Winter Popfest 2014

It’s not them, it’s me. If DsD is falling for sappy ballads in his dotage, i seem to be going for feelgood pop in mine. I really wanted to be hooked on droney stuff, like the Swans and Temple and Parquet Courts. Or grab my pipe and slippers and hang out with Beck, or stare out the window at the dismal weather with the War On Drugs, or brood with Bonnie Prince Billy. But seems that most of what i found this year that hit the spot is a spectrum of pop.

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Summertime Soul

I dunno why, but Summer always seems to mean soul to me. I think it is the heat, the sun, it has a languid lazy feel that makes me want to listen to some mellow grooves.

Anyway, here are a dozen tunes that seem to say SUMMER to me, mostly stuff from the 1970s, which was the heyday of blissed out summer soul and lazy funk grooves.

Something for the Summer: Baby Queens

Baby Queens at Dinefwr Literature Festival, 21/6/14

Baby Queens at Dinefwr Literature Festival, 21/6/14

As I’ve mentioned before, my mission at every festival I attend is to get hooked on a new act. This year, rather than Glastonbury or somewhere else with hundreds of different stages and performers, I was at the Dinefwr Literature Festival near Llandeilo in West Wales, mainly because Trwbador were playing. An interesting new experience – great set from them, fascinating guided tour of the remains of Dinefwr Castle, got heckled by the comedian Bridget Christie (I’ve never actually been to a stand-up performance before, but I do have a vague idea it’s supposed to be the other way round…) and heard the amazing Viv Albertine in conversation (but missed getting my copy of her book signed as I had to head off to Trwbador – dammit, Dinefwr, if you have only three stages why can’t you synchronise the timings properly to allow people to move between them..?).

However, the emphasis on the literary side of things did mean that the musical pickings were a little thinner: four blokes with copious beards who had clearly decided that the future of music was a fusion of Coldplay and Fleet Foxes (they may of course be right), some badly distorted noise with unintelligible vocals (needed more dynamic contrast, and I needed a beer – a shout out to Jacobi Brewery’s Red Squirrel) and… Cardiff’s Baby Queens. Perfect summer music: vocal harmonies that remind me a bit of En Vogue, plus some effective rapping; catchy songs with a chilled soul/RnB groove, with a hint of dub in the live performance (but they really need to get a proper bass player – the sound needs a bit more bottom end to be perfect). Four songs released so far (links to two of the catchiest ones below the fold), and an album planned for 2015. The one thing I find disturbing is that Gary Lineker is a fan, through a family connection, but please don’t hold that against them… Continue reading

Grammy for Snarky Puppy

It’s always good to see an independent band getting some long-deserved recognition in a mainstream awards show.

Texas/New York based Snarky Puppy won a Grammy award last night in the category best R&B performance for their collaboration with Lalah Hathaway, Something, from their latest LP Family Dinner vol. 1.  It’s a phenomenal track, for Hathaway’s astounding vocals as much as Snarky Puppy’s trademark compositions which switch seamlessly across dramatically contrasting moods and tempos.

Something will probably be getting considerably more air-play in the coming months so here’s my favourite track from the same album, Gone Under featuring Shayna Steele, a revitalising blast of gospel-drenched soul jazz.

Buried Christmas treasure

christmas small
I recently received an early Christmas present in the shape of a pen drive loaded with the entire Buried Treasure back catalogue, and as Tom Petty’s radio programme is currently in its eighth season and there are 24-5 programmes per season with 20 or so tracks per programme you better believe that’s a fair old amount of music. I’m currently listening my way through Season Two and I came across this Christmas show which I thought you people might like. He does play two of his own recordings, which isn’t usual, but those of you who don’t like TP&TH can always skip those.

Happy Christmas!

1 Theme Song
2 I Feel OK – Detroit Junior
3 Merry Christmas, Baby – Otis Redding
4 Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
5 Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas – Staples Singers
6 Silver Bells – Booker T and the MGs
7 White Christmas – Otis Redding
8 Tom’s Mailbag
9 Christmas Comes But Once A Year – Albert King
10 Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley
11 Merry Christmas – Lightnin’ Hopkins
12 Santa Claus Baby – The Voices
13 Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ – Sir Mack Rice
14 The Christmas Song – King Curtis
15 Run, Run Rudolph – Chuck Berry
16 Red Rooster – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
17 Back Door Santa – Clarence Carter
18 Happy New Year – Lightnin’ Hopkins
19 Christmas Song – The Chipmunks
20 Feels Like Christmas – Al Greene
21 Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/
Auld Lang Syne – Jimi Hendrix
22 Jingle Bells – Booker T and the MGs

Which Cut Is The Bestest?

true love Waits

It may be a song much used & abused by karaoke maniacs, bedroom youtubers, & egotistical pop stars but let us not forget what a phenomenal tune it really is. Cat may have sold it to PP for £30 back in the day – but which version of the three do you prefer? Or do you know of a better one (I have looked for a noisy indie rock version, and failed, but would love it if there was one in existence)?

‘Spill points are available, and there are bonus ‘Spill points if you can explain why Tom Waits is holding a bunny. caption the Tom Waits & bunny photo.

Before Beer – visit the A.T.M

An automated theft machine or (ATM), also known as a hole in the scruples in British English, is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the suckers banking with a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public space without the need for a cashier, human clerk or bank teller having to face outraged disgruntled customers.
On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by shafting a plastic get out of jail free card in their orifice. Authentication is provided by the customer giving their hard earned money to a millionaire via the bank, the government, and any old bonuses the managers wish to add.
The newest ATM’s operate without ethics or morales of any sort. Do nothing and a boss will automatically withdraw the cash.

Engineers in Britain developed their own cash machines during the early 1960s. The first of these that was put into use was by Barclays Bank on 27 June 1967. This machine was the first in the UK and was used by English comedy actor Reg Varney, at the time so as to ensure maximum publicity for the machines. Thus cementing the fact that Barclays should always be remembered as one huge Piss Taking JOKE.