I know people round here like a bit of Steve Mason. His new project is a collaboration with Martin Duffy of Primal Scream under the name Alien Stadium. They’re calling it a mini-album, but round my way four tracks is an EP, amirite? Anyway, it’s called Living In Elizabethan Times, and it’s very good, with plenty of of cosmic grooving. Puts me in mind a bit of Julian Cope when he’s got his pop head on. Out December 1st, but it’s streaming now.
This time last week I’d never heard of Ezra Collective. I only picked up on them through reading the write up in a local gig guide*, although according to Boilerrom.tv, they are “pioneering a new wave of UK jazz music”, so that’s me told. Anyway, “that sounds alright”, I thought, and so I gave this, their second EP, a whirl. Turns out it is ABSOLUTELY BLOODY FANTASTIC.
The Collective are a bunch of young Londoners, born out of the Tomorrow’s Warriors project. It’s lively stuff, driven by an irresistible rhythm section that pulls together afrobeat, hip hop and reggae. On top of this, there’s winding flights of trumpet and sax to get lost in, and some sterling piano playing. It’s wonderfully fluent, rich, constantly grooving, and generally makes me glad to be alive. It’s built on tradition (the closing track here is a version of Sun Ra’s Space Is The Place), but looking outwards, to other musics and to the future. I am already way past the mandatory » Continue Reading.
Let’s be honest, the most I was hoping for from this film was “not actually disgracing the original”. Even when Denis Villeneuve was announced I only allowed myself a little flicker of hope, but the initial reactions are overwhelmingly positive. I am now officially excited.
What does it sound like?:
Do you see what happens, Larry? Do you see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps?
Phoebe Bridgers is a disgustingly young LA artist. She’d previously put out a 7″ on Ryan Adams’ label, and this debut is produced by Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis, and features a duet with Conor Oberst, all of which gives you a pretty good idea where she’s coming from. It’s not a million miles from the Julie Byrne album that got some traction here earlier in the year – the sound is basically folk, with a bit of invention and studio trickery. The songs are built on foundations of acoustic guitar and piano, with support from electric guitars, synths and strings, and then some wilder sounds thrown in. A plane passes overhead above the Twin Peaks twang of opener ‘Smoke Signals’, and there’s a moment in the gorgeous crescendo of album highlight ‘Scott Street’ where among the wordless vocals and building strings you hear the bell of a child’s bicycle, then the choo-choo of a steam train. Okay, it sounds daft, like the Mad Professor dubbing Joni Mitchell, but it works beautifully. It strikes me » Continue Reading.
Bournemouth International Centre
The first night of Nick Cave’s European tour. This is the first time he’s done the arenas in the UK, but any worries about stepping up to bigger venues were misplaced. It was bloody fantastic. The setlist looked very similar to this show that @junior-wells went to, but what you don’t get from a list of songs is any idea of the sheer power of the full Bad Seeds unit. One of the great bands, restrained when they need to be, and kicking off like a hurricane on the likes of ‘From Her To Eternity’ or the revamped monster that is ‘Jubilee Street’. Cave is a superb frontman, prowling from end of the stage to the other, reaching out and grabbing hands. It sounds crazy to say it about the Berlin junkie doom merchant I grew up listening to, but these days his crowd rapport and total control of the audience are more reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen than anybody else (and he’s up there on stamina as well – this was a two and a half hour show). The Skeleton Tree stuff sounds huge, and translates to the » Continue Reading.
and enjoy two hours of last week’s gig in Cork, courtesy of French TV
Beautiful Days is a festival organised by the Levellers down in dear old Devon. It’s an unashamed hippy / counterculture festival with a strong family vibe. I’ve been going to Bearded Theory in Derbyshire for years, and this is cut from the same cloth. It’s bigger (17k cap, I believe), and older – this is the fifteenth , but the first I’ve been to. It’s always been on the radar, but the stars have never aligned for me until this year. The entire Dynamite family attended, which made it an unusual festival experience for me (less cider, more facepainting). I will spare you the detail of craft tents and childrens’ theatre performances, but alongside the music offerings they were more than enough to keep my little(ish) one entranced for the weekend. There are loads of interesting food stalls around, with far more than the standard burgers on offer, and us hippy herbivores are really well catered for. No Gandhi’s Flip Flop, unfortunately, but you can’t have everything. Unlike the big corporate festivals you’re allowed to bring your own food and drink into the arena, but despite that the bars are rammed all weekend. They’re » Continue Reading.
We have very much enjoyed delivering the LOVEFiLM By Post service to you. However, over the last few years we’ve seen a decreasing demand for DVD and Blu-ray rental as customers increasingly move to streaming. Due to this, we will be closing the LOVEFiLM By Post service on 31st October 2017.
Until then, you can continue to rent movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray discs as usual. There is no need to take any action. You will not be billed for your LOVEFiLM subscription after 30th September 2017, and you can continue to enjoy the service until it closes on 31st October 2017.
As someone who loves great movies and TV shows, you may like to know that a Prime membership includes access to stream thousands of Prime Video titles.
Curious to see what others think about streaming movies – I have never been satisfied with the picture quality when I’ve tried it. And Amazon Prime’s streaming library was pretty shoddy last time I looked.
*Goes off to Google Cinema Paradiso*
This is a thread where you can post your reactions to the mixes you have (hopefully) received. The more in depth and rambling the better, to keep things lively. If you signed up and haven’t posted yours out yet, consider this your very last alarm call!
We’ll try this as one post. I’ll put up a comment for each group and those members can put their views across as replies to that comment (and anyone else with something relevant to say can jump in of course). Once all reviews are in I’ll go back and add the tracklists to the comments and the recriminations can begin (“you made me listen to Yes!”). Hopefully that format will not become too unwieldy. Let’s go.
Being the big girls blouse and general ponce around town that I am, I spent most of last night reading poetry. I discovered the American Mary Oliver, who mainly writes about nature and our place it. She’s really good, and not just because some of her verses read like NMA with a Pulitzer.
“Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
So this is a thread to talk about poetry. Who are your favourite poets? Why? Quote us some of your favourite verses!
Not the Colston Hall, Bristol
This was one of a small series of concerts to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Bella Union label. I’d snapped up tickets as soon as they went on sale – how could I not? One of my very favourite acts, playing with a full orchestra and a Cocteau Twin? Yes please. There was a hiccup the day before, when the roof fell in on the original venue, the Colston Hall, and it was hurriedly moved to the O2 Academy in town. I was a bit anxious about this. The Academy is fine, but more of a scuzzy rock venue than the refined concert hall vibe of the Colston. It turned out okay though, as we found a place with perfect sightlines and the sound was mixed as well as I’d have expected up the road. A big shout to whoever was in charge of the logistics – I have no idea how they fitted thirty people, most of them seated, onto the Academy’s stage but they managed it. God only knows how rammed the dressing room was.
The support is a new signing to Bella Union, one Charlie Coxedge. » Continue Reading.
Thanks to everyone who signed up. You’ve all gone into my sorting hat, and fallen out in groups of three (apart from two fours) as follows:
I will repost the instructions in the comments. Time to get fretting about tracklistings!
New album out 1st September, which will do nicely to ease us into autumn. I wasn’t that sold on Rave Tapes, so hopefully this will see them back to their best. First impressions of the single are okay, a bit cleaner than before, with a very EITS sound (the album is coming out on Temporary Residence in the States – don’t know if that’s a new thing for them?)
I love the album artwork, might be getting this one on vinyl.
Year: 1900 Director: Ben Wheatley
Free Fire is the latest film from young British director Ben Wheatley and his partner Amy Jump, the pair of whom you might recognise from films such as High Rise, Kill List and Sightseers. It’s set in 70s Boston, in a warehouse where an illicit gun deal is going down between a delegation of IRA men and a South African gun runner, all under the eyes of a pair of American fixers. Things don’t go to plan, a couple of junior hotheads kick off, the situation escalates quickly, and before you know it the entire last hour of a 90 minute film is a manic 12-way shootout, with everyone trying to escape with a bag of money while making sure nobody else does.
This could have been one big injoke, a pub discussion taken too far, but it works, largely down to some great editing that establishes the location brilliantly, and a sharp script that establishes and defines each character well. Building on that, Wheatley has assembled a great cast to inhabit the characters. Armie Hammer’s ice cool fixer dude is very entertaining, the Irish contingent of Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley (who will » Continue Reading.
new album incoming
Our third album is called Every Valley and is a story of industrial decline. It’s centred around coal mining in the UK, and in South Wales in particular, but it’s a story that’s been repeated across the western world and which has particular resonance in today’s political climate.
I have no personal ties to mining, be it coal or otherwise, and I have no family links to the area, but something about the story drew me in. This is an album about community as much as it is about mining; it’s the story of an entire region reliant on one industry, and what happens when that industry dies. What’s certain in my mind is that this album isn’t just about mining, and isn’t just about Wales. It’s a story reflected in abandoned and neglected communities across the western world, and one which has led to the resurgence of a particularly malignant, cynical and calculating brand of politics.
We recorded Every Valley in Ebbw Vale, historically a steelworkers’ town but one surrounded by coal mines, in the former lecture hall of their former workers’ institute. It seemed important to record in the valleys, as I » Continue Reading.
New track released today, new album in early May, new tour dates nowhere near me.
Liking the sound of the single after a couple of goes. Do To The Beast was decent enough, but felt more like a Twilight Singers record. This has more of that classic Whigs swagger, helped by the horns. Bodes well, I reckon.
This year’s headliners.
Mumford & Sons
And further down the bill there’s something called Will Young’s Summer Jazz Sessions.
The lowdown on Fugazi
Fugazi are a Washington DC band, formed in 1987 and officially still extant, although they have been ‘on hiatus’ since 2002. The four members are Ian MacKaye (vocals and guitar), previously of hardcore legends Minor Threat, Joe Lally (bass), Brendan Canty (drums) and Guy Picciotto (initially only backing vocals in a hype man role, the Flavor Flav to MacKaye’s Chuck D, but subsequently second guitarist and co-lead vocalist). Their music is rooted in punk, but moves outwards to encompass much more. There’s a strong dub reggae influence from their earliest recordings, not least in their use of space – they took a traditionally dense and claustrophobic sound and found the space that was hiding in it all along. The guitar style is unusual. There’s no real differentiation between lead and rhythm, rather both guitarists occupy different parts of the sound spectrum, with Picciotto’s needling treble interlocking with MacKaye’s chunkier riffs. The real musical stars of Fugazi are the rhythm section. Lally and Canty are just superb, with sensational interplay, drive and groove. They deserve to be spoken of in the same breath as Entwistle and Moon or Jones and Bonham. As their career progressed, the » Continue Reading.
Very Discordian, innit?
I may have the cart before the horse in the title, but the other day I picked up a second hand copy of one of the On U Sound Pay It All Back Compilations (in Bristol’s rather good Centre For Better Grooves shop), and I found that it includes this tribute to our very own @jackthebiscuit (warning – it’s a bit weird). Have any other Afterworders inspired musicians to name a song after them?
Hope Of The States were the great “nearly” band of the 00s as far as I’m concerned. Not sure how much love there is for them amongst the AW fraternity, but the more discerning of you may be interested to hear that when HOTS split, most of the band immediately went on to record an album under the name Dark Houses. It sat unreleased on a hard drive for a decade, but has now come out via the Lost Music Club. It’s on the usual streaming services, and giving it a listen now, it could be the third HOTS album. The story of the record might lead you to think it’s a scrappy collection of demos but these are fully formed songs with strings, horns, choirs, everything I used to love about HOTS. It’s a lovely unexpected end of year treat.
There are no winners in this story
Two new tracks up on Bandcamp, vinyl imminent.
In early twentieth first century Britain, the Knights of the Round Table are alive and well. Kind of. They exist as ‘devices’, a thought pattern similar to a Jungian archetype, semi autonomous memes that get into people’s heads and lead them to take on the characteristics of that device. So when our lead character, Jory Taylor, bears the device of Sir Gawain, it means he becomes more like Gawain (eg an unfortunate penchant for decapitation), but also that his life also becomes more like Gawain’s narrative in the original myth. Great if you’re a dashing good guy, but not so good if you find yourself bearing the device of Mordred or Morgan le Fay. Taylor, like the other Knights, works for the Circle, a secretive government organisation modelled after the Round Table, MI6 with broadswords if you will.
The Circle is very much on the side of the State and government authority, but of course the Round Table is not the only myth sewn into British culture, and during the course of his work Jory encounters another, equally strong, manifestation of our national id. I’m not going to tell you who it is, because the revelation was » Continue Reading.
Year: 2016 Director: Denis Villeneuve
Oh fuck me. Yes, I am still on a giddy post-cinema high, but this might just be the best science fiction movie I’ve ever seen.
It’s a first contact story, sparked off when twelve mysterious craft appear in locations all over the world. The US military enlist a linguistic expert, Dr Louise Banks (played by an excellent Amy Adams), to travel to the landing site in Montana and aid efforts to communicate with the aliens in order to discover the purpose behind their arrival, while in the background the global reaction threatens to slide into conflict. To say much more would be getting into spoiler territory – trust me, there is one word I am dying to type here to give some idea of what the film is about, but I’m scared lest it give too much away.
As someone who has consumed a great deal of science fiction, written and cinematic, there’s a feeling you get when you’re reading a great SF novel and you suddenly click with the concepts and ideas. It’s like someone has pried open the top of your head and filled it with light, changing the way you’re » Continue Reading.