52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Friday, September 23, 2005

We could be anywhere, but we choose up there

Here we are then, firmly back in the swing of the old routine... and as this is a Friday, that of course means that we get to strap on our snow shoes, wrap up warm and pack up the sledge as we prepare for another expedition deep into someone's head on a voyage of Earworm discovery. Let's just hope that when we get there we don't find that Roald Amundsen got there first.

This week's Guest Editor has been waiting very patiently in the wings for his turn at this for some time now. He is something of an authority on music and is kindly taking a moment away from being fed peeled grapes by the hands of some dusky indie princess to beam his thoughts to us tonight directly from his throne as Clearlake's official webmaster....

Ladies and Gentleworms....without further ado.... it is my great pleasure to introduce for your listening pleasure.....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #18 - Capt.Damo from Noise!

So, the gist of this earworms thing is “sounds stuck in one’s head”? Right. On the night I’m writing this, I’m getting ready to make a 500 mile round trip to Scarborough Castle for a bit of a rock shindig. Except at least one act has pulled out, only a third of the tickets have been sold and apparently the generators won’t fit in through the portcullis.

By the time you read this, I’ll know whether the event was actually a success and you’ll be reading about it on my blog, if you like. A combination of the above events, and far too much time spent at my desk this week, has brought me to this little list.


10. Jackdaw4 – The Day I Wrote The Book

Willie Dowling is this generation’s Brian Wilson. You could argue about this, but you’d be wrong. Previously of bands such as Honeycrack, The Grip, Sugarplumfairies, The Celebrity Squares… you haven’t heard any of these, right? Catch up. Here’s his music – including the above-mentioned song.

Just a pity that they’ve pulled out of the festival I’m going to this weekend.

He briefly played with The Wildhearts too. I’ll get back to that.

9. Mew – Special

Mew will be very big before you know it. There’s a small venue tour coming up soon – get in and see them. There’s an almost religious atmosphere at their gigs, even now, and the Frengers album is absolutely essential for everyone.

I’m not convinced that this (their new single) is quite up to anything off Frengers. Have a listen to Comforting Sounds off said record. It’s a long track, make sure you hear it through…

8. Elbow – Forget Myself

Confession time. I’m on the credits list of Elbow’s last record, Cast of Thousands. I don’t deserve to be. 15000 people sang along to Grace Under Pressure at Glastonbury 2003 and the band wanted all of their names on the sleeve. I wasn’t at that stage at the time, but I put my name down on their site anyway. I’d like to think I slightly redeemed myself by singing on it for real at Glastonbury 2004, for a fully live version released to benefit the anti-mine charity MAG.

Elbow anecdote, number two: I once won tickets to a Jack Daniel’s sponsored Elbow gig. Which meant: seeing Elbow live for free and drinking as many JD cocktails as I could. It was a good night. I went and accosted the bass player and told him how great they were. I may not have made much sense, but he smiled and shook my hand.

Hear it.

(That’s one of three album credit lists I’ve lucked my way onto, the others being Mull Historical Society’s “This Is Hope” and AntiProduct’s “Made In USA”. I sort of deserved the latter one…)

7. Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To

Oh yes. I love Franz Ferdinand – the way they sound, they way they look (and that usually means nought to me with bands), the way they conduct themselves. No, really. I remember reading an article on the so-called resurgence in British music in that glorified rag the NME. Band after band fell into the traps in the little interviews in that issue. But not Franz… Alex Kapranos made it clear that he wasn’t going to get into all this ‘drinking English tea, us against the world’ nonsense.

The video for this is great too. Here it is.

6. Silver Sun - Immediate

A story of survival against all odds.

I cannot tell you how much I love this band. Returning to the theme above, the NME loves to group things together. It makes their journalistic lives easier. For Silver Sun, it was… cough… “Britpop”. When “Britpop” died, so did Silver Sun, apparently. Except Silver Sun were a hundred times better than your Sleepers and Shed Sevens. Songwriter James Broad knows what pop music is all about. And so it was that when they made their second and supposedly final album, Neo Wave, in 1998, we weren’t supposed to hear from them again.

Cue the Internet. And a lot of people that didn’t give up. A message board with over 400 members who did more than just talk about ‘the good old days’, they liked the here and now and knew that Silver Sun should be a part of it. So it was appropriate that the Internet following got the third album first. And as of May this year, it was everywhere.

In a musical environment where so much I love fails to get attention, and withers and dies, because of the naïve playlisting policies of ignorant radio stations, it brings me impossible joy to think that October brings a new Silver Sun single.

Never give up what you’re doing if you regard that what you’re doing is worth doing. Got that?

5. OK Go – Do What You Want

“One hit wonders”, say certain sections of the press. Possibly no-hit-wonders to many of you, if you don’t remember “Get Over It”. Their second album hasn’t even been released in the UK yet. It will be soon, when they tour in October with the equally wonderful Brendan Benson.

What do you need to know about this band? Well, it doesn’t all sound like “Get Over It”. Much of it sounds like Jellyfish. Any band sounding like Jellyfish can be in my gang. Anyhow, this one sounds like this.

And above all, they’re fronted by a guy named Damian. We need more Damians in rock.

4. Goldie Lookin’ Chain – Your Missus Is A Nutter

Comedy in music. It’s not right. Shaddap You Face. The Stonk. All football records. Funky Gibbon. Ernie. The entire recorded output of Robbie Williams.

Why is comedy in music not right? Because crucially, it’s not funny.

Goldie Lookin’ Chain have managed to rise above all this by actually being funny. And (whisper it) clever, thanks to Dwain P Xain. Seriously… try and write something as clever as “Gu~s Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do” (censored for the benefit of certain people whose work filters weed out the ‘G’ word).

I went to three festivals this summer. They were at every one. The joke completely failed to wear thin for me. They’re about to release a second record, and ‘respectable’ publications are finding themselves forced to admit that they’re hanging on for the simple reason that they do what they do very well.

Comedy in music. It’s not right. Which leads me on conveniently…

3. Various ‘artists’ - annoying ringtones

Who bought the Crazy Frog record? I read that it was ‘students and office workers’. Really? I wasn’t convinced. Then just recently, after the initial hype had died down, something horrible happened.

A colleague of mine who sits near me bought the ringtone. She works very hard, and she works long hours. She’s a pretty serious person otherwise. And her phone goes off a lot.

And if you work in I.T., you tend to find that a lot of people haven’t worked out how to straddle the fine line between ‘funny’ and ‘wacky’. Funny is good. Wacky is Timmy Mallett. And dodgy ringtones. So anyway, I spend much of my day hearing dodgy ringtones of all kinds.

Conspiracy theory time. If you say anything enough, it loses all meaning… “the charts, they’re full of rubbish”, “Crazy Frog, he’s really annoying”, “GW Bush, he’s a bit thick”. Like, tell us something new. So there you have it… the people who foist the most annoying things on us in life know we’ll grow to accept them eventually, and that the people who get the funny looks will just be the ones who continue to moan about it. So they can keep foisting this baloney on us.

So I’ll shut up now.

2. The Wildhearts – Nita Nitro

Ginger is this generation’s John Lennon. You could argue about this, but you’d be wrong.

Pretty much my favourite band ever, and (all being well) the headliners at Scarborough Castle. “Metallica meets The Beatles” was how one person described them. Fair enough. Frontman Ginger knows it’s all about two things… a) the riffs and b) the tunes. What a quaint old-fashioned concept.

The press used to love them. Their antics made Pete Doherty look tame. And could they ever knock out a tune. And they still can. Only the press don’t love them anymore. Or rather, the agenda setters dictate that they don’t talk about them. Does that sound like a paranoid rambling? Well, consider the facts in the case of, yet again, the NME:

1) Current editor, Conor McNicholas, admits that he exerts some control over what can and can’t be covered to ensure editorial consistency, so the writers don’t even have completely free rein.
2) When The Wildhearts recently reached no. 18 in the charts (and appeared on Top of the Pops) with no publicity, the NME managed a brief mention of them on their website chart round-up… they were called “Hoary old rockers The Wildhearts”. Which leads me onto:
3) The NME uses age as a battering ram when it suits this agenda. The oldest member of The Wildhearts is 40. Last week’s cover star, Ian Brown, is 42.

Anyhow, if you know that it’s possible to believe that “it’s all about the music” without turning into Paul Weller in the process, you still need The Wildhearts in your life.

1. Clearlake – It’s Getting Light Outside

OK. I might be biased. I like this band a lot. Eventually, I got a little frustrated that their website was rarely updated. Shows would take place and I wouldn’t even know about them. After some major goading from a couple of people and minor goading from others that I had never met, I knocked together a site in January. It took just four hours, because I initially adapted the code from a site I had made for a container storage company. And that included the time it took to create the message board (90 members and counting).

By March, things had moved on a bit and I got the nod to make the site the official one. I was pretty chuffed about this to put it mildly. Their third album, Amber, is provisionally scheduled for a January 2006 release and it is utterly wonderful.

Here’s a demo of the track. The album version is ten times better still.

And there you have it. Thanks for letting me talk in your general direction.


Thanks Damo - a good list, and no less than I would have expected from you (although honestly, you should know by now not to get annoyed by the NME - it's what they are there for, isn't it?). One thing though: I must chide you most severely for dumping "The Stonk" into my head.... Grrr. Bloody Earworms (for reference, "The Stonk" is replacing "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers, which is just cruel).

I hope it was worth the wait.

Next week it will be my great pleasure to present one of the first people to leave a comment on this site, and the author of one of the first blogs that I ever read on a regular basis. I'm pleased to say that Mike from All Right Here will be sharing his earworms with us, direct from Singapore.

Watch this space though..... I'll be popping the insides of my head up here at some point over the weekend.....

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm just going outside. I may be some time.

[previous guest editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian]


  • At 9:14 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Oooh! I still haven't written about the Castle gig yet. It was strange and beautiful. I'll fix that this weekend.

  • At 10:08 pm, Blogger Flash said…

    Good stuff but I do have to take exception to one thing.

    As pleased as I am to hear that Silver Sun are back, better than the mighty Sheds. I think not!

    I'll leave John Lennon to everyone else!

  • At 11:22 pm, Blogger Ali said…

    >Never give up what you’re doing if you regard that what you’re doing is worth doing. Got that?

    Got it.
    Liked Mew.
    Cheers boss.

  • At 3:00 pm, Blogger The Num Num said…

    slightly disappointed not to see anything from Prince/Jacko or Buddy Guy there.

    And how come MSP didn't make a showing?

    ringtones - ah, well I've got the CTU ringtone from 24. Beats the frog.

    Retro is king!

  • At 5:30 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    While I can't say I'm with Damo on all of his selection (The Wildhearts? Just say no...), I'd thoroughly recommend Mew's 'Comforting Sounds' - very long and very good, an indie-shoegazey take on Mogwai style post-rock. I've not heard the album it's from (Frengers) or any of the new material, so I'd have liked to have seen them in Birmingham on Monday if it wasn't for already being busy.

  • At 11:45 pm, Blogger if said…

    I bought the Comforting Sounds single for 25p a while back, fantastic stuff! Although it had annoying copy protection on it.

  • At 11:53 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    the 24 ringtone? dammit! Me too, and about 5 other people in my office. Must be time for a change.....



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