For example – Why isn’t AC/DC a Scottish band ? The Youngs (scots), Bon (‘Bonnie’) Scott, Geordies, general poms, Taffs. Ok, some Aussie passport holders but it’s pushing a point to call them an Aussie band really. It’s possibly the most Commonwealth band there’s ever been,
It’s taken me four months to write up, but as usual, I’ve made a Spotify mixtape of my favourite music (and, this year, spoken word), both new and old, that I discovered last year.
If you like something you hear, please follow the artist on social media, buy their music and/or go and see they live, because Spotify pays diddly squat.
1. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
A hero. Cohen wrote this song (with Patrick Leonard) for his final album, speaking pretty directly about his own mortality and embracing his Jewishness. His son Adam Cohen was the producer and the Shaar Hashomayim Choir from the synagogue of that name in Montreal feature. Of the choir he wrote, ‘ Even as a boy I loved their singing. It is what made compulsory synagogue attendance enjoyable. I’ve wanted to work with the cantor and the choir for a long time. The touring years interrupted this intention. On a secondary but still urgent note, there are times when you want to show the flag, when you want to indicate that there is nourishment to be had from this culture, that it is not entirely irrelevant to the present situation, that it » Continue Reading.
Someone is modland is ‘avin a larf with the footnotes at the bottom of the page. Byline or whatever. Surely they know there is a capital F in Fanny. (And that was an exhausting clip to find via google, I can tell you.)
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?
What does it sound like?:
When Laura Veirs’ first major label album Carbon Glacier came out in 2004 I hated it. It was spare, quirky, lacking in decent tunes and willfully difficult – or so I thought. 14 years on and it’s one of my favourite albums of the noughties. Since then Laura Veirs has released four albums of her particular brand of neo-folk, a collection of children’s songs Tumble Bee, has played a leading role in the Case / Lang / Veirs project, and this her fifth solo album of original material. Only 2013’s Warp & Weft diverged from the familiar sound, being a much more electric guitar based prospect. The Lookout is largely acoustic, cool, calm, tuneful and features Veirs’ slightly detached and effortless vocal style. It’s immensely soothing, reassuring, and seems perfectly pitched for these chaotic and frightening times. It would be easy to dismiss Laura Veirs as bland – she comes on a bit like a female Josh Rouse, but like him she redeems herself with great tunes. This is also optimistic music, perhaps at odds with the times, and as such the perfect antidote. The music is largely spare; there’s not an unnecessary piano » Continue Reading.
The song that kicks off the new Okkervil River album connects the singer’s own surgical experience to that of assorted well-known figures, chugs along in a most pleasing manner and, for the AW week that’s in it, has an attention-grabbing opening lyric (even if this is a far cry from this group’s first rodeo). But it’s principal value, to me, is that it has drawn my attention to the correct spelling of the word “tracheotomy” (Dunno, but assuming it has a Latin derivation, I imagined there’d be another “a” in there, or some other surprise). Has the release of a song ever enlightened you wrt to the actual spelling of a word?
What does it sound like?:
When Lord Huron’s second album Strange Trails was released in 2015 the band revealed that they had converted their studio into a mock-up of the Red Room from Twin Peaks, and many of the songs featured wouldn’t have been out of place as part of the soundtrack to that glorious TV series. Vide Noir (‘black void’) expands the premise from the weird and earthly into outer space. The shimmering guitars and reverb are still there, but the sound has been beefed up considerably. It’s a gamble that pays off well – Ancient Names (Parts I and II) in particular benefiting from a much chunkier approach. It’s a sort of concept album with a loose intergalactic theme pulling together songs like Lost In Time And Space, Back From The Edge and Moonbeam; some of it works well, some less so, but there are plenty of decent songs to keep the album afloat. The band sound a bit like Fleet Foxes on steroids, and they haven’t quite thrown off that David Lynch obsession – Wait By The River sounds like a reverby doo-wop song that Audrey Horne might have danced to in the Double R diner. » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
The Felice Brothers and Simone Felice have released a number of EPs of rarities and live material over the years, characterised by lo-fi and minimalist instrumentation, focusing on the lyrics, vocals and bare bones of the songs. The Projector, Simone Felice’s third solo release is very much in that tradition, and boy is it good. Featuring 9 songs and one spoken word poem, its sparse and spacey musicality contains splashes of guitar that sound like they have been strummed in empty rooms; there are rumbles of drums, plaintive bursts of accordian, and all sorts of other echoey sounds underpinning this fabulous record. Simone Felice is in fine voice, croaking and crooning out lyrics about the lost and dispossesed, and these are songs held together by a strong poetic sensibility – ‘I used to pull a crowd / Pull the shade / Pull the coroner’s sheet over the mess that we made / There’s figures moving in the shadows / I got my hand on a blade / They say it’s wise to pick your battles / In the old crying game / When it’s pouring rain’. (Your Hands). Spoken word poems chucked onto albums » Continue Reading.
I came across this article via The Browser website. I believe the guy thinks he’s writing an article for mid-80s NME. But, as there are a fair few people here who have an interest in Fairport / Sandy, I thought I should share it: A writer in something called The Paris Review on Sandy
Apropos nothing other than it is very irritating, my Mac spellchecker keeps changing Fairport to Airport.
What does it sound like?:
26 years in and they’re still going. Still releasing albums of commitment, passion and energy laced with thoughts and musings on dignity, self-empowerment, in-justice, and forgotten Heroes and Heroines. They came in on a bubble of hype and expectation, found a core (if niche) audience with two further releases, and then re-invented themselves (after the loss of Richey Edwards) as the enfant terrible of Stadium Rock (with a bit of socialist politics thrown in). They then had a third incarnation where they stripped back the political posturing, strapped on a Gibson and rocked out with ‘Send Away The Tigers’. If I’m honest, whilst the period between ‘Everything Must Go’ and ‘Lifeblood’ may have been the most commercially successful, it was also not as interesting or bombastic as the incarnations before and after. There’s no denying, the Manics are now the elder statesman of indie-rock, but they’re not letting up, and ‘Resistance Is Futile’ is another valid addition to their catalogue. There are moments when the lyrics smack of 6th Form Poetry, you feel they’re being too wordy or the trope of whacking on a string section start to become predictable, but these are minor » Continue Reading.
For many of us here (ME!!) every day is Record Store Day.
Anyway, there is a cracking day organised at Love Music in Glasgow – bands and DJs in Dow’s, Dundas Street – just down from the shop itself.
I’m DJing (along with my old compadre David Belcher), and the bands include our own, our very own Beat Poets, The Valves, Dean Owens and Colonel Mustard.
DJ sets from 1, Beat Poets at 3, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 at 5pm ish.
Support your local record shops, please – or they will disappear!
I have just learnt that Deborah Coleman died a week or so ago, on the 12th. Complications of bronchitis, perhaps suggesting COPD or asthma. Uncertain how many will know the name, but she was up there with the boomette of women guitarslingersin the blues, a decade or two back. Unlike Bonnie, Susan T and Sue Foley, she was black, whatever difference that might make except possibly to sales. I rather rated her.
What does it sound like?:
Steve Ellis looks pleased with himself on the cover of his latest LP and justifiably so. Boom! Bang! Twang! is a warm, gritty soulful album that gladdens the heart and pricks at the tear ducts.
Ellis had his moment in the sun fifty years ago. He was the lead singer in Love Affair whose sales of singles in 1968 was second only to The Beatles. Their number one was Everlasting Love. A year later, he set out on a solo career. He didn’t get far. He put together a couple of bands in the seventies, Ellis and Widowmaker, but by the late seventies, he’d retired from the music business and become a docker. A terrible accident at work resulted in him spending most of the eighties learning to walk again. By the turn of the century, he was touring in a mod-related sixties revival package. He even sang lead for Amen Corner. Tributes to his old sparring partner, Steve Marriott led to a connection to Paul Weller.
Boom! Bang! Twang! was recorded in Weller’s Blackbarn studio and uses mainly musicians associated with him. It is effectively a joint production between Ellis and Weller. » Continue Reading.
Some interesting updates on the Tap.
This cropped up on a random play earlier. A big international hit in 1962, apparently. Quite a nice tune, but blimey those lyrics and the sickly singing style. Pass me the sick-bucket. The poor sad soft bugger will not be seeing his teen sweetheart for a whole summer of unalloyed misery. Woe is him.
“Yes, it’s going to be a long lonely summer, but darling I promise you this. I’ll send you all my love every day in a letter. And seal it with a kiss.”
In early-’60s suburban white America you could get away with such drippiness. In Doncaster or Huddersfield I feel expressing such utter wetness would have been seen as good reason to get yourself a kicking.
Well as I’d splurged my private life all over these here ‘pages’ on a few occasions (like here and here among others, I thought some of you might appreciate an update. Also as a thankyou to the many folk on here who told me it would get better, and I’m here to tell ya – it does.
GLW tells me 3yrs ago that she ‘doesn’t want to be married to me anymore’ but we’ll continue as a ‘couple’ for the kids’ sake.
We live under same roof but in separate bedrooms since then. I still hold out hope that things may change but make no major changes in my mindset to bring about that scenario. Life plods along.
Mid-Jan this year she tells me she’s met someone. Cue emotional meltdown from me – the full (well actually a mad fluctuation between the first four) Kübler-Ross.
Many uncharacteristic tears (the full unstoppable tsunami) from me later, as well as many sarky remarks on both sides and all the rest of it, I have now arrived at:
Acceptance. Now open to the possibility of a new relationship for myself, whereas in my bleakest moments I literally could not » Continue Reading.
Channeling a fine post from @Vincent. Not everyday listening, but in the right mood I love it. I will be playing Hater Bingo – “souless technique”, “I prefer the one note guitar solo on the first Buzzcocks single” “no tune”, “you can’t dance to it” etc.
Here’s Aldy, as the cognoscenti know him.
My current earworm is this version of one of the Carpenters’ slightly lesser-known tunes. Listening to a lot of Matthew Sweet in general at the moment, both on his own and with (*swoons*) Susanna Hoffs. So much good stuff.
Bobness of this parish and myself were fortunate enough to see the wonderful Joan as Policewoman at the equally wonderful Birmingham Town Hall last night. Something that I noticed during the gig was that Joan’s bass player had some sort of chrome cover across his strings on the body of his guitar, and we wondered what it was for on the way back to Nottingham.
A search of the internet did not prove conclusive. Suggestions ranged from them being ‘just for looks’ to having some sort of mute function, whilst some bright spark on the much respected ‘thegearpage’ thought:
“It’s to keep those annoying caffeine-fueled funksters from inflicting that horrible ‘pop n slap’ crap on the world!! Or something like that…”
Can any light be shed in these parts.
Honestly, what a twat.
What does it sound like?:
Well, first off, for those of you for whom Lauryn Hill’s totally Afterword-friendly album is a step too far, I would hazard that there’s nothing for you here.
I’m going to start by making a wildly simplistic generalization, which is that contemporary hip hop is pretty much divided between the (mostly samey) unit shifters, a (frequently backward-looking) underground and a menagerie of far out explorers whose work, while frequently admirable, can also be frustratingly hit-and-miss. What’s more, nearly twenty five years after Chuck declaimed that he “never did represent doing dumb sh*t”, the prevalence of said “dumb sh*t” in this genre has meant that those with something to say who do so directly tend not to feed at the top table.
Jean Grace and Quelle Chris are partners in real life. In musical terms I would say Jean is sharp and clear old skool-style underground, while Chris can be a bit trippy Hippy dippy and their respective flows mirror this. So – as much as we all enjoy the idea of working with The Missus – bumping and grinding their quite different styles together might have produced quite the ugly offspring. Instead, the inevitable » Continue Reading.
A couple of Spotify recommendations that might or might not interest the Massive. 1. Mishka’s 2009 album ‘Above The Bones’ has finally gone on Spotify today. A great reggae album. The “unplugged” version, ‘Guy With A Guitar’, is excellent too (and also on Spotify). 2. (Potentially, I suspect, more of interest) – Were the good and bad people of The Afterword aware that Martin Stephenson had recorded an acoustic version of his masterpiece, ‘Boat To Bolivia’? I certainly wasn’t til today. It’s called ‘Bolivia’, it’s on Spotify, and it’s pretty darn fab.
Sad to see the BBC have lost the rights to ball by ball coverage of this coming winter’s England tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies to Talk Sport. Is a change as good as a rest – only time will tell.
This is rather good……
The original Prince studio version of Nothing Compares 2 U – just released from the vaults.
If this is indicative of the quality of material that he didn’t releases, hopefully we are in for more treats down the road.
What does it sound like?:
The Curator is Alistair Murphy. He is, literally, the curator at the Cromer Museum in Norfolk. He became fascinated with dinosaurs when he was seven and in his working life, he has fulfilled his childhood dream. Outside of work, he is a musician, singer, writer and producer and has worked with Terry Stamp of Third World War and Judy Dyble of Fairport Convention fame. Logic demands that his solo work is in that most dinosaur of genres, Prog, and so it proves.
He has amassed a fine set of musicians to support him. There are two drummers, one described as ‘involuntary’, Pat Mastelotto one-time of King Crimson,two guitars, backing vocalists, lashings of strings and horns, and, on one track, an oboe. Murphy, himself, sings lead, plays guitar and keyboards, arranges the strings and horns, produces and wrote all eight songs, getting assistance for just one of them. Where The Stars Will Give Way To Morning is undoubtedly a labour of love.
The sound is thick and dense, a mesh of over-ambition. Occasionally, a single instrument, a guitar or a horn, emerges and blinks in the spotlight. There is no room for noodling, but, as » Continue Reading.