Saturday, 25 May 2013

Aural prozac

So like many my job involves very little brain power, it is pretty low-paid and the employers are dodgy as hell but on the plus side I do get to spend half of every day in a large dark room surrounded by books listening to music. The other half I spend upstairs in an office listening to things like this. I think if I had to pay full attention to my work I would have shot myself long ago...

When I started I would listen to stuff like Magnetic Fields, PJ Harvey and Xiu Xiu constantly, I am still utterly obsessed with these bands and listen to them loads, but as time drew on and I realised I was spending much of my life in a room without any windows recollecting or predicting life's disappointments and frustrations I became too emotional when listening to these bands at work. Hence I am going through a phase of listening to stuff like this:

Suck my dick! Says Ke$ha. Amazing. I never really got Ke$ha, though I quite liked her, then my best friend played her constantly whenever I was round at her flat and she now lives inside my head. Incidentally her video for the 'It Gets Better Project' is hilarious if only for the fact that she looks like when she made it she hadn't been to bed for seven days prior thus making it sound amusingly half-arsed. Given that most of the project is an insulting exercise in patronising assimilationist cringe bollocks -look! My band wrote a song about it!- I wholeheartedly approve of her approach. 

Someone played this to me at work last week and I'd never heard it before. Thinking I had discovered something new I played it to all my friends only to be told it was played in every gay club and had been on Glee and Girls and everyone was sick of it. Well, I don't care! etc etc. I played it on repeat for the past week and am only just starting to get over it. The video is an advert for gentrification though, definitely a better experience with just the music.

Bottle. Sip. Guzzle. I'm a bad bitch no muzzle, says Nicki. Pound the Alarm and Starships are both repeat players for me. Nicki Minaj gets a lot of stick for how she looks, accused of being 'too fake' but aren't those criticisms just a way of dictating how women, particularly of colour, 'should' look? I read an article about this song/video in relation to Trinidadian politics here if you're interested but many said the article was inaccurate so worth reading the discussion in the comments thread as well.

For some reason I take comfort in New Order.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Alcohol Aspirations

7.30pm – You will just go for one quick drink then you will go home and read Roberto Bolano and get up early tomorrow morning and do yoga before work.

8pm – Second drink.

9pm – Someone says something problematic, someone else laughs, you look at the floor awkwardly and partly wish you’d said something but at the same time think you may be over-reacting.

9.15pm – You worry that you may have said something problematic because no one responded. You think you might just be over-reacting or maybe they’re over-reacting, even if they’re not reacting. Visibly that is. Either way drinking more seems like the best way to proceed.

10pm – Drink number four or five. You are very drunk now and talking about politics loudly and passionately. Sadly you are too drunk to construct coherent arguments and everything you say sounds like a Socialist Worker placard slogan.

11pm – You really hate the Tories and the military, you have been making this point repeatedly for the last hour and even though everyone agrees with you, or those that don’t are diplomatically keeping their mouths shut, you still proceed as though you’re arguing with someone.

12.05am – You need to go home now as you are very drunk and can’t stand upright. You feel very happy. Everyone is so nice. Well, you don’t feel very happy but you feel more able to ignore all the things that make you unhappy which is a victory of sorts. You are hungry.

12.30am - You cycled home. Well done. Only once, twice maybe, did you get beeped at for doing something irresponsible. It was probably their fault. You are invincible.

12.40am – Your culinary skills stretch to making toast. Make toast and watch a bad reality TV show on your laptop in bed whilst getting crumbs everywhere. Except don’t really watch it. Go on Facebook and spy on people, spy on your ex, spy on people whom you speculate your ex may now be shagging. Realise the futility and loneliness of it all. Leave a passive aggressive but heavily veiled melodramatic status update perhaps with a music video to accompany.

7.45am – Alarm goes off. Fuck that. Snooze.

7.55am – Beep Beep Beep. Snooze.

8.05am – Beep Beep Beep. Snooze.

8.15am – Beep Beep Beep. Snooze.

8.25am – Beep Beep Beep. Bollocks you actually have to get up now. Try to remind yourself where you were last night and why. There is a lot you don’t remember, an empty space in which you could have potentially said and done terrible things, realise you don’t care as much about this as you used to, another victory. Or does it just mean you have become the selfish arsehole you always feared you would become? Oh well. Just a little lie down on the pillow NO! The only thing that will make you awake and alert to the world is checking Facebook on your mobile phone. Stimulation. People! You see your thinly veiled passive aggressive status update and feel embarrassed, you consider deleting but don’t because to do so would highlight the secret hidden significance.

10am – The sun is shining! You managed to get into work. The hangover has not yet set in but the alcohol is still in your body and this makes you cheerful, upbeat and friendly to your colleagues.

11am – Ditto, still full of booze yet not drunk and not hungover. You are having an epiphany. What are you doing in this job in the fascist art world? You should be using your considerable positive qualities for good. You should be doing something constructive and community-based or you should work in mental health. You have always been too hard on yourself. You are truly on the road to recovery from every mental illness you’ve ever been diagnosed with. Your life can finally begin.

2pm – Hangover sets in. You are doomed. You’re going to die alone and crazy.

4pm – Why isn’t work over yet? Need to go home and sleep.

5pm – You’re never drinking again.

6.30pm – Text message from friend asking to meet for a drink.

7.30pm – You will just go for one quick drink and then you will go home and read Roberto Bolano and get up early tomorrow morning and do yoga before work.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Light Asylum + Adult.

Live at XOYO 15/05/13

I should probably have written the title the other way round given that Adult. were the headliners and are also legendary electrosynth types, Brooklyn duo Light Asylum are relatively new but they’re who I really came to see having forgotten how good Adult. were.  When I say Adult. are legendary what I really mean is they’ve been around since 1998 and were modestly famous in the early 2000s, but if you remember when the term ‘electroclash’ was used zealously by every music journalist and trendy scenester then you’ll undoubtedly remember the female/male, analog-loving, Detroit synthpunk duo. Nicola Kuperus’s electronically-altered vocals and the banging synth beats and bleeps of songs such as ‘Hand to Phone’ certainly bring back memories for me of dancing in grimy Leeds clubs ten years ago when I couldn’t leave the house without hearing Fischerspooner and Ladytron. But whilst the word ‘electroclash’ may have been an NME-coined buzzword, most of the bands that fell victim to such media manufactured categorisation had a lot more staying power than the word itself.
I was surprised how much of a joy it was to see Adult. play live. They’ve been steadily making albums all these years and whilst the old hits get everyone the most excited the whole gig is that rarest of anomalies in North East London - a dance party that’s actually fun. And what dance party at XOYO would be complete without slightly too much dry ice? My friend comments that it feels like swallowing washing up liquid but we dance undeterred. Adult. are very fond of darkness, Nichola constantly asks for there to be less light. Whilst she is extremely charismatic between songs and sounds overjoyed to be back in London after six years, she and the other Adult, Adam, erase their own image whilst they play, all you can make out are their blurry shapes through the darkness/strobe lights/dry ice mist, but that’s because they want you to enjoy their music not their faces.
It’s all about the duos tonight, something I approve of. Prior to Adult. I get into the venue just in time for the dark post punk dance sounds of Light Asylum. Shannon Funchess of the band is thrilling to watch, her stage presence full of energy as she beats her synth pad whilst singing with vocals that grip and shake you with their power and depth, the effect is entrancing. Shannon works the crowd, gets us singing along and shouts encouraging things at us. Beside her is silent, blank-faced, long-haired muscle-boy Bruno Coviello on synth.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the combination of the two of them. Yes, they are both super hot, but there also is some unspoken (literally) onstage connection which makes them look and sound like they were meant to be together. Light Asylum are probably best known for the atmospheric, mind-dominating song ‘Dark Allies’ which of course was spectacular but it’s the pop-synthed, horse-sampling ‘A Certain Person’ which was their final song and the highlight of highlights for me.

On a side note – I don’t really need to comment on the above videos but I will anyway. Light Asylum’s ‘Heart of Dust’ is epically ominous but Adult’s ‘Inside’ wins it for me on account of camp low budget splatter gore.