News of the reformation of Ride has somewhat overshadowed a rather lovely album ‘Universal Road’ released last month by Ride’s Mark Gardener & Cocteau Twins Robin Guthrie. Available on eMusic and all good record shops and I think worthy of your attention.
What does it sound like?:
This record had a difficult birth having begun life as a Beach Boys album which was derailed by the resuming spat with Mike Love. Following a somewhat derailed collaboration with a baffled Jeff Beck it then became a duets/collaborations album with ‘edgy’ names like Frank Ocean and Lana Del Rey guaranteed to earn Brian some Twitter attention. With both having walked off the project (apparently nobody in Team Wilson expected Frank Ocean would want to ‘rap’) this finally emerges as remnants of a Beach Boys album that never was and collaborations with artists which may be household names in the US but I have honestly never heard of – Kacey Musgraves? She & Him? Nate Ruess? Nope, me neither. In some ways I’m in the same boat as Brian as he regularly admits in interviews he has no interest in contemporary music (and recently claimed in The Guardian he had never heard of Kraftwerk or Punk Rock). I suspect these name artists were chosen and delivered to the studio by ‘his people’ – and that in a nutshell is the problem with this album.
I wonder just how much of this record is actually » Continue Reading.
I have an odd relationship with Simple Minds. They were one of the first bands I got into as a teenager along with U2 (they seemed to come as a pair) and my entry point was Sparkle In the Rain and the (somewhat maligned) Once Upon a Time. Then they went of on one of those epic gaps that hugely successful 80s acts liked to do and by the time they returned I was swept up in Madchester and electronic music and the ‘Street Fighting Years’ was the last thing I wanted to hear.
I can’t bear to listen to U2 nowadays, I can’t fathom what I saw in them but I’ve dug back into Simple Minds over the years and caught up with those startling early albums. Like them, I’ve struggled to reconcile the eye-liner years – that extraordinary run of art-rock albums – with the Stadium Rock bombast that became their stock in trade. However I’ve heard they are on good live form these days, and as on this tour they are playing smaller theatres rather than outdoor gigs or enormodomes, so this seemed the right time to finally see them » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Very recently I picked up on Leeds post-rock band called Hood who released a brace of fine albums in the 90s/early 00s. They’re now no longer active but I’ve gradually been picking up their CDs whenever I see them in second hand shops as they’re now “out of print”. As I’m such a latecomer I also hadn’t realised that one of the key personnel, Richard Adams, has been making beautiful albums as The Declining Winter for a few years now so now I’m really playing catch up.
This latest one has all the hallmarks of Hood so if you liked them you definitely need to get into this. A somewhat wistful melancholy but strangely uplifting atmosphere prevails. The basic MO is a repeating, beautiful guitar figure which builds up with sometimes almost jazzy/motorik drum patterns and additional looping patterns of bass and other instruments added, and hushed vocals riding on top.
What I particularly like is the fact that the music feels like it’s constructed much like dance music along a series of interlocking loops and pretty repeating figures except that it’s played live and the instuments are mostly made of wood » Continue Reading.
I often bemoan the somwhat predicatable line-up of “Later…” and lack of a decent, dedicated new music TV show (Festival footage doesn’t count). I was interested to see a pilot broadcast of a proposed new pop TV show appear on iPlayer. It has the somewhat unpromising title ‘All Shook Up’ but apart from that I thought it was alright actually. It’s as no-frills as you can get, with an obvious huge nod to Whistle Test..no set dressing, wires trailing everywhere, no fancy lighting or video effects and a suitably deadpan Marc Riley in the ‘Whispering’ role.
It’s nice actually just to watch some bands play in the Whistle Test style. Just 30 minutes with three pasty-faced new(ish) bands all of whom look somewhat undernourished under the cold studio glare. They all play a couple of songs each. No festival flag waving gurning tossers getting in the way, no over-excited presenters saying the word ‘amazing’ every 3 seconds, no unnecessary boogie-woogie vamping from Jools. I can’t believe a show like this would cost much to make, and I’d be quite happy with this – 3 new bands each week, point a camera at them, introduce the bands, roll credits. Job » Continue Reading.
Over 90,000 people have signed a petition to “Cancel Kanye West and get a rock band” to headline Glastonbury. It doesn’t specify which ‘rock band’ they want so can presumably any ‘rock band’ will do so maybe Saxon, The Frank & Walters, The Cranes, The Wonderstuff, China Crisis… anyone else got a good suggestion?
Not expecting a huge number of takers for this one but maybe we’ll bring PoppySucceeds outta hiding! Post yer favourite sparse, minimal mind-benders here!
Over 550 releases. Far too many again. The exclusive and interesting releases are few and far between. I’d say the vast majority are just re-issues that were in the works anyway, and badged as RSD releases purely to give them an extra marketing push. Multiple re-releases from the same artist (hello Pulp, Bruce Springsteen, Wedding Present, Hawkwind) a lot of which you can second hand originals of in most 2nd hand stores any day of the week for £5. Anything on here you’d queue outside a record shop for?
Artist Title Format !!! All U Writers / Gonna Guetta Stomp 12″ 16 HORSEPOWER FOLKLORE LP 16 HORSEPOWER OLDEN LPX2 999 BIGGEST PRIZE IN SPORT/ BIGGEST TOUR IN SPORT DLP A PREGNANT LIGHT ST. EMACIATION 7 A$AP ROCKY “LPFJ2 / MULTIPLY” 7″ VINYL A/ Caitlin Rose AA/Kid Wave featuring Ben Romans Hopcraft Been Thinking About You All The Time / Listen To Her Heart 7″ A/ Jimi Goodwin AA/ Pete Wiggs Didsbury Girl (Tear Down Dub) / We’ve Got The Moves 7″ A/ Mark Lanegan AA/ Duke Garwood Needle of Death / Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning 7″ A/ Stealing Sheep AA/ The Voyeurs Murmur Earth / Rhubarb Rhubarb (Third » Continue Reading.
Whatever you think of Culture Club this was a really interesting and poignant rockumentary about how the music industry works these days particularly around what it likes to call ‘nostalgia acts’. It follows the band on what turns out to a doomed attempt to relaunch themselves with a new LP and tour. It starts quite Spinal Tap-esque with George and Jon Moss very much the David St-Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel of the piece…with the added dimension of the fact they were once an item. The band gradually disinitegrates again as old gripes and grievances surface, not helped by George seemingly glued to Twitter on his iPhone and stropping off at the slightest provocation from his bandmates. Separate management arrangements for George and each band member gradually pulls the band apart again. The most telling moment is having recorded a new LP with producer Youth which they all seem enthused by, and played a well received gig for diehard fans at Heaven in London they then go on “Strictly…” and promote their revival with a lackluster plod through Karma Chameleon. They needed to have more confidence in their new (currently shelved) material but ultimately something else stopped them in their tracks…
Vic and Bob are doing some live dates, the first in lord knows how long to mark their 25th anniversary. I saw them in 1990 in an all standing venue which was more like a gig than a comedy show. It was brilliant and so funny I was gasping for breath at times. It’s probably too late to get tickets now but I note the venues are all arenas which means I’m already in two minds about this.. Comedy in enormodomes is never any any good..is it? Apparently Mr Dennis and Lister will be there which is great, I wonder if Whiskey and Brandy Bolland will make an appearance?
Ladies and gentlemen I propose a toast to long-standing Word/Afterword blogger Beany who today has reached a significant birthday with a zero after it. In honour of his lifelong ambition to acquire the most tasteless record collection on the planet, let’s salute the emeritus professor of pap with some truly dreadful records. If anyone can find one he hasn’t got in his collection I’ll be very surprised but there is your challenge. I’m sure he’s got several copies of this one: N.b this isn’t the original Bucks Fizz that’d be too easy, it’s David Van Day’s “Bucks Fizz” with a specially ‘updated’ version of Making Yr Mind Up. Bleee…
New one from Young Fathers, sounds to my ears like early TV On the Radio, liking the creaky old organ sound, synth noodling break and the hint of The Specials circa Ghost Town.
What does it sound like?:
This is the fourth LP from Marple’s finest Dutch Uncles. I caught a support slot from them a few years ago when they were promoting their debut and was immediately grabbed by their strangeness and charm. It’s hard to pin down what they do, best way I can describe it is a mixture of angular indie, a jauntier take on the sort of sophisticated pop the likes of Talk Talk, late period XTC and Blue Nile did in the 1980s, a Kate Bush approach to melodic leaps and twists and just a dash of the less noodly side of prog rock. This record is more electronic than previously, the guitars take a back seat to synths which recall 80 movie sountrack tropes albiet offset by a lush sounding string section. There is, on first listen, a certain lack of instant hooks, however there are melodies and refrains that creep up on your with repeated listens which is the mark of an album you’ll want to revisit again to reveal its charms.
What does it all *mean*?
If you’re not familiar with the band, some may find the fey, warbling vocals and some of the » Continue Reading.
I know Wire have a few fans here, they’ve just announced a new (eponymous) LP and this is the teaser track for it. Typical Wire track in that it’s very short, has no chorus or immediate hook, but oddly catchy. It’s a grower.