I’m Scared of Vinyl

Uffie

Posted in Gigs by Catriona on March 18, 2010

Uffie seems to be one of those artists who people either love or hate – either way she provokes a pretty extreme reaction. I should probably admit right now that I’ve long belonged to the former category of shameless Uffie-love. Perhaps it’s her music that won me over, maybe it’s her extreme Parisian coolness, or possibly even her style –more likely it’s a combination of all three.

Uffie is on the verge of releasing her long-awaited debut album, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, which still doesn’t have a definite date of release, but the first track, ‘MC’s Can Kiss’ has already gleefully splashed itself across the music blogs, despite the obligatory dose of bitter criticism that Uffie seems to get wherever she goes. To be honest, the real reason for the love-hate response to Uffie stems from how she broke into the music scene in the first place.

Most of you, if you’re bothering to read this article at all, will be aware of the Parisian record label Ed Banger. It’s the single most influential label behind the recent upsurge in electronic music. You could argue that Kitsuné can also make a claim for this title, due to the calibre and popularity of its compilation albums, but Ed Banger has Justice on their books, as well as SebastiAn and Mr Oizo. They’re also a notoriously cohesive bunch – artists on the Ed Banger label have a very close relationship with each other, remixing and supporting their labelmates. Uffie first appeared as the girlfriend of Feadz, one of the Ed Banger artists, when she provided vocals for Feadz’s track ‘Uffie and Me’ back in the early part of 2005. She went onto record ‘Pop the Glock’, which was produced by Feadz, and in early 2006, she was signed to Ed Banger, after Busy P (DJ and ex-Daft Punk manager – he owns and runs the label) heard the track.

The single, ‘Pop the Glock’ and its B-side ‘Ready to Uff’, which was produced by Mr Oizo, enjoyed considerable success. Lyrically, Uffie has never been particularly discreet: she certainly hasn’t been shy of either self-promotion or mentioning her connection with Feadz. ‘I got a man and he goes by Feadz’ was a refrain from ‘Pop the Glock’, whilst she pointed things out even more explicitly on ‘Ready to Uff’:

‘I’m that damn crazy brat, and I don’t give a fuck,

I got my man, my sound, my glass and I’m ready to fuck…

I’m Uffie, of course.’

You can see why she’s encountered a few problems, really. Still, she’s released some genuinely good tracks, and Uffie has a very distinctive style – you can immediately identify her vocals, even through the most distorted of remixes. What particularly annoys me is that poor Uffie is currently being continually compared to Ke$ha – Uffie’s videos on YouTube are annotated with inane accusations that she is copying the white girl rapping style that Ke$ha ‘originated’. Whilst neither of them actually started it, you can’t call Uffie the imitator – she’s been releasing music for years – ‘Pop the Glock’ came out way back in 2006.

Her latest single, ‘MC’s Can Kiss’, is every bit as excellently produced and lyrically taunting as her previous work. This is what I absolutely love about Uffie – no one can deny that her songs are first rate, but they can’t help but get riled by the accompanying words. If you want to spend an amusing hour or so, read what they’re writing about ‘MC’s Can Kiss’ on the music blogs, it’s hilarious. The general consensus appears to be to give Mr Oizo the credit for producing it so nicely, but to lampoon her for her lyrics. They’re supposed to be ironic, for god’s sake. How obvious does she have to be?

Unfortunately, due to time restrictions, we were unable to get an interview with Uffie, so as you’ve probably guessed, this piece is comprised out of a motley assortment of press releases, Wikipedia entries and snippets of information gleaned from obscure internet interviews. Still, it’s the Trinity Ball Guide*, I suppose, and it does help to have some idea as to which of the acts you might try and see. Already, I’m planning an elaborate schedule for the evening, of flitting between tents in order to catch as much of the line-up as possible. It’s that pre-Ball optimism that completely fails to take into account that most of the night is going to be dictated by how drunk you are. I’m even contemplating bringing a camera, in order to take some photographs, but I know that it’s a bad idea. At the back of my mind I know that history will inevitably repeat itself. Last year, despite being at the Ball for a good eight hours, I cannot remember seeing a single act. Most of my time was spent slumped on the grass outside the dance tent, watching my friends lurch past in various states of drunken dishevelment and varying stages of undress. The highlight of my evening was accosting the Senior Tutor and having a long, rambling conversation with her. Luckily I can’t remember the details, and I sincerely hope she doesn’t, either.

This year, my expectations have reached an all-time low. I know my limits. My alcohol tolerance currently rivals a twelve year old’s. Two cans of Bavaria and I’m practically unconscious. Because of this, I’m planning on writing the word UFFIE on the back of my hand with permanent marker, to ensure that this time round, I manage to see at least one of favourite acts. Keep things simple: that’s the best way to approach the Trinity Ball. And on that note, there isn’t really much point in going all-out on buying an expensive dress and getting your hair and nails done beforehand, if you’re a girl (or a man who’s planning an interesting alternative to a tuxedo). There tends to be an enormous amount of peer pressure to prepare frantically for the Trinity Ball, but at the end of the day: it’s dark, everyone’s drunk, and you’ll spend most of the night packed into a overcrowded tent, walking across cobblestones or sitting on the wet grass. Just enjoy it for what it is – a music festival in formal dress set in the unlikely and slightly surreal surroundings of Trinity College.

*This is a backdated piece that I did for this year’s Trinity Ball Guide, hence the off-topic rambling at the end of the article. Due to a very tight deadline, there wasn’t a chance to set up an interview, hence the way that the article reads like an extended bio. Sorry about that!

Advertisements

Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM

Posted in Albums by Catriona on February 28, 2010

I’ve been a bit of a fan of Charlotte Gainsbourg ever since she released 5:55 back in 2006, but IRM has definitely surpassed all my expectations. Since the album was produced by Beck, I was expecting high level of musicality, but as well as this, the entire album has a delicate instrumental quality that melds perfectly with Gainsbourg’s vocals. For such a nostalgic album, which begins in a very acoustically driven manner, the title has surprisingly clinical origins. Apparently, IRM takes its name from MRI scans, something which Gainsbourg has had ample experience of, having suffered a brain hemorrhage in the wake of a water skiing accident several years ago. Listening to this album has certainly been one of the highlights of my week, and “Me and Jane Doe” in particular will certainly stay on repeat for quite some time to come.

Tagged with: ,

Trinity Ball 2010

Posted in Gigs, News by Catriona on February 22, 2010

So the acts for this year’s Trinity Ball have finally been announced: here’s the full line-up of who will be playing:

Dizzee Rascal

Mystery Jets

Mr Hudson

Uffie

Digitalism

Example

Jape

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

Jesse Rose

Louis La Roche

Japanese Popstars

Fred Falke

Delorentos

The Law

Darwin Deez

Planet Parade

Replicators

Definitely Mightbe

Adored

Police Force

Bitches with Wolves

War Stage

This year’s ball is going to be on Friday 16th April, and tickets are going on sale on Wednesday, 24th February. If you’re a student or graduate you can buy tickets here.

Trinity Ball Guide

Posted in News by Catriona on February 21, 2010

This year’s Trinity Ball Guide will be out on Monday, and promises to be a positive treasure trove of all things ball-related, if the rumours are anything to go by. Here’s a preview of the cover…which seems to be getting progressively sexier every year, god only knows what will be on the front of next year’s issue.

Gerard Blanchard – Rock Amadour

Posted in Videos by Catriona on February 2, 2010

I happened on this music video entirely by accident – but the sight of Gerard Blanchard’s intense stare and frantic use of the button accordion mesmerized me to such an extent that I felt compelled to put it up here. I’m not entirely sure when it was made, or who Gerard Blanchard actually is (my knowledge of French isn’t that great) but whatever its history, it’s certainly worth watching…

Jay Reatard

Posted in News by Catriona on January 14, 2010

Oh my god, Jay Reatard died yesterday, here’s the article that broke the news. They havn’t figured out what it was yet, judging from the article it sounds suspiciously like swine flu.

Tagged with:

Choice Music Prize shortlist

Posted in News by Catriona on January 13, 2010

I can’t quite believe the Choice Music Prize shortlist has rolled around yet again… the feeling of my life slipping through my fingers is beginning to scare me a little. Anyway, the list is as follows:

And So I Watch You From Afar And So I Watch You From Afar
Bell X1 Blue Lights On The Runway
Codes Trees Dream in Algebra
Adrian Crowley Season of the Sparks
Dark Room Notes We Love You Dark Matter
The Duckworth Lewis Method The Duckworth Lewis Method
Julie Feeney Pages
Valerie Francis Slow Dynamo
Laura Izibor Let The Truth Be Told
The Swell Season Strict Joy (ie Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova)

As usual, the real talking point is who’s been left off the list as opposed to who’s actually on it. Just to chuck in my ha’penny’s worth, I’m wishing that Hunter-Gatherer had got on the list and also wondering why Patrick Kelleher and Super Extra Bonus Party weren’t on it…

Vampire Weekend – Contra

Posted in Albums by Catriona on January 12, 2010

I’ve read a couple of pretty disappointed reviews of Vampire Weekend’s second album on the internet recently, and yes, the album will probably not prove to be as universally popular as their debut was, but I still like it. I’m more inclined to agree with Mike Powell, who wrote a far more positive review for Pitchfork, and gives a particularly good description of the album saying “Vampire Weekend sound like they’ve fallen in love with what they started and are hugging it tight without shame or apology”.

Once you get past the fact that there’s not going to be another “Oxford Comma” or “A-Punk”, you begin to appreciate just how genuine Contra really is as an album. They’ve really developed their sound and in particular their influence by world music, especially with the diversity of their percussion instruments. It’s so interesting to finally hear the full album – when “Horchata” was released about a month or so ago, I kept wondering if it would be representative of the entire album, or whether it would have the same anomalous factor that “Mansard Roof” had on Vampire Weekend’s debut. It turns out it very much belongs to the former category. Contra truly was contrary to what I was expecting, but it’s an album that grows on closer acquaintance and has a summery quality that’s particularly welcome at this time of year.

Tagged with: ,

Love Is All

Posted in Albums by Catriona on January 11, 2010

“Kungen”, the first track from Love Is All’s latest album has just been released. The Swedish five-piece are due to release their third album, Two Thousand and Ten Injuries, at some point this year. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the band – they always produce such up-beat pop that’s ever so slightly off-kilter and their sound is also very similar to Robots in Disguise, another band which I had a short-lived obsession for. Their album titles are also fantastic – the name of their second album A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night captivated me instantly and I spent a good two weeks playing “Wishing Well” practically on repeat, to the intense irritation of all around me. I tired of it eventually, but now “Kungen” has come along, with it’s catchy keyboards, echoing vocal harmonies and unexpected saxaphone, I’ve become temporarily obsessed with Love is All, all over again.

The Ambience Affair

Posted in Albums by Catriona on January 5, 2010

The Ambience Affair are back with a new EP, “Patterns” which you can order from Road Records. For now, here’s a little sample of what you can expect on the EP, the track “Devil in the Detail” – it’s brilliant!

The Ambience Affair – “Devil in the Detail” mp3