Tag Archives: british

there is nothing like someone new

I’m moving to Albany next Friday.

I keep saying it, but it still seems unreal. The last few weeks have been teeming with Major Life Changes: I got a new job (in journalism! Finally! Huzzah!), I bought my first car (the brightest of bright reds), and I’m moving back to a city that I love and miss to move in with someone I love and miss. (I’m also pretty sure the laptop — or at least its hard drive — is lost and gone forever. Sigh.)

Frightened Rabbit‘s “Nothing Like You” has been another breath of fresh air,  soothing me amid the stress of all these changes and captivating me for the better part of last week, swirling still about my head six days after it first caught my ear.

This latest single from their forthcoming album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, is nothing short of miraculous, joyously buoyant and ever so catchy. I dare you to watch this delightfully DIY video (far superior to its glossy counterpart) without cracking a smile:

As one YouTube user put it, “I can’t understand how this band aren’t a total chart destroying, globe-shagging phenomenon.” Indeed, these Scots have been pumping out great, slightly-under-the-radar albums since 2006, particularly 2008’s fierce, lovely The Midnight Organ Fight. But shout-outs in the pages of Esquire and repeated plays on shows like Chuck prove that the world is starting to take notice.

The greatest thing about “Nothing Like You” is that it’s essentially a scathing rebuke of an ex disguised in a shimmering pop package, topped off with a ribbon of jangling tambourines. The video depicts various band members and company bopping about to this chorus:

She was not the cure for cancer / And all my questions still asked for answers / But there is nothing like someone new/ And this girl she was nothing like you

All my Major Life Changes are exciting and terrifying, and as much as I try to assign them meaning, they will probably not end up as grandiosely Life-Changing as I assume them to be.

But there is nothing like something new — job, car, roommate, song, or otherwise — and I can thank Frightened Rabbit for that realization.

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sun is in the sky, oh why, oh why, would i wanna be anywhere else?

Well, perhaps I could think of a few other places I’d rather be. But with a 40-degree heat wave hitting Rochester today, it’s been one of the more delightful days I’ve spent at home in recent memory. And hearing this song while walking Sundae certainly enhanced my suddenly cheery mood:

What are some of your favorite sunny day songs, Sparkies? Where else would you rather be? (I’m picturing myself on a tropical beach somewhere, stiff, fruity cocktail in hand…)

lovely lime(y)

Logged into the latest version of LimeWire today to find this as the loading page:

First of all, love the play on lime/limey. Second, if you know me at all, you know how I feel about London, and Brits is general. (I even know exactly which phone booth this is — Big Ben in the background gives it away.)

Needless to say, this was quite a delight for me. And especially fitting, considering my desktop background:

Goes quite nicely with the Buckingham Palace gates and Jamie Cullum lyrics, no?

Any serendipitous screen shots you want to share, Sparkies? Is anyone as tickled by this as I am? Anyone? Bueller?

these things are fathomlessly out of our hands

After a long, shameful dry spell, Salt: The Silent Killer returned to trivia glory at the Panorama this past Tuesday, handily trumping the competition in both games. (Nevermind the fact that our competition consisted of less than half the normal number of teams who usually play. Winning is winning.)

we are the champions, my friends.

Aside from basking in the glow of our restored-to-greatness euphoria, this week’s contest was notable for another reason: the discovery of Fyfe Dangerfield‘s “When You Walk in the Room.”

Billy usually plays some pretty excellent tunes between questions and rounds, but this song stood out. The first word that comes to mind when trying to describe this track is “joyful,” and it’s apparent from the chorus of “I want you endlessly” that this guy is pretty damn happy.

Dangerfield is the lead singer of the Brit band Guillemots (another exciting find, thanks to Billy and Fyfe), and his solo debut, Fly Yellow Moon, drops in January. Suffice it to say, I’ll be eagerly awaiting its arrival (and probably ordering an expensive import, considering he’s on a UK label and the album won’t likely be available Stateside until several months later. Bollocks).

Got any good recent musical discoveries to share? What happens when you walk in the room? And do you know of any PSAs that might make a good trivia team name?

jump, jive, and whales

twitter's popular "fail whale" error message.

twitter's "fail whale" error message makes me seriously consider joining the site. © Yiying Lu

Batten down your hatches, landlubbers, for I’m about to tell ye a tale.

Whales are my favorite animals, a love I can trace back to an obsession with the movie Free Willy* and annual childhood trips to MarineLand. I still have a stuffed orca, Whaley, from one of those visits, who may or may not still sit on my bed.

(*Yes, I know that killer whales are more closely related to dolphins. But considering they’re the BAMFs of the ocean, I think of them as one of the family. Plus their genus name, Orcinus, means “from hell.” Awesome.)

I’m a sucker for these sea-dwelling creatures in any material form they may take. Calendars, posters, jewelry, anatomically incorrect Beanie Babies, even one of those horrendous spray-painted t-shirts from the mall — I have owned and treasured them all.

Today my collection is considerably pared down, but my eyes and ears still perk up at the slightest mention of anything whale-related. That’s why I was delighted to come across Heart on a Stick‘s A Goddamned Guide to All These Goddamned Whale Bands. (Part Two is here.) Whales and music served up with a side of snark? Yes please!

The list is exhaustive (“but not comprehensive,” warns the author. “I left out Namu the Disco Whale, just to be mean.”), featuring dozens of whale-monikered artists. Who knew that Whale is the new black? (Or Wolf/Bear/Hands/Tapes/Cassettes/Crystal, as the case may be.)

I thoroughly recommend reading through the whole Guide, which is sprinkled with wit (my favorite!), fun facts, and a few pretty good bands. WALL•E and Fudgie the Whale also get shout-outs.

The best offerings from a musical standpoint are The Devil Whale and Freelance Whales:

Freelance Whales, whose vocalist reminds me of The Format and synthesizers of Hellogoodbye, is also blessed with one of my favorite names of the bunch. As a freelance writer, I feel for these guys; I can just imagine some poor, frustrated porpoise trying to scrape together a living as a whale.* This is what happens when I’m left alone with my thoughts.

(*Actually, “freelance whale” is a pretty fitting description for the orca.)

Other contenders for best name include:

  •  British Whale: While the name is a combination straight out of my own personal version of heaven, the usually-entertaining Justin Hawkins (of The Darkness fame) disappoints here with only two tracks, both abysmal.
  • Prints of Whales: Another fantastic juxtaposition, this time adding puns to the whales and Britishness. Their MySpace page offers the cheeky tagline “Putting the ‘O’ back into Cuntry,” plus the most giggle-inducing friends list I’ve seen in quite some time. (Thank you, Scrotum Clamp and Gob$au$age.) If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t like their music, I’d be in love. As it is, I’m still slightly smitten.
  • Simien the Whale: Named for a misheard Rusted Root lyric, though I question the band’s ignorance. This song is a classic.

I’ll stop here for fear of ruining the rest of the list’s lustre. Suffice it to say, it’s a worthy venture if you’re up for a whale of a time, mateys.