Music reviews


I once said this:

> For a little while, I thought that Guillemots were my new favourite band, but upon closer inspection they have only recorded two songs that really blow me away. *Trains To Brazil* and *Made Up Lovesong #43* are absolutely amazing, but the rest of the songs on this EP sound like the simply-fabulous Rufus Wainwright having an off day.

If I had taken those two songs and mentally extrapolated to an entire album, I would have ended up with something rather similar to their latest album, Red.

It’s fantastic.

That is all.

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Recent Listening Episode IV

Here’s what I’ve been listening to since [23rd October 2006][].

[23rd october 2006]:

The Information **The Information** by *Beck*

I’m coming to the realisation that *Beck* was all about *Odelay* for me. Ever since then, I have listened to each subsequent album less and less. *Mutations*, *Midnite Vultures*, *Sea Change*, *Guero*… they taper off gradually. Not in terms of quality, necessarily, just in terms of how much attention I have given them.

I think it all dates back to when I was at school. I rewrote half a dozen of the songs off of *Odelay*, substituting his nonsensical lyrics with my own bat-shit crazy bollocks, probably about pencil cases and bunsen burners and something like that. This gained me some small amount of notoriety from three people. This directly led to Craig and I writing songs about masturbation and Santa Claus on my dad’s acoustic guitar, which led to us buying electric instruments, which led to us forming a band, which led to us recording an album and playing a gig, which led to more gigs, which led to… you get the picture.

Yeah, this is a very roundabout way of saying that I haven’t listened to this album much. Sorry.

Jarvis **Jarvis** by *Jarvis Cocker*

A bit disappointing really. Though some songs are superb (*Black Magic*, *Big Julie*, *From A To I* and *Fat Children* which bears a lot of resemblance to the work that he did with *Relaxed Muscle*), most of them fall into the category of being quite un-unmissable. The two songs that he wrote for Nancy Sinatra (*Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time* and *Baby’s Coming Back To Me*) also sounded much better on her album, and I don’t think he has done himself any favours by rerecording them here. Still, I’m glad that he’s back, releasing albums that I can listen to instead of faffing about with *Harry Fucking Potter* films and co-writing on obscure projects, which is admittedly probably very creatively satisfying for him but it flies beneath my radar a tad.

The Milk-Eyed Mender **The Milk-Eyed Mender** by *Joanna Newsom*

On the basis of hearing *The Sprout And The Bean* I expected to like this album, but I guess I was wrong. However, this was actually a Christmas present to Karen, so my opinion isn’t really important.

No, hold on, this is my site and my review, so you could argue that my opinion is of paramount importance.

I think that some albums hit you straight away and some grow on you gradually, and this one has the potential to grow. However, I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to listen to it.

The Pick Of Destiny **The Pick Of Destiny** by *Tenacious D*

Listened to it once, wasn’t paying attention. I think that my time for *Tenacious D* may have passed. In time, my enthusiasm for their debut album waned, and I think that the nature of their project means that a new album won’t necessarily restore it. What do I mean by “the nature of their project”? I mean that they seem to be more character-driven than plot-driven, and so when you are tired of Tenacious D it is because you are tired of the characters, not the music.

Still, I have a great deal of respect for what they do, crossing the boundary between music and cinema in a way that few achieve. I think that Jack Black is awesome, and I probably enjoyed Nacho Libre more than is healthy.

Real Life **Real Life** by *Joan As Police Woman*

I was almost certainly in love with *Joan Wasser* before you were. Back in Spring 2005, she was accompanying*Rufus Wainwright* on tour, both as a member of his band and as his support act. Without a doubt, I have never been more captivated by the support act in my entire life. It was a display of intimacy and intensity that made my heart bounce off the walls of my chest cavity. She made me forget about Rufus entirely. Anybody who knows how I feel about Rufus will understand the significance of that.

Though this is an exceptional album, sadly it does not inspire the same emotions in me as that concert did. For example, *We Don’t Own It* sounds like the same song that she played that night, but it clearly isn’t, because the song she played that night sent shivers down my spine.

But it’s a great album, especially *Eternal Flame* (no, not a cover of a fucking Bangles song) which is, in my opinion, perfect.

Gulag Orkestar **Gulag Orkestar** by *Beirut*

I first heard of *Beirut* [back in May][] and was most impressed. When this album made Hg’s [end of year chart][], I figured that they could no longer be ignored. I find it refreshing to listen to, because I’ve always considered Eastern European music to be too far removed from my comfort zone to be enjoyable. Yet this album seems to straddle the divide, presumably because of its heritage ((made by an American who travelled)), and so listening to it makes me feel like I am expanding my horizons without making me want to run for them. Unlike…

[end of year chart]:
[back in may]:

Life In Cartoon Motion **Life In Cartoon Motion** by *MIKA*

More like *Life In Satan’s Underpants*, and I don’t mean that in a *The Devil has the best tunes* sort of way. [See here][] for my earlier review of this album, in which I feel that I have said everything that needs saying. This CD has received a new lease of life as Bernard’s new shiny shiny toy. I passed it to him and said “Now take good care of that,” safe in the knowledge that it would be unplayable within no time at all. Breathe a sigh of relief.

[see here]:

Neon Bible **Neon Bible** by *Arcade Fire*

Not as instantly catchy as *Funeral*, but a worthy follow-up regardless. Surprisingly, the music seems to draw a lot of influence from *Bruce Springsteen* and *Echo And The Bunnymen*, which should illustrate that this isn’t just a cheap rehash of the songs on *Funeral*, but a fresh creation from a band who are clearly going somewhere. However, like *Funeral* there is a theme that recurs throughout this album, and that theme is religious fundamentalism, and those who use their religious beliefs to bully others into submission. It’s a bit of an *issue du jour*, and I wonder whether it will affect the longevity of this album, but then there will always be religious nutbags so I guess probably not much.

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MIKA: Life In Cartoon Motion

For the last fortnight, my life has been consumed by this album. I can’t get it out of my head, so I’m going to review it in depth, as an attempt at therapy. Perhaps by recording my thoughts, my brain will not be so reluctant to keep a tight grip on them, and I may be released.

*Grace Kelly* – I’m not in love with this song, but it’s quite bearable. The chord sequence is a bit uninspired, and his voice annoys me when he goes for the high notes.

*Lollipop* – Trite lyrics, bland chord sequence and melody. Sounds like a really inappropriate advertising jingle. Hey, remember when Iceland approached Bennett to license “Mum’s Gone To Iceland” for their ad, and Bennett said “Uh, I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, mate.”

*My Interpretation* – Please, kill me now. This is one of the most boring songs that I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s like Robbie Williams but without the charm, and I never thought that I’d say that.

*Love Today* – Chorus lyrics so bland that I can’t believe that he is actually of sound body and mind, and aware of what he is singing. This song does not do a single thing of interest – just coasts along from start to end with minimal effort. And his voice still annoys me when he goes for the high notes. It just sounds hideously unpleasant.

*Relax (Take It Easy)* – This song is good one of the best on the album. It’s not *good*, but in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

*Any Other World* – Biggest pile of shit imaginable. The lyrics are really earnest, in a very annoying way, with words clearly inserted just for the sake of satisfying a rhyming scheme, and then repeated a few times to make it seem more substantial than it is. The lack of imagination that went into the music shows Mika up as the talentless soon-to-be-nobody that he is. This song reminds me of the bad bits of Elton John.

*Billy Brown* – The verse sounds like Penny Lane crossed with a nursery rhyme, so he’s getting zero points for that. I usually like songs that tell a story, but this one doesn’t tell it with any panache at all – any appeal that this song may have is solely in the underlying concept.

*Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)* – I’m not going to make the obvious reference to Fat Bottomed Girls, because it’s already been done a few times already. However, I will note that if you listen to this song carefully, you get the impression that Mika sounds like he is actually being quite sarcastic, and is clearly trying to suggest that big girls are NOT beautiful. He’s clearly taking the piss. Incidentally, this song also dispels any doubts about Mika’s sexuality, because he sings about sex with women with absolutely zero discernible enthusiasm. The music is pretty good though, but again it suffers from having little dynamic – it just starts, continues, then stops.

*Stuck In The Middle* – Good song. The lyrics actually seem to have some weight. I’d recommend this one.

*Happy Ending* – Another boring ballad. No risks, no imagination, no effort, no investment. Just no.

*Over My Shoulder* – Shows a great deal of promise, but his voice just doesn’t seem to have the strength to carry the high notes convincingly.

I can’t remember ever being so agitated about an album in my life. Normally, when I dislike something, I can easily dismiss it, but there’s something about all the hype surrounding Mika that makes me furious every time I see his name. I want to grab people by the shoulders and shake some sense into them. I wonder if I’m living in my own personal hell, where this is all a joke that has been concocted at my expense, and you’re all finding it really funny watching me get so irate.

But then, on the other hand, maybe my fury stems from the fact that it could be the other way round. What if other people are seeing something in Mika that I can’t? And I wish that I could listen to his album a bit more, so that I could see it too, but the truth is that every time I put the CD on in my car it makes me want to drive into oncoming traffic.

I take solace in the fact that this second theory is incorrect, and that I am almost certainly right about Mika, and hence in a few months he’ll be known as “Mika. Mika? Oh, that Mika. I’d forgotten all about him.”

Mika has been compared to the Scissor Sisters, but he isn’t as good as the Scissor Sisters. He has been compared to Freddie Mercury, but he doesn’t possess a fraction of Freddie’s talent or enthusiasm. I’ve compared him to Robbie Williams, which I admit is damning with faint praise. And anyone who compares him to Rufus Wainwright is clearly barking mad. If you are considering listening to this album, I’d strongly suggest that you listen to a bit of Scissor Sisters, a bit of Queen, and a bit of Rufus Wainwright instead – you’ll enjoy it much more.

If Mika, or Mika’s people, are reading this article, I’d like to stress that I have nothing against Mika as a person (I am sure that if we found ourselves on opposite sides of a pub table with a couple of beers, we’d get on famously), and I’m not so blinkered as to rule out the possibility of enjoying his future work (in spite of my prediction, above); but Life In Cartoon Motion is, out of all the albums that I have ever heard in my life, definitely the one that has had the most destructive effect on my sanity.

Music Music reviews

Recent Listening Time Again

The last one of these was on the [22nd May 2006][]. I haven’t been getting much opportunity to listen to music, so this is probably going to be the last one of these this year.

[22nd may 2006]:

Sam's Town **Sam’s Town** by *The Killers*

This album starts to take off on its third listen (with the exception of *Bones* which, if you have any taste, will make you shiver with glee right off the bat). Oh, sure, you can go through it highlighting the influences (“This one sounds like *Franz Ferdinand*, that one sounds like *Meatloaf*, this one sounds like *Bruce Springsteen*, that one sounds like *Queen*, this one sounds like *The Cars*…”) but that’s just miserable. Let go of your pretentions, and this is actually a most enjoyable collection of songs. It gets off to a good start, and with each song that passes you think to yourself “Yep, I like that one.” And so on until track 5, *For Reasons Unknown*, which starts off dreadfully, but straightens itself out gradually. It then proceeds in good fashion, peaking at track 8 (the aforementioned *Bones*). The remainder of the album is unremarkable, but to be honest, I think that eight consecutive successes is an acceptable result.

Lyrically, for the most part this album does nothing for me. Apart from when their delusions of profoundness make me squirm a little. I recommend that you avoid listening too carefully to them.

Twelve Stops And Home **Twelve Stops And Home** by *The Feeling*

This made a great first impression, but I rapidly lost interest in it. Many of the melodies are fabulously catchy, true, but once you’ve heard them once, the element of surprise is gone. There also seems to be a lack of cohesiveness about the album – by the time you get to the end, it bears no resemblance to the beginning, and there’s nothing to tie it together, meaning that it bursts and squelches about on the floor like a burst paper bag of sausages. There seems to be no depth here at all, no intimacy, no clues indicating who *The Feeling* really are.

I’m most disappointed, especially as initially, songs like *I Want You Now* and *Fill My Little World* sounded fan-bloody-tastic.

Idlewild **Idlewild** by *Outkast*

Before I commence this review, I should warn you that I’ve listened to this once and not paid any attention at all.

This is an album of songs. There are some songs, in a specific order, that comprise this album. It is made by *Outkast*, who are two men. One of them is a man, and the other is also a man. They make music, such as the music that appears on this album. The album comes in the form of a CD, which you put in your CD player. There is also a case to protect the CD against scratches and other such damage.

*(**UPDATE:** Okay, I’ve listened to it a bit more. It’s bloody good.)*

Castaways and Cutouts **Castaways and Cutouts** by *The Decemberists*

This is actually over three years old now, but I’ve only just got round to getting it. I was less than pleased with [Picaresque][], but this is much more up my street. I feel like it has a bit more delicateness, a bit less in-your-face. It’s no secret that *The Decemberists*’ big strength is their lyrics, and sadly I’m someone who doesn’t always listen to music in situations that enable me to give the lyrics my undivided attention.


Under The Iron Sea **Under The Iron Sea** by *Keane*

This grew on me, and I have to say that I ended up liking it more than I expected to. I found the first album to be reasonably pleasant to listen to, but it didn’t have the power to excite me. I think I prefer this one. If you listen to them side by side, it makes the songs on the debut album sound unfinished, like they had a good idea but hadn’t really taken it to its conclusion. This album, however, sounds like a lot more effort went into it.

At this point I was going to write that there are some less-than-memorable tracks. I put the album on so that I could shuffle through and identify them, only to discover that I was wrong. The reason that they are less-than-memorable is that they don’t exist. Every single song on here has the power to hook its claws into your brain and possess you for a while. However, on the flipside, I will say that there isn’t a broad variety of sounds on this album, so your 12 songs do sometimes feel a bit like 8.

If you have the patience, you need to give this album at least five listens for it to realise its potential. I was still most indifferent after two listens, but fortunately I am too lazy to change the CD in my car, so I listened to it a third time and the tables started to turn.

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More Recent Listening

It’s been a few months (about three of them, I think), so here’s some stuff that I’ve been listening to lately.

Takk **Takk** by *Sigur Rós*

This is a superb listening experience. The first half of the album is fluid and seamless. I don’t want to use the word repetitive, because of the negative connotations, so suffice to say that it is perfect ambient or background music. I have suggested to Karen that we should be playing this kind of thing to the unborn child for the benefit of its soothing, lullaby-like effects. Not the lullabys of open fires and rocking chairs, but of icebergs and penguins.

Whereas the first half has an underlying dynamic to it, the individual tracks in the second half seem to have their own individual lifecycle, each particular song standing more on its own. There is also more variation within this second half, some of the songs feeling a little louder, heavier, threatening.

I accept that for many people, this album will seem a bit nothingy. But they are clearly idiots.

Clor **Clor** by *Clor*

Clor have split up already, but not before leaving us with this. It’s a mesh of punk and pop and techno with a homemadeness that all adds up to something unlike anything else. I was originally turned onto them when I saw their performance at the Reading festival last year, and was left open-mouthed at the originality of the concept and the grooviness of the basslines. After having listened to the album many, many times, I also have to say that it is startlingly high on singalongability. Phrases like “Our pockets, full of little miracles” wedge themselves in your brain and demand your assistance. Short keyboard riffs are scattered throughout, catchy little melodies that make each individual song instantly recognisable.

The last few years have been a barrage of fabulous debut albums from British bands, with follow-up albums being inevitably delayed or disappointing (see The Zutons, below). Clor are one of the few bands that I think could have had enough mileage for a second album. Sadly, we’ll never know.

Tired Of Hanging Around **Tired Of Hanging Around** by *The Zutons*

Gah, it’s Franz Ferdinand all over again. Who Killed The Zutons was a great album, but they seem to have lost all the quirkiness that made it interesting, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to the mainstream. There are a couple of catchy numbers – Oh Stacey and Valerie are infectious – but it’s a forgettable experience overall. Which is a shame, because I’ve already bought tickets to one of their shows.

The Life Pursuit **The Life Pursuit** by *Belle And Sebastian*

Belle And Sebastian have really grown up in the 9 years that I’ve been listening to them. If you had told me that they would ditch their tweeness and develop their sound into nigh-on danceable pop music, I’d laugh at you and tug your eyebrows ((why not)). It’s sounding very good after two listens. Whether it will stand the test of time or not, we shall see.

Certainly, they deserve brownie points for having the guts to adapt their style. Many bands operate like a business, churning out the same stuff over and over again in order to keep their existing fans happy, rather than poking into new genres as their fancy takes them. In fact, I think there should be a law that states that after recording an album of (say, for the sake of argument) guitar-based soft rock, the band in question are forbidden from recording any more albums of said guitar-based soft rock. Keep the gene pool fresh.

Eyes Open **Eyes Open** by *Snow Patrol*

Lots of people like them. Lots of people whose opinions I respect. And so I feel a little bad for not liking them all that much. Maybe one day I’ll have a revelation and start liking them, but for now I just feel indifference. If the randomiser puts this album on then I probably won’t skip it straight away, but I can’t see myself ever selecting it deliberately. A little too formulaic, perhaps?

From The Cliffs **From The Cliffs** by *Guillemots*

For a little while, I thought that Guillemots were my new favourite band, but upon closer inspection they have only recorded two songs that really blow me away. Trains To Brazil and Made Up Lovesong #43 are absolutely amazing, but the rest of the songs on this EP sound like the simply-fabulous Rufus Wainwright having an off day.

3121 **3121** by *Prince*

TAFKATAFKAP has these occasional flashes of brilliance which make me want to like him. But then I discover that I just can’t listen to an entire album of it. My ears just glaze over and I find my attention wanders to other things, more mentally stimulating things. If I were to write blah blah blah blah blah a few hundred times, you’d just skip to the end of this paragraph and read the review of the Jack Johnson album, and you’d be right to. See the parallel that I am attempting to draw?

In Between Dreams **In Between Dreams** by *Jack Johnson*

This guy makes a guitar sound great. Not in a Jimi Hendrix way, I hasten to add (in case you had got completely the wrong impression, right off the bat), but by reminding us that less is sometimes more. When everything is feeling unnecessarily complex, it takes something like this album to remind you that piling on too many so-called enhancements and ostensible optimisations will eventually result in an unmaintainable mess. Strip the lot down to its core, and you will sleep much more soundly.

Again, I’ve only actually listened to this a couple of times, so my opinion is still subject to the forces that come into play after that all-important Listen #5.

Corinne Bailey Rae **Corinne Bailey Rae** by *Corinne Bailey Rae*

Well, now that Mothers Day has passed, we’ll probably never hear from Corinne Bailey Rae again. Bland and unoriginal, I have no idea how she got so famous, the mind boggles. You know when you see a trailer for a movie, and it looks very funny, and so you go to see it? And then you discover that the trailer contained all the funny bits without exception?

Similarly, you know how you saw an advert for this album on the TV, and there were snippets from three songs, and they sounded quite pleasant? Well, that’s it. The rest is filler.


Eye To The Telescope **Eye To The Telescope** by *KT Tunstall*

By contrast, this is surprisingly good. There are a couple of possible filler tracks in the second half, but for the most part each song stands nicely on its own merits without feeling like ideas are being reused. If I had one complaint, I’d suggest that the incredibly catchy choruses are occasionally supported by rather nothingy verses.

I’m going to stick my neck out a bit and venture that I also rather like her voice. Much like you, I hear hundreds of new singing voices each year, and most of them just sound like a vehicle for the lyrics ((heheheh, I’m reminded of the beautiful line in An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter by Mansun, which contradicts my point entirely: The lyrics aren’t supposed to mean that much, they’re just a vehicle for a lovely voice.)), but I can get quite enthusiastic about Katie’s. I can’t explain it.

It took me over a year to finally get round to giving her a chance. I’m glad that I did. Again, I haven’t yet reached Listen #5 with this one, but I’m quietly confident.

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Some Recent Listening

Here’s some stuff that I’ve been listening to lately.

Brassbound **Brassbound** by *The Ordinary Boys*

I should let you know that I don’t change the CD in the car very often. As a general rule, I’m so eager to either (a) get to work or (b) get back home again, that it never quite seems to be the right time to go through the rigmarole of opening the glove box, getting a CD out, performing the changeover routine, blahblahblah. This particular album, however, was sufficient to set a new record – I could only listen to it one-and-a-half times before my brain said No more! and I involuntarily but willingly ejected it from the system. I ejected the CD – not my brain.

This album is completely pointless. It’s unoriginal ska-pop that just treads a load of boards that made a rather nasty squeaking sound first time around. I had heard of this band before, but it wasn’t until after *Celebrity Big Brother* ended that I thought to myself, hey that Preston fella wasn’t completely repellent, I wonder what his band sounds like.

Well, short-lived that was.

Trouble **Trouble** by *Ray LaMontagne*

This, however, is superb. I do most of my listening to music whilst I’m pootling about on the computer, reading weblogs and writing PHP and fiddling about with CSS. Every once in a while, I find myself listening to an album that is so poignant and rich with sound that I hit the switch on the monitor, and allow myself to do nothing but listen for the next 45 minutes. This is one of those albums.

Fabulous voice, fabulous songwriting. This is everything that I thought [O][] by *Damien Rice* would be, until I discovered upon continued listening that it was shit.


The Back Room **The Back Room** by *Editors*

There are one of two possibilities here. Either I’ve only listened to this album twice, or I’ve listened to it a dozen times but it’s so unimpressive that I’ve not noticed. The singles seem to be reasonably catchy, but the overall effect is early Coldplay with larger testicles – not enough to really twizzle my goatee. This might be one of those albums that needs to be played in the car. Tell you what, I’ll make a note, do that, and then get back to you.

Supernature **Supernature** by *Goldfrapp*

Ah, *Goldfrapp*. *Goldfrapp* have never, to my knowledge, disappointed. Alison just gets hotter and hotter, and the music – well, I suppose the music does too. I should make a date to go to a *Goldfrapp* gig, I really should.

There is a but. The first song was used on a mobile phone commercial. If it was the second song, or the third song, then that would be fine, but I find myself wondering whether I’ve put on the *Goldfrapp* album, or if a commercial break just started. This is bad for me, and bad for *Goldfrapp*, but probably quite good for the mobile phone company in question.

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not **Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not** by *The Arctic Monkeys*

This is a tragic tale of *Libertines* proportions. *The Arctic Monkeys* are good, really good. This album is good, really good. But it just can’t cope under the weight of everything that’s going on in its name. Some people would call it hype, but it’s not. It’s more like a religion. This band have a lot of peoples’ hopes riding upon them, and I don’t think that they’re up to it. They are drowning in their own gimmick, and the Pandora’s Box-esque nature of things means that this fabulous new way of getting yourself heard will very quickly be hijacked and controlled by the players in The Industry, and the only thing that will have changed will be the brand of clothes being worn by the guy who is making millions off of your effort.

If I sound cynical and pessimistic, then I apologise. This is the end result of years of analysis and pessing. I don’t pess lightly. My pesses have been thought about at length.

Plans **Plans** by *Death Cab for Cutie*

I’m not au fait with the whole history of *Death Cab For Cutie*. In my cybertravels, I often stumble across mentions of them here, there and everywhere. Generally, these mentions seem to be about who they are, and why they are, and some television program called *The O C*, and there is precious little mention of the music. This album, for those who are interested, is a collection of mainly exceptionally good songs, with some slightly dull ones that don’t really ruin things too much. There is some very competent songwriting ability in evidence here.

I think that’s it for now.

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Albums of the year

It’s been a good year for music, but I’m struggling to put together a “Top 10 albums of 2005” list, for the following reasons.

Firstly, lots of albums which I would have wanted to put on the list were actually released in 2004 or sooner, and I felt that including them would be dishonourable.

Secondly, there are a few albums which I haven’t really listened to enough to be certain of my opinion, so trying to slot them into the order would be hit and miss.

So I’ve decided to make a list of albums what I have liked, and very vaguely categorise them as follows:

**The Best**

* Arcade Fire – Funeral
* Rufus Wainwright – Want Two
* Hard-Fi – Stars Of CCTV

**The Good**

* Foo Fighters – In Your Honor
* Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger
* Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
* Elbow – Leaders Of The Free World

**The Rest**

* Beck – Guero
* Doves – Some Cities
* Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
* Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman

*Originally posted here*

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Reading Festival 2005: Day 3

Slow start today. The number of bands playing today about whom we were enthusiastic in advance was less than previous days, probably mainly due to the silly heavy rock bands taking over the main stage.

We decided to start the day at the third stage, and the first band we saw were called Gratitude. The music wasn’t particularly remarkable, but the frontman was sensational. He was very talkative and inviting, spending a lot of time off the stage and stood on the fence before the front row, and he drew a very healthy sized crowd. This enabled him to crowd surf, which he did multiple times. At the end of the set he then climbed down into the crowd with a box of the band’s CDs, to shake hands, say hello, and sell some discs. The crowd followed him like a swarm of flies. I was most impressed. I’d speculate that this guy has a certain star quality. Which, as we know, counts for a lot in this world.

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Reading Festival 2005: Day 2

We were incredibly tired this (Saturday) morning, and so we slept in a bit. I then wanted to fill the car up with petrol, so by the time we were on site, we had missed the start of the music. I wasn’t too fussed about the first band, but I do think that we missed a treat by only arriving for the last two minutes of Editors. The crowd was immense for such an early-billed act, and those two minutes that we heard sounded like something special. I shall have to do some sort of penance.

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Reading Festival 2005: Day 1

As we walked to the main entrance to the site, I discovered that my watch, our only timepiece, had stopped earlier in the morning. What a start. However, the timing of our arrival was impeccable – we arrived in the main arena at exactly the same time as Do Me Bad Things, the first band of the day, were taking to the main stage. They had a slightly shaky start, as a technical problem caused the sound to cut out after a few seconds of their first song, but they disappeared off stage for a few minutes and when they came back all was better. The lead singer made a lame deja vu joke, but nerves can do that to you, I suppose. I personally would have gone for the “Sorry, children, due to a technical hitch we’ve had to cancel Reading. Go home.” gag.