Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 Half Time Music Report

We're halfway through the year, and I'm just sharing the most interesting records I've managed for the last six months.

Forget that the group Passion Pit looks like the cast of Beauty and the Geek, it's the music that counts. Selected early this year as one of the breakthrough genre from BBC's Sound Of 2009, the album Manners delivers on the promise their EP Chunk of Change has made.

Synth-clap beats, a strangely innocuous falsetto, together with affable percussions; what not to like? Of course, an import from last year's EP, Sleepyhead is a catch, their first single The Reeling is an enjoyable hit, but my favorite is Little Secret. It's not a summer song (see previous lists), but it does stoke the happy fire on pouring afternoons.

French band Phoenix returns with a tribute to the classics, Frank Liszt and Mozart, and surely with references as good as the masters, expectations will be set high. I'm definitely impressed in the total feel on the album, it steps back from a Eurocentric exclusiveness, and opens its doors to a more global appeal. Lyrics are crafted as teasingly addictive (repetition abounds!), and an orchestration (sorry pun intended) of its beats to be sublimely catchy. Listen to the mysterious crescendo in Love Like a Sunset, the lovable singles 1901 and Lisztomania. Bonus points: Fences sounds oddly familiar. Anyone knows why?

Not really this year's release, but Friendly fires manages to bring the pulsating disco back into indietronica land. Listen to Strobe, Skeleton Boy, On Board and Photobooth.

I'm just too busy, and held up in anxiety. A new chapter awaits...give it a few days.

But in the meantime, I raide both middle fingers up to that jerk that stole my side mirrors again; it's the second time in 2 months.
Hewitt, Ferrero, Federer, Haas and Roddick in the quarters? Suddenly, it feels like 2003.

Just when we're all ready to hail the new kids Monfils, Tsonga, and much newer players Tomic, Cilic and Gulbis, my generation of players stepped on the brakes to say that they're not quite finished. The first week of Wimbledon has definitely been interesting: Andymonium, the debut of the retractable roof, Federer's military jacket (fancy) and waistcoat (ridiculous), the resurrection of Hewitt, the merit of Ferrero's wildcard, and the news that there is no news about Djokovic.

Admit it. It's gorgeous.

Hewitt vs Roddick

Yowzah, flashback to the early 2000s! Hewitt has summoned back his speed, the sting of the simplicity of his strokes, and found himself back into the quarters of a slam after three years. However, Roddick will see that solid ball striking, and raise Hewitt an improved backhand, faster movement on the court, possible dropshots, and a crisper volley. Roddick version 2009 in 4 sets.

Ferrero vs Murray

Murray expected a match against a Spaniard in SW19, but not against Ferrero in the quarters. It's been a great run for JCF, stringing deep runs in grass. Alas, he goes against the tournament favorite, and a loss of the hometown hero will not be treated fondly by the campers at Murray Mound. Save for his erratic scrape by Wawrinka, a dominating performance by Murray should come alive again on Centre Court. Straight sets still.

Djokovic vs Haas

Rematch of the Halle final. Though I feel that the Serb should've won that won, it's a perfect time to serve revenge here in London. Djokovic in an efficient 3 sets.

Karlovic vs Federer

It's a surprise that Karlovic hasn't maximised his booming serve, especially on a court that favors him. However, he's playing Federer, who can read service motions like no other (Roddick's power serve doesn't really help their H2H record). A comprehensive win, I predict, with impressive variety of volleys, passing shots and slices. Four sets to the Swiss. And please, I don't want to see that spanking robot dance anymore.

Semis and Final

Three of the top 4 seeds will make the grade, with Roddick crashing that party. Andy vs Andy should result in a thriller, and so will Novak vs Roger. It's another delightful men's semis this Friday, but I'll put my money on Murray vs Federer. I must say that I was definitely impressed by Murray's Wimbly performance, but he got wounded by the Swiss #2, what more from the Swiss #1? Still, history is ripe, and Murray has definitely shown his laurels (and not just Fred Perry's) that he is a worthy successor. It will be a monumental fortnight, a new roof, and a new champion, a new #1, and a bright future for British tennis. Ten thousand pound tickets for Centre Court will be on offer this Sunday.

Career Slam followed by surpassing the all-time record? Not just yet. Wait for Flushing Meadows...

The end of the British drought ends here.