Lets get the controversy out of the way first. In the current issue of Uncut editor John Mulvey gives the latest Sun Kil Moon album a glowing 9 out of 10 review. Subsequent to this review Mulvey catches Kozelek and the band in concert. As is normal with Sun Kil Moon gigs there is a lot of between song banter. Kozelek notices unoccupied front row seats in an otherwise full hall and reckons they belong to ‘absent music journalists’ and then goes into lengthy profanity laced diatribe against a particular journalist who happens to be a friend of Mulvey’s. After the shoe Mulvey writes a blog on the Uncut site slamming Kozelek and finishing with a statement that he is done with the music of Sun Kil Moon a band whose music he has championed for the last 20 years. If this signals a policy that he will slag off bands he has a personal problem with then I am not sure he should be editor of Uncut. Controversy out of the way. This is a brilliant album by any yardstick, 8 songs most around 10 minutes in duration and at least 3 the equal of or better than anything » Continue Reading.
I bought the latest Leonard Cohen live album Can’t Forget. I know we don’t need any more live Len albums really but I didn’t have many of the songs so thought what the heck. The final track is called Stages – it opens with a humorous comment from Len about Men losing their irresistible status with the opposite sex. It then morphs into a rather attractive slinky and very slightly funky workout of one his classic songs Tower of Song. Then halfway through it fades to a complete stop when I reckon there is at least another 3 or 4 minutes of the song to go. Whoever produced and sequenced this needs a kick in the bollocks. It completely ruins the album and begs the question why?
Last night I went to see Elvis Costello and I will post a review elsewhere. I didn’t get in until around midnight so didn’t get a chance to speak with my wife until this am. My wife has a talent for getting things mixed up. Often with funny results. This morning she excelled herself. As we had our first cup of tea she asked how the concert was. Really good I replied. I mentioned to her that Costello was trying to play a song relevant to the city of each venue on this tour and that last night in tribute to Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne he played The Moves Blackberry Way. ‘He could have played Ruby Red’ she said. ‘Ruby Red?, what are you on about?’. ‘I don’t know I think I just made that up. There was a song by a Birmingham group with Red in the title’. ‘Oh, you mean Red Red Wine by UB40?’. ‘That’s the one’. Cue howls of laughter.
Yesterday my prayers were answered. Arsenal won the FA Cup and my beloved Birmingham remain the only West Midlands team to win a trophy this millennium. Not only did they win but they did so with some style and the Sanchez goal was worthy of any cup final. Not normally known for their defensive strength they also nullified any threat from Villa to the point where Benteke was completely anonymous. The stats suggest that Villa are the only FA Cup finalist to not have a shot on target.Oh heavens.
I am sure BB won’t mind me nicking his song title. Was thinking recently of bands I have fallen in and out of love with. Mainly but not always down to changing tastes, occasionally as with U2 down to the frontman becoming a knob. Some I grow to love again, some I try to love again but when I revisit their work it does nothing for me even though flights of nostalgia lead me to think a reappraisal is past due.
Here are some bands that I listened to, stopped listening to and where noted with a * bands/artists who have started to sound good again:-
Deep Purple Alice Cooper * Caravan * Camel * Nanci Griffith * Joy Division Donovan Hawkwind * Bad Company Black Sabbath Led Zeppelin * Genesis Greenslade Yes Deacon Blue
These are just a few. Who have you started listening to again after a prolonged absence?
We have lost a dear friend on this site due to bad manners. From time to time people get upset about subjects and may raise the temperature of a thread. However this shouldn’t ever resort to personal attacks on a persons view or as in this particular case general nastiness. Any chance we can all revert to the bonhomie that previously prevailed? In other words can the Trolls please fuck off?
There are a few British artists that I really like that put me in a quandary. I want them to have been more successful, get their just rewards etc on the one hand but then part of me is happy that they remain on the fringes unloved by the masses. Left to please me and a select band of followers around the country who all believe in their God given talents. For the record I am thinking of the likes of Ian McNabb, Martin Stephenson, Plainsong and Iain Matthews and Stephen Duffy and The Lilac Time. Someone who can write a song as good as this with a melody to die for surely should have shot to stardom?:-
I didn’t comment on the Level 42 – time for a reappraisal post. There was a reason. Back in the day I loved them, saw them 3 times and thought they were great. I didn’t want to criticise them because of their time they were very good. However today they sound very dated and I wouldn’t contemplate listening to them. This got me thinking that strangely there is music much older than Level 42 that still sounds great and has aged really well. A lot of 80’s music hasn’t aged that well, is it because of the instrumentation, the production or both? Linn drums for example are an abomination and synthesisers in the wrong hands do not aid a good tune. 60’s soul, 50’s Rockabilly and Jazz sound great. Hell even records from the 20’s and 30’s. What was it with the 80’s?
Albert Hall, Manchester
For people who like music from the other side of the pond (won’t use the a*******a word) there is no doubt that Calexico are up there in terms of popularity yet their tours in this country are often short and appear almost as an afterthought to their main far of Northern Europe. They seem to have a large following in the Low Countries and Germany. So last night was an exciting date in my calendar as the last time I saw them was around 10 years ago in Los Angeles where they were workmanlike. In Manchester it was clear that they meant business from the off with Falling from the Sky and Cumbia de Donde from the new album being early highlights in a set that had high energy. Most Calexico followers love the Mariachi trumpets and they were to the fore in many numbers. However there was light and shade and a highlight was a number with just Joey Burns, John Convertino and bassist Ryan Alfred that Joey Burns said he enjoyed playing – I certainly enjoyed hearing. Setlist watchers would know that on this tour they have played Love will tear » Continue Reading.
‘First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is’.** Make your mind up Mr Leitch.
I am sure you guys will have lots of alternative suggestions.
** Yes I know there is a Buddhist meaning to these words, but come on.
Just wanted to redress the balance after the ‘Is Mojo on its way out?’ post. This months issue landed on my mat yesterday. Good articles with Paul Weller, Todd Rundgren and what looks like a splendid 2015 update of Ian Hunters Diary of a rock and roll star where he has posted a diary of his current Japanese tour. Will read this later. Also a decent Paul Weller approved cd featuring a mix of new and old which includes some Neu, Mulatu Astatke, Charles Mingus and Sun Ra. Don’t sound the death knell just yet.
Today I learned that Andy Fraser wrote Robert Palmers hit ‘every kinda people’. Never knew that.
What does it sound like?:
I have to declare my bias here before proceeding with my review. I consider Tom Russell to be currently the greatest living songwriter in the genre we describe as Americana. In short he has no equal. This is the third in a trilogy chronicling the West that started with The Man from God knows where and continued with Hotwalker. It is his magnum opus, his raison d’être for the last few years and is an absolute joy from start to finish. It should be listened to in one sitting but at 2 discs long and with around 140 minutes of music it may not be possible to devote that much time in one go. Bitesize chunks do not detract from the enjoyment and it is clear that this is a labour of love that he must surely be proud of. How can anyone be this good? It tells the story of an Irish immigrant who left the shores of the Emerald Eyes as a young boy. The narrator is 90 years old and looking back on his life. A life of Cowboy hustlers, barroom brawls, gamblers, roustabouts and ne’er do wells. The whole set » Continue Reading.
Chris Evans played this track yesterday am. I was the first time I heard it in years and whilst I love both the song and the band it does sound like they threw in everything but the kitchen sink. Usually I prefer more minimalist fare but this one will do quite nicely. Are you fans of less is more or do you prefer a fuller sound?
Let me start off by saying I love London, visit several times a year and this is not an attack. Well it is an attack sort of but meant to be constructive. Yesterday I visited London for Record Store Day with my brother. We always park at Perivale as it is next to the M40 and easy to get away if we leave late evening which we invariably do. It took 1 hour and 30 minutes from Solihull to reach the car park. Pretty good. All set for a nice day in sunny London except not at all. The tube station at Tottenham Court road was closed. No sweat we would get off at Oxford Circus and walk. Except that the Central line stopped at North Acton – two stops away from the starting point. Then we had to get a bus to Wood Lane, take the Hammersmith line to Baker Street and the Jubilee line to Oxford Circus. With an 18 minute wait for the first train at Perivale and all the shenanigans in between and the walk from Oxford Street it took one hour and 45 minutes. That’s right – longer than the 108 miles from Birmingham to » Continue Reading.
The fairer sex often chide us guys for being like big kids. On my trip to RSD in London yesterday I thought about my obsession with music in its physical format and mused that most if not all of my acquaintances with this same obsession have been guys. Then I recalled all the things I have collected throughout my life and though records/cd’s has been by far the most enduring obsession there have been many others. I will try to remember them in some sort of chronological order:-
Airfix soldiers Airfix model airplanes Marvel Comics Football programmes Aircraft reg numbers (as a plane spotter) Train number (as a train spotter – only a brief deviation from my obsession with planes) Beer mats Brooke Bond tea cards Aircraft Pictorial magazine
So guys (and girls) what have you collected over the years and what do you still collect?
The word ‘Classic’ can be easily misappropriated by Record labels trying to push their artists. However music magazines are regularly at fault too by applying the word to albums not worthy of such classification. Two often described as classics wrongly to my mind are Radiohead’s OK Computer and Nirvana’s Nevermind. Neither are bad albums but classic? Not a chance.
Often we see posts about bands coming from certain Cities/places in the UK and putting that place on the map for all the right reasons. Obviously the Beatles from Liverpool then all the Madchester bands etc. From my home city Black Sabbath, Moody Blues etc. But what about the bands/artists that we wouldn’t want to own up to. This was inspired by a comment Stuart Maconie made on 6 music this afternoon when he mentioned about Sade Cafe being from Manchester. Hardly a claim to fame for Manchester I would say. So which bands would we prefer not to be associated with our home towns?
Birmingham Town Hall
Gretchen was in fine voice last night and her band including husband Barry Walsh and Christine Bougiew on lap steel and drums were tremendous. It helped that the sound was crystal clear. The first set featured mainly songs from new album Blackbirds but also a wonderful version of Tom Russell’s Guadalupe which is a uniquely beautiful song which if anything Gretchen has made her own. The second set started with Gretchen alone at the piano for Independence Day and her voice soared. During this second set the highlights were five minutes and Idlewild from her last album and at the end a duet between her and Barry covering John Prine’s In spite of Ourselves which was a lovely end to a great night.
Perhaps only three quarters full which was a shame. Nonetheless they were hugely appreciative of the performance and the standing ovation at the end visibly moved Gretchen to tears. Oh and there was a marriage proposal. The lady said yes!! The guy must have been brave to do that publicly.
It made me think..
Nights like these are special but it is a tad annoying for me that » Continue Reading.
For fans of Dexys there is a treat in store – their film Nowhere is Home is showing on BBC4 tomorrow night (Friday) at 10pm. Looking forward to it – I have the live album of the concert and it is very good indeed.
The Smiths were never my favourite band but had great song titles. As a teenager I always used to recite song titles like Pink Floyd’s .Several Species of small furry animals gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict’. Also Caravan’s ‘If I could do all over again, I would do it all over you’. You get the gist. In recent years I always thought Jackie Leven had a pithy way with song titles such as:- The dent in the fender and the wheel of fate The sexual loneliness of Jesus Christ Rainy Day Bergen Women Swine Flu Fever Blues Spooky Berlin Hotel Song and my favourite: Song for Bass guitar and death.
Any other contenders?
On the old site it was easy to post Youtube clips but they way I used to do it doesn’t work anymore. Did I miss something about posting on the new site?
Am I the only one? A couple of posts on here about MH370 and Godspeed You Black Emperor album had links in the post. I can’t open them – is this just me or is it a hitch?
About 6-8 weeks ago I read news of a new Joe Henry produced Bill Fay album to be released in February. All of a sudden all brews of it has disappeared which is a little disappointing. I have googled about it and about Bill but can’t see anything at all. Odd. Anyone shine any light?
It’s all bollocks but it’s our bollocks and I for one am delighted we are all back together again. The admin people have my gratitude not least because I don’t have to sit with my wife while she is watching Holby and asking her ‘what is this shit?’. Had I have known today was the day I would have celebrated with a Fray Bentos pie. What joy.