Friday, July 28, 2006

Good night, and good luck

about the music will be dormant for a couple of weeks while I kick back for a bit of a break. Coming up after the break is the new record from M Ward entitled Post War and a couple of other interesting new releases too.

As the man says, "take it easy- I know you will".

Thursday, July 27, 2006

sufjan this, sufjan that...

my last sufjan post.

I've washed my hands of the boy from Michigan. I've given the interview over to Ross, who is on a bit of a roll at the moment, seemingly interviewing everyone who has ever made an album.

So good luck Ross, I hope he picks up the phone.

He Stood Me Up Again

Sufjan has stood me up twice. Once is bad, twice is just carelessness.

I'm told he has stood the rest of the UK press up twice as well, but I can't vouch for this. All I know is he had arranged to talk to me, and then didn't show. He appears such a nice guy too. I'm dissapointed. As well as not talking to me, he produced a list of things we were not to talk about, it's perhaps more revealing than a discussion could have been.

He said he's appreciate it if I did my best to stay away from the following topics:
1. The 50 States
2. What State is Next?
3. Religion
4. American Politics
5. George Bush
6. sufjan's family upbringing
7. the new folk movement

But he said that he would like to talk about the following topics that are relevant to the Avalanche album:
1. songwriting, craft, workmanship, mechanics
2. good editing, bad editing
3. personal history vs. general public history (how does one reconcile him/herself to the grand scheme of events?) or, Do historians (and artists) alter those events by insinuating themselves into history?
4. the use of allusion, to other texts, to pop songs, etc. Does it elevate meaning, does it undermine the value of art?
5. Do historical figures make good muses? Why are some of the best artists and writers the most cumbersome subjects for art?
6. Is there such thing as objective history?
7. Is art interesting without tension?
8. Is it necessary to always use the first person "I" in songwriting?
9. What is this "self" obsession on the new collection of outtakes? Know thyself, perpetual self, undivided self?
10. high art vs. low art. The folk aesthetic vs. the trained, classical, academic aesthetic. Does mastery get in the way of the folk aesthetic?

But I haven't got to speak to him. The interview is rescheduled but I may not be able to make it. Here's a thought about the great song-writer, poor interviewee.

Sufjan's parents were 'kind of trial-and-error when it came to religion.' They were into a Subud cult that has ties to Islam and Indonesia and Middle Eastern spiritualism when he was born, hence the name. It's a Muslim name.

His parents dabbled in many different relgions and one night hid dad came home and woke everyone up to announce that they were all converting to catholocism. sufjan later rebelled from his parents by moving away and becoming a christian.

he captured the moment his dad came home in the wonderful song, he woke me up again.

Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Album: Seven Swans
Year: 2004
Title: He Woke Me Up Again

He was, he was in the churchyard
My father was in the first part
He came, he came to my bedroom
But I was asleep
He woke me up again to say:

Halle, Halle, Halleluiah
Holy, holy is the sound

And I hope, I hope you are tired out
And I know, I know there is joy endowed
But I was asleep
And he woke me up again
And he woke me up again to say:

Hold on, hold on to your old ways
Or put off, put off every old face
And I know, I know you are changed now
I hope, I hope you're arranged out
But I'm still asleep
And you woke me up again
And I'm still asleep
But you woke me up to be holy

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


If you don't already use Firefox to view about the music, and apparently 50% of you don't then get it! It is far and away the best browser, safer, faster, pop-up and add blocking with great customisable extensions.

I design this page to be viewed with Firefox. So click on the link on the left (below the previous posts) to get it for free.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Vaux Video

I recently wrote that I was listening to the new record by rockers Vaux, entitled, 'Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice'. Well you can check it out for yourself by watching the video for their song "Are You With Me." Their upcoming CD "Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice" is due out on August 1st.

Vaux - "Are You With Me" video

The guys are also on tour here:

07/25/2006 - St. Louis, MO UMB Bank Pavilion
07/26/2006 - Cinn., OH Riverbend Music Center
07/27/2006 - Pittsburg, PA Post Gazette Pavilion
07/28/2006 - Indianapolis, IN Verizon Wireless
07/29/2006 - Detroit, MI Comerica Park Lot
07/30/2006 - Chicago, IL Tweeter Center
08/01/2006 - Darien Center, NY Darien Center PAC
08/02/2006 - Fitchburg, MA Fitchburg Airport
08/03/2006 - Camden, NJ Tweeter Center
08/04/2006 - Scranton, PA Toyota Pavillion
08/05/2006 - Uniondale, NY Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
08/06/2006 - Englishtown, NJ Englishtown Raceway
08/08/2006 - Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
08/09/2006 - Virginia Beach, VA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
08/10/2006 - Bristow, VA Nissan Pavillion at Stone Ridge
08/11/2006 - Cleveland, OH Tower City Amphitheatre

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Post #201

I use the phone quite a bit by virtue of the fact that Heather lives on a different land mass. I'm curious about Skype but her computer has some sound card problem that has never been satisfactorily resolved. So I was interested when I discovered Gizmo.

It's basically a Skype rival, but in order to gain customers, they're offering free PC to landline (or mobile) calls if the other person is a Gizmo customer and has entered that landline in their user information.

This was I can talk to Heather from my pc to her landline for as long as I want for free. Thanks Gizmo.

My username is andrewwilliamson, add me to your Gizmo and give me a call.

Friday, July 21, 2006

CD review: Golden Smog - Another fine day

I really liked the Jayhawks when they were around and everybody loves Wilco, so I was looking forward to the release of this album. I altered this review a couple of times as I was writing it because the songs kept getting better the more I listened to it. Remember it's a 'supergroup' album, so it's a little eclectic with different vocalists and line-ups, still it's very enjoyable.

I'll give it 7.5/10

ARTIST Golden Smog

ALBUIM Another Fine Day

LABEL (Lost Highway)

Supergroups. Side projects. Do they ever produce records as good as the bands the members come from? Golden Smog, the side project of Gary Louris, Marc Perlman (The now defunct Jayhawks), Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run), Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) is successful enough to release their third album in eight years.

Another Fine Day was recorded in Southern Spain and later in Menneapolis where Tweedy joined in. Friendship has kept the supergroup together over three albums during which The Jayhawks broke up, Andy Johnson moved to Spain and Wilco achieved mainstream success. As such, the album feels like a lot of fun. It's loose, kicking bag with big guitars and big melodies. It's a relaxing diversion from the pressures of the day job.

The different members stamp their imprints on different songs. Tweedy brings a bit of electronics, Dan Murphy rocks out on "Hurricane" and Gary Louris' influence is everywhere. There are a few standouts like Louris and Tweedy on 'Listen Joe', the power pop opener 'You Make It Easy' and the title track. Elsewhere the tracks are like a pretty girl you meet at a party: fun, novel and interesting for a while, but you soon forget her name. The first half of the album shows immense promise, it's a shame that, baring some notable exceptions, the rest of the album doesn't live up to the initial high standard. Fans of any of the members should check this out and the good news is that the way Golden Smog are going, this record won't be their last.

Buy and listen to Another Fine Day at

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ryan Adams announces European Tour

Ryan Adams and The Cardinals have announced some European tour dates this autumn. Tickets go onsale tomorrow (Fri 21 July) and the details are below:

Sep 21 Newcastle UK Newcastle Academy
Sep 22 Glasgow UK Glasgow Academy
Sep 24 Nottingham UK Rock City
Sep 25 Birmingham UK Birmingham Academy
Sep 27 Cambridge UK Corn Exchange
Sep 28 Manchester UK Manchester Academy 1
Sep 30 London UK Shepherds Bush Empire
Oct 3 Amsterdam NL Paradiso
Oct 6 Koln DE Kantine
Oct 7 Assen NL Take Root Festival
Oct 9 Hamburg DE Ubel & Gefaehrlich
Oct 10 Berlin DE Postbahnhof
Oct 12 Munich DE Muffathalle

Ryan Adams (again)

I don't think I'll be able to catch him on this tour. Better luck next time.

Simpsons quotes for everyday use

The Onion A.V. has a great feature on Simpsons quotes for every day uses. For example:

Quote: "To start, press any key. Where's the ANY key?"

Episode: "King-Size Homer" (11/5/95)

Context: After gaining weight to get on financial disability, Homer finally achieves his dream of working at home, but he's immediately stymied by a computer prompt.

Real-life uses: Whenever you're betrayed by technology, especially over something so simple that even a 4-year-old child could figure it out. This could lead right into another classic quote, courtesy of Groucho Marx in Duck Soup: "Run out and find me a 4-year-old child. I can't make head or tail of it."


Quote: "Then get me his non-union, Mexican equivalent!"

Episode: "A Star Is Burns" (3/5/95)

Context: When Steven Spielberg isn't available to direct the self-aggrandizing opus "A Burns For All Seasons," Mr. Burns demands the next best thing. Enter Steven Spielbergo.

Real-life uses: Any time you have to settle for second best. For example, virtually everyone turned down the male lead in Basic Instinct 2. Thus David Morrissey becomes Michael Douglas' non-union, Mexican equivalent.

Check out the article here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The interview debacle, or why Jenny from Brooklyn has no space on her answering machine

So last night at 8 I was to interview Sufjan right? Well things didn't quite go to plan. The number I had been given was one digit out. So instead I rang Jenny in Brooklyn repeatedly. From the sound of her answering machine she seems friendly and happy. I'm not sure what she'll think when she finds the all of her memory used with messages from frustrated journalists trying to reach some guy with a funny name.

Not to be outdone, I tracked down the very charming head of Astmatic Kitty who called Suf and got the right number, but I've been rescheduled, to Friday I think. Still gives everyone time to give me interesting interview questions, thanks to everyone who has so far.

In the rest of the world, here is some Mogwai news.




Mogwai venture further still into the world of showbiz by contributing 2 tracks to the forthcoming Miami Vice film soundtrack (out 7th August).'We¹re No Here' and 'Auto Rock' from the recently released monster 5th album "Mr Beast" appear alongside songs by the likes of Goldfrapp and Nina Simone.

As a taster for the CD release of their soundtrack to 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait', the Douglas Gordon directed film of the infamous French footballer, Mogwai are to release music from the film via download and a vinyl 10" on 21st August. 'Zidane' has it¹s UK debut at the Edinburgh Film Festival in August. Trailers viewable at: and

The full CD soundtrack is due to follow in October.

1st September
County Laois, Stradbally Estate, Ireland ­ Electric Picnic Festival <>, 0818 719 300.
21st September Leicester, Charlotte HEADLINE 0115 912 9000 (see tickets) or
22nd September London, Royal Albert Hall HEADLINE SOLD OUT
23rd September Glasgow, Barrowlands HEADLINE hotline 0870 903 3444 online:
24th September Manchester, Academy HEADLINE 0161 832 1111 24hr cc hotline: 0871 2200 260 / book online:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More Sufjan

It appears that Sufjan doesn't want to talk about anything interesting like religion or politics tonight. Instead I'm constricted to talking about art and history. Hmmm. Anyway, in way of reasearch I stumbled across a Sufjan interview in Filter magazine online. Thanks to All Good Naysayers for this:

You can download a mini copy of Filter magazine with Sufjan on the cover and an interview with him. It' free and worth a read. You can download the PDF here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sufjan Stevens interview

I'm interviewing Sufjan Stevens on Tuesday. If you read the blog you'll know I'm a big fan so this is quite exciting. I have a bundle of questions to ask, but does can anyone on the blogosphere think of something you'd like to put to him?

Let me know, leave a comment with your question below.


Friday, July 14, 2006

The Killers - full length audio stream

Set for October 3rd, The Killers will release their second full length album. Here's a very exclusive, very exciting sneak peak full length audio track.

The Killers - "When You Were Young"

Stream (Windows media high)
Stream (Windows media low)
Stream (Real media high)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Film: Paradise Now

Last night Gustaw and I went to the Queens Film Theatre to check out Hany Abu-Assad's movie about two childhood friends who become suicide bombers. It was orignally slated for release a year ago but was delayed after the 7/7 bombings in London. Since then it's won numerous awards on the festival circuit.

The story tears the viewer between your affection for the bombers, both very likeable characters, and your abhorrence at what they plan to do. The film is a marked contrast to the pro-Israeli 'Munich'. It's a viewpoint not often heard and Abu-Assad seeks to educate the viewer in the motives and mental viewpoints of suicide bombers, as well as the conditions of the Palestinian refugees.

The bombers manipulative handlers are portrayed using religion to propogate their political ends. In one scene a bomber asks his handler 'what will happen after?' The handler thinks for a second and replies 'two angels will come and pick you up', 'are you sure?' the bomber replies, 'yes, quite sure' his handler responds.

A little more background could be given on the Palestinian cause and the referenced refugee camps but all in all it is a very good, well acted and thought provoking movie. In an effort for the west to try to understand the east, this should be compulsory viewing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Newsflash: New Bonnie Prince Billy album


- releases new album -
The Letting Go
out 18 September 2006 on Domino

album preceded by barns new single
Cursed Sleep (out 24 July)

There are guitars, and strings. Amid the swell of sound and anticipation, there is a voice singing along, playing a part. More swells. Then the Bonnie 'Prince¹ intones:
When the numbers / Get too high
Of the dead / flying through the sky
Oh I / Don¹t know why / Love comes to me

So begins The Letting Go. And so we realize how much we¹ve missed Bonny since the last time, whenever it was. It¹s always a fine moment to hear from him again.

The Letting Go is an overwhelming undertaking. As mentioned, there are strings-lovely charts that do so much more than just trace chord changes up and down the neck. Arrangements by Ryder McNair and Nico Muhly are threaded throughout the record, augmenting a simple quintet of players to provide a sixth sense. The deceptive nature of his band is on display from the top. 'Filthy' Jim White is known far and wide for his resource behind the drum kit and he proves it song after song, with sensitivity that provokes dynamic variety from skins, an acoustic depth to the room. Paul Oldham¹s bass is a feeling accompaniment to Bonny's guitar, played with brotherly clairvoyance and constancy. Young Emmett Kelly¹s clean electric guitar lines roam within the web and suddenly shine, are blues and folk and r'n'b in shifting turn, guilelessly tactic and soulfully expressive. And up front with Bonny is the bewitching Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables. Her vocal flights on those records can hardly prepare one for the intimacy and empathy of her harmonies and other voices on The Letting Go.

After all this, a set of songs that are lovely and take their turn as favourite; every day, another one.

Love comes to she and he that wait. And while they wait, let them know about

The Letting Go.

Vaux: Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice

I got a CD through the door yesterday from a band called Vaux. This Denver, Colorado five piece grew up in metalcore but have since mellowed a bit to emo; or perhaps that should be screamo. Anyway, I noticed that it was produced by Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (U2, Snow Patrol) in the same manor where The Smiths and Radiohead laid down classic tracks. If good omens make good records then "Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice" should be a cracker.

I wasn't really expecting much when I popped the CD in the player, but I have to say I'm rather excited. I got to track 3 and had to press the back button to listen to the first songs again. I'll write more when I've had a good listen, but the wall of noise created by the three guitarists and complicated song structures reminds me of the excitement I felt listening to The Smashing Pumpkins for the first time.

check out some audio if you're interested:

Vaux - "Are You With Me"
Real Media