Music and Mourning

maxresdefault

Last year we lost a lot of great artists, Lemmy form Motorhead left us (though technically that was 2016 but I still feel that is what set off the catalyst for 2017), then David Bowie and then it was like they all said fuck this crazy stupid world and up and left. Although death is inevitable and it wasn’t really the grim reaper going round on a drunken spree swinging his scythe willy nilly, more to the fact there are a lot more actors and musicians because there are just a lot more people last year just felt like one big long conga line of talent that couldn’t wait to get off this godforsaken planet. I was going to write about earlier but then decided against for whatever reason, then something happened last week and I feel the need to ramble a little.

Most of deaths didn’t shock me that much, although these days being in your 70s isn’t considered that old any more, it’s not really that shocking when some one in their 70s does die, I don’t mean that in a horrible way but it seems normalish. Or when it is revealed that they were sick and it lessens the blow a little because we can reconcile that. But when someone dies in their 50s for no apparent reason, it hits a little more home, not just because they are closer to your age but also because 50 isn’t even past retirement and so by that theory not old.

So Chris Cornell’s sudden death at the age of 52 was pretty much a shocker, in fact I spent pretty much most of the day in denial. It was even sadder to find out that his death was ruled as suicide by hanging, a few weeks after Piers Moran declaring that men need to man up and shut up about their feelings, it’s not hard to see why male suicide rates are higher. Depression or suicide doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t care and it leaves a lasting imprint on those left behind.

Each Generation has their idols, their music, rock n roll, Prog Rock, the Beatles, punk music, for me it was Grunge, so this is the context from which I speak about music. I was always a fan of music from a young age, I loved dancing and singing despite not being able to do wither but Grunge, Grunge woke me up, it was something I could finally connect to, it opened up my music world and with each band I discovered led me to discovering more bands and the bands that influenced them and the writers and the movies, it was the first time I feel I belonged to something, the first time I could be a part of something. I also feel that if it wasn’t for Grunge, Riot Grrls and being apart of generation X I probably wouldn’t be as political or pissed off about injustices as I am. This wave of music didn’t just open doors for me to discover new music but also to think and to challenge.

This music wasn’t passed down to me by my parents or an aunt or uncle, this music I discovered myself, this scene came to life just as I becoming a teen, most of my friends were lusting after Take That. New Kid on the Block were the last ‘boy band’ I ever loved and then I discovered Grunge and I had to educate my parents about what noise I was listening to and why. Soundgarden were a major part of the Grunge scene, the Grunge scene was a major part of my life as a teenage and I’ve lost count the number of times I watched Black Hole Sun on MTV back when MTV was an actual music channel.

But thing about Cornell wasn’t just that he was part of this scene, it was his voice, his amazing powerful voice. So many singers dragged me out of my teen ennui and made me pay attention because of their voice. That was another thing about the Grunge scene it wasn’t just a new wave of music it was a new wave of amazing singers that came with it. Like Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, Kat Bjellend, Mark Lanegan, Donita Sparks, all had powerful voices, raw and powerful and distinctive voices telling you their stories, stories that you need to hear again and again.

We lost a few too soon, like Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Andrew Wood, Stefanie Sargeant but they live on in their music. We will obviously never feel the loss that their families do but there is a reason we mourn artists. They may have been strangers but they shared a  part of themselves through their art to which we could relate and it made us feel like we belonged, it made us feel connected, and maybe that is the loss that we actually mourn.

(pic credit: youtube)

Twin Peaks Reissues

You know by know how much I love Twin Peaks and am very excited for the new series to the point I’m considering getting a another streaming subscription just so I can watch it on Sky Atlantic when it starts in May. Too much you say? Probably but I don’t care, plus I’d have to do some serious muting on social media to hide spoilers, plus its Twin Peaks!

Twin peaks OST

Anyway back to the point of this post which is the Vinyl reissues of Twin Peaks original score  for the series and for  Fire Walk With Me.

The original score was released last year by Death Waltz records, actually they reissued both and both come in the same style jacket with die cut out front, so you have to be careful when re-inserting the sleeve.

twin peak ost inner sleeve

The inner sleeve is a gatefold with director approved art artwork and sleeve notes By Angelo Badalamenti.

twin peaks ost coffee coloured vinyl

Vinyl was re-mastered by Tal Miller and is pressed on 180G damn fine coffee colour vinyl and you know I’m a sucker for coloured vinyl. I’m not an expert on these things but it’s a pretty good pressing.

twin peaks inner sleeve laura's eye

So naturally when they released Fire Walk With Me on cherry pie vinyl I was all over that because you need pie to go with your coffee.

twin peaks fire walk with me ost

This version comes with a bespoke black die cut sleeve.

twin peaks cherry pie coloured vinyl

Pressed on 180g cherry pie vinyl with a composer approved audio.

Twin peaks fwwm inner sleeve

The inner gatefold sleeves again comes with director approved artwork and also sleeve notes By film critic Mark Kermode

I was a little bit annoyed with whoever packed this as it was not done with the greatest of care and gatefold sleeve was crushed in the corners and one of the inner sleeves was split but the vinyl itself was fine so I guess I can put up with a few dings in the casing., maybe I’m just being precious or snobby.

If you’re a TP or Badalamenti fan then these are most definitely for you, though I’m assuming you already have them. They are still available to purchase from various outlets, mainly directly from Death Waltz Records.

Like I said before these aren’t really reviews, if you’re a collector or fan, you already know what you like and I doubt little old me is going to convince you otherwise but these are good pressings and I think good value for money!

I’m currently winging my way through a bunch of purchases I made recently as I build up my collection, I hope to get a little better with these write ups.

 

Rock en Seine Part 2

So hopefully your back for part 2 of our adventure to Rock en Seine

Saturday

So I spent celebrating my 37 birthday at a festival, the great thing about a festival that’s on a metro line is that you get to head into the city and meet a friend for birthday lunch before the festival starts. When we got back we headed to the main stage to see St Paul and The Broken Bones a soul band from Alabama, they were pretty good and a nice way to ease your self in to the second day of a festival.

 

Thee Oh Sees

If you like your music consisted entirely of experimental feedback, then this is the band for you!

Cheveu 

A cross between Gogol Bordello and Aphex Twin, I’m pretty sure as we passed at one point, one of the band members was standing on their equipment possibly in the name of art, possibly because they were just showing off.

Portishead

Last time I saw Portishead was in a bingo hall in Minehead, this time it’s in a park in the suburbs of Paris.

They opened with Silence off the album Third, followed by Mysterions a and The Rip. Wandering Star (one of my favourite tracks) was hauntingly beautiful with Beth’s voice all soft and wistful.

Wandering Star

This was followed up by Machine Gun with bass track set at organ liquidating level, you could feel you’re bones vibrating, this is how Machine Gun is meant to sound, it’s supposed to hit you in the very core. That’s the thing with Portishead live, you hear the songs how they’re really meant to sound whether is it soft and wistful or bone shattering loud! 

They’re songs were accompanied by video art, they played a track I never heard before called Chase The Tear which I was informed was Krautrock. They played an encore of Roads and finished with We Carry One.

Checked out some guy called Flume, he was some sort of DJ, he was jumping around a lot, seemed to hit a few button here and there, lost interest very quickly.

Saw about five minutes of The Horrors

 and then saw about five minutes of the Prodigy, the last time I saw the Prodigy was at Download festival, they are a good band to see live but to be honest I just wasn’t into this time round.

Sunday

Sunday was a bit more sedate, I only really wanted to see three bands which were Brody Dalle, Tinariwen and Queens of The Stone Age, so we spent most of the morning just lazing around in the tent reading and eating junk food!

Brody Dalle

Even though I had seen Brody Dalle a few months ago at the Electric Ballroom, I was keen to see her in a festival setting, some bands thrive in different settings, some are good in small, intimate club settings, others fair better at stadium settings, other at festivals, Dalle seems to fair better in a festival setting.

Photo by Tim Campbell

She open with Rat Race off the new album Diploid Love, followed by a couple of Distillers tracks such as Dismantle Me and Die on a Rope. Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy is probably one of my fave tracks of the new album, also played Parties for Prostitutes, a few more Distillers tracks and ended with Underworld. The problem with smaller stages at festivals means short sets. Still very much enjoyed the set.

Saw about 5 minutes of Thurston Moore on the indie stage which is the smallest stage at the festival and also at this point the most packed so we left in search of food.

Tinariwen

I First discovered Tinariwen on Later with Jools Holland, they are a group of Taureg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of Mali but formed in Algeria in 1979 and returned to Mali in the 1990s after the cease fire, they describe themselves as a Saharan Blues Band. When I heard they were playing the festival I knew this would be a chance to actually get to see them play live.

The stage area was packed so we grabbed some food and chilled out in one of the art zones allowing us to eat and watch the band at the same time. They were really cool and totally enjoying the festival vibe.

Queens of The Stone Age

I’ve seen this band a few times, this will not surprise you as they are my favourite band and they were the main deciding factor in schlepping across the the channel to camp in a field! The stage set was as always quite impressive, they have built themselves a reputation as a festival band, I’ve seen a few live streams of their appearances at Rock am Ring and other European festivals. The set was limited to and hour fifteen minutes because it was Sunday but they ended up playing for an hour and half. Now apparently we were having such a good time between us, The Goth and I didn’t take many pictures and those we did weren’t that great, sorry!

Photo by Tim Campbell

They opened with Millionaire, followed by No One Knows and My God is the Sun to get the crowd going. My favourite rendition of the night was Feel Good Hit of Summer with them slowing the tempo right down in the middle and giving the song a whole new edge, I loved it. I Wanna Make It Witch was played for all the couples in the audience and of course Josh takes to the piano for Vampyre of Time and Memory, followed by the raucous Sick, Sick, Sick which has to be one of my fave QOTSA videos of all time. I had a good sing along to I appear Missing my fave track along with Vampyre of the Like Clockwork album.

They finished with Go With The Flow and Song From The Dead and it was an amazing ride and I’m probably biased but having someone told me recently that they’d sold out/passed it whatever, I have to strongly disagree. They are a band that functions on playing great live music and getting everyone to dance at the party, they want to have a good time and they want you to have a good time and that is always the vibe I’ve got from them when seeing them play live which is why I keep going back for more. It was a great end to a great festival.

Overview of Festival

I like Rock En Seine, it’s a small festival compared to some, they have four stages with only two stages playing at one time mainly due to the limitation of space, the two bigger stages alternate and so do the smaller stages. This means less bands but also means less band clashes and you get to stick around longer for the sets. This is also one of the cleanest festivals I’ve been to, they heavily promote recycling and unlike some festivals I’ve been to people here don’t leave their trash on the floor for someone else to pick up 9well most of them don’t). They also have a return cup scheme, you pay a euro for a reusable plastic cup that you can use for the entire festival (or get it swapped for free for a clean one) and return it at the end to get your deposit back or in our case keep as souvenirs. They also promote hearing safety and were giving out free ear plus, muppet here forgot hers and ended up buying some from a chemist in the train station but that was before I knew about the free ones. It’s also kid friendly, there is a kids activity area for the smaller kids.

I would definitely go back but next time I won’t camp, despite saying to be mindful of other campers when they are sleeping, there is a huge club tent smack bang in the middle of the campsite that runs till 3am! But there are showers and the toilets are emptied and cleaned everyday so yeah it’s swings and roundabouts, if you plan on staying in the campsite I recommend really good earplugs. Besides the metro is still running after the festival finishes so most people could book a hotel for the weekend.

Well that marks the end of festival season for me, what have been to this year?

Natasha  x

Travel Diaries – Viva Las Vegas 17

This year at Easter I  my first ever Viva Las Vegas Festival. For those not in the know, Viva Las Vegas is an annual rockabilly festival held at The Orleans Hotel every Easter. It actually started out in another hotel but as it grew more and more popular, it’s had to find bigger premises to accommodate its popularity. Having followed lots of American vintage blogs over the years, I’ve know about VLV for a while now but last year after telling the OH I’ve always wanted to go, he said let’s do it, so we booked tickets. The Orleans always sells out before tickets are even released so we ended up at The Gold Coast, one of the sister hotels for the event. There is a shuttle bus that runs 24 hours though the festival between The Orleans and The Gold Coast every half hour along side the usual shuttle bus that also to Baly’s on the strip.

As this was out first time in Las Vegas, we split out time between the festival and doing a bit of sight seeing as we were only there for five days, we flew in from Vancouver which took about three hours.

The first night we were supposed to head over to Frankie’s Tiki Room but I was laid out with a migraine and ended up crashing out, so we missed a pre-Viva drink and catch up with some friends.

On Thursday we headed over to The Orleans and picked up our High Roller wristbands, the festival didn’t start until the evening so we took the shuttle bus and had a wander round the strip. Found the Betty Page store (which was being rebranded), was a little disappointed in the clothes (very ill fitting) but got a really nice flamingo bathing suit even it was 80 bucks but it’s the first halterneck swimsuit that actually was supportive and pretty.

One of the few vintage dresses I did bring with me for Viva

We went to The Flaming Hotel to see, wait for it, the Flamingos!

In the evening we headed back to The Orleans, had a wander round to see if I would bump into any of my friends but to no avail, so we ended up in Brendan’s to watch some bands and drink $2 Rum and cokes! Did a little drunk shopping and bought some sunglasses and jacket patches!

The Tequila Worms
On Friday we headed over to The Orleans to try and get tickets for the burlesque shows but the queue was so long we went and watched the Fashion show instead and I managed to bump into my friends and have a little catch up. We headed back to The Gold Coast to chill out for a while and have some lunch and in the evening we headed back to watch some Burlesque Bingo which involved was a lot of fun and not just because it involved ass tassels. Afterwards we had another wander round the stalls, that day’s drunken purchases included some hair pomade and a vintage bangle.

On Saturday we chilled out by the pool before heading over to the car show, which is one of the main attractions at the festival. The were so many awesome cars, I wanted all of them!

Mercury

Coronet

A Red Impala, my dream car!

I also had my photo taken with the legend that is Tempest Storm.

Yes I look like a complete starstruck goofball I know.

I also bought an awesome vintage handbag with Lucite handles and in the evening we headed over to the Neon Museum for a night tour.

On Sunday we had another lounge by the pool and catching up on reading and then packed our suitcases ready for the morning and then headed off to The Orleans for our final evening. We watched the Charles Phoenix Comedy Slide Show which was absolutely hilarious, we then hit the vendors and took advantage of the final day discounts and I got some very sweet deals. We had a few drinks and watched some dancing and listened to some music but didn’t stay too late because of having to get up early and fly home.

My first Viva experience was a good one and I really enjoyed it. I’m not a rockabilly gal but I loved the whole vibe and atmosphere of the festival. The Car Show was my favourite, I was in motor heaven and I alo really loved seeing all the effort people put into their outfits and hairstyles, so many vintage clothes, thankfully most didn’t fit me or I’d be bankrupt by now and everyone was so friendly. I definitely want to go back again and next time spend more time at the festival and seeing more of the events.

Natasha x

Rock en Seine Part 1

Having spent the last two years attending Download, which I truly love as a festival, this year we decided to try some different festivals. We had already booked the Viva Las Vegas festival, then we saw the now doomed Alt-Fest which was supposed to run two weekends ago but got cancelled at short notice and is now plagued by rumours of financial fraud, it’s a shame it could have been an amazing alternative festival which to be frank this country is missing a good alternative festival but alas it looks like it will never be. I also spotted Rock En Seine which will cross off my ‘Go to a festival abroad’ off my adventure list, when I saw Portishead and Queens of the Stone Age were playing and I knew how I wanted to spend my birthday weekend.

So again I really have to learn about advance planning, we booked the festival tickets and decided to camp because I actually quite like camping but it turns out you can stay at hotels if you prefer mainly because the festival is located in Domain National de St Cloud on the edge of Paris, last stop on the metro line 10 and the festival ends each night before the metro closes for people to get home. Turns we could have crashed at my cousins flat, who lives five minutes away from the park and was also going but that’s what happens when you takes a Facebook sabbatical. We also left booking our Eurostar tickets a little late and ended up with less than cheap tickets but for an extra fiver each way we upgraded to premium which meant two course meal served at out seats, the meals were not worth it, ordering a gluten free meal apparently means you only eat meat and stewed fruit and no you can’t swap! But the huge seats and comfort alone were worth it.

We decided to head out on Thursday and spend a night in a hotel before heading down to the festival in Friday morning, just because we didn’t want to spend a day travelling, setting up camp and missing some of the festival. I have to say I was a little apprehensive going to a french festival and still not being able to speak very much french, any abysmal attempts at French at our stay in the city were just meant with English responses! But the festival is fine because of the high number of English visitors, most of the staff are multilingual. We stayed in the Midnight Hotel just a ten minutes walk from Gare du Nord (assuming you’re heading in the right direction unlike us) or five minutes from Gare Du L’Est station.

The hotel was to put it politely compact but very clean with friendly staff, perfect for an overnight stay.

 

Friday

On Friday we head off on the metro, the park is a ten minute walk from then metro station, the campsite however is a 40 minute trek uphill and quite a steep hill at that. I’m sure there’s an upside of a campsite being at the top of park but I’ll get back to you on the one! We also got passed by lots of smug runners along the way!

We missed Kitty, Daisy and Lewis but heard the last off their set on the walk down from the campsite, they weren’t on the original line up so think they must have been a replacement for Cage the Elephant!

We headed straight to the food court because trekking up hill with camping gear is calorie burning work.  

Pegase 

Sounded quite good as we sat in the food court, I’ll be investigating there music further.

Even the statues seemed to be enjoying the festival

Traams  

are an indie rock band worth checking out but I probably won’t be rushing out to buy their album.

Blondie

Now I only saw Blondie a few months ago in a tiny crammed venue in Shepard’s Bush, today I was crammed in the middle of a field and it’s raining but who cares it’s Blondie. She was wearing some crazy dress and obviously enjoying herself a lot. They played loads of classics and a few new ones, definitely the highlight of Friday.

It seems that this year my camera is refusing to take decent pictures of Blondie, maybe it just can’t handle her awesomeness but here is a double rainbow that appeared during set after we got rained on for a bit.

However The Goth managed to get a decent picture on his camera!

Photo by Tim Campbell

The Hives 

I’ve heard of The Hives but never really listened to their stuff but as a live band they really are quite good, I really couldn’t name you any of there songs but I really enjoyed their set and will probably go and buy some of their albums now.

We were a bit tired and it kept raining so we skipped the rest of the night as I was flagging by this point, Die Antwoord sounded like a riot as we headed up the camp. I’m not a massive Artic Monkeys fan so wasn’t too bothered about missing their set.

The theme for the festival for this year was a space theme, there was a pimp your tent contest in the campsite which basically meant the local Franprix had excellent sales in tin foil this year.

Imperial Guards by Cedric Delsaux
Each of the bands a poster designed by an artist, you could by a pack of these prints. Some were displayed in the metro station and there were a display area in the festival.
Well as this original post was a little long in the tooth I decided to break it into two parts.
Natasha x