Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Portishead week: the magic countdown begins!

Let me tell you a story. It's a story about a very mopey sixteen-year-old girl named Alison who loved Trainspotting, The X-Files and super geeky internet message boards. (Hint: it's me.) In between studying for the SATs and being depressed, this young lady loved nothing more than listening to a steady stream of Massive Attack, Tricky, and Portishead. But mostly Portishead. I'm slightly exaggerating--but only slightly!--when I say that a usual night's entertainment consisted of a few spins of Dummy followed by the self-titled Portishead album, perhaps chased with an (un)healthy dose of the Canadian import of Roseland NYC Live (the Canadian one was longer, or it had a DVD or something) or one of the many import singles our young protagonist had bought through her trusty friend, the internet. On repeat. Surely Bristol must be the coolest place in the world--a place where people were free to make super depressing electronic music and run around in vintage 1940s gear while making grainy black and white videos that little Alison couldn't watch because YouTube did not yet exist!

Little Alison dreamed of a day when she could see her favorite band in action. That day never came. Because as we all know, Portishead effectively stopped functioning as a live unit after the release of their third album, Roseland NYC Live and has existed up until the past year simply as a memory/myth. The years passed and as Lil' Alison got older, she forgot about her triphop friends. Her music interests inclined now towards super aggro NY noiserock or the sort of early 80s postpunk that could inspire one to get bats tattooed on her upper left arm. But then one day, like Tom Hanks in Castaway (which I did not see, but my mom told me about), Portishead reappeared! As did the part of my brain/heart that knows the release dates, tracklistings, and band member names of everything related to the band!

In all honesty, I did not think I was still capable of this much Portishead-related excitement. Although judging from my delight at discovering a new X-Files movie was in pre-production ("OH MY GOD THEY'RE MAKING A NEW X-FILES MOVIE!!!!!"), my enthusiasm shouldn't be too much of a shock. So today I am absolutely thrilled to tell all the haters that Portishead has a new album and that album has a release date. It's coming out sometime in March or April, depending on which news source you believe.

This Friday I'm shipping off to Butlin's Holiday Resort in Minehead to attend the Portishead-curated All Tomorrow's Parties (another teenage dream: "Wooooow England must be sooooo coooooool!" I always talked like I was stoned apparently.) From the looks of things it's going to be one marathon drone-stravaganza, but apart from my beloved trip-hoppers, I'm also totally enthused about seeing the Silver Apples, Thurston Moore, Glen Branca, the Horrors, and some other bands that I might be able to drag myself out of the Yacht Club for. (Yes, there is cafe called the Yacht Club, and I will be visiting it solely because it is called the Yacht Club.) So be prepared for a lot of festival-related nonsense, and possibly an unbelievably pathetic rundown of a time in the not-too-distant-past when I met Beth Gibbons and Geoff Barrows and completely misplaced by sense of dignity for one final burst of teen angst and ultrafandom! In the words of Portishead contemporaries, 2 Unlimited, "y'all ready for this?"

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