My iPod #555: Bloc Party – Hunting for Witches

Kele Okereke was interested in the media reaction to the 9/11 and London 7/7 terrorist attacks. The lead singer of Bloc Party felt that the media had earned their trade through scaremongering and using fear to control people. His observations aided him to create “Hunting for Witches”, the second track on the band’s sophomore effort A Weekend in the City, released in 2007.

The violent ringing at the end of “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” fades right into “Hunting for Witches”, but it is almost a minute into the latter that you hear Kele’s voice. The introduction starts with chopped-up radio samples that scatter around your ears before being overlapped by a panning alien-spaceship sounding guitar riff, the drums of Matt Tong, and finally the song’s spindly guitar riff delivered by Russell Lissack with dagger-sharp execution. The track reminds me a bit of “Helicopter” due to the interplay of guitars, particularly during the instrumental break before the final chorus, and the busy rhythm section, but with more of a processed sound and a fuller vocal performance from Okereke.

Released as the album’s third single, the song received a music video which features the band performing the track in a dark room. There it is above all of this. It probably would have been the last single too, had it not been for “Flux” which arrived a few months later.

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My iPod #509: Bloc Party – Helicopter

Ahhh. The very first song by Bloc Party I ever heard; I can vaguely remember watching its music video on MTV2 for the first time. Was around 2004 if I recall correctly. And even then I thought it was unusual seeing a multi-racial indie rock band. Especially one that was fronted by a black man. Being a black boy myself, I thought it was cool. Brought something new to the table. I can’t believe that it has been more than ten years that I’ve known the track.

“Helicopter”, named so (apparently) because of its rapid tempo, the intertwining guitar lines in the introduction and the spitfire rhythm section provided by former members Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong (who will be sorely missed by fans everywhere), is the second track on the band’s stellar debut album Silent Alarm. No one knows what it’s really about. Okereke said it is about himself; though there are many reasons why people think it is about George W. Bush. Looking at the lyrics you can easily see why the interpretation rose.

For me, the song brings a lot of nostalgia. Playing FIFA 06 on the weekends at the age of 10-11 were good times. Plus, it is hauntingly infectious. It is a crazy song with sudden stops and starts, string bends and relentless instrumentation that never seems to end. Well, apart from those aforementioned pauses. A song within the hearts and minds of many a Bloc Party listener.

My iPod #376: Bloc Party – Flux

Bloc Party’s second album “A Weekend in the City” had been released and available to the public for almost a year when the group then decided to unveil the brand new standalone single “Flux”. It was one out of a bunch of others the band recorded after its set at the Reading and Leeds Festival. The song got so much love and success (reached number eight in the UK chart) that the band decided to release “A Weekend” again the following year, this time with “Flux” included as well as a bonus DVD showing the band’s performance at Reading. That’s the version I own. And I’m glad too. The album feels incomplete without the track, even if it wasn’t supposed to be on there in the first place.

If the album itself wasn’t a sign of Bloc Party’s increasing interest in dance music, then “Flux” certainly flaunted it. With a head bopping 4-4 beat with erratic high hats and electronic blips, the song features an auto-tuned Kele Okereke sings about a relationship going wrong, coming to a conclusion that the two involved must talk about their problems but for now they are in a state of uncertainty. Or flux, to simply put it.

Being about uncertainty in a relationship, it only made sense that the track was to be placed after the sentimental “I Still Remember”. Listening to these two tracks together equals a good time.

My iPod #72: Bloc Party – Banquet

What eventful hours I’ve just experienced. Let me tell you.

I had my prom yesterday. It was alright. It was a joint prom with my school (an all boys one) and our ‘sister’ school (an all girls one). It could have been much better. No one wants to arrive early to a prom, and my friends and I made sure we didn’t. We made it to the hotel; the music was playing, people were inside, but no one was really ready to dance yet. So we stayed outside the hall and chilled for a bit. For about an hour or so. Which was a bit of a waste of time. We ate food prepared by the hotel. Then we danced the night away. The hotel is also near Tower Bridge and The Shard, and I never knew how nice they looked at night until yesterday. It’s quite sad knowing that’s one of the last times I’ll see the friends I’ve made over the past seven years. I’ll still remember them. I’ll make sure of that.

Then today, my aunt only goes and calls the house saying that her flat was burned down. (It really wasn’t, it was just a bit of smoke and damage to the extractor.) But the way my mum reacted, and according to her the way my aunt said it, made it seem like the whole place had gone. She had to go to hospital for a few hours for a check up, ’cause she was coughing and everything. It wasn’t great. I’m glad she’s okay though. She’s fine.

Let’s get started on the song then.

“Banquet” is a song by the band, Bloc Party. It’s one of their most popular ones too, as it is on what is considered to be their best album “Silent Alarm”. It was released as a single too, reaching 13 in the UK charts back in 2005. That was a good time for music in the UK.

It’s about sex. That’s from Kele himself too. So you can’t argue. I’m not just saying that. I don’t have a dirty mind.

I can’t say much about this song. It’s not the one that introduced me to the band. That song was “Helicopter”. So you’ll have to wait until then.

Here’s an interesting fact. Kele Okereke, the lead singer, went to my school back in the nineties which is cool. My mum also spoke to his years ago when they worked in the same hospital. In a way, I know him very well.

Until tomorrow.

Jamie.