Bands That Could Feasibly Be Football Teams

With the World Cup upon us it seems only right that I should write some sort of tie-in feature for Three Chords is Jazz. So at an attempt to be topical here are five bands that have so many members that they could feasibly field a football team. I’m not saying they would be good. But they could.

 

Arcade fire

The Canadian band would definitely be able to field a team with their extended band for their Reflektor tour. Frontman Win Butler would be the heart of the defence because that guy is freakin’ tall. And with his temper he would be like an art-school John Terry. But without being a scum-bag of course.

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White suits aren’t the most practical football kit…

 

Wu-Tang Clan

Throw in a few of their many affiliates and the hip hop legends would be nothing to fuck with. Forget Spain’s Tiki Taka or Holland’s Total Football. Wu-tang’s Shaolin style will be more than a match for any opposition. RZA and GZA would keep the game ticking over in the centre of midfield and Raekwon the Chef for sure would be in goal due to his, lets just say, large frame. The late Ol’ Dirty Bastard would be the Maradona of the team, causing havoc on the wings and raising more than a few eyebrows with the doping inspectors.

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Protect ya neck.

 

Broken Social Scene

Another Canadian Band. I’m fairly certain when both Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire are on tour the country is virtually empty. Their indie supergroup status would roughly translate in football terms as them being as good as a decent league one side. Leyton Orient maybe? MK Dons?

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Pass the oranges! 

 

Odd Future

The LA collective would definitely be one of the more wilder and juvenile teams around, comparable perhaps to the famous Wimbledon ‘Crazy Gang’ side of the 1980s. In defence would be the little and large Mellowhype duo of Hodgy beats and Left Brain, similar to Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique. Except way more stoned. The captain Tyler the Creator would be up front, but being Tyler he’d spend far too much time tracking so that he could be part of the action. Also, Frank Ocean would cause as much controversy for being one of the first openly bisexual footballers as he did in the hip hop world.

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Team Photo 2k13

 

Parliament Funkadelic

A team that’s getting on a bit but still knows how to turn up, much like almost every Italian side. George Clinton would be a slightly more portly Andrea Pirlo, dictating play from the middle of the park. Probably wouldn’t be a very good team but their goal celebrations would be insane!!!

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Parliament would easily make two teams.

 

 

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Still the greatest music/football crossover of all time…

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Albums of the Year… So Far.

We’ve reached the halfway point of the year and for music fans now is the time to sit down and evaluate what the past six months has given us. So far 2014 has given a varied body of work to choose from, no bona-fide classics have been released as of yet but the year is filled with solid efforts from a number of bands. Lacklustre efforts from big bands such as Coldplay and Kasabian have been offset by solid efforts by a plethora of artists. Here are a few of my personal favourites:

Mac Demarco- Salad days

Named after a period of time characterised by youth idealism and innocence, Mac Demarco’s third album is antithetically his most mature and sophisticated. Recorded at the aptly named Jizz-Jazz studios, the album still contains Mac’s trademark playfulness, but with a more sophisticated approach to song-writing. Tracks like Passing Out the Pieces and Chamber of Reflection, both based around keyboard hooks add a new diversity to his repertoire and showcase why Mac is one of the most exciting songwriters around.

Real Estate- Atlas

An album so chill it’s almost abrasive. The third album from New Jersey’s real Estate is full of sunny pop tunes with jangly melodies and lyrics of miscommunication with significant others. Despite being released in March this is the perfect album of summer, either relaxing by a pool on some Mediterranean island or supping some mixed berry cider in a park. Highlights include the irrepressible pop of Talking Backwards and the skewed time signatures of Crime.

Damon Albarn- Everyday Robots

The first proper solo effort form the Blur frontman begs the question, if he is going to release solo album this good do we really need another Blur album? Moving away from the cartoonish pop of Gorillaz the album is a more introspective one focusing on existentialist problems of life in the modern world in both the tilte track and Lonely Press Play. But it s not all doom and gloom. Albarn showcases the obvious influence of African music, procured through his various travels to the continent, on the song Mr Tembo, written about an elephant he encountered across the sea in Chile. Sonically and lyrically intriguing, as only an effort from Mr Albarn would be.

Kelis- Food

Harking back to her 2003 album Tasty, the culinary-centric sixth solo album from Kelis is a surprise treat. Filled with well-written songs that draw from Soul, Funk and Gospel Food is a great modern RnB record that manages to steer clear of the current trend of incorporating aspects of electronic music. This is a surprise considering Kelis last album did just that, so very well. It just goes to show how talented and underrated the singer is. Kudos as well must be awarded to producer Dave Sitek who showcases his versatility by producing this at the same time he was producing for Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye. An eclectic and nostalgic trip that does not disappoint.

Fucked Up- Glass Boys

Fucked Up’s intention on new album Glass Boys was to a write a concise rock record to stand in antithesis to their third and previous album David Comes to Life. And they have done exactly that. Whilst David was written intentionally as a rock opera at 77 minutes, Fucked Up’s fourth is almost half that length. Still one of the nest melodic Punk bands around, the songs are no less grand than on its predecessor. This is truly a drummer’s album that’ll have you flailing your arms at those air-snares and air-symbols an interestingly enough the record comes in a double LP with the second album featuring the each song with the drum track at half time. An albums full of tunes, standouts include Sunboys and Paper the House.

Honourable mentions:

The Horrors- Luminous: A solid but familiar 4th album from the Art-rockers

Warpaint- Warpaint: Great songs but as a whole can be quite jarring and unengaging.

Lana Del Ray- Ultraviolence: Would be good if she wasn’t so lyrically vacuous and annoying.

Here’s to the next six months!

The 5 Best London Albums

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In the immortal words of Drake “All I care about is money and the city that I’m from”. Seen as though I don’t actually have any money however, I spend a lot more of my time caring about the city that I’m from. That city being London. Thus I decided to combine my three favourite things, London, music and lists to create what this introduction is trying to introduce, an index of the five best London albums. What is a London album I hear you ask? Broadly speaking, it is any album by a London band, an album about the city or any album I feel evokes the nation’s capital, its streets, its people, its pollution. And yes I’m including Greater London in the remit, from Barnet to Bermondsey, Harrow to Hackney. Basically any place that has a tube station. Whatever. Read!!!

The Clash- London Calling

Obviously. One of the best bands with undoubtedly their greatest album, no list of London albums could miss the Clash’s seminal London Calling. Tackling social displacement, unemployment, racial conflict and drug use in the nation’s capital it’s both thought provoking and killer throughout. Which is twice as impressive considering it’s a double album. The Title track is also the song most people associate with London, so essentially whenever an American film or sitcom it set over here you will no doubt hear this song playing over a montage of Big Ben and Tower Bridge. Every time. Without fail.

Bloc Party- A Weekend in the City

‘Because East London is a vampire, it sucks the joy right out of me’ sings Kele Okereke in Song for Clay (Disappear Here) from Bloc Party’s second album, equating Shoreditch and its surrounding areas with the L.A. of Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero. This is profoundly familiar to anyone who’s been there a Friday night and its observations like these which make A Weekend in the City a consummate reflection of what it feels like growing up into a young adult in the Great Smoke. Tune after tune of experimentatal post-punk loveliness show for me just how important and transcendent Bloc Party were in the post-Strokes indie scene of the mid-2000s. The Prayer is how every one feels before a night out, surely?

JME- Famous?

Its physically impossible to write an article on London music without including some grime. Is there another genre more indelibly linked to a single city? For JME is definitely one of the smartest grime artists in the game and whilst he may not have the energy of Tempa T or the production of the Wiley helmed Roll Deep, Famous? Undoubtedly makes use of the tropes that grime is so well known for. JME is definitely one of the most well-travelled Londoners which play a big part in his lyrics, for instance in the classic Shut Your Mouth: ‘Live in north, Uni in south, Radio in east, so shut your mouth’ which according to rapgenius translates as: ‘JME lives in north London, he went to Uni in south London and was often on pirate radio at the time in east London so.. shut your mouth’. For this he gets mad love, despite trying to shift limited edition Boy Better Know snapbacks for £105.78 a pop (Leaaave ittttt!)

xx- xx

Silence in the city is hard to come by, so when you get it, it very much takes you by surprise. Equally as surprising was the sombre dream-pop of south-west Londoners the xx’s debut self-titled album. Before they came out of nowhere to take the country by storm and eventually win the Mercury prize back in 2010, the band graduated from he same secondary school that also nurtured the talents of Burial, Fourtet and members of Hot Chip. That is some company to be part of. Purveyors of the most unconventional kind of pop-songs, the band effortlessly captured the feel of late-night/ early morning London, indebted no least by having to record the album in the dead of night at the West London home of the abel XL recordings. Not so much lyrical allusion to the city, but their evocative tones for me definitely makes this an album Londoners can be proud of, mixing elements of indie guitar pop and electronic production to make a sound as hybrid as the city itself.

Blur- Parklife

It’s a little known fact that Blur’s third album was originally supposed to be called London and Noel Gallagher once stated that the finished product sounded like ‘Southern England Personified’. Both these truths serve to highlight how the band consciously (perhaps subconsciously) allowed the city to seep into their music. The 90s may have been the decade of Brit-pop but more importantly it was a time of significant political upheaval in the country, an age of Tony Blair, New Labour and ‘We’re all middle class now’. The subsequent Cool Britannia wave of renewed patriotism in Britain and pride in British Culture is an inseparable association for any band of the time and Blur are no different. However their sardonic social commentary, as evidenced in songs such as Boys and Girls, were lost on their contemporaries (looking at you Oasis) and separated them from the homogenous British lump that was the arts in the 90s. What with the gentrification and whatnot Parklife is definitely evocative of the transitional state of the capital at the time:

‘A malady has taken him over
Coughing tar in his japanese motor
The lights are magic
And he feels lucky
And he’s got money
Shoots like an arrow – oh’

Priceless

Artists in London- Enjoy it while you can!

The Future of the Past or: How I Learned to Love Unoriginality and Embrace the Bass

Let me get this straight. I like my drums pounded and my guitars crunchy. However, with the comparatively restricting remit of rock and roll finding a new exciting band has always proven a problem, especially in a genre that prides itself on both originality and authenticity. It is no surprise nowadays we are increasingly confronted with bands that pass more than a glancing resemblance to acts of yesteryear, but I put forward the question: does it fucking matter? If everything has been done before should we not cherish bands who do remind us of acts we already love and can get our blood pumping regardless? As such, here a five rock and roll bands whose songs sound suspiciously familiar, but are still mad awesome.

The Orwells

When the Strokes came out with This Is It in 2001 the charts we besieged by a slew of sound-alike bands, some good some downright awful. These raucous Chicagoans have the same youthful garage-y energy as the New Yorkers did when the first hit the seen and with the songs to match. As a fan of the Strokes, the disappointment of the last couple of albums means that I’m pinning my hat on these guys to fill the jangly guitar shaped hole in my CD collection.

Parquet Courts

When Steven Malkmus first heard Parquet Courts he mistakenly thought someone was making him listen to early Pavement. The fact that he himself was in Pavement tells us a lot: Parquet Courts manage to combine the witty lyricism of Malkmus and co with the minimal art-rock song construction of Lou Reed. Which is a headfuck in iitself because Pavement were influenced by The Velvet Underground themselves. Hipster Inceptioooooooooooon…

Drenge

Even their name sounds like grunge. The two-piece do make a pretty massive noive, which is surprising consider how they look. Echoes of Bleach-era Nirvana and the singer sounds a bit like Ian Curits if he was from the home counties, you can just hear the sweaty, heaving venues that their songs should be played in their incessant riffs. Great songs, but if I were to give one little criticism please get a bassist. Just do it, no one thinks you’re cool if you don’t have one. The White Stripes are dead, let them lie.

Cheatahs

More grungeyness, but this time with specks of shoegaze which, with me being as unoriginal as their sound, means I am equating them with My Bloody Valentine. Dinosaur Jr also comes to mind, but without the guitar theatrics. Debut album was good, but hopefully their song writing will evolve. But at least they have a bassist.

Royal Blood

BBC sound of 2014 darlings Royal Blood are definitely getting the airplay in the UK, with Zane Lowe heaping his usual thick layers of sycophancy on the Brighton duo on his Radio 1 show. Songs like ‘Come On Over’ and ‘Little Monster’ smack of Queens of the Stone Age at the start of their and the fact that their wield just a Bass and a Drum-kit between them means that comparison with Death From Above 1979 are unavoidable. Another band whom I feel would benefit from some extra instrumental help on stage, you just know eventually they will have to increase their membership for live shows. Just suck it up lads, no one will judge you.

freshpots

Oooooh, kill’ em.

The Return of the Prince

2014Prince_BigPic3_Press_050214

Britain, we cannot ignore the signs. As the sky turns purple and grown men start sporting tiny moustaches and speaking in falsetto it can only mean one thing. The artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince is back. With his new band 3RDEYEGIRL as backup, the legendary singer will embark on a highly secretive tour of ‘iconic venues’ in the nation’s capital. Details so far have been kept under wraps, with the singer only revealing at a press conference at the home of British singer songwriter Lianne La Havas house that tickets for the shows will cost the measly sum of $10. While nothing was confirmed in terms of dates or specifics, he did say he was interested in maybe playing smaller venues like Ronnie Scott’s, the Bag O’Nails Club and the Electric Ballroom in London, a venue he played later that night, performing in front of around 100 in what he dubbed a soundcheck. All this comes after the singer joined twitter under the name @3RDEYEGIRL in August 2013 and released the single ‘Breakfast Can Wait’, with cover art featuring the comedian Dave Chappelle in his infamous impression of the star, a short while afterwards. 3RDEYEGIRL’s first album ‘Plectrum Electrum’ has so far not been given a release date, but aside from featuring the aforementioned single it will also contain the recently released PretzelBodyLogic. So far there is no indication of how long Prince will stay in the country, but you can only speculate that his low key return might be in preparation for a triumphant headline slot at Glastonbury. Either way there is no telling where he will pop up next, just keep a lighter in your pocket at all times, you never know when you might have to hold it aloft to the guitar solo in Purple Rain..

Also, Prince was on New Girl…

An Interview with Suren From Bombay Bicycle Club

Due to my many contacts in the music industry I managed to wangle an interview with the drummer of one of my favourite bands, and North London’s finest, Bombay Bicycle Club. Here’s what Suren had to say to my Paxman-esque probing questions.

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This Guy.

Welcome back Bombay, it’s great to have you back! Do you feel that these three years have benefited you as a band and from a recording/ musical point of view?

I think we’ve all improved individually as musicians. There are songs on this album that are a far cry from the guitar heavy 4/4 songs of our first album and for which you need slightly different skills. Ed (Nash, Bassist) and I in particular have spent quite a bit of time just playing as a duo and becoming a single unit. There are songs on this new album that really need to groove to make them work so we’ve been working on that, whereas in the early days it was more about just rocking out.

Also, with this album being self-produced, we’ve all obviously had to gain more knowledge of recording techniques and studio equipment. This applies mostly to Jack (Steadman, Lead Singer) as he was taking the lead with the production. Not having a big producer working with us, as on previous albums, meant that we all had to be more involved and vocal. We also started renting our own studio space a few months before recording started, which was integral to the whole album. Although we went to another studio to record most of the instrumentals, all the parts were brought back to our studio where we could take our time working on them. In the past we haven’t had this luxury because we’ve had to adhere to the hours of whatever studio we’ve been in.

There is a distinct lack of driving guitars on the singles released so far from So Long See You Tomorrow and they were also conspicuously absent on several songs on A Different Kind Of Fix. As a band whose debut album relied heavily on them, what has prompted this shift?

Jack has been writing his own electronic music outside the band for a while, and that influence has gradually started to creep into Bombay’s music. The way in which songs are written has changed over time. Whereas our older songs often used to be born on an acoustic guitar, more and more they start off on a computer now. Quite a few of the songs originated from sampling snippets of records – often old Bollywood records that Jack picked up while in Mumbai. Next it would often be an electronic beat that was added. This forms the basis, but from there they need to be turned into actual songs that would be suitable for us to play and for that Jack would usually then turn to a guitar.

So although songs usually don’t originate from the guitar like they used to, instruments like the guitar or piano are still integral to the songwriting process. We’ve always said any song should be able to be stripped back and interpreted on an acoustic guitar, so melody and harmony are still very much at the heart of it all.

Has being from London (specifically North London) influenced the band’s sound at all?  Also will there be another homecoming gig at Alexandra Palace?

I think our north London roots probably had more influence on us in the early days – less and less so now. There are some obvious references on some of the songs from our first album and early EPs, for example our song The Hill on the first album is about a part of Hampstead Heath which is a big park next to where we all used to live and where we spent a lot of time.

When we started out we were one of a number of bands to come from our school and neighbouring schools who began having some success, so it was a creative place to be.

The Alexandra Palace gig was one of the best nights of our lives. When we were younger we always used to rehearse in Jamie’s basement and could see Ally Pally from his window. I don’t think we ever dreamed we’d headline it back then. I think it would feel odd going back to do another show there now though – it feels like we should let that memory stay as it is.

The acoustic album Flaws you did a while back was great. Any plans to release a similarly themed album?

I’m not sure if we’ll release another whole acoustic album, but Jack continues to write acoustic songs on the side. In fact there’s a 7″ included in the box set version of the new album with two fantastic acoustic songs called To The Bone and Easier (what more incentive could you need?!)

You’ve been announced to play Coachella this year, are you nervous? How do you find audiences in America compared to audiences in Britain, what’s been you favourite place to play over there? Also is there anyone on the bill you’re especially excited to see?

This is the first time we’ll be playing Coachella so we’re excited. I’m looking forward to seeing Outkast, Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stone Age, Bonobo and Washed Out.

In general crowds in America seem to be a bit less raucous than crowds in the UK. By this I basically mean less drunk. They express their appreciation in a different way. One of my favourite American gigs was at a place called the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. It’s got this reputation as being one of the best club venues in the world amongst bands and I can see why. From a hospitality point of view they look after you incredibly well and have all the facilities a touring band needs (things like washing machines – it’s a great day when the venue has a washing machine…) The venue makes their own special 9:30 Club cupcakes as well which they give to the band. They’re just very attentive. Aside from that, the crowd we had there was unreal. I remember the applause after playing Always Like This just going on and on and on. We kept trying to start the next song but gave up. It was quite funny.

Favourite albums of 2013? Also, I know its January but favourite album of 2014 or any albums you’re especially excited to hear?

I thought Kanye West – Yeezus and Arctic Monkeys – AM were both great. This year I’m looking forward to the debut album from Rae Morris. She is a singer from the UK who has supported us on tour in the past, and she also sings on two songs on our new album – ‘Luna’ and ‘Overdone’. She has a stunning voice and writes some beautiful songs. I’m also looking forward to Fryars releasing some new music. He is a talented friend of ours who has done a lot of writing for some quite big names in the pop world, and is now starting to focus on his own music. Again, his new album should be coming out later this year.

Have you noticed that if you type Jack’s name into Google it says he is 85 years old and is the president of the American football team Kansas City Chiefs? Should you believe everything you read on the internet?

He leads a double life. Everything you read on the internet is, in fact, true.

Everything.

The 5 Best Musical Canadians- A Definitive List

A list entirely based upon my own opinion, which I consider to be definitive, comprising of the best musical talent the great white north has to offer. Thank me later.

1. Drake

In the words of Jacobim Mugatu, Drake is so hot right now. Definitely one of the world’s best rappers, Drake is pretty much a verb now. If someone says something sounds Drakey you instantly know what they are talking about. Moody beats, emotional lyrics. Driving to exes houses. He is the most memed hip-hop star in the world and for a reason, he is unmistakably Drakey. He is also the most successful Canadian Hip-Hop export of all time, selling over 5 million albums in his career and this is all down to his Drakeyness. His music videos are Draked. Drake is the Drake of Draking Drake. But for real though ‘Just Hold on We’re Going Home’ was the best song of 2013. Bar none.

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2. Mac Demarco

The big Mac! Big daddy Mac! Mac attack! It’s very hard to be innovative when limiting yourself to the traditional rock and roll quartet of two guitars, bass and drums, but by golly have I never heard anything quite like Mac Demarco. On first listen he might sound like a joke, all jangly and croony, but once the brilliance of his songs shines through you will be hooked. From his lower-than low-fi first album Rock and Roll Nightclub to his superb self-titled second album, Demarco knows how to write a good pop song, with the underlying feeling in his raw recordings being that he sounds like he’s actually having fun. This is definitely one for fans of nostalgia guitar acts such as Kurt Vile and Ty Segall, just imagine if Elvis Presley somehow ended up being the lead singer in Pavement and they started playing lounge music.

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IMAGINE IT.

3. Feist

With her dulcet tones and airy arrangements, Leslie Feist has made some of the most affecting indie rock albums of the noughties. Perfectly blending pop sensibilities with introversion, sublime orchestration and slamming guitar riffage, Feist is so talented its annoying. A onetime member of Canadian indie-stalwarts Broken Social Scene, Feist transcended the local canuck scene and her popularity now stretches across oceans. She even had that song on the Ipod advert that time that was really popular, but we don’t mention that. Feist is legit Pitchfork royalty. All joking aside The Reminder and Metals are two of my favourite albums of all time and she is probably one of the best melodic guitar players in the world.

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Snoop Dogg and Feist. This happened…

 

4. Neil Young

It’s Neil Young Dude.

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Awwwww Yeah.

5. Fucked Up

I have never been one for rock operas, and to be honest not many people are, but Fucked Up’s ‘David Comes To Life’ cannot be described, only listened to. Starting out as a hardcore punk band with members called, among other things, 10,000 Marbles and Mustard Gas, recent albums have seen the band eschew the traditional punk tropes and embraced a wider variety of elements ranging from prog to glam. One thing that makes them great is their dynamic song-writing, I defy you to name me a better band at writing the start of songs. Just the start. You won’t be able to because Fucked Up have got the balls-out intro riff down. They also have one of the most lovable cuddly frontmen in the world, tell me you wouldn’t let this man sweetly serenade you to sleep:

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Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Honourable mentions:

Arcade Fire- I love this band but I don’t actually consider them Canadian as Win and Will Butler were born in California and raised in Texas. This is despite them having half of Canada in the band.

Joni Mitchell- The most beautiful voice of all, but sadly does not have the songs for me.

Jim Carrey- I know he’s a comedian but he is a Canadian and he is Jim Carrey.

Dishonourable mentions:

FUCK BIEBER AND FUCK MICHAEL BUBLE YO.

OH, CANADA.