Friday, October 15, 2010

A-ha's farewell to Madrid

Couldn't make up my mind about whether to go to yesterday's gig or not (happens to me, get sort of jammed, same amount of pros and cons), so decided to enter a draw I came across on the net, leave it to fortune...and scored 2 tickets at the very last minute!!!. Really glad I went. More pics:
To cut a long story short, pros:
- Lighting, show production, gorgeous
- Music
- Magne's humor, specially his bit translating Morten's words to Spanish- hilarious. Morten's smile, wow (btw, he looked impossibly, spookily young on the screens, like in his 20s).

And cons:
-Venue, venue, venue: bad sound, lugubrious atmosphere...a real sabotage
-Setlist, basically the singles off each record... not fair.
-Rythm, the energy of the first set of songs suddenly sinks and never quite reaches the same level again.
-Morten's moves, weird. Specially when getting ready for the note holding in Summer moved on, looked like some kind of transformer about to unplug his torso...quality, not quantity.
-Last, but certainly not least their fan snubbing after the concert. Only Pal approached the people waiting, he spent like 1 minute behind the fence, slurring a few signatures, his sunglasses on, not looking up once. The other two got into their heavily tinted glasses Mercedes without a word. Honestly, how hard can it be to say a general hi to all the people waiting at the other side of a fence?.

Only other time I've won tickets to a concert was about a decade ago. It included airfare, hotel, limo picking us up at the airport -wohoo!- and Michael Douglas on the plane (that not included in the prize but it was at that time when he was courting Z Jones... He waited with everybody at the boarding room for quite a bit and acted very normal, seemed nice, curiously only a little girl approached him -enough, gossipy me).
Concert was Madness at the Wembley Arena, around Christmas, which was rather cool because London looked lovely. Had little time and had already been to London a few times, visited Lord Leighton's house (highly recommend it, beautiful), etc . Walked around the city and the shops...fantastic. They don't do contests like that anymore...or I don't win them!

Tags: A-ha farewell tour, A-ha Madrid, A-ha vistalegre

Friday, October 1, 2010

Concierto Homenaje a Carlos Berlanga en Joy

-Post in Spanish, the rest of this blog's posts are in English-
Bueno, post en español que ya tocaba..
Poco que añadir a lo mucho que ya se ha dicho de anoche. Que fue una pena, una pena porque pudo ser muy especial. Pero irónicamente le faltó de lo que allí sobraba: ritmo y música. Una organización absurda, dosificando una canción cada cuarto de hora, empezando por temas lentos, después los más animados, luego los de en medio...el público andaba descolocado (razones técnicas? no lo veo. Y por qué tantos grupos se quedaron fuera?).
Lo mejor, eso si, las actuaciones: todos se lo tomaron en serio y se dieron de verdad. Bebe se plantó con un desafiante "A quién le importa" escenificado a lo Rocío Jurado, manos en cadera, mucho sentimiento y mucha raza. A más de uno debían de pitarle los oídos después de lo que se ha cuestionado su participación en el disco...(la verdad, de la versión del disco no digo lo mismo).
Alaska no defraudó y suyo fue el mejor remake de la noche, hizo pleno eligiendo su tema, y junto al resto de Fangoria cantó un "En el volcán" al que dio mucho brío y mucho de todo. Evidentemente esa noche su actuación era la más esperada a efectos de disección y la verdad es que dejó poco margen de comentario.
Las Nancys Rubias, divertidos, no sonaron nada mal.
Me perdí a Anni B Sweet, que ya había tocado cuando nos dejaron entrar (organización, eso no se hace!!).
Y de lo demás alguno soso soso, alguno más a la altura que otro, y algunos que me perdí porque ya al final echa una cuentas y estarse 40 minutos más para oír otras dos canciones y entre semana... al día siguiente el despertador no perdona.
No iba a ir al concierto porque aunque me apetecía mucho y que sea gratis es un lujo, eso de no saber si vas a ir para apetece. De hecho después de más de media hora en una cola larguísima seguíamos todos con la incógnita. Pero bueno, al final creo que entramos todos, y eso que la cola de vips y prensa era casi igual de larga que la nuestra. Foto de la cola, flecha donde estaba la entrada, para hacerse una idea...
He subido un par de videos a mi canal de youtube, pero el concierto se grabó entero con cámaras profesionales y seguro que está disponible pronto en el myspace de Vodafone secret shows, que lo de internet los de Vodafone lo llevan super (ya han subido un montón de fotos).
Yo solo vi una vez a Carlos Berlanga, hace muchos años. Un día me lo crucé por la calle, y cuando me quedé con cara de "ese es..", él en vez mirar para otro lado me sonrió. Anoche quedó claro que mucha gente le admira, de los antiguos y de los nuevos.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September babies and A-ha... and ink and BR and whatnot -like customizable music vids-

Congrats are in order for new mums Nerina Pallot and Emiliana Torrini, as both of them gave birth to boys this week!.

If that wasn't work enough, Emiliana's releasing a cd next month and Nerina has a cd recording in progress...a hell of a lot of energy they're gonna need...
Actually both of them have written songs for Kylie Minogue, hmm.
Have never had the chance to see Nerina live unfortunately but have been following her live broadcast "I don't want to go out" sessions which she does so generously for her fans (last one on the 23rd Aug!- she had to interrupt it because of.. stomach ache, ahem -she had not "gone public" with her pregnancy -must have been damn hard to go without telling). I did meet Emiliana briefly some time ago and she's such a lovely, lovely person, she even lent a hand with an old lost cause of mine.
So glad for them, had no idea they were even pregnant!.
In case someone is unfamiliar with the music of either, follow the link for a free download of a song of each from their official websites:
*Nerina: Heidi
*Emiliana: "Birds". Square at top right, bottom (join mailing list)

And this one's not had any babies but she's delivered some most impressive songs:
Other recent deliveries out there included PING, the supposedly ultrafantastic ultimate virtual music Itunes community that turned out to be quite the joke. There I was on its second day snooping around all excited thinking it's bye bye lastfm (nothing personal, it was great at the beginning, not anymore) when I came across the impressive amount of choice of... some 20 artists to follow!!. I couldn't believe it, but yeah, big powers can sc**w just as big -as per this article. Well, we still have Spotify.

On the other side of the spectrum, others are saying goodbye. A-ha are on their farewell tour and yes, I love these guys so I'm sad. Grew up listening to their songs, bought most of their records (I even have this LP my father brought me from a trip to Norway ages ago, with water splash embossed on it, a big treasure at the time, with songs like the wonderful "October") and their music along with many others' surely helped shape my synapses big time. Seems their last song will be "Butterfly, Butterfly (The last hurrah)", and an impressive most adequate song it is too (despite lines like "molecular cries" or" chrisalys dreams waiting on the fifth instar", even the butterfly itself,they always had these "quirky" lines here and there!...they pull it off somehow). A no less emotional video goes with it (I can see wrinkles! almost unheard of in these days video clips, brave, big kiss guys). "25. Very best of A-ha" is released these days.
The other day, serendipitously, I ended up watching an old video mix tape of mine. Guess who, among many others, was in it (actual pics of tv screen lol):

Ah! Post not over yet, this is one of those that start as two lines and end up a manuscript!. Was looking at the list of my recommended blogs and as expected some have sadly disappeared or stopped updating, but left them there just in case, and added a new one that looks promising, bookmarked on a video of a glass of water that's so restrained and good. Was googling for Brooke Waggoner after she popped up on KGRL (another one that sadly seems to be on its way to goodbye, so listen to it while you still can). May I say I have this food colour and egg dye (red yellow blue and green), never used it for food but to pour a few drops on water glasses now and then (don't drink it, yuk), does exactly that, amazing colours.
Post finished 14th Sept (hopefully).
PS One last thing (!). Since I'm writing, it's impossible not to mention that Blonde Redhead just released their new record "Penny Sparkle" , you can already listen to it in full on Spotify- And if you sign up on their website you'll get a free download off it, "Not getting there". Some people already trying to find out about the song's lyrics...not getting there haha (me neither).
Optimistic work, seems, with uplifting song titles like "My plants are dead", "Love or prison", "Everything is wrong" or the said "Not getting there". A beautiful track called "Spain" too, seems to fit. Despite being the optimistic self everybody knows me to be (thinking people can change, that some people are good despite continuous hard evidence against it, that in the end I'll get the hang of life and so on...the usual), I kinda love it.
PS2 This post is starting to be seriously annoying. Every time I'm done, another thing comes my way. OK, last: customizable music videos: never seen any before. You write your name, the recipient's, misc data like favourite food, etc., you upload a couple of pics (Capitol records states that no info will be sold or shared), hit play and there you are. Not exactly my nr 1 song but I was curious and it's a cute result, and an idea with big possibilities. The end?
15th...I keep adding...a propos of the opening theme (and the until now closing one too), found the loveliest also customizable thing on youtube, click here on the "New baby" one. Bound to make any parent smile.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Daisy Chapman at the Bristol Harbour Festival - BBC showcase

Really lucky that the first day of my UK holiday was to be spent in Bristol, by serendipity on precisely its Harbour Festival weekend, just in time for Daisy Chapman's 3 song taster at Millennium square. I had previously found out about it, didn't miss it.
The first song I ever listened to from her, the cover of "Our mutual friend" on her youtube, is such an impressive performance, flawless, dazzling:

To me one of the best voices out there. Those voice loops, she makes it look so easy, which it can't be. The small number of views is hard to understand, specially since this version is much better than the one on her album (and that a big chunk of those views is mine!). I can't say I connect with most of her songs though, but some like The green eyed are ace. Unfortunately she didn't play either that day. Sunday she was doing a longer gig but I had already moved to greener pastures... scarily narrow these English roads & crazy drivers btw!. But sad to have missed it.
Uploaded "Madame Geneva" and mini interview to my youtube channel.
Back from England now. Would like to post more pics of the Festival etc but have had major issues with computers & external hds (crashed, learned a lesson about keeping back up copies updated -DO!- and using outlook -DON'T!-), struggling with the new one at the moment, I'll get there.
Post finished on the 20th August-
PS It is always hard to write the next post after a post like the previous one. It feels weird to retake the regular posting, to go back to usual. But it's life, doesn't mean these things are forgotten. The NY Times recently published an article on Motherlode here, reflecting on the blog his wife has started to write after the accident. Coping with goodbyes, we all have to learn to. All kinds of goodbyes in life, some natural, some tragic like this one, some brutally unkind. We all take it our different ways, best we can, we have to.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goodbye Dan

It’s been a week since I read the saddest news about Daniel Cho. He was in Europe touring with Regina Spektor as her cellist when a fatal accident happened, early this month. So hard to believe.
Dan was an incredibly talented musician, over the years he got to work with many of the best, both in studio sessions and live performances. His music and his playing can be heard on his myspace and countless youtube videos (like this one).
But music aside the Dan I had the chance to know a bit was one of those good people you come across in life on lucky days, so kind, easy to talk to. Responsible, calm, optimistic, considerate. His strongest love of his family, his baby daughter not yet two..
I last heard from him in January, when he wrote to let me know he’d done a session with Regina some months ago somewhere I used to work and he’d been told I had moved elsewhere. I was bummed to have missed them by only a few months but figured I’d have the chance to see him play again sometime, maybe chat a bit afterwards. Wasn’t to be.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Daniel Cho memorial page.
He liked this photo.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Ganamos!!!!...Guess sometimes the good guys win after all.
Far from Madrid, in the middle of nowhere at the moment, and still one could hear people celebrating!.
PS Last football post ever here!. Well, actually it's way more than football, Spain's in quite the shaken state at the moment, and these things have an impressive impact.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Najwa Nimri @ Be open Festival + Miquel Barceló @ Caixaforum: Humanimals

Najwa Nimri onstage^ (with her signature golden mike)
.. and "backstage"

Great set with many drops of improvisation and new takes on her songs, specially her itunes exclusive "Te brillan los ojos". Najwa's latest cd "El último primate" is a brave bet in every way, just miles beyond the usual.
I recorded a bit but sound was too loud for my camera.
Other acts in the festival included Anni B Sweet.

Fiat B Open festival, Madrid 10/04/10

Then the parallelism Najwa/ Miquel Barceló. A few weeks after the show I visited Miquel 's exhibit at Caixaforum, illustrated by this distant (said) self portrait as ... a primate, one of his most recent known works.

His exhibit covers a wide period of time, but it seems that as of late he, as Najwa, is somehow -stamp an "edited" here, there was my usual hence and forth about, this time, the old human/animal thing, concept, metaphor, solitude, cruelty, strength, deception, civilization...ending up with the made up humanimal thing ...I'll spare everyone-.
Curiously, in her "Como un animal" video Najwa holds a gorilla just like the one Miquel painted.

Tomorrow's the last day to visit Barceló's exhibit -I believe-, and tomorrow his huge sculpture of an "equilibrist" elephant, placed in front of the Caixaforum building, will be removed from its present location. Though it looked perfect there.

And talking about art in Spanish, I saw a great movie recently (finally!!): "El secreto de sus ojos" ("The secret in their eyes"). Some animals in it too.

Theoretical Girl @ Sala Siroco, Madrid

I was surprised she didn't play any song from the new album she's recording, in fact she opted for repeating part of the setlist for the encore (she let the audience choose).

Unfortunately the sound in the venue wasn't half as good as would have been desired, and her opting for the company of a canned itunes band instead of an acoustic set, took away quite a bit too (for me, not a fan of that). But her talent, beautiful voice and possibilities were there.
Amy sporting a very rock'n'roll simbol with her hand:

Hope she doesn't mind my posting this bit of sheet music of her song "Good timing" that I was happily surprised to find on the floor near the stage (I'll clear up that I don't usually pick up stuff from the floor... but I'm powerfully attracted to music staff lines). It sounds really pretty on the piano (such a nice melody, the lyrics not my thing though ;), and I hope she doesn't mind sharing (though I'd understand that she would, then I'd just remove it). And I won't go on again about how underrated by music industry itself sheet music is and how many people are interested in it but actually...yep, it'd be great if artists would share these. And I mean the real thing, not some bad lame adaptation as it's most often the case. Even as promo, in the same fashion as free tracks...Just an idea.


Theoretical Girl @ Sala Siroco, Madrid7th May
Tags:Theoretical Girl Sala Siroco, Theoretical Girl setlist

Angela Von Neumann

This is just a small portion of the impressive detail she achived in her work. Some time ago I googled her and was surprised to find so little: even though some of her works hang on the walls in museums, one single painting's image was available online (and not one that -to me- did her any justice).
I researched her again more recently. Sadly one of the few additions was the news of her death this January. This is my little tribute to this great painter and kind person. "Flor azul"(65 x 54 cm) was painted by her sometime before the 90's.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ane Brun at the Moby Dick Club, Madrid

Here's the setlist:

Only change is she didn't play Gillian.
Supporting act was Linnea Olsson (who was later the only one onstage with Ane, playing cello), who did a nice sampler of 3 songs, one of them instrumental. I've uploaded a bit of that one, "The ocean", on youtube here.
A few more pics:

Also uploaded a few vids on youtube of the two new covers she did ("Alfonsina y el mar" -in Spanish, her favourite song- and "It's alright baby's coming back", this last one for Amnesty International, they asked her for a cover of an 80's or 90's song) and also the beautiful "The fall" sounding more beautiful than ever before. They're all in my youtube profile. As usual the best clip is the one that got less hits. Story of my life and by extension of this blog!.
Videos say it all, great concert. And when it ended she stood by the merch table with Linnea. I asked Ane about her next album, she said most probably it wouldn't be out until at least next year, as she's been busy -and now, with the Peter Gabriel thing, even more. She has fully finished two songs so far, and she didn't know if it would be in the same line as the previous one or not- or she prefered to keep it a secret!. It's a big contrast, her songs, with how open and friendly she is.
The edition of the Changing of seasons cd (only one on sale that night) had a French version of the Koop island blues with an almost unrecognizable Ane. Most chic song, had not heard it before ("et mon coeur se souvient des formes de ton corps", different better lyrics than the English version)
I do not want to say again I'll hardly blog anymore because you never know (like the last time I did a week or so into my non-blogger status a very cool NY marketing agency offered to send me their music news and also interview chances to new acts, etc. , -which had not happened the whole time I'd been blogging!) so decided to go on for a bit more. I've only done maybe 2 or 3 small posts on the people they manage because most of it is not something that fits well here -some are very cool though-. They're really lovely people, thanks for keeping me in the loop on some stuff).
So I'd say nothing, which is easier in case I change my mind, but I believe some people (very very few) come back to this blog now and then for fresh posts so I should. BIG thanks to them, whoever they are. May post when I go to a specially good concert or so. Have to focus on the grown up life now, ugg!! ...changing of seasons :)
I'd rather sneak this in Ane's post than on the last one, less self-important, lol.
Tags: Ane Brun setlist, Ane Brun Madrid, Moby Dick club, Linnea Olsson Madrid

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A spring-like release

May I do another post on Spanish music (sung in English, though ) without people skipping it?. Give it a try, Spain also has a lot to offer as far a music goes, and not all is flamenco - in fact most of it isn't.
Proof of it is Marlango, they are just about to release their new album "Life in the treehouse" and the first single makes it look very promising, very spring-like feeling to it so the release is most timely. Some very arty images in their video too :

In this other video they talk about this new cd, basically saying it's a more happy record (happiness type B they say, as they're never "the life of the party") that also aims for the kind of simplicity that's achieved through very hard work.
Marlango's singer, Leonor Watling, is also one of the best Spanish actresses around.
Also trying to push down all this blog's seasonal posts... looks kinda shabby still showing Christmas and Valentine's stuff..

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Pic: make up session demonstration, 1932
Different post this time, L'Illustration was a French magazine famous in its time for its most advanced design and photographs as well as its quality articles, which covered the widest variety of topics, more info here. It was specially popular and important during the different wars of that period because of the extensive coverage it provided. Since I've some copies, all dated in the 1930's, I figured I'd post about it.
And surprisingly there are quite a few on sale at ebay, not expensive at all.
Now some pics, may add more in the future. Some of them are frivolous, others most tragic (hope it is not regarded as disrespectful to have posted them together, nothing further from my intention). All of them are to me pretty impressive, specially considering the cameras back then. They all belong to different issues dated 1932 (some of the photographs were taken in previous years though).

There are some impressively beautiful front pages like the one below, L' Atlantique and its story now forgotten, -a ship returning to port with no passengers, only its crew aboard when there's a fire, believed to have started in a first class cabin at a little before 3.30 am. No, it's not a movie!. The story here-

A few ads (hey, some women were not that doomed with domesticity!) :
Music, hippos...
Years after my grandparents died I lived in their house for a few months.
It was a small flat full of half empty cabinets. What was still there by then was what was considered completely expendable... I couldn't have agreed less.
The other day, greyest yet in this grey winter, was a good time to unpack them. To open some of them for the first time. To see how past is present, present is past...
Tags: L'illustration, 1932

Melody at her best - Abbey Road

A while ago I was happily surprised when the Spanish National TV used one of Melody Gardot's songs as soundtrack to one of their most "important" spots (it was going ad free), one of the first ads to run this first of January. Fumbling on youtube I came across this impressive cover:

Love it. I don't think it will be on youtube for long, as the thing has already started retiring previous uploads of it because of the tiresome annoying copyright bummer.
Apparently there's this TV program from the UK called Live from Abbey Road, that is now on the US's Sundance Channel too, info here . There's a ton of clips there but I can't seem to open any from my country. Hopefully one day it will get here too-.
A lot of great most assorted artists have been on it (from Brian Wilson to Alanis Morissette, Richard Ashcroft, Kate Nash (listened to her new "I just love you more" yet, everybody?) or La Roux). And I quote " it offers a truly unique look inside the creative process of some of the industry's most fascinating artists (...) discussing their work and performing". There's some Beatles covers, and some new takes on their own material.
The Spanish tv ad featuring Melody's take of "Somewhere over the rainbow":

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nerina Pallot NOW!! -Useless tomorrow

Note April'09: Actually not, redoing this post since her "I don't want to go out" sessions are going on pretty often. In fact there was one every Monday for a while. Keep an eye on her website for future sessions as she's currently busy on tour.
Great and so generous of her, in these webcasts there's room for live performances of her songs and also some chatting where she answers questions. She answered one of mine a while ago (asked her about the "Shania you impress me" line in Cigarette, yes it was Shania and not another name -but I hear another name.. weird- and it was S. Twain she refers to, since she said it's a song about guilty pleasures -indeed!- bit of everything aaand she'd smoke a bit back then, kinda non smoking smoker - ;) And the song rocks.
Nerina Pallot, 'I Don't Want To Go Out' Sessions. Just click

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is it really over? oh bummer

So I guess this Christmas is finally over...well, I'll miss coming across some of the music stuff that only happens this time of this:

I agree with Stereogum, nr 1 of best late night tv performances of 2009, and Casablanca's + The Root's taking over the song...that's rock and roll! (even with the shiny wedding band and the baby on the way!)
And didn't this website take the words from my mouth in this other list with "We know you're as sick as we are of parsing critics' picks, so here's at least one countdown where you won't find Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, or Dirty Projectors in the Top 10" . Indeed, all "cool" "hip" lists had at least 2 of those. Not impressed, even saw the DP live, to me apart from the virtuosity of the female choruses..boring. And the singer... sooo full of himself. Whatever. I've now found two lists that I feel like exploring, one Butterfly Boucher pointed at this morning, here at KGRL (had already listened to a few of those, agree for the most part) and one via Sondre Lerche (he did include the DP and co but...). Still none of these include Camera Obscura's release and that is a major flaw!!
My most listened to these Christmas was old stuff though (but new for me) like one of the best covers I've ever listened to, Shelby Lynne's "I don't want to hear it anymore".
PS Post activated a few months late...ahem, just remembered it was there drafted. Reasons why I didn't back then... anyone's guess. Course by now vid link doesn't work, 'cos youtube needs some competence, basically. Well, it did make me laugh back then.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sade's comeback

After a slight delay in the program, Sade's first track released from her new album is now available to listen: "Soldier of love"

Her new cd out in February.
No big changes, seems, but she's always been one of my favourites. Ages ago I came across her when she was with a friend walking a dog in a park in Madrid (she lived here for a while), at a time when I was listening to Love Deluxe constantly, still said nothing to her. Figured it was the best way to thank her for her songs ... but somehow it was weird. Also saw her playing live, fantastic, wish I can do that again soon!.
And is Wikipedia right? Is she almost 51? Gosh, who'd have said..