New Marina for the Diamonds

(oh… drafts don’t get published, do they? Well, excuse me for not noticing I’d put my next post down as a draft, rather than an actual article… it’s been, like, only my 350th post on the Avenue, you can’t expect us newbies to know that sort of stuff – anyway, as one of the pictures for my 25 August post has appeared to gone missing between the day I wrote it and now, I’ll go and look for another picture. This means this article will now be postponed for the second time and in the meantime, here’s a replacement post.)

Marina in a car

A couple of weeks ago Marina (of Marina and the Diamonds) posted a comment on her site that fans shouldn’t comment on or ask about the leaked demo tracks. Because they were only demo versions and, if anything, the comments would slow down any new releases. And because of that, it was rather unexpected that suddenly, out of the blue, there appeared two new tracks, a part one and two.

Marina’s love-and-hate relationship with Hollywood has been widely documented (not in the least in her single Hollywood – see also this post) and for her new single (EP?) the obsession seems to continue. Marina has put on a silver wig and is no longer Marina, but Electra Heart. The two-parter release exists of “Fear and Loathing” and ‘Radioactive” and the first song explains itself in the liner notes:

Electra Heart embodies the lies, illusions and death of an American Dream.

The second part, “Radioactive”, sounds and looks quite different from the first one: the text rages like the beats it’s been produced with (in stark contrast to the acoustic version that’ll be one of the extra tracks on the single – which will be released in the UK on 3 October).

As for the wig, this is explained on Marina’s site where you can find a picture with part of a poem

We must

We must bring
our own light
to the

and underneath just two simple words:

silver wig

Pukkelpop 2011

Another update was scheduled for today, but I’ve postponed that review to 25 August. It felt inappropriate not to dedicate a few words to the disaster that struck the Pukkelpop festival on Thursday. Regular readers may remember I’ve written several festival reviews of this particular festival. Thirteen years I’ve been to Pukkelpop, only 25 km away from the village I grew up in. At the time of the disaster I was still in Germany and noticed how Cologne was swallowed by dark clouds. I was The grounds after the stormunaware the storm had chosen of all places a music festival to let loose its worse demons. It lasted no longer than 15 minutes, but the magnitude was beyond description. Hail, the size of bullets, fell down on the crowds and chased Skunk Anansie away in the midst of their concert. Thousands of people looked desperately for shelter as the winds played with anything that wasn’t cemented in the ground. The DJ at the dance hall was told to get everyone out of the place, something not everyone seemed willing to do. Meanwhile, some festivalgoers managed to get backstage – probably because some fences had been knocked down – and hid in the back of a truck. Some seeked shelter in the backstage area of the dance hall and yelled like cowboys who’d just caught a wild bull because they’d arrived in a dry shelter and because the heavy rain had felt like a cooling shower after a scorchingly hot afternoon. At that point, people didn’t realize what was happening elsewhere.

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It’s Bloomsday, people!

Bloomsday is a commemoration observed annually on June 16th in Dublin and elsewhere to celebrate the life of Irish writer James Joyce and relive the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904.

And because it’s Bloomsday, here’s a bit of James Joyce where you didn’t expect it… Air War by Crystal Castles is apparently an excerpt from James Joyce’s work.

“Bronze by gold heard the hoofrons,
steelyringing imperthnthn thnthnthn.

Chips, picking chips off rocky thumbnail, chips.
Horrid! And gold flushed more.

A husky fifenote blew.
Blew. Blue bloom is on the
Gold pinnacled hair.
A jumping rose on satiny breasts of satin,
rose of Castille.

Trilling, trilling: I dolores.
Peep! Who’s in the… peepofgold?
Tink cried to bronze in pity.
And a call, pure, long and throbbing. Longindying call.

Decoy. Soft word. But look! The bright stars fade. O rose! Notes
chirruping answer. Castille. The morn is breaking.
Jingle jingle jaunted jingling.
Coin rang. Clock clacked.

Avowal. Sonnez. I could. Rebound of garter. Not leave thee.
Smack. La cloche! Thigh smack. Avowal. Warm. Sweetheart,

When love absorbs. War! War! The tympanum.
A sail! A veil awave upon the waves.
When first he saw. Alice!
Full tup. Full throb.
Warbling. Ah, lure! Alluring.

Martha! Come!
Clapclop. Clipclap. Clappyclap.
Goodgod henev erheard inall.
A moonlight nightcall: far: far.
I feel so sad. P. S. So lonely blooming.

The spiked and winding cold seahorn. Have you the? Each and
for other plash and silent roar.
Pearls: when she. Liszt’s rhapsodies. Hissss.”

No one knows about Persian cats

The nicest finds are always the films you never thought you’d come across. For example, No one knows about Persian cats. Behind the title lies the story of an Iranian couple, desperate to play rock music. Since their sort of music isn’t allowed in Iran, they dream of a visa that’ll take them to London – home of the indie rock scene. Cue a series of unsuccessful attempts to get a visa, clandestine concerts and meeting lots of other artists who live under the radar.

No one knows about Persian cats combines comedy and drama. The adventures of the young couple is as funny as it’ll warm your heart. Not everything deserves such praise, though: because the film couldn’t allow itself to become quite public, the cast doesn’t really have an equally high standard: some actors are quite good, but some lack the magic of being convincing. Nevertheless, this mix of social commentary, drama and a couple of Iranian songs deserves to be seen, so why don’t you make an effort and try to locate this film? The videos, made by indie bands from Iran, don’t always mix with the story, but they do give a good indication of what’s going on in Iran music-wise. “Indie,” an Iranian fan says, “I like… 50 Cent, Madonna.”

No no, none of that, genuine indie… with a heart as unstable as the singer-songwriters from London, the city the Iranian couple wants to end up in. Will they succeed? All the odds are against them, up to the farmyard cows who produce less milk when the band is rehearsing.

No one knows about Persian cats forces you to think of Iran for 100 minutes, but it’s a fresh point of view. You’ve heard a lot about Iran, but have you met the cool cats? High time to do so, as no one knows about them.


Best of 2010 (part 1)

2010 is almost over – I literally hear the sound of fireworks being tested for tonight – so high time for the first of my lists. Today we’ll take a look at my Book of the Year and Best of Radio Kurtodrome 2010.

Book(s) of the Year 2010

This year two books stood out and, luckily for me, one was in Dutch and one in English. As most of you aren’t fluent in Dutch – wat wordt bewezen met dit onbegrijpelijk stukje – there’s hardly any point in doing more than briefly mentioning Het Konijn op de Maan, the latest novel by Belgian author Paul Mennes. Mennes was somewhat of a Flemish counterpart in the 90s, before going on a long sabbatical. It took him eight years to finish his next novel. His latest offering, Het Konijn op de Maan (The Rabbit on the Moon), is a sequel which stands on its own. Belgian Samuel Penn moves to Tokyo with his girlfriend Miduki and feels very much like E.T. on Earth. The Japanese seem to have incomprehensible habits, an obsession with “Engrish” T-shirts and rabbits. Phone home?

Next up and very much English, it’s The Hell of it All by Charlie Brooker. In his typical acerbic style, Brooker collected his Guardian columns. As he did with his earlier books, he doesn’t avoid adding columns where time proved him wrong, adding an italic post script stating he was wrong (or how something vitally important like Big Brother ended).
Brooker has grown older, which doesn’t mean softer, but less puerile. He also moved from writing only tv columns to columns on television and the rest of the world, which allows The Hell of it All to be more resistent to time than Dawn of the Dumb or Screen Burn were.

Both Brooker and Mennes walk away with 8 out of 10. (And yes, The Hell of it All was published in 2009, but for books it doesn’t seem to be such a problem to pick a book that’s been out for more than 12 months. Also, my diet of reading one or two columns before bedtime made me finish the book only this year. And if you still think that’s cheating, learn Dutch and read Paul Mennes.)

Best of Radio Kurtodrome 2010

Onwards and upwards, time for music. Part one, that is. This is not my annual Best Of list. That’s still to come (due to many deadlines: probably in two weeks’ time). This is what happens if you take all the most played tracks of my radio station (every week I compiled a top 50) and add up all the scores. Older songs and newer songs back to back, this is what the audience liked most from July to December.

2 THE AMERICAN ANALOG SET – Come home, baby Julie, come home
3 KRAUSE – Soaring through the starlight
4 THE KNIFE – We share our mother’s health
5 BLONDE REDHEAD – Not Getting There
7 CRYSTAL CASTLES – Not in love (ft. R. Smith)
8 MASHA QRELLA – I want you to know
9 MOMMY AND DADDY – The Meeting
10 TOM TOM CLUB – Wordy Rappinghood
11 ZERO 7 – Distractions
12 FEVER RAY – Dry and dusty
14 SUFJAN STEVENS – Heirloom
15 IDA MARIA – I like you so much better when you’re naked
16 STEREOLAB – Miss Modular
17 DANGER MOUSE & SPARKLEHORSE – Little Girl (ft. Julian Casablancas)
18 FEVER RAY – Mercy Street
19 THE NOTWIST – Consequence
20 MEMORY CASSETTE – Asleep at a party
22 COCOROSIE – South 2nd
23 LALI PUNA – Move on
24 BELLE AND SEBASTIAN – Lazy Line Painter Jane
25 UNDER BYEN – Den Her Sang Handler Om At Få Det Bedste Ud Af Det
26 HOLY FUCK – Lovely Allen
27 UNDER BYEN – Det er mig der holder traerne sammen
28 THROWING MUSES – Counting Backwards
29 SOAP&SKIN – Marche Funèbre
30 DUM DUM GIRLS – Jail la la
31 ARCTIC MONKEYS – Leave Before The Lights Are Out
32 LYKKE LI – Get some
33 LITTLE BOOTS – Meddle (tenori-on version)
34 SOLEX – Low Kick and Hard Bop
35 HARRY’S GYM – Old Man
36 CAMILLE – Home is where it hurts
37 LOGH – Yellow lights mean slow down
38 COCOROSIE – Rainbowarriors
39 SILJE NES – The card house
40 KATE NASH – Caroline’s a victim (Tapedeck Revised Remix)
41 MORCHEEBA / KURT WAGNER – What New York couples fight about
42 WOODBINE – Neskwik (radio edit)
43 SOUTH SAN GABRIEL – Smelling Medicinal
44 CIBO MATTO – Know your chicken
45 LALI PUNA – Micronomic
46 ENON – Disposable parts
47 GIRLS AGAINST BOYS – Disco six six six
48 THE RAVEONETTES – Love in a trashcan
49 SMOOSH – Make it through

(For this list, artists were limited to only their two best tracks. If this hadn’t been the case, “Obsessions” by Marina and the Diamonds and “Here Sometimes” by Blonde Redhead would’ve been in the list as well – occupying spots 18 and 31)

Listen to the top 30 on Radio Kurtodrome (all times CET):
Tuesday 4 January, 17.00-19.00
Thursday 6 January 21.00-23.00
Friday 7 January, 02.30-04.30
The Top 30 tracks are also added to the playlist, which loops at random in between shows.

Deaper meanings…

So I found myself listening to “Crimewave” by Crystal Castles, but what are they singing? Luckily a lyrics site helped me out…

Eyes lit
i pawn short breaths
a fawn’s dark eye lids
dada dada die
but life’s breast
like a sun against my head

Didn’t really sound like what I was hearing, so I tried another site and found…

Eyes lit
On sharp threats
From darks lips

But lights press
The soft skin
To rough hands.

Erm, still don’t make any site. But the third site helped me out with these lyrics…

Eyes lit
I want short breaths
I found dark eyelids
Nice breasts
Like the summer into rough hands

And there ends today’s lesson on how you shouldn’t always trust what you read on the internet. Next time I’ll teach you how to turn water into gold.


And the word of the day is… “bleh”. Not much to say, not much to do, all the projects I should’ve done either failed or didn’t get finished. One of those days. Then again, someone dropped by quite unexpectedly and saved the day. So whereas the day may be saved, DV still needs a post before midnight and I don’t have the least bit of inspiration. A quickie from this year’s cinema? A cult classic? Something for DV’s frontpage? Nothing could thrill me enough to write about it.

So here instead is a YouTube clip. It combines Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari, a must-see classic, with a modern soundtrack and it actually picks the right moments that fit the soundtrack. Which is by Devil Music Ensemble, or so I’m told. Three minutes of essential cinema? Three minutes of classic expressionism? Consider it a done deal!

Shoes want to be adored

I think I’ve hit a new record, I’ve received 147 spam messages in the last 70 hours. Thankfully I now know everything about soma and underwear. Also, a lot of you seem to have arguments with your older sisters and thanks to the handy information on the Avenue, you now have one extra argument for when the subject will pop up again. Always glad to be of assistance…

Maybe you and your older sister don’t know this, but Dr. Martens exist 50 years. And to celebrate this, they’ve asked a couple of musicians to cover a song. Because nothing says “shoes” more than covering a song. There’s a hideous cover of “Buffalo Stance” (in fact, so hideous only Benicio del Toro will like it), but some of the covers are quite good and all you need to do is give your mail address and you can download the song for free. And every song gets a video as well.
Speaking of which, time for The Raveonettes reinterpreting The Stone Roses.

You can download the track here or watch a “making of”.

Music from Der Schweigende Engel

And when the flowers have already hung their heads out of fatigue, you should still (still… still) be thinking of me… but then sung in German and with a woman’s voice.

Last year (September, to be precise) the Avenue talked about a German film that only seems to pop up every now and then on tv. It’s not out on dvd and there are no signs that’ll change soon. The film is called Der Schweigende Engel (The Silent Angel) and it was a crossover between a Heimatfilm and a film noir, according to our resident reviewer (which sounds better than “me”).

But something regarding the film has popped up: in the last year we’ve seen the cinema booklet of the film being auctioned on the internet (needless to say, we were outbid) and YouTube has a track from the film. The title is “Ein Strauss Vergissmeinnicht” (read: a bouquet of forget-me-nots). Seems like the Avenue isn’t keen on forgetting soon. We’ll go on mentioning this film until someone has the wonderful idea of releasing or rebroadcasting it…