Friday, July 31, 2009

We like your coat!

Last night I was in the pub with Dave waiting for Ian to show up. When he did, he pulled the stool, sat down and said "Fucking hell, this is worse than ever before". He didn't even say hello. Our marathon stroll down memory lane (five days is a long time) included Dave getting up and doing a John Travolta dance, Ian pulling the festival programme out of his bag and going through the schedule, and me grabbing my double vodka with both hands and downing it in one.

We were talking about Indietracks, by the way.

I miss Indietracks so badly. It hit me on Wednesday night that that there's so much perfection and randomness in spending three days in the middle of nowhere under banners that say 'indiepop festival' that it's impossible to not need help to get over it. Anyone's got any drugs? DJ Polar's disco in the loco shed on Sunday night was the most unexpectedly amazing thing that had ever happened to me. I've seen many radiant, pop-happy faces in the last few years but that sense of losing yourself in the disco lights and the unfamiliar sounds of La Casa Azul and what felt like a 15-minute remix of 'Honolulu Superstar' by Helen Love, surrounded by the most incredible people - oh man, I wanted to kiss everyone, and maybe I should have done. I'd be surprised if there was anything purer than that moment. It had nothing to do with anything, it was happening regardless of life.

And when we started walking out of the deserted festival site, the last people to leave, like last year, and I saw that Elefant backdrop on the main stage, suddenly that weekend we'd just had came together. All those disparate things, the happiness and the anguish, and feeling lost and drunk, crying as you watch your friends triumph on stage or as you watch them flailing their arms around, the trains, the glitter, needing a cuddle, needing the loo, dying for some food, passing the vodka around, believing in impossible things... From 1993 when Luis used to send Elefant mixtapes out with every order to 2009 when I'm saying goodbye to a quiet field way past midnight looking at that stage - well, it turns out this is a loveletter, not a festival. You know how you fall in love and everything is perfect and you want to put it all down on a piece of paper so that it becomes more real? That's how I understand Indietracks now and it makes a lot more sense.

Sorry, I just need to lie down. Where is our tent again?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Why stuff is important, part 2: Rough Bunnies

If I could build a time-machine (it's just laziness that stops me), I'd go back to before the Rough Bunnies' proper website disappeared and read and re-read that brilliant bit in their news section that said "Sorry you can't buy our cds anymore - Anna's mum's computer broke down and we lost all our music". I was crying and laughing at the same time because I was thinking, well, I can't buy them which is shit but ha! what a way to go. And so they went.

Last night I came back from the pub, tipsy and rain-soaked, and put Inside Riot on who are my Ramones. They play and play and play, relentlessly and with determination, some average songs, some songs that make the world absolutely bloody beautiful but every single one of them gave me a reason to smile and feel defiant. That's because they symbolise to me everything that's fantastic about indiepop and thinking about that makes me feel invincible every time.

Doing things, engaging, having strong principles, making an effort, not being scared to hug some people and tell some others to fuck off. Those things are even more important than the music. Do you see what I mean? Not the music itself but the idea of the music. This is not some cute art project that you take on, study thoroughly and then present to the world for consumption and admiration. This is the way in which we live our life and the music is a result of those things. It's also the reason we get together but it comes second. No, first. No! Second! First! What I mean is, if you put a gig with great bands on, see that's not necessarily a popshow. If you play some great records, see that's not enough. It's important that all this is done within a context. Some people say 'scene' is a dirty word but our scene was created out of sheer urgency. Like Jamie said, it's something we need to do. It's important that we do it randomly and without a plan and without fear. That perfection which comes out of randomness and panic about the end of the world, or half the bands cancelling on you, or the Guardian getting indiepop wrong again, that perfection is impossible to create. It just creates itself from our faffing around, and we get to live it if we are lucky. The same way Rough Bunnies did their music! The same way that 'What a World' came to be.

Read about Rough Bunnies/Inside Riot here. Read it, go on - it's great.

Edit on 24/9/09: My friend D uploaded every single Rough Bunnies/Inside Riot/The Flame song he's got for everyone to enjoy. Here: Do it. Do it now.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Podcast #10: The joy of pop

We have Indietracks and we have Bristol and we have trains that take us there and harbours to sit by, and we have cups of tea and cheeky bottles of vodka, and so everything that's impossible and heavy and scary gets drowned in those and the joy of pop.

What? It's true.

You can download the new podcast here (38 MB)

Tracklisting (33' 38")

Henry's Dress - Definitely nothing
First Base - I'll be your hangover
Vanilla Ride - Rocket bicycle
The Mayfair Set - Desert fun
Standard Fare - 15 (Nothing happened)
The Hi-Life Companion - Jenny and Bill
Cheap Red - Unlucky in love
The Wendy Darlings - Eleasy
Love Dance - When you're with him
Stars of Aviation - Herman Dune slept on my floor
The Specific Heats - Are you for real Mehgan O'Neill?
South Ambulance - Davy Crockett
Figurine - pswdstdum