Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Weeks

Posted: June 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is the first genuine post about a band, rather than song of the day in a while at JH. What are your thoughts of song of the day? Anyway, a band I’d like to share with you today are called ‘The Weeks’. They are based in Jackson, Missisippi, and are now signed up to a label that Kings of Leon are signed to, Serpents and Snakes. You can certainly tell that KOL and The Weeks have collaborated in some way or another, there is a similarity between Samuel Williams (The Weeks lead singer) and Caleb Followill’s voice.

Something that I’ve been looking for in a band recently is somebody who has something to say, a new Arctic Monkeys. This is what is truly great about The Weeks, they have something to say. In a recent interview with NME, the band spoke about an apartment they’re living in in Nashville. “It’s pretty shitty,” said Williams, “There’s gunfire,” added front man Cyle Barnes (Cain’s identical twin brother) of their neighbourhood’s nocturnal soundtrack.

One of my favourite songs of ‘The Weeks’ is ‘Brother In The Night’, here are the lyrics. This is what  I mean by a band that have something to say, I think the lyrics are a mix between Arctic Monkeys and Johnny Cash (seriously, I think they’re that good)

“Say I’m wanted for a murder of a man I never seen 
They say I shot him dead, one to his head, somewhere in holly springs 
They have killed a man before not the one that they explain 
They’ll see the barrel of my gun before they ever see me hang” 

Also like KOL, The Weeks have very romantic, even poetic lyrics. These lyrics are from Sailor Song:


“And as I cry, I ask God why?How could I let my poor wife die?

And I told her not to cry and to wipe her eyes.

Well, if love is all you had, well then baby that’s not bad,

and if love is all you got, then that’s a hell of a lot.”

The reason this post consists of a noticeable amount of lyrics is that that is exactly the point: The Weeks have something to say.


Tonight, for a little music research, Ethan and I are going to a LANA DEL REY CONCERT! In spirit of this joyful occasion, the song of the day is Lana Del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness’, which has a quite an abstract video, and rather catchy lyrics. Enjoy!


Sorry for being away for so ridiculously long, I feel terrible. (I’ve just had my Bar Mitzvah! Go to ‘Ethan’s 13 if you don’t know what I’m talking about…) I’ve also been working on getting something really cool for JH.

I’m not usually one to write about such new music, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity this time. I’ve waited a good three and a bit years for this new album, and I can’t wait any longer.

The opening in general reminds me of the first Vampire Weekend album, Vampire Weekend. About twenty seconds in, it’s as if the song begins. There is a short drum roll and then guitar riffs that remind me of Cousins, from the second VW album Contra. The middle part of the song is made up of some weird and wonderful mixes of sounds- some slow-mo which sounds like a proper old-school video being re-winded. This is the part that I feel takes some real patience, it’s a real grower. The track ends with an abrupt, Vampire Weekend style.

What VW have kept to from their previous material is their tendency to keep their songs fairly short. I find it effective, it’s as if grungy bands like to just drag on the song for five minutes or so. And then there are the slick, sharp musicians who like to keep their songs short and concise. In literature, concise sentences can bring much dramatic effect- which I find can definitely too be true in music.

Some other examples of concise music for dramatic effect are Brianstorm by Arctic Monkeys, Kiss With A Fist by Florence and the Machine, and Evening/Morning by Bombay Bicycle Club.

What do you think about concise music? And moreover, what do you think about this new Vampire Weekend song?

Thanks! Ethan.

I would like to this week revive the second Drums album, The Drums. The album itself is in fact not at all very old, it was released in 2010 and it took us by storm. But in September 2010 the guitarist of The Drums, Adam Kessler announced that he would be leaving the band. And then, they had two new members and one of which left in a matter of months. By June 2011, lead singer Johnny Pierce revealed that the band were on the verge of breaking up. They then released Portamento, and the album chart dropped from 16 to 44 in the UK. And that is my explanation as to why the album The Drums is not played on the radio nearly as much as it should be.

But why should The Drums album be played so much? They are, in case you hadn’t realised, The Beach Boys in disguise. They sing amazing vocal harmonies, like the beach boys, and after you read this, listen to a few songs from the album and then listen to a few from Pet Sounds and tell me that they don’t sound very similar.

My favourite three tracks are Down By The Water, Best Friend and Skippin’ Town. Down By The Water is the most romantic of the three. It is much more simple, it is less about the music itself but more about the lyrics:

“Everybody’s gotta love someone

But, I just wanna love you, dear

Everybody’s gotta feel something

I just wanna be with you, my dear”

What I see in the lyrics remind me of Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys. The song is not as much about the song, and what there is of it is all very simple. They also both are offering a gesture with a particular scenario. Cornerstone is about how Alex Turner feels so strongly about his ex that he goes on a hunt in all his local pubs and he asks women that look like her if he can call them his ex’s name. Down By The Water is also about a gesture based on a specific scenario, as Johnny Pierce is saying that if he finds someone by the water (not naming anyone in particular), he would carry them home. What’s also similar about them is that we don’t know that the lyrics mean the full story trying to be told.

Best Friend is about waiting for a best friend who always disappoints. What I also love about the song is the music video, Pierce shows off his famous dancing, and he stays throughout the whole video whilst the rest of the band casually leave towards the end of the song. The song is then finished with some novelty credits.

Skippin’ Town is about something much deeper, not about romance but being chased by someone who very strongly, passionately hates them. Pierce even offers running away from home just so that he is not chased any more.

“I know you’re trying to kill me

Cause you’re chasing me around town

Until I turn around

Yeah, you’re chasing me around town

Until I turn around

I cannot take anymore

Do you want me to skip town?”

Ethan’s 13

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

The likelihood is that you’ve entered the website to read this post as you’ve received an invitation for my Bar Mitzvah. If not, let me explain: my Bar Mitzvah is the celebration of turning thirteen on my Hebrew birthday. Everybody invited receives an invitation and in my invitation I have included a compilation of the following thirteen songs. This post is a list of why I have chosen each of my thirteen songs.

Although, before I do, I’d just like to say that these songs are not a compilation of my favourite thirteen songs, but thirteen songs that remind me of my own first thirteen years of life.  I have no particular singular favourite song. Some are a reminder of a person in my family, some are remembering one great moment.

1. The Byrds- Mr Tambourine Man. Now this is a song that resembles the first couple of years of my life. According to my parents, apparently when I would be crying as a baby, my Dad’s only option was to put The Byrds into our stereo and as soon as Mr Tambourine Man would come on, my Dad would be forced to start dancing, and I’d stop crying and eat my food.

2. Foo Fighters- Arlandria. Not only is this an amazing song, but it’s my two year old brother Ira’s favourite song. Many people say that I resemble Ira in the face, and it’s true- but this is where we are alike in our taste, a great song comes on and we’ll stop crying. Then again, I was less hardcore and I didn’t smash my head into the air (I think…)

3. Vampire Weekend- A-Punk. This song symbolises a long period, I started listening to it when I was about nine going on ten, and I still do. It reminds me of summers in my old school, The Academy.

4. The Killers- All These Things That I’ve Done. This is the only song on the list that reminds me of my first primary school, North West London Jewish Day School. I was told, when I was about five, that I had to bring in my favourite song on CD, and so did everyone else in the class. Of course, inevitably, they chose something like counting to ten. But no, this guy brought in All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers. Let’s just say that the class were surprised…

5. The XX- Islands. One of the most multi-instrumental tracks on the album, this song represents my trip to Denmark with one of my best friends Charlie.

6. Bombay Bicycle Club- Always Like This. Another Academy representing song, these are the days of the end of Academy and the beginning of Immanuel College.

7. Monumentos- Crooks. Yet again, another song that represents that era. These guys were the first band I ever wrote about on the blog. I discovered them on Facebook, and now have their album.

8. Arctic Monkeys- Hellcat Sprangled Shalalala. This song represents Ira’s first birthday and the beginning of the holiday when I began Immanuel.

9. The White Stripes- Hardest Button to Button. I thought that I just needed that single song that I just loved, I don’t have any particular moment or era that it represents.

10. The Simpsons- The Simpsons. The theme tune to my favourite TV show of all time had to be on the list, and it’s theme tune to The Simpsons.

11. Cheap Girls- Hey Hey I’m Worn Out. This song represents the beginning of, I read about them in NME magazine, and just got their album.

12. Maximo Park- Apply Some Pressure. I’ve purely chosen this song because the first and last band that I’ve ever seen live were Maximo Park, and this was their last song. And it’s a great one, too…

13. The Strokes- Last Nite. There was a point in my life when I went to a serious love for music from just dancing, and this song represents my entire life of loving music, no particular moment.

I hope this is a guiding idea to why I’ve chosen each song on the list.

Thanks for reading, Ethan.

Please vote in the poll.

This is an album that I’ve had for a long time, but never really got into. That’s partly because I was four when it was released, and partly because when people of my age think of Kings of Leon, the first thing that comes to mind is generally their latest album (Which just quite frankly isn’t the kind of thing I’d listen to).

What I really like about the album is that it is something different- a breath of fresh air. Many things come to mind when I think of different music. One thing that comes to mind would be something along the lines of Mercury Rev. Maybe it’s because I’m young, and I’m sure I will get into them when I’m older- but I just find it quite difficult to listen to the voice of the singer in Mercury Rev. Aha Shake Heartbreak is different in the sense that the Followill’s voice is very unique, but nonetheless I can really listen to it.

There are some beautiful songs on the album: my favourites are The Bucket, Slow Night So Long, Four Kicks and Soft. In Soft, you can really see what I mean when I talk about the very fast, furious and crazy music- the guitar and the drums are manic, but this is all in a good way. Where Nobody Knows is probably the most beautiful of those four mentioned above. It’s also the calmest of the songs, the most gentle. The Bucket features in my most recent post ‘Top Eleven Intros’, and definitely deserves its place. The song is arguably the most well known of the album, and is the one you’re most likely to hear on the radio.

The cover art of this CD is unexpected, but a beautiful image. It really resembles Where Nobody Knows somehow, with its calmness and elegance of a flower just floating across the water. This album is actually one of my favourites for lyrics-

With hands in the air you look like the girl at the fare

With the bubbly eyes

Stonewashed shoe pulling at a rock but the rock don’t compromise

Come up to me say, why are you so skinny and pretty for a boy?

Said thanks for the insults and compliments

You’ll never forget my face no more”  those lyrics from Where Nobody Knows.

The reason, in my eyes, as to why the album isn’t played on the radio very much is because people don’t want to listen to music that isn’t as current and are afraid of listening to Followill’s voice when it doesn’t have some sort of choir in the background. The music is also played less because there is no ‘club remix/synthesiser’ feel to it. With the likes of acoustic music such as Jake Bugg round the corner, I think this could be the time for the rebirth of Aha Shake Heartbreak. I also heard that Kings of Leon are releasing a new album this year, so hopefully they will have some more authentic, acoustic guitar.

Thanks for reading, all feedback would be fully appreciated.


My top eleven favourite intros

Posted: January 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is a list of my favourite intros. I would love some feedback, but please bear in mind that I’m a young teenager. So don’t expect any Johnny Cash…

The key to a good intro is the variety of sounds it brings in the thirty seconds or so there is of it. If there is to be one part of a song to grab the listeners attention with emotions and a swing it’s the intro. I would also like to point out that I like all these intros equally, and I don’t have any particular preferences, the list is at a point where I couldn’t narrow it down any further.

My first in the list is an obvious choice- Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. A perfect example of range in sounds and the intro goes for thirty three seconds.

Hardest Button To Button by The Whites Stripes is the second in the list.  It lasts thirty seven seconds and is arguably the list’s most simple.

Kings of Leon’s The Bucket is up next. Whoo! And I love the drums in this one. Twenty seven seconds.

Now comes The Strokes and Reptilia. A very cool and catchy intro. Same as no. 2 on thirty seven seconds.

Everlong by Foo Fighters. Thirty one seconds and very rock and roll.

A Certain Romance can’t be forgotten and The Arctic Monkeys have held this one for a healthy minute and eighteen seconds. A very long, catchy and rock and roll intro.

Evening/Morning by Bombay Bicycle Club is possibly the most summer-like intro on the list. Thirty three seconds.

VCR by The XX is probably the only intro on the list with a song that has a xylophone. Thirty three again.

New York City Moves To The Sound Of L.A is, out of all the intros, the one that makes you most feel like you’re at a party. Forty eight seconds.

Last but by no means least is another ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ (Bombay Bicycle Club album) classic with Lamplight. Another thirty seven second intro.

Because ten is too mainstream (joking) I have to include Last Night by The Strokes. Twenty seven seconds.

Others that came close

I really love the Dinosaur Jr track ‘Almost Fare’. Just by Radiohead is great but too short. Sweet Sour by Band of Skulls is again great, but there just isn’t that much of it. It’s not really an intro, but the voice in Little Acorns is too good to leave out of the post. A White Stripes classic. The bit when they actually start playing is pretty hardcore.


I find it quite difficult to compare an American godmother of grunge-punk, and an English alternative musician and left-wing activist in the same piece of text, but I’m going to do it anyway, because Patti Smith and Billy Bragg aren’t so different when stripped down to basics.

A trait that both these amazingly talented musicians have in common, is the fact that their lyrics are like a tale set to music. Billy Bragg’s beautifully expressive poetry has always brought out the emotional side of me, and equally, Patti Smith’s raw and haunting ballads can often take my breath away; as they do in ‘Waiting Underground’.

My favorite thing about the way that Patti Smith and Billy Bragg write songs is that, the situations and feelings that the artists describe, sometimes aren’t obvious, or have different meanings to different beholders; this is something that Chris Martin from Coldplay does as well when writing lyrics, and I love the imagination that arrives when I listen to the words of these really gifted vocalists.  It’s like each song is a short story, or a chapter in an autobiography.

The intro to ‘Waiting Underground’ is quite simple, but effective, there is great comparison to the opening bass and drums and the grungy electric guitar with elements of ‘welcoming’ piano. Patti’s voice rings in with strength, and lingers with every breath she takes. As soon as she’s finished the first few lines, listeners already understand the mysterious message behind her lyrics.

There by the ridge be a gathering beneath the pilgrim moon,
Where we shall await the beat of your feet hammering the earth,
Where the great ones tremble,
In their snow-white shrouds,
Waiting underground.

“Pilgrim moon” and “The great ones tremble” gives us the feeling that she’s describing some sort of magic or witchery occurring in this story that she’s trying to tell us, and she seems to be talking about a grim experience or even death when she sings

If you believe all your hope is gone,
Down the drain of your humankind,
The time has arrived.

Her voice reminds me of a tamed lion, it’s calm, but underneath the placid exterior of her vocals, there is something wild and passionate, shaking with life and soul. Everything about Patti Smith just seems to get better and better, and at 66, I don’t think she’s ever been stronger.

The boyish charm in Billy Bragg’s voice really compliments ‘A New England’, because it emphasizes the fact that at the time he wrote the song, he was a dazed and confused young man who, didn’t really know what to do with his time on earth. The intro starts with a rhythmic guitar beat, and then something magical happens, Billy Bragg’s voice announces itself in the song with:

I was twenty one years when I wrote this song,
I’m twenty two now, but I won’t be for long,
People ask when will you grow up to be a man,
But all the girls I loved at school,
are already pushing prams.

And suddenly, we’re off. Listeners have already learned that Bragg’s younger self felt under the pressure of his piers to grow up, and let go of his childhood. When he says “All the girls I loved at school are already pushing prams”  we know he felt under even more pressure to settle down, because girls that were his age, are already mothers and have families.

I saw two shooting stars last night,
I wished on them but they were only satellites,
Is it wrong to wish on space hardware,
I wish, I wish, I wish you’d care.

These are probably my favorite lyrics in the whole song, because they instantly paint a picture of this guy who’s yearning for a lost love or something. Suddenly, beat changes and the guitar seems to take over in a head bobbing solo, and after that short marvel, Billy Bragg fades out leaving us in awe.

Let me know what you think,


Some people would avoid writing about a band that have broken up (before getting back together) and were formed before David Blumberg was born, the lead singer of Yuck, a band  I think they’re similar to.  Maybe it is- but I think it would be a good way to prove that I can talk about a band that aren’t just arriving into the music world but in fact the complete opposite – they’ve been around for over a quarter of a century (including when they broke up). I’d like to show that I can write about a legendary band, not just a new one.

What I really like about the sound of this band is its simplicity – yet they have an ability to play good music that reminds me a lot of Yuck (though Dinosaur Jr are even more simple).

The album from a musical point of view packs a real punch of retro with 70% of their songs over four-and-a-half minutes. Yuck may bring a strong sense of modernity to their music but they also are very retro, which makes them retro, if that makes sense… I also notice this tendency in bands like The Black Keys, especially songs in Little Black Submarines.

I’m really into the album format and cover. You can definitely see the concept, it’s supposed to give the image of many people feeling too clustered together. I really like the image of the bird on a finger by one of the faces. But I’ve found the lyrics in the album outstandingly disappointing. I really can’t see into them and just sort of feel they sing these lyrics to fit the rhythm of the music 

        “Hey me watch the corners,
watch me ’cause I know what you done
hey me don’t you know
watch me ’cause I’m all alone”

Thanks for reading, I’d really appreciate any feedback on how anyone interprets the lyrics I posted just above.

Dinosaur Jr- Almost Fare


“I’m really into this new band called Band of Skulls”

“So you’re going to be the new hard rocker of Kilburn then?”

This conversation clearly didn’t go down too well for my dad, because he was into them as well once he listened to their songs. Moral of the story: don’t naturally assume that Band of Skulls are some crazy rock band because of their name.

This three-piece are from Southampton, and the song I first heard by them was Death By Diamonds And Pearls and, their latest album, Sweet Sour came out this year, and they have a great song, Bruises, which is along with their other new singles, The Devil takes Care Of His Own, and Sweet Sour. Their niche, in my opinion, are their catchy guitar riffs, like The Raconteurs- or any of those bands Jack White is in.

From what I’ve heard, I actually also like the sound of the band as people. I Facebook ‘liked’ them, and there’s some cool stuff up there, like asking whether they should keep their old boots or go onto this pair of new ones. They’ve got a wicked album cover on Sweet Sour. This sort of crazy abstract artwork of wax and some red stuff, ‘Band Of Skulls’ engraved on it, with ‘Sweet Sour’ underneath. And a sort of Suck It And See/Humbug case, two sleeves but narrower than an ordinary case, and no clicking, just opening. If that makes sense… Their lyrics rhyme, which is more noticeable than in some other songs.

“Something good
A little trouble in your neighbourhood
Or understanding that you’re understood
Oh I kind of wish you were”.