…it’s a wonderful new video for ‘The Tug of the Moon’, from the forthcoming Sarah McQuaid album. I think she’s brilliant.
What does it sound like?:
It really doesn’t seem like 25 years ago that I was in love. Both for the first time in a serious relationship and with a new (old) band called REM and their masterpiece, their zenith, their best fucking album, hands down, no you fuck off, the omnipresent, singles factory that is
AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE.
It’s too familiar, worn out, over exposed and too intelligible lyrically – cry the naysayers. It’s not the album’s fault that it haunts you, its hooks rip into your flesh and melodies linger for a quarter of a century – I spit back. But ‘Murmur’ – they counter But the darkness – I sigh.
In 1992 the world was groping (well quite a lot of that was going on if the news is any judge atm) into a new decade trying to work out what the new world order was. Eastern Europe was transformed it seemed in an effortless almost bloodless revolution. Christmas Day 1989 TV Special in Romania was the head of state and his wife being gunned down after a hastily organised trial which makes Mrs Brown’s Boys almost a more appealing option. The Madchester scene » Continue Reading.
I enjoyed the cut and thrust of H.P.’s Brexit thread, but at some point it got a bit bogged down in complex political terminology. Tahir made a comment about political postings on a music site, and it made me think of all the different sorts of political philosophy/ideolology/dogma that one can list and how they are a bit like musical genres – over simplified but sometimes helpful as a basic guide to a school of thought/musical form.
Then I thought, I wonder if there is a musical genre for every school of political thought. Could we map them, one to another and say why they match?
I’ll post a few example genres and philosophies in the first comment, as a form of kindling, then step back, and watch to see if the bally thing lights up.
During one of my current episodes of insomnia I decided to try to create a quiz for you all which would be a least difficult to Google. So here it is. Below I have take the first word from each of the lines of a section of ten Beatles songs for you to identify. The songs are well known (ie from the main albums and singles) and the lyrics are from significant and recognisable sections of the song. They were chosen by random more or less. Now I know that the start and end of lines in lyrics can be ambiguous but I think not so much in these particular cases as they are distinctive and form part of the rhythmic structure. I’m also hoping that each case is unique. Finally I’ve ignored any “oos”,”aahs” , “heys” etc. There is no prize other than the respect of your peers.
By way of example the opening lines of Lucy in the Sky would be “picture, with, somebody, a”
1. the, the, the, the
2. if, if, if, if
3. hold, look, when, help
4. every, every , it, it, it
5. well, you, and, was, so
6. I, while, with, » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Mavis Staples is a veteran civil rights protester, dating back to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her dad, Pops, and Martin Luther King. She was the stand-out performer of The Staples Singers, so much so that Bob Dylan fell in love with her because of her “deep and mysterious” voice. Now 72, it may have lost its top-end but retains its depth and mystery. This is her third album with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Their first, You Are Not Alone, won a Grammy. This time, he wrote all ten songs and Mavis contributed lyrics for three. Wisely, he plays to her strengths, every song having a social conscience in the context of America in 2017 and Black Lives Matter, speaking out against hatred, inequality and indifference.
The musical settings are simple and intimate, ideal for Mavis’s calm, determined delivery, the gospel-tinged backing from The Staples Sisters testifying to the veracity of the truths expressed. Jeff’s guitar, on the other hand, is played through clenched teeth, seething with rage. He adds the tension to the loaded gun opener, Little Bit, the jagged doubts in Who Told You That, the Velvet Underground impatience of No Time For Crying » Continue Reading.
There’s another thread going on that has a clip of a funny US sketch where a teacher is berated by about 20 sets of parents for the calibre of the records in the school’s record library.
She defends herself by naming a couple of Clash songs – but they are not the *right* Clash songs and she admits to be not being aware of Neu! and Krautrock generally, to unanimous consternation. Of course the comedy in this sketch is that the music snobs are the majority – when in reality the parent that defends Mike and the Mechanics at the beginning would represent 99% of the group.
Thing is – today, if someone here mentions an obscure act who sound interesting then – thanks to the Internet – moments later I am snapping my fingers, whistling and nodding my head. Or not. In 1977 I may read about Neu! but unless I venture into That London, I am not going to see their records anywhere. A chance hearing on John Peel might happen but the best TV was on during Peel’s show and most of the time, telly will trump the scratchy, tune-free session by Anal Prolapse.
So – » Continue Reading.
The second of two night at The Birchmere. $110 a pop for tickets and worth every cent. No intro, just two guys ambling on stage with a couple of guitars each.
They clearly like each other; the between-songs chat was unforced, funny and warm, bringing the audience in to the dynamic as opposed to being performed at.
The music? Oh. Yes. That. I’ve historically been ‘meh’ on Lyle Lovett – I really went to this for John Hiatt. But I’ve been converted. He doesn’t have a great voice, but it’s great for his material. Nothing strained, and perfect for the songs. But John Hiatt…If you get the chance, see him in a venue like this. A few hundred, seated, in a smallish setting. He wraps the song around you and the guitar playing, while not flashy or demonstrative, was really good and played the servant to his lyrics.
If they are near you, and you like country/Americana, go see them. if you don’t like it I’ll pay for your ticket. THAT’S how good they were.
You would recognize yourselves.
It made me think..
Quality is quality, and acoustic with a guitar » Continue Reading.
Camelot Lounge, Marrickville (that’s inner western Sydney for most of you)
This was bloody brilliant. The whole of the Black Sea album (pre re-issues and re-masters), rendered so well that I now have to go back and reconsider Burning With Optimisms Flames because I think I misjudged it.
Then after an intermission a quick canter through the rest of the catalog, a few hits (like Nigel) and some famous tracks (Chalk Hills and Children). Great musicianship (as promised by Mousey), really authentic sounding. They even managed to emulate a lot of double tracking, for voices, guitars, keyboards, drums…and you don’t hear Travels In Nihilon every day now do you ?
The audience was one of *the* amazing things – it was The Massive incarnate, like every Mingle photo I’ve ever seen extrapolated. If there was an Afterword demographic in inner western Sydney they all turned up – 200-300 in a pokey fire trap warehouse; what’s not to love.
It made me think..
I’ll be back for a Nonsuch night. And I finally realised (through a bit of googling) that when I actually saw XTC in Dunstable in 1981, it was their last-but-one UK concert. » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Those of you who follow Big Big Train will be aware of Peter Jones, a multi instrumentalist who records under the banner of Tiger Moth Tales (and also plays keyboards for Camel). The “Depths Of Winter” is his third studio album (after Cocoon and Story Tellers Part 1 – both worth having).
As can be assumed from the title, the theme is winter, but not overtly so – with probably only the track “Sleigh Ride” being one that wouldn’t fit being played in June!. As befits a true prog album, four of the tracks and are about or longer than 10 minutes, with “Exposure” clocking in at 14 minutes being one of the standout tracks – beautiful, melancholic and the use of brass really adding to the track. Hygge (see youtube in comments) shows the Wind & Wuthering era Genesis influences.
Superbly played (and sung) all the way through by Peter (who handles most of the instruments) with a few added guest musicians (a superb guitar solo at the end of Winter Maker by Luke Machin).
I’m not big on writing reviews and many more on here can do a much better job, but » Continue Reading.
You will all no doubt recall @Tiggerlion’s excellent recent review of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Brand New Me’ album. There are three copies up for grabs to the first three people to name three artists who have duetted on record with Aretha. Answers by PM please – don’t post them on here folks!
who fancy reviewing
Downes Braide Association – Skyscraper Souls – their third album
Steve and Virgil Howe – Nexus
Kansas – Leftoverture and Beyond – live set
The Pavilions, Plymouth
I had mixed feelings before this gig – sure, it would be great to see Robert Plant once again (last time was a rather larger event at the O2 10 years ago with one of his old bands whose name escapes me), and I really like the last 4 albums (Raising Sand onwards)… but…oh, I don’t know….I was expecting a whole heap from the new album and probably a couple of Led Zep re-workings to keep the old fans happy.
So, what was it like..? Flippin’ amazing, that’s what. Seth Lakeman had done a great half hour support slot totally solo – he was clearly delighted to be involved in all this, and he was on home turf (‘This is my easiest ever commute to work – 9 miles!’) and the crowd were very warm and enthusiastic. ‘Imagine you’re in a folk club’ he said at one point, and it was great to hear him in this large venue. He mentioned family a freinds in the audience and I spotted his Dad, Geoff Lakeman, during the interval looking suitably chuffed.
After a rather unnecessary half hour interval, the Sensational Space Shifters hit the » Continue Reading.
Oh, dangerous times ahead. An Interactive map of Every Record Store on earth (so those of us who end up away from home, working, can find somewhere pleasant to spend hours .. and money …)
New song from Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers trading as TC & I. Absolutely glorious – possibly the most cheerful funeral song ever.
What does it sound like?:
The Jools Holland Rhythm And Blues Orchestra with José Feliciano. You know exactly what it sounds like, don’t you? It’s slick and professional, a soothing, buttery balm for the ears, the album release timed for the Christmas market. It’s easy listening for the middle-aged masses.
Jools is carrying out a public service, providing a pastime for the ageing musician. As a consequence, his orchestra has got bigger over time. It gigs endlessly and releases a record every ten minutes. Even so, Jools must be a wizard with finances to keep it viable. Now, he’s added a little Latin tinge to the mix, jazzing up a band as comfortable with swing as it is with reggae.
José is best known for his softening of Light My Fire, rendering it as a cozy cuddle on a sofa rather than a rampant night of passion. He retains an agility in his fingers sufficient to dazzle with his fretwork. His acoustic guitar lines ripple with seductiveness. Jools matches him with his piano trills. In fact, the interaction between these two instruments is the most pleasing aspect of the whole album. It’s amazing how many similarities there are between » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Black Sabbath brought their five decade career to a close in February of this year with this show on their home turf in Birmingham.
As you’d expect, the show leans heavily on their early run of classic metal albums, with nothing from their last studio outing ‘13’. The atmosphere is, as they say, electric, as a tolling bell introduces Tony Iommi’s iconic guitar riff to Black Sabbath, swiftly followed by Fairies Wear Boots, after which the band switch into Volume 4’s maybe not so well known closing medley of Under The Sun and Every Day Comes and Goes. The Masters of Realirty single After Forever is next up as classic follows classic – Snowblind, War Pigs, NIB, Supernaut, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – you name ‘em, they’re here. There are no real surprises in the set list, but this victory lap wasn’t the occasion for left field selections. Ozzy gees up the audience in his own imitable way during this nostalgia fest – the only thing sadly missing is Bill Ward’s unique drumming – what a shame some agreement couldn’t be reached for this final show. A final barrage of Iron Man, Children of the » Continue Reading.
As I was at the reception desk of an old and faded hotel in Harrogate yesterday enquiring after the exit code for the car park I was told it was 2112.
I looked across at my colleague who smiled knowingly.
“That will be easy for me to remember “he confirmed. I said no more.
As we left I asked about his love of Rush.
“Who are they?” was his response.
After a few awkward moments it was apparent he was born on the 21st December!
The Manchester Arena
Let’s not beat about the bush this is a Vaudeville show, it’s what the Coop does best, long gone are the days of any pretense of being a serious rock/shock band. Alice, his band and the audience are here to enjoy a night of power pop/metal rock and being the old ham that he is he ensures that everybody gets what they want. After a taped introduction Alice cocooned in a cape stands stock like at the front of the stage, superciliously overseeing his Sickthings as they roar their approval, the cape is cast aside and the riff of Brutal Planet fills the air. Alice prowls the stage with pantomime menace as the band of young hired guns swirl like dervishes throwing all the required rock poses yet never missing a beat or a cue from Cooper as they seamlessly power though song after song. The set list as ever is dominated by the original bands Ezra period albums and Alice’s solo Welcome to My Nightmare.
Halo of Flies is a tour de force that allows the guitarists to show their virtuosity and for Cooper to take a breather and change costume. » Continue Reading.
Is the Wiki claim true, that wrestler Mick McManus co-wrote Silver Machine? Really??? And have any other top TV grapplers made forays into the rock world?
It is my sad duty to inform you that DikMik (Michael Davies) of Hawkwind has genuinely been “Born to Go” and passed onto the next plane.
Was anyone *really* offended by Greggs Nativity Sausage? Does anyone know anyone who was? Who is most entitled to be offended by it – Christians, Jews or vegetarians? And are you now a) more or b) less aware that the apostrophe-free apostate Greggs sells sausage rolls?
If it was Pret a Manger it’d make more sense.
What record/track did you last listen to – whether currently playing, last night, whenever? Across the, shall we say, diverse convergence of AW taste can we at least share a genre nevermind, miracle of miracles, the same artist? No idea why I’m playing this over my egg & Soldiers (apart from the obvious fact Lady W loves it) but there you go…
Liverpool Cavern Club & O2 Academy
I not only got the opportunity to see Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul on Tuesday night, but I also was invited to a very special lunchtime show at the Cavern Club where the full band performed a short set of Beatles tunes. So I was met at the back door of the Cavern Club by Steve’s Tour Manager who ushered us into the legendary crypt where sound check was under way (working their way through Good Morning). Trying to fit 15 members of the band onto the stage was a non-starter so they were split into two groups with the horn section and the backing singers stationed to the left of the main stage. I was front and centre when the doors were opened and was joined by a couple who had been queuing since 5.30 that morning and a guy who had been there since 7am. That’s dedication. Little Steven and the band took to the stage and ripped straight into Magical Mystery Tour. Steven talked of his love of the Beatles and how if his religion was rock and roll then he was in his Mecca » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
It’s easy to forget now, but as the seventies became the eighties, the big teasers from Barnsley were one of the leading lights of NWOBHM, alongside the likes of Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Unlike those two bands, who went on to achieve global success that continues to this day, Saxon rather faded from the picture after their initial onslaught. Although the band is very much still a going concern with a new album in the works, their fortunes are somewhat diminished these days. However, this thirty four track double cd set covering their golden years from 1979 – 1988 is a great summary of their glory days in the sun.
I remember seeing them when they were still called Son of a Bitch, and so eagerly bought their debut album, represented here by four songs, and a fine start to their career it was too, even if it was a bit rough and ready in places. This was a mere taster though for their mighty second album, Wheels Of Steel. This album still sounds good today – the title track, 747, Strong Arm Of The Law, Dallas 1pm – all great stuff. The » Continue Reading.
We like, as a family – me, Mrs F, Offspirng the Elder (14), Offspring the Younger (12) – to sit down on a Saturday night and watch a fillum together.
We’ve watched all the DVDs we can agree on from the cupboard next to the telly.
The GLW/my better half/’er indoors has suggested Netflix. I refuse to get Sky because Murdoch. I’d quite like Dodgers Prime if it means free next-day deliveries. Yes, I am a hypocrite.
We are connected to the outside world by BT Infinity 2 at “up to 76Mbps” (usually 30) which is (just about) enough to stream iPlayer in HD.
We like family films – we’re off to see Paddington 2 at the flicks. I like music documentaries and concert films. None of us watches any sport, except Olympics on the BBC.
Any advice appreciated. Ta.