Thursday, November 26, 2009

Camera Obscura and The starlets at the Sala Heineken, Madrid

The stage...

(Sala Heineken, Madrid)
Lee reaching for every beat...

One of the five highly demanded setlist copies (lucky mee):
Taped some bits of the concert:
*"Pen and notebook"

* Tracyanne talks about playing in Madrid again:

The sound in the other stuff I recorded was too loud for my picky camera. Or else I'd have also uploaded "If looks could kill", probably the top moment of the night.
The concert was great and as I'd read everywhere, despite their technical difficulty they make the songs sound even better live -Tracyanne had some sound problems for the first songs, though-. And unlike I'd also read, I saw plenty of talking to the public, feelings, smiles and so on. Too serious? No way, they can't all be Robbie Williams (and thank God for that - no harm intended to him, he seriously rocks in a few songs).
The night setlist included half the new record, all the best songs off it, then songs from all their other albums. The most surprising choice was "Pen and notebook", from their first, which was a gift to their vintage fans (not to forget that their first label was Spanish and that they toured Spain extensively during those years, so they have a soft spot for these whereabouts and some people around here have been following them for a looong time). As the song progressed some hush sounds came from a part of the audience and the crowd fell totally silent (that lapsus aside, they had been really well behaved up till then, but that song was the quietest so...). Tracyanne seemed to pour a lot of emotions on this one, to me the saddest Camera Obscura song by far.
And I don't know why I went and wrote this mini bio too (anyway, info on them is very scattered on the web):
If it seems it took a bit for Camera Obscura to find their identity (with their first two records having some maybe too marked influences) that is by now a solved issue. They began their musical career at the same time as Belle and Sebastian, their paths intertwining often, which is natural being in the same city, and Stuart Murdoch producing their first album and also having a hand in the second one (and doesn't "Let me go home" sound just like a Belle and Sebastian song). During those times the singing and composing would be shared/alternated between Tracyanne and guitar Kenny McKeeve as well as John Henderson?, sometimes producing fantastic tracks like "Hands up baby" (written by Kenny). More on that in this article I've discovered by looking for info on John's role, no easy task!. From their third album to date Tracyanne seems to have taken over both roles, which has maybe made them lose some elements but has also resulted in making their sound much more unique (if Kenny still has a remarkable role in the chorus) . The third album would be key in that, as at that moment other influences were thrown into the mix, their album being recorded in Sweden and being greatly in tune with the increasingly important music movement that's been going on up there for a while. And so among the contributors to this album we find well known names there like Victoria Bergsman (The Concretes, Taken by Trees) and Brita Persson. Their tunes get very close to pop perfection in tracks like Lloyd..., If looks.. and so the group consolidates their fan base and widens it considerably.
My Maudlin career, their latest, is just the cherry on top, the best crafted of all, the most poignant in its lyrics... and I just can't wait to listen to what comes next. It seems it won't happen for a while though, as I was able to talk to them for a bit after this show (they are the nicest people) and they said they're too immersed in touring right now (they have a few dates in the US shortly, and then they'll start 2010 touring again..). Well, this group has an amazing number of B sides, exclusive bonus tracks, covers... maybe that could be released first.
Also asked Kenny if they ever play "Roman holiday" live (for some reason, probably its serenity, I listen to this song a lot lately), he said merrily that they do sometimes, when they can remember the lyrics, "which is not often". Well, they've played 67 different songs at least (the lyrics for 66 of them are posted here) so...
To know more about the first three records of the band, you can go to their former (and Spanish) label Elefant Records website, they have bothered to put up a fantastic amount of stuff, including streamings of many full tracks (B-sides, rare stuff ...), info as well as lyrics, video, etc. Thanks to them for generously sharing all that.
I could also talk about the long line in front of the merch table when the concert ended, how loyal their fans are and how they cherish this group: how the guys behind me -one of them seriously gorgeous- whispered to each other "mírala qué guapa es" (kinda translates into " look at her, so beautiful") with such tenderness as soon as Tracyanne appeared onstage... or other stuff, but some things I'll keep to myself. Plus, this post would never end, and I've other things to do in life.
Anybody gets to the end of this post, they get a prize!
Since this post is already too long I've done a different one for supporting act the Starlets, here.
This was posted Nov 9th but I'm pushing it up so my blog looks a bit more musical (that's what it's supposed to be but then I start posting silly stuff... ;)
Tags: Camera Obscura, Camera Obscura Madrid, Camera Obscura sala Heineken, Camera Obscura setlist

Sam Roberts - pump yourself up for the day

Just found this piece of pure rock energy, "Love at the end of the world"

Smokin' performance. Met these guys a while ago, had not listened to anything but "Them kids" and immediately fell in love with this other song and their fantastic live act. Plus Sam speaks perfect Spanish and keyboard guy does pretty well too!!. Told me they have been to Spain (even supported Amaral, which is one of the most popular groups here), and they should come back :) Really cool guys.
Check also Sam's duet with Misstress Barbara -Canadian too- for another energy serving: "I'm running", which you can listen to in her myspace and which I also love.
Feel like this music now.
Oh, and finally got Spotify! -Spotify guy at FICOD invited me-. So discovered a lot of new music these last days, specially b-sides and new albums.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some facts you should know about your ipod -and you probably haven't heard about

Just found out "the hard way" about some issues (I have an ipod touch 32Gb, the following apply to at least this model):
1. If it breaks and guarantee time is over (1 year) they won't fix it. You'll have to purchase a new one, full price. Yep. Unbelievable, right?
With my usual terrible timing mine started giving problems (bad connection to cans) 1 year and 1 week after buying it. However at Apple phone service they were really nice, said they didn't think it was fair not to be covered for only one week and will cover it after all (said it even before I'd have to go into full combat mode). Yep, pretty amazing since I called some weeks after that. Kudos to Apple.
2. When it breaks and it's guarantee covered, they won't fix it either, buuut they'll give you a new one for free and take yours to Appleland for undisclosed use.
3. Your library? Well, you'll have to deal with saving it on your own. When asked they'll direct you to "Senuti" (iTunes spelled backward), a free trial program to transfer the music in your ipod to your itunes library. So you'll have to do that leap of faith and download the said trial thing from one of the fishy websites -at least if your computer's a PC-, risking problems (it doesn't work for me, probably works for most people but I always seem to be the exception). And when you're done with it and you try to uninstall the program...will tell you it has but it won't have. Lovely, right?. Here are a few solutions, I just went to the folder and it let me delete the contents one by one.
I asked about this here some posts ago, how to do it (when I accidentally deleted my itunes library a while ago), but nobody answered (big news, lol).
4. I don't think it's fair ipods are not fixable and nobody tells you when you buy them.
5.I don't think it's fair senuti isn't a free app in itunes.
I rest my case.

PS A week or so later, still dealing with my songs, ...IRIP works best but it's a demo so it will only allow to transfer 100 songs... this web gives a better alternative, I'm on it..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Professionals discuss online music: FICOD'09

Going on in Madrid these days is FICOD (International Forum on Digital Contents). The basic relation Internet/Music is of course among the topics. I attended this session yesterday: "Record industry?", also available in Spanish in their ficodtv (you'll have so scroll down to see the screen). May post more on it later or may not: it was curious but scarcely interesting as every party held on to their official (and some so wrong) positions. As for the round of questions at the end...oops, no time. Suspicious!
Anybody can attend for free (just by signing in on their website) or stream it (live if you want to) here.
Some really interesting things programmed and some big names attending (Kevin Spacey, Google, Flickr and Spotify gurus...), wish I could have been there longer but I'm an unbusy busy person so couldn't.

Ends tomorrow!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Infected coffee & hearts on the run

Found this in my coffee grounds this morning, as I was going to clean the coffee thing (really!!).
Seems it happens to more people, these hearts appearances in people's coffee, as per my seriously intelectual 5 minute research.

Well, it gets scarier: I swear, as I was writing this post I turned around to see what the men fixing my wall were doing besides a lot lot lot of noise and I see this:

Uggg, bad beginning of the day, lol. They laughed quite a bit when I told them why I was taking the pic!
PS. Forgot about my choice of socks first thing this morning.
(actually these are my "will stay at home today" socks, reason obvious)
PS 2 just a note to clarify that despite the jokes love is beautiful, mostly the one given to one's family, friends and total strangers out of the bits of goodness left in us. This is a horrible world, that's what we have.
PS 3 Report on wall progress: this is the final look..I'd say the rainbow was a nice touch... (pic 24/03/10)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The starlets at Sala Heineken, Madrid

So these guys came up on the Heineken stage with Mahou beer bottles in their hands (a classic Spanish brand)... they were set out to conquer Madrid's crowd and they did!.
Then they played the most assorted music set one could expect: a "spaguetti western" theme, a polka, some true pop, a Manilow style marshmallowish song (the one I liked less by far -oh, I'm suuuuch a bitter thing), all of them introduced and explained exclusively in Spanish by their singer. They seemed to really be enjoying themselves up there and the good vibes filled the place and got everyone (or almost) in a good happy mood . There's a dreamer quality to the singer that taps him directly to the audience. I don't know if that sentence makes any sense because my English is getting worse and worse now that I hardly practice it so my apologies, seriously weird sentences can be expected as time goes by!!
A great supporting band, really knew how to play. You might or might not become a fan afterwards, but chances are you'd have enjoyed this performance quite a bit.
I uploaded a bit of the polka, again the only thing that my limited camera recorded with a decent sound.