“The band broke up because I couldn’t bear Rotten anymore because he was an embarrassment with his silly hats and his, like, shabby, dirty, nasty looking appearance”. Sid Vicious
I asked for filthy, dirty songs…..The interpretation being up to you.
It was an interesting experiment – the starting blocks slipped the rude and lewd songs out – then other forms of dirt piled up in the nominations playlist. Some were too close to home (terminal illness) and other momentarily not appealing (I’m in a house with vomiting children).
Others were ‘just‘ about sex and didn’t feel dirty at all – they obviously weren’t doing it right… I still picked some of these tunes trying to create an interesting playlist as I went. Continue reading →
With apologies for anyone hoping for Sandy Denny, this is debbym smuggling a post in amongst the end-of-the-year outpourings to join RTJ’amy in wishing Shoey a Happy Birthday and to wish all of us a Happy New Year 2013 – may it prove even better than/be a 100% improvement on [delete as necessary] the past twelve months…
I would also like to say thank you to Shoey and Herr Hachi for organising the Festive Extravaganzas, to SR for being an excellent Lady of the Worms and to all RR’ers who’ve made welcoming noises in my direction – all very much appreciated!
A couple of weeks ago TheBoyWonder’s band was allotted a slot in a charity event in a little Hamburg club. The song that’s been posted on youtube is called Time, so I thought it might be appropriate to share it with you here.
I was walking through the park the other day and I saw a Sheffield United season ticket nailed to a tree. I took one look at it and thought to myself, ‘I’m having that. You can never have too many nails…’
As well as being a musician and songwriter of the highest calibre, Richard Hawley is well-known for the dry, laconic wit with which he delivers his inter-song links during his live shows. He would have been in his element at the recent 2012 ‘Spill Awards ceremony and I like to think that he would have shared some of that laconic wit with us on Friday evening – possibly making a reference to his two unsuccessful Mercury Prize nominations and his one successful ‘Spill Album of the Year prize and the relative importance of each in his life…
Hawley’s rise to fame came via a somewhat torturous route. The release of Cole’s Corner in 2005 first brought him to the attention of the record-buying masses but this breakthrough came after more than twenty years in the music business. From his formative years in Treebound Story (a band formed when he was still at school – pictured above) via the relative success of Britpop band Longpigs, and a short spell in Pulp (Hawley and Jarvis Cocker have known each other since the early 1980s), Hawley had always been on the fringes of whatever it is that constitutes ‘success’. His decision, in 2001, to begin recording as a solo artist was a risk – described by Cocker in a 2002 interview in the Independent on Sunday as a ‘last throw of the dice’ – but it was a risk that paid off. Seven solo albums down the road, Richard Hawley has become an established and hugely respected artist – perhaps not quite a household name but I guess it’s safe to assume that he makes a fairly decent living out of his music. And surely no one can deny that he deserves that much at least.
He’s an unlikely pop star and it’s safe to say that nothing about his appearance or his musical background quite prepares you for his voice. Essentially, he’s a 1950s/60s-style crooner who also happens to play a mean, twanging, country-tinged guitar and write some stunningly beautiful pop songs. I love the guitar, I love the arrangements, I love the compositions but it’s the voice that does it for me – it’s clean and pure with just the occasional hint of a growl thrown in for good measure. It gets into your soul and sits there, warming parts of your insides that you didn’t even know you had. The music is as simple as it can be without being in any way anodyne, bland or insipid. Many of his songs are four, three or even two-chord tricks and Hawley’s skill is in creating the variety, the light and shade, through his subtle use of strings and guitars (and that voice) to build layers of sound – the songs often reaching almost orgasmic crescendos (or maybe that’s just me!).
I had a great response to my original post with a nice range of Richard Hawley nominations from the ‘Spill collective. Several tracks were chosen more than once and I’ve tried to include all of those while attempting, for the benefit of the uninitiated, to provide an interesting and representative cross-section of the Hawley oeuvre. I was umming and ahhing about whether to include any material from the pre-solo career and I decided in the end not to. It’s merely of historical interest and doesn’t really add anything to the listening experience.
So my starting point was 2001’s eponymous debut mini-album from which I’ve chosen the track Sick Pay and I followed that up with Something Is… from Late Night Final, the first ‘proper’ album. Both of these tracks show signs of what’s to come – nicely understated, simple arrangements with gorgeous, wistful melodies that you could listen to all night long.
Next up, from the 2003 album, Low Edges, I give you, Oh My Love – and for the benefit of DarceysDad, it’s the live version from 2008’s Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, the distorted guitars suggesting that Hawley’s love of the Phil Spector ‘Wall of Sound’ predates his most recent album by some considerable time.
Then we come to Cole’s Corner. I’m desperate to avoid accusations of hyperbole here, but it’s hard not to come across as too gushing when it comes to this wonderful album. It would be among the first records that I’d choose to take with me to my Desert Island. It’s a rare example of an album without a weak track. Alex Turner famously opened his 2006 Mercury Prize acceptance speech with the words ‘Someone call 999. Richard Hawley’s been robbed!’ It’s clearly not just Alex and I that feel so passionate about Cole’s Corner: no fewer than six tracks were nominated by various ‘Spillers and the title track alone was chosen by four different people. It would therefore be wrong of me to leave it out. So I haven’t. I’ve also gone for barbryn’s choice of The Ocean which is a fine example of Hawley’s slow build technique in action.
Cole’s Corner was never going to be easy to follow but Richard Hawley made a pretty good fist of it with 2007’s Lady’s Bridge. The bishbosh and DarceysDad nominated Valentine and CaroleBristol’s choice of Tonight, The Streets Are Ours are the two tracks I’ve chosen here, the latter neatly representing the more up-tempo side of Hawley’s work.
It took a while for Truelove’s Gutter (2009) to grab me but I would now rate it as highly as Cole’s Corner. It features Open Up Your Door which, quite rightly, made it onto the recent RR Songs About Doors list. I was personally disappointed that makinavaja beat me to the nomination but this was more than made up for by John Dennis quoting my “one of the greatest songs of the 21st century” dond in his write up.
I’ve included the song here, as no Richard Hawley playlist would be complete without it and I’ve also gone for Remorse Code (nominated by glasshalfempty, sessionblogger (who he/she?) and DarceysDad (again. Good taste that man!). Finally, from Lady’s Bridge we have the beautiful, Abba-esque For Your Lover Give Some Time, another choice from our Bristolian friend Carole and one of Hawley’s greatest lyrics.
Standing At The Sky’s Edge was somewhat of a departure for Richard Hawley featuring a much noisier sound with distorted guitars fulfilling the role previously occupied by orchestral strings to achieve the distinctive wall of sound. The album evidently struck a chord with the ‘Spill Massive as it was the clear winner of the 2012 ‘Spill Album of the Year award. I know you’re all going to go out and buy it (if you haven’t already done so) so I’ve just chosen one song here, Before, which probably best serves to illustrate the psychedelic noise fest that the latest album is.
I’ve ended the playlist with three extras. First up we have a lovely version of Hushabye Mountain, a duet with the lovely Lisa Hannigan, as nominated by the lovely shoegazer. Bishbosh wanted to include Hawley’s cover version of The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Some Candy Talking and who am I to deny his request? And finally I’ve indulged myself by including a personal favourite of mine. It’s a live cover version of The Arctic Monkeys’ The Only Ones Who Know which features Alex Turner himself on lead vocals.
Finally, a big thank you to maki for putting the playlist together for me. Hope you all enjoy it…
You are cordially invited to join us for this year’s Spill Awards this evening at 8 pm GMT at the secret RR Conspiracy Base on the Moon. Yknow, where we hatch all the sinister plans to determine who gets picked for the Playlist for our own sinister ends. The Bavarian Illuminati got nuthin’ on us…
Counting down the hours until this evening’s Spill Awards ceremony, to be beamed in from a top-secret location (still making final arrangements with NASA, Deutsche Bahn and First Capital Connect to get all the special guests there more or less on time), I haven’t forgotten that I promised to give everyone the chance to mention stuff you’ve discovered or rediscovered in 2012 that was released some time earlier. For me, it was Blanck Mass; never heard of them before the Olympics, and to be honest at the time their song didn’t particularly stand out compared with all the other music at the opening ceremony, but a few days later I came across a reference to the sheer weirdness of giving such a prominent role to a side project of a group called, of all things, Fuck Buttons (nope, hadn’t heard of them neither), and just had to give it a listen. Magnificent stuff, and for a change I’m only a couple of years late in picking up on it…
Just a quick post to thank everyone for providing the soundtrack to the Maki family’s Xmas. Not much to report Guru-wise that my predecessors in the role haven’t already said. The listening sessions were mammoth and the delights uncovered were many. The hardest part – deciding what to leave out. Far too much great music to be resumed in a single list. I have enjoyed the experience and am glad it came at a time that I was able to pay attention and, hopefully, do the thread justice.
The interpretation of this is up to the nominator.
Perhaps it’s characterised by, or having the nature of filth; disgustingly or completely dirty/ messy, as in needing a wash.
Then again very dirty (as in rude) or obscene also counts.
Unique, interesting, vibrant songs are all I ask – some quirky thinking will be appreciated – I’m not offended by blatant, although I do cherish subtlety - PLEASE only songs that you love and a few words about why.
With the amount of rain that has soaked the soil around here and Christmas just being over – the only objection I have is anything by MUD.
Use the RR comment box to add links
(then cut and paste into here) -
so the system doesn’t overload with too many youtube clips for those on slower computers.
links anywhere are fine for me – spotify, dropbox, youtube, etc.
My adoration for NYC indie-art-pop weirdos Liars is well documented on the ‘Spill, so I won’t go over it again, but I was a little worried when I heard they had a new album coming out. Everything they release is pretty much head and shoulders above the competition (their last LP “Sisterworld” was my #1 album of 2010) – not that a unique band like Liars really have any contemporaries, the only comparable band I can think of that have evolved and gone off on tangents from album to album, keeping their fans guessing whilst staying true to themselves are the ever-wonderful Japanther – erm…where was I? Oh yes, I was worried because the last two records, while never less than great, were edging closer and closer to making Liars a conventional guitar indie-rock band, which is a cardinal sin in Liarsworld.
I was relieved then when I dropped the needle on “WIXIW” (pronounced ‘wish you’ apparently) and found that they had chucked out their guitars and brought in a darkly pulsating keyboard sound to produce an incredible and thoughtful late-night introspective, (but not too introspective, it’s basically an electronica album after all!) album that harks back to their finest hour, 2005′s “Drums Not Dead”.
“WIXIW” starts slowly and thoughtfully, before deep bass beats kick in for track 2 and the juxtaposition between the electronic beats and the fragile sounding voice and lyrics gives it an emotional punch lacking from the last couple of records. I’m sure it will get compared to “KId A” or something like that, that’s not a bad thing, but it is not quite accurate and would detract from what makes Liars such a unique and special band.
A new album from everyone’s favourite noise-rock art terrorists, but not new material as such. The 7 tracks on “Oblivion Hunter” were actually recorded between the previous two albums, but they are just releasing them now.
This might suggest that it is a cash-in exercise in off-cuts that didn’t make the grade for the last albums, but instead the tracks here give the impression that the Brians were jamming, experimenting and trying out new ideas, which makes it a more playful and diverse record then either of the last two proper albums.
From the opening salvo of classic LB “King Candy”, to the (gasp!) quietly contemplative “The Soft Spoken Spectre” to the epic 13 minute wig-out of “World Wobbly Wide” the whole thing is over in under 40 minutes and what should have been a mere stop-gap fan pleaser turns out to be one of their best yet.
There are rarely moments for reflection in the run up to Christmas, but when you finally get to sit down in a heap, the halo of good cheer can sometimes hover uneasily above the head of the curmudgeon. Is it fair or appropriate to spoil the party with a good old fashioned rant? Let’s face it with RR on hiatus and Shane’s much anticipated fix a few days away, this perhaps may offer a chance to vent some spleen without jeopardising domestic harmony.
In a departure from the normal format, this week’s Waste Of Space opens the floor to the Spillers’ unseasonal ranting. That’s right folks, you get to deal from the bottom of the deck – it’s no trump for this hand – so please step forward into the annoying glare of the Super Trouper with your very own Waste Of Space nominations. You don’t have to stick to musical objects of derision, although some might prove entertaining.
I don’t watch many things on television – but when I do my imagination takes off and creates it’s own versions of what’s happening…
You have until this evening to tell me who I thought played each character in my The HouRR all are people who post on RR or the ‘spill.. be nice now… explain why if you can.
Vast amounts of Christmas ‘spill pints for the funniest.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Allelujah! Don’t Bend Ascend!”
Unbelievably, it’s been 10 long years since their last album and the world has been a poorer place without them. I had no idea the album was even out when I stumbled across it whilst window record shopping in my lunch break. As I mentioned in the ‘Festive 2s comments, I have been a fan of Godspeed… since the first LP came out in 1997 and very much treasure my lovely silkscreened embossed vinyl with multiple inserts and crushed coin and have eagerly bought each album since. So I was more than a little excited to unexpectedly get a new album, and the wait was well worth it.
“Allelujah!…” consists of two long 20 minute tracks and two short drone numbers (on the vinyl version these are on an LP and 7″ respectively). The long ones are classic Godspeed… complex instrumental post rock with the drama ratcheting up as the music builds and builds, with “Mladic” (my number 2 pick of the year) as possibly the best track of their career – they have been playing it live for a long long time, so they had a lot of opportunity to perfect it before they finally committing it to wax this year. The short droney tracks work as a perfect counterpoint to the epic ones and point to a possible interesting new direction for more inward looking music for their next album.
The ‘Spill is a member of the Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites network, and like the last three years, were invited to vote in this years best record poll, run by the always excellent Peenko blog. Previous winners were The National, Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells, The Phantom Band. It’s an interesting poll, as it’s taking the views of 40 odd Scottish music sites, it often times throws up some interesting, otherwise obscured, albums.
- Chris Devotion & The Expectations – Amalgamation & Capital
- Paul Buchanan – Mid Air
- The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know
- We Are The Physics – Your Friend, The Atom
One of the ‘Spill traditions is of course to note the passing of great musicians, and others, in the last twelve months – normally, with the effect of shocking us all at (a) how many, and (b) what amazing, people have died. It does feel as if 2012 has been a particularly active year for the grim reaper; I’ve gone with just two who meant a lot to me, and I’m sure there are loads I’ve forgotten. Which of this year’s sadly missed touched your life the most?
Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras meet the Congos – “Icon Give Thank”
OK, this is not really drone at all, it’s basically a Jamaican dub album with weird sounds, but I had to call it something and it wouldn’t be the end of the year on the ‘Spill without a bit of Sun Araw.
This time he has teamed up with M. Geddes Gengras (Robedoor member and former tweaker for all-time Panther favourites Pocahaunted) and travelled to Jamaica to collaborate with veteran Dub legends the Congos.
The results are pretty much the perfect mix of NNF style minimal dronescapes and Jah-praising Dub, with Sun Araw and Gengras’ production giving the Congos’ words and vocals the space (in all connotations of the word) to expand, breathe, transcend and transpose the listener to a higher plane! Jah!
I previewed one track from the album on a podcast (on the day I bought it!), so here’s a different one, it has a much heavier Sun Araw/Gengras vibe than other more straight up Dub tracks on the album:
Richard Hawley first came to my attention when his 2005 album Coles Corner started getting rave reviews, culminating in its nomination for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize. A friend recommended that I give it a listen and I was instantly hooked. I’ve loved the three albums produced since then and I’ve gone back and introduced myself to the three earlier releases.
If you’ve been concentrating you’ll know that I’m a great admirer of the melodic pop tune as exemplified by such popular musical combos as Prefab Sprout, Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab For Cutie, The Go-Betweens and many more. But what usually appeals to me is the way that the songwriters in question manage the trick of making what is actually a highly complex composition, sound musically simple. Richard Hawley goes one step further: his compositions really are assimple as they seem to be.
So there must be something else that makes his songs so special and it’s that mysterious ‘Ingredient X’ that I want, with the help of the Spill Massive, to attempt to identify. What is it that appeals to you? What qualities make Richard Hawley, with no fewer than six lifetime Festive Spill nominations, our official number one artist of all time?
All-in-all, we have a fine body of work to consider: seven studio albums plus numerous live recordings and collaborations with acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Elbow and Lisa-Marie Presley! And those us of a certain vintage might also want to delve into the output of Hawley’s Britpop also-rans, The Longpigs.
So, here’s the plan. I’d like those of you who are already converts to Sheffield’s finest croon-rocker to nominate a track or two from the oeuvre to represent all that is great and wonderful about the man and his music. I will then put together the ultimate Richard Hawley overSpill playlist and post it sometime after Christmas for the edification of the class. How could that not be a Good Thing?
I’ll start the ball rolling by putting forward the following for your consideration…
Ah, it’s great to see a band put some effort in. After years of trying, I finally got to a Thunder Christmas Party gig. After this evening, and with pretty much all of my customers having finished work for the holidays at Friday lunchtime, I think I can safely say the holiday season has started.
2012 has been a strange old year, and in some respects I won’t be sad to see the back of it, but on the other hand, there was the Olympics, LFC collecting silverware again, DsSis at the Royal Albert Hall, the West Country RR Social, the truth about Hillsborough, etc., etc.
But as we get to the end of another year (or even a 5,125 year cycle, if you’re Mayan), let’s start the “out with the old, and in with the new” chit-chat, shall we? I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a better 2013 than you had a 2012.
A handful of songs ( doh !) here for you all, they are….
Billy Hughes- Keep your hands off it ( the birthday cake song)
The Blue Hearts- Mirai wa bokura
Booted Cocks- This hand
Bruce Haack – Hand Jive
Alfred Aholo Apaka – Lovely Hula hands
Karlheinz Stockhaused- Stimmung model 12 ( My hands are two bells, ding dong).
The Registrators – Right hand masturbation
Ivor Biggun and the Red Nose Burglars – The Winker song ( misprint ).
The Star Club- Solid fist
Not entirely sure i like these post-match analyses – i sort of feel like when i’m done with it, i’m done – but if it’s expected i’ll bang up a brief one. I did a b-list last year so the amount of labor and the process itself wasn’t unfamiliar to me. But a b-list is different from an A-list, and Jon D did the heavy lifting there last year. It’s a whole different can of worms. I did all new-to-me’s on my b-list last year because i could. But an A-list needs a write up and a theme, there are songs that want zedding, and have to be justified and explained.
One thing i did very differently than Chris is that i listened to the tunes first, and then dealt with lyrics later. That’s how i would have done it anyway, but i think it was a very good call this week because there were a lot of songs that had fantastic lyrics (hip hoppy stuff, punk, rants, etc) but were musically uninteresting, and i wanted a playlist that was listenable. After i got down to probably 100 tunes or so, i started to sift through themes, and weed out songs with similar themes, and choose the one i thought best. And i think that paradox was really what i was looking for most. Funny bile, cheery vitriol, sexy rape songs (yes, i know i don’t deserve to live), pissed off hippies, positive metal, punk, and hip hop….
Problem with this is that you get a list heavy on my own personal taste in music. I love my A-list. So it’s probably a bit too rock-heavy for a lot of people’s taste, but to be fair i did post an early warning that i asked for a rock-friendly topic. There really isn’t enough variety. But it is what it is. One thing i did right this time – paced myself in listening. I’d listen to a page full of tunes, then take a break for an hour or two. So unlike last time i did the b-list, i’m not sick and tired of music. Looking very forward to the Festive Spill lists.
For a b-list i just did a grab bag of new-to-me tunes i thought were great. That was almost tougher than an A-list, because i had to leave just so much out. There were so many good tunes this week. My favorite thing about RR isn’t getting my own noms zedded, fun as that is, but discovering new tunes, and that’s what’s best about guruship. I feel like a big part of the job is to point people to some great tunes that they may have missed.
Due to financial constraints, lack of time and all the excitement of the build up and aftermath of new fatherhood, I haven’t bought enough albums to do a proper Top Ten this year. To get around this, I thought I’d choose 5 albums from arbitrarily chosen genres and present them as my favourite representative of that genre for the year.
Let’s kick off with my favourite metal album of 2012.
Dragged Into Sunlight – “Widowmaker”
Fighting off stiff competition from veteran grindcore types Pig Destroyer’s excellently brutal “Bookburner”, “Widowmaker” is a stunningly ambitious album that takes in post rock, doom, sludge, death metal and lashings and lashings of lovely, nasty black metal, that just about blew my mind the first time I heard it. Dragged Into Sunlight have been going a few years now and they’ve managed to maintain their mystery and menace (all band photos feature the band wearing sinister black balaclavas and they only go by their first initials) without descending into a cliche.
“Widowmaker” is split into three parts and the first 15 minutes lull you into a false sense of security as a gorgeous post-rock tune emerges and builds, complete with strings (especially a nice haunting violin sound) that doesn’t sound dissimilar to one of Mogwai’s quieter moments, but as the spoken word samples signal a shift in pace all hell breaks loose and the uncompromising nasty black/death metal guitars kick in along with the tortured vocals. The whole thing winds down with a combination of the first two parts interspersing reflective instrumentation with sludgy guitars and screamed/growled vocals and you are left feeling like you’ve been on some kind of terrifying but ultimately redemptive journey….or maybe that’s just me!
It’s difficult to know what track to put up as any one of the three parts would totally misrepresent the rest of the album, so I would encourage anyone even slightly interested to seek out the whole thing, but seeing as this is supposed to be my favourite metal album of 2012, I’d better post the most metal one.
(it doesn’t have the weird introduction on the record – this is the only digital version I could find)