An Interview With The Lovely Carson Ellis

If you take some soldiers away from the camp and the canteen, and try to speak to them of books or of art, they simply sit and stare at you. A few officers like myself, however, have cultivated an appreciation for those who take pen to paper and brush to canvas. On several occasions I have spoken of one such artist whose works I greatly admire -- the lovely Carson Ellis, whose intricate works adorn the many wonderful records released by the Decemberists. You may understand, then, when I tell you the glow of pride it gave me to be taken into her confidence and allowed to ask her the following questions, which she has so graciously and thoughtfully answered:

Aside from the Decemberists, for whom would you most like to design a record cover?

I'd kill to design the album art for a reissue of "It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best" by Karen Dalton.

What are your favourite record covers designed by others?

I think a lot of the illustrated album covers from the 50s are really neat. I like Jim Flora, especially this Louis Armstrong one. And I love this "Peter and the Wolf/Nutcracker" cover. And this one that my friend Chad made for a Bjork tribute record. I like the photo for "Ease Down the Road" by Bonnie Prince Billy.  And I've always (kind of inexplicably) loved the cover for "Houses of the Holy".

Do you have any plans to have an exhibit of your work in New York?

Not right now.  I've been in a couple of group shows there but I spend so much of my time doing illustration work that that I don't get around to making much art to exhibit.  I'd like to sometime though.  My family lives in New York and I think it'd make my grandma's year if I had an opening there, no matter how divey the place.  She's sweet like that.  

Who are some of your favourite artists/designers?

Ben Shahn, Arthur Rackham, Aubrey Beardsly, Pauline Baynes who illustrated the Narnia Chronicles.  I think Socialist Realism in the Soviet Union from the 20s all the way through the 90s is the greatest movement in painting ever, especially in the 20s and 30s: Aleksandr A. Deineka, Yuri I. Pimenov, Ekaterina S. Zernova.  I love a lot of Russian art - icons and the 19th century stuff.  Mikhail Nesterov's amazing.  And this painting by Jules Bastien-Lepage of Joan of Arc kills me.

What is your favourite Decemberists' song?

I have lots:  I was Meant For The Stage, The Gymnast, Red Right Ankle, The Infanta, The Kingdom Of Spain, The Bandit Queen, The Tain, Los Angeles, I'm Yours....


The Auctioneer's Lament

As you may recall, the Decemberists recently auctioned off some of their possessions in order to benefit victims of the dreaded tsunami earlier this year. For those who missed out (I was fortunate enough to procure two Carson Ellis original watercolours for a bargain price) or simply remain unsated, the band once again is offering their wares on eBay, this time to benefit themselves in the wake of what shall be known as the Great Stolen Instruments Fiasco of 2005. For offer are props from the Picaresque photo shoot and the Sixteen Military Wives video, along with Carson's hand-rendering of the major instruments that were lost (and one that was found). Perhaps most interesting is this one-of-a-kind t-shirt, fresh from Colin Meloy's back.


Perfect Stylistic Attitude

Is the name of an early and insightful interview with Peter Saville from 1984, just after the release of Power, Corruption & Lies, when Saville was at the height of his creative powers. In it he describes the inspiration for his early record sleeve designs and his falling out with Factory Records and Tony Wilson, and reveals which bands' music he did and did not enjoy. He also discusses how much he charged at that time to design a sleeve, noting: "I obviously don't charge Section 25 as much as Wham!, but it's usually well over GBP 2,000. Wham! are good customers to have." The full interview may be found here.


Decemberists at NYU

Apparently those merry pranksters known as the Decemberists have not entirely forgotten their indie roots. Turns out their Advance of the Picaroons Tour is making an unscheduled stop at NYU on April 28. Tickets are $6 in advance, $7 day of show, but are only available to NYU students with a valid ID. For full details, go here.


What A Waster

Serge Pizzorno, guitarist for the overblown and overhyped British rock band Kasabian, has weighed in on the impending nuptials of Pete Doherty and Kate Moss. Seems Serge had dreamed of forming a connection with Kate "since I was a kid", but failed to make a lasting impression on the supermodel when the two met last year. Serge claims he "had an 'enjoyable' evening with a 'nice' young lady," but now is glad things did not work out:

"That poor kid, Pete Doherty's going to marry her. All I can say is good luck to him. He can have her. Because, otherwise, I think she'll be looking for a man for the rest of her life but I don't know if she will find him."

Meanwhile, Serge has signed on with the Elite Modelling Agency and is working on a new album that promises to sound like "Dr. Who meets Black Sabbath." Cannot help but be an improvement on their current record, which sounds like E.L.O. meets Skid Row.

As for Doherty and Moss, the latest news is that Pete has packed his bags and is now living in Kate's mansion in rural Oxfordshire, England.


Three Crap New Singles

Contrary to what you might believe, my friends, I actually appreciate feedback from other young mod soldiers. Accordingly, I am officially soliciting your opinion on the following question:

Which is worse -- Oasis's Lyla, Coldplay's Speed of Sound, or White Stripes' Blue Orchid?

To my delicate ears, they are all rubbish.

NO EVIAN, Please! Just Four Cots And A Portable TV

It is not for me to repeat for you, my friends, all that was great about the 1960s compared to today.

Simply contrasting a standard Ashlee Simpson tour rider from 2005 with a standard Beatles tour rider from 1965 should be sufficient to make the point.


Young Mod Songs Of The Century (So Far)

I am an excellent soldier. I do not say this because I am prejudiced in my own favour, but because I really am so. For example, I can weigh every song released in this new century, and decide with as much certainty which is the best in that short time as though I had brooded for a hundred years. Thus, without any further delay, my friends, I present to you the young mod songs of the century (so far):

1. Am I Wry? No - Mew
2. Such Great Heights - Postal Service
3. Into U - Richard X (w/ Jarvis Cocker)
4. Don't Look Back Into the Sun - Libertines
5. You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve - Johnny Boy
6. Lover I Don't Have to Love - Bright Eyes
7. True Love Waits (live) - Radiohead
8. Svefn-g-englar - Sigur Ros
9. You Were Right - Badly Drawn Boy
10. Dry Your Eyes - The Streets
11. Do You Realize?? - Flaming Lips
12. Yellow - Coldplay
13. Powder Blue - Elbow
14. Sometimes - Ash
15. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
16. Wrapped Up in Books - Belle & Sebastian
17. Portions for Foxes - Rilo Kiley
18. I'm Not Down - Thea Gilmore
19. Bermuda Highway - My Morning Jacket
20. I Was Meant for the Stage - The Decemberists
21. Run - Snow Patrol
22. Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone? - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
23. Bohemian Like You - Dandy Warhols
24. Inside of Love - Nada Surf
25. Ode To L.A. - The Raveonettes
26. Hear Me Out - Ben Kweller
27. Killamangiro - Babyshambles
28. New Slang - The Shins
29. Stop Crying Your Heart Out - Oasis
30. Hounds of Love - Futureheads
31. Each Coming Night - Iron and Wine
32. Coming in From the Cold - Delgados
33. Here Comes the Summer - Fiery Furnaces
34. Lost in the Plot - The Dears
35. Stone By Stone - Catatonia
36. Science of Silence - Richard Ashcroft
37. Heartbeat - Annie
38. Nearer Than Heaven - Delays
39. A Lovely Day Tomorrow - British Sea Power
40. Caught By the River - Doves
41. Lost Cause - Beck
42. Catherine's Wheel (acoustic) - Rialto
43. Sharon & Hope - Stina Nordenstam
44. Mr. Brightside - The Killers
45. Metarie - Brendan Benson
46. Seven Nation Army - White Stripes
47. At the Hop - Devendra Banhart
48. Heavy Lifting - Ambulance Ltd
49. Dreaming of You - Coral
50. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Cat Power

(Please note that in order to accomodate as many artists as possible, I have limited myself to one song per artist.)

Pete And Carl Reunite!

Ah, if I could tell you the glow of pride it gave me to hear that Pete Doherty and Carl Barat were briefly reunited last night for the first time in 10 months. The reunion, which took place in a pub in London, was not planned, but those present say the two were very friendly. Each matched the other's insane conceit by comparing clothing labels, and nodding with approval. Details are at NME.com.


Here I Dreamt I Was An Alt-Country Rocker

In my humble opinion, the importance of a great band name cannot be overstated. For example, before Colin Meloy learned to channel the ghost of Jeff Mangum and formed the Decemberists, he was the singer/songwriter/guitarist in an alt-country band called Tarkio. Let's face it, my friends, with a name like Tarkio, is it any wonder the band went nowhere? (I have always wondered if the Field Mice were named the Stone Roses, and the Stone Roses named the Field Mice, which band would be more famous today.)

While Tarkio faded into an inevitable cloud of obscurity from which the Decemberists eventually emerged, their records live on, and now are set to be released as a box set by Kill Rock Stars. Details, including a complete discography and lyrics, can be found at Meant for the Stage. You also can download the band's most fully-realised album at You Ain't No Picasso.

Power, Corruption & Lies -- The Latest Exploits Of Peter Saville

I believe that I have mentioned to you my admiration for Peter Saville. It causes me great sadness to think that my lapel bears the Cross of Valour while his many accomplishments continue to go unrecognized by the Queen. Thus, it was with some great interest that I read of his latest exploits today in The Herald, including the fact that he has been commissioned to design the "station identity" for Al Gore's soon-to-be-launched television news channel. Also of interest is Tony Wilson's description of the numerous meetings conducted at Factory Records where he and others seriously considered hiring a hitman to kill Saville. Wilson also claims that it was he, and not Saville, who designed the famous gig poster known as FAC4, even though Saville lists it as his own in his latest monograph. These tidbits are but a taste. The entire article is worth reading, and may be found here for a limited time.

For Those Who Have Good Taste, We Salute You

It is an advantage which the English have over us that in all classes they take great interest in every form of music. It may be that they are richer than we, or it may be that they are more idle, but whatever the reason, I nonetheless was pleasantly surprised to see the results of a new poll of English television viewers conducted by Channel Four of their favourite albums of all-time. Before you mock some of the choices (yes, Jagged Little Pill is absurdly high), take a moment to imagine what a similar poll conducted by NBC (or even HBO) would look like. You can rest assured that Radiohead would not be top of the list, and that the Smiths, the Verve, the Stone Roses, Joy Division, the Libertines, Blur, Pulp and Nick Drake would be absent all together. Yes, yes, I will say this of the English, they were always generous enemies and very good people with whom to listen to a well-crafted pop tune.

1. RADIOHEAD - OK Computer
2. U2 - The Joshua Tree
3. NIRVANA - Nevermind
5. PINK FLOYD - Dark Side of the Moon
6. OASIS - Definitely Maybe
7. THE BEATLES - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
8. MADONNA - Like a Prayer
9. GUNS N' ROSES - Appetite For Destruction
10. THE BEATLES - Revolver
11. R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
12. THE BEATLES - The White Album
13. QUEEN - A Night at the Opera
14. COLDPLAY - Parachutes
15. OASIS - (What's the Story) Morning Glory
16. ALANIS MORISSETTE - Jagged Little Pill
17. LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin IV
18. THE VERVE - Urban Hymns
19. JIMI HENDRIX - Are you Experienced
20. THE SMITHS - The Queen Is Dead
21. JOHN LENNON - Imagine
22. RADIOHEAD - The Bends
24. THE STONE ROSES - The Stone Roses
25. SIMON AND GARFUNKEL - Bridge Over Troubled Water
26. BJORK - Debut
27. THE DOORS - The Doors
28. ABBA - Arrival
29. MICHAEL JACKSON - Off the Wall
31. SEX PISTOLS - Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
32. DAVID BOWIE - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
33. THE BEACH BOYS - Pet Sounds
34. JOY DIVISION - Closer
36. BLUR - Parklife
38. BILLIE HOLIDAY - Lady Sings the Blues
39. THE WHITE STRIPES - Elephant
40. BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid
41. THE SPECIALS - Specials
42. THE ROLLING STONES - Exile on Main Street
43. FRANK SINATRA - Songs for Swingin' Lovers!
44. THE CLASH - London Calling
45. THE PRODIGY - The Fat of the Land
46. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - The Velvet Underground and Nico
47. DIRE STRAITS - Brothers in Arms
48. PIXIES - Doolittle
49. ARETHA FRANKLIN - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
50. THE LIBERTINES - The Libertines
51. HAPPY MONDAYS - Pills 'N' Thrills and Bellyaches
52. PATTI SMITH - Horses
53. THE WHO - Tommy
54. LOU REED - Transformer
55. BOB DYLAN - Blood on the Tracks
56. PRINCE - Sign 'o' the Times
57. DIDO - No Angel
58. AIR - Moon Safari
59. ELTON JOHN - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
60. THE JAM - All Mod Cons
61. JEFF BUCKLEY - Grace
62. FLEETWOOD MAC - Rumours
63. MOBY - Play
64. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
65. THE POLICE - Synchronicity
67. CURTIS MAYFIELD - Superfly
68. ELVIS PRESLEY - The Sun Sessions
69. OUTKAST - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
70. PULP - Different Class
71. KRAFTWERK - Trans-Europe Express
72. MASSIVE ATTACK - Blue Lines
73. BECK - Odelay
74. STEVIE WONDER - Songs in the Key of Life
75. KATE BUSH - Hounds of Love
76. TALKING HEADS - Fear of Music
77. EMINEM - The Marshall Mathers LP
78. MARVIN GAYE - What's Going On
80. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER - The Original Movie Soundtrack
81. PRIMAL SCREAM - Screamadelica
82. JOHN COLTRANE - A Love Supreme
83. LOVE - Forever Changes
84. PAUL SIMON - Graceland
85. NICK DRAKE - Five Leaves Left
86. MEAT LOAF - Bat Out of Hell
87. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD - Dusty in Memphis
88. DE LA SOUL - 3 Feet High and Rising
89. THE STROKES - Is this It
90. MADNESS - One Step Beyond...
91. ROBBIE WILLIAMS - I've Been Expecting You
92. NEIL YOUNG - After the Gold Rush
93. PUBLIC ENEMY - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
94. BLONDIE - Parallel Lines
95. THE EAGLES - Hotel California
96. JAMES BROWN - Sex Machine
97. THE STREETS - A Grand Don't Come for Free
98. DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS - Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
99. ROD STEWART - Every Picture Tells a Story

As for glaring omissions, as with any list of this type, there are many, including In the Aeroplane Over the Sea; Astral Weeks; Beggars Banquet; Hunky Dory; Suede; Power, Corruption & Lies; and Abbey Road.


In Which Pete And Kate Decide To Get Married And Pete Tells Of His Former Life As A Rent Boy

It is indeed a difficult position in which Pete Doherty finds himself. On the one hand he cannot possibly forsake the lovely Kate Moss. On the other, what would a young soldier such as Pete do with marriage? Yet marriage it is to be, as Pete announced this week following the news that his robbery and blackmail charges were dropped last week:

"Now the charges have been dropped we can finally look to the future. At one point it was looking like we were going to have to rush things but now I'm not going to jail we can do it properly. I love Kate and she loves me. We are looking at the summer and have a date in mind. We want it to be a day to remember. It will be something simple, with the emphasis on the party afterwards."

Ah, the joy which Pete shall bring to the Moss household, especially when they learn of Pete's former ways in his new biography KIDS IN THE RIOT: HIGH AND LOW WITH THE LIBERTINES, in which he tells of working as a homosexual prostitute and drug dealer to satisfy his drug habit before he and Carl landed on the front of the NME. In the book, Pete says:

"I was working in a bar, selling drugs, working on a building site, writing poetry in the graveyard shift at The King's Head - and I was wanking off old queens for like GBP20. I remember once being taken back to this mews house in Chelsea, right old fucking badger he was. It was a bit daft actually. As he slept, I locked him in his room, tied a pair of trousers over his head and nicked all these American dollar bills out of his drawer. He's probably still there, with an erection, listening to CLASSIC FM radio."

Yes. Yes. There is nothing more to explain, dear Pete, for when one is newly betrothed, one may find other uses for one's lips.


Can't Stand Me Now

Many years and many scenes have dulled my remembrance, but still the warm air of spring brings back to me the sound of quiet country lanes, the scent of great orchards of apple trees, and, above all, a vision of the lovely maidens of France. They were the very finest of their sex, as we soldiers may be said to be of ours. Ah, the youth, the beauty, the valour, and then the dull, dead years that blur them all.

The memory of these glorious times, which weighs on my heart like lead, came back to me today as I read of Pete Doherty's romantic liaison in 2001 with French ex-girlfriend, Carole Desbois, who paints an unflattering picture of her former lover in London's News of the World. According to Desbois, Pete "never kept going sexually for more than a few minutes at a time. The drugs definitely affected his sex drive. He often went limp during sex because of the drugs.... He's pretty inexperienced." Before she consented to sex, Desbois said she had to scrub Pete down. "It was like standing next to a pile of manure. The grimy odor would have put me off having sex. I did everything for him that night from washing his hair to clipping his fingernails because they had so much dirt underneath." Desbois clarified that this was before Pete started shooting up. "He was only smoking cannabis, taking speed [or] acid," she notes. "He hadn't moved on to hard drugs. He didn't have the money."

Yes. Yes. How we all must take pity on poor Kate Moss for not having dated Pete when he was in his prime and knew nothing of either smack or soap. Those were golden days indeed.


Disco 2005

This past weekend Jarvis Cocker took control of BBC6 for 3 more hours, once again filling in for Marc Riley. The complete tracklisting:

Nag Nag Nag - Cabaret Voltaire
Love is an Unfamiliar Name - Duke Spirit
Not Like Before - Andrew Aveling
I'm Straight - Jonathan Richman
Just What I Needed - The Cars
Liar Liar - Castaways
Rocks - Primal Scream
The Hot Pear Snatch - The Cramps
Everytime - Andrew Averling
Their Ways - Little 'ans
Never Felt Like - Jack Scott
22: The Death of All the Romance - The Dears
Smile Like You Mean It - Killers
Chicken Payback - The Bees
Paper Plane - Status Quo
Believe - Chemical Brothers
Vice Versa - New Girls/Neutrons
March of the First State - Graph
How Far Can Too Far Go - The Cramps
Like an Angel - The Mighty Lemon Drops
Cruiser's creek - The Fall
Little Girl (With Blue Eyes) - Pulp
She's Got No Hair - Arthur Big Boy Crudup
Pump It Up - Elvis Costello
King of the Rodeo - Kings of Leon
Aloha from Hell - The Cramps
Coles Corner - Richard Hawley
Love Action Dub - Philly

You can still listen to the show at BBC6.

Kaiser Chiefs And The Cribs In Glorious Cover Wonderland

In previously extolling the virtues of cover versions of great songs, I made mention of my anticipation for the forthcoming Kaiser Chiefs single, which is to feature a version of Another Number by The Cribs. Now comes news that The Cribs have returned the favour, and covered my favourite Kaiser Chiefs song, Modern Way. Both covers are available on a limited split 7" single available only at the bands' current shows as part of their UK tour together. Limited to only 1,000 copies, the single is already selling for a handsome sum on eBay.

Annie In New York -- Update


Thanks to Melody Nelson


Nouvelle Vague C'est Rad

It is often said that I am a rough soldier, but I have words and ideas, and appreciate the delicate arts of the Continent. To that end, I often travel to Paris and stroll along the Seine, browsing the bouquinistes and tipping my dolman as the girls wave their handkerchiefs. It was on such a trip that I discovered Nouvelle Vague and their self-titled debut album of singular new wave covers sung by an assortment of chanteuses. Since that moment of first discovery in the fleeting days of fall, I have dreamed of what it might be like to hear those blessed songs played live. Tonight those dreams came true over a bed of baby field greens and a bottle of Pellegrino at Joe's Pub.

With their bald heads and clean-shaven faces, the two men who make up Nouvelle Vague look more like professors at the Sorbonne than the finest soldiers in France. Every one to his taste, but it seems to me that if I could clap a pair of fine light cavalry whiskers, like my own, on each of them, it would do them no harm. They are able musicians, however, and their arrangements are remarkable, as are the voices of Camille and Melanie Pain, who accompanied them. Together they played every song -- save Psyche -- from what is possibly the best album of last year, along with two other oft-covered classics, New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle and the Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen In Love, both of which I hope are slated for a follow-up long-player soon to be recorded.

Given its important historical nature, I feel it is important to document the event with a representative photo and a copy of the set list, both of which may be found below. For those who missed the show, the band has announced that it will return for a full U.S. tour in September.

Nouvelle Vague

Nouvelle Vague setlist


The People's Poet, Free At Last

I believe I recently recounted to you, my friends, the progress made by Pete Doherty in recording what must be the most anticipated album of the year. You can imagine, then, what a tear of joy it brings to my cheek to hear that Pete is no longer at the mercy of the Bench, and thus may now complete his next masterpiece without fear of incarceration.

Yes. Yes. After much deliberation and thought as to the welfare of its people, the Crown has wisely chosen not to pursue robbery and assault charges against Pete. The charges stemmed from an altercation at the Rookery in London on February 3 with documentarian Max Carlish, who had attempted to blackmail the singer before selling footage of him taking drugs to the Daily Mirror. The incident led to four nights in Pentonville Prison for Pete, and a black eye for Carlish.

The decision not to pursue the charges gives new hope to those of us eagerly awaiting Pete's return to the New York stage, as the impending case forced him to live under a court-enforced curfew that greatly restricted his ability to travel and perform.

Carlish, meanwhile, has been quoted as saying "I'm really relieved for Pete." Those who wish may read more of Carlish's unique brand of doubletalk here.


For Those Who Have The Means

8/4 Bloc Party @ Bowery Ballroom
9/4 The Fiery Furnaces, Dios Malos @ Webster Hall
12/4 Nouvelle Vague @ Joe's Pub

12/4 Annie @ Tribeca Grand (private show)
14/4 Annie (DJ set) @ Tribeca Grand
14-19/4 Erasure @ Irving Plaza
15/4 Brendan Benson, The Stands @ Bowery Ballroom
15/4 Ambulance Ltd. @ Northsix

16/4 Annie (DJ set) @ MisShapes
17-18/4 Ash, The Bravery @ Bowery Ballroom
17-4 Damon & Naomi @ Knitting Factory
18/4 Ben Lee, Har Mar Superstar @ Southpaw
19/4 Ben Lee, Har Mar Superstar @ Knitting Factory
20/4 Ed Harcourt @ Pianos
23-25/4 The Shins @ Webster Hall
26/4 The Raveonettes @ Mercury Lounge (2 shows)
27/4 The Raveonettes, Morningwood @ Mercury Lounge
27/4 Ed Harcourt @ Pianos
27/4 Stars @ Bowery Ballroom
28-30/4 New York Dolls @ Irving Plaza
28/4 Adam Green @ Bowery Ballroom
28/4 The Raveonettes @ Southpaw
29/4 The Wedding Present @ Bowery Ballroom
30/4 Stars @ Southpaw
30/4 The Wedding Present @ Maxwell's
4/5 The Decemberists @ Irving Plaza
5/5 New Order @ Hammerstein Ballroom
5/5 The Mountain Goats @ Knitting Factory
7/5 The Mountain Goats @ Northsix
11-13/5 Built To Spill @ Irving Plaza
14-15/5 British Sea Power, Feist @ Bowery Ballroom
15/5 Built to Spill @ Southpaw
16/5 The Bravery @ Irving Plaza

16/5 Peter Murphy @ B.B. King's Blues Club
17-18/5 Gang of Four @ Irving Plaza
17/5 The Bravery @ Warsaw
18-19/5 Doves, Mercury Rev @ Webster Hall
20/5 Snow Patrol @ Roseland Ballroom
21-25/5 Bright Eyes, The Faint @ Webster Hall
21-22/5 Monade (w/ Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab) @ Mercury Lounge
25/5 Boredoms, Jim O'Rourke @ Bowery Ballroom
26-27/5 Rilo Kiley @ Webster Hall
26/5 The Decemberists @ Warsaw
31/5 The Raveonettes @ Maxwell's
6/6 The Futureheads @ Webster Hall
7/6Low @ Webster Hall
7/6 Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks @ Irving Plaza
8-9/6 Spoon @ Webster Hall
9/6 Keren Ann @ Southpaw
10/6 LCD Soundsystem @ Webster Hall
11/6 The Dears, The Shout Out Louds @ Bowery Ballroom
22/6 Oasis @ Madison Square Garden
23/6 The New Pornographers @ Maxwell's
21/7 Kaiser Chiefs @ Webster Hall


Annie In New York

At first it was but a murmur, a rumble, but this morning I heard, as plainly as ever I heard anything in my life, the clinking of horseshoes and the jingling of bridle-chains, with the clank of sabres against stirrup-irons. Yes, my friends, the rumours are true. Norwegian pop princess Annie is on the march, and shall arrive on our shores this Monday. The details of her appearances in New York are as follows:

Tuesday 12 April -- Private show at Tribeca Grand
Thursday 14 April -- DJ Set at Tribeca Grand
Saturday 16 April -- DJ Set at MisShapes


You Are The Generation That Pays To See Shows At Webster Hall And You Get What You Deserve

Your pardon, friends, while an old soldier tells his trouble. My heart, my old soldier heart, is heavy within me. It is a strange thing, this age which creeps upon one. One does not know, one does not understand; the spirit is ever the same, and one does not remember how the poor body crumbles. But there comes a moment when it is brought home, when quick as the sparkle of a whirling sabre it is clear to us, and we see the soldiers we were and the soldiers we are. Yes, yes, it was so to-day, as I surveyed the campaigns that lay before me and felt a shiver of disillusionment.

What happened to the days of PJ Harvey at CBGBs? Of Built To Spill at Under Acme and Sunny Day Real Estate at Brownies? Has it really come to pass that the best for which a retired soldier on a pension can dream is two nights at Webster Hall as opposed to one at Roseland? I say it is time to draw a line, my friends, and proclaim that we shall no longer tolerate soldiers who proudly wear their indie credibility on their epaulettes (see, e.g., Fiery Furnaces, Shins, Spoon, Bright Eyes) playing any venue larger than the Bowery Ballroom.

And so I raise my hand to my busby and turn upon my heel, my heart glowing at the thought of the great exploits which lay before me. For it is there, in the future, that our hope lies with the next wave of recruits who shall ride into town with little fanfare and stable their horses at some small, intimate venue such as the Mercury Lounge. The Rakes, Johnny Boy, Art Brut, the Apartment...oh, my friends, the pride and the glory and the beauty, the flash and the sparkle, the roar of the hoofs and the jingle of chains, the tossing manes, the noble heads, the rolling cloud, and the dancing waves of steel! My heart shall drum to them as they arrive for the first time in our fair town, and at that instant the years shall fall away from me, and up shall fly my cane. "Chargez! En avant! Vive l'Rock!"

In Love With A Feeling

As you may recall, my friends, brave young Pete Doherty previously proclaimed that he plans to write and record a duet with paramour Kate Moss. Now comes the news that she will provide backing vocals for the album version of live favourite Fuck Forever. We can only pray that the result measures up to Moss's duet with Bobby Gillespie on the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood classic Some Velvet Morning. For the latest on the Babyshambles recording process, including video clips from the studio, go to: http://www.babyshambles.net/

Do You Remember The First Time?

On Saturday 09 April, Jarvis Cocker will once again take over Marc Riley's 3-hour Rocket Science radio show on BBC6. It's a rare glimpse into the incomparable mind and taste of one of Her Majesty's most-decorated soldiers, as evidenced by the tracklisting from the show he presented this past Saturday 02 April:

The Birthday Party - Blast Off
Midlake - Balloon Maker
The Stooges - 1969
Chocolate - Emma
Artery - Potential Silence (Archive Session)
Jem - They
The Fall - Touch Sensitive
British Sea Power - Will I Ever Find My Way Home
Prey - Save Yourself (Session)
The Beatles - I'm Only Sleeping
Link Wray - Comanche
The Shortwave Set - Is It Any Wonder
Jet Boy - Jet Girl
New Order - Turn
Tim Rose - Long Time Man
Prey - The Godsy Beat (Session)
Artery - Afterwards (Archive session)
Frank Black - Headache
Beck - Rental Car
Phuture - Your Only Friend
Prey - Rubber Man (Session)
Sambassadeur - Between The Lines
Sisters Of Mercy - Gimme Shelter
Suicide - Cheree
Television - Glory
The Rutles - Cheese And Onions
Warren Zevon - Werewolves Of London
Roxy Music - Pyjamarama
Bloc Party - Banquet
Artery - Into The Garden (Archive session)
Elbow - Not A Job
Doctor Mix - No Fun

To listen to that show again, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/shows/rocket_science/index.shtml


All Hail The Constable

I was quite pleased upon receiving the news that Untouched By Work or Duty has unearthed the first known recorded version of the Decemberists covering Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, for I was always a great favourite of his, and there is no officer of whom I think more highly.


The Youth And Beauty Brigade

There are many soldiers who think that because one's trade is to make war one should never have a thought above fighting and plunder. But the highest soldier is one like myself who can understand the things of the mind and the soul. It is true that I was very young when I joined the army, and that the quarter-master was my only teacher, but if you go about the world with your eyes open you cannot help learning a great deal. Thus I was able to admire the artworks of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols and Joy Division, and to know the names of the great artists, Peter Blake, Andy Warhol, Jamie Reid, Peter Saville, and the others, who had created them.

Today there is a new wave of artists who have devoted their craft in some part to that which we call good music. Of these intrepid souls, perhaps none are more worthy of our praise than Elizabeth Peyton, Julian Opie and Carson Ellis. Peyton has immortalised many of our brightest supernovas, including Kurt, Jarvis, Liam & Noel, Beck, and Elliott; Opie contributed portraits of Damon, Alex, Graham and Dave to the Best of Blur collection; and Ellis is the artistic force behind the Decemberists, with a hand in all that comprises their visual aesthetic. Samples of the work of each are posted below for your edification and enjoyment:



Opie-Blur (and others)