Monthly Archives: July 2009

Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (Merge, 1998)


Nick: very very good

this is to me, what music is all about, it has melody, rhythm, content.

it’s played with total conviction, they know what they’re doing.

and they know that it’s good.

that’s what it’s all about.

{looking through the inlay}

what the hell is a zanzithophone?

ever heard of that?



the art work is absolutely amazing too.

So, this song is called ‘Holland 1945’, and supposedly the album was inspired by Anne Franks diaries.

oh really?

you were living in Holland in 1945.

yes, I was……7?

did you ever meet Anne Frank?

hahaha, no she was in Amsterdam, I was in Rotterdam.

not only did I never meet her, she never even wrote to me!

we lost contact before we even got started.

why have I never heard of this? why isn’t it bigger?

the main guy, Jeff Mangum, after this record he just kinda…gave up.
no more records, he’s randomly appeared on stage with a few bands but that’s about it.


I’d love to talk to him.

did he just feel like this was such an achievement….that it couldn’t be bettered?

it’s superb, the best thing I’ve heard in years.

I sometimes forget what a jaw-droppingly amazing record this is, as it went on I found myself slowly pushing the volume up and up, until I could barely hear what Nick was saying.

Listen to this record on Spotify.


De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (Tommy Boy, 1989)


Nick: this, to me, sounds like rap for people who don’t like rap.

soft rap.

but it’s…

I certainly wouldn’t listen to it twice.

that opening with the gameshow, it’s just a load of cobblers.

not interesting, not funny.

but the music is good, intelligent.

rap that you can take home to your mother.

well that was the idea I guess, they wanted to mark themselves out as different, like look at the cover, all the flowers, the yellow and pink and so on.

well, it worked.

I have a certain amount of sympathy for it, not admiration, sympathy.

I’d say the genuine rappers would absolutely hate this.

‘what do these bastards think they are doing??!’

it’s almost like symphonic rock in that….these people have no business making rap.

spinster rap.

rap for old ladies in twinsets.

nicely inoffensive.

but surely then it could be argued that it was extremely radical.

for it’s time.

yeah, you *could* argue that, but it would be incredibly stupid.

like… the biggest revolutionary is the person who accepts everything?

good musicians too, it’s well played.

well they’re pretty much all samples.

oh really? wow, that’s quite clever.

oh, here’s a list of all the samples.

hahahaha, oh my god.

do you know what I always find about that?

the amount of patience and musical knowledge that must go into making each song.

they must be…like where do you start?

but then, is it art?

I guess…yeah it probably is.

of course I’m not used to that, I never expect samples.

and if you don’t expect samples you don’t hear them.

so they’re capable of fooling me.

but now that you’ve said it, I can start to recognize things.

it goes on a bit doesn’t it?

you wouldn’t play it on a daily basis.

What can I say about De La Soul?


Slint – Spiderland (Touch and Go, 1991)


Nick: when is this from?



too late.

how so?

it doesn’t sound 91, it sounds much earlier.

what to you is the sound of 91?

I don’t know, there’s lots of sounds for 1991.

this just sounds earlier.

{track 4: Washer}

do you know what I constantly get the feeling about, listening to this?


that it hasn’t started yet.

that this is all a preliminary…this is a soundcheck.

and then the loud bits come in.

it’s sort of interesting, but you constantly, well I constantly feel like it should lead somewhere.

the only way I can describe it is unsatisfactory, as a piece of music.

it still feels like we’re at the start.

well it’s just ended.


strange bit of music, I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams, buy that or…

it’s not unpleasant to listen to it’s just…

and then, I’ve always been opposed to talking in songs.

{reading the inlay}

‘interested female vocalists write to..’

so they want, or wanted, a girl in the band?

it should read ‘interested composers, interested arrangers please write to…’

I was at ATP a couple years a go and this dude says to me,
‘you going to see Slint?’
‘maybe, I’m not really that interested in seeing them live’
‘aha before your time yeah?’
‘yeah, I guess’

I wandered off to wherever and then realised the guy was, if not the same age as me, then younger. Making him around 9 years old when Spiderland came out.

Weezer – Pinkerton (Geffen, 1996)

weenkertonNick: strange name.

it’s the old story.

nothing new, nothing I haven’t heard many times before.

it’s good but….

{throws arms up in the air}

they’re like hundreds of other bands.

anything else you can add?

ehh… no.

it’s nice and slightly interesting but it’s in no way original.

also it’s quite relentless, apart from the last one it’s just banging on and on, same level, same pace.

now, mind you I wasn’t in the right mood for that music, if you know what I mean.

The readers of Rolling Stone magazine voted this the second worst album of 1996. That’s how good it is.

Chain And The Gang – Down With Libery… Up With Chains! (K, 2009)


{track 4: Reparations}

Nick: up to this number, I found it quite interesting, it’s quite simple and…

suddenly when that number started I thought it was totally phony, I’m afraid.

it didn’t ring true.

‘let’s have a protest song’

but there are a lot of things I like about this.

I like that they keep it extremely simple.

I especially like the New Orleans brass band percussion, as I’d call it.

that’s great.

it’d be a lot better if they stayed away from political themes, it just doesn’t ring true.

why not?

it’s like they thought ‘we sound like the kind of band who should have some political themes, so…’

seems to have absolutely no conviction.

so this band of mainly, actually probably all white people playing, as you said, ‘New Orleans percussion’…that rings true more than their political songs?


it does.

because it’s not like they’re trying to recreate that, it just sounds like that.

give some kids some percussion instruments and you’d have something as simple.

so are you saying people from New Orleans are child-like?

hahaha no!

you are drawing the wrong conclusions, and you’re doing it purposely.

I guess it’s just down to personal taste more than anything, I’ve never liked political music.

”How do we describe our sound? Something we just found, yeh we dug it up, outta the ground!”

Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise (Asthmatic Kitty, 2005)


Nick: well that can’t be helped.

what can’t?

that it is called Illinoise.

do you want to help?

no, not really.

it’s nice….

but to my mind it’s a little bit overly sweet, sugary.

dripping with….’aren’t we very nice, gentle people’

sounds as if he dresses in velvet, wears lace collars and sits on the floor playing his songs with his head in his mothers lap, she’s stroking his hair as he sings.



has he got a large female following? I’d say he has.

I’d assume he has as many male as female fans, he is a handsome guy though if that’s what you mean, can you tell that from his music?

no, I just mean… the way he sings, he wants to be mothered, he needs protection.

I’d say that…

now, it’s good music.

nicely put together, just very sweet.

{track 9 – Chicago}

I’ve heard this one before.

I think it’s been in an ad, but it’s the kind of song you only need to hear once…

yeah I’m….it’s very catchy.

it’s the kind of song that gets played at the end of the Saturday football show, over all the goals.

really?! I think it’s too sweet for that.

and all this sweetness, it all comes from his voice.

is this a double album?

According to Nick, if Sufjan were a Dutch name, it would mean ‘dim’ or ‘dumb’ John. Sufjan Stevens attended college in Holland, Michigan. Coincidence? I think not.

Herman Düne – Not On Top (Track & Field, 2005)

notonduneNick: hermindoone? one word?

nope it’s like a name Herman Düne, but it’s a band.


{Nick is painting in the corner of the room}

can you hear ok over there?

I .an ..r it f…

yeah, ok but I can’t hear you.


well…I like it.

apart from the inevitable use of the word ‘baby’ which I still think should be banned from all music.

it prevents people from writing better lyrics.

their new album, this one is from 2005, has a song called “Baby Baby You’re My Baby’…

that is just….terrible.

{track 6: This Will never Happen}

first song where the lyrics don’t work, I hate when people double the speed of certain lines just to fit all the words in.

try harder!

he’s English?

nope and there ‘s no ‘he’.


hahahah no, sorry I should’ve said, there are two he’s.

they’re brothers, the voices can be kind of hard to tell apart in the beginning.

so are they American?

Swiss / French.


the lyrics strike me as English, maybe the music is kind of American.

god, their English is very good so.

except for the overuse of ‘baby’.

lose that and they could be great.

baby should be banned for a number of years.

large fines against those who use it, and that all goes to lyric writers pension funds.

Oh man it’s so good, I almost want to put it straight back on. I picked this up based on the cover alone, the next few months, years, were spent getting my hands on everything they had done (which is a lot). Last album was a bit of a stinker, I thought it was because Andre had left the band but his first solo record since leaving was fairly rubbish too. So…….