Tag Archives: singer-songwriter

Song o’ the Mornin’ – Prisencolinensinainciusol

Another dozen nails in the coffin as to why lyrics aren't important

One of the benefits of being in a backwater burg like Prague, CZ, is we get to hear of stuff long after its sell-by date. Let’s call it the cultural dribble effect. Or at least, internet backwash. Anyway, a good example is Prisencolinensinainciusol, the groundbreaking single by Italian ‘Gainsbourg’ Adriano Celentano.

What sounds like gibberish is apparently Celentano’s mickey-take on posy Italian pop stars, who’d string together any old Englishy-sounding stuff to be cool. Yeah, funny, thinking English is a cool language… But we digress.

Here it is:

Aside from the Engrish lyrics, let’s look at what makes this an uberly-fab tune:

* It is actually 1973. At Power’s Towers we thought this was a contemporary song with a retro-video, so under the spell of the spectacle we have become. And, indeed, why not?

* The backing track’s looped! We’d hate to have been the poor assistant engineer copying and splicing that baby together, sans SMPTE code…. Yikes! “Look ma – no computers!”

* Celentano’s rapping long before the Sugarhill Gang hit the charts.

Fact is, it’s delivered more like Brian Johnson’s vocal on Back in Black.

* Plus! He sings off-key at the end to keep some interest in what’s by then running to almost 4mins of 45rpm singleness. Check out his phrasing throughout – fine work, and tasty ad-libs.

* The video has super-seventies choreography that only white people can put together. So square it’s almost oval-shaped…. In a good way.

* The actual lyrics are hilarious. Here’s an alternate version of Prisencolinensinainciusol with the ideal classroom composition:

So, to return to our theme – the lyrics are a doggam sight less important than certain po-faced individuals claim. What matters most is the song.

 

(Though we still think it’s shit to steal someone’s song, lash it up on YouTube, and put ads on it).

 

Song o’ the Mornin’ – Neil Young’s Pocahontas

How One Man Combined Whimsy & Feeling And Made You Blub

Early mornings, Trey’s something of a sleepy bear – best approached with caution. But this morning was different, tinged as it was by the Song o’ the Mornin’, the plaintive Pocahontas, by Canadia’s very own Neil Young.

As the subtitle boasts, Neil’s forte is far less his stomping rock tunes + scrap metal solos, and far more his deft touch at mixing whimsy with genuine emotion. After all, Neil ain’t an injured Indian. But the Marlon connection to Pocahontas may have been inspired by Sacheen Littlefeather’s acceptance of Brando’s* Oscar in 1973.

Which is worthy of an entire album of songs, that can never be bested by that one speech.

For more whimsical, tear-inducing acoustic emo, check this out. A salmon on your plate will never be the same.

Songs available here:

Pocahontas

Will to Love

 

 

* Notice that it’s ‘Neil’, and ‘Brando’. This is probably why:

Marlon Brando, Pocahontas, Neil Young

Song o’ the Mornin’ – Kath Bloom’s Come Here

Since Linklater's got a new movie out, Before Midnight, the gang at Power's Towers have checked out the first two of the trilogy.

And we can’t wait for the appropriately late showing at Bio Oko, so lovely have been the others.

One might quip that Richard Linklater is America’s best French film director (if it weren’t for the execrable School of Rock), given that his movies are ever so talky and about important stuff, like love, life and the meaning of it all. It ain’t Taratinesque, fo’ sho’.

Anyway, a Yank boy and French girl meet on a train and spend a night of magic in Vienna, waaay back in the early 90s. How they hit it off, what’s important to them, their chemistry, the natural performances and leisurely story telling – are all uberly hard to do once a camera starts rolling.

So this morning, like the last Trey’s had all week, it’s Kath Bloom‘s Come Here, from one of the most pitch-perfect romantic scenes in cinema history.

You can buy the song here, or where the hell you please. Sadly, not in a chic vinyl store in Vienna, in 1994. 1994′s gone, baby. Gone.

The movies can be rented or bought here, among other places.

Song o’ the Mornin’ – Bob Dylan’s Country Pie

Bob at his most funky

Sometimes the Song o’ the Mornin’ (official name!) is a bit downbeat. Is nice when it’s a toe tappin’, jaw-scratching-singalong-shaving number like this. A slice o’ Country Pie.

No YouTube link, but check out a few bars here in iTunes.

But we did find this Beck uncut gem:

How many bootlegs has this guy got? (Not complaining, mind).

From the Nashville Skyline LP which, like most of my faves, was panned when it came out. I got to admit, hearing his nasal twang made me double-check I’d the right disc. Just more evidence that Bob’s a true vocal stylist*, with balls like large brass dangling objects – to turn his back on his audience so twistily.

We at Power’s Towers recommend you buy the whole LP, as its brevity and variety and 100% freshness will get you googling for cowboy hats and cleats for your boots. Honest.

 

 

 

* Courtesy of the reduxed The Word mag podcast.

Song for the Morning – Your Redneck Past

Ben Folds' Five Swan Song ... Or Is it?

A nice upbeat tune for breakfast. Ben tap-dances around his southern heritage nicely. Ain’t no rednecks playing swinging piano!

On iTunes.

Ben Fold’s Five were a breath of fresh air through the often bad-breathed 90s. Witty, both musically and lyrically, and kick-ass. I just love me some phat fuzz bass.

Magistrala Show – Thanks for Coming!

Once again, thanks to all you lovely people who managed to make it for the show supporting CCEA.

Trey Roque plays Magistrala IP Pavlova Praha

Not just the show, but the entire thing was a pretty unique, fabtastic event, was it not?

I’ve never been asked to do so many encores — I actually ran out of songs!

It was so cool to be playing outdoors in the centre of Praha too. Had a real ‘Times Square’ feeling, with all the traffic and the panoply of people that make up Praha, who had to stop by and check out le Roque.

Stay tuned for more acoustic solo shows. Trey’s planning to play more live shows once the nights turn cooler and our thoughts turn to indoor entertainment.

In the meantime, have a fab babi-leto.

Trey Roque plays Magistrala IP Pavlova Praha

Thanks also to my impromptu backing band, on handclaps, tambourine and comfy sofa:

Trey Roque plays Magistrala show at IP Pavlova Praha

 

As ever, pics courtesy and (c) of Tino.

Trey Plays Magistrala

Part of a fab fest aimed at regenerating the Magistrala at IP Pavlova – come on over! August 7, 20:00

Salivating at the prospect of playing IP Pavlova. Doggam!

What?

In the spirit of his new acoustic-guitar music (Trey & the elves are still busy at work), Trey will be playing the CCEA-managed urban regeneration fest.

The project is a two-week long fest of music, open-air movie screenings, fussball and chess tournaments, and pleasant outdoor refreshments. Let’s hope the good weather holds!

CCEA’s idea is to highlight the need for a better solution for pedestrians and people who want to use the space for something better than …. cars. Here’s how it is now:

Trey Plays Magistrala

Magistrala as it is – not much majesty, is there?

And here’s a few pics for how it will be:

Trey Plays Magistrala

Magistrala with fab street art.

Trey Plays Magistrala

Of course – the area will be buzzing with lovely people. And there just may be different types of cars in the street – but that’s architectural licence for you!

Trey will be premiering a clutch of fab new songs, plus all those faves you know so well. AND it’ll be a bit safer for your ears!

When?

Wednesday – August 7, at 20:00. A full hour or more!

In the spirit of Bruce Springsteen, he’ll be playing until they shut the lights off. Trey will also be taking requests from his back catalogue (yeah, we know ;-)). Macht shau!

How much?

Free. Though Trey will be selling his Eagles EP for those of you who love a little hard roquin’ and want to support the artist.

What do I got to do to take part in roque history?

Come on – come over! Get your sexy self down to IP Pavlova, Praha, and then use this uberly simple map.

Trey Plays Magistrala

Download & print this map.

Naturally, enjoy all the other lovely happenings too – Trey promises not to get too jealous.

Spread the word with a programme. We’ve highlighted Trey, for those of you who see as badly as he does.

Trey Plays Magistrala

 

What’s new, puddytat?

Trey Roque update from Power's Towers

A quick missive on Trey’s musical machinations.

Trey’s been doggam busy with making new music, recording, and planning that just-around-the-corner global domination kinda type thing with his manager, Tuco. His acoustic-guitar flavoured LP (10 songs and counting) is slated for release in August.

As Trey and Martin have gone their separate ways, everything will be played by Mr Roque, and where it ain’t it’s not. However, after February’s roquetastic Eagles EP, the so-far untitled LP will show an emotionally-richer side. Something like roasted almonds with Malagasy† vanilla ice cream smothered in calvados.

There’ll be a few mellowy tunes but, let’s face it, Trey does not chill too well – he burns.*

The LP will be digital-only, with all the lovely reading stuff available on request as a PDF through this site. (Yeah, we miss liner notes too). We’re hoping to get a lo-fi video done supporting at least one of the singles.

Meanwhile, as Prague is dead as Buddy Holly during the summer, there are no shows slated. Live roquing will recommence in the autumn – with a new format and plenty of fresh new songs.

Stay tuned – and roque on!

 

‘Madgascan’ is wrong. To cop that next time you want to show-off at cocktail parties.

* So that’s the ice cream analogy all melted in the shopping bag before you get home… Damn! We need a new intern to write our PR.

Ai! Yai! Yai! Ya!

The Story Behind the Song – Ai! Yai! Yai! Ya!

What happens when you mix Yorkshire lasses with the Muppets? Ai! Yai! Yai! Ya!

If I had any hair left, I’d say this was about a bad hair day. Or sod’s law. But, really, it’s a diary entry in running a band – it’s a long way from the bottom when you wanna roque’n’roll.

As for the music, while this sounds like a homage to the White Stripes – which would be praise indeed – I wrote the guitar riff on my acoustic. Am just too doggam lazy to flick a switch and hit a power chord.

When I hear a rock band about to kick it up a notch, they got to drop a gear down to get the revs. This was my inspiration for that B-A-E-G move to A5 for the verse, where am giving it some Whole Lotta Rosie. That bit where Mal Young is jamming on one chord for, like, foreeeeveeeer. Nice.

The mid section was me imagining a circus acrobat’s act, Gonzo fired from a cannon straight into the passenger seat of a Key Lime Pie-coloured Cadillac driven by the revomatic Lena Headey. Lucky Gonzo. In the absence of that marquee I had to put in a little schau. Great fun to play, that bit.

My last nod was, por supeusto, to Morricone and that tune from il Bueno, il Bruto, il Cattivo. Not only does the printed lyric not resemble what am yelling, it’s a placeholder for any Anglo-Saxonism you care to insert when things feck up.

I hope Ai! Yai! Yai! Ya! is just as evocative for you as it is for me.

rock music kicking more ass than a bad burro Ai! Yai! Yai! Ya! Trey Roque

 

Just prove that you cannot make anything up anymore, nossir! Here’s something I just stumbled on in writing this post.

Ai! Yai! Yai! Ya! indeed.

Something Ain’t Right

The Story Behind the Song – Something Ain't Right

Or ‘How A Murder Ballad Gets Itself Writ’

I either begin writing a song with a tune in my head, or start with the chords. I do love me a sweet chord progression, and I believe I got the one for Something Ain’t Right from Schubert – after watching Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon a bahzillion times. Schubert got his idea from a Swedish folk song back in 1827, Kubrick’s movie was in 1975, and I began writing mine in 2008. Ain’t that a grand lineage?

I was visiting a friend in the USA, writing songs on his porch and looking for an agent for my science-fiction novel, in between times meddling with them chords. He was having a little woman trouble, and I picked out a thread from it and spun my own tale of paranoid jealousy. With a little help from Marvin Gaye. I put the verse and chorus together real easy once I knew which direction I was going in (that’s always the hardest part), but there was something lacking…. or ain’t right. It felt incomplete.

That didn’t stop me playing the tune live, though – and when you have to put a song out before an audience you really feel the bumps of it. I had a filler mid section – and, boy, did it feel fillery. I knew I wanted a chromatic, perhaps cheesy, return from the mid to the refrain/ chorus, but what to do in the meantime evaded me until 2011. I guess I lost my rag a bit and simply hit two chords hard – trying to snap myself out of the oh-so-seductive sequence. It worked.

The Fmi and Dmi staccato really adds the chili-pepper to the whipped-cream verses, and reveals the frustrated fury beneath the entire lyric. I don’t usually write tunes with a storyline, much less take three years to do so, but I have to admit – this one sounds so good it doesn’t sound like me, it sounds like a band I really love. And that, gentlepersons, is why I do it.

So, here she is – Something Ain’t Right.

Something-Aint-Right

BTW, you can get Kubrick’s movie and the music over on iTunesazom. Enjoy!

 

© A Power