down in the hole

February 22, 2013

A re-up of Season 4 pulled us right back into The Wire loop, as addictively as before. The added bonus for me is the fantastic slave-to-the-beat version of the series’ supremely catchy theme song, ‘Way Down in the Hole’. It’s on constant playback, both in reality and in my head.

The relative merits (or not) of each season’s version are hotly discussed among Wireheads. I already liked The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Season 1 version, although Tom Waits’ gravelly (original) version in Season 2 gives the song a feel that is a completely different. The Neville Brothers in Season 3 didn’t seem to make a lasting impression, but DoMaJe’s version in Season 4 has grabbed me by the throat and won’t let go. It features the five Baltimore teenagers Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse, and was arranged and especially recorded for the show.

Steve Earle does the final Season 5 version, but Mr. Snow and I are loath to start that season. It’s a mix between fear of having to totally surrender to the series (again), and never ever having any more episodes to watch again… nor new theme versions to discover.

Have a listen if you need to, and tell me if you agree. Or, do you love an alternative version of a well-known song?

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incendies

March 8, 2012

Is anyone still out there? I know My Year Online is long over, but once in a while, something pops up that is so special that I have to share. The opening sequence of the film Incendies falls into that category.

I watched it with Special K some months ago now, but just the mention of Radiohead still brings the whole soaring, heart-stopping sequence rushing back to me. The rest of the film is good too in a slightly unsettling kind of way, though with an ending that is perhaps a little far-fetched. Overall, a good watch, but still, it’s this that stays with me. Turn up the volume, watch and tell me if it was the same for you?

 

staff benda bilili

November 3, 2009

staff

Last night’s hoped-for sneak preview of Staff Benda Bilili turned out to be more indirect than expected, due to the members of this band from Congo needing a bit more time to adjust to a wet and November-y Oslo. But French filmmakers Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye who are busy getting their documentary about the most famous handicapped band in Africa did a great job in whipping up enthusiasm, not only for Benda Bilili’s show tomorrow at Rockefeller, but also their singularly no-nonsense approach to everything that life deals out to them.

After being thrown out of various other bands in Kinshasa (for always being late, since moving around town in their home-made wheelchair-trishaws isn’t trivial), the various members decided to start their own band, playing on the street, and rehearsing in the zoo (which is why you can hear toads on their track ‘Polio‘). In between all that, they also find time to protect street kids from the cops and take care of their own families – and now be the hottest new rumba funk band on the planet.

Don’t believe me? Just go to their show, I’m planning to tomorrow and can’t wait. They’re also playing in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Bristol and Oxford this month – that should cover all six remaining Myyear readers. Sorry though toc – their show in Copenhagen was on Sunday, but you guys gave them the Womex 09 prize, so you rock anyway!

fa fa fa

January 9, 2009

We’ve been so slow on the pick-up, even after Inspector Gadget gave us the album as part of his iTunes donation to enrich our cultural life. But now we’re confirmed superfans of Bergen band Datarock, and spent most of Christmas spreading the good tunes.

Best of all was an impromptu boogie to the irresistible disco beat of Fa Fa Fa with the family Snow, in the midst of our game of car key hide-and-seek. Next stop, matching his-and-hers Datarock sweatsuits!

Little Jacket introduced me to the Flight of the Conchords tv series, a painfully funny comedy about a New Zealand duo who are trying to make it big in New York with(out) the help of the New Zealand Deputy Cultural Attaché. The twist is the ditties they break into, either spontaneously as they go about their daily lives or as part of promoting their band (making a video, etc).

But last night, I came home to find Mr. Snow giggling on the sofa. While the series concept isn’t the strongest, it turns out that Bret and Jermaine really shine in their deadpan musical comedy show, which was being shown. Above is their brilliant rap-folk crossover about the hiphopopotamus-rhymenoceros inner city showdown, and at least as good, their Shaggy-inspired She’s So Hot Boom!

heima

November 3, 2008

I’m not the biggest Sigur Rós fan around, at a push preferring the big orchestral sound end of their music spectrum to the plinky ethereal end. But when Icelandair’s fabulous inflight entertainment system offered up the film about their free homecoming tour that Mrs. Cap’n had waxed lyrical to me about, it was too good a chance to miss.

After having toured the world, the band returned to Iceland and performed a series of free, unpublicised concerts in a string of small towns and villages. When so many of us live in man-built environments, the concerts and the footage of the surrounding nature showed a people who live very much according to the whims of nature’s forces. Their reactions to the music – sometimes bemused, sometimes delighted – were itself a delight to watch.

Starting out slowly, the film steadily draws you in. The concerts it showed were said to unite Iceland in a common experience, and the film certainly reinforces the impression of a very special people in a very special place that seems almost other worldly in its remoteness. I’ve even (almost) developed an appreciation for the plinkiness of the music. Anyone who can make a xylophone from bits of slat or dried up rhubarb branches must be a genius.

the wombats

October 8, 2008

Last night, Mr. Snow and I overcame the resistance of uncle- and auntyism and went to see The Wombats live at Rockefeller, thus raising the average age of the audience by about 10 years. I think the concerts we’ve been attending recently have been far too old-fogeyish, as I haven’t seen an audience this enthusiastic for ages!

I don’t think I’m a huge Wombat fan, but we had a lot of fun bouncing along to ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ (above) and ‘Moving to New York‘. Also, say what you will about their brand of happy synthetic pop, but the boys (including Tord from Elverum) know their stuff about show and music making.

Good warm-up bands too by the way. Manatee Rocket had good songs, even if the lead singer was still getting the hang of rock star action (hard if you are from Bærum, as Mr. Snow commented). Pipedream put on a great show, but a lot of the songs descended into a wall of noise. Maybe you guys could talk…?

madcon

September 26, 2008

These two funk brothers made it last year in Norway and this all over Europe with their version of The Four Seasons’ Beggin’. DN once carried a good article about their media coup. Thier first album in 2006 did poorly. Norwegian hip hop? Please, was the public’s response.

Fast forward to 2007. Lead singer Tshawe not only manouvered himself onto TV2’s popular Skal Vi Danse?, but won the whole thing outright. Another two weeks, and Madcon’s single ‘Beggin’ was released, and went right to the top of the local charts. Public converted en masse.

The rest of the album So Dark The Con of Man is more mixed, some solid, some weaker tracks. But Beggin’ is an absolute star of a track, and Madcon can really put up a show. Just in case you hadn’t heard…

the rapture

September 26, 2008

Who are The Rapture and why I have not discovered them until now? It took a bootleg CD seller on a corner in Jakarta’s Chinatown for me to find my way to them. They are part Mansun, part Radiohead, part Scissor Sisters and part Built to Spill (who are by the way playing in Oslo on the 11th of November), with a dash of disco for good measure. They’re probably horribly uncool, but I’m loving it so don’t care!

Mr. Snow just reminded me I have to share with you what The Rapture is and means in America. All I can say is, I’m very glad someone has thought about Fido post-apocalypse. Not to forget the Rapture Index. Truly amazing.

could you be my love

September 11, 2008

The long, warm days seem very over here. This cheery choon by dynamite duo Estelle and Kanye West made up part of my summer soundtrack, not to mention boogieing away to it with Uncle M, Little Jacket and the rest of the gang at the wedding of the year! It still brings a smile to my face, especially when I need a little push to help me into the autumn swing of things.