Favourite Song: The New Pornographers ‘Brill Bruisers’

The New Pornographers are one of those bands I am aware of but didn’t have a clear musical idea of. I wonder why because the first song on their new album (both titled “Brill Bruisers”) dives right into my alley, throws confetti and hands out candy (wrapped of course, for hygienic reasons). It’s a fantastic opener, the kind of song you turn on in the morning to kick off the sleep and the “urgh, it’s off to work”-feeling that even cool working places can evoke when you didn’t get enough sleep (and I need tons of it, so I never get enough unless I go to sleep at 4pm in the afternoon).

Remember that there was a time in the early 2000s, when songs like this were super In? I am thinking of Toploader and then this band with the bald dude and the people in a mall. The Radicals? Maybe. People in the mall are always super radical. Anyways, this song is like a supreme-version of these songs because you hum along halfway through and you know that this could potentially be a catchy summer hit if catchy summer hits would be more often a little smarter than “Call me Maybe” (don’t get me wrong, though, I still dig that song a little).

The Wytches ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ – scary surfboard

Psychedelic Surfpop”, the music site 3voor12 tells me, but isn’t it so much more plus one of those tiny cute cocktail-umbrellas? The bandmembers formed the enigmatic The Wytches 2011 in England and do what young musicians are supposed to do: the f*** they want. Their garage rock with psychedelic elements is deeply embedded in a groovy wave of 60s surftunes, happily sponsored by heavy bass-work and a lil wee horrorbilly. The result is an electrifying debut album that hopefully will make its rounds because it is like a pina coloada-version of Skating Polly meet Robert Jones (or Black Sabbath meet The Beach Boys for some older references) and that’s something the music scene always needs. Energy! Oh, and nightmares, because songs like “Fragile Male” sound like something you hear in the background while some sinister monks prepare the blood-ritual.

Nice dance moves are always appreciated.

By the way, I think I have to mention that they originally called themselves The Witches but decided to change the spelling to make the Google search easier – thank you, I complain quite often about bad google-choices for bandnames and am happy that there are some artists out there who know how to deal with the internet.

Cake Box #2: These things obviously won’t happen monthly

1. Inside No. 9

I can never quite figure out which League of Gentlemen-Gentlemen deliver the greatest pieces of pop culture but for fans of their tv-series, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith definitely lead the way for unconventional, dark and horrifying comedy which – weirdly – is still quite seldom to be found (and no, “Supernatural” doesn’t count).

The newest (well, more recent, it’s been out there since a few months) gift to fans of the macabre is “Inside No. 9″, a rare form of the clever genre of horror anthology that – in stark contrast to the grim and almost misanthropic “Black Mirror” by Charlie Brooker” – has a lot of fun with delving further and further into the depth of human depravity. Even though not every episode might be outright terrifying, there’s not one that isn’t entertaining and interesting because there are many ways in which Pemberton and Shearsmith try to work with their environment – oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the gist of the show is that every episode features a room or a house or a building that has the #9 (hence the name). Therefore, some episodes play in a single room whereas others have a whole creepy villa to roam through (one that reminds me a lot of the beany baby-heaven of “Psychoville”, by the way).

Although the first episode is – in my opinion – as grim as it gets, the gothic/horror elements of each episode stack up to a truly awesome finale that had one of my favourite jokes of the entire season in it. The whole series feels like a nod to Roald Dahl who equally managed to mix up the terror with the grotesque and comedic and who also kept us glued to the pages (or in this case, the screen) through very concise storytelling and thought through characters. For horror fans in general this series is riddled with great references and inside-jokes as pretty much everything else this golden writing team has come up with. It’s very weird, very British and very amazing.

2. Bad Machinery goes Mod

For reasons unknown, I kinda stopped reading my daily/weekly/monthly webcomics and only recently got back to it only to discover that I had abandoned the great stories of John Allison so much that I missed one and three quarters of new stories. GASP! The current one is a great romp through a re-discovery of the mod-movement (with great hairstyles and dire consequences) that – as all teenage movements go – soon plunges into chaos.

Teenagers, ey? *scrunches up nose in disgust*

3. The funniest thing that happened to me since the last Cake Box

Ok, so because it’s summer, I logged into OkCupid because around this time every year I do something very regrettable because I am bored (’tis true). That’s neither funny nor entertaining and I never ever would have mentioned if it weren’t for this thing that happened. So, because I am not really actively looking for my soulmate (mainly because I don’t believe such a thing exists), I am mucking about a lot and usually send random (but not creepy) messages to funny profiles. One of the dudes got a picture from me that featured Bill Cosby in a pineapple-shirt (there is an explanation for that but it’s tltr). Anyways, he went on my profile, apparently didn’t find it as amusing and charming as it obviously is because he didn’t reply. However, one day later he did message me to blame me for a dream he had in which Bill Cosby offered him a drink on a train to Alaska.

Juliane W. – subliminally putting random stuff in your dreams since 1984.

I wonder whether I should simply send everyone the Bill Cosby-picture from now on to see whether they all will dream of him and whether the dream-situations with him vary, like offering some chili on a sailboat to Greece or dancing on a plane to Honolulu.

Who wouldn’t love some more Cosby in their lives?

4. Margarethe

When I still worked at the gossip-mill, I once wrote an article about a former German tv-host who had since more or less retired. I wanted to know more about her present life and decided to add her on Facebook because unlike most other celebrity profiles only friends could see her posts and because unlike many many more famous people, she didn’t have a Page but a profile. Well, nothing happened that day and I wrote the article and forgot about it.

Weeks later, Margarethe accepted and I thought that it was so funny and weird that I simply left her in my feed even though I am highly picky with my Facebook-friends and regularly weed out people. Well, she’s still there and I tell you why – her Facebook-profile is one of the most charming celebrity-profiles I’ve ever seen. She writes like a typical somewhat older person who can work her way around the internet but is not really savvy: Her entries are really long and read like postcards or personal letters. And they are full of trivial infos about her garden and her holidays and what she cooked, how she spent her weekend with friends, etc.pp. It’s just a lovely Facebook-island that is innocent, maybe a little naïve but incredibly good-natured.

Urgh, anonymous interneters are the worst

Remember when Edward Snowden blew the whistle and then jetsetted to Russia to see Putin halfnaked on a horse? And then the media were superfocused on Snowden and where he was, what postcards he sent from Russia and whether Russian vodka really is that good? And when political writers/thinkers really were concerned because that focus on Snowden took a lot of necessary focus off the NSA and Obama?

Well…at least Snowden was celebrated as a hero.

Before we really get this going, an added editor’s note: This post got liked by a self-proclaimed anti-feminist blogger. I don’t know why and I don’t know whether my writing made it unclear or ambiguous but this entry as well as this blog is coming from a very strong feminist perspective. If she liked it because she agrees with me, that’s cool but before someone confuses this entry somehow, let’s make one thing clear: I am for equal rights for all races, gender-definitions, sexualities and religions. Do I think that we are all equal? Of course not, I am not stupid (plus, I am a woman of science and therefore know better). BUT I do think that we all should be treated like equals because that is the main core of feminism (if you don’t believe me, read about feminism in academic sources and not internet comments), of human rights and of my ideal social construct.  Thank you.

Now, where were we?

So, there’s this female game developer who made a game about depression and who is a feminist and whose ex-boyfriend recently outed her as a cheating meany who had slept with, like, all the important people in the gaming history to get ahead.

And I am like – well, it’s probably not the first time that someone bribed a journalist or producer to get their little mole-whacking-game (with skin-moles, get it?) produced and that gaming journalists are corruptable, quite often don’t actually play the whole game but still churn out their reviews and use the evil thump as they like (or as they get urged by their chief editors who are desperate for those ad-banners by that big game company that has really bad games). I mean, it was dickish of her (if she did it) and if she really did fake some of the harassment she received then it was extra-dickish but I doubt that she faked all those horrible comments that I read about her, plus, is this thing really such a gigantic nipplegate?

But the internet is like – dude, that gal is the worst in the whole wide world and she alone is responsible for the downfall of gaming journalism because this is about integrity and she has none and we need to talk about this, no wait, we don’t need to talk about this but about her and how horrible she is, so let’s shame her, harass her and her family, release her private information on public comment boards, make up a gigantic conspiracy theory (suddenly that gal is the Illuminati) and tell everyone who speaks out in her favour that they are brainwashed/feminist bitches/not informed enough.

And some people think – well, but isn’t the real problem a bunch of guys in higher positions who let themselves be corrupted by something as stupid as sex? Are guys – again – really that helpless in face of a vajayjay that they can’t help themselves and that a single horrible feminist was able to simply use her sexual powers to corrupt a whole system (and also ruin feminism for everyone as some of the “well, I don’t have anything against feminism but…”-commenters will point out)? And even if her supposedly cheating on her boyfriend and supposedly using sex for her own career-gain is dickish, why is the focus 90% on her and only 10% on those dudes? Shouldn’t it be at least 50% just to be even or…forgive the pun…equal?

Or shouldn’t we instead – just for shits and giggles – start a much more general discussion on journalistic standards in the gaming industry and ALSO on the obvious emotional rage-issues the community has when it comes to women?

And the internet is like – no, you’re stupid!

And I say:

For fair balance, I will link an article that is pretty ok.

http://www.gamerevolution.com/manifesto/zoe-quinn-between-anger-and-depression-quest-27793

PS: But what really got me fuming while reading way too many of these fucktarded comments was the fact that people (and I am wildly assuming here that “people” refers to 90% dudes) referred to the gal in question faking some of her harasser’s actions as a “she pulled a Sarkeesian”. Remember Anita Sarkeesian who was actually, really harassed by a gigantic group of sexist morons because she simply – and not even aggressively – talked about gender issues in video games? HOW is that even closely comparable? Do you mean that the gal in question actually didn’t fake anything and that it indeed was just a bunch of assholes? Because that’s what it would mean if you so loosely compare these situations.

GOSH, I really wanted to stop these posts because they rile me up but people are just so

THIS IS YOU; INTERNET!

Favourite Song: Carina Round ft. Aidan Hawken ‘Come Undone’

First off, thanks for this discovery go to the fabulous S.P. who is a member of our awesome “Give me a Song“-group on Facebook and offered this song for August – S.P. – you rock the Casbah!

I love being surprised by a song and – spoiler alert – this one really managed to do that in the whoa-est of all whoa-ing ways. It starts with a droplet of water and suddenly rushes you out to the sea, making no prisoners. Aidan Hawken‘s voice is a beautifully subtle addition that doesn’t take over but rather underlines her song (just as Neko Case did with Laura Veirs’ “Sun Song”. Ice Cream should never take over the pie but it’s still always better with than without. And now I totally destroyed the mood I wanted to set for this song because it’s so dramatic and whirling…

Carina‘s last album is from 2012 (“Tigermending”) and it’s a lovely, cool affair of Alternative mixed with ye olden school of singer/songwriter-isms. If you don’t like one song of her, don’t worry, there will be some other song you quite possibly fall in love with because that dame has style.

Anyways, I think it is save to say that “Come Undone” is a first look on a probably next album and even though I still have to catch up on all her previous ones, I can’t wait. (Editor’s note: It also could be a late Spotify-release of Round’s and Hawken’s EP “Walking Blind” which was released last year).

Favourite Song: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ‘Coming Down’

I knew it. I knew that this album would follow me around this year and here I am, obsessed with this song that is so typical and so unusual for CYHSY and that is so beautiful and exciting like a shot of adrenaline and at the same time feels so centered and assuring like you’re standing on a mountain and see a thunderstorm below you unfurling and ripping worlds apart.

I should mention – if only in a footnote – that The National’s Matt Beringer brings in a little Brechtian shake out of the fantasy of this song into reality by voicing over and then diving right back into the swirls and circles of Alec’s mesmerizing vocals.

My Brightest Diamond: New EP, new song, new album coming soon

Shara Worden is one of those insanely awesome artists who just slip in and out of genres and musical styles as if they are shedding skin.

Her new song “Lover/Killer” lightly treads through a short-breathed verse only to dive into a Peter Gabriel-esque chorus (ca. 80s, trumpets included) and seems to be from a completely different artistic timeline than her previously released EP “None more than you” which seems a little more dense and impenetrable at first but slowly grows on you and soon has engulfed you in green leaves and dark roots that slowly grow tighter and tighter. In fact, “Dreaming Awake” could be the earthy version of Susanne Sundfors eerily airy “Silicon Veil” – now that’s a pair of musicians that should work together to never let you go.

But don’t worry, the second song on the EP “Whoever you are” is next to perky and joyfully mixes up 80s (trumpets again) and the kind of uplifting woodstock cheer that could easily turn into a hymn. Shara will turn it into a Elfman-tune, though and lead you through some crooked lanes before skipping right into the sunlight.

“Dreams don’t look like” then sounds like a classic Shara-song if it weren’t for the rather stripped down instrumentation which turns it into the most classical songwriter-sounding song she has done in a long long time. And because that is way too surprising for any fans of hers, it just drifts off and we’re at the end of the road EP – well, almost if it weren’t for a remix of “Dreaming Awake” and “The Point When” which starts with a male a cappella-choir and therefore immediately wins in my opinion.

There will be an album soon, as Ms. Warden says on Facebook which will be called “This is my hand” and will be released by Asthma Kitty. Rejoice!