Greg Gannicott’s Blog


Stop-Gap: The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song

Posted in Music by Greg Gannicott on September 27, 2009
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It’s been sometime since I’ve posted to this blog. I think it’s actually pure coincidence that the last post was about my new born son, Stan. He’s not taken up as much time as the lack of fresh content on this blog may lead you to believe.

To fill in the gap between that post, and something actually worth while I thought I’d stick up some of the finest lyrics I’ve heard/read in a long time.

The song is “The Rake’s Song” by the band The Decemberists. The music itself is every bit as good as the lyrics, with great tribal style drumming.

When I first heard this song I got to the line “Until her womb start spilling out babies” and thought “Christ, this song was meant for me at this moment in my life!”, especially as not only did we have Stan on the way, but we got married last year too (see the start of the song). Then the song took a turn (literally with the next line) and I started hoping that the similarities end there.

I love sick lyrics like this. I love the lyric “Mercifully taking her mother along”. That’s taking idea of silver linings too far.

of Montreal’s Skeletal Lamping is another album that’s full of lyrics you wouldn’t want to live out.

Anyway, here’s The Rake Song. I strongly recommend you use Spotify or something to listen to it.

I had entered into a marriage
In the summer of my twenty-first year
And the bells rang for our wedding
Only now do I remember it clear
Alright, alright, alright

No more a rake and no more a bachelor
I was wedded and it whetted my thirst
Until her womb start spilling out babies
Only then did I reckon my curse
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

First came Isaiah with his crinkled little fingers
Then came Charlotte and that wretched girl Dawn
Ugly Myfanwy died on delivery
Mercifully taking her mother along
Alright, alright, alright

What can one do when one is widower
Shamefully saddled with three little pests
All that I wanted was the freedom of a new life
So my burden I began to divest
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

Charlotte I buried after feeding her foxglove
Dawn was easy, she was drowned in the bath
Isaiah fought but was easily bested
Burned his body for incurring my wrath
Alright, alright, alright

And that’s how I came your humble narrator
To be living so easy and free
Expect you think that I should be haunted
But it never really bothers me
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

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Random Thoughts II

Thoughts that don’t deserve their own posts:

  • MTV2 vrs NME TV? Considering how much I use to enjoy M2, it pains me to say NME wins it.
  • The best few hours of radio is on a Sunday evening on BBC 6Music. Listener 6Mix followed by Guy Garvey. For new music though, weekday evenings with Marc Riley and Tom Robinson are both solid. Both on 6Music too.
  • Whether I like it or not, Techmeme and Friendfeed seem to be stopping me from using Google Reader as often. I think I actually preferred it when I didn’t have the options.
  • Best soundtrack on TV (at least before the series ended)? The Apprentice (UK). I’m not a big fan of background music (especially the way US tv does it), but this music adds to it.
  • Worst theme tune? Girlfriends on Trouble. Becky watches it and it cuts right through me.
  • Best album of the year so far? Its a close fight between Nick Cave’s “Dig” and Elbow’s “Seldom Seen Kid”. Elbow have the advantage of me seeing them live though.
  • MGMT’s “Electric Feel” has just clicked. Would sound great on a Sunday afternoon.

Upcoming Gigs: My Morning Jacket, Okkervil River

Posted in Music by Greg Gannicott on May 7, 2008
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I’m pleased to say I’ve arranged for two more gigs this year. Both will be very different events for me:

My Morning Jacket

In June I’ll be going to see My Morning Jacket (MMJ) in Bristol. If I had to pick a band that surprised me most in terms of how they performed live compared to in the studio, MMJ would be my choice by some distance. I previously saw them at Glastonbury when they were touring ‘It Still Moves’. On record they sounded like quite a controlled band, driven by guitar but not dominated by it. Live, they are headbangers and on first impression (I’ve not yet had a second) are a very (relatively speaking) heavy band – at least compared to what I was expecting (I should stress though, Fucked Up they aint).

I never considered It Still Moves to be that heavy, and their release since then (Z) less so. So although I’m expecting some headbanging, I’m expecting a slightly more timid performance this time round.

In terms of their music, MMJ have really grown on me over the past couple years. Initially I was hooked in by some neat country guitar solos, but the more I listen the more I discover – pleasingly this is most evident on their live album Okonokos. They are also one of those bands that sounds like they’ve really progressed over the years.

As it stands I’ll be going to MMJ on my own. I’m quite keen to go to a gig by myself. If I can do it then it will open the door to so many other gigs. At the moment I have to find someone else who is interested in the band and that’s not always possible. I’ve missed some good bands because of this.

Okkervil River

I would have gone to see Okkervil River regardless, but the fact its on the night before my wedding (in July) is a big bonus. It should make it extra special. And as I rarely drink much at gigs it should help me to avoid a hangover for the big day.

I got into Okkervil River earlier this year (maybe towards the end of last year). Like so many of my purchases I made it because Planet Sound (on Teletext) raved about it (Stage Names). On first listen I wasn’t at all keen. It sounded cheesy, with a hint of The Killers (not always a bad thing, but in this instance I felt it was). However, it soon became my favourite album of the moment. I’m pretty sure that on my old blog it got plenty of mentions at the time. I really should get more of their back-catalog though. I currently only have their latest album.

From what I gather the venue (Bristol Trinity Centre) is a converted church: I like the sounds of that.

A Wiki for Set Lists

Posted in Music,Technology by Greg Gannicott on April 16, 2008
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At the end of my Elbow Set List post, I mentioned the idea of having a wiki for people to submit set lists for gigs. I assume such a site doesn’t exist as whenever I search for set lists I’ve never come across a site that is dedicated to the task. If I do find the set list I’m after, they usually show up on forums (if I’m lucky).

I mentioned in the post that it would be a tough task for anyone to create a wiki based set list site, as it would require a large number users to get anything useful going which would attract others to use and grow it.

After I wrote that post I gave it a little more thought. I took the theoretical site a step further. If you were to have a site dedicated to set lists submitted by fans you had just as well allow users to submit reviews for the gig as well – the two types of data are natural partners. I pretty much instantly dismissed that idea though on the grounds that last.fm already takes care of providing a means for fans to post reviews regarding gigs. What’s more, it’s got a pretty comprehensive list of gigs for that to run off of ……

Have you filled in the dots yet? Last.fm would be a great place to hold set lists! All the required supporting data is in place, its got a large user base and it already encourages users to update data on the site, whether that’s via a wiki, posting a journal or through other means. All it would take would be for the developers at last.fm to add a section for set lists to their page designed to document gigs and hopefully from their users will take control and populate the lists after the gigs.

The data itself has niche appeal, so all the more reason for piggy backing it on to something with large appeal: last.fm

Elbow Setlist – April 9th, 2008

Posted in Music,Technology by Greg Gannicott on April 15, 2008
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This is the set list from the Elbow gig at Bristol’s Colston Hall on April 9th.

I realise this content appears elsewhere on the blog (in an update to another post), but I thought I’d give it a post of it’s own. Its the sort of content I search for on the web, so the easier I can make it for others to find, the better for people like me.

A tip of the hat to Elmoo over on last.fm

As an aside, it would be really handy if a Wiki was setup for setlists to be placed. I’ve been tempted to do it myself but I think it would be difficult to get going as it will require a large number of gig goers to get it going.

More Elbow Gig Reviews

Posted in Music by Greg Gannicott on April 12, 2008
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As a follow up to my earlier Elbow review, and to backup just how special a gig it was, here are three more reviews of the show. Each of them get it and the band spot on:

Eep! – a blog
Jennifer Heidi’s Blog
This Is Bristol

Since reading these I’ve wanted to write more about the gig, as they’ve reminded me of things I’d forgotten, but you’d just as well read them as they say it all.

Elbow – Bristol Colston Hall, 9th April 2008

Posted in Music by Greg Gannicott on April 11, 2008
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For me, one of the signs of a good gig is when you come out of it with a whole new appreciation for the band’s music. This is exactly what happened for me with Elbow.

I now hear The Seldom Seen Kid (their latest album) in a new light. The same applies to older songs such as Newborn (from their debut Asleep in the Back).

As I hoped, the show kicked off with the opener to The Seldom Seen Kid – Starlings – with the stage lighting up with every trumpet blast. This was followed by the second track on The Seldom Seen Kid, The Bones of You. Next up was the only real disapointment of the night for me. As my favourite Elbow track, I was really looking forward to Leaders of the Free World. And although it wasn’t a bad performance, it didn’t blow me away. That’s where the disapointments ended for the night.

As you’d come to expect after hearing his radio show on BBC 6Music , Garvey himself was a very down to earth, dry, extremely funny person, with excellent in between song banter. Pitting the stalls against the balcony, he generated an excellent atmosphere. The crowd was up for bantering with him, laying up some great responses from him. He was so quick off the mark at times it even left me wondering if they were planted. I highly doubt it though.

As the night went on, the atmosphere got better. The first big response was for recent single Grounds For Divorce. Given its slow plodding beat, the song has a superb energy about it. It felt like the whole room was encompassed by the sound.

Lead singer Guy Garvey‘s voice is sublime, on the night sounding as though it had gone through hours of studio production. He effortlessly belts out song after song. Certain songs, such as set closer One Day Like This come alive when you see the passion put into it by Garvey. The slightly annoying strings rift in the background now takes on new meaning as the song sounds like the soundtrack to the greatest day of your life.

Other tracks benefiting from the live treatment are Newborn and The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver. The performance of Newborn reminded me of why I first associated Elbow with Pink Floyd. They gradually build the song up, moving from one section to another, eventually culminating in a mind blowing ending (think Mogwai ).

There is no other way to describe the live performance of The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver than magnificent. Garvey explained the story of the song, dryly dedicating it to all those in the audience who works in the heavy construction industry to much laughter. During the song the stage remained entirely green at all times, as the song grew and grew in intensity and emotion.

Before announcing the final song before the encore, he points out that its obvious that they are going to return, so he’d like to put a twist on it. He asks that we sing a song in return. Amongst the suggestions from the crowd is I’ve Got a Combine Harvester. He opts for this to much applause and laughter from the crowd.

The final (final) song of the night is Grace Under Pressure. Perhaps not as great live as it could be, its still extremely powerful.

I believe I’ve seen Elbow twice before (both at Glastonbury). On both occasions they didn’t exactly set my world on fire. Tonight however, is a different story. I look forward to seeing them again.

If anyone has the setlist for Weds night, please post a comment. Cheers.

UPDATE:

I posted this review on Last.fm and someone kindly posted a photo of the set list on there. I love the web!

The CDless Home

Posted in Music,Technology by Greg Gannicott on April 11, 2008
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There has been a great deal of talk in the media these past few years about the CD becoming extinct due to the Internet and the fact music is freely available (or at the very least more convenient to get than a CD from Zavvi). Well, due to the fact we’re moving home I’ve been living that dream for the past few days, and let it be said that its not all that convenient. I should say now that I’m a big fan of the CD – or rather I’m a big fan of owning music you can hold – so I am bias.

As it stands, all my CDs are packed away ready for the move (which has now been moved back to next Thursday for those that are interested). I listen to music in about 4 different situations:

  • When I’m out an about/in work on my iPod
  • Sat at my PC using Winamp.
  • When I have 10 minutes to kill whilst I’m at home (eg. getting ready)
  • When I’m in the kitchen spuddling around. Its true!

The first two examples don’t come into this as they involve the iPod and Winamp, but its the second two that suffer. They are both examples of where I just need a quick fix for music and I don’t really want to have to boot up the PC or setup my iPod to play out on the Dolby Digital system down stairs. Its in those situations where i just want to grab a disc and put it on. No messing around.

You don’t realise how much you do this until you can’t do it. I’m now forced to listen to the radio in both situations. Sometimes that’s fine, other times its nice to have a choice.

So until the TV and stereos make it easy to just put a tune on, I think we still need CDs convenience’ sake.