Radio Kurtodrome returns

This is where we normally talk about films, but not today. As of this night, Radio Kurtodrome has returned. It’s currently hosted at Live 365 and you can listen to it by clicking this text. It’s not easy to find a space where you can stream your music legally, but Live365 seems to be a good place (they even pay the artists for the airtime, it seems).
As Radio Kurtodrome in its current form is so fresh it still has the new car smell, the programming is still unclear. Right now, there’s a looping playlist, but maybe there’ll be special programmes soon. The playlist is occasionally interrupted for one commercial (unless you’re a VIP listener).

1. Marina & The Diamonds – Are You Satisfied? – The Family Jewels
2. The Herbaliser – The Blend (Feat What What) – Blow Your Headphones
3. Enon – In This City – High Society
4. Amatorski – Come Home – Same Stars We Shared
5. 4Hero – Les Fleur – Creating Patterns
6. Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #2 (Laïka) – Funeral
7. Battles – Atlas – Mirrored
8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mr You’re on Fire Mr – Pin EP
9. Bloc Party – Talons – Intimacy
10. Rainer Maria – Ears Ring – Ears Ring
11. Justice vs. Simian – We Are Your Friends – Bugged Out Classics
12. Simian – Never Be Alone – We Are Your Friends
13. Pills – Rock me – Rock me
14. Krause – No Guts, No Glory – No Guts, No Glory
15. Little Boots – Meddle [Tenori-on Piano Version] – Little Boots EP
16. Soap&Skin – Spiracle – Spiracle (single)
17. Grandaddy – He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot – The Sophtware Slump
18. Yonderboi – All we go to hell – Splendid isolation
19. Memory Cassette – Asleep At A Party – Call & Response EP
20. Moloko – Where Is The What If The What Is In Why? – Do You Like My Tight Sweater
21. School of Seven Bells – Windstorm – Windstorm
22. Blonde Redhead – Here Sometimes – (preview track)
23. Air – Cherry Blossom Girl (radio mix) – Cherry Blossom Girl
24. Ladytron – He Took Her To A Movie (Bertrand Burgalat remix) – 604 Remixes
25. Headless Heroes – To You – The Silence Of Love
26. Quickspace – They Shoot Horse Don’t They – The Death Of Quickspace
27. Stars – Your Ex-Lover is Dead – Set Yourself on Fire
28. Everything Everything – Schoolin’ – Schoolin’
29. The Gentle Waves – Sisterwoman – Swansong For You
30. Fuck Buttons – The Lisbon Maru – Tarot Sport
31. Sleigh Bells – Beach Girls – 2HELLWU CD-R (2009)
32. The Knife – Bird – The Knife
33. Squarepusher – My Red Hot Car (Girl) – My Red Hot Car [Single]
34. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse – Little Girl (featuring Julian Casablancas) – Dark Night of the Soul
35. Stereolab – Margerine Melodie – Margerine Eclipse
36. Yo La Tengo – Periodically Triple Or Double – Popular Songs
37. Zombies – She’s Not There – The Decca Stereo Anthology (Disc 01)
38. Kate Nash – ‘Caroline’s A Victim’ Tapedeck Revised Remix – Foundations
39. Neon Neon – I Lust U – Stainless Style
40. MC 900 Ft Jesus – The City Sleeps – Welcome to My Dream
41. Lis Er Stille – Styrke – The Construction Of The AmpTrain

German week: censorship

Germany is one of those countries that like to censor their films. It seems almost odd then that there are German dvd companies that release video nasties on dvd, with a label warning the film is not for sale in Germany. The German-speaking territories have produced quite a number of directors wanting to bring more gore to the screen. Nekoneko has more over at the Litterbox where the nasty Nekromantik is dissected.

Which means it’s another day off for me and time for a video… quite fittingly enough it’s anti-establishment band Atari Teenage Riot (led by Alec Empire) whose “digital hardcore” assaulted your ears in the late nineties and early naughties. One of the band’s EPs was once forbidden in Germany because of the track “Hetzjagd Auf Nazis!” and the subsequent Nazi symbols (which are forbidden in Germany). Quite odd given that the band was very much against the Nazis. Maybe it had something to do with their left-wing political tendencies. And so, conform with our forbidden theme, here’s the video for “Revolution Action”, which was marked too violent for television. Not for DV though…

DV presents: German week!

Jawohl, it’s German week here at DV. The entire week Nekoneko and I will be going through all things Deutsch. Of course, any German readers don’t have to worry… we’ll try and tackle German week with a bit more grace than others. Coming up later this week: westerns, arthouse, gore and krimi.

But now, by way of an introduction, we go back a couple of weeks when I reviewed the German film Gib gas, ich will Spass. The music phenomenon that was Neue Deutsche Welle was mentioned here, but – as there was no way of fitting it into the review – one of the best known German songs was omitted. Here now, the video (albeit in a somewhat altered format – nothing like widescreen, eh) of Trio‘s “Da Da Da”.

P.S. For those who can stomach more, here’s Trio performing Anna, lass mich rein live on German television. It’s not often you see someone eating during a performance.

Dark Night of the Soul

The dark night of the soul is the place in a person’s life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation. This metaphor is also an album title, a collaboration between Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. But not just them: the couple invited a bunch of other musicians along for the vocals to the songs. And they also asked for a contribution from director David Lynch. Lynch created a book full of Lynchian pictures to go along with the album.

It sounded great but it wasn’t to be… record company EMI didn’t give its blessing, so when the combination of Dark Night of the Soul had to be released at the end of 2009, the book was released with a blank CD-R. Scribbled on it, this message: “For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.” Ever since, the album may have been floating and streaming on the web (hence “Revenge”, the track with The Flaming Lips, ending up in our Best Of 2009 chart), but no actual release.

And now it’s July 2010. Tomorrow the album will finally be released as it should’ve been. The cd will include a couple of pictures by Lynch, but overall there is still a dark cloud hanging over the cd. Sparklehorse (a.k.a. Mark Linkous) committed suicide earlier in the year and one of the featured artists, Vic Chestnutt, is also dead.

Here is the cd’s tracklisting:
1. “Revenge” (featuring The Flaming Lips) – 4:52
2. “Just War” (featuring Gruff Rhys) – 3:44
3. “Jaykub” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:52
4. “Little Girl” (featuring Julian Casablancas) – 4:33
5. “Angel’s Harp” (featuring Black Francis) – 2:57
6. “Pain” (featuring Iggy Pop) – 2:49
7. “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It)” (featuring David Lynch) – 3:10
8. “Everytime I’m with You” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:09
9. “Insane Lullaby” (featuring James Mercer) – 3:12
10. “Daddy’s Gone” (featuring Nina Persson) – 3:09
11. “The Man Who Played God” (featuring Suzanne Vega) – 3:09
12. “Grim Augury” (featuring Vic Chesnutt) – 2:32
13. “Dark Night of the Soul” (featuring David Lynch) – 4:38

And here is one of the tracks, “Little Girl”, complete with some of the book’s pictures.

The cd Dark Night of the Soul is released in the UK on July 13, the rest of the world can enjoy it one day earlier. There are limited editions out there, so browse before you buy…

P.S. The Avenue takes one week off and hopes to return stronger on July 19. Au revoir!

Oh No! Marina’s back!

A year ago we had to explain time and again who Marina was. Fast forward ten months and you’ll find most of her concerts are sold out. Looks like this year we don’t have to travel to Oxford to see her perform (but thanks to Marina we now love Oxford).

Next month “Oh No!”, Marina’s latest single will be out, but the video is already finished. It’s quite cartoonish and it looks like this:

And, as a bonus treat, here’s the making of:

Gib Gas, Ich Will Spass!

When the cast of a movie is mentioned only by their first names, it can only mean two things: either you’re watching a porn movie or a film with musicians. And a title like “Give gas, I want fun” doesn’t exactly help clarifying which of the two you’re watching. Which may explain why the English title of this film is Hanging Out. Which… come to think of it… may also be a sexual reference.

But no, dirty mind, Gib gas, ich will Spass is not smut, but a music film with Markus and Nena. The former a highly successful pop star, the latter an unknown pop star. And now, a quarter of a century later, the roles seem to be reversed. Because there’s a lot of chance you know Nena from her global hit “99 Luftballons” (a.k.a. 99 Red Balloons), but who is Markus? Think of Patrick Wolf who is accidently teleported to the 1980s and – these teleportations never go great, just watch The Fly – discovers his poppiest of sounds. Mind you, this film was made in 1983, when Germany found its new voice and answer to punk and new wave by inventing the Neue Deutsche Welle (literally New German Wave). Back in 1982, “Ich Will Spass” by Markus might have been refreshing rather than annoying. Make up your own mind because this is Markus’s biggest hit and the title track of the film (as performed in a music show where the average age of the viewer was 56):

So he wants fun, our Markus. And he’ll get it in this film as he’s the new boy in school, short trousers but a fast bike. Because rebellion, like a mullet, doesn’t grow in one day. Markus, who plays Robby, Nena's attempt at seducinghas the hots for Tina, as portrayed by Nena. Tina finds Robby silly rather than sexy and has more sexual feelings for Tino, who works full time on a fair and has his own convertible. And a mullet. And – what would romance be without language? – because Tino and Tina sounds cool.Tina convinces Tino to run off together, but when she can’t make it to the rendez-vous spot in time, Tino drives off with another chick. Her suitcase already packed and hoping to see Tino again, Tina convinces Robby to drive away together. Robby, naive enough to think Tina loves him as much as he loves her, gladly accepts. Tina’s feelings towards Tino are addressed in one of Nena’s biggest hits Nur geträumt: “Ich hab’ heute nichts versäumt, denn ich hab’ nur vor dir geträumt” (I haven’t wasted today, because I only dreamt of you). Don’t believe me, here’s the clip from the English dubbed version of the film:

And, of course, the search for Tino will ultimately end in Tina losing her heart to Robby. Seems like a sugar sweet teen flick, how can this be of any value to the cult-loving readership of DV? Well, there are several reasons: no matter how bad this film can be – and believe me, this will be a guilty pleasure – it’s nowhere as embarrassing as Crossroads or most of Madonna‘s output. The director is Wolfgang Büld, who had previously made a couple of documentaries about punk and reggae. Büld had noticed the Neue Deutsche Welle movement was becoming more mainstream and felt like pushing Markus, Nena and   look, it's Karl Dall again!the genre by making a teen flick with the movement’s protagonists in several of the roles. Apart from Markus and newcomer Nena in the leads the film also included a cameo by the band Extrabreit.
Nevertheless, the film is pretty weak in as much as the ‘story’ is flimsy (it’s basically Robby and Tina driving after Tina’s love interest you couldn’t care about) and the jokes are either silly or horrible: one running gag is Tina’s classmate, seen in the clip above, who is always eating meat products. It’s not that I explained it badly, that’s what he does: he mainly boasts about how much he loves eating sausages and how many he can eat. I’ll pause briefly, so you can chuckle at this hilarious concept. A boy who eats fried meat… utter and utter genius! Equally hilarious is having older actor Karl Dall play a handful of tiny roles, in an attempt to make the viewer chuckle “Look, it’s Karl again, ha-ha!” And of course it doesn’t help that it’s a movie that’s mainly made to push the music. In the following clip, Robby and Tina have made it to the airport, just too late to catch Tino. Tina manages to make contact with him and they agree to meet each other in Venice. After this, Nena has to link the fluttering Tina running back to Robby to one of her songs (Ganz oben). The result, complete with a hilarious drunk pilot, looks like this:

Which makes it all the more surprising to see Robby and Tina end up in Venice. While arguing, Robby is abducted by a group of nymphomaniacs (I wish I was making this up) and Tina chases the gondola on foot, with Nena’s Tanz auf dem Vulkan as soundtrack to the scene. But watch at (or fast forward to) 2:47 to spot a surprising cameo…

Admit that this is a cameo you wouldn’t have expected in such a bubblegum movie. Ultimately, Carla Rhode of Der TagesspiegelMore Spass! reviewed the film best: “I would have like to have fun too, but Nena, Markus and director Wolfgang Büld left me unsatisfied. What did the film attempt to be? A story about runaways, a musical or was it just a handful of uninspired scenes chucked together to fill the voids between songs by Nena and Markus?” Then again, I told you this would a guilty pleasure and it’s up to you whether a couple of Nena songs, Nena’s nude back and a reference to Don’t Look Now are enough to watch a corny movie for 85 minutes. Not that the film pretended to be Goethe. After all, the title is Gib Gas, Ich Will Spass.


P.S. Büld must’ve liked the experience because, two years later, he made Der Formel Eins Film, an equally corny film promoting Formel Eins (the German Top of The Pops) and featuring a.o. Falco (Jeanny, Rock me Amadeus, …)

No words, just music

Not a lot of time this week, so posts will be short and sporadic. But this might be a good time to give a shout out to 6music, the BBC radio station that heard the BBC will probably close the station at the end of the year (or next year). No fin de siècle doom if you tune in though, just of the better alternative radio stations out there. When 6music closes, people like me will be forced even more into the worlds of music blogs, Spotify, and the likes.

One thing is good though: since the announcement the station’s listening figures seemed to have grown significantly (from 700.000 a year ago to just over a million now). In the words of former DJ Phill Jupitus (in an article for The Guardian): “As I listen to 6 Music today, I keep hearing tracks and thinking, where else would I hear this kind of radio during the day? The tragic answer to that question is nowhere. The end of 6 Music at this moment in the BBC’s history is not only an act of cultural vandalism, it’s also an affront to the memory of John Peel and a slap in the face to thousands of licence-payers.”

So don’t forget to tune in before it’s too late.

Edit (Jun 15): the Avenue’s computer is no more. All hail the new Avenue computer! I’m trying to get my sparkly new computer as ready as it should be. Which means the next update will be posted later than usual.

Soap&Skin (18/03/2010, AB, Brussels)

It’s not often you leave a concert hall with the question: “Did I just watch a concert or an exorcism?” Still, one day later no newspaper felt the urge to print the headline “Labile girl exorcises herself on stage”, so let’s opt for ‘concert’ then. For now.

Soap&Skin is the stage name used by Anja Plaschg, an Austrian girl only two weeks away from her 20th birthday. Her track “Spiracle” made it all the way to n°3 in this site’s Top 99 of 2009 and her October concert was rescheduled – due to Anja’s illness – to March 18. Soap&Skin promised to make it up to us by bringing an ensemble. And she also arranged for support act Nils Frahm, a 25-year-old guy from Berlin who played a couple of instrumentals on his piano. It was like listening to soundtracks with your eyes open.

Unlike Soap&Skin then. Theatre was never far away, from the beginning (Anja’s ensemble walked on the dark stage carrying fleshlights, stopping near their instruments to shine the light in their face) to the murkiest songs of the concert. During “Spiracle” the stage was dark, but the lights shone on the public, allowing the band to see the audience for once. In the meantime, Soap&Skin performed “Spiracle” as if it was something that needed to be broken. If ever there was a haunted song, this live version must’ve been it. Soap&Skin hit the piano as if force would make a bad thing good, as if something evil was dwelling inside the piano or inside the performer.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, some tracks were lighter too. Still, you’re bound to remember a Clint Mansell cover (Meltdown) if the stage is lit up all red and a singer starts walking around the stage before returning to the piano and – indeed – facing a meltdown. “Marche Funèbre” over, Soap&Skin ran off stage, her hands hiding her face. The ensemble was left on stage, accepted the applause and walked off as well. Then they returned, only as a set piece, because Soap&Skin re-appeared too, listened to the applause, nearly in tears and stammered: “It wasn’t very good. I hope you give me another chance.” Then she sang Sog Nit Keynol, a Yiddish partisan song, a-capella and hurried off the stage again.

After a concert that seemed like the bastard grandchild of Weill, Brecht and several expressionist movies, some wondered whether Soap&Skin had been sincere when asking for our forgiveness for a mediocre concert (though it seems she was the only one who found it mediocre) or whether it was all an act. Others suggested counselling. The truth will never be known. Whether is was an art piece in the shape of a concert (by the way, the Soap&Skin site has three art videos by Anja) or a homemade therapy sessions, most of the songs were very good. Though it wouldn’t hurt to bring some levity into 70 minutes of music if you don’t want to make it too heavy-hearted. And, because of Anja’s reluctance to accept applause, never before did applause sound so much as positive encouragement: “No, you’re wrong, it’s good. Do go on!”

Marina goes to Hollywood

And the plugging continues… just about a year ago we discovered “Mowgli’s Road” and were instantly blown away by Marina Diamandis (a.k.a. Marina and the Diamonds). At the time you could only buy two EPs on an American label, but those who knew her had a gut feeling greater things had to lie ahead… more demo versions were thrown on the internet, the tours took her to bigger venues (including the NME Radar Tour  – also the first time I got my ass to another country, just to see a concert) and now it’s 2010. In just over a week (a.k.a. Monday 22) Marina’s debut album The Family Jewels (an in-joke reference to the EP title The Crown Jewels) will hit the record stores, a collection of the two EPs, some songs you may have known from the internet demos (there is a fat chance “Girls” or “The Outsider” will end up high on our Best of 2010 list – mark my words). And just a few weeks ago Marina and the Diamonds played her brand new single, Hollywood, on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. What’s next, Marina: global domination?

Here’s the video for Hollywood, the single that was released on February 1 to announce the album. I honestly have to say it took me two or three times before I opened up to this track, so feel free to repeat it a couple of times.

Democratische 99 (2009)

We interrupt the regular programming to alert you to the Democratische 99, the annual music list by the Kurtodrome site. The 99 best songs of 2009 aren’t just posted, links have been found for all the songs in the list. That’s one download and 98 links to YouTube. And as you can see from this glorious picture, it’s Marina and the Diamonds who reigns supremely.

All there is for me to say is: here’s the list!