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lower sales means it's payola time ... but not at eFestivals

It's not only Glastonbury that's suffered from slower sales this year - although it's not being said explicitly, from where I'm sat it seems pretty clear that a number of festivals are suffering from slower sales this year, and desperation is starting to set in for some. In the days when there was a huge singles market, record companies used to fill DJs pockets with cash to play their records and say how fantastic that particular single was. The result would be that the single with the payola behind it would sell, while other perhaps more worthy records wouldn't get a look in. eFestivals is aware that within the music & festivals websites market that similar payola has been going on for some time. Over the years we've sometimes received direct approaches to take money to big up an event (which is always refused), and occasionally we've been sent an email meant for an other publication which has shown that that other publication is taking money to falsely present a festival as more to their liking than is really the case. After last summer's awful weather, some previously successful events are this year suffering a downturn. It's not really surprising, as whatever fantastic attractions an event might have put on, it can be hard for attendees to walk away after a rain-soaked weekend stood ankle deep in mud thinking that they'd had a fantastic time and want to return. Because of that downturn, some promoters are understandably getting worried that their event is going to bomb out, and they have limited options on what they can do to help it sell. And payola is it. Be careful what you read and where you read it - there's people trying to take your cash using bullshit. Sometimes it's very obvious, where a site has "sponsored by" and then bigs up that thing within its content, with some even go as far as to suggest that their sponsors doings are the best thing since sliced bread - but luckily most people are too smart to fall for something so obvious. But behind the obvious there's often things far more deceptive.

Neil

Neil

 

Greetings and Welcomes

Just a short note on a Sunday morning to set the scene for this my newest blog. I have a few other online things floating about the ether so I'll be posting elsewhere for a while but I will be back to bring this blog up to speed. Till then any of the Dolehouse, Green Circus people still out there, Bevan and Co have an ongoing project for a few parties next year. We are currently contacting you all and getting all our ducks in a row before we start swimming. The Watchmen jacket guy.

crazy eddie

crazy eddie

 

Feeling annoyed with myself

Well i have made the decision not to go and see Jools Holland with other half as he needs to know in time to get someone to go with him - I am in no fit state to do it at the moment - it is so frustrating when this Fibromyalgia gets the better of me - I woke up feeling worse than I went to bed again today and I cant even sit for long hours let alone stand in one spot for 3! so i will have to forget about it - I cant even type today - every muscle and I mean every pretty much is in a locked up spasm - time to force the Doctor to let me try some different medication - I cant carry on like this. Especially when its the kids holidays and we are supposed to be having fun. for some reason she wont let me try amitriptyline (sp?)when its what my mum uses and many other sufferers use to good effect. Ive had this thing for over 12 years now and I still feel it rules me not the other way round. I do feel its taken away some of my best years and whats more frustrating is that most people just don't get it and you feel guilty about it -its shit.

jacketspud

jacketspud

 

server tuning part 4

The new server is now in place, which adds around 80% to the load capacity that was available last Monday when the Reading/Leeds tickets went on sale. Had this new server been in place on Monday, then I believe that no issues would have been experienced by people using the site at that time. And as there were around 50% more users online simultaneously on Monday across the whole website than this website has experienced previously and things mostly ran OK, I think that's a pretty good indication that website capacity is now (with this new server in place) well over twice what it was last year on Glastonbury T-day. And realistically, I'm expecting website traffic for this T-Day to be lower than the traffic was on Monday for the Reading/Leeds announcement & ticket sales - there's fewer people buy tickets for Glastonbury than do for (jointly) Reading & Leeds, plus there'll be less people around in general at 9am on a Sunday morning. I'm very hopeful that the whole website including the forums will stay usable on Sunday, with the worst scenario hopefully being that the forums will be a little slower than normal. But of course all this is dependent on the numbers which hit this website, which can't be known until it happens. To help keep the load down further a few temporary tweaks will also be made - mostly to do with the website chatrooms, because chatrooms can put a heavy load on servers; a number of chatrooms will be available hosted on a number of different servers, but they won't be fully integrated into the forums as they normally are.

Neil

Neil

 

server tuning part 3

Yesterday was announcement & ticket day for Reading & Leeds festivals, and eFestivals had a new record for the number of users. There were around 40% more users than there were for the previous record, and (mostly) the servers coped better than they did for the previous record. There were still some issues tho. One of the servers that has been problematic over the last month didn't operate as it should, and led to things slowing down when it shouldn't have - the servers could and should have coped well and at a near-normal speed with the traffic that there was. That problematic server will be replaced in the next few days, and with some other temporary tweaks performance can be improved some more. I'm very confident that for Glastonbury tickets on Sunday things will cope much better than they did last night, particularly as I don't really see there being any more traffic for that than there was last night.

Neil

Neil

 

latest website changes - galleries

The latest changes to to the website have now gone live, with the re-jigging of the photo albums/galleries now just about complete. The photo albums pages have now been split into years, and a photo from each photo album added alongside that album. For albums from this year, there's the option to view the album as either traditional galleries or, via a Flash application, as a slideshow. One result of the changes is that currently the eCards program is a bit messed up. This will be fixed and improved over the coming days.

Neil

Neil

 

I gave birth

to a beautiful baby girl yesterday. She was a month prem. But shes doing fine. 6lbs4oz. We havent chose a name yet - tho hopefully this will be done tonight. just thought id let you know lol.

Rachie

Rachie

 

now with added eye candy

With more staff on board, there's more time to spend on doing all those those things which there was never time to do... The latest change is added eye candy on the main news page. As time allows, similar things to pretty up the site will be added.

Neil

Neil

 

new festival needs traders

The World on Your Doorstep festival is a new venture in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. It is a small but perfectly formed 2 day open-air festival held in the local park. 2008 is the festival's second year, 2007 having been a great success, despite the appalling weather! Festival headquarters is the famous Hebden Bridge Trades Club 'the best little music venue in the North' (don't know who said that but it's true)! The aim of the festival is to celebrate the diverse cultures of the north of England through music, dance and international cuisine. It's a world music festival, basically. We had a pretty good attendance by traders last year, but these things build up over time. We have a fair few contacts to be going on with but would really like more diversity and some more interesting and unusual stalls! We are trying to create a world marketplace effect, but without being overwhelmed with the usual ethnic tat. We have an anticipated audience of 5000 and hiring a pitch is cheap as it is a small but cozy event! The price for caterer's for 2 days is £150 to £250, depending on stall size, and other stalls are a bargain at £50 to £150. The World on Your Doorstep' 2008 takes place on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th July. If you are interested in booking a stall or just want to know more, then contact katie@tradesclub.info

katie hanson

katie hanson

 

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene: Broken Social Scene Broken Social Scene seem to made up of about 1000 people, and on some of the songs on here it sounds like they’re all playing at once. In different keys, and almost different tunes. It’s a chaotic album full of sounds, but it’s beautifully put together and once you can crack through the various layers and different harmonies you find a beautiful human celebration of life and love and friendship and sex. Take the best parts out of Sonic Youth, The Go! Team, The Memphis Horns, and Arcade Fire and you’ve nearly got the style of Broken Social Scene. Compared to their previous (‘breakthrough’) album, parts of this one are all over the place. Melodies are hidden by wailing feedback or screeching guitars. Distorted keyboards are recorded over the main tune but rather than sounding oppressive or even offensive it sounds stunning and beautiful. It’s also very definite. Its no error or fluke, it’s been purposefully recorded that way and it works like a charm. Loads of reviewers criticised the recording when BSS was released, calling it arrogant or self indulgent but for me it’s a stroke of genius. When the sounds build up into a wash of noise, and the crescendo peaks into a mess, these stunning horns come marching through the fog and triumphantly announce that life is actually ok! You can’t help but smile, its one of those moments. And this album is full of those moments. Stand up and sing from the top of your lungs moments. Other songs are recorded in a way that takes BSS out of their comfort zone. They stop being an Indie Rock band and try to become a pop or a hip hop act (in the sleeve notes they show lists of ‘things to do’ to finish the songs, stuff like “record bass” “thank Leslie for her lungs” and “sound less like a Rock Band”). Again, this works really well and maybe it’s the amount of thought that’s gone into this album which makes it so special. When you listen to BSS it sounds like a summer’s day. It sounds like you’ve been invited to the best BBQ in the world with the coolest people in the world, and the worlds best looking Girl has just handed you a burger. Your sitting in the sun and the joint’s being passed and the beer is cold. But that gives the impression that it’s insular and cliquey. That it’s a ‘scenester’ record and if you’re not Cool enough, you can’t come in. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s very much a celebration inviting everyone to join in and dance and sing and bang drums and hug and bounce and laugh and dance. Its really one of the most positive albums I’ve heard, it fills you with life. You get the impression that BSS are Hippies at heart and want to drive across the country in a big old hippy van with a bubble machine on top giving people in Small Towns hugs and good Acid. The final track ends in the most wonderful way. A true fanfare of Horns and Guitars and feedback and it leaves you stunned. Your whole body feels exhausted by it, but you can’t wait to go back to the beginning and start the party again.

lamstonite

lamstonite

 

getting a bit flash...?

For ages I've wanted to jazz up this website a little, but simply never had the time. With new hands at some of the controls I've finally got some time to start to work thru that horrendously long to-do list. One of the things on the list is a re-jig of the photo-galleries, to make them a little less of the quickly cobbled together mess that they've always been, and hopefully one side result of the re-jig will be a bit more eye-candy from photos thru-out the site. Anyway, I've wanted to use a Flash application of some sort, where the photos from a festival can be viewed as a slideshow, as well as categorised by band and the like within that. Despite days and days of searching and testing the plenty of in-theory suitable applets I could find, I never found one that was as flexible as I wanted it to be. In the end, I picked the one nearest to my requirements which also came with source code, and bought that. A mate was due to have a quick go at it to make the changes I wanted, and that would be that. Months later, for a variety reasons nothing has happened. This coming weekend is the first weekend of the year that eFestivals has people out covering a festival, so the deadline is here. I have to get something sorted by Monday, else I may as well forget it for this year.... I guess there could be some late nights coming up.

Neil

Neil

 

something i havent dont for a while

so after reading messedups poems it dawned on me i havent written a song for a while or well lyrics u no what i mean thought of doing one right now but people might think im just copying beki or summin might write one in private and post it later on other news forest vs carlisle tonight CMON U REDS!!

fumanchew

fumanchew

 

All about me, music wise

Artists I love ..... The Stone Roses, Ian Brown, Faithless, Doves, Shapeshifter, 1 Giant Leap, Pendulum, Recloose, Kasabian, Antiform, Fat Freddys Drop, The Black Seeds, John Butler Trio, Sneaky Sound System, The White Stripes, The Kooks, Salmonella Dub, Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Muse, Bloc Party, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, 808 State, Joy Division, James, Silverchair, The Charlatans, A Guy Called Gerald, Ash, Blur, Boo Radleys, Cast, The Divine Comedy, Dodgy, Echobelly, Northern Uproar, Oasis, The Coral, Ocean Colour Scene, Pulp, The Real People, Sleeper, Suede, Supergrass, The La's, Lightning Seeds, Lush, Manic Street Preachers, Travis, Keane, Coldplay, The Killers, The Coral, Gorillaz, Paul Weller, Reef, The Smiths, Spitfire, Stereophonics, The Tears, The Verve, Massive Attack, Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, The Bravery, Fatboy Slim, Garbage, Kaiser Chiefs, Roots Manuva, Groove Amarda, Snow Patrol, Badly Drawn Boy, Morcheeba, Freestylers, New Order, The Beautiful South, Fekix Da Housecat, The Strokes, Bic Runga, Lily Allen, The Streets, The Zutons, The Beatles, Blondie, Primal Scream, Catatonia, Leftfield, Franz Ferdinand, The Fratelli's, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, Goldfrapp, Air, Portishead, Roni Size, Armand van Helden, Josh Wink, Deep Dish, Bob Sinclair, Paul Oakenfold, The KLF, Black Grape, The Soup Dragons, The Strokes, Beck, Gwen Stefani, Paul van Dyk, Sasha, Madchester, Brit Pop, House, Drum n Bass, Breaks, Electronica.

MissSophie

MissSophie

 

Speed photograph viewing

When snapping bands at festivals I nearly always use continuous shooting mode and whizz off several frames at a time which increases the chances of getting a good shot. You're usually fighting against motion blur/camera shake due to the low shutter speed you're obliged to use but often one frame comes out nice and sharp (or with the performers eyes open instead of closed etc). Anyway, all those extra shots are usually pretty surplus to requirements but now by the wonders of Movie Maker here's a chance to see them and enjoy the 'stop-motion' animation effect they give. This is also a good opportunity for those lazy and unappreciative people who can't be arsed flick through the pictures in the photo section of efests and catch up on a whole festival weekends photography in 60 seconds or so! Just three fests from 2007 so far, I'll add more as I do 'em... Off The Tracks - Spring (219 frames) Sunrise Celebration (527 frames) Big Session (597 frames)

kerplunk

kerplunk

 

server tuning 2008 pt 2

Well, today is the first 'busy' day of the year, with T in the Park officially announced in an hour or so. With RATM having already leaked the line-up, traffic has been busy on the site since first thing this morning, and the servers have been coping absolutely fine - no stress at all. For those who might have been on the site at around 8:30 this morning and experienced difficulties, that was for an entirely different reason - I was doing a little more pruning of non-festie posts, which is very server intensive (and intensive in an entirely different way, hence the problems). I'd meant to do this maintainenmce last night, but it didn't happen for a variety of reasons (whoops). Anyway, I guess that in around an hour when the official announcement is made the forums will be much busier, and it'll be good to see just how much of a difference there is this year compared to last year - the guesstimate I'd make right now is that the forums will cope (at normal speed) with 3+ times the traffic than they managed last year.

Neil

Neil

 

My Poetry

Oh yes....this is going to be one hell of a long post. i think this is most of the poems i've ever written... One Day So often I have tried to understand, The complex workings of my mind. Why I am. Who I am. Yet still no answers I can find. In turmoil between heart and head, Wanting live, wishing I was dead. Hate and love. Confusion and clarity. Why can't life be simple instead? Will I be alone forever? Is this how life will always be? If I just stop to observe but still hope, Will there be someone who wants me? So many things I do not know. Maybe it's better to take time to breathe, take things slow. One day life will be as I dream. One day… …I'll be ok. -- - - The Explanation Red angry marks and faint white lines A map of my pain and the tears I've cried Rows of secrets, ordered in years A not so subtle way of, displaying my fears. Alone but also in clusters It takes all my might to muster, An explanation for my markings That cover the surface of my being Ten years of anger and torment This the only way that i can vent A maladaptive way to cope One that destroys yet also creates hope. Many friends think they know me so very well, Yet hardly any know of this personal hell A hell that manifests itself in ways that are not fair, A hell that is defined in the scars that I bear. - - - - - Unfair Unfair by me Stuck in a downward spiral, My thoughts running away with time. Trying to make sense of my actions, To understand what feelings are mine. Alone, yet not alone really, In mind but not in soul. Trying so hard to clamber my way out, Of this deep depression, this black hole. Will this craziness consume me? Perhaps only time will tell. Will I ever free myself, From living in my personal hell? Some days are good, some bad, Some are neither, nor do I care. I just want these feelings to stop, I just want my life to be fair. - - - - - - - Lost Souls They say the eyes are the window to the soul A place where secrets lie But all I see is a never ending hole A place full of the tears I've cried Maybe if I'd looked closer I'd have seen the sadness in your eyes I should have taken notice Of when your love for me died Or maybe it was never there It was a mirage I imagined, made up Something that was never real Wouldn't that be just my luck? Still my heart keeps beating Even though you broke it in two And still part of me needs you Though I'm not sure I'll ever trust you Why do I want what I cannot have? Why do I cry all these tears? Maybe it's because this happened Now I have to face my greatest fears. Of being alone, of being scared Of not knowing what to do Of trying to cope, take this all in my stride But the hardest, is to stop loving you. - - - - - - - - Fade Away I'm like a book without a page, like a play without a stage. Like a bird without a feather, like the sun without the weather. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to say. Faster, and faster, my life fades away. What do you see, when you look into my eyes? A handful of cries, someone who tries... Who tries to remember, how to explain How they could cause, all of this pain. So sit back and think, before you complain... Complain about your life, and all that you need. At least you had the chance, the chance to succeed. So don't be afraid, of what you lost. 'Cause what I lost, my life it cost. Before I go, I want you know. Life is a treasure, cherish it forever. Enjoy each day, before you fade away. - - - - - - i had a whole book of them somewhere but i think i've lost it EDIT-i found the book So i came across a book/collection of poems i wrote from when i was 15-18! Haha i warn you they are mostly depressing/emo/crap but i thought i'd share them..with intros as well. - - - - - First up an angst ridden poem about strong emotions...haha. I can't remember who i wrote this about but suffice to say they must have made me feel pretty shite... Hate If there's on thing i know, its that you hate me That's why you make me feel so bad I can tell, by the way you look at me You must enjoy making me feel so sad I know, life really ain't woth the trouble It seems to have got me in. The way you screamed, shouted at me Why my "crimes" really so much of a sin You've taken away life's meaning, Which is pretty damn typical of you I hope you're happy now 'Cos this is my goodbye from me to you This feeling i have inside of me Has probably sealed my fate The feeling which is killing me Is the one, the one called hate - - - - - - - Next up, one which still strikes a chord. I wrote it when my Grandad died in 2001. A poem i later left at his grave. (btw i refer to him as gan-gan cos when i was younger i couldn't pronouce grandad so thats what stuck!) Wish You were Here I miss you. Why did you have to die? I'm sorry everytime, i stand beside your grave All i can do is cry Gan-Gan I wish you were here I miss you. We all foundit hard to say "goodbye" I guess we just weren't ready, To let go but not understand why. Gan-Gan i wish you were here I miss you. You were always there for me, The best grnadad someone could wish for, And the best person there ever could be. Gan-Gan I wish you were here I miss you. I know we can't bring you back now If only you'd never gone away If only you were here, back with us Even it was just for one more day - - - - - - - This one was written when i was 15. I guess it reflects my state of mind at the time. I was depresed back then and it was around thetime i was being bullied. Anyway judge for yourself Sweet Sixteen It used to be every so often that i got this way But now its becoming more frequent I feel this pain everyday I'm happy one moment, Its like i'm feeling on a high Then i feel so sad, so low And i just want to die. Why death becomes more appealing to me I just do not know Maybe i think i'll be happier Free from this freak show I wish i didn't feel like this I don't know if i can cope Whether I'll live to be sweet sixteen We'll just have to pray and hope - - - - - - The next 3 poems were written around the same time. I warn you i wasn't thinking clearly when i wrote them (maybe you can tell). I've never shared them with anyone before. The reason being they were written just after I'd OD, and i think the last one is the nearest thing to a suicide note. They aren't great poems but they do serve as a reminder of the lowest i've been. thankfully i've never felt as bad since then. Suicdal Tendancies I don't know what to do i'm scraed and afraid Scared i'll do something stupid Treble the problems made. My head is spinning I feel sick in my gut Wish i'd not f**ked up Wish i'd kept my mouth shut Don't know how much longer i'll last Got to make it through today I need to know how to make it stop And make these feelings go away I've got suicidal tendancies I'm screwed up in my head Need to find a way to sort this out Before i end up dead - Make it Stop! Make it stop! Take me back to happier days. Make it stop! This isn't "just a phase" Make it stop! I don't really want to die. Make it stop! I'm sick of living this lie. Make it stop! Cure this pain. Make it stop! Don't let me take my life in vain. Make it stop! Help me last a few more years. Make it stop. I cry out for help but no-one hears. - Sorry I need to tell you how i feel Before i do what i have to do I need to to know that no matter what I'll always love you I need to tell you why Why i'm doing what i am I need you to know that, Its not that i don't give a damn i need to tell you this I'm sorry for what happens to me I need you to know that I never meant for you, to pay the greatest fee I love and i'm sorry Please forgive me - - - - - - Ok... this was after my hnan had died, well on the year anniversary of that i think. Anyway here's another one And I Remember... One year later And I remember Six years later And i remember Two grandparents gone And i remember Illness and suffering And i remember Two people loved And i will never forget. - - - - - - Amusing the inspiration for this poem came from the fact i always seem to write poems when i'm down. And yes..i wrote a poem about it. The Poem Why do these poems bring me comfort? Is it beause i am to weak. Not strong enought o talk about it, My grief silences me, I cannot speak. In my times of greatest need, deepest sorrow I put my pen to paper and write My emotions flow onto my canvas In times of darknes, i can see light Sat alone, i am deep in thought Yet no-one else, my secrets i can tell Instead i engrave it to this paper My own, dark and personal hell. - - - - One i wrote not so long ago. (ok so maybe my mind is still a bit screwed up) Reasons No real reason for living No point in me existing Not knowing my place Yet hanging on, just in case Maybe, this wasn't a mistake Reasons for living Reasons for dying Reasons for giving up Reasons for still trying Please let me right this wrong, Please, let me be gone I no longer wish to be me Please just let me soul be free. - - - - AND FINALLY my only published poem =] It was published in an anthology called "Emotions" and i have a copy of it if you want to see the proof! Forget, Forgive Sometimes life moves so fast that it is hard to keep up, And sometimes we hurt the ones that we love. We say things we don't mean, Words that cause hurt and suffering. then we try to take it back, To stop the pain, and get "us" back on track. hoping out loved ones will forget and forgive Ignore the foolish words we've said but yet, They don't and they still hurt, but they still love And that's what keeps us strong, when times gte rough. FORGET, FORGIVE. LOVE, LIVE. And thne alone, and empty shell We condemn ourselves to hell - - - - FEEDBACK WELCOME!!!

xXMessedUpXx

xXMessedUpXx

 

MyFestivals groups

Many people appreciate the tight moderation of the main forums here, as it keeps the forums focused on the festivals they're about - unlike other forums on other websites, they don't become full of posts about what someone had for lunch and other very-off-topic things. To give those users here who would like more freedom to chat about their favourite festivals and anything else, we've now added MyFestivals Groups. Anyone can create a group along with a forum for that group, and the leader of a group gets to say who can join the group - if a group is public then a user can apply to join the group and the group leader aproves them as a group member. There's also the ability to create private groups, where the group leader invites people to join. The groups and the forums are each moderated by the group leader, so groups are free to use their group for whatever they want. The group leader can resign if they wish and pass the mantle onto another group leader. We hope this will be a popular new feature - have fun. :-)

Neil

Neil

 

kids who'd have em!?

Although she is the most important thing in the world to me she also gives me most of my worries - It is so weird to enter parenthood and to try and get everything right to do things different to the things that your parents did that you thought were not right and in doing so still coming up with problems? No ones a perfect parent and no ones a perfect kid. Some personalities are easier than others but both of them are tough jobs...(being a kid or a parent that is) I am resorting to go and visit the Doctor about my 'angel' in the hope of some guidance as I feel I am banging my head against a brick wall - with things ive tried to resolve her problems as I feel some of the issues need to be worked upon sooner rather than later - I have visions of terrible teenager years - That's when I started to be a problem - shes just started early. Anyway I am not expecting A Doctor to have all my answers either - we are all so complex its like trying to find a right formula sometimes that works and even that works for a bit and then it evolves and stops working and then you have to try and find something else. Anyway onwards we go.

jacketspud

jacketspud

 

Sonic Youth: Murray Street

Sonic Youth: Murray Street ok so having finally decided MS way my favourite SY LP (eh? eh?) i supposed i'd better talk about why and stuff. Like i said, i fell back in love with SY when i heard this album. I bought it when i was drunk, after watching an England game in the 2002 World Cup. We'd gone down to see friends in Bournemouth and cause the game was on so early we were drunk by lunch time, and walking home after the match took us past an HMV where i picked this up. It mixes both sides of Sonic Youth very well, just enough experimentation to go along side the pop. Tunes like Empty Page and Disconnection Notice would (in my world) be great singles if they released singles, and the long Sympathy for the Strawberry and Karen Revisited prove that the band are still valid and are still pushing themselves (and music) in the right direction. Its a very laid back album. The tort Plastic Sun is the only 'sharp' song on there, and that only lasts a couple of minutes. Rain On Tin has immense crescendos and interwinding guitar melodies and very little vocal but even that seems like a day out on the beach, chilling in the sun watching the rollers come in. Its a truly beutiful and moving song, and one of the most Human songs i've heard. The only Lee Ronaldo song, Karen Revisited, has two 'parts'. The second section is a long improv jam which winds its way around various ideas and moods, melting you with its charms and devices and the first section seems a bit sinister, talking about an old ex (a theme which seems to repeat itself in Lee's songs) When Sonic Youth began recording in their own studio you could imagine it was like kids in a sweet shop. So much to do, so many ideas to try out. I think the 2 albums prior to this, and the SYR series of ep's all led up to this point with Murray Street being the peak. 1000Leaves and New York City Ghosts and Flowers had so many new ideas, there was bound to be some duds in there (i'm looking at you, Kim) but they seemed to have better quality control on their ideas fo MS. At the time of its release, Lee was said to describe Murray Street as the closest they has come to a Thurston Moore solo album, and maybe thats why it works so well. Although i love loads of Kims songs there are always ones where her vocal just grates me too much. She seems to trying a bit too hard to be Avant Garde for me. Lee's songs are incredible and allways sound fresh, but there just aren't enough of them. So Thurston's songs seem to be the stable for me, which is probably why i love Murray Street so much. It finishes though, with Sympathy for the Strawbery which has 2 Kim vocals. Its a lush slow paced song with bundles of cuddly fuz/noise in the background and an almost Motown back beat and an organ to add to the velvety nice-ness of the song. its gorgeous and is a fitting end to a gorgeous album.

lamstonite

lamstonite

 

rumours

I've just visited the official Download forums for the first time in several years and they're hilarious. First up was me noticing the forums becoming unusable for a while with a "server busy" message ... which happened to coincide with school's morning break time. At a guess - because i've seen it year on year on the eFestivals forums - a large number of the people posting there are not attending the festival and know they're not; they're posting just to pretend to be 'cool'. Anyway, the point of my visit was to look at what people were saying about the news piece that eFestivals published yesterday (here) where we say who we think are the Download headliners this year, and to compare what's being said over there against what people have posted on the efests Download forum. There's a large number of people on the official forums who don't want to believe what we've said or who think we've guessed at these names, while the occasional person points out that we've got it right in previous years before the bands were officially announced (which may or may not be true ... I can't remember if we've always had it spot on for Download or not, but if not we've had the majority of it right). The people who think we're guessing often suggest that we guess by reading what people are saying on forums such as those and then make a stab at guessing right. We don't. We rarely take any notice of what people post on forums about which bands are playing, either here on eFestivals or anywhere else (the 'anywhere else' would have us checking other forums, which we don't do unless there's a specific reason to check something). The problem is that too many people like to claim that their grannie's cat's uncle's budgie knows some insider that has told them that so-and-so are playing, and invaribly these turn out to be false. Over the years eFestivals has built up a number of sources who have proved - via sending us accurate info year-on-year - that they know what's what, and the majority of our info this early in the year (before stuff starts appearing on bands websites) comes from these. We normally can't give any info on who these people are and where they've got their info from, because it will drop them in the shit with wherever they've got the info. While we have a lot of confidence in what we publish - particularly if done in a news piece such as yesterday's - we only ever state absolute confidence in what we're saying if we have that absolute confidence, and that mostly depends on what exactly we know about the person sending us the info and where they're telling us they got it (and whether we believe all they might tell us ... because of what they're doing, they might be telling us porkies about where it's come from). Our year-on-year record with rumours is, IMO, very good, and as far as we're aware is far better than anywhere else manages, but that doesn't mean that we guarantee any rumours we give; after all, they're rumours. Only festival organisers are in the position to really know what's what. We do our best including double-checking what we're told via a number of different ways, but they'll never all be 100% perfect as we're using imperfect info.

Neil

Neil

 

Sonic Youth: Nurse/Washing Machine/1000 Leaves?

Sonic Youth: Nurse/Washing Machine/1000 Leaves? This might be a long one. Sonic Youth are my favourite band at the moment, and have been since 2002 when i heard their Muray Street album. Trouble is, they've been about for years and years and have about 156 albums so how am i supposed to choose a favourite? You could say they're a bit Bob Dylan in that respect. They've also had certain 'periods' in their career which help me break them down: Early Doors, Geffen, and These Days. Early Doors. Unfortunatly, i dont know much from this period. I have a live bootleg which f**king rocks but i dont actually own any albums (except for Daydream Nation). Its on my long list of things to get, but so far so bootleg. Schizophrenia is an excellent tune, Teenage Riot is brilliant but other than that i'm a bit naive. I dont really like Daydream Nation which is odd because its Sonic Youth's 'Classic Album'. Its the one everyone says about, the one that made them great rather than good, and the album that got them signed. But i dont really like it much. Geffen. The Geffen Years are where Sonic Youth went a bit mainstream, but that was more a fault of the mainstream than the band. SY were signed, released 2 classic indiepunk albums (Goo and Dirty) which had noise-pop songs on and made videos with Cool Skate Directors like Spike Jones. Dirty was my 1st SY album (awww) and tracks like Sugar Kane and 100% really hit home for me more than the Mudhoney's or Soundgardens of the time. Even though SY weren't 'Grunge' it was common for the media at the time to lump all american bands together into 1 genre which meant that they did get more media attention than maybe they would have otherwise got. They then released Experimental JetSet Trash and No Star which was only notable for Bull in the Heather and some of Steve Shelley's best drumming. Then things all started to change.... Washing Machine (which might be my favourite SY record) was a big change for SY. They changed the way they approached song writing and began creating vast sprawling improvised tracks like The Diamon Sea, Washing Machine and Becuz (Becuz actually got split in 2 by Geffen because they thought it was too long to have as an opening track). Kim Gordon stopped playing bass and picked up a 3rd guitar and the songs grew and breathed and chilled out, allmost relieved to be free from the constraints of the noise scene. It was a sign of things to come... These Days. The mood and feel of Washing Machine continued as the group really started getting their teeth into Improvised works. They'd built their own studio with the money they'd made and this allowed them the freedom to record what they wanted, which led to the SYR series (a set of EP's that were too strange/noisey/avant garde for Geffen to release). Ideas brought up in these free jams turned into songs released on 1000 Leaves (which also might be my favourite SY record). It is packed with odd little things hidden under washes of noise and bizzare repeated ideas/melodies and i'm still finding new things to this day. Its not a particulaly easy album to listen too, but then Sy aren't a particulaly easy band to listen to, but if you can put up with Kim's droning, there are some absolute gems on there. Some absolute beauty moments and some of the best music i've ever heard. The theme was continued with New York City Ghosts and Flowers which was a bit less User Friendly than 1000 leaves and famously got a score of 0.0 from Pitchfork. It still has 3 stunning tracks which piss all over most of the stuff released today and i still enjoy listening to it, but as with many of their albums, the good is in with the bad. The way they played the guitars seemed to have evolved too, delicate pickings/hittings. Theres hardly a strummed chord to be heard. Then Murray Street was released and mixed the 2 side of Sonic Youth perfectly. 10 minute free jams sat alongside perfect pop tunes. Guitar noise with blissed out crescendos. I've just decided that Murray Street is my favourite SY record (and i'm sticking to it). Which makes the last section of These Days pretty irrelevant, except to say that Sonic Nurse is rare in that every track is amazing, especially I Love You Golden Blue (best song ever?) (!) and that Rather Ripped seems to look back further to their punkier roots, and has freshened the band for it

lamstonite

lamstonite

 

The Velvet Underground and Nico

The Velvet Underground and Nico To be honest, i dont really want to talk about this album. I don't know why i put it in the list. It is classic and its important and it has some astounding songs on it (All Tomorow's Parties, Heroin, Waiting for my Man) but when i listen to the Velvets these days it tends to be their 'Best of' because that has Rock n Roll, What Goes On, and Sweet Jane and to be honest The Velvet Underground and Nico does annoy me sometimes. Its one of those contradictions of mine. Sometimes the shitty quality of the recordings sound really Cool and intimate, but other times it just feel like one of Warhols bad jokes. So its off my list (although i do love it. What's a boy to do?) and instead i'm gonna talk about some other albums that could have made my oh so important top10. Grandaddy: The Software Slump I absolutley love the mood of this, and Jason Lytle's voice is one of my favourites. It has a real gentle meloncholy feel to it and its one of those albums that instantly transports me back to the time when i first heard it (holiday in a cornwall cottage: quite fitting). None of my friends seemed to 'get it', i think because of the slow pace and length of the opening track (dont ask) but it fitted me perfectly and every now and again i stick it on with a cup of tea and a good book. Rock n Roll. British Sea Power: The Decline of... BSP seem to be the in band right now, and their new album is very very good, i just hope they dont become swamped by hype and become Arcade Fire. Their first album snuck up on me, i think i first heard them on a radio session (Carrion) and when i got the album it lived up to my expectation. I like Noise, and it had noise. I like subtle delicate melodies, and it has subtle delicatre melodies. I like a fragile voice and it has a fragile voice. It has nothing wrong with it at all. Even Remeber Me which sounds like early Oasis doesn't sound cheap like early Oasis. We had a mushroom session in the woods once and i think Lately sent my mate a bit funny. He had to lie down in the tent for a bit, and thats got to score points? Primal Scream: Vanishing Point I'm a bit embarressed that i like a Primal Scream record so much (that'll teach me), normally people think of shambolic live shows, drugs boasting and crap country rock. But Vanishing Point is a brilliant album , and further proof that 1997 was a high point in Rock. Kowalski, Star, in fact the first half of the album (or first 'side') is f**king genius. Burning Wheel should be the National Anthem its so good. A Blissed out call to arms for the spaced generation that makes you wanna sit down and run around at the same time. I've not listened to it for a while so i think i'll have it on tonight while i cook The Beta Band: Hot Shots2 I first heard the Beta Band when someone played Its Not Too Beautiful on the radio. It really confused me and when i heard their debut i fell in love and went and bought The 3ep's. They never really had the commercial success i think they deserved (and maybe they tried too hard?) but Hot Shots2 was probably their best shot(2). It mixed together so many styles as usual and was the first time i'd heard a 'rock' band sound so RnB (in the new sense of the word). Squares had the same sample as another single and would surley have been a hit if they had released it before the other one, but alas... I think this was their peak, such an amazing live band too

lamstonite

lamstonite

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