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Thursday, 28 May 2009

life without buildings - "is is and the i.r.s."

So, after all that effort, this is what broke the camel's back. On the 25th of May, my 25th day of abstinence, I finally cracked and in a moment of madness spent a whole 1p (+ £1.21 p+p) on a "Used - Like New" copy of Life Without Buildings' second single. "Is Is and the I.R.S." was not included on their sole studio album, 'Any Other City' (Tugboat, 2000), and is otherwise only available on the Australian "Love Trinity" single with (the only?) two other non-album tracks.

There's also a live album, 'Live at the Annandale Hotel' (Gargleblast, 2007) that's probably easier/cheaper to pick up than 'Any Other City' and is equally as worthwhile. The sound quality is excellent, and many of the performances are actually better than their studio counterparts. It's probably the only live album that off the top of my head I would actually recommend. The myspace has a few tracks from it on the player. "Love Trinity" is one of my all-time favourite songs, but the singing seems to be offputting to some. Their loss.

While I do feel I've let myself down by not making it to the end of the month, I'm glad to have picked up something I've been looking for for probably six or seven years at such a reasonable price. For comparison, the "Love Trinity" single is currently listed on Amazon by a third party seller at £14.47, and the "Young Offenders" single at £15.99 - it was £66 the other night! Not to say that they are actually worth that, but still.

Barring this blip, I'm still going to wait until the 1st of June before buying anything else (hello awesome new Phoenix album!), purely out of misguided principle.

I'm still in the process of ripping all my old CD singles, probably over half way there. There's been some things that have been nice to hear again, but it's been a bit of a slog going through some sections where there's little that interests me anymore. It's interesting to see how taste/perception changes over time. I was trying to tag all the good stuff on, but that seems to have fallen to the wayside a little.

The boxes at the top of top of the picture are completely done, one and a half of the ones at the bottom to go...

Thursday, 21 May 2009

laeto - "ecuador"

First new Laeto track in five years! From the eternally forthcoming 3rd LP, picks up pretty much where 'Zwoa' left off. Good stuff. This is a nice stop motion-style video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

fm belfast - "par avion"

FM Belfast: Par Avion from Torfi Frans Olafsson on Vimeo.

I've mentioned FM Belfast before, briefly in my Best of 2008 round up. I stumbled accross them when I went to Stockholm, playing an outdoor stage in a small garden surrounded by office blocks as part of the culture festival. On that occasion there were three members performing (male and female vocals and synth/laptop guy), but they can number as many as eight. While they're good on record, I think they come across better live - generally good fun, and dropping in little covers/interludes and musical jokes adding to the party atmosphere.

This video for the excellent "Par Avion" has been pieced together from 2,500 still photographs of the full band's performance at the 2007 Iceland Airwaves festival. It did make me feel a little wobbly to begin with, but it's a neat trick.

I never did get around to a write-up of all the great bands I saw largely by chance over that weekend, so in lieu of that here's a list of highlights:

Rigas - Hot Chip style electro-pop.
Ost & Kjex - Norwegian funky house, live set is like Prince fronting Underworld.
Rickard Jäverling - beautiful slow-core.
Marions - lovely! Already covered here.
Yamon Yamon - brilliant melodic post-rock, very Sea & Cake, American Analog Set, Life Without Buildings.
Robert Svensson - 80's style pop.

If that's not enough, The Swedish Model is a label collective with an excellent website with plenty of MP3s to download from most of their artists.

In predictable fashion, I took quite a few photos of most of those bands, which you can find here.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

animals at camperdown park, sat 16th may 2009

More photos! Went to see the animals at Camperdown with my sister, my nephew and Katie - they are the ones on my side of the fences, if you're having trouble. Not the nicest of days, started raining as we were leaving, so a lot of the animals were keeping hidden.

I'm never sure how I feel about zoos and the like, on the one hand they do have an educational value and as long as the animals are well looked after then there's not much more I'd ask, however there is something a little sad about seeing an animal like the Lynx or a Bear cooped up in an enclosure. I've not been to see the animals at Camperdown for about 15 years, so it's good to see that the new Bear enclosure is a better size.

As for the photos, I was swapping lenses quite a lot and shooting through mesh for a few of the animals (Bears and Otters especially). The longer lens is manual focus, so one or two are a little out of focus, but I've left them in anyway. I even used the flash on a couple, doesn't seem to have been to intrusive but I was wary of upsetting the animals.

[Photos] Camperdown Park (II)

the view from the law

Friday, 15 May 2009

the law, tues 10th feb 2009

Not the band (thankfully), the place - or at least various views from it. This is the last of the catch-up sets, and the oldest - there's still snow lying in most of these! Taken using the Canon EOS 3000 body I bought off eBay for about £3 + postage on the basis that it allows a little more flexibility than the EOS 3000, though with no instruction manual I haven't got far.

[Photos] The Law

zorki 4k test shots

Ok, I'll admit that this is probably the least interesting of the lot. I bought a Zorki 4k, a Soviet-era Leica copy 35mm rangefinder camera, on a forum I frequent. As the camera arrived during my night shifts I've not had a chance to try it out in the wider world, instead making do with wandering round the flat to test it out before bed.

There's no flash fitted on the Zorki, so it performs best in strong light. Some of the shots look really nice and sharp to me, but I don't think that comes across in the scans. Quite looking forward to getting some good weather again to try it out properly.

[Photos] Zorki 4k Test Shots

assorted action sampler shots, 2003-2009

I've previously mentioned that I have occasionally dabbled with a Holga. At the same time I bought that, I also bought an Action Sampler (mines is the see-through one). The Action Sampler is pretty much a toy, it's got four lenses that expose at 0.22 second intervals into the same frame on 35mm film, with no practical means of focusing. There's not a great deal more to it than that!

The film I finally developed today is the same one that came with the camera and has been in it since late 2003, with the last few shots taken in sunny Dundee yesterday. There were one or two surprises on there, along with a fair few shots that just hadn't really come out at all. I'm not entirely sure what some of them ever were, but was amused enough by the colours to include them. I'm quite pleased with the bright colours in yesterdays shots, it was a high ISO film (800), so it's picked up the sunny day well.

[Photos] Assorted Action Sampler Shots

clear sky at the westport bar, wed 1st april 2009

I've been slacking a bit on the photo posts, so here's the first of a few catch-ups. This set is everything I could salvage from those I took at Clear Sky's first gig at the Westie last month. Due to the low light in the venue I was struggling with long exposures and various aperture/ISO settings to try and get a balance, rather than use the built in flash. Sometimes I almost had some luck - it's certainly given me plenty to think about, anyway.

Clear Sky are a bit of a Dundee c.2001 supergroup - Gav from Merocaine, George from Ill Funk (and, of course, The A Forest!) and Stuart and Alan from Skintwire. Pretty tight for a first show, shame the new PA wasn't a patch on what Stu Firm used to use in there.

[Photos] Clear Sky at the Westport Bar

in place of real insight

For want of anything proper to write about, I'm pretty much at the halfway mark of my month of abstention, and in that time have not purchased any CDs, downloads, vinyl, cassettes or any other form of sound carrier. I did lend Katie the money for a Lisa Knapp CD at the James Yorkston/Lisa Knapp show at the Rep last night, but it was for her so ther rules aren't broken. Anyway, the massive pile of CD singles surrounding me is giving me plenty of "new" old stuff to listen to. Some gems, some crap.

Year 2 of my Cineworld Unlimited card was finally kicked off today, only 6 weeks in. Went to see 'Fighting', not for any particular reason other than that it seemed the least poor option - hadn't heard of it before looking at the board. Nothing particularly remarkable about it, to be honest. It just trundles along for a couple of hours to a fairly obvious conclusion. Click the link for the IMDB page, if you've any curiosity. I think I'll try and catch up on my moneys worth so far then cancel the card, can't help but thinking that joining the DCA is a better idea - all the films I've actually wanted to see lately have been on there. 'In The Loop' was hilarious, and 'Let The Right One In' is absolutely brilliant. I think if I tried to describe it, I couldn't do any justice. For a vampire film, it's surprisingly sweet, and also really nicely shot. I honestly can't see any need for the Hollywood remake currently in production, it's hardly heavy on the dialogue so the subtitles really shouldn't be a challenge for anyone.