Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

I was first introduced to Phoenix by Kays guitarist Graeme when he bought me one of their earlier records for a birthday.  It was instantly enjoyable and I was hooked into their toe tapping dancetasticness.  This record is once again packed with good tunes and nice beats and is instantly memorable.   It’s weird though, because in a strange way it reminds me very much of some Euro pop.  When I was 19 I lived in Nijmegen in the Netherlands and all the music channels played over there was crazy Euro pop.  Europe is mad for that kind of garbage but it seems that somehow the Phoenix guys have tapped into this market and moudled it successfully with more alternative sounds to make it both appealing and really, really good.  This record is as overblown as it is subtle hoaning in on the references to musical genius like Mozart and Liszt.

I have to be honest.  I was put off this record at first by it’s title.  I just didn’t like it.  Even when I’d fallen in love with the music, I just couldn’t bring myself to like the title.  It really shouldn’t matter, but as you probably have guessed about me from previous posts, I like everything about a record to feel right.  Not just the music, but the art, the title.  Everything.  And I could not stand the title.  Then I read about the theme of the record and the references to various classical composers all started to fall into place and make sense. So now I understand it, I’m feeling happier about the title!

Forgetting the title though, this record is one I’m sorry I waited so long to buy.  And I am truly surprised that Phoenix are not bigger than they are.  I can imagine my mum and dad liking this record as much as me.  I can imagine children dancing along to it at a wedding.  I can imagine groups of indie kids playing it in their bedrooms.  I can imagine it appealing to such a wide spectrum of music loving society.  And yet, they just don’t seem to get the recognition that their music and this album clearly deserves.  It’s a cracker.  No doubt about it.  It’s managed to rip the Yeah Yeah Yeahs of the stereo and has been on constant repeat ever since.  A real winner.  You can and should check out the band here.  Enjoy.

TSP Grade = A

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The Sea Lions Are Gone

What a strange thing.  The world famous sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco have just up and left, leaving one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city slightly empty.  It’s actually quite fascinating.  The animals first arrived at the pier in 1989 shortly after the giant earthquake of the same year.  Over the last 19 years they have become a massive tourist draw, a favourite destination for visitors to the city.  Indeed when we were in San Francisco on honeymoon a couple of years ago one of my favourite trips was down to Fisherman’s Wharf to check these animals out.  Being a wildlife nut it was pretty amazing to see these animals in such volume and in such an accesible location.  I can’t think of many places in the world you can go and find such an amazing sight without any real effort or patience.  Recently there were apparently 1500 of the creatures at the pier.  It really is an amazing sight and it’s very noisey as well.  They never shut up, so I was pretty glad we’d chose a hotel at Union Square rather than in proximity to pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf!  Anyways, they’ve gone.  Fucked off.  Disappeared.  1500 has been reduced to about 20 apparently.  We were thinking this morning that it would have been funny if you’d just arrived to see them and they all just got up and left one by one.   Imagine the disappointment.  You were the catalyst for their departure.  

Well it’s apparently baffling experts.  They think it might be something to do with searching for a food source.  Their favourite food being sardines and anchovies it seems they may have left in search of these creatures.  The really sad thing is that San Francisco had a 20th anniversary party planned for the animals in January.  Seems they don’t want to be around for the party.  Another theory floating about apparently is that they have sensed an imminent earthquake and legged it.  Not sure how plausible that theory is but animals never cease to amaze me so you just never know.  One way or another I do hope they return because they were such an amazing part of the San Francisco experience.  One of the many special things about that wonderful city.  I will keep you posted on the search for the sea lions over the coming weeks.  I know Dav esepcially will expect that much of me!