Name: Brendan

Posts by Elkano:

    Tracks of the Mo – iii

    August 1st, 2015

    Check out a few of the tracks below that have been blowing Riot Radio socks off this week.

    Wavves – Way Too Much (2015)

    Wavves. *shakes his head* Wavves, right, you know what I mean? Ha! Wavves! They’re just one of those bands that everything they touch turns to gold. New single Way too much is no exception. The track bursts into action with their punchy punk rock with its trademark just-enough-sloppiness, and doesn’t cease. The track length weighs in at a mammoth 2.33 long so you’d be mad to not chuck it on repeat for the sake of rinsability. It’s one of those tracks that just puts me in a good mood, hence my reason for thrashing the buggery out of it.

    Musical highlight: Well, that chorus is immense but the fact that it’s a new Wavves track is probably the gimme.

    Jonathan Bree – Bored at the Mall  (The Primrose Path, 2013)

    New Zealand musician Johnathan Bree (of The Brunettes) blew my socks off last weekend when I stumbled across his album The Primrose Path. I had been searching for an album to play whilst working on a project so was just randomly selecting artists from my Spotify Discover section. Enter Jonathan Bree. At first I thought it was Jon fucking Brion which is quite a compliment but soon I was to discover that not only was it not Jon Brion, it was a Kiwi lad.

    The song, Bored at the mall, was my personal highlight but the entire album is very very listenable if you’re wanting a mellow Saturday afternoon jaunt – put it this way, I listened to the album five times in a row. Ding!

    It’s tight. Check it.

    Musical highlight: I really enjoyed the discordant carnival feel of the song and in fact the album in general.

    Schoolboy Q – WTC (Feat. Game, Too $hort)

    There’s a lot of talk about new Schoolboy Q album, Schoolboy Q 2. The track that caught my attention was WTC with its phenomenal production, sublime rhymes, and a nice melty female VOX and yes, that isn’t a typo and you haven’t misread it – Too $hort. Jeez, he’s been around some time now.

    This track has ruled my playlist the last 24 hours and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another track from Schoolboy Q 2, next week in Tracks of the Mo.

    Musical highlight: Too $hort. Did you know he used to be broke and didn’t have no clothes?

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    Tracks of the mo – ii

    July 17th, 2015

    Do you ever get dismayed at the sheer volume of wildly decent music all the talented minstrels of the world are pouring out? I do, I really do. There seems to be an endless stream of decent tracks and who in the name of Ravishing Rick Rude in crotchless leather pantaloons can keep up? So, to help you folk narrow down and tune in, every Thursday we’ll be putting out a brief list of songs titled Tracks o the Mo featuring some of the top tracks that we at Riot Radio find impossible to not rinse and repeat.

    Check em.

    Kero kero Bonito – Picture this

    I’m a bit of a Japanophile – no not of the tentacle-porn loving type. It’s hard to spend two years in Tokyo and not absorb a fundamental appreciation for the Japanese style of doing things, and this goes for j-pop too. You just end up liking the analog video game, shit I’m falling through a rainbow, ow my ears are filled with pinball machine noises, typical of j-pop music – nay, you end up loving it, which is probably why Picture this by Kero kero Bonito made it into my tracks of the mo.

    They’re a British unit, but damn they blast a polished j-pop sound that would rival any true j-pop outfit… Okay, maybe with the exception of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

    Check Picture this for a sound that’ll instantly perk you up.

    Musical highlights: Dem intro strings get my ginger blood a pumpin.

    Isaiah Rashad – Heavenly Father

    I’ve been digging Isaiah Rashad for a while now. His beats are lazy, washed out and faded–yet exquisitely dope and perfectly complemented by his vox . There are a couple of his tracks I could drop in for this  week’s Tracks o the mo, Modest is on my “To the Max” playlist, as is Shot you down, but the one that  has truly captured me this last few days is Heavenly Father. Immaculately produced and off the soulful scale, Heavenly Father, clocks in with one point seven mill Spotify plays, which leads me to ask, where in the name of McCartney’s bollocks was I when this tune dropped?

    Musical highlights: Dem lyrics

    I’m praying that I make it 25
    They be calling doctors for my health
    I know it’s kinda hard to say the drugs
    Because I been having problems with myself
    I been asking questions, where the lord?”

    AlunaGeorge – Your drums, your love

    Speaking of being out of the room whizzing whilst tracks were banging, here’s another boat I missed that came out in 2012ish. British duo, AlunaGeorge’s, Your drums, your love. After hearing the opening synth I knew whatever was to come was going to be exceptional. And I was right, ten points to me. Go me, for getting imaginary me points.

    A stretched and pitched vox synth creates the catchy hook before we hear vocalist Aluna Francis’ heart melting vocals, pulling us in. It’s, again, a pristine little track that I have been rinsing the last four days and I am yet to tire of. Check this song and if I were you I’d stay tuned to what these two very talented cats get up to because it’s likely to be bollocking.

    Musical highlight: Dem structures

    That chorus. They hold it off just a tad before dropping and blowing the track wide open. Melty melty yum yum.

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    Tracks of the mo

    July 9th, 2015

    Do you ever get dismayed at the sheer volume of wildly decent music all the talented minstrels of the world are pouring out? I do, I really do. There seems to be an endless stream of decent tracks and who in the name of Ravishing Rick Rude in crotchless leather pantaloons can keep up? So, to help you folk narrow down and tune in, every Thursday we’ll be putting out a brief list of songs titled Tracks of the Mo featuring some of the top tracks that we at Riot Radio find impossible to not rinse and repeat.

    Check em.

    Jamie XX – Gosh

    I do adore a great opening track. It’s the hallmark of a great album, the set up of what is to come, the headlights that stun the possum. But there’s a precise art to a decent opener, a certain energy that gently pulls the listener in, but hey not too wildly there chuck, as the opener should never be the peak of an album. The key to a great opening track is you must
    keep a lid on the the energy. It must be like a siren, its finger inviting – nay – luring the listener into the waters so placid. But then it builds, grows, and becomes choppy rising into a gentle tumult and before we know it we’re mesmerised, five tracks in and snogging the seductress.

    Opening track, Gosh, by Jamie XX from his debut of miscellany, In Colour, is a great example of that art and now sits firmly on my mental list of great opening scorchers. It cracks off with a chugging break sample, the kind you find knocking about the recesses of an old discarded hard drive. Enter a throbbing bass for momentum, sample after sample looping and growing unassumingly into a gentle crescendo and the rest of the album is set to its banging tempo. Needless to say, when this song comes on my device, the fucker gets played out, in full, loudly. Definitely a track of the mo. Smoke em if you got em.

    Cymbals – Winter ‘98

    This ditty has been on my Tracks of the mo list for quite some time now, and doesn’t seem likely to fall off any time soon. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about it that has me so enamoured. Although it is an opener, I wouldn’t put it up there with the best, but it does have that slow-building throb I bant on about that so often gets me juicy. Maybe it’s the vocalist’s singing manner with his das-eighties Kraftwerk, hyper spandau disco filtering? I love it.

    If you haven’t heard of Cymbals they’re a bunch of London lads well worth investigation. Their 2013 album, Age of Fracture, is full of that synthy eighties shite that is rife at the moment – And I’m not slagging ‘em off, I really can’t get enough of it. Keep it coming.

    Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta

    And why not finish this petite list off with some hip hop. By the hair of Churchill’s pate, King Kunta by Kendrick Lamar is a fetching song that embeds itself firmly in the listener’s mind. The track meanders with a funky souled-out beat but Kendrick’s vocals lifts it up, driving it along even despite ad hoc cuts and breaks, samples, low pitch vocal fillers.

    Lyrically, it’s a simple song, but there’s something in the rhymology that really makes you pay attention. With their improv type feel, the lyrics could be so disposable, but Kendrick demands you listen. “I got a bone to pick,” he says, “I don’t want you monkey-mouth motherfuckers sittin’ in my throne again!” Okay, noted Kendrick, we’ll stay out of your throne. “I’m mad (he mad) but I ain’t stressin…” And on he goes. The lyrics unfold, and at first seem rather trite, but there’s something there. Is Kendrick saying something in his references to Bill Clinton, Richard Pryor and lyrical nods to Michael Jackson, and what exactly does he mean by yams, you start asking yourself. Tune in to see who has the yams.

    Those are my three tracks of the mo; a right perky wee track selection. Tune again next week for more.

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    Sonic mass: Mogwai give Wellington a Glaswegian kick to the bollocks

    March 7th, 2015

    Mogwai, supported by Mick Turner, 6 March 2015, James Cabaret, Wellington 

    Set list

    MoggersThere was once a “rave” called Sonic Mass. “A sonic gathering of creation” touted the poster. I was sixteen, fair of ginge, and it was the first time I was ever moved by music. But let me clarify here, when I say moved, I am not referring to an emotional state, I mean actually moved by the music, physically stimulated – “dear shit, this music is slapping me around!” It was our first rave, and as my young cohorts and I approached the outdoor carpark venue on Lukes Lane, I felt my stomach shaking, the bones of my rib cage jittering and the sound from the massive speakers pushing at the air creating a soft pulsing breeze on our face and gently muting our eardrums with a cavernous wall of noise. We hadn’t even gotten inside yet. That was 1996.

    Mogwai held another sonic mass at James Cabaret last night. My ribs rattled, my stomach shook, and the speakers pulsed a massive invisible wall of sound on a lucky packed James Cabaret crowd. They called the tour Rave Tapes, named after their latest critically acclaimed album and after missing out on Mogwai in Tokyo a few years back due to knee surgery I had been eagerly awaiting the chance to catch one of the two bands I would gladly kill to see. Well, perhaps kill is an exaggeration, but, there are two bands I would class as my musical wet dream, Melbourne’s Dirty Three and Scotland’s Mogwai. At sonic mass II last night, this lucky little red head got a taste of both. I found out perhaps an hour prior that Dirty Three’s Mick Turner was slotted in as the warm up act. My bed was therefore sopping at the thought of this much awaited event. It didn‘t fail to meet my rather high expectations.

    Mick unceremoniously opened with his trademark melancholic guitar meanderings that he effortlessly wove and looped into a storm of music. The crowd stood spellbound and appreciative. It was like a two-man version of Mogwai, if not with a slightly more rustic edge. The only words spoken by Mick were after he had packed away his gear and was about exit the stage: “Mogwai will be on soon,” he coyly remarked as if the crowd had been impatient to see him out and get to the main course. Fuck off, Mick, you mad humble fool, you had the crowd spellbound. The gig could’ve ended there and I would’ve already had my money’s worth as that was sonic mass enough… and then Mogwai came on.

    “We’re Mogwai from Glasgow,” said Braithwaite to the crowd, their semblance of a front man. Fair enough. Their opener, Heard about you last night, from Rave tapes, was a monster introduction, yet was proven to be rather low key given the way the rest of the songs unfolded and escalated. They didn’t faff about and the second track, I’m Jim Morrison I’m dead, had their guitars merging into a near-deafening single sound. So loud, yet, not… That wall of sound I mentioned, inescapable. I really should’ve clued my girlfriend Katie up a little more with what an auditory assault the gig was likely to be. Although I’d played her a few of my favourites the only inkling she’d gotten of how loud it would be was when she was at the James Cab bar and overheard someone saying, “Apparently Mogwai are the loudest band in the world.” Mogwai delivered and proved that trite conversation piece to be accurate within four tracks. We’re not here to fuck spiders, as the kids are saying these days. It was a decent set and the lads from Mogwai played a smattering of tracks spanning their rather lengthy time together.

    Mogwai are a bunch of regular looking dudes and rather perfunctory as a group. We’ve got songs to play, let’s play em, they seem to say. Bassist, Dominic Aitchison, looks joyless as he fingers away on his bass. Fair enough. Braithwaite seems a little more enthused, but regardless, it’s not to the detriment, as the music Mogwai plays has an energy of its own, that physical assault I mentioned. And I did say this wasn’t an emotional thing, but that’s actually inaccurate. Very few bands can make my soul scream, laugh, surge with excitement like Mogwai does. I felt weak kneed afterwards, ears ringing. It was an honour to see them.

    Mogwai leave the stage guitars screaming

    Mogwai leave the stage guitars screaming

    The set closed with We’re no here and they exited the stage and left their instruments ringing in unison with distortion and feedback. There’s that wet dream again, sonic as ever, screaming. They returned, as is expected these days, with an extra couple of ditties. Hunted by a Freak and Mogwai fear satan, two favourites of mine and a great way to close. After the gentle swaying lull in Mogwai fear satan, it escalated rather steeply. It was at this point I finally saw folk in the crowd putting fingers in ears. Make it stop – but don’t, they seemed to say. Mogwai again exited with guitars screaming in unison. Bloody crikey, they weren’t even playing yet their guitars had merged into one sonic sound and sonic mass, if you will. The black clad roadies mounted the stage and flicked the monitors off, silence had never seemed so loud. The crowd exited bewildered, assaulted, sated, yet and with ears ringing. Katie said something to me. “What?” I answered. “That was loud!” she shouted. “We weren’t here to fuck spiders.” I replied. “What?” she shouted. “Oh, about 11.45pm!” I yelled.

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    NME top 100 music videos (and some)

    July 14th, 2011

    ElkanoAnother guest blog for you, folks. Elkano takes you through his favourite music videos of all time.

    So NME’s top 100 video’s list is interesting. I’ve had a poke through not only the top ten, but also the top 100, and all I really found was NME’s website is a horror show to navigate. Only joking, there are some definite pearlers in the list but there a few crucial ones missing for me.

    And thus I started crafting my own personal top ten videos list. After faffing around for four hours, I realized it was just too difficult to balance the notion of “popular videos” versus my own torrid musical preferences. So I copped out like Switzerland in the forties and thought I would just write about a few great music vids.

    So here is the official list of “A few good videos I know and thought I would share”

    Sigur Ros – “Svefn-G-Englar”, 1999 (half a million views)

    NME had Vidrar Vel Til Loftarasa by Sigur Ros in their top ten. And I agree it is a beaut of a vid – loaded with touching homoeroticism but I think the Svefn-g-englar is a more powerful song. Seriously, it never fails to give me a tingle. Couple that music with this up-syndrome video and I am often bought to tears. I’m not sure what it captures precisely or even what the intention was – but it is touching and drenched with a certain innocence. The video is shot in strange green terrain with a stark grey cliff face in the background. The entire video involves the choreography of an Icelandic downy/special needs dance group. The simplicity of the moment and choreography leaves the viewer wide open for interpretation. Is it a battle? Are they angels? Why did that downer fall over? But the thing I like is even without the critical exploration, there is a certain raw joy captured; an unrefined beauty. As I mentioned it has brought me to tears more than once and that is why this video is in my proverbial good books – in fact if I had a top ten this song would perch snuggly in the number one position.

    Bjork – “All is Full of Love”, 1998 (12,000,000+ youtube views)

    All is full of love indeed. Or maybe the video could have been called All is full of a small robot orgy? This one also made it to the NME top ten. The vid is directed by Chris Cunningham, also famous for the creation of the freakiest bed wetter of a music video known to man, Come to daddy by Aphex Twin.  This award winning video again stems from a simply beautiful song. The video starts with a Bjorkesque robot being tended to by assembly machine robots. The use of her face is enchanting; the subtle shifts of her eyes as the robots tend her are very melancholic and evoke a real androidic (had to make that one up) sadness. Deary me though, Byork is just as beautiful in droid form. Enter stage left: A twin robot again with the Bjorksters face joins in, initiating the chorus and brings a smile to the face of Robot number one. Aaaah. The vid then descends into a mechanical robot lesbian love fest I love the crispness and starkness of the CG. The film “climaxes” with oh yes – the robot’s climaxing. Again lovely crisp effects are achieved via a reversing of the video as the robots gush a milky substance and the assembly line robots join in on the action – Oh did I mention the androids both have Bjorks face? Simply too well made to not be in my list. A right belter.

    Michael Jackson – “Thriller”, 1983 (a bunch of views)

    Yeah yeah. I know what you’ll say: You copped out with this like you copped out of your top ten, how obvious etc. But hey lets look at the facts here. This video was epic. Most of the world saw it. It was a 14 minute video movie feature epic that contained a stop motion sequence of MJ turning into a werewolf- no wait – a werecat (because it really matters right). Beyond that it was well marketed and the fact that new born children in remote African villages with no food, electricity or running water were aware of who Michael Jackson was and knew all the moves to the “thriller dance” kind of helped cement this video in history. Oh and the thriller dance has echoed through out popular culture ever since. Just the other day I saw a Youtube vid (shock horror) of a ten-year-old boy doing the complete thriller dance at a baseball game – thirty years on. Very few music vids have such a halflife. Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s not intrinsically awesome.

    Exodus – “Noisia” feat KRS ONE, 2007 (400,000 views)

    The first time I saw this I was in absolute awe. There’s something about the execution of this one that makes me wonder about the creative process behind it. It has some brilliant CG and opens with some kind of futuristic city-utopia. As the drum and bass begins to grumble and crackle some kind of sentient destructor drops from the heavens and begins to destroy the city with a devastating mammoth death ray. The death ray strikes in unison with the absolute crunker of a bassline. Some might say the tripod is influenced by imagery from the War of the Worlds – but really it’s just so bad ass that it doesn’t matter. Then a projectile strikes the invader and in comes KRS ONE. Some smooth rhyming ensues that really capture the visuals of the flyboys that strike at the solo alien force. The battles rages and then the tripod decides to commit alien seppuku and obliterates the city scape entirely. The final shot leaves us with the calm after the battle as we survey the destruction of the utopia. Just awesome – hit me right >there<.

    UNKLE – “Rabbit in Your Headlights” feat Thom Yorke, 1998. (1,000,000 views)

    Yeah this isn’t such a well known one this. It features Thom Yorke and he wails around on the vox as he does. But it’s such a simple concept for a video. Some nutter is meandering through a tunnel, muttering to himself, in the middle of the road mind you. Cars are veering and swerving to avoid hitting him – some not very successfully and thus he gets sent flying here and there. Near the end he takes his jacket off and bam, (in sync with the music) he stands firm and the cars that strikes him is toast. A very intriguing video directed by Johnathan Glazer, known for the tourettous movie Sexy Beast. Well worth a peak if you’ve never seen it.

    Radiohead – “Paranoid Android”, 1997 (300,000 views)

    “Oh yeah that cartoony video from the 90’s” I hear you say. There was always something about this video for me. Something raw there – a deep honesty – some kind of torrid reflection of the world and it’s capacity to steal our innocence, leaving us crippled and naked in front of the deluge… Wow heavy. What am I Thom Yorke’s ghost writer? Seriously though the song was epic, as was the album it rode in on. Yeah this vid was well raw. For those that have forgotten the video, it involves a cartoon (called Robin) and his interactions in a cityscape with his mate. It could be any city really. Through out his day him and his vacuous chum get up to some right antics. They call a woman down from a tree to see her breasts. Buy a goldfish. Get get drunk and picked on in a pub. Robin climbs a lamppost and gets accosted by some kind of EU rep. He subsequently gets taken by an angel in a chopper to play table tennis (happens to me all the time), while the man from the EU inadvertently dismembers himself and drowns in the harbour only to be saved and placed in a tree by mermaids… WTF indeed – and that’s pretty much what everyone thought when it came out in 97. Although given it was the pre-texting, pre-internet era folk probably would have sounded out the entire sentence like, “What the f**k?”  How quaint we were.

    The video creator, Swede, Magnus Carlsson apparently locked himself in a room for 12 hours listening to the song on repeat whilst noting down the visuals. I should probably mention that Radiohead only gave him the instrumental, as they didn’t want the video to be “too literal” or any relationship between the lyrics to the video. Thom was quoted as moaing intolerably: “We had lots of people saying, ‘Yeah, great, we can have another video like “Street Spirit“, all moody and black and dark. Well, no. We had really good fun doing this song, so the video should make you laugh. I mean, it should be sick, too.” Ha ha – you’re such a twat Thom – if not a bloody talented one. So yeah any video that gets Mermaid boobs censored in the mid to late nineties has to be in the top ten if you ask me.

    So that’s a perky little list and some top viewing. Here are a few honourable mentions coupled with a one sentence review.

    Aphex Twin – “Come to daddy”

    “Damn I’m gonna have to scrub the gusset of these undies again.”

    Grandmaster Flash – “The Message”

    “Real life in the ghetto is grim as shiz and not at all like a Nelly video.”

    Gorillaz – “Clint Eastwood”

    “Cartoons for music videos are cool.”

    Daft Punk – “Da Funk”

    “Ha ha. He thinks he’s people.”

    Ok Go – “This Too Shall Pass”

    “Rude Goldberg machine goes a liiiiittle bit too far.”

    Guns N Roses – “November Rain”

    “Three guitar solos still wasn’t enough. 46,000,000 views though…”

    Foo Fighters – “Everlong”

    “…and I was at my old school, only it wasn’t my old school it was my work and then my hand grew really big.”

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