA Is A Monster – All Or Nothing
9. Forward Russia – Breaking Standing
10. Atmosphere Italy – Baltic Fly

Bonus Track: (I had to include these guys simply for not attempting to mix a country into some sort of band name but instead just deciding to call themselves after it. That’s dedication. Oh and they’re Swedish by the way….)

MP3: Liechtenstein – This Must Be Heaven

One thing i’m interested in is the reason behind the names. Some i know about and some i’m having a wild stab at.

My favourite Scottish knob twiddlers (there’s another “that’s what she said” moment for you, Emma) Boards of Canada were inspired by the documentaries made by the National Film Board of Canada.

With the blissful Air France being Swedish i can only assume they liked flying with the French airline company so much that they honoured the name.

Heroes of Switzerland are actually noisey guys from Nottingham, but i’m guessing they probably have a thing for Toblerones. Then again, who doesn’t?

Portugal. The Man, well that’s obvious isn’t it? No, you’re right it isn’t. But this goes some way to explaining it the reason behind the cult indie legends name.

“A country is a group of people,” guitar player and vocalist John Gourley explains. “With Portugal, it just ended up being the first country that came to mind. The band’s name is ‘Portugal’. The period is stating that, and ‘The Man’ states that it’s just one person.”  The name has more personal meaning as well: Portugal. The Man was going to be the name of a book that Gourley had planned to write about his father and his many adventures.

The Strange Death Of Liberal England is easy. The diverse band named themselves after a book of the same title.

Everything Is Made In China. A Russian post-rock band who sing in English but have China in their name. Nice. Covering all the bases then guys? The music is rather good though.

The Scandanavian electro DJ duo Zoo Brazil is one that baffles me. A love of the Amazon Rainforest maybe?

USA Is A Monster doesn’t need much explaining. These loud, bold, noise bringers obviously have a very strong opinion of their own country.

Forward Russia are/were an English indie punk band with a habit (up until 2006) of naming songs simply with numbers. The name? No idea. A battle cry perhaps? I met them once, i probably should’ve asked.

Atmosphere Italy are from Italy and they do…eh….”atmospheric” music? No. That’s only half true. They are Italian but they’re more Balearic Disco House (bordering cheesy at points) than atmospheric.

Swedish indie folk group Liechtenstein just went the whole hog and said “fuck it, we’re stealing that country”

VIDEOS:

There were too many to choose from for Japan. Japandroids, Japan, Japanther, Japanese Popstars, Japanese Motors…

I finally settled on Japanther cos i haven’t listened to them in years and forgot how good this song is.

Japanther – Divorce

Future Kings Of Spain – Face I Know

Maps Of Norway – Traffic

So that was a short musical trip around the globe. I quite liked the subject. I think for the next Monday list i’m going to do a list based on cities. Should be fun.

S.I.T Wolf  X

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The Empty Sigh Of A Naked Red And Gold Synthesizer

the next to join in the fun of the six mix are…


MP3: Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More


MP3: George Cochrane – My Synthesizer Wont Behave (The Fingermonsters Edit)


MP3: Turbo Fruits – Naked With You


MP3: Vitalic – See The Sea (Red)


MP3: Ben Sollee – Panning For Gold (Computer vs Banjo Remix)

VIDEO: Epic45 – In All The Empty Houses

S.I.T Wolf  X

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THE MONDAY LIST #13: Unlucky For Some….

Seeing as this is the thirteenth Monday List i thought i’d just roll with the numbers and do a list of unlucky related songs. Ok, here goes….

Unlucky For Some….
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1. Black Cat #13 – Ingest with Water
2. Mystery Jets – Umbrellahead
3. Patrick Wolf – Magpie
4. Pixies – No.13 Baby
5. The Cribs – Mirror Kissers
6. Fu Manchu – Evil Eye
7. Hot Chip – Bad Luck
8. Caspian – The Raven
9. Elliott Smith – Thirteen
10. Korn – Shoots and Ladders
11. Queens Of The Stone Age – Walkin’ On The Sidewalks
12. Tasharg – The Seven Year Itch
13. Wu Tang Clan – Dog Shit

The only things i could think of which were bad luck related were black cats, the number 13, walking under ladders, opening an umbrella indoors, walking on the cracks in the pavement, breaking a mirror, magpies, ravens and i wasn’t sure if standing in dog faeces is unlucky or lucky. I think it varies from culture to culture. Personally i think it’s a bit of both….it’s obviously quite unlucky to stand in it but then again surely your day can only get better if you tread in shit so it could be kinda lucky i suppose. Dunno really.

VIDEO: The Flaming Lips – Convinced of the Hex

S.I.T Wolf X

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Your Monthly Video Dose: February 2010

M83 – We Own The Sky

Killing Joke – Loose Cannon

Simian – La Breeze

Joy Division – Transmission

Machine Head – Imperium

S.I.T Wolf X

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A Year In A Minute

Today is the first anniversary/birthday of this blog. Yes, it was a year ago today that i started incoherently rambling away on here about music. It has seemed like a very quick year. 2009 felt very quick in general but even now i can’t believe it’s February 2010 already. I remember i started this blog initially as a kinda vehicle to put out some tracks from my own music projects but for various reasons (mainly my band splitting) it’s turned into me basically putting up music i like. It’s been fun though. I just hope i have the staying power to keep posting on a semi-regular basis for at least another year. Sometimes i feel that i could put up 7 posts a week, other times i can’t even be bothered with one. Depends on my moods really, they swing a lot.

But a big THANK YOU to those who do read or check this blog occasionally. I’ll do my best to keep it remotely interesting.

MP3: Deftones – Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event

Oh, one more thing, i checked out if there were any significant celebrations or events on this particular day and found out that for some people the 8th of February is Nirvana Day….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parinirvana_Day

So that gives me an excuse to fit in another song…

MP3: Nirvana – All Apologies

S.I.T Wolf X

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Recycling?

Musical plagiarism or just influence?

This is a subject i’ve wanted to write about for a long time now but i’ve only just found the time to get down to it tonight. The song that made me decide to finally commit to this post was Owl City’s “Fireflies”. I heard it on the radio at work and although i find myself humming along to its undoubted catchiness i still can’t get the fact that he’s ripped off The Postal Service out my head. First time i heard it i actually thought it was a new Postal Service song. He even makes himself sound like Ben Gibbard through extensive autotuner and compression use. Yet i had to laugh when i read an interview with him in which he stated that he had only ever really heard a few Postal Service songs before and that they hadn’t really “caught his ear”.

Here’s the section:

“I’ve become more of a fan (of The Postal Service)  having started Owl City, actually. I had some friends in high school that would have it playing in their cars and stuff. It was cool, but it never really caught my ear. It’s kind of ironic, looking back at it, because a lot of people do relate the two projects. I can totally see it now, but I didn’t really then, for what it’s worth.”

Hmmm…..sorry Owl City but i get a pungent waft of bullshit when i read that.

VIDEO: Owl City – Fireflies

VIDEO: The Postal Service – Such Great Heights

But i’m not picking on or singling out Adam Young for being influenced by The Postal Service. All i’m saying, all i’m asking is how does it come across? Is it plagiarism or coincidental influence/inspiration?

Some of my favourite bands have been hugely influenced by others to the point of almost sounding like them so i’m not saying it’s a bad thing, don’t get the wrong idea. Interpol clearly listened to Joy Divison. A Place To Bury Strangers obviously owned some My Bloody Valentine records. Josh Homme grew up with Black Sabbath and Black Flag. Boards of Canada have heard Brian Eno. I could go on. Put it this way if there was no Jesus and Mary Chain there’d be no BRMC and if it wasn’t for The Cramps or The Birthday Party i’d imagine Eighties Matchbox would sound a bit different. So it is a GOOD thing to be influenced.

MP3: Jesus and Mary Chain – Degenerate

MP3: Black Rebel Motorcylce Club – Whatever Happened To My Rock N Roll

MP3: The Birthday Party – Release The Bats

MP3: Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Morning Has Broken

Without a shadow of a doubt one of the hardest things to do in music is create a truly original sound. There’s that much music around that it’s nearly impossible to create a song that cannot be compared to another band or another song. Personally i feel that bands are now labelled as “the new insert famous band name here” too much, there’s nothing wrong with comparisons but it get’s a bit boring when every week some new band are being labelled as the new Sex Pistols, the new Oasis, the new Green Day or the new Babylon Zoo. Ok, forget that last one. In fact forget them all, i’m not a fan of any of the bands i mentioned, they’re just the first famous-ish ones that popped up. I have in fact been guilty of labelling bands once or twice myself to be honest. On this very blog actually, i believe i said Japandroids could be the new Death From Above 1979 but i did state that i also don’t like labelling bands.

“….Make no mistake, these guys have the potential to be the new Death From Above 1979. Although to be honest i don’t like comparing bands to each other, it’s not fair on either so instead i’ll just say the Japandroids sound like they might be influenced by DFA and it’s a badge they seem to wear with pride.”

But that’s going slightly off subject. This is about the plagiarism/influence debate not labelling bands. So back to it, here’s a few examples of apparent plagiarism. Some are obvious, some are slightly similar.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs vs Love and Rockets

The Accused: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion

The Original: Love and Rockets – No New Tale To Tell

Hockey vs anything by Tom Petty (this was a suggestion by Emma)

The Accused: Hockey – Song Away

The Original: Tom Petty in general

Elastica vs Wire

The Accused: Elastica – Connection

The Original: Wire – Three Girl Rhumba

Green Day vs The Kinks

The Accused: Green Day – Warning

The Original: The Kinks – Picturebook

Nirvana vs Killing Joke vs The Damned

The Accused: Nirvana – Come As You Are

The Other Accused: Killing Joke – Eighties

The Original: The Damned – Life Goes On

Couldn’t find an embeddable (is that a word Kempy?) video for this one so here’s the MP3

MP3: The Damned – Life Goes On

So it can be everything from drum beats to chord progression and rhythms to vocal delivery, it’s more or less all been done before by someone somewhere. That’s not to say there’s nothing original left but it is does make for a good debate on similarity, comparisons and the old age debate of a blatant rip off. And what does it tell us about music today? Has it really all been done? Or is that unknown chord still out there waiting to be found?

I mean, bands take influences on board, of course they do. If you grow up listening to certain music and then you yourself begin to play music, of course you’re going to have taken something from the music you love. The chances are that the band you love and are influenced by have themselves been influenced by someone else. It’s an endless line of influence, a knock on effect, a domino effect, musical dominoes if you like.

I only discovered about three years ago that what i thought was part of one of the best Queens of the Stone Age drum intros ever is in fact copied straight from a Black Flag song. One of the opening drum segments of “Song For The Dead” and the intro to “Slip It In” are pretty much identical. Queens of the Stone Age actually came out and stated that the intro to “Song For The Dead” is in fact an homage to Black Flag. All together now….Awwwww, bless.

MP3: Queens of the Stone Age – A Song for the Dead

MP3: Black Flag – Slip It In

I, myself have questioned what i come up with when writing tracks or making music. I constantly find that i tell myself “oh you can’t have that at the breakdown bit, it sounds too much like QOTSA” or “you can’t use that intro, it sounds like a Mogwai rip off”. Just the other week i wrote a song that i thought sounded too much like something Boards of Canada would compose, i kept it in mind anyway and called it “Bored Of Canada”. It sounds a little bit like this one by the reclusive legends…

MP3: Boards Of Canada – Julie and Candy

So the whole thing i’m getting it here with this post is..

When does influence become plagiarism? Or does it all? Is it mere coincidence?

It’s a subject that is and always will be open to debate.

Opinions welcome.

Also, feel free to leave any other songs you believe to be plagiarised. I’d like to here what others think.

S.I.T Wolf X

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You’re Getting High On Your Own Supply

Meet my new favourite band……Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter.

Phantogram.

I only just came across Phantogram early last month, they’re a band that evaded me until now. I can’t even remember how or why i got the album. I get lots and lots of albums every month and this was one that i randomly got about 4 weeks ago. I was hooked from the very first squelch of noise that filtered out my speakers. Through the course of the 11 tracks on debut album “Eyelid Movies” the duo manage to cram in all sorts of influences and genre crossing, diverse sounds.

Intricate echoes and bleeps? Check
Guitars coated in reverb? Check
Buzzing bass backgrounds? Check.
Water tight beats? Check
Melody ridden keyboards? Check
Thought inducing lyrics? Check
Borderline angelic female voice? Check
Dark yet somehow comforting male voice? Check
Slightly spooky synths? Check

That’s just about the perfect band then.

MP3:  Phantogram – When I’m Small

MP3: Phantogram – Turn It Off

VIDEO: Phantogram – Mouthful Of Diamonds (Live on KEXP)

S.I.T Wolf  X

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