If you’ve got half an hour to spare, this is a fascinating piece by Simon Reynolds. Appreciate Auto-Tune may not have a lot of fans here, but it’s a detailed exploration of how it works and is utilised by all sorts of different artists.
I became a dad for the first (and almost certainly only) time in March. We have a beautiful healthy son, and we’re utterly besotted with him. I was sure it would change me in some ways but had no idea how. One of the unexpected side effects was a sudden ability to spot danger *everywhere*…
It also makes me hear some music in different ways. I’ve been a huge Kinks fans for years, but while ‘Wonderboy’ might have been John Lennon’s favourite Kinks song, for me it was never more than a vaguely pleasant throwaway. And right now, it’s one of my favourite songs by anyone, and I use it to sing him to sleep because it just seems to sum up so everything of what I want for him.
What songs have taken on a new meaning for you after a life experience – parenthood / divorce / death of someone? Can you ever hear them again as you used to, and would you want to?
It’s Saturday night, 11:30pm and I’m shortly off to bed. Back in my younger days the night would be in full swing. Before heading out I’d have showered, picked out some glad rags, and played some songs to get me in the mood for the hours ahead. At various times my Going Out tunes were ‘Rebel Rebel’ and Van Halen’s ‘Jump’, but ultimately I decided on the below. What were your Going Out tunes?
With apologies to the recent ‘The only person who is on both THIS and THIS…’ thread…
On a similar note, which musicians share a surname (or even a full name?) with someone they have nothing else in common with? eg
Lauryn Hill and Jimmy Hill Bryan Adams and Gerry Adams Johnny Marr and Andrew Marr
Over to you…
There is a thriving community on YouTube which re-imagines rock classics as pieces of 8 bit music – ie the sort of thing which would play in the background while playing a Spectrum or NES game in the 1980s. In fact, one devotee has re-recorded the whole of Kid A. Anyone else come across these? Any favourites to share?
Did anyone else watch this last night? I thought the premise was interesting – scientist with no background in pop music attempts to identify what makes a hit by feeding thousands of songs through computer algorithms to come up with a formula for producing one.
And it had some interesting ideas. There was an argument that the true musical revolution of the late 1970s wasn’t punk at all, but actually occurred with disco. The programme rapidly fell down though. The presenter’s ability to predict a hit was apparently ‘proved’ by fooling a single Radio 1 producer as to what track his computers had tipped for future success. And he offered advice on producing a song by an unsigned artist, while a bemused Trevor Horn tried to explain why this track wasn’t suitable for such treatment. Interesting viewing, but ultimately a very flawed experiment.
The Rainbow, Birmingham
Sweet Baboo is an unlikely pop singer. The name is a vehicle for Stephen Black, a short Welshman with a 1940s hair cut and ‘sensible’ clothing. He looks like a teacher, but he writes some of the most interesting pop songs I’ve heard in a while – think Divine Comedy meets the Super Furry Animals and you’ll be getting close.
The band is well rehearsed, though the sound’s a little muddy. Each song gets a short intro – “This is a mid-paced rocker”‘, ” This is a song about electronic library systems”, and if Sweet Baboo never seems entirely comfortable on stage, the tunes are strong enough to keep you engaged. If you liked him already then you’ll enjoy this, and if he’s new, you’d probably want to chat to him afterwards at the merch stall (he runs that too) and perhaps pick up a CD.
About 50 people tops, hipster males brandishing their e-cigs, and female offbeat indie types. All very well behaved.
It made me think..
While it probably won’t help his bank balance any, sometimes it’s more fun for your favourite artists to stay small.
Here’s an interesting curio I stumbled across – a 1980 World in Action investigation into Record Hyping. It all seems charmingly low rent compared to the marketing strategies of today. And it seems Brass in Pocket may not have been a legit chart topper…
So yesterday morning on the way to work I was listening to the Craig Charles Show which I’d downloaded onto my phone. About halfway there I suddenly thought ‘Wait a minute, what’s this that’s playing? It’s brilliant!’ I rewound and listened from the start of the song – sounds better still. At lunchtime I went out and bought the CD reissue of ‘Crying Laughing Loving Lying’ that’s just come out. It’s rather wonderful too.
I’ve never really investigated Labi Siffre before. Any fans out there? Which albums should I focus on?
The Lantern, Bristol Colston Hall
This is the same set that this pair have been touring on and off for 20 years, but that’s exactly why everyone’s come in the first place – it’s not a gig where “play some new!” is likely to be heard. So they shamble on stage to warm applause, Dan Penn quietly berates the roadie for not adjusting his mic properly, then turns to Spooner and says “Ready Maestro?”, and we’re off.
What follows is 90 minutes of heaven for fans of Memphis music. Penn’s voice is still in good shape, while Spooner may give a good impression of a man who no longer knows what day it is, but he still plays the keyboard like it’s a extension of his body. Between songs we get anecdotes straight out of a BBC 4 rock doc, about the stuff they’ve written and the people they’ve worked with.
Highlights? ‘The Dark End of the Street’ obviously, and ‘I Met Her in Church’ is still one of the best secular gospel songs ever written. I’d never made the connection before, but the storytelling in many of these songs has parallels with Bill Withers – » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
I wish that all compilations were curated with the attention to detail that’s clearly gone into this one. Dust on the Nettles takes a trip through the British underground folk scene from 1967-1972, and turns up all sorts of unexpected sounds. Of course there are earnest acoustic guitars, and fiddles, and pipes, but there’s a lot more besides, and what’s really astonishing is how many different sounds the musicians created from this basic palette. Rural idylls, nightmare visions, all are conjured up here…
What does it all *mean*?
God knows, except that it’s made me want to explore this music further. There’s an incredible variety on this collection, which means that while you’re unlikely to rate every track, it would also be near impossible to not find something you’ll like enjoy.
Goes well with…
Long summer afternoons in fields of long grass.
Might suit people who like…
Richard Thompson, Fairport Convention, Pentangle. Afterworders, in other words.
Nottingham Rescue Rooms
This was a riot, the most fun I’ve had at a gig in ages. Katzenjammer are a bit like a pop folk Spice Girls – each one with their own personality, and presumably their own following. For 90 minutes they traded vocals, instruments, and put on a real show. Though a couple of the slower numbers showed that they’ve got real musical chops too. I’ve loved the records for a few years, but the live experience is something else. They left the stage to the strains of Kiss’ ‘Crazy Nights’. Indeed.
Impressive spread. Indie kids, grey haired men, and a rather charming middle aged couple from Oxford in front of us who’d brought their teenage kids with them.
It made me think..
I spent years going to see indie guitar bands who stare at their shoes. I was wrong.
I’ve just left a gig by a signed band (who shall remain nameless… for now…). There were 3 musicians on stage, but it was painfully clear that the lead singer / guitarist was carrying the other two. Is there a term for such a person? If there isn’t there should be, & I’m confident the Afterword is capable of inventing it.
Also, has a truly successful band ever been huge off the back of just one talented member? Examples please…