Taylor Swift & Ryan Adams: Songs half empty or songs half full?

@glasshalfempty (see what I did with the headline :) ) courageously included the Taylor Swift song Style on his RR 10th anniversary CD; I say courageously because she’s supposedly  just another lightweight pop sensation. Some, however, hear serious songwriting chops beneath that MTV sheen – among them the ever-melancholy Ryan Adams, an alt-country former bad boy – and it is now becoming hip to like her (saying you always knew bleh, bleh, bleh) … as long as Adams sings them. He has just released a cover of her entire new album, 1989, not because he needs the attention (which he doesn’t), but because he loves the songs.

A good reminder to trust your instincts and like what you like without shame.

Taylor SwiftStyle

Ryan AdamsStyle (Taylor Swift cover)

Earworms 21 September 2015


I once found a polecat in the tube of my tumble-drier. It was Halloween; I’d gone to the cellar to fetch some washing and the air-vent tube was jumping around the floor as if possessed … having reasoned with myself, I investigated further and found a polecat had crawled in under the cellar door; it was very beautiful and I managed to capture it with the cat’s carry-cage. I put the cage in the kitchen while I went to find the owner and discovered, on returning triumphant, that polecats are very clean animals and expel their excrement as far from their bedding as possible. Had great fun cleaning the kitchen. But I digress – thanks for another wonderful world of worms, please keep them coming to earworm@tincanland.com.

Alan Jackson – Angels And Alcohol – tincanman: Warning: It’s twangy, but not the usual contrived Nashville fare. I was surprised I could stand it, let alone like it. From his latest, it is beautifully written and perfectly sung. Melancholy without being sappy.

Vetiver – Current Carry – bethnoir: I feel as if Vetiver lead me into somewhat easy listening territory sometimes, which disturbs me, but I can’t resist laid back mood of this track from their most recent album, I even like the slide guitar which isn’t like me at all.

Matt Mattox et al: Lament – Lonesome Polecat – abahachi: Listen past the occasionally cheesy 1950s production, and this is a simply lovely song – I can’t help wondering why, unlike other songs from equally kitsch musicals, it never become a jazz classic (can’t you just hear Miles’ trumpet doing that melancholy vocal line?).

H P Lovecraft – The White Ship – CaroleBristol: H.P Lovecraft were a band from the psychedelic era, named after the horror writer. This track is from their first, eponymous LP and is named after a Lovecraft story. The music is reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane in places and has a very dreamy, spaced-out feel to it. It is probably their best-known piece and is definitely one of their better ones. Definitely a period piece.

izOReL – Qasida mursala – glasshalfempty: I am a fan of the amazing fire installations of Carabosse, a French company of fire artists. These are accompanied by live music, often from IzOrel, the solo project of Frenchman Aurélien Rotureau, who is based in Spain. This East meets West track is hypnotic, but I don’t know the singer’s name I’m afraid.

Shakti with John McLaughlin – Joy – Ravi Raman: Glad people liked Danse. Here’s another one called “Joy”, more frenetic than Danse and with the full virtuosity of JM/Shankar on display.

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My 10-year CD

Here’s the social CD that I didn’t get round to making. I’ve also added it to the Dropbox. Thanks to all of you who’ve introduced me to wonderful new music over the last decade. This list could have been many times longer.


The Tammys – Eqyptian Shumba

Songs about ancient history. I remember hearing this and thinking it was pretty much the best record I’d ever heard ever.

Katzenjammer – A Bar In Amsterdam

I’m sure there’s someone on here who’s really into them… My eternal thanks, severin.

Akala – Comedy History Tragedy

Not sure who put this in the Dropbox during Poetry week, but I had to drop a lot of hints before it finally got nominated (and inevitably A-listed) on my first Guru stint, RRSA Shakespeare.

Animal Collective – My Girls

An ejaydee (great to meet you) Festive ’Spill pick, according to the file path.

Jens Lekman – Maple Leaves

Definitely remember saneshane writing about this one – and plenty of other Jens Lekman – and being intrigued. Among the many Swedish artists I’ve been introduced to through RR.

Ooberman – Shorley Wall

I remember this being nominated and enthusiastically donded by RRers whose taste I trusted (GarethI and ToffeeBoy I think?) back when people had just started including YouTube links. Listened, loved it, have unsuccessfully nominated it for countless topics since.

Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out Of This Country

The sort of band match.com would probably pair me up with, but I’d never heard of them until someone (tracyk?) nominated this song.

Frida Hyvonen – Jesus Was A Crossmaker

Lambretinha picked this for the Festive ’Spill in 2009, while ElDerino chose another of her songs. I’ve been smitten ever since.

Anna von Hausswolff – Track of Time

Handpicked Nordic noir from Fuel.

Jesca Hoop – Murder of Birds

Shoegazer and saneshane’s albums of the month posts were a goldmine of new music, and discoveries like this one.

Hem – So. Central Rain

The much-missed mark68 was keen on this gorgeous cover. Anyone know what’s happened to him?

Midlake – Roscoe

It’s funny to think now that in the early days of RR nobody, except the guru, actually physically listened to the playlist. But sometimes after reading the write-up you had to go and track down a song: like this one.

Peter Broderick – With The Notes In My Ears

Another discovery via shoegazer. I highly recommend a visit to http://www.itstartshear.com

Los Campesinos! – This Is How You Spell “Hahaha, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation Of Faux-Romantics”

Best song title ever. Not sure who’s responsible for this one.

Nellie McKay – Ding Dong

Regularly nominated by steenbeck back in the day. Infectious and subversive songwriting.

The Pipettes – Pull Shapes

Dorian Lynskey had this down as one of his tracks of the year in my first year of RR. Pop perfection.

Sol Seppy – Enter One

Who did this come from? Shane? I think I first heard it for whispering songs.

King Creosote – And The Racket They Made

Couldn’t be without the Blimpy-endorsed Festive ’Spill stalwart KC, and this DarceysDad favourite.



Readers Recommend 10-Year Anniversary Social, London, 19 September 2015


L-R back: Bisbosh (wearing Steenbeck’s owl on his T-shirt), Wyngate Carpenter, Fuel, SaneShane, Abahachi, Darcey’s Dad, Toffeeboy, Burlap Sacking, Ejaydee, Barbryn, Son of Webcore (not really that tall, standing on a chair).

L-R middle: Flatfrog, Gordonimmel, treefrogdemon, Skippy-is-a-cult, Bluepeter, Mnemonic, Tarxien, KalyR, glasshalfempty.

L-R seated: Peter Kimpton, AliMunday, Severin.

(Apologies if I’ve mis-spelled anyone, it may be the Harry Potter influence).

Hello to everyone who came to the RR Social, organised by Peter Kimpton, at The Parcel Rooms in Kings Cross station. And hello too to those of you who couldn’t make it, we missed you!

Some of you will already have seen these photos on Facebook, but I am posting a selection here for those of you who are too cool for FB or who missed the event. There were Skype link-ups with deanofromoz and swawilg (apologies again for spelling – I mean our Belgian correspondent) – unfortunately the link with tincanman in Canada was unsuccessful. I’m not sure if there were any other Skype links as DsD, Gordonimmel and I arrived very late at Tarxien’s having been stuck on the south circular for two hours. She was very patient with us, and we eventually arrived at The Parcel Rooms in Kings Cross to find everything in full flow. Anyway, here are some edited highlights:

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clint hurdleI thought this is cool.

An American major league baseball manager, Pittsburgh Pirates’ Clint Hurdle, has imported his 2,300 CDs and put them up for auction (ends today) to benefit public radio and Prader-Willi Syndrom.

“The collection reflects his time living and playing in various parts of the country. From Kansas City to New York to St. Louis to Colorado to Texas and all the way to Pittsburgh, Clint developed a deep appreciation for blues and roots music, country music, rock and roll, folk music and a lot of local and regional artists.”

He talks about his love of music HERE

Earworms 14 September 2015


Some more first class music for you this week (see what I did there)? I’m waiting for someone to release a Jeremy Corbyn rallying song … anyway, enjoy the music and many thanks to all contributors. Don’t forget, if you have any Earworms to spare, please send them along to earworm@tincanland.com.

Bruce Springsteen – Long Time Coming – deanofromoz: After guruing the RRSA Farming topic, where I A listed Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band’s “My Oklahoma Home”, I just had to explore this part of Springsteen’s career more, so I picked up his “Live in Dublin” album. It’s a mixture of the Seeger covers and a few Springsteen tracks done in that style. This is a reworking of the track that originally appeared on the “Devils and Dust” album.

Robert Palmer – Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley – CaroleBristol: This is from Robert Palmer’s first 1974 solo album. On it he is backed by The Meters and the late Lowell George. It is a funky little toe-tapper and it is well-worth looking out the album. This music is far-removed from his 1980s lounge lizard/sexual predator image, and all the better for it.

Johnny Sansone – Corn Whiskey – tincanman: The only knock on his growly, menacing voice is he has to remove his harmonica to use it. So this instrumental from the transplanted NOLAian* does me just fine. His blues is dark, heavy – and a bit scary.
*New Orleans person

The Darkness – Open Fire – Bethnoir: I believe that the Darkness very meticulously dissect songs by bands they love to discover what makes them work and then make their own Frankenstein’s monster-like versions. In this case I reckon it was “She Sells Sanctuary” by the Cult, but what’s not to love?

Shakti – La Danse du Bonheur – Ravi Raman: This song is unique, among many other reasons, for starting with the beat, associated with dance, rather than the usual alapanai of a ragam (stating of the theme). The percussion is from a tabla and a ghatam (basically a clay pot). Though McLaughlin stays in the background Danse has been a concert staple for every Shakti avatar.

Tshala Muana – Lubila – goneforeign: A 1996 release from Kinshasa by Tshala Muana, It’s from her album Mutuashi.

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