Monthly Archives: August 2012

Good music; you will like

Well, since being one of the coolest people on earth is a pretty awesome feat, I really want to be able to donate money to Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra for their new song. Sadly, I am too poor. The best I can do is tell you, my viewership, about the fact that they are giving away (theoretically) FREE MUSIC FOR YOUR EARS.

Can I embed stuff here? No? Then I’ll have to tell you to go to the link below that has an image attached. Go get stuff!

And if you want an idea as to what this sounds like, I can only say that it’s a bit like this.

I feel it’s kind of sad that this is a sampler which is longer than a number of albums that I can name, and yet it’s for free, and the intention is to use it to promote the actual album. I don’t know what makes it sad – that it’s being “given away” like this, that giving it away is a viable move, or that I actually can’t afford to give the money that I want to – but it seems a wee bit unfair still.

Author filibuster over –  I has music, you should download it, and tip her/them if you can. But above all enjoy Amanda Palmer’s music: jesus-fuck, she sure is!


The Hang of Music: Three Times Over Clutch In August

Hey guys, we’re stepping back into familiar territory with a band I’ve been trying to fathom for most of my time on this blog. I remember sitting in a friends house and writing the review for this band’s first album last summer. Oh good times, days before I became the internet powerhouse I am now…

I am speaking, of course, of Clutch, who are to poets what bin-men are to mathematicians, but they can shred a guitar.

That was a bit harsh, but regardless here’s their third album, inexplicably called “The Elephant Riders”. No mention of the Maharaja anywhere.

Read the rest of this entry

Quick Folk Bump!

In my last few Audiovised reviews, I’ve complained about the lack of stuff to link to, especially from my friend and contributor Paddy Rose. Well, he has kindly (and not-entirely-empty-of-self-intererest-edly) linked me to his most recent review of Sam Lee; “A Ground of It’s Own”, on the website Bright Young Folk.

It’s a good review, and sounds like an interesting album. AND YOU SHOULD TOTALLY CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE.

The Hang of Music: I am literally running out of “Hotel California” puns now.

Seriously, every joke I make just hurts. But I have to break through it. I have to write here, right now, to tell you that The Hang of Music: Audiovised! #5 is up now on mixcloud, and there’s plenty of room availible for you and your friends to listen to it.

There, I made one last joke. You happy now. Click the image!

I can only love and tolerate so much…

[Trigger warning for a lot of stuff. Not here, but on some of the links. Mostly slurs and some rape jokes.]

Whilst browsing the blogs, I came across this post by Feminist Fiction, and it raised some similarities with recent developments in the skeptical community which I felt like sharing. But first, some background.

I am a brony. You all should know that. In fact, I am pleased to say that I am one of the guys mentioned in FF’s post as buying and proudly wearing my Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash* badges. Because Twilight, Dash and the Mane Six all kick ass, and the brony/pegasister fandom is an awesome one – in my experience, it’s always been full of creativity, love, and care.

“Love”? On the internet hate-machine? What a novel idea!

So I was horrified to find out about the sort of abuse that went on at Everfree convention a while back. You really would think that this fandom should be free of misogyny. Transphobic slurs, molestation jokes and country matters prove otherwise.

Read the rest of this entry

Keith Murray on Album Trailers? Hells yeah, I’m reading that!

As you may have guessed from my angrily ripping into Muse’s pretentious piece of bullshit about their new album, I don’t like album trailers. I don’t like Muse’s, I didn’t like Bloc Party‘s, and I wouldn’t like The Killers’. They’re ALMOST AS BAD AS THE BOOK TRAILERS I’VE STARTED SEEING. And that’s something.

Relatedly, Keith Murray, of awesome band We Are Scientists, has written an article about what they mean. I may be superimposing my beliefs on his writing, but I get the feeling he agrees with me – maybe without so much bile and frustration though.

“While, in their trailer, The Killers (a band I love dearly, mind you)* appear to suggest that they spent the bulk of their recording sessions staring shamanically into a blazing desert bonfire, I myself passed a good chunk of mine staring narcotically into the middle distance of a room in lower Manhattan while a drum tech loudly tuned a snare drum over and over and over.”

Regardless of his position one way or the other, he does what Keith Murray and WAS do best in my opinion: be funny about it.

“I hope in our promo we’re going to fly some harrier jump-jets through the grand canyon and then French-kiss some tiger cubs while Chris punches a digital crocodile/crab hybrid through a brick wall, saving a gang of machine-gun-toting bikini models. That should just about capture the majesty, the vigor, the lustiness of our latest studio project, I think.”


I don’t care if it makes no sense: it’s fracking awesome!

* This is definitely Keith Murray speaking, not me!

Now you can sing along too!

This just gets better and better! Well, insofar as illegal arrests can be better…

Pussy Riot aren’t just true punks and feminists sticking it to the man: they’re sacreligious atheists too!* Joy of joys! My estimation of them can’t help but raise higher and higher!

I find this out from Maryam Namazie, who says how much she’d love to do the same in a Mosque, and from Carol Rumen, who has provided me with what I wanted – an English translation of the lyrics.

I’ve read through them, and impressively she’s even got the rhythm down in her english versions, so I am impressed. Set “hat” = “off”.

Lyrics beneath the fold.

Read the rest of this entry

Free Pussy Riot!

Pussy Riot are a Russian punk band that started early this year. Or at least, early this year they started doing their most awesome stuff, some of which has included being arrested – but more on that later.

Now I’m often skeptical of bands who call themselves punk these days. They’re usually conflating punk with “whining” and with “playing loud and fast”. They miss the furious, unrelenting political stances; the desire to offend and provoke; the home-grown ethic and the frankly limited musicianship.

So when I saw that someone had called the music that I downloaded “punk rock”, I took it with a pinch of salt. Track one was enough to re-illusion me of this belief, with vocals on “Deliver Pavement” being recorded, badly, on top of the church, with wind and car horns providing backing vocals. And I don’t even think that they have indoor voices.

Yes, that’s them.

And the politics? No spare second of music is left without an anti-fascist statement – I assume; I don’t know any Russian, beyond “da”.

Which brings me onto the next part of this article – 3 of the band are in prison.

They are there because a lot of their songs criticise the eminently criticisable Vladimir Putin. I don’t know what they say about him, but really nothing would surprise me. All I know is that their EP and its title song are called “Kill The Sexist!” If that doesn’t say it all…

Well. Isn’t this shit? People are being imprisoned for singing. What is this, Joffrey’s Court?

Understandably, a bunch of people are pissed off about this. Well, aren’t you? They’ve been put in prison by a fascist regime for writing songs about that fascist regime, in the hopes that one day they won’t live in a fascist regime. I’m not sure how this can be any clearer.

So a movement has been arranged, with the intention of doing what the band cannot – at least while imprisoned. To get some measure of justice. And to get them out of prison. Peaches, who you may know of, has started a campaign, with a bunch of big musical backers, to support the home-grown activism Pussy Riot were spearheading and which is now campaigning to get them out of prison.

It’s just a simple petition: FREE PUSSY RIOT.

If you’ve been interested enough to read this far, click that link above. Just to watch the video, for fuck’s sake!

Others who’ve signed – The Hives, Lykke Li, members of  Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Scissor Sisters… But really, they aren’t important – I’m sorry to have made this a popularity contest. Because even if this is just a silly petition that only tells you that “we” care rather than implements serious societal change, we owe it to ourselves to say we don’t approve of this, no matter what.

On that note, here’s Billy Bragg:

Briefly going back to the music, maybe it isn’t as good as some stuff I’ve heard. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. It has to galvanise, and state it’s point, and from the tone of the songs, and the response it’s gotten, I’d say they achieved that.

And on top of that, it doesn’t hurt that the music is still pretty kick-ass!

* * *

Also of interest: whilst looking for pictures of the band, I found this –

… And while this is funny – which it is, don’t get me wrong – I have to say that my response is “Er, yeah.”

Nothing about this, about any of what’s gone on, is about the fact that they are women – with the possible exception that the news get more interesting pictures to post*. What’s happened has been all about what the band have done, and about what they’ve had done to them in response.

* And quite frankly, I wouldn’t say the band themselves are above knowing this fact and using it to strengthen their attack on Putin. Good on them if they did, because they’ve attracted the (unwanted) attention that Putin deserves and needs.

I didn’t infiltrate fuck all.

A couple of days ago I drew your attention to a post by Natalie Reed. Today is a follow up to that post – Jen McCreight is sick of this shit.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I agree with her. With bombshells like this being dropped like it was 1942 – Jen, Natalie, the unflinching shit chucked at Rebecca Watson and the endless shitstorms over what should be common sense – I’m just surprised all of this isn’t having more of an impact.

So yeah, read the article.

I’m gonna highlight one paragraph, though.

“Now it’s time for a third wave – a wave that isn’t just a bunch of “middle-class, white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied men” patting themselves on the back for debunking homeopathy for the 983258th time or thinking up yet another great zinger to use against Young Earth Creationists.

It’s time for a wave that cares about how religion affects everyone and that applies skepticism to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, politics, poverty, and crime. We can criticize religion and irrational thinking just as unabashedly and just as publicly, but we need to stop exempting ourselves from that criticism.”

We need to do this. And though I don’t mean to be patrirachal, the best thing that we, the old guard of straight white cisgendered men can do is to think how we can play midwife to this sort of awakening.

Who knows? Maybe at some point this week, I might write an article detailing what (I think) the role of the ally such as myself is in this situation. Because seriously, this? That thing up there?

It has to happen.

* * *

Oh look – Skepchick’s hard at work on this already, with a series of straight old white guys talking about why they’re allies, including:

It seems sexist that such allies even need to be found. Shows you how screwed up this is, huh?

The Hang of Music – Audiovised #4: Doing this for a year! “Hatful of Parties!”

I know that this is a bit late, but we only recorded it a few weeks ago, and editing is a bitch in another country.

A year is a long and awesome time, and you know what else is awesome? Panel games! So I got a bunch of Audiovised regulars together, and we’ve recorded some fun for you to enjoy. So click here or the image below and give it a whirl! And don’t be put off by Pinkie!

Also, another one coming sooner than you’d think 🙂