Not quite sure how I stumbled across the Pains of being Pure at Heart – probably an obscure connection to a temporary flame. But I did last year and was pleased after three nifty indie pop albums to find them playing close by – first night of a short UK tour in advance of new album in July. So why not? And then…suddenly going to even a minor show, by a minor band, in a minor venue feels a tiny bit edgy? Defiant pose? Obviously not, the most dangerous thing I did all day was drive to work but It did feel like the tiniest gesture of solidarity with the light against the darkness.
Whatever. POBPAH are at the poppier end of indie guitars a jangling and we loved them last night – reminded me of the Delays (RIP) also rocking out a bit more than expected. Main man Kip very impressed to be playing in Bristol home of Sarah records (see below) and on a boat…aren’t they all? we all took to him very quickly – liked the way that he came off stage and rather than retiring for a well earned » Continue Reading.
Can anyone recommend bluetooth in-ear headphones for less than £100 – and preferably less than £50? If anyone can….
A couple of years after it’s original release a one-off cinema showing of the black & chrome special edition of Mad Max:Fury Road, to coincide with a dvd reissue. Supposedly this was director George Miller’s preferred version – not sure about that but it might have been in his mind; “You will ride eventual shiny and chrome!”. It remains a high-octane adrenaline blast. The monochrome is particularly good at picking out details like Charlize Theron’s eyes, and seems to enhance the whole gotterdamerung feel of the big trucks roaring like dinosaurs in the desert – on the rubber road to Valhalla.
It made me think..
What a lovely day
The return of big, bad, Barry…former bass player with Magazine, ex Bad Seed and all round cool guy. His latest album “Know Where to Run” slipped out late last year, missed by many (including me to begin with) and now he’s touring it, pepped up with a nifty EP “Love Sick Dick”. You do the meaning. A solo show, BA plays guitars, keyboards and i-phone. And it’s a seriously good show. He may be a bit greyer round the muzzle (aren’t we all all) and thicker at the hips (aren’t we all) but sunglasses and a fedora and he is seriously cool. And some seriously good new songs. First time he played Bristol was 40 years ago at the C*****n Hall as part of Magazine. A fair few in the audience were there(not me sadly) and as a reward he closed his encore with that great f*** off fascist anthem “The Light Pours Out of Me”. Glorious.
Blokes mainly, but cool with it.
It made me think..
Heart beats up love
‘ve mentioned PINS here before several times and they’ve just produced a rather splendid EP….the new backing singer has possibilities.
Isn’t he just?
I skim quite a lot of fairly mainstream music reviews and often take a punt on someone new to me (of whom there are countless numbers) which is highly recommended if it sounds interesting. Just recently there has been an album (won’t say what/by who but you may guess) that has been so overloaded with 10/10 reviews and praise that I keep talking myself out of getting it. Is it just me? I have bought a couple of unanimous 10/10s in previous years and found myself a bit irritated – is it my failure to “get it” or that they just aren’t as great as they are (currently) cracked up to be? “Probably just me” I say, without really believing it. I don’t think its just a question of “don’t believe the hype” – because I’m sure I’m quite an easy touch if the right buttons are pressed – more a resistance to claims of perfection. I’ve avoided naming names so I don’t show how clueless I am, but interested if anyone else feels the same way?
British Sea Power – indiest of Brit (make that English) indy bands have just started touring their rather fine new album “Let the Dancers Inherit the Party” and this was the first night – a triumphant return (album and gig). You get the big anthems (and the new album contains a couple of potential classics) with glorious riffs and choruses which will no doubt go down a storm at Glastonbury (Remember Me, No Lucifer, Waving Flags – ha!) but underneath that and at the same time there is a home-knitted, plaintive emotional quality that is magnified when they use brass (Machineries of Joy) – sadly only one cornet (?) tonight. And then there are the endearing eccentricities – Marsha the owl, the bears, the foliage – which lets you know you are in a someone’s fully formed world, some of which has yet to be explained. It was a great show – nearly 2 very hot hours and they even had special suits for the encore – you wait.
I’m not sure if BSP are going to get any bigger – and selfishly I’m not sure I want them to if I can » Continue Reading.
Moonlandingz have had quite extensive coverage recently, mainly focussed around the scuzzier end of their stage antics. A band created to perform the role of a fictional band on someone else’s concept album – I found the original concept resistible enough not to pursue further. Likewise Fat White Family who provide some of the beef, or Slow Club who provide some of the more decorous elements. On reflection a psychotic(demonic?) glam rock band from the wrong side of Sheffield has to have something going for it? Some serious patronage too (Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and others). And now we have an actual album (Top 10 definitely), and an actual sold-out tour, even on Sunday. Leading to less than 60 minutes or so of over refreshed mayhem. Oh and a fistful of glorious songs. An unholy mixture of Glitter Band, The Cramps, Baby Bird, early Human League and Uncle Lou Reed and all. Some bloke called Adrian appears to be the evil genius behind it all(aren’t they always) – who knows what dark secret the shades and beany are hiding? Go and see them (if you can get a ticket) if you want some raucous » Continue Reading.
This one arrived today – and a ticket for Sunday! Take that Sleaford Mods!
Got this ticket on a bit of a whim and almost didn’t go after a hard day and rubbish weather but very glad I did.
FatAM are very French – play French pop with a strong North African influence – who would have guessed from the name? You couldn’t mistake them for Brits/Americans – even before they did a couple of little mini Shadows steps/2 man can-cans. A great party night. Full of joie de vivre. As someone who gets quite engaged with song lyrics (and only has CSE French) the fact that they were in French didn’t really matter. Partie!Partie! Partie!
Europeans. Those I could see were a much better M:F ratio and a much nicer atmosphere than other gigs recently.
It made me think..
How would Americans know about Snowdonia? Some of us were lied to by our parents and told that if we walked up Snowdon we could get the train down….and then at the top discovered the trains didn’t start until after Easter. Oooh memories! 40 year old lies – far worse than Father Christmas – at least we got presents! but…there you go. Whatever this is bloody brilliant album. Listen, dance and buy.
We have had several discussions here over the last few years re mp3 players. Like many I’m still a bit lost after my iPod Classic died (ok I dropped it) last year and have tried a few alternatives both for listening on the go and as a backup of my library (about 180gb but growing quite quickly). Tried the Fiio – but found it too fiddly (and mine failed – without being dropped). Currently use Sony walkman – better interface but not quite enough space. I switched mobile phone to iPhone 5 a couple of years ago while my in-house tech experts were home for the holidays and use it for my “current listening”. Now I notice (slow on the uptake as usual) that you can get iPhone7 with 250Gb which capacity would probably suit me when my current contract comes up for renewal/upgrade. Anyone here use one? Are the earbuds any good? Other wireless headphones to recommend?
This was supposed to be a quiet year hiding under the covers, but…last week it was the new Magnetic Fields 5 disc album, then today I was forced(I tell you) to buy tickets for both nights of MF UK performance in the summer (25 songs per night)….and now Lloyd Cole goes and does this. Take me I’m yours…Thank God I don’t own a record player or i would probably be ordering the vinyl….
What does it sound like?:
1. In a surge of overexcited posting I agreed to review this – The Magnetic Fields’ new album 50 Song Memoir. I think it demands a 50 something to review. 2. 5 CD’s – takes a while to listen 6 times and I’m not quite there yet. 3. And a nice little booklet with an interview with Daniel Handler who is a part time Magnetic Fields member aka Limony Snicket. 4. Not all the songs on 69 were to everyone’s taste but many were flawed little jewels of unrequited lust and bitter remorse. 5. Personally I preferred quirkier ones like The Night You Can’t Remember to more popular ones like Papa Was A Rodeo. 6. This one will be the same. Chacun a son gout. (See other post) 7. Opening bars of first song might almost be about to launch into theme from Steptoe & Son but the ukelele is soon joined by that familiar deep and wistful voice. 8. So we get what it says on the box – a song for every year of Stephin’s life. All the fads, fashions , crazes and heartbreak 9. With the low tech soundtrack we expect. » Continue Reading.
New Magnetic Fields album “dropped” i.e. through my letter-box. 5 CD’s and a hundred page book…. see you next week.
The Lantern, Bristol
“Hi, I’m Hamilton Leithauser from New York City”. ….Obviously! HL is the former lead-singer of post-punk cult faves The Walkmen (even you must have heard The Rat or Angela Surf City?) – now solo and touring his second album “I Had A Dream That You Were Mine”, co-written with Rostan Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend, whose contribution presumably stretched further than a few VW-ish harpsichord flourishes. It’s a really good album that has grown on me as I’ve listened to it on repeat over the last week or so – I should have rated it higher last year. Hamilton is a big guy with a big voice and he really belts ‘em out as he did in the Walkmen– I wonder how his throat stands it. That said he has some great songs on his own album – much subtler and wistful than might first appear. HL and his band (which included a big piano tonight possibly thanks to the slightly more upmarket venue) rock out for a good hours worth of his current album and its predecessor(“Black Hours”), finishing with a lovely version of 1959 which is a duet on the album but » Continue Reading.
Marble Factory, Bristol
Horrible weather but this was only second gig of the year so awn we go….First heard of Teleman through the ridiculously catchy “Skeleton Dance” and they now have 2 fine albums of clever guitar pop. Brilliant Sanity was one of 2016s best. Missed them when they played last year so was pleased to get another chance in a reasonable venue.
Support band Girl Ray have been very busy since I last saw them in a much smaller venue but still pleasantly self-depreciating. Niceness is under-rated.
As I say Teleman have 2 excellent albums full of arty, quirky, slightly off-key guitar-pop songs and they played quite a lot of them tonight for a very appreciative audience. Loved it. Glory Hallelujah indeed. Go and see them soon.
Mixed. Enthusiastic. Big Jeff obviously
It made me think..
Once again glad I made the effort to get out on a miserable night.The art school dance goes on…
Well most of us have survived January one way or another – contrary to some expectations. So far, so good. The daffodils are nearly out and the shows are starting to get on the road….I suddenly realise I have quite a full schedule over the next few months already;
Karl Blau Teleman Julia Jacklin Meilyr Jones Hamilton Leithauser Cloud Nothings Lemon Twigs Francois & the Atlas Mountains Jesca Hoop Moonlandingz Haley Bonar British Sea Power Barry Adamson Temples Future Islands Lowly
That’s a mixture of old favourites and curiosity/convenience which will probably require a few visits to Discogs. So who else is on the road this spring that you are looking forward to?
PS The new Moon Duo album is fab!
What does it sound like?:
Ennio Morricone obviously. Never heard of these guys until a review of their new album, which I haven’t heard yet ‘cos its not out until Friday but a couple of forays into youtube and discogs and already I love their earlier work. I’ve been disappointed by reviews of other “Morriconesque” work (e.g. M/Mouse Rome – pah!) but this is the real deal – loving pastiche guaranteed to scratch that itch.
What does it all *mean*?
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Ennio Morricone and Italian westerns
St George’s, Bristol
St George’s – a former church – seems a fitting venue for Low on their Christmas tour of the UK. Weather was unseasonably mild and miserable. No snow but night falling fast…
Support acts Eric Koskinen (US folkie) and Harkin (Leeds folkie) both play engaging short sets with just their electric guitars for company. They return to stage to join Low for the first half of their set which is a canter through their own Christmas classics. All in black and concentrating hard; acoustics in the hall suit their noise. Harmonies and distorted guitar, brushes and bass. Intense and about as cheery as they ever get. After a break the band return as a 3 piece and blast through some favourites. Describing Low can make them sound a bit miserabilist but there is a kind of dogged and chilly joy to their performance that is quite hypnotic – I find myself holding my breath and I’m not alone in this. Once again I keep thinking of icy waste and deserts and lines from Robert Frost. Let’s go home…
“They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars–on stars where no human race » Continue Reading.
Back in town again after appearing only a few months previously at the smaller Louisiana, following a common pattern this year. With a solid band in tow, and decked out in film noir red velvet, Marissa returns to Bristol to warm up a chilly Monday night with her intense, guitar-based, moody pop. Seemingly relishing going electric lead she has plenty of good songs of her own and has time to fit in a couple of covers – Cortes the Killer, and an encore of Famous Blue Raincoat.
Respectful, hushed, snap happy
It made me think..
Monday night…I like where I’m living…
The Thunderbolt is an engagingly scruffy pub slightly away from the bright lights of town and doesn’t attract the usual cool-cats you see elsewhere (present company excepted). It’s become the established setting for the annual pilgrimage to see The Monochrome Set – always Saturday, always stand in the same spot, always manage to avoid the enthusiastic dancer.
So here we are again. Beloved of all the right people TMS have enjoyed a stop-start 35 years of making wonderfully clever twangy guitar pop music. The latest incarnation is down to 2 original members – main man Bid and impassive man-in-black bassist Andy Warren. JP Moran on keyboards now making his own the spot recently vacated by fondly remembered guitar hero Lester Square. TMS have some shared DNA with the Art School gene pool that produced sundry members of Wire, Ants, Slits, Banshees and Vibrators (check out Pete Frame’s Family Tree). Taking themselves far less seriously than any of their contemporaries has endeared them to loyal fans and probably ensured they can’t give up their day jobs. So here we are again – a spiffing new album “Cosmonaut” recently out and as usual they play » Continue Reading.