I know these are old hat, but this is one of the best ever.
What does it sound like?:
You could argue that this, the 6th album by Californian band Dawes, should have been their fifth. After the promise of Nothing Is Wrong and Stories Don’t End and the joy of All Your Favourite Bands, the fifth album, We’re All Gonna Die (much as I love it) – well, the report card would have read ‘trying too hard.’ So what is so different about Passwords?
The first thing is that Taylor Goldsmith has written a terrific batch of songs. I mean really, really good. The second thing is producer, Jonathan Wilson. The clarity of sound and unfussy recording are a joy – and he even finds time to drop a couple of ‘Wilsonisms’ into the music. And the third thing is a band growing into their own skins and growing in maturity as a band. Anyone who has seen Dawes live will tell you that the songs grow and have a life of their own when played live. These are recorded so perfectly for playing live that I cannot wait until they come back over the Pond.
The opening track, “Living In The Future” has a vicious riff that hammers away at your » Continue Reading.
Taylor Goldsmith cements his place as one of today’s best songwriters. Again.
The new album is fab.
My car-loving wife drove her new Honda CRV off the forecourt today and I couldn’t be happier. She gets so attached to her car and it broke her heart to leave Sid, her 5 year old model, at the garage. Her car brings her so much pleasure, makes her so happy, that I just have to grin.
But it’s more than that.
When she’s happy, I’m happy. It means that life is going to run smoothly for a while which, for a depressive, is vital. I adore it when she can focus on something that lights up her world. She is the centre of my life so if she is happy, the world is a brighter place.
As we drove the new car up to Brum to take her elderly parents out for lunch this came on. It’s from the wonderful new Silver Seas album, which is a sun-filled joy of a record.
What’s the point of this post?
The fact that my wife’s happiness makes me so happy is a good sign for my mental well being.
A Good Sign.
What does it sound like?:
You could be forgiven for not knowing that The Silver Seas’ 5th album has been out for 6 months. It has been the best kept secret in music. Daniel Tashian put the download out on the normal platforms himself on January 1st, without any record label or promotion other than on the bands FB page. I held out for the CD….which never came. Finally one appeared on Amazon because, apparently, they had requested one.
The CD has no credits and no information on it other than the track listing. None of the 3 tracks that were released online from the last full band studio session are on it. So, what do you get?
11 glorious, gorgeous songs, some with a lovely dancey beat, and Daniel’s wonderful flair for the kind of melody that burrows into your brain, sets up home and makes itself very comfortable indeed.
My guess is it is nearly all Daniel on this album but the lack of his fantastic band is hardly noticeable.
What does it all *mean*?
It means that The Silver Seas have cemented their place in this genre of melodic pop music alongside Daniel’s good friend Josh Rouse.
They have been uploading loads of Whistle Test performances from 72-73 to YouTube. Bob Harris just tweeted the link. Looks like some good stuff.
…..unless you know different.
Mrs.B has 2 tickets for Queen at the O2 on StubHub, below face value. Any takers, let me know.
Gossamer. The most delicate, fragile thing you could hold in your hands. This song is currently taking my heart out for a dance.
44 years ago this week I walked down the hill to the small group of shops in the village we lived in.
Amongst the Woolie’s, Boots and small, local independent shops was an electrical store, a shop that sold fridges, washing machines and records.
Behind the record counter were the two most contrary, intimidating characters you could ever not wish to meet.
I took the album out of the rack.
I queued and, to my horror, the string-bean with the long, greasy hair became free first.
I handed him my intended purchase.
He looked at it, looked up at me, and looked down at the album again.
“Ladies & Gentlemen, Finally, we have have someone with taste.”
He winked at me.
“Finally, we have someone with taste.”
“Every one of you still shopping, you better bring an album this good up to the counter. If not, why would you bother?
It remains my proudest moment.
To all the lovely people who commented on my Holy Ground post (especially @Vulpes Vulpes), we have arrived at our little bit of heaven. This was the view from our bedroom yesterday afternoon. The new Gretchen Peters album was playing, Janet was asleep on the sofa and I quietly realised that I haven’t been this happy in a long while.
In 36 hours time My wife and I will be landing at Cork airport. We’ll queue for ages to pick up our hire car, and head west to The Kingdom Of Kerry. A couple of hours later we’ll drive over ‘Puck’s Bridge’ into the small town of Killorglin, head out towards Caragh Lake, and turn left into the entrance to Carrig House. The tiny, 16 room hotel has been owned and run by Frank & Mary Slattery for over 20 years. We’ve been going to this tiny bit of heaven for 18 years, since our honeymoon.
I have bloody earned this trip.
My 40 year battle against depression has taken a new turn since I asked for help, 7 weeks ago. The anti-depressants have really helped and the therapy is working wonders. Early days but I feel better than I have in many, many years.
This song, with Davy Spillane’s haunting pipes, transports me to that Kerry hotel, on the edge of the lake, with the mountains on the other side, anytime I want.
And I really, really want.
As you know, I love the new Gretchen Peters album, Dancing With The Beast. This is my current favourite song. It is so evocative, has so much passion and tenderness and Barry Walsh’s piano playing is simply gorgeous.
I put my hand up six weeks ago.
After 40 years, I put my hand up and asked a question.
“Can you help me? Because I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
Luckily, the person sitting three feet from me was a GP.
“I can,” he said.
He sat and listened to me for twenty minutes, moving his chair so that he was directly in my eye line, even though I couldn’t make any eye contact. It’s a symptom of my depression.
He was wonderful. An anti-depressant prescription and a referral to Talking Therapies. He gave me his mobile number and told me to come back in two weeks. When I shook his hand he held mine in both of his. I looked into his eyes for the first time.
“ Trust me, that was the hardest thing you will ever do. That twenty minutes has taken you fourty years to get to but you will look back someday and it will be the best thing you have ever done. Well done.”
A week later I asked to speak to a particular lady in H.R at work. She could see I was distressed, got me a cup of tea » Continue Reading.
I’ll live the rest of my life by this lyric.
My fellow Woking FC nut, great writer and all around good guy, Malcolm Wyatt, has just published a new interview with the lovely Gretchen Peters. It’s a belter.
What does it sound like?:
This new album from Gretchen Peters is her first since 2015’s Blackbirds. Right off the bat I have to declare an interest here. I adore her. Some of her songs are amongst my favourite songs of all time and she has a special place in my heart because it was my late Mum who introduced me to her music.
I am very lucky to have had the review download for four weeks, so plenty of time to soak in these 11 new songs and to absorb myself in the worlds that Gretchen revels in. If I tell you that, in that time, I have hardly played anything else, it will give you an idea of how good this album is.
This is an album full of women. Some are feisty, some tender, some world-weary, some lost and some are in the most perfect place they want to be. Gretchen is a master songwriter, a consummate storyteller, who has a brilliant ear for a melody and a voice that is perfect for inhabiting the worlds she creates.
The opener is Arguing With Ghosts and the first few seconds take your breath away. “I get lost » Continue Reading.
The Garage, Islington
I love a Josh Rouse gig. I’ve done quite a few but I have to say this was one of the best. I’ve had the odd one or two where he seems distracted, as if he’d rather be anywhere but on the stage, but not tonight. The support was Field Division and I was disappointed. I’ve loved what I’ve heard but last night they were a bit non-descrpt. Nice harmonies, nice songs. Just nice. And, mate, if you’re going to play a 12 string acoustic, get a 2nd one so that we don’t have to watch you retune it after every nice song. By the time Josh and his wonderful band came out the place was packed. I had a great spot behind the mixing desk (with a shelf to lean me and my beer on) and the sound and lights were immaculate. So, with a new album, he’s going to do loads of it, yeah? Natch. Four new songs, broken up by a stellar Come Back (from 2003’s 1972) and then, BOOM. Winter in the Hamptons, My Love Has Gone, Love In The Modern Age, Businessman (my 2 faves from the new » Continue Reading.
We said goodbye to my best friend today. It was a lovely service, 28 people turned up (more than we expected) and author Paolo Hewitt and I shared our memories of him. When Paolo ‘went’ I thought there was no way I would hold it together but I did. I wasn’t going to let Des down. It has been the hardest four weeks of my life and all the work and effort to arrange everything (he was an orphan, the product of a 60’s & 70’s children’s care system that was not fit for purpose) has triggered a breakdown. I have finally thrown myself at the mercy of the experts, put my hand up, and asked for help. My friend of 44 years is gone, at just 61. His mental health struggles eventually beat him down but he is finally free. He went out to this. It is about Paul Kossoff’s struggles with drugs but I have always had Des in my mind when we would sing it. I grinned from ear to ear and stared at the coffin the whole time it was playing. Cheers, Des.
Bucks Uni Students Union, High Wycombe
Just back from an afternoon at The Ramblin’ Roots Revue, a 3 day festival of Americana and roots music that gets better every year. I went to see Bennett Wilson Poole but saw that The Arlenes were on a couple of slots earlier, and got there just as they started their set. I only have a few of their songs, all courtesy of my friend Des who sadly passed away 3 weeks ago and who’s funeral is tomorrow. When they played Springboard I shed a quiet tear. Magical. Next up were The Raging Beauties, a 6-piece which includes Robin Bennett from The Dreaming Spires, who also happens to be the “Bennett” in the band I’ve come to see. They were terrific, doing several songs by the late Bap Kennedy that they have recorded for a new EP. Great harmonies and a black and white Rickenbacker, what more do you want? Bennett Wilson Poole are the aforementioned Robin Bennett, Danny ‘Champ’ Wilson from Danny & The Champions of the World and the astonishingly good Tony Poole. I last saw Tony play with Starry Eyed & Laughing at a free festival in » Continue Reading.
In the summer of 1974 Des walked into the tiny bar of the Clavadel Hotel in Guildford, England. And into my life.
He has been my friend for 44 years.
We hit it off immediately. Music, the passion for records, the love of lyrics, the mindblowing musicians of the ’70’s, we loved it all. We spent hours and hours poring over record sleeves and lyric sheets, soaking in the names of the players, the instruments, the words. We laughed. We drank. We laughed some more.
When I had my worst breakdown, in 1994, we spoke for hours and hours. When he rang me from a railway bridge in 2012, I called the police and drove across London, and got him down. When he asked me for money, I gave it to him. When I asked him for help, he held me.
On Sunday night, my brother called to tell me that Des was in hospital. On Monday morning I was on the doorstep of the hospital, bleary eyed, exhausted. They let me see him. He was yellow, haggard, thin, old.
He had no idea I was there.
Years ago, he sent me a list of people to be contacted ‘in » Continue Reading.
I’ve had a bad week with that little fecker of a black dog. Bastard keeps nipping at my heels. I have certain songs that I go to when he’s around, but this is always the one that soothes my soul. It is my comfort blanket. Come on then you lot. Let’s do an old fashioned Friday night thread of songs that you go to when life is getting you down. What is your comfort blanket?
Whilst I’m in the mood.