Dunno ‘bought you lot, but when I was a relative nipper, the regular appearance of the Partridge Family on the big 23inch black and white telly in the front room was a weekly pleasure. Bit like the Monkees a few years earlier, but with lighter musical fare. Still well written, well played summery pop. Relief from the endless grey news. I reckon most of my male mates secretly wished they were as popular as young David. I’ll remember him with affection.
In the hope that I’m not misusing the Noticeboard feature, here’s my latest music show / mixtape / DJ mix on Mixcloud. Self indulgent, but fun – I told myself I would do this again if I got more than ten listeners last time, and I got 77 (and counting?) so someone must be listening somewhere out there.
Anyway, it’s a seamless mix of eclectic tunes which kicks off with the Allman Brothers, drops by to say hello to Lorde, allows Donovan a bit of Barabajagal and finishes by worshipping at the altar of The Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time.
Well worth half an hour of your time I think!
University of London Union
I think I have probably seen Chuck Prophet, either fronting his own band or as part of Green On Red, more than any other artist. I estimate all the time I’ve spent standing in front of stages watching, listening to and enjoying Chuck’s playing and singing amounts to about two days of my life. (I realise this is as naught compared to dedicated Springsteen followers or Deadheads who probably can count weeks of their existence spent in front of their favourites, but it is a significant time for me).
What that means is I’ve seen performances of varying intensity and enjoyment over the years. There is a group of friends I go to CP gigs with, and we’ve been in agreement that his last couple of London gigs have been rather lacklustre. When I was sorting out the tickets for this gig, people were actually questioning whether we wanted to go.
That won’t happen next time because this was a fully energised, fun-loving, concentrated, dedicated, brilliant performance.
The band came out, started up then Chuck bounded out. A huge grin on his face. They play an intro, which something of an » Continue Reading.
Monday: Robert Plant @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall. I`m not going to write a review, @NigelT has already done that for The Goldem Mane`s UK `17 tour and far better than I could. I would just like to say that at “three score & nine” (Robert`s words last night) Mr Plant was feckin` marvelous, his voice has no right to belong to an old fella his age. His band were something special also, a performance I will remember for a long time.
Tuesday: When this was delivered by a white van man from the tax dodgers I wondered why the feck I had bought this. I`m not really a fan and they are 80% white men playing black man`s music. However I can`t resist a bargain and at £27 for 19 CDs well you know it`s part of my illness and I had to have it. I am rambling on about the Average White Band a bunch of men from Scotland playing funky R&B and I love it. I`m 4 CDs in and completely won over. Bloody great band and this in a week when Mavis Staples has received numerous plays on the Harkonnen wind-up phonogram.
I wonder » Continue Reading.
This one gets moving!
I seem to play pretty much all my music on Spotify these days, even if I have the CD sitting somewhere in my garage. As a result, the number of ‘saved’ albums is growing fast and becoming pretty unmanageable. The Spotify app is fairly poor (eg compared to the Amazon Music app) but I’ve started creating playlists specifically for albums, eg ALBUMS – ECM, ALBUMS – ALICE COLTRANE etc so at least I can find the damn things. Anyone have any better ideas how to manage their music in Spotify? The Albums field is pretty limited when you have a lot of albums saved.
The annual voting for the supremely ludicrous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is currently underway. Innovative musical giants The Cars, the Eurythmics and the seminal J Geils Band are up against also-rans like Nina Simone, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode and Radiohead. Might be worth a moment of your precious time:
What does it sound like?:
This is very pleasant surprise: counter-cultural, laidback rock and singer songwriters from the radical years of Japan when Haruki Murakami was still at high school. Basically the first legit western release ( from the Light in the Attic label) of some well-known national artists, this comp adds to previous cult genres of J-rock, such as Group Sounds beat pop, 60s girl pop, Julian Cope approved hard rock, and more extreme improv. It’s rather like a Bob Stanley compilation of 70s pastoral rock, but from the “angura” (underground) scenes of Tokyo and Osaka: young, disaffected Japanese channeling Dylan, Donovan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young with their own take on the national mood. But it’s certainly not dealt up as kitsch or pastiche: there is some real talent and tense performances here, which the compilers have put into helpful context with translated lyrics. So Kenji Endo’s whispery ‘Curry Rice’ is actually about watching the author Yukio Mishima killing himself on TV, while Akai Torai’s pristine-sounding folk song was genuinely controversial. Other highlights out of a well-chosen 19 tracks are the women Sachiko Kanenobu and Maki Asakawa, the melancholy Tetsuo Saito, and the rousing mix of Hachimatsu » Continue Reading.
Track 7 on 1974’s Veedon Fleece stands as everything that is great about Van Morrison, mysterious about his art and in its own way proof positive for those who find him utterly unapproachable. I have read of the obsessions that others have had with various songs and albums, claims that listeners are on their third copy since the groove was so worn. These claims have often made me feel like a pretender, a dilettante – until I come to Cul De Sac. I never tire of listening to it – listening to everything in it with confidence that its peculiar greatness will never pall. I have no great certainty about what Morrison is on about here. Lyrically, it is bizarre, as odd as anything in his very odd ‘catalogue’ ( and what a strangely typical Morrisonian word that is); it is as strange as anything on the unremittingly strange ‘Common One’ album and is, in fact, I think a completely autobiographical song about his own sense of his autistic ( I say this with love) otherness. It is, in some ways, the bleakest song he has ever written yet he does not communicate bleakness in his performance which is determined, » Continue Reading.
Someone sent me this video earlier.
It’s two young kids playing Smells Like Teen Spirit in a garage. They’re not that bad, all things (e.g. the absence of bass) considered, but (unsurprisingly) their version is about a million miles away from the tumbling molten ferocity of the real thing.
It got me reflecting on something we touched on briefly last week; tunes that should not be covered. There are some songs that are so perfectly nailed by their originators that there’s really no room for a re-imagining, no space for tribute. You don’t want to hear anyone else’s “take”, you just want them to back up and respect the real deal enough to leave it alone.
Partly, this can be a function of performance; it doesn’t matter who you are, you aren’t going to be able to perform God Save The Queen with the nerveless vim and absolute clarity of purpose that John Lydon brought to proceedings.
Partly, it can be to do with virtuosity – ain’t nobody ever going to play Voodoo Child (Slight Return) like Jimi.
And partly, it can be down to timing. A Change Is Gonna Come, in addition to being the greatest song ever recorded, » Continue Reading.
I have a day to amuse myself, this coming Monday. Bookshops? CD’s? What should I do?
Featuring Kris Kristofferson as a dog.
I’m a transgender poet from Kentucky. I’m a bit scared of you all.
I remember very much enjoying Amusement Parks on Fire’s majestic LP ‘Out of Angeles’ which was, wow, over 10 years ago. They kind of fell off my radar (apparently they moved to LA and there was a 3rd LP which passed me by entirely). I presumed they’d joined the ‘great lost bands of the 00s’ list, so was pleased to learn they were back on, and coming to Gullivers (the fine old Manchester pub, not the Theme Park I hasten to add).
I feel like hearing some new bands so I get there in time to see the supports they’ve brought along. First up is Sewage Farm. Sewage Farm?! They’re actually a decent, grungy power trio with some big, spirited, soaraway tunes and a rib-cage rattling bass sound. They’re from York, and they sound like they’re thoroughly gigged-in and ready to tear up your festival, illegal rave, squat-party, wherever their tour van takes them. Next up are Misty Coast, hailing from Bergen in Norway, and things get a bit more cerebral, but no less powerful. They’ve a majestic, swirly and psychedelic sound with some electronic backing and almost Cocteau Twins-like, heavily processed vocals, » Continue Reading.
Well, somebody’s for the chop, I’d imagine.
Emily Maitlis just wrapped up this evening’s edition of Newsnight by reminding us that on November 20, 1937, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married at Westminster Abbey.
Ah, I thought, said read that out wrong, she meant to say 1947.
But no – she ploughed on, informing us that at the time, Britain’s relationship with Europe was about to change dramatically and Spain was in the midst of terrible domestic upheaval. [Oblique references to the imminent Second World War and the ongoing Spanish Civil War]. She also remarked how on that day in 1937 [yes, she said it again], the skies were grey, just like they were today.
“Well,” said Maitlis, manfully continuing with the script [I wonder whether by now she was beginning to get a little shiver and thinking “What? Can this be right?”], “seventy years on, very little changes. Goodnight.” [Smile]
I’m a big fan of the BBC, but how can such a terrible fuck-up be made on such an occasion? I’m presuming heads will roll. I hope the Queen wasn’t watching. [“Philip! Was I really only eleven when we got hitched?”].
What does it sound like?:
So, Kansas, possibly the ugliest band in the world. Not hip or trendy in any way, but if you can put that aside and you have an appreciation for prog, read on. To put my interest in context, 1977 was a schizophrenic year. My old concert tickets show that I saw Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd, but I also saw the Clash and the Sex Pistols. In the middle of all that, in the summer of ‘77, I went to America for the first time and stayed with a family in the heart of Long Island, New York. I had met the girl when she came over on a school exchange trip. We bonded over a shared appreciation of Boston’s first album. The other music she and her friends listened to was Aerosmith (Toys In The Attic), Foghat Live, Frampton Comes Alive, Rumours (you couldn’t get away from it) and Leftoverture by Kansas, which contained their big hit at the time, Carry On Wayward Son. Some of it has stayed with me. In fact all of it, except Foghat. So that’s the background to why I chose to review this double CD, a cash-in » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Just before the end-of-year polls cap it all why don’t we try and rescue a few notable releases from the ‘mentioned in dispatches’ pile. So, kicking up a little bit of a storm, here’s the second album from Zeitgeist-botherers Wolf Alice for your consideration.
The WA sound does not exactly emerge like a strange fish from some uncharted musical ocean. I lost track of bands that came to mind in listening to this album but here’s a go: Curve, Throwing Muses, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Kitchens of Distinction, This Mortal Coil, even a touch of Spacemen 3 and revivalists like Ballet School (second album from them would be very welcome).
First track Heavenward (a completely nineties title) sets out the stall with soaring vocals, chiming guitars and a straight-ahead driving (Driving That Fast indeed) 4/4 rhythm. Yuk Foo adds a bit more crunch to the guitars, more yelp to the vocals. By Beautifully Unconventional we have a bit more attitude and lyrical content, it’s a track that will ‘speak’ to anyone at Sixth Form College. Don’t Delete the Kisses – most keyboardy so far. Fifth track Planet Hunter (which returns to » Continue Reading.
Many great offers on here folks!
Lots of classic lps for less than a tenner!
What does it sound like?:
Two of the band’s most contentious albums performed by one of its most contentious line-ups. This two cd set is culled from twelve dates in the USA recorded in February of this year, during which the band performed the entire Drama album, plus sides one and four (together with the Leaves Of Green section of side 3) of Tales From Topographic Oceans, supplemented with four ‘fan favourites’. Of course, since the sad passing of founder member Chris Squire, only Steve Howe and Alan White remain of the band’s classic line up. Here they are supplemented by Geoff Downes, who played on the Drama album, long term cohort Billy Sherwood, and Anderson soundalike Jon Davison on vocals. Due to back surgery, Alan White missed some shows, while others featured him playing in collaboration with additional drummer Jay Schellen – to be honest, I couldn’t tell which one was playing at any given time on here. I suppose this whole area begs the question of how many original members do you need to still call the band Yes – the current ‘other’ Yes of course also features two – Anderson and Wakeman, plus Trevor Rabin. Take » Continue Reading.
I love this – a cover of Evil-hearted You, in Spanish, by Pixies….gotta share….
Should you be any where near the leafy environs of Kelvedon in Posh North Essex on December the 9th, do drop by The Institute, where the self-styled kings and gods of East Angliacana will be performing songs from out of our own heads in the company of both Disappointment Bob and one Fern Teather. Please form an orderly queue in order to recycle all those Fern jokes we had after that last library gig was cancelled.
Oran Mor, Glasgow
I do like Jim White, so much so that I body-served the option of Chuck Prophet at home in sunny Edinburgh, to travel out to the weedge to see JW instead. I have to say: good choice. He was ably backed by his support band, Cicada Rhythm and took us on an extended tour of his back catalogue and new album (Waffles, Triangles and Jesus). However it wasn’t just the material, strong though it is, that made this a top gig. It was Jim White’s stage presence, hilarious yarns and general bonhomie that made it a special occasion. For all I know, he says the same stuff every night but it didn’t feel like that. It felt like the spontaneity and associated risk that makes going to a gig worthwhile. JW made several mentions of his history of mental illness, which I’d not been aware of. Good for him. Special mention for his nightly ”shirt off my back’ auction, which has enabled him to make significant donations to Doctors Without Borders (“They think I’m a millionaire!”) No Tornadoes or Still Waters though *sad face*.
Varied but, well, I didn’t feel out » Continue Reading.
Tonight after the kids are in bed I’m going to walk the dog and listen to Morrissey’s new album on my ipod shuffle. I may have to skip tracks, I may not, we’ll see.
Then when I get home, prompted by an article I read about Chuck D’s new book, I’m going to sit down and listen to Fear of a Black Planet. I bought the LP second hand 25 years ago and I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the whole thing. I’m going to use the magnifying glass on my phone to read the lyrics on the inner sleeve.
That’s the plan anyway. and yourself?
I stopped listening to him after Viva Hate, anyone still fans? If so, tell me: is he making silly pronouncements like this to provoke a reaction?
This may come as a surprise to most readers, but the Republic of Ireland doesn’t have postcodes. Well, I think some kind of postcoding has been half-heartedly introduced in the past couple of years, but nobody uses it (maybe our Republic of Ireland AWers can tell us more about that). Often, non-metropolitan addresses leave out street names too. So I could write to Seamus O’Flaherty, The Big House, Leitrim and it would probably get to him – somehow postpersons down there don’t need normal locational stuff on envelopes. Goodness knows how they do it.
Having explained all that, are there songs involving Republic of Ireland streets without postcodes or house names without streets?
Van Morrison’s ‘Streets of Arklow’ almost qualifies, and his ‘Down by Avalon’ mantra sounds like something you’d find on an envelope to an individual in rural Ireland in place of any other geographical information.
Over to you.