A Smattering of Distant Applause

I don't feel like dancin'. Except, of course, I do.


O Decemberists!

Now that Patrick Wolf has put his next album back to January, I can say with quite a lot of confidence that my favourite albm of 2006 is going to be The Crane Wife by favourite band, The Decemberists. The tracklist looks like this:

1. The Crane Wife 3
2. The Island
-Come and See
-The Landlord's Daughter
-You'll Not Feel the Drowning
3. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
4. O Valencia!
5. The Perfect Crime #2
6. When the War Came
7. Shankill Butchers
8. Summersong
9. The Crane Wife 1 & 2
10. Sons and Daughters

Three of those songs I've already heard; they played 'Summersong', an upbeat number that I can't remember very well, at the Oxford Zodiac in May, and there have been live mp3s of Colin Meloy playing O Valencia! and Shankill Butchers floating around for a while now. O Valencia!, a Romeo and Juliet-esque tale in which the girl is accidentally shot by her brother, is my favourite of the two tracks, but Shankhill Butchers is growing on me a lot. It's a creepy song about a group of people in Ireland who used to go around capturing Catholics at night and killing them; apparently the story is still told to Catholic children before bedtime. I have many favourite things about The Decemberists, but right up there at the top of the list is the creative stories they tell in their songs. Have a listen to the live mp3s for yourself:

O Valencia!
Shankhill Butchers

I expect the recorded versions will be quite different, but you get the general idea, and the general idea seems very promising indeed. Roll on October 3rd...


I went to see the wizard. He gave me season three!

Veronica: Why are you here?

Lilly: Don't you watch any horror movies? My soul is doomed to walk the earth until justice has been served.

Veronica: Really?

Lilly: Yeah, that and, as kind of a side project, I dispense fashion advice.

Veronica Mars is the best show on TV. If you don't agree with that, you obviously didn't read the above quote.

The agonisingly long gap between the end of season two and the start of season three - 68 days until it returns on new network The CW on 3rd October - has had me reading far more spoilers than I really ought, but I'm not going to share them with you as it's easy enough to find them if you so wish.

I don't yet know enough about any mysteries to pass comment, and I'm going to try to avoid knowing too much, but I've found out some casting spoilers that have got me all excited. The best news so far is that the lovely Tina Majorino will be a regular character rather than just a recurring one, meaning we'll be seeing Mac in more episodes than the past couple of seasons and hopefully she'll play more of a part in the actual storylines rather than merely being, in her own words, the Q to Veronica's Bond.

There's also news on a couple of actors that will be joining the show.

Chris Lowell will be playing the strangely-named Piz (named after Mark Piznarski, who directed the first two episodes of season one) who is Wallace's roommate at Hearst and who has been rumoured to be a new love interest for Veronica. Predictably, all the Logan/Veronica shippers are up in arms about that last part, but we'll just have to wait and see what really happens. I doubt the shippers have that much to worry about, because although Logan/Veronica is never going to be an easy ride, it seems inevitable that whenever the show ends - and I hope that's not for a good long time - they'll be riding off into the sunset together, or some suitably noir-ish alternative to that.

The other new character is Parker, played by Julie Gonzalo, who will be Mac's roommate at Hearst. I've not seen her in anything before, meaning I can't comment on her acting ability, but let me just state the obvious: yum.

Most people who have watched the first two seasons of Veronica Mars will agree that the second season, while still better than most things on TV, didn't quite live up to the brilliance of season one, so it's going to be really interesting to see how season differs and whether they'll manage to improve it. From what I've read, the writers seem to be acknowledging what went wrong with season two and have been taking steps to change the format slightly to try to improve, and I look forward to seeing where they take it next year.

The current music 'scene': two rants and a rave

Let's talk about Lily Allen. Everyone else is, and it won't be very long until she's boring and passé, so consider this me striking while the iron is still hot.

Here's the thing about Lily Allen: she's not actually very good.

Ever since PopJustice mentioned Lily a few months ago, before the bandwagon was thoroughly jumped on, I've been trying to 'get' her, but so far I've failed miserably. Some of her songs are amusing - I don't mind admitting that Nan You're A Window Shopper is somewhere approaching genius - but apart from chuckling at the occasional lyric, her music doesn't excite me at all; I've heard her album and it never quite manages to exceed 'quite good'. Plus, anyone who can write a song called Cheryl Tweedy and not make it the acest thing I've ever heard? Must be rubbish.

And while I'm at it: her blog. Her 'hilarious' blog that's 'essential reading', or whatever people have been saying about it.

"Today I did this show and then I did that and then I met [insert name of indie rockstar here] and he was a cunt and YAY SMILE IS NUMBER ONE THANK YOU I'm so pleased I acted like a twat but that's not the same thing as the indie guy being a twat because here I am acknowledging it so who cares if I'm not going to change. Plus [insert name of another indie rockstar here] is also a dick."

Slagging people off does not a personality make, especially if you're not even going to bother doing it in a particularly interesting or creative way.

Lily isn't the only current popstar that's ridiculously overrated: Step forward, Mr. Timberlake. SexyBack is so nearly a great song, but the lack of anything resembling a melody and the fact that it goes on for several hours means that, frankly, it isn't. I'm similarly unimpressed with the 'my spacebar has broken' gimmick he's got going on. What's the point?

Luckily, it's not all doom and gloom in the world of pop, which is largely due to the return of the wonderful Scissor Sisters. I Don't Feel Like Dancin' is not exactly cutting edge, but when it sounds this good, who cares? It's great fun and hugely danceable, despite the title, and everything that pop music should be.

Life feels so much better with Scissor Sisters in it.

A smattering of what now?

Hello. I feel like some sort of introductory post is both necessary and inevitable, hence me writing this.

Every now and then I get the urge to write some sort of music blog, even though past incarnations have never been terribly successful. (f you've seen my past blogs, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't - well, they're as embarrassing as you'd expect something written by a fourteen year-old to be, so I'm not going to provide you with a link. I have no idea whether this one is going to be any more successful (i.e. whether it will last for more than a couple of months), but it should be fun to go along for the ride, or something like that.

The difference between this blog and my previous ones? Firstly, I'll be trying to make this one not suck. Secondly, I'm branching out a little, which basically means that rather than just writing about pop music, I'll be writing about pop culture in general: music, TV, films, 'entertainment in general'.

It's going to be awesome.*

*Subject to change.