Mogwai’s first live album will be released on Rock Action Records this spring. Released alongside the live film Burning (by Vincent Moon). The formats will be CD and DVD and limited deluxe triple vinyl box set which will also include the dvd of Burning, set lists and a poster. The artwork was designed by Aidan Moffat.

To mark the announcement of the full track listing for this release Mogwai will be giving away a free MP3 of the song 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong taken from the Special Moves live CD via the minisite: www.mogwaispecialmoves.com

The track list for the the cd/dvd version is:

– I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
– Friend Of The Night
– Hunted By A Freak
– Mogwai Fear Satan
– Cody
– You Don’t Know Jesus
– I Know You Are But What Am I
– I Love You, I’m Going To Blow Up Your School
– 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
– Like Herod
– Glasgow Megasnake

The track list for the vinyl version contains the above plus:

– Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home
– Scotlands Shame
– New Paths To Helicon Part 1
– Batcat
– Thank You Space Expert
– The Precipice

The extra songs featured on the vinyl release will be available as a free download with the CD.

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Awesome, awesome, awesome.  Alright so it’s never going to fully capture the Mogwai live experience (unless you’ve got a terrifying home music system) but it should be a lot of fun.  Not a bad set list all told (especially with the extra tracks) and the free download is well worth listening to as a taster.  As my last post detailed – my favourite song of the last 10 years.

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Wow, the year went fast.  My first full year living in another country.  It’s not been a bad one all told.  Before we move on too far I want to recap the last year.  Favourites of the year…

Movies:

  • Star Trek
  • Moon
  • Coraline (3D)
  • District 9
  • Inglorious Basterds
  • Avatar

Albums:

  • Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
  • Beirut – Realpeople Holland
  • Bill Callahan – Sometimes I wish I were an eagle
  • Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
  • Mono – Hymn to the Immortal Wind
  • Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Songs:

  • My Delirium – Ladyhawke
  • My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille – Beirut
  • Black Hearted Love – PJ Harvey & John Parish
  • Eid Ma Clack Shaw – Bill Callahan
  • I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand In My Light Any More – Bob Mould
  • Stillness Is the Move – Dirty Projectors
  • High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In – Tortoise
  • Carry Me – Malcolm Middleton
  • Soft Shock, Hysteric – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Overall it’s not been that great a year for music, a few good albums, none really classic.  Some good songs though and out of the above I can’t choose a top one musically.  Film wise it would be Moon which was just a wonderful experience (though Star Trek was pretty damn awesome, coming from a non-Trekkie).  And if I had to choose some favourites of the decade..?  Seeing as real thought would have me still choosing come 2020 I’m going to take these off the top of my head (and a quick scan of iTunes)

Movies:

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Donnie Darko
  • Wall-E
  • Amelie

Albums:

  • Johnny Cash – American III: Solitary Man
  • PJ Harvey – Stories from the city, stories from the sea
  • Elbow – Asleep in the back
  • Ed Harcourt – Here be monsters
  • The Divine Comedy – Regeneration
  • Idlewild – The remote part
  • Spoon – Kill the Moonlight
  • Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  • Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it in People
  • Explosions in the Sky – The Earth is not a cold dead place
  • Mogwai – Happy songs for happy people
  • Rachel’s – Systems/Layers
  • m83 – Before the dawn heals us
  • Marianne Faithful – Before the poison
  • Mono – Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus
  • TV on the Radio – Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
  • Gorillaz – Demon Days
  • Gemma Hayes – Night on our side
  • Eluvium – Talk amongst the Trees
  • Kanye West – Late Registration
  • NIN – [With_Teeth]
  • Sufjan Stevens – Come on feel the Illinoise
  • Clint Mansell – The Fountain (OST)
  • Jarvis – Jarvis
  • My Latest Novel – Wolves
  • Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
  • Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha
  • Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold
  • Battles – Mirrored
  • Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings
  • Feist – The Reminder
  • Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
  • Low – Drums and Guns
  • Malcolm Middleton – A brighter beat
  • Radiohead – In rainbows
  • Rob Crow – Living well
  • Star of the Lid – And Their Refinement Of The Decline
  • Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
  • Elbow – The seldom seen kid
  • Foals – Antidotes
  • Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
  • Los Campesinos! – Hold on now youngster
  • Metronomy – Nights out
  • Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling
  • Remember Remember – Remember Remember
  • Santogold – Santogold

Song (if I could just choose one):

  • 2 rights make 1 wrong

That’s it folks.

There have been many great things about moving to NZ but one of the biggest things that I miss is the music scene.  Or the lack of it.  Ok, so I’m going to say it: the music scene in NZ sucks.  What the fuck is up with the adoration of dub/reggae and piss poor European house?  Seriously.  Ok, it’s said.

So the other big issue is that not only do very few bands come and play here but if they do they invariably skip Christchurch (apparently crossing the Tasman is ridiculously expensive).  Then even if they do come here the chance of finding out about the gig is pretty small as promotion is often non-existent (when I found out I’d missed Dan Deacon last year I was not a happy bunny).

As time has passed I’ve realised it’s not quite as bad as I first thought (I really was spoiled living in Brighton before all this).  In months to come we have Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, The Pixies, Yo La Tengo, Camera Obscura, Pavement, Neko Case, Mono, Wilco.

And now they’ve announced Joanna Newsom with Jens Lekman no less.  In Christchurch.  While I’m on nights.  The same nights that cover my birthday none the less.

See, to go to any of these (as none of them bar the lovely Ms Newsom are playing CHCH) I have to try and book 2 days off work a few months in advance (a process which can take up to a month to confirm sometimes), get flights and accommodation in Wellington or Auckland and all the other little expenses that go along with it.  It makes it very difficult and expensive plus it’s eating into my annual leave.  I miss the day I could lean out of K’s window and listen to Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan playing across the road in St George’s church.

So I make my choices.  I chose Pavement over Pixies.  I’m losing the rest of the week to be in Auckland for Dirty Projectors 2 days later.  Mono I’ve seen before.  Neko Case I’m still deciding.  Wilco I will make happen.  I will also see JN even if I have to miss the end of her set (or be late for work which is more likely).  Tomorrow I’m off to see Jarvis Cocker in Wellington all by my lonesome.

A plea: if you are coming to New Zealand to play, please extend the tour to CHCH.  You’ve already spent all that money and time flying here in the first place so what’s a little bit more to come a bit further south.  I’ll come pick you up myself if it will help.

Now I just need to figure out how I’m ever going to see Mogwai ever again.  Fuji Rock 2010 anyone..?

You said “send me stationary to make me horny”
So I always write you letters in multicolours
Decorating envelopes for foreplay
Damn extended metaphors, I get carried away

On the back of a natural disaster, fixed with parcel tape and with kids sticking plasters
Nothing says “I miss you” quite like war poetry you carved in your door with a Stanley knife

I know this was from a few years ago now but I was listening to it yesterday and the geeky lyrics still get me every time.  It’s built to appeal.

It’s bad enough you ever use the word as an adjective
But to suggest we do it in heels is really quite crass
And frankly, we’re reasonably practical
And we know the benefits of always doing these things in flats

Who can argue with the sense of that?  Plus my all time favourite:

If you catch me with my hands in the till
I promise, sugar, I wasn’t trying to steal
I’m just swimming in copper
to smell and pretend like a robot

In my absence my blog seems to have been slowly ticking over and I’ve had over 5000 visits.  I don’t have much need for this any more though so not sure where to go.  I crave the anonymity and selective exposure of my earlier blog.  The ability to write absolutely anything and not worry about people you know reading it.  Writing to strangers.  There is something in the desire to publish and put out those intimate thoughts and events to be read by random unknowns, to be followed and supported, yet to be kept hidden.  A paper journal holds not the same appeal, the outrage of finding someone you know has peered within the sacred confines of a personal diary does not translate to the internet.  It also highlights the reality of what you’re doing when you sit, pen in hand and detail those troublesome thoughts to the page.  I am tempted to just hit that delete button for this and my past outlet.  Or perhaps reappear somewhere new with no fanfare.

Common joy seems to have lapsed into something sweeter.  This has been a fortnight characterised by a heap of new people and the discovery and rapture of a new muse (most fitting to Aoide); the associated back-tumble to the stages of my life that fling themselves into stark contrast with how things have been and how they can be no longer; and a god awful hangover that eventually lapsed into vague sickness.

There is (despite the runny nose and generally foggy head of the last few days) a smile on my face, a whimsy of the body and a desire to create.

On a somewhat related note I recently bought a new fountain pen.  Haven’t owned one for many a year but decided writing for me had become a chore, an act of work.  I wanted to take back the enjoyment.  Currently it’s been sent to Australia to fit a finer nib but once it returns I shall use it.  If anyone would like a letter drop me a line and address.

So last week (including my 28th birthday) was spent on nights.  They were fairly quiet, interesting and there was a nice team on so it wasn’t too bad and K took me out to a ‘breakfast restuarant’ for a birthday breakfast.  She got me tickets to see Nine Inch Nails up in Auckland next week which is awesome.  I love me some mainstream Industrial noise I do.

Feeling like I’ve dropped off the face of the planet recently so have spent a bit of time making up for it by contacting friends and the like.  I still have a few to get to but I’m trying.  We’re just about to head out for dvds and dinner with friends so had to curtail it (and instead blog…).

Listening to old Underworld at the moment which is bringing back many memories (points for claiming the song the above is from) and as I mentioned to Kristin the other day I’ve been on a big Led Zep bender recently.  A group I’ve only got into recently which is a shame as I’d have loved them years ago.

A few things that have been keeping me happy recently:

Astronomy Picture of the Day: the pictures from this are just stunning and leave me staring at my computer for long periods wishing space travel really existed.  Sign up to their feed.

Fox Fur, Unicorn, Christmas Tree

Wondermark: the comic that just keeps giving.  More hit than miss and invariably entertaining.  Plus he’s created some lovely collections available through Dark Horse Comics.

Anyway.  Enough for now.

So it comes that time when we all compile pointless lists of what we enjoyed throughout the year.  And I’m feeling it this time so make no exception.  So some top lists (in alphabetical order):

Movies:

  • Cloverfield
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No country for old men
  • Son of Rambow
  • Wall-E

A quiet year for movies on reflection.  If I had to choose only one it would be Wall-E.  As much as The Dark Knight is perfectly accomplished and astonishing in its brilliance and Iron Man is just brilliantly entertaining, Wall-E is just a wonderful combination of stunning visuals, gorgeous sound design and heartbreakingly staged story.  I love it.

Albums:

  • Crystal Castles
  • Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Foals – Antidotes
  • Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
  • Los Campesinos! – Hold on now, youngster
  • Lykke Li – Youth Novel
  • Metronomy – Nights out
  • Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Did, Lazarus, Dig!
  • Remember Remember
  • Vampire Weekend

Picking a favourite from these is extremely difficult.  Or very easy, as since The Hawk is Howling was released I’ve listened to very little else.  It’s a truly stunning Mogwai album and feels fully formed, like it’s existed for years.  And I love it.  However, choosing Mogwai as my favourite of the year is kind of cheating as they’re my favourite band.  So before that was released it was Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing.  I’ve been listening to this all year and still love it.  Powerful and compelling.  Regardless, all  the above have been on constant repeat since release and are well worth listening to.  Interestingly, my favourite album of last year: Low – Drums and Guns is still on heavy rotation.

Songs:

  • Black Francis – The Seus
  • CSS – Rat is dead (Rage)
  • David Byrne & Brian Eno – Strange overtones
  • Elbow – One day like this; Weather to fly
  • Fleet Foxes – Blue ridge mountains
  • Fuck Buttons – Sweet love for Planet earth
  • Gotye – Hearts a mess
  • Ladyhawke – Paris is burning
  • Lambchop – Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Lykke Li – I’m good, I’m gone
  • Metronomy – Heartbreaker
  • Mogwai – Scotland’s Shame; Devil Rides
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – More news from nowhere
  • Noah and the Whale – 5 years
  • Pete and the Pirates – Mr Understanding
  • Remember Remember – Fountain Mountain
  • Santogold – You’ll find a way
  • Those Dancing Days – Hitten

Rather an indiepop-tastic selection this year (getting old?) but fuck it.  My favourite?  Hmmmm.  Fountain Mountain probably (the original version rather than the split version that appeared on the album).

Books:

I managed to get through an impressive 53 books this year (not including comics) and out of those my favourites were:

  • We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  • The Murder of Roger Akroyd – Agatha Christie
  • I am Legend – Richard Matheson
  • Regeneration – Pat Barker

My favourite was ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ – an incredibly powerful and compelling story.  Plus this was the year I discovered Agatha Christie and more importantly, Poirot.  The full list is at my Goodreads site on the right.

So, that’s it for the lists.  Not a bad year all in all.