Viewing Gum Listening Post #27

Before I get all set for Glastonbury later this month, another dollop of playlisty loveliness awaits you all: VGLP27. But I’ve been a busy sort this past month, with some other mixtapes on offer. I’ve got my own Soundcloud, and recently uploaded FKNLVU, a mix of love songs (up to a point), capturing all facets, light and dark, of love and sex and relationships. Probably. Features a few choice recent VGLP favourites too. On top of that, my DJ duties at Gamerdisco continue apace, and you can check out an extract from my set at May’s event, held in conjunction with Kotaku UK, which was super great (and featured Mykah and 2xAA on fellow music duty too). Be sure to come along to our next event at The Book Club, London, on 17th June!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the latest Listening Post!

 

1. The Chemical Brothers – Go
2. Shamir – Make A Scene
3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
4. Crystal Castles – Frail
5. Son Lux – Change Is Everything
6. Aminata – Love Injected
7. DJ Yoda – Open Your Eye
8. Songhoy Blues – Soubour
9. Best Coast – Feeling Ok
10. Pond – Holding Out For You
11. Penguin Cafe – Close Encounter
12. The Unthanks – Last Lullaby

Eurovision 2013 Semi-Final Round-Up!

As is customary, prior to the Eurovision Final tonight, I skip through the Semi-Finals and watch all those entries that sadly didn’t make it through. It appears that this year, Europe has discovered dubstep, and they are still obsessed with banging enormous drums, so their attempts to crow-bar in one, or even both, elements into their songs have led to some fairly unlistenable dirge. But here are my absolute must-see picks of what you missed (largely drawn from semi-final two, it would seem):

Montenegro: Who See – Igranka

Astronauts. Rapping. Just what you would expect. Until the lady with the chorus rockets out of the ground (Hell?) and unleashes a dubstep screech wearing assorted electrical components as if she’s fallen into the bargain bin at her local Maplin’s. Nice growls at the end.

 

Latvia: PeR – Here We Go

Seemingly trying to ride on the crest of the ‘Ready to Rhumble’ revival, it’s a bit too “Everybody clap your hands!” for its own good. The lead’s mate is apparently beatboxing, but you couldn’t tell with the sound levels, so he just ends up looking like an enthusiastic fan of his friend. There’s a bit when computer noises are piped in as they do a weird robot slo-mo creep-step, and is capped off with apparently the first ever stage-dive in Eurovision history – we know because he announces this. If they had made it through, would he repeat it, announcing it was now the second ever stage-dive in Eurovision history? Sadly, we’ll never know.

 

FYR Macedonia: Esma & Lozano – Pred Da Se Razdeni

Standard ballad fluff, right? Just wait until Esma (or is that Roseanne Barr?) strides across the stage, like an extra from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Never has trying to mix traditional and modern music worked so badly. It sounds like the L and R in my headphones are playing two completely different, but equally awful, songs at once!

 

Albania: Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet

Rock, now, and what would happen if esteemed cult film critic Kim Newman joined Kings of Leon? You’d get this guy, right? There’s an explosive guitar solo, and the mix of big beats, trad strings and upbeat rock actually works surprisingly well. One of the better losers.

 

Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov – Samo Shampioni

Unfortunately, this kitchen-sink approach to mixing contemporary and traditional sounds is like an instant headache in a can. There’s folky dress, wub-wubs, multiple drums, and Dappy on bagpipes. Just no.

 

Switzerland: Takasa – You And Me

Not an awful pop tune, but trying to get the sympathy vote by including a 95 year old man on the double bass backfires – he just looks a bit confused and I end up feeling a bit worried for him. The Book of Mormon was better.

 

San Marino: Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola)

Now hang on, how come no-one told me Valentina Monetta was representing San Marino again? Okay, it’s no The Social Network Song, but I’m starting to feel sorry for the girl, rejected twice in a row. And it’s a surprisingly decent, spirited performance too. Perhaps people didn’t dig the Melisandre from Game of Thrones look?

Eurovision Update! San Marino No No No Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh

Every year Eurovision throws up into everyone’s laps a song the very existence of which raises serious questions about the nature of reality, straddling the oft-traversed line between genius and insanity. Of course, inclusion in Eurovision is never a mark of quality, but amongst the tedious ballads and over-produced pop pap, one song will shine brighter than the rest. I had thought we had already found ‘the one’ when the Russian entry turned out to be a bunch of sweet old dearies. But then along came San Marino’s Valentina Monetta with The Social Network Song Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh.

A winning mix of Rebecca Black’s Friday and Wing’s Safe Computer, both the song and video demand your immediate attention, so let’s analyse Monetta’s mini masterpiece in more detail than it really deserves:

Here’s our guide, Valentina, who is going to explain the ways and whys of social networking. It’s a pity, then, that her grasp on the world wide web hasn’t really moved on since 1997. It’s effectively the musical equivalent of jokes hilariously confusing “surfing the information super highway” with ACTUAL surfing on a board in the sea.

Our first look at Valentina’s profile, which regular users will notice is in the new ‘timeline’ configuration, before it became compulsory – so we clearly have a trailblazer in our midst. Her cover photo though appears to be her dancing against the backdrop from Michael Jackson’s Earth Song video. Let’s not invoke the spirit of MJ just yet, shall we?

Okay, this is in when it all starts to get WEIRD. See, Valentina’s not logging on to reunite with old chums or keep in touch with current friends – she’s doing it for the nookie. “Do you wanna be more than just a friend/Do you wanna play cyber sex again”, she asks, but with the looks she gives, it’s all rhetorically sexy. To explain: when she says, “Click me with your mouse”, “click” means “screw” and “mouse” means “penis”. It’s like Shame all over again. Filthy hard drive and all. Out come the thought bubbles, which display various disturbing images from her deeper subconscious, via istockphoto.

Oh god, look at her backing vocalists/friends. Quick question: when you unfriend someone on Facebook, do they notice? I’m guessing these are all the most important people in her life, which begs a further quick question: are they all into the same cyber sex thing too? Is this how they met? Shudder.

“So you really wanna make love with me”. Yet, the man in the thought bubble is a good 30 years her senior. Are we sure she’s not confused Facebook with SugarDaddies.com? At least when the equivalent thought bubble appears in this competition entry/fan video, it’s less ‘Fixident’ and more ‘the fat shaved Ken from Aqua’. Nicely enough, this one’s rendered in The Sims 3, which is not only adding another framework to the whole digital reality concept, but has had more time and dedication out into it than the actual video.

Gaggling? I know you’re trying to find a word to follow “googling” and “giggling”, but again Miss ‘butter wouldn’t melt” Monetta reveals her barely hidden agenda if Urban Dictionary’s anything to go by. I’m not really sure she knows what all this playful “cyber sin” has got herself into. However, if this is supposed to be a warning against online sexual predators I would be more concerned for her safety where it not so unclear as to whether she’s the hunted or the hunter.

Wut? In case you hadn’t guessed at this point, this is not her real bedroom (a behind-the-scenes documentary reveals it is in fact a SET – it also includes footage of Valentina receiving a birthday cake before the rest of the crew backs away, leaving her looking rather sad and alone). However, the blue/white colour scheme is not just representative of Facebook, but San Marino’s national flag. THIS SHIT IS LAYERED Y’ALL.

The video ends on Valentina brandishing a sign reading “mi piace”, which is Italian for “I like it”, but to everyone else reads like they misspelt “MySpace”. She’s really thinking, “Hey Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross! Best return your Oscars now, because when David Fincher sees this, he’s going to go back and remix and reissue The Social Network, and just have this track playing throughout instead!” At this stage it’s worth pointing out that the original title was The Facebook Song, until it was discovered this would be in breach of rule 1.2.2.g of the Eurovision Song Contest (the original video, featuring a cartoon Mark Zuckerberg, remains here).

What Valentina hasn’t quite figured out though is how she’s going to sing live when her voice sounds like she’s been deep-throated with The Auto-Tune Cock. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it’s performed on the night – the mind boggles at what kind of choreography and costumes will feature.

San Marino’s entry will feature in the first Semi-final on 22nd May. If there is any hope in the universe, we’ll see it at the Final on 26th May too.