“Can I write a piece about you now that you’ve made it?” – A review of Belle & Sebastian’s new record!

(Caitlin Moran said something once about if you want to be a writer, you must learn how to be a writer on a treadmill, lest you will die from eating biscuits. I feel the same applies to a gap year.)

A still from the band's new video, Nobody's Empire.
A still from the band’s new video, Nobody’s Empire.

Hi hello hi! I haven’t written for around 2 months, but I’m back today for a specific reason- we have had the new Belle & Sebastian album unleashed to us, and I couldn’t help but take a listen, in the same way that I can’t help but eat another biscuit. It’s called Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, which we so do, and it’s released on Matador next week. I feel guilty, and ashamed as J pre-ordered the LP for me for Christmas, but I still couldn’t help but take a listen. In a way that a New Year often promises a feeling of fresh starts and beginnings, it seldom does compared to the excitement behind a new album, especially when it’s their ninth studio album, and the previous 8 have been highly regarded as ‘my jam.’

I saw them play in Paris, Halloween 2014, where they played some of the new material- much to the approval of myself and Ella, and these 2 or 3 European guys who we befriended for the night, quietly discussing beforehand which was our favourite B-side as we sat on the ground in our cardigans so we were near the front (we weren’t in cardigans but let’s just create the twee dream.)

The album opens with Nobody’s Empire, and although not initially loving it, I now really really rate it, especially as an opening track. I think I wasn’t listening to it at all at first, I was just playing it as background music, tossing my hair back like ‘Zzuuh, nothing will ever beat The Model, or whatever.’ But then I played it, thought about it, listening to the lyrics along with the lovely Marx-and-Engels-y piano, and decided I was into it, really hard. Essentially, an autobiographical song about the frontman of your favourite band, is the best thing ever in a fangirl sense. The song talks about Stuart’s struggle with ME, dealing with a chronic illness, lying in bed feeling all useless,

“I was like a child, I was light as straw
When my father lifted me up there
Took me to a place where they checked my body
My soul was floating in thin air”

Very cool. A great opening choice, it reminds me of Thunder Road, the notorious opener of Born to Run by Springsteen, with it’s storytelling-y, piano-y beginning, into a big sounding, life affirming sound as the song builds and builds. Also he sings, “If I had a camera I’d snap you now, cause there’s beauty in every stumble”, which makes me swoon- BECAUSE I AM ALWAYS STUMBLING, METAPHORICALLY AND PHYSICALLY.

Track 2 is called Allie, supposedly the female perspective in which Stuart writes from for this album. I can’t possibly comment on this track as it opens with Stevie, ‘ba-da-da’ing, which is too much for a fangirl. You’re just like, OMG! It’s Stevie! And he’s ba-da-ing!

Anyway. What I can disclose about this song, what I like about it, is the same old, trusted B&S formula- which is all like, ‘Angry girl gets angry about things and we sing about it with pretty 60’s melodies and instruments.’ It just works, “You made a list of all your heroes & you thought about what they went through/ It’s much harder, much darker than anything that happened to you.” I can relate to that, I’m ashamed to admit. That frustration of being a teenager and wanting anything ANYTHING to happen to you, no matter what, it’s just something that will trigger you to move out, or write a song, or get a haircut. Kind of wanting to pursue the *ahem* struggle of something to get a story, if anything, out of it- but then in reality just sitting around in your pants eating Wotsits watching Netflix. Adolescence.

Next up, The Party Line! This is the first single released from the record, so if you haven’t heard it already, you probably already have in H&M or something. (I’m not denouncing them as sell-outs, I did actually hear this in H&M, and internally squealed, bopping my head in a nervous, twitchy sort of way for 3 minutes, probably looking like I’d shoplifted something.) I totally hated this song when I first heard it, and mourned the loss of my band- before the curse of the fangirl hit and I was like- HEY!! GUYS!! CALM IT! IT’S JUST A DIFFERENT DIRECTION!’ I thought it was too repetitive and tinny-sounding, and nothing *sigh* like Judy and the Dream of Horse *sigh*, but then I got over it, and now it’s my alarm. It dances me out of bed, every day. Favourite line goes to: “Where were you when I was king in this part of town?” I love the idea of fallen popularity, the more local the better; being ‘famous’ within the teenage population of your hometown. Just for wearing a cool leather jacket, shaving your head, etc.

The Power of Three is lovely, and Sarah is singing. The Cat With the Cream has some lovely, beautiful melodies with some sacred sounding strings. Enter Sylvia Plath is a total mess, and sounds like the Pet Shop Boys, but hey, I’ll probably love it by next week. The Everlasting Muse is a fantastic load of fun, with a Greek sounding chorus, a sound favoured by me and my friends, who happily danced to Zorba the Greek and Dominick the Donkey, on repeat for a long time on New Year’s Eve. Before I get quoted on that, it doesn’t sound remotely like Zorba the Greek, but hey, I am not equipped to write serious, proper album reviews. It just reminded me of NYE. This is a first listen, OK, guys.

Perfect Couples has the perfect (lol) Sympathy for the Devil sounding introduction, before it explodes into BASICALLY THE BEST PARTY SONG OF 2015. Maybe not a party party song, but the song to play as you set out the cheese before the party. It could so be in a musical. Oh, a Belle & Sebastian musical. They played this in Paris to a background montage of a very stylish, very choreographed scene of a living room party. It was all just très cool, bèbè.

The next song, Ever Had a Little Faith?, was so perfect for today, and is good, old fashioned B&S, with lyrics so perfect for rainy bus journeys, “Something good will happen, wait and see/ Do you spend your days second guessing fate?” & “Drop your sad pretence/ You’ll be doing fine, you will flourish like a rose in June.”

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Aural proof new albums provide more hope than a new year ever could. (The last 3 tracks also exist for you to stream, along with all the above tracks I’ve spoken about, but I have a to-do list the length of my leg. Also, with my ideal album at 35 minutes, the running time of just over an hour is too much for my ears and their poor stamina)

Stream it here:

In other news, I’m glad Christmas is over, spent 4 nights  in 2 different hotels in the past 7 days, was in Dublin last week, am in London twice this week and in Cambridge at the weekend to see First Aid Kit, again. Things could be worse.

Thanks for staying with me, if you did (which if you’re reading this- you did! So like, uh, thanks!)

T.A.L x

 

“She’s the colour of a magazine”

– something I wrote about Suede, and glam rock, to help aid and justify a delicate day after the night before. Also, I’ve been meaning to write something on here for the past few days as I realise some of my friends are now looking at this! Hey! How you doing!

I am so surprised I am even able to write this right now. It is half past 4 and all I’ve done since returning home this afternoon is sit very still, occasionally scribbling something down in my notebook, such as ‘I am going to have a cup of tea and then I will read Othello.’ Turns out Othello is pretty long and written in a form of jibberish. Writing down these little affirmations in the hope that I will be inspired to start getting on the productivity thing- whereas in fact I feel much better about myself today lying on my bed, half asleep, half-chewing my gum from last night, coming in and out of naps.

The other day at the gym I was absolutely sweating and beaming out all the endorphins imaginable, and I had a really clear thought where I went, ‘Suede!’ I’ve never written anything about Suede, (except tiny pleas/love letters and explicit drawings of Brett Anderson) so I thought it was good if I could explore them through my writing in order to discover the undiscoverable and unexplainable magic of the whole thing, man. (I am still feeling pretty baked.)

Aside: (I was listening to Suede earlier to rekindle the old obsession, but as I write this I am listening to none other than 3 Feet High and Rising, the best album ever recorded. This had to be mentioned.)

So, let’s begin with Exhibit A.

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Beautiful, androgynous Brett. I saw Suede last winter in Nottingham with my dad and he still has that compelling, captivating stage presence that just makes you hooked on his movements and the lyrics he’s singing, (Brett Anderson, not my dad.)

I searched his Wikipedia page in order to unravel the mystery a little for the sake of the blawg, and the anonymous and undderated writers of Wikipedia summed him up, perfectly: “[He] combines Morrissey’s homoerotic posturing with David Bowie’s glam theatrics”

I love the band because when listening to them, feeling a bit regretful and lousy, they manage to translate every bad decision I’ve made into something beautiful and otherwordly,  + *spoiler alert*AND THAT IS THE BEST THING WITH GLAM ROCK!!!*

Bowie, Bolan – it’s all about glitter, glitter in excess, excess, theatricality, making mistakes but turning those bad feelings into something else. It’s about saying, I’m gonna put on a show for you guys because life can be humdrum and monochrome at the best of times so we may as well make a big deal of it. Then, all of a sudden: pastel colours look simply washed out- what you thought were neutrals ‘beiges, creams, whites’ are replaced with the real essentials: ‘leopard print, sparkly silver, red, shiny black’ – and bam! You are in a good place, amongst friends.

Digressing (as per), but for me, the way DB wrote Starman ‘which had shaken everyone with its somewhere-over-the-rainbow chorus…’ – as Morrissey puts it in his Autobioraphy as well as ‘he is a Wildean visionary about to remould England’ – which always makes me smile as it’s lovely to see how musical influences all link together. (really digressing now)

I suppose Morrissey is not totally regarded as a glam-rock icon, but he was intrigued with the ambigious sexuality of the movement with Bowie, T.rex and particualrly the New York Dolls for instance. He also adored the gender-less nature of Patti Smith, and writes of her chef d’oeuvre, Horses, ‘[it] told me that, however heavy-hearted and impossible you might feel about yourself, you can still bestow love through recorded song.’…The fact that you don’t look like a pop star in waiting should not dishearten you because your oddness could be the deciding wind of change for others.’

The first Suede album I came across was ‘Coming Up- my dad handed me the CD and said, “listen to Track 9”, and I did- for a very long time over & over and it has actually inspired a lot of my little writing pieces over the last few years.

“Oh, we are young and not tired of it, we are young and easily led , oh – with all the kids getting out of their heads.”

I am growing sleepier (you don’t even know how long its taken me to write this post – today has been very delayed and mellow) – so I will leave you with a few more songs to hear, if you can handle the barrage on all of the senses.

“Shaved heads, raveheads, on the pill, got too much time to kill.”

“What does it take to turn you on now he has gone?”

“Sunshine will blow your mind, and the wind blow your brain.”

So good, so good.

Oh, so good.

~Drop a pill and then say hello~ A boring and serious review of Belle & Sebastian’s debut album, TIGERMILK.

Some things I have done today:

  1. Fixed the punctures on my bike. Dad was like you won’t be able to see the puncture, you’ll have to pump it up, put it in water…AND THEN WE SEE A PUNCTURE THE SIZE OF A 50P PIECE. I know how to fuck shit UP!
  2. Bought Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane on CD. (The Bowie post will come soon I promise.)
  3. Listened to Tigermilk- Belle & Sebastian 3 TIMES.

This is kind of a specialist post, so I’ll try and keep it succinct.

The debut album of Scottish twee group Belle & Sebastian, written in 1996 (my birth year, so it basically is the same as me)- with some of their best moments as a group of musicians ever.

Look here: I own it, twice! (The picture of the wall is just the record stuck up, which is a great, cheap way to decorate)

 

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I even drew my eyebrows on today. (EDIT: scary panda)

The album opens with ‘The State I am In’ with baby Stuart quietly whispering to all lonely girl (and boy) listeners everywhere. There is something in listening to the first track of an album, if it’s something really significant you’ll like the band/artist for ever and ever and ever. (See: Thunder Road/Bruce Springsteen/Born to Run;;;;;;Gloria/Patti Smith/Horses etc)

In truth, the first B&S album I heard was Dear Catastrophe Waitress, with the stellar opening track, “Step into my Office Baby” I remember first listening to it really late in bed, saying, “I will listen to the first track and then go to bed.” Unfortunately this song got me so excited that I had to listen to the entire thing, one time and a HALF (then i did fall asleep. I blame Asleep on a Sunbeam for being so calming.

Oh, Tigermilk.

In the sleeve notes, it reads, Sebastian (aka Stuart) wrote all of his best songs in 1995. In fact, most of his best songs have the words “Nineteen Ninety-Five in them”. What would happen in 1996?”

I think this is beautiful. It’s not horrendously dramatic, it simply is all like, Oh wait! I’m having quite a  good time right now, but how soon will it all end? You can easily hear that Stuart was influenced by The Smiths and the lyrics of Morrissey, but it isn’t quite so heart-wrenching, so maximal.

Where Morrissey is all like: “what a terrible mess I’ve made of my life”, Stuart is: “You know my bip-bopping days are over, I hung my boots up and then retired from the disco floor”

It’s a little more playful, and the stories are endless. B&S create so many characters, and yes- you can probably relate! That’s the joy. One of the lovely moments in my life was lying on some bed with some guy ~mysterious and not naming names and weird and bookish~ when suddenly, and for some reason I thought of the lyric,

“We lay on the bed there, kissing just for practice”

And I was instantly comforted by the fact things like this happen all the time, in bedrooms everywhere with boys and girls (and girls and girls and boys and boys too)

It’s just a bit of fun, we’re enjoying being young that’s all (that is what this band says to me.)

Also: THIS ALBUM: GREAT WALKING MUSIC. If it’s your kind of preferred pastime, buy or download the CD, and next time you’re in school walking past some absolutely fucking morons, play Track 9 ‘I don’t love anyone’ and walk in time past them, to

“Out on the street today/the kids are out playing having fun/I pass ’em by I’m not a kid, no/I don’t love anyone”

That’s how I deal with people anyway

And then, of course, there is Track 5- Electronic Renaissance. Which is perfection, as it sounds so different and it works so well. It is so well placed, with them ~synth vibes~, ugh I love it. Do you get that I love it? Have I fulfilled the purpose of this crazy fan post?

I think I’ve said what I’ve wanted to.  For further reading, I’d recommend The Celestial Cafe, by the man himself. It’s a really great read, but, hey, you’re so rad you’ve probably read it already.

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“You know the world was made for men/And not us” – We Rule The School, Track 7

Oh. He’s a feminist too. Hey.

Go out and buy it!!!!

Stay in and download it!!!

Or, most importantly, be all like, “Fuck you! Fucking bitch telling me what to do and to like, fucking Belle and shit” You’re the best kind of person.

(Meanwhile fans come at me and we can chat!)

Until next time!X

 

 

❤❤❤ Discovering OLD music (by old I mean stuff from 2008 that you’ve got too good for..((btw you’ve haven’t))) ❤❤❤

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Can I please write a post? Please!! Please?! Okay, now I’ve started so I’m going to do it, even though I’m supposed to be revising vocabulary about ‘holidays’ in French, but then I started to search bands who are playing *Glastonbury*, (that was yesterday’s good news!! AAH!)- which led on to trawling through my old iTunes library (which is the greatest thing to ever do when you feel sad, and stressed and like your life is only a string of people who don’t call back  whilst eating a packet of biscuits at a time)

So, basically- I accidentally stumbled upon No Doubt’s ‘Tragic Kingdom’ which I am STILL LISTENING TO NOW, and I’m smiling and mouthing all the words, (although just then I mouthed ‘mouthing all the words’ because I got confused and my brain is slowly grinding to a halt. Tadgggahaqw.)

This album just sounds SO RIGHT all the time, because it heaved me out of a time when all I listened to was folk or really cutesy whispering female singer-songwriters- and then the Goddess that is Gwen Stefani plays through my stereo- firstly hearing ‘Just a girl’ on the radio, and then followed by the rest of ‘Tragic Kingdom’. I’m not a massive No Doubt fan, I don’t own any of their other music- this sufficed.

I was stuck in a twirl of listening to quiet, shuffly, acoustic female singers- and I’d recently got a guitar for my birthday so this was good in some ways, but sometimes, I felt a bit like the folk stuff I REALLY liked was Bob, and Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen which I couldn’t really sing without feeling a bit like a *dude*. (apart from Neil Young, I can imitate his beautiful falsetto immaculately)

So, this album basically just said to me, “Erm, what are you doing??? Stand up and start shouting!! Go crazy! You’re angry right?!??! You should be!! SHIT happens every day!!! RARGH RARGH!!” CUE me singing to Just a Girl, a few weeks later after playing it over 100 times : I’VE HAD IT UP TO…HERE!!! (with the gesture of the hand above my hand, just to emphasise how far I’d had it up to)

Let’s just take a moment to study everything about this video. It’s gonna make you want to smash up a car, crop the shit out of old tees and FILM.

I probably began listening to this album in 2009, and I don’t feel the same about it as I did then. I think it’s difficult to repeat the initial excitement you get when you first hear a band (although not in all cases, my infatuation with Suede has stuck with me for a long, long time now. I just have the biggest crush on Brett Anderson *new tribute post ideas*)

I don’t think you should feel bad when you feel like you’ve ditched a band a bit. I mean, I still COMPLETELY love this album, but I don’t want to listen to it as soon as I get in from home right up until I go to bed. If this is making you nod your head and go ‘I totally hear ya, grrl’ I’ll direct you to the queen, Tavi Gevinson- who can pretty much summarise this where I can’t even skim the surface. She talks about Bob Dylan, and finishes it with:

I take comfort in knowing that it’s OK, then, for me to change too, and that, when I need to, Bob Dylan will find his way back into my life as needed. As long as I can put on one of his records, I can always find home.

As much as I admire Gwen as a style icon, I feel like No Doubt helped me to discover new music, and that’s why I love music so much- one things leads to another and it’s like an AMAZING NEVER ENDING FAMILY TREE OF ONLY COOL RELATIVES AND AUNTS (imagine that.) It’s like Joni Mitchell’s Blue is still one of my favourite albums ever ever ever, but it helped me through something really emotionally draining- so now when I listen to it, it doesn’t feel the same- but it means more because I can listen to it with a new perspective of new-found WISDOM about emotion and stuff. I’m really spewing out the shit tonight! Stay with me! Let’s hug!

Whilst I slowly rock myself on my chair, repeating Iwilldoworknow Iwillstarttoworknow, and compose my thoughts on how to turn around this post, gander at some fabulous bindi work from Gwen.

*unfgh
*unfgh

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I'm going to try this hairstyle at school tomorrow
I’m going to try this hairstyle at school tomorrow

AND HERE’S ME TRYING IT OUT:

HERE’S ME ACTUALLY TRYING IT OUT FOR REAL AT LAST YEAR’S LATITUDE: (It was really boring and I had a really bad time)

Just wear whatever you want as long as it breaks every fashion rule you’ve ever thought. For extra research into riot grrl inspiration, I cannot recommend this HIGHLY ENOUGH:

Try it out! Obviously you’re already wasting your time on the internet (har har har feeling v.self deprecating tonight!) so revel through your old music collection and marvel how that one time you were crying over a boy/girl to the Plain White T’s Hey There Delilah is a thing of the past, and you’ve got over it (hopefully. If not, pull yourself together. That was 2006.)

Follow me on @taralepore!

. X

I want to be the girl with the most cake

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I just wrote a whole post and it got deleted. Wwwwoohoo! Hello! I went to Cambridge today with my girl friends and it was so lovely. I haven’t slept much in the last few days, and everyone else also seemed really sleepy, which therefore made us really giggly (you know when you’re so tired and everything is so so so hilarious. Nothing even seems real. Brillo)

Essentially it was a shopping trip, but a lot of the time was also spent with us sitting on benches as we rubbed our poor feet. Women’s shoes are never never comfortable to be worn so much. I have these Chelsea boots that are my go-to shoes, but even them today slowly killed me off. Enough complaining.

I should really take more photographs- but I always think it’s nicer just to remember places from smells, or feelings, rather than me fucking around with a camera I got from argos that doesn’t quite take nice pictures at all- missing all the life. That’s my beef with technology as a whole, people spending oo much time looking down at a little screen than up at the sky. Brill though if you do your eyeliner really well, because with all the looking down at your phone people can compliment you. ‘I like your flicks!’ That is, until of course, you laugh too much you flicks start to flick downwards, towards your chin, because your friends are so funny

ANYWAY, onto fashion- I bought the delectable, sweet, scrumptious hairband from topshop today, it was a complusive on a whim buy, but I walked round the shop with it on my head for ages and thought I need this. I didn’t just walk out with it, of course, shoplifting is bad, no matter what Morrissey sings about (when I had my proper smiths phase, I did shoplift (ssshh) and I was uniting with others, and we were taking over. Naive)

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It looks better on. I would post a picture if I could be half-arsed. I’m into the whole grungey thing at the moment. It might be in fashion, I’m not exactly sure what fashion even means, what the definition of it is. I think it might be #trending. My friend told me what trending was today. You wouldn’t think I was a teenager, I feel so out of it. It’s like the word ‘hipster’ I dont really think you can define it. Is fashion what they’re throwing down the catwalk, what they’re spewing out at Primark, or what people are wearing in the street? I DON’T KNOW MAYBE THERE ARE NO ANSWERS…~~~~~~~~MINDFUCK@@@@~~~~

So yes, the 1990s are in, in someways- I suppose- the whole subculture thing was the thing that drew me to it in the first place. The music. TEENAGE FANCLUB OH MY GOD.. thats a post for another day. Definetely tomorrow’s

So I’ve been thinking about throwing things together to look a bit ‘dgaf grungey’, and I realised that essentially all you need is

  • Cobain- stringy unwashed greasy mop hair (NO PROBLEM HERE THEN, in the school holidays I go multiple days without washing-yolo), preferably dyed, ‘Maybe, maybe it’s the clothes we wear, The tasteless bracelets and the dye in our hair’ Suede– 
  • Maybe to smoke, if you”re ready to properly commit, and always in places where everyone you know might see you (outside Mcdonalds, in church yards (this one is fun AND ironic)- BUT nowhere near John Lewis, (you might bump into your friends mum, mum’s friend, or a primary school teacher. Bit disrespectful.)
  • To not do what i just did and compile an outfit. Wear things that look gross, that smell gross, but it must be something to do with a band. Some firm favourites are ‘Jimi Hendrix’ Nirvana’ and ‘Beastie Boys’ tops BUT DON’T GET THEM FROM H+M THAT IS WAY TOO… easy YGM

Here is something that I compiled earlier. I mean, no, as if I have time to even think about mundane shit like BLOGGING GOD MAN. I was too busy skinning a joint listening to Kerrang!radio…………….*.*

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Or whatever. Do what you want- in all seriousness- being all grungey and grimey is kind of well empowering because YOU KNOW that a lot of people will sneer down on you, and you have this weird smugness about it. Oh, hell. Why am I telling you these things. You little fashion angels already know what I’m talking about.

Stay classy, and safe, 

GB x