Earworms 9 January 2017

51614674 - woman with headache pills pop art retro style. medicine and womens health. pharmacology tablet drug

A bumper crop this week, starting in a very laid-back way, building gradually and finishing on a splendid up-beat number from Röyksopp. Also here’s a special mention for Ravi, who has been injured in an encounter with a drunken motorcyclist – best wishes Ravi, and I hope both you and the New Year get better soon. Meanwhile, thanks very much to everyone, and as ever, please keep the worms coming to earworm@tincanland.com.

Grouper – Headache – CaroleBristol: I was listening to BBC6Music in bed last night and reading. I wasn’t paying much attention to the music but this came on and I stopped reading and started listening. I know nothing about Grouper but I was struck by the fragility and delicacy of the sound.

Shankar Mahadevan; U Shrinivas; John McLauglin – Giriraja Sutha – Ravi Raman: This was the third and more enduring of the Shakti line-ups with U Shrinivas and Shankar Mahadevan joining Zakir & McLaughlin. This is a Carnatic standard played at a speeded-up tempo. The first 5 minutes or so the two newcomers challenge and respond to each other till at around the 6 minute mark- magic! I’ve included this blogger’s post as it seems to have the only video on this particular performance. See the unalloyed joy in Zakir and McLaughlin’s faces. The latter even stops playing! Some other cool music links as bonus. https://musicthis.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/shankar-mahadevans-fusion-work/

Steve Mason – Hardly Go Through – tincanman: Produced by Elbow keyboardist Craig Potter, last year’s “Meet The Humans” sounds so much like an Elbow album that Mason’s (of Beta Band fame) intimate songwriting gets a bit lost. But this is a pretty good love song, and that Elbow sound IS pretty sumptuous.

Joe Turner – Piney Brown Blues – goneforeign: When I left England in 1958 bound for LA I brought with me a few LP’s, a favorite was ‘The Boss of the Blues’ by Joe Turner. I’ve played it dozens of times over the years, definitely one for the desert island. The backup band was comprised of a group of players from the Basie band, it’s the epitome of Kansas City style jazz. The cut is Piney Brown Blues. Lawrence Brown – trombone; Pete Brown – alto saxophone; Seldon Powell – tenor saxophone; Frank Wess – tenor saxophone; Joe Newman – trumpet; Jimmy Nottingham – trumpet; Freddie Green –guitar; Pete Johnson – piano; Walter Page – double bass; Cliff Leeman – drums; Big Joe Turner – vocals.

Herbert Pixner Projekt: Breaking Bad / Herbert Pixner Project: Gitanes – Abahachi: I’m conscious, from the reaction last time I posted some of their music, that news of a new album from Austrian Accordionmeister Herbert Pixner and his Project may not be greeted here with universal joy. Perhaps it will make a difference that the musical conception for at least some of the tracks appears to be to reduce the accordion element to subtle atmospherics while allowing the guitarist lots of space to show off on his new electric instrument, as in ‘Breaking Bad’. Not entirely convinced about this new direction meself, but thankfully there’s also plenty of more conventional fare, offering a modern take on traditional folk rhythms and melodies: ‘Gitanes’.

Röyksopp (featuring Susanne Sundfor) – Never Ever – severin: One of my favourite releases from last year. One that didn’t make my Festive Spill top three – or anyone else’s I think. Royksopp’s synth pop side – nothing ambient here – and Susanne Sundfor on vocals. It’s a hit, a palpable hit.

Continue reading



I know that I’ve bored some of you with my Mahler obsession in the past but this time’s slightly different.

I discovered Mahler in about 1964/65 as a result of buying a Bernstein Columbia box set which included the symphonies 2, 6 and 9; I absolutely fell in love with the 2nd symphony. To the degree that I recall saying [to myself of course] that I’d travel anywhere in the US to hear it performed live. I never actually did travel but in the intervening years I’ve heard it live twice, in LA and in SF.

About at that same period a NY businessman, a very wealthy businessman, Gilbert Kaplan, also discovered Mahler’s second symphony. He became so obsessed with this single piece of music that he travelled the world to hear it performed by all of the top conductors. In 1982, after a series of rehearsals, Mr. Kaplan hired the American Symphony Orchestra to present Mahler’s Second Symphony under his baton at the Lincoln Center. The music critic of the Village Voice gave the performance a rave review,  he declared the interpretation “one of the five or six most profoundly realized Mahler Seconds” in the previous 25 years. Even those attendees not schooled in music seemed to recognize that they had witnessed something remarkable. That’s about when I became aware of Gilbert Kaplan.

Continue reading

RR Films: Independence

The Office of Congressional Ethics – whose job it is to examine tales of corrupt members of the US House of Representatives – is was about to lose its independence and come under the control of those it should be investigating, until that beacon of public probity, Donald Trump, twittered about it. How comforting that must be would have been for the would-be swamp drainers: out of sight, out of mind…..

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe there are some things that must remain independent, starting with the judiciary and complaints processes. And young women, like Star in American Honey, one of my favourite recent films:

What films about independence would you recommend?

Earworms 2 January 2017

52044810 - sculptures demon with wings on wall of house in kiev. ukraine

We had a soft start to the New Year with Sounds on Sunday yesterday,  but now it’s back to reality with a wake-up call from Metallica, amongst others. Thanks to everyone for the earworms, I hope you all have a happy new year, and please keep the worms coming to earworm@tincanland.com.

Metallica – When A Blind Man Cries – abahachi: The Grauniad’s little piece recently on “How we made Master of Puppets” prompted me to listen to it again for the first time in, what, twenty-five years – and searching for it on Spotify I came across this rather good cover of a relatively obscure Purple track (they do a good Rainbow medley as well…). Starts fairly straight, gets heavier.

Brix E Smith – Hurdy Gurdy Man – CaroleBristol: This popped up on my Facebook timeline. It is Dovovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man as covered by Brix Smith of Fall fame, with her then partner Nigel Kennedy on electric violin. It apparently remained unreleased because the record label dropped Brix. Whatever the real story behind it is, I think it is rather nicely done.

Al Kooper – Season of the Witch – goneforeign: I was browsing through my iTunes yesterday and I came across this one, I hadn’t played it in years and I thought it deserved an airing.  It was on the radio all the time in the late 60’s in LA. Originally by Donovan, it was quickly recorded by everyone and this version’s by Al Kooper from an album titled Super Session which I still have. I recall reading an article about the idea of a ‘Supergroup’, this was to be the first, they were followed by CSN and Blind Faith and others. Every musician in the group was a star in his own right and they were brought together by Al Kooper, who had just left Blood, Sweat and Tears, he had met Mike Bloomfield when they recorded Highway 61 for Dylan. Stephen Stills was in the process of quitting Buffalo Springfield, so he was also invited. He recruited keyboardist Barry Goldberg and bassist Harvey Brooks, both members of the Electric Flag and with the addition of Eddie Hoh on drums, they were ready. The cut is ‘The Season of the Witch’, enjoy.

Bohren & der Club of Gore – On Demon Wings – glassarfemptee: Abahachi has delighted us in the past with Bohren & der Club of Gore. From their stunning 2000 album ‘Sunset Mission’ here is a another masterpiece of doom jazz.

The Comet Is Coming – Slam Dunk In A Black Hole – tincanman: An Economist (http://goo.gl/PTTs03) article on new jazz tapped this UK six-electronica-percussion trio, and I did find it captivating. But is it any good? This is from the album “Channel The Spirits”, a cosmic journey released this spring with tracks ranging from under a minute to 5ish.

Snarky Puppy – Brother I’m Hungry – RaviRaman: I somehow overlooked this for The Spill lists. Snarky Puppy is a jazz ensemble or collective with about 40 musicians and a revolving door policy. Their album, “Family Dinner Volume 2”, released earlier this year has some brilliant songs like this.

Continue reading

Sounds on Sunday 11 – Happy New Year!

“Good mornin’, good mornin’
We’ve danced the whole night through
Good mornin’, good mornin’ to you

Good mornin’, good mornin’
It’s great to stay up late
Good mornin’, good mornin’ to you …”

Hope you’re all compos mentis this morning and ready to listen to some new music, starting off gently with some Indie folk. Please leave your comments below, let me know what you think, and mention any new music you’d like to share. Also if you have any tips for a hangover cure I’m sure they would be very useful. Read on for more details of the featured artists:

Continue reading