Thank the Lord for that. I’d almost convinced myself I’d invented it.
If you like a bit of low-down dirty sleaze from the edges of decency painted in a nicotine stained 1970s palette…if you like dark humour from the edges of desperation and madness…if you like a nasty, reeking assault on modern niceties…then click on….if you don’t like left wing skin on right wing leather…then this is not for you…
Because The ‘Spill is listed on Hype Machine we get a lot of submissions, which are nearly all awful half baked demos and turgid electro, so it’s a rare treat when I click a link and get to hear something that’s not utter tripe.
So! Well done for not being shit, Mr Liam Finn! And well done for coining the phrase of 2014 “Snug As Fuck”! And well done on the fab video! And well done on your 60s inflected charming psyche pop!
It reminds me a bit of early 90s never-ran Comfort, who performed under the name Out Of My Hair, who released one album of brilliant music and big hair before vanishing into the ether – am I the only one that remembers him?
Some of you may know that I help put on gigs in our village’s community centre, so I thought I would share some of the homegrown talents of Newport-on-Tay.
First of all is Sonny Carntyne who are an echo-rock 4/5 piece who make great songs in the vein of The National or Interpol with a deep musical intensity & evocative lyrics.
Their “Retreat” EP is up on band camp for a pay-what-you-like arrangement here
Then there is St Kilda Mailboat, who have been wowing crowds with post apocalyptic skiffle songs about David Niven, Heebie-geebies, cats called Michael Stipe, and a tune called Mini Wham Bar Rampage where they pelt the unsuspecting audience with mini Wham Bars.
And thirdly we have Seven Sons who play americana tinged folk with lovely harmonies & are very engaging live to boot!
So, open up your village hall, be merry & please share in the comments what’s going on in your neck o’ the woods!
There’s been some good stuff this year, but even more was promised. New albums by English Dogs, Runnin’ Riot, and Rubella Ballet were all due in “the summer” - summer 2016 perhaps (although the Rubella Ballet album seems to be imminent). There were also whispers of new albums by Varukers, Templars and Peter & The Test Tube Babies , although that one was supposed to be imminent in 2012 so I’m not holding my breath. Basically the punk scene is made up of people as lazy and/or disorganised as myself, so I can’t complain. Here’s some people who’ve actually managed to get records out in 2013.
A record shop with taste!*
It’s been a long year, often not in a good way, and I’ve not been around here that much. I’m hoping that’s going to change in 2014, but first here’s a round up of some stuff I’ve been listening to in 2013.
Best of 2013 by ME:
10 dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip – I’m contracted to add Pip every year.. this is one of the best protest tracks of the year – again missed by Dorian.
Stiff Upper Lip dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip feat. Itch Repent Replenish Repeat
9 Orties – French elctro making you dance like a robot from 1984 – here you go – accented songs about orgasms and goths – sold.
Ghetto Goth Orties Sextape
8 The Indelicates – Arcade Fire’s extremely intense love of their own dangly bits getting on your nerves? – then try this – yet another brilliant story telling album played with passion and anger but without the egoistic self love of the brilliant ideas involved – they ARE brilliant ideas and wonderfully imaginative musically and lyrically too.
Bitterness Is the Appropriate Response The Indelicates Diseases of England
7 Zola Jesus – with strings, lush and cool reedits of her ‘famous hits’.
Collapse Zola Jesus Versions
6 Manix – the Daft Punk album retro theft left you cold with it stealing from all the crap eras (when they used to at least try and be pioneers) and only having one track of any merit – yep – skip that and play this; it recreats 1992 with all the fun of a prodigy album off their tits with spiral tribe… no pretense at originality – no media hype – this it 24 hour rave and it’s boz.
Your Love Is Over Manix Living In The Past
5 The Lovely Bad Things – the pixie aping nuggets loving bad things.
Darth Lauren The Lovely Bad Things The Late Great Whatever
4 Savages – there’s is no better indie this year – full stop.
No Face Savages Silence Yourself
3 Tricot – jagged jittery brilliance from Japan – a masterpiece of alternative buzz rock playing and performance. ACE.
Artsick Tricot The
2 Sleaford Mods – ranting, swearing infested, bile, spewed forth with aggressive venom and stream of consciousness – brilliant – is number one album of the year when I’m not in polite company – (**this track from Jobseeker 3 track single not austerity dogs album).
Black Monday Sleaford Mods Jobseeker album is Austerity Dogs
1 Juana Molina – crazy mixed up groovetastic joy.
Eras Juana Molina Wed 21
In a slight break from tradition, I’m sticking to the vinyl that I bought this year (sorry Crocodiles & Mikal Cronin, your records were great too, I just don’t own them yet!) – Here’s a not-particularly ordered list!
1. “The Bones Of What You Believe” – Chrvrches. Unstoppable song writing from these Glaswegians, a pop heart shot through with a bullet of the all important Scots melancholy. Mighty non-cheesy 80s synths abound.
2. “Modern Vampires Of The City” – Vampire Weekend. Good golly there’s a plethora of cracking & clever tunes on here, as the VW begin to contemplate their mortality & place in the world.
3. “A Sea Of Spilt Peas” – Courtney Barnett. Bob Dylan, Lou Reed & Kurt Cobain as seen through the lens of a slightly bonkers, mildy stoned Australian singer.
4. “Pedestrian Verse” – Frightened Rabbit. The fourth good record in a row from Selkirk’s finest.
5. “Dream Cave” - Cloud Control. Skewed psych-pop from more Aussies (what do they put in their water over there?)
6. “Hobo Rocket” – Pond. Heavy deavy psyche nonsense lifting bits of Zep and Bowie, sounds like it was knocked off in an evening. Australian. Bonza.
7. “II” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Tripped out rambling 60sesque psyche pop from a bunch of long haired freaks. Not Australian!!! What??!
8. “Secret Soundz Vol 2″ – Pictish Trail. I think I may have put this in last year’s list too, but as it officially came out this year…
9. “Now That You Are A Dancer” – Kid Canaveral. More indie pop perfection from the brawsome foursome, now with added shoegaze & epicosity.
10. “EP 1″ – Pixies. Not technically an LP, but I did play the heck out of it. 3 amazing songs, one ok song. No Kim. Still a good deal.
I’d be interested in seeing your lists, so if you can’t be bothered to do a full post, please put top 3s/5s/10s/100s in the comments! I love lists!
The nominations have been collected, scrutinised, tabulated, analysed and stared at with a blank expression for half an hour; my, aren’t we an eclectic, not to say completely random, group of people? Considering that we all read the same paper and visit the same music blog, there’s an astonishing lack of unanimity on more or less every topic under the sun except for the ghastliness of the current UK government – and even there we can’t agree on which individuals deserve the greatest degree of loathing. Over fifty different albums were suggested for Record of the Year, and the five shortlisted are the only ones that received support from more than one person.
So, time for the voting. We’re keeping things simple: one vote in each category. even if you haven’t heard any of the records or seen any of the films, feel free to vote according to any other criteria you like, as it’s only a bit of fun and the more the merrier. Polls will remain open until the end of the month, and the award ceremony will take place some time in early January once I get my act together – in response to overwhelming public opposition to the idea, not on Twitter…
Since I’ve got a quiet afternoon, I thought I’d resurrect a pair of dormant ‘Spill series.
Way back in the mists of time, ToffeeBoy created the catchily titled Regular ‘Spillers Post Music That You Wouldn’t Really Expect From Them, Knowing Their Musical Tastes A Bit As You Do. And it’s been a while since we had a pick one/ditch one playlist.
So, here are 11 tracks that you probably wouldn’t really expect from me, knowing my musical tastes a bit as you do. There is no alt-country, Swedish indie pop or sensitive singer-songwriters. There is pop, R&B, hip-hop and dance from the 90s, 00s and even 10s.
You may pick a favourite and a least favourite if you wish. You are very welcome to suggest other tunes that would feel at home on this playlist. You may even find something you like.
Well, she got in touch the other day to let me know that her second album, Ungrounded, is out on 28th October and asked if I’d like to hear it and offer a pre-release taster for my friends on the ‘Spill. She has, in her own words, moved up in the world since last time out: a proper distribution deal with Sony/RED and a much fuller sound, production and instrumentation. Gulp! I thought reading all that. What I liked most about the first album was the roughness around the edges, the “as-live” feel of the production and the balls it took to get it recorded and distributed in the first place. First listen was undertaken with a certain foreboding, there’s horns on this one FFS!
I needn’t have worried. Carly has come up with the goods again. If her first album was eclectic and slightly unruly in its romp through the canon of American Rock, revealing – perhaps – an artist still in search of her own style but not afraid to experiment, this is far more solid and focussed. Here’s an artist who knows what she wants to sing, knows what she’s doing and is obviously having a good time doing it.
The album kicks off strongly with Superman Fantasy, a riff heavy, horn driven number which has already seen a fair bit of youtube action in animations and in Man of Steel Fan Trailers. It’s good enough and will no doubt help Carly reach a wider audience than before, but for me the album really starts after this.
The Bow Bar is turning into a veritable honey trap for Spillers of late. Last month’s victim was Tatanka Yotanka who braved the throngs for a couple of swift pints prior to Barb Jungr at the Queen’s Hall, while I bolted for the door just in time to see Coriolanus at The Playhouse. Conversation ran the full spectrum from what ails to Grauniad, to the art of cabinetmaking and the joys of London life. Anyway, here is our round up of some of what we saw in Edinburgh 2013.
The Beijing People’s Art Theatre had a unique take on staging Shakespeare, employing TWO heavy metal bands (Miserable Faith and Suffering, death metal but turned down from 11 on this occasion) in their production of Coriolanus. I had studied the play for the Irish equivalent of the A levels, and it seemed an odd choice for the Chinese Ministry of Culture to get involved in. what the implications of political power being exerted from the bottom up, and there is a telling comment about the difficulty in reasserting power once it has been ceded to the people. An entertaining evening, somewhat tempered by a lack of any menace in a 100 strong chorus.
The Summerhall venue had a terrifically varied programme this year. Song Noir by Pumajaw brought a Lynchian approach to cabaret from Pinkie McClure and John Wills (ex-Loop), the highlight was an inspired take on the Peter Gunn theme with Maclure taking Mancini’s riff while Wells conducts a mash-up of what could be Dazed & Confused era Jimmy Page v The Prodigy. One of sport’s great rivalries forms the backdrop to Jamie Wood’s Beating McEnroe, an entertaining and immersive story of bitter defeat as tasted by his six year-old self. The yin and yang of Wood’s battles with his older brother are projected – sometimes literally – onto the epic Borg/McEnroe clash. A dollop of slapstick and the help of some only too willing members of the audience make for a startlingly bonkers finale with loss avenged in Wood’s inimitable hands-on fashion.
Pippa Bailey’s Biding Time (Remix) is a beguiling multi-media exploration of the battle between art and commerce. First performed in 1987, it has been revived and remixed in a collaboration with Louise Quinn (and A Band Called Quinn), film-maker Uisdean Murray and Grid Iron’s Ben Harrison and benefits enormously from advances in technology over the last quarter of a century. Music and sound production are delivered to the audience via silent disco headphones, making the experience unworldly yet hyper-real. Louise Quinn’s songs and performance are strong in their own right and the production benefits from the story’s parallels with her surreal experiences in the music industry. I understand that this production will be touring next year, so it may be coming your way.
Off to the Scottish National Gallery on Princes Street where you can still catch the Peter Doig exhibition until the 3rd of November. Doig has been fairly and squarely reclaimed for Scotland on the basis of being born and resident in Edinburgh until the age of three but in truth he’s been elsewhere for most of his life; Trinidad and Canada before art school in London and then retracing his steps back to Trinidad, painting all the while. The exhibition title ‘No Foreign Lands’ reflects that journey and, coming as it does from fellow Auld Reekian (“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only…”) Robert Louis Stevenson, it bolsters the Scottish connection.
The show is of works from the last ten years in Trinidad. Doig works a lot from photographs of scenes that resonate with him so there are quite often various versions of, or excerpts from the same subject and this show is a chance to see a few pairings of these which is a bonus. Doig is a figurative, painterly painter who revels both in the medium and the depth of art history at his disposal, happy to quote at will from a range of other artists. If you have even the most cursory knowledge of painting over the last century and a bit you’ll soon have at least half a dozen names in your head as points of reference and the notes by the paintings are not shy of listing them either. Mine were Gaugin, Rothko, Bacon, Manet, Caulfield, Hopper and Jasper Johns for starters. This isn’t to suggest that the work is simply derivative, a better analogy would be with sampling in music; a painterly riff here, a structural backbeat there, a high class guest on backing vocals.
An enjoyable show and certainly recommended if you can get there in the next eight weeks. Many large scale pieces which range from decoratively atmospheric to deeply engaging. A room of hand painted posters for film shows from which you can trace the graphic tendencies of some of the larger stuff, plenty of his working out in the form of sketches and photographs. It may be his method of working from an already captured image but the most moving of these works have that veiled quality of a moment of dreamtime, the kind of sepia distance in which you feel you are reaching back to engage with something already lost to you.
Barb Jungr at Queens Hall was a night approaching perfection. She’s been touring her ‘Stockport to Memphis’ album set for much of this year and I’ve caught it in various smaller venues. Here we and accompanist Simon Wallace were blessed with a fabulous grand piano, a beautiful acoustic and Barb singing with the freedom and inspiration that comes from being on top of your game. One of those nights where audience and performer conspire to make the silences as important and moving as the songs. Here’s Barb talking about Stockport to Memphis.
Tatanka’s reason for being in Edinburgh this year in particular was to support the young folk from Shatter-point Theatre who were breaking their Fringe duck and presented eight nights of improvised comedy under the name of A League of Ordinary Gentlemen – What Happens Next? A well tested format of building an hour long show from audience suggestions was given added momentum by youthful vigour, irreverence and liberal silliness. Highlights included the pirates from Jersey chancing on the land of the Beyoncés, captured here in glorious Dimmovision by TYTV.
That concludes the report from the Edinburgh jury. Join us next year for some art, larks and of course beer.
I’m sure the Arcade Fire need no introduction, so let’s have a chat about the song. First impressions; it’s like an amalgamation of several Flight Of The Conchords songs with a bit of LCD Soundsystem (but not the LCD songs that sound like The Fall) thrown in.
What do you think?
So I was down the road in the East Neuk over the weekend, celebrating the non-demise of Fence Records, at an all-dayer in Crail. It was really nice to see some new local bands & performers under the Fence umbrella; the amazing Lidh being one of them. Anyway, she has handily just released a new EP and a video to go with the lead track “Rockpool Hospital”. It’s a bit of an earworm, very moreish, very pretty & happy and the video is tons of fun (show your small children!). Hope you like it. Lidh’s website is here.
………. But it seems that, at last, there will be a new Mazzy Star album.
There is even a single;
New music from Pixies.
Amazing, goosebumps when the Kim bit came in.
Edinburgh has played host to many artistic collaborations over the years, with none more intriguing than the 7×7 project between artist Jean Pierre Muller and seven musicians: Nile Rodgers, Robert Wyatt, Mulatu Astatke, Archie Shepp, Sean O’Hagan, Kassin and Terry Riley. The project commenced last year at the Summerhall venue with the creation by Jean Pierre of a street of individual houses to explore with the soundscape provided by his seven collaborators.
Last weekend saw a further development with Muller and Rodgers presenting their Indigo night in F – a broadening of the artwork, live performance and some engaging storytelling, drawing on Rodgers’ life story and career which had been joyously detailed in his recent autobiography.
The two tiered stage is bare and the soundtrack is 30′s jazz, a nod to their Harlem Nights sub-theme. Gradually the stage is filled with a series of pop-art style cut-outs and then Muller arrives at the easel to paint an introduction in art and words using a stencil to link the various ‘F’s: freedom, family, fate, frustration and so on. Nile Rodgers then appears between the cut-outs to introduce the first of the pre-recorded movements – a very contemporary sound with the sort of insistent groove and vocoder work one could readily associate with his most recent collaborators.
Rodgers’ storytelling is vivid and what a tale he has to tell, having been raised by hippy heroin addicts, he joined the Black Panthers and played in the house band at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre. A life-size cut-out of the late Bernard Edwards is placed beside him as he introduces us to the collaborator with whom he became musically inseparable. What Rodgers brought to the table with melodies was matched by Edwards’ gift for arrangement, and we get a fantastic insight into their talent for creating music that appears on the surface to be simple and sing along, but is awash with innovation, jazz chords and a love of chromatics.
A series of terrific stories about Grace Jones, Club 54 and Diana Ross is interspersed with solo runs through Good Times/Rappers Delight, Upside Down and the fabulous Thinking About You and some entertaining banter with Muller, still at the easel on the upper tier. Towards the end of the performance Rodgers (thankfully) narrowly avoids decapitation as a mobile of Cab Calloway’s head – which was suspended from the ceiling – slips its mooring and crashes down onto the microphone.
The two artists are presenting this project as a work in progress, and have been in negotiations about taking the project further. The mix of pop-art, hit music and the pair’s engaging personalities are certainly a winning combination and it is a measure of the man that Rodgers has made the time to see this project through at a time when his currency is so high. Mamma Mia is certainly ain’t and, whatever happens, if you get the opportunity to see it just go!
When I heard that the tickets for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 5-night run at the 2,800-seater Beacon Theatre in Manhattan were to be allocated by lottery, I thought I might as well have a go. It proved to be an expensive decision. To win didn’t mean you got a free ticket – what you won was an opportunity to buy a ticket. Well, I won twice and I’m not going to tell you how much the whole thing cost – because, to be honest, I don’t know and I don’t want to know.
Sorry I’ve not been around much lately, I’ve been on the beach. Well, today anyway. So in the spirit of sacking work off mid afternoon and bolting for some sunny sandy fun, here’s a super up happy vibes tune from someone I just stumbled over online. I know nothing else of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down at all, apart from this song. If you have a passing interest in Feist, you may like it, if not, you may like it anyway if you like being happy. Cheers!
Part of the idea of spending a couple of months in Germany this year – besides improving my German, and doing some work, obviously – was the hope of being able to catch some of my favourite German artists who haven’t shown any signs as yet of making it over to the UK, and generally soaking up a bit of the music scene. Delighted to find that my beloved Zentralquartett are celebrating their 40th anniversary when I’m in Berlin in July with a cabaret extravaganza – radical poetry as well as anarchistic free jazz – and I grabbed a couple of tickets the moment this month’s pay went into my account. Last night, however, it was the turn of the Julia Huelsmann Quartet, a new partnership of the brilliant piano trio (there’s at least one person on this blog who shares my opinion on that, I know) with the British ex-pat trumpeter Tom Arthurs, playing in Bunker Ulmenwall in Bielefeld. I’m not sure I know of a finer jazz club, and certainly not one with this sort of history… Continue reading
My favourite description of Trwbador’s music is still the one offered by Radio Wales’ Adam Walton about their first EP: “There’s a wide-eared wonder and playfulness to their sound as if they were deserted at birth and raised by the instruments in the school music cupboard.” Their early songs were gorgeous but fragile, a delicate balance of Owain’s guitar and Angharad’s voice with subtle beats underneath, feeling like they needed cosseting from the big bad world – rather like new-born giraffes, matchstick legs sticking out at unusual angles. As their career progressed, the word ‘quirky’ was definitely called for: the mixture of Welsh and English, the juxtaposition of lovely pop/folk melodies and throwaway electronic experiments, the occasional lapses into giggly silliness (Google It) and unusual cover versions, generally featuring glockenspiel (Army Dreamers and Only Trust Your Heart), plus a guest spot on Cornershop’s 2012 Christmas single, Every Year So Different.
Now at last their debut album is here, and they’re all grown up…
As mentioned previously, I’m having to spend this month with my head down over the computer, meeting contractual obligations (20,000 words and counting…). This means that I have to ration not only my internet time, but also my music-listening time – generally I find listening to music helps me compose, but only certain sorts, and only if it’s already very familiar. New music is out.
So it’s absolutely bloody typical that this month seems to be bringing one album after another that I’d really like to explore. I got the new Tomasz Stanko for a birthday present yesterday, and haven’t yet managed to hear it all the way through (it’s a double album, which doesn’t help); one and a half listens of Wayne Shorter on Spotify, one listen of Mogwai, partial listen of David Bowie, and now I find that Brandt, Brauer & Frick, the German classical-meets-techno meisters, have released a new record as well, with more vocals than usual. It’s not fair…
Partly because it’s more or less the only song I could think of that’s on topic, but as I thought of it quite early on you may have missed the link to the rather amusing video, and partly to celebrate the start of Trwbador‘s album launch tour, which began in Carmarthen last night…
I woke up this morning to new My Bloody Valentine music, 22 years after they last released something. Thoughts?