My email feeds are full of shows for next year and I confess to be on the cusp of thinking about a time when gigs return to normal. So I clicked on the Damned, with the original Vanian/James/Sensible/Scabies line up reforming for shows next summer. Now I know the biz is in a right old state at the mo, as income has all but dried up, bands, venues, promoters, roadies, crew etc etc, but 75 quid to stand in the shitty O2 Academy? Think I’ll pass. Is this indicative of pricing for the future, or is it based on distancing still being a thing? Which, without fixed seating might be, um, optimistic.
What does it sound like?:
Hang on, let me set the scene… Like many here, I am sort of keen on the National, if with a creeping sense of their gradually creeping up their own orifices, the self importance replacing the simplistic grandeur of their earlier albums. (File under Radiohead, sort of.) So I was keen to see that Berninger, their lugubrious wine-swigging front man, the patron saint of morose middle aged males, had put out a solo release, the band apparently on hold for a while. And it’s a cracker. If your bag is immolation in a muddy puddle of self pity, songs of disappointment and self-doubt. If you love Tindersticks, hell, you’re going to love this. Produced by Booker T Jones, the sound is sumptuous, all muted brass, swathes of organ, with instrumental cameos, seamlessly blended, from Mickey Rapahael, Andrew Bird and Gail Ann Dorsey, amongst others. Starting with the somewhat throwaway ‘My Eyes are T-Shirts’, this levers you in without any great threat, with 2nd track, “Distant Axis”, beginning to give a clue of where this journey is going. Track 3, the ‘single’, “One More Second” effortlessly sums up the direction, the vainglory of expectation. And » Continue Reading.
Intrigued by the list of festivals given a bung by the exchequer. By and large it seems to include those I go to: Cambridge, Shrewsbury, Cropredy and even Bearded Theory have all had some assistance, with only , of those recently frequented, Towersey missing out. Could it be that Sunak compiled his list from this site. “If retropath2 has done more than a single nights out review, kerching!”
A week ago, both Jed and Ward, on Ireland’s Late Late Show. Coulda been worse. (Coulda been better, but, hey….)
Alerted by @beany ‘s post on FB, I learn that C.P.Lee, esteemed Dylanogist and front man of Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias has left us. I was lucky enough to be in London when Snuff was at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, getting a ticket as a gift for a chum using my room for a spell. I also caught the Albertos a number of times as a support act and at Reading 75.
Jings, I just can’t stop listening to this. Yes, that nice Ross Wilson, aka BRC, has just released his latest, ‘With Healings of the Deepest Kind’, and it is a cracker. Thanks again to @Tiggerlion for introducing me to this fella, a couple of years back. Once more it is his lilting merge of Van M and J Martyn that underwrites the vocals, with, now, if anything even more added Van via the exquisite playing of his band, culled from the pool of Scotland’s all-genre finest, playing like an even better Caledonia Soul Orchestra. Senaid Aitken, at home in folk, classical and jazz, is, effectively bandleader, her violin an exquisite frame for the music, both as a sole instrument or, more often, leading the string quartet. None of yer mantovani massed strings, the separate players weave in and out of the whole, giving a tapestry of beauty. And Scotlands finest trumpet player, Colin Steele, plays like a giant: his solo on this track is up there with Miles’s in Scritti’s O Patti for inducing a goosebumpy shiver. The whole album is good, give or take a couple of up tempos for tracks 2 and 3, which are » Continue Reading.
I know there are fans of the Penistone Piaf here, and I discover she has been gainfully occupied during lockdown, making the now time honoured folkie covers ye olde charts album. Dusty in here, innit….
Well, yesterdays big announcement from the “it is the governments prerogative to make a political decision”(SAGE) government, will there/won’t there be any tents fluttering and flags flying before next year? I have tickets for Wickham, bought aeons ago, and, so far, it seems almost the only one not to have already postponed. It runs over the first w/e in August. Does a marquee count as outdoors or will they just put the stages outside without? All seating (bring your own)? Masks? It’s a largely folk and heritage act line-up so little overt need for a mosh-pit. Announcement comes on 1/7/20. Bet the artists are gagging for it, I am, if the wife lets me.
Part of my lockdown joy has been immersing myself in the joy of Bandcamp. For those unfamiliar, this is a site for individuals to upload their music (and more), like a virtual marketplace, for direct contact with their audience, selling their wares without having to have a manager, label, contract and the rest of it. But this is a whole lot more than bedroom gurners with dodgy files, many an AW favourite artist can be found peddling their wares, with material often unavailable elsewhere, or only available 2nd hand at crazy prices. (And not a few AW members are also putting music out there as well.) On the first friday of these past few months and, hopefully for a few more, whilst C-19 scourges our world, the fees are waived to stall holders, meaning greater amount goes direct to the artist, should even they charge anything. (To be fair, all prices are negotiable beyond the minimum suggestion; it seems decent to chuck a few shekels in the hats of those who who ask for nothing) Preamble over, I discovered the Grief Brothers a week or so ago. Confusingly, there are two such bands, there being an american using the same » Continue Reading.
Fans of this estimable duo, the Mr and Mrs of country duets, Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish, will be eager to catch this second instalment of Country Darkness. This, now clearly an ongoing project, features covers of some of Elvis Costello’s more country oeuvre, and again features the guest fingers of Steve Nieve. Having heard the other 3 songs I can confirm it is better even than Volume 1. And I was quite keen on that.
It gets released on Friday next, 5/6/20.
Surprised this fella yet to have a mention since his death at the w/e of “untreated illness”(!?). Maybe not as influential a figure as some of his african cohorts, this song alone will have me celebrating its writer and bemoaning his demise.
Just a thought….. Anyone in that there London up for a pint or two over lunchtime on saturday 22/5/20? Having an intense w/e of gigs and, given the seasonal close-down of Daytime Music, I’m up for a natter over a jar, a mini mingle even. (Tindersticks, Camille O’Sullivan and Massive Attack/Nils Frahm since you ask.)
St Paul’s Church, Birmingham
Jurado is one of what I think of as the good guys, one of that welter of earnest and efficient acoustic troubadours, beavering away in their cottage industries, issuing disc after disc, possibly omni-touring to make a buck, never filling stadiums but capable of drawing a couple of hundred souls out on a wet and windy, into a cold and crumbling church in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. I know little of his back story, my presence largely on account of 2006’s ‘And Now I’m In Your Shadow’, a bleak showcase of his sad songs; a quiet earthquake of dashed emotions. Since then he has dabbled, I gather, with other formats, a bit of psychedelia, some found sound, bands and electricity. But I read that latest album, The Shape of a Storm, was just him, his voice and an acoustic, and I was in. Support was a young Canadian, Dana Gavanski, strumming on a muted electric to the keyboard and bass of her accompanist, together, with occasional drum machine, channeling Mazzy Star, with keen, pure Sandovalesque vocals and spare melodies, the spaces as important as the sounds. Lovely stuff, the acoustics of the building » Continue Reading.
Christ on a bike, just caught this debacle. I no longer watch the Brits, feeling out of the demographic, but gawd help us, this is embarrassing…….. Like a drunk uncle at a disco. I can imagine all the people watching, thinking that’s what us old guys like: “quick, catch a cop of this, dad’s (grandads?) music” The shame, the shame…
We like Frazey here, don’t we, and it’s been a while. Thankfully ‘U kin B the Sun’, her belated follow-up to 2015’s ‘Indian Ocean’ is out now, if a UK release date now put back from 24/3 to 21/4/20. Boo, but it sounds good on spotty
I gather Jarvis has been persuaded to put up a new version of this song, all proceeds to Shelter, in a bid for the seasonal number 1. Let’s give this an Afterward number on with a bullet! (Me, I prefer the original version…..)
Arriving to me too late for my AW Top 20 album choices, nonetheless I felt some may appreciate the track that led to my purchase of the album. (‘Uptown Fank’, pop-pickers!) Perfect for those moments when the Sawdoctors are just too downright smooth and sophisticated. And, given my mother came from the island, as did Trump’s, as, actually, so did @IainS , this is, indeed, how they do it in the Western Isles….
Well, I like covers, even drippy slow ones. Might be of interest to some. (Declaration of interest: join Patreon and I will be paid perhaps £12 a month rather than the current £11)
Year: 2019 Director: Martin Scorsese
Am I the first to have found the necessary 3 plus hours to devour this prime piece of gorgonzola? Scorsese rounding up his dream team of de Niro, Pacino and Pesci, along with Harvey Keitel and numerous other ‘was that so and so’ cameos. Of course, as much the hype has been the cost of the computer electrickery to de-age the cast into an approximation of how they may have looked in their prime, which requires remembering the prime of mobsters tends to be a burly high waisted trouser middle age. Tackling that first, I thought it OK, the images sometimes akin to the fake colouring of a B&W film. It didn’t bother me but Mrs Path found their eyebrows annoying. In truth, and it is no dealbreaker to say the film follows de Niro, ‘the’ Irishman, from these high waists to bathchair aged reflection, the make-up to age him was less successful. The clamour and clatter of the press suggests this is a work of genius. Well, that depends. If you like this sort of thing, sure, it is a fabulous ride and seldom falters. If these guys and gangsters are your bag, you’ll » Continue Reading.
Someone mentioned AOR over on another thread, and it set me thinking. Adult oriented rock, eh? Polite 70s rock music designed not to frighten the horses. And it’s practitioners? If adult then, given many still stagger on, surely it needs a revamp? So, (quiet) drum roll, all hail EOR, elderly oriented rock. (Yes, that means us, or many of us!) So post us up yer besties. (I feel somehow that @niallb may have an investment here………)
Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
Having repeatedly told myself that the last time was the last, usually following some phoned in and lacklustre concert, here I was back in front of the Oysterband eating my words. OK, this was with the added wonder of June Tabor, whom, apart from a Big Session Tour aeons ago, and amongst many other guests, I had never caught in the full majesty of a joint concert. And this was fully majesterial. Her presence seems to have kicked a renewed sense of purpose into the band, their playing up a several few notches from the increasingly limpid back-patting of recent gigs, drenched in semi-acoustic easy listening. (OK, that’s harsh, but, possibly having seen the band more than any other, RT perhaps apart, I know the difference between them on fire and them on a low simmer.) Hell, Alan Prosser even played some guitar solos, something I have never knowingly witnessed in near 40 years, as well as plugging in on choppy electric more often than has been the case for a while. And when Prosser was on his acoustic, adding his hypnotic metronome, head ever a’bobbing, the chances were that Al Scott, » Continue Reading.
O2 Academy ‘2’, B’ham
Lamb have always somehow passed me by, they being more my wife’s bag, and this is the 2nd time we have had tickets to see them. Unfortunately circumstances prevented the first and a rocking dose of sinusitis for her meant I was flying solo tonight. (I sent her a clip and her opinion follows……) My hatred of the O2 Academy is on record, or at least of the main hall. I have, however, come to quite like the smaller ‘2’ and the even tinier ‘3’, tucked elsewhere in the same building. I had somehow thought Lamb a bigger draw, slightly surprised the attendance to be quite sparse, perhaps a hundred and fifty souls. Suits me, mind, no lover of crowds. Expecting the core duo of the records, Andy Barlow (keyboards/programming) and Lou Rhodes (vocals) to be all there were, I noted the drum kit, basses, upright and electric both, guitars and fiddles at the back of the empty stage, alongside the rack of keys, modulators and ubiquitous MacBook. Promised an 8.30 start, it was only moments later the lights dimmed, and 3 burly fellas bounded out, followed by a smaller female, keeping » Continue Reading.
Lichield Garrick Theatre
Quietly re-forming in 2011, it may come as a surprise this venerable warhorse of a band is still in existence. Arising out of the mighty ‘Rise Up Like the Sun’ incarnation of the Albion Band, notable mainly for having a full brass section, their peak period was near 40 years ago, a full on fusion between a pit band, folk rock and broadsheet ballads, often penned by then front man, John Tams. Tams retired in 2015 and was replaced by John Kirkpatrick, a masterful choice, given many of the band had been in his own eponymous group at one time. This year they decided to do a series of gigs entitled the Grand Reunion, with Tams back in the fold. This was the second of such, prompted by Tams being patron of Lichfield Festival of Folk, and served as the opening concert of a series of events in the city. Bang on 7.30(!!), down came the lights and the band strolled on. Now decidedly mature in years, they looked more a collection of elderly teachers on a night out, even down to the once trendy teacher defiantly maintaining his 1970s haircut, this being Graeme » Continue Reading.
Forgive the slightly shaky start, let her build up a full head of steam. Glorious.