Saturday, 22 December 2012

Roy Orbison - 'Dream Baby' (awkward audience)

Great song but have you ever seen a more awkward looking audience?

Roy Orbison - Dream Baby (Monument Concert 1965)

"Don't champagne or lemonade me"

"IIIII'm a soft drinks ex-pert I know what's class"
"IIIII'm a soft drinks ex-pert I know what's hip"

I'm rather partial to the odd tipple of Canada dry. Following on from my obsession for non alcoholic drinks during the drunk season I found this incredibly long and slightly insane Canada Dry advert from the 60's. At least it's better than that terrible $7 million Chanel No.5 Brad Pitt one whose dullness is only slightly off set by some of the parody ads put together by members of the public, on a shoe string. Gees Brad, why'd ya do it?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy : 'I Am Goodbye'

It's Bonnie 'Prince' Billy time again! I was reminded of him today when I got an email from his record company letting me know his new 7" duet single with Dawn McCarthy is going to be arriving through my letter box sometime very soon. The Christmas themed single is comprised of two songs from the Everly Brothers' catalog, 'Christmas Eve Can Kill You' and 'Lovey Kravezit'. More Christmas songs to add to my collection!

Domino Records website

Here's some cheerful Bonnie 'Prince' Billy singing 'I Am Goodbye'.


New Caitlin Rose Song: 'No One To Call'

Here's the lovely new song 'No One To Call' from Caitlin Rose's soon to be released second album, 'The Stand-In'. I'm enjoying the Kirsty MacCall vibe, never connected the two voices before. Somehow her voice sounds much fuller this time round and it's precisely this which is attracting me to the song. That's not to say I didn't enjoy hearing her on songs such as 'Learning to Ride' or 'For the Rabbits', I love both of those songs, there's just a slightly different resonance in her voice on this new song and it's making me super excited to hear the whole album (which I think is released in February). She sounds fantastic!

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Sad Passing of Terry Callier (24/05/45 – 28/10/12)

Like many people of my age, I was first introduced to Terry Callier through his collaboration with Beth Orton back on her 1999 album Central Reservation. He also came highly recommended by a friend into dub and hip hop.

Terry Callier's voice was always the real draw for me. Soothing in its fullness, listening to his 1998 album Timepeace made me feel like I imagine a cat feels sitting in its favourite cardboard box, it never failed to transport me to a warm secure place.

His music is often referred to as jazz-folk. This has never really been a genre I've found myself dwelling on for too long, especially back in 1999 when dancing to electronic music in clubs with my friends generally got me distracted. Still, his songs were always reassuring to come back to, there was something earnest in his lyrics and voice which handed me my more quieter contemplative moments when they were most needed.

Thank you Terry Callier.

Here's one of my favourite songs from Timepeace called 'Lazarus Man'.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Gathering Festival Oxford

I'll be at the sold out Gathering festival in Oxford this Saturday. Aside from a great line up, it would be rude not to, it's about a 5 minute walk from my house. Seriously Oxford, you're spoiling me!

If you have managed to bag a ticket there are so many great bands to look forward to.
Here are just a few:

Dan Croll - 'From Nowhere'

  Clock Opera - 'Once And For All'

Lucy Rose - 'Middle of the Bed'

Spector - 'Never Fade Away'

Fossil Collective - 'On and On'

Friday, 5 October 2012

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - 'I See A Darkness'

It's definitely a Bonnie 'Prince' Billy sort of a day. Here's his version of 'I See A Darkness' from the Now Here's My Plan EP released this Summer. Thanks for posting a link to the video Gareth. Love the rhythm and his little dances. Great song.


Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - 'New Partner' (Coney Island)

I don't know what he thinks he's wearing but this is a nice recording of 'New Partner' by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - 'New Partner'

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Kill Bill Vol 2. - 'Goodnight Moon'

Kill Bill Vol. 2 is one on a long list of favourite movies of mine. I like how Shivaree's 'Goodnight Moon' works with the closing credits. The determined look on Uma Thurman's face as she drives off with her samurai sword by her side in that cool old car on her way to track down and kill the ruthless Bill. The contrast between the cut throat killer and the caring mother she discovers herself to be once she arrives at Bills. Only two more years to wait until Kill Bill Vol. 3.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Tindersticks - 'This Fire of Autumn'

I really love 'This Fire of Autumn' by Tindersticks. It sounded fantastic at this years End of the Road festival, a festival whose slightly longer colder nights always signals the closeness of Autumn. We may not have been so lucky with a warm September but at least we have some good colours to look forward to in the coming weeks. Autumn has it's up side. I've already stopped eating lettuce. Now we just need this rain to stop. Incidentally, the name of the album this song is taken from is called 'The Something Rain'. How apt.

Tindersticks are on the City Slang label, you can find out more about their releases and pick up a free mp3 of their track 'Frozen' here.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Rodriguez - 'Cause'

'Cause' by Rodriguez is a tremendously hard hitting song. Recorded in 1971, this was the last song he ever recorded. The opening lyrics "Cause I lost my job 2 weeks before Christmas" turned out to be an ill fated prophecy with Rodriguez being dropped by his label 2 weeks before the Christmas of 1971. If you know nothing about Rodriguez, please watch the film 'Searching for Sugarman' or look it up. It's an amazing story. This guy should have been as big as Dylan, in fact he was in South Africa and didn't even know it for ages. Such a voice.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

First Aid Kit - 'Wolf'

Before introducing this video for First Aid Kit's latest single, I must mention how amazing they sounded at The End of the Road festival earlier this month. Their cover of of Simon and Garfunkel's 'America' really was sublime. They also recorded a session for BBC 6 music's Mark Riley show around the same time and I highly recommend you listen, you can find it here.

The video for their new single called 'Wolf' was shot in the forest of Järvsö, Hälsingland in Sweden. The band has commented that the video is “about our destruction of the planet,” “But it’s also about finding the animal within you. Because we know that underneath that polished, civilized exterior there is definitely a wild creature longing to howl or roar.” I love the harmonies and the racing rhythm of the drums, also any band that gets the words "Shape Shifter" into a song are OK by me. Seriously though, they are obviously at a great creative point in their career and I believe that they still have a lot more to give. Amazing.

First Aid Kit UK tour dates:
Tue 20 Nov London Shepherds Bush Empire
Thu 22 Nov Manchester Ritz
Sat 24 Nov Glasgow QMU
Tue 27 Nov Bristol Academy

First Aid Kit links:

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ben Folds Five: 'Do It Anyway'

This might be one of the rare occasions I allow puppets on my blog. Not being a fan of furry humanoid creatures, I think I enjoyed this new song called 'Do It Anyway' from Ben Folds Five more before I saw the official video featuring Fraggle Rock. It's the eyes. Anyway, I'm sure this will bring back lots of memories for many adults, and not even a puppet hater like me could watch without feeling a reassuring echo of childhood in my far too serious adult world. Am I really that different to the little girl who used to hide behind the sofa when the Fraggles came on TV? I guess not.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Dark Dark Dark - 'How It Went Down'

You can currently hear the lovely title track to Dark Dark Dark's latest album 'How It Went Down' over on their website I highly recommend a listen.

I have mentioned Dark Dark Dark on this website quite recently, they seem to one of those bands creeping into my psyche and making a nice little nest. Really looking forward to hearing the rest of this album on it's release at the beginning of October. In the meantime, if you haven't already heard their last album, 'Wild Go', you really should. Here's 'In Your Dreams' recorded for WNYC's Spinning On Air a while back. Such a lovely voice and a great sound. A little Beirut-y, a little Louisiana, a little French, a little Eastern European, a little awesome. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Live: Jeffrey Lewis and The Junkyard @ The Bullingdon, Oxford (23/08/12)

Great show last night from the New York-sters. Jeffrey Lewis sporting a freshly shaven head after apparently watching Apocalypse Now. Also a nice opportunity to pick up a couple of issues of Jeff's comic Fuff sold to me by Jeff's lovely brother Jack. Along with their classics, they played a couple of Sebadoh covers because someone in the audience was wearing a Sebadoh t-shirt. I wonder what they would have done if I'd have been wearing my The Knife t-shirt? Missed opportunity! Really enjoyed Jeff reading Quoth the pigeon Bupkes, a yiddish flavored parody of Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem, The Raven. 

Looking forward to seeing them again at End of the Road next weekend.

Monday, 20 August 2012

"50 shades of Rod..."

Oh Rod...

Artist: Rod Stewart

Dark Dark Dark - 'Daydreaming' & End of the Road 2012

For Mr Chalky x

Dark Dark Dark will be playing at The End of the Road festival which begins at the end of this month and I believe is now running low on tickets - check here for more info. Loads of other great bands to check out as usual. I'm particularly looking forward to 'Patti-Poos' Smith, 'Peter-you-are-awesome' Broderick, Tindersticks, Savages, 'The lovely' Low Anthem and a whole host of others. How the organisers manage these great line ups is beyond me! You guys should have been in charge of the Olympics closing ceremony.

According to my records, this will be our fourth End of the Road pilgrimage. I'm hoping to make it down for the Thursday night for the first time but this will really test my festival toilet tolerance levels. Hey ho, all in the name of music. See you there?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Alt Post: Albert Einstein c 1950's

Before I give this music blog too many non music posts and too much of a tumblr feel, here's a photo that made me smile.

I found it on the excellent Retronaut website.  Highly recommend.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Jimmy Cliff: 'Guns of Brixton'

Love this version of 'Guns of Brixton' by Jimmy Cliff, the original of course by The Clash.

Comment on YouTube:
""You know he feels like Ivan, born under the Brixton sun, his game is called survivin', at the end of The Harder They Come." How fitting (and maybe invevitable?) that Jimmy Cliff would one day cover this song that makes reference to Cliff's legendary performance as Ivan in The Harder They Come. He must have been smiling inside when he sung that line." - livingintheflow

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble: ''Harlem Nocturne'

I stumbled across this excellent version of 'Harlem Nocturne' by New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble on my internet travels the other day. This is some dirty saxophone! Enjoy!

Anais Mitchell: 'Dyin' Day' Live on WUMB

I came across this performance of 'Dyin' Day' by Anais Mitchell for WUMB. This is one of my favourite songs off her latest album Young Man in America.

[Video link]
[Anais Mitchell Website]

Monday, 6 August 2012

Live: Anaïs Mitchell @ The Jericho Tavern (3/8/12)

I was first introduced to Anais Mitchell a couple of months ago via her latest album 'Young Man in America'. Her sweet voice and powerful lyrics caught my attention on an npr feature, I knew I had to hear a little more, and then had to book a ticket to see her play, and then I had to buy her album, and now I have to buy her back catalogue. Yep, she was good! Where a suprisingly high number of singers can't cut the mustard live, Anais was more than impressive, the kind of performance that reminds you that some artists are just on a different level.

Due to the small nature of the venue and her seemingly daring attempt to leave the stage and exit through the crowd, she was immediately back up there for a stirring rendition of Dylan's 'A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall'. What a song, what a voice, what a show!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Live Photos: Palma Violets @ The Jericho Tavern, Oxford (31/07/12)

Palma Violets were supporting Savages at The Jericho Tavern.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Live: Savages @ The Jericho Tavern, Oxford (31/07/12)

Moody, atmospheric, loud, post- punk, art house or to put it simply, a most excellent show. Highly recommend to fans of Joy Division and Patti Smith. Savages will be playing at The End of the Road festival in September and I'm guessing they are soon to be very busy and playing larger venues. Here's a link to more of their up coming concerts. Looking forward to hearing more material and seeing them live again. I'll be practising my Ian Curtis dance moves in anticipation.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


And suddenly it's almost August and we've moved to the shire and everything's different!

Hello! We've moved our home to Oxford and are enjoying the relative quiet of non-London life, well until the students arrive in September. There is a lovely little independent music store called Truck Store about a 10 minute leisurely walk from my front door, and an even closer O2 academy. Tonight I am off to The Jericho Tavern to see the punky Savages and Palma Violets play, and on Friday I have tickets to see the folky Anais Mitchell play at the same venue. 2 shows at very different ends of the musical spectrum!

So far we love this place!

Friday, 22 June 2012

'Just War' - Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse feat. Gruff Rhys

Love this video for Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse (feat. Gruff Rhys) for 'Just War'. It uses the Soviet anti-war film конфликт (conflict) by Garry Bardin, 1983. Great video, great song.

Edited, timed & remixed by Torrey Meeks.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Alt-J: Taro

This is a nice song.

The band is called Alt-J and they live and record in Cambridge, UK. I'm feeling quite happy right now because they've just been added to this years End of the Road festival line up and I've just bought my tickets (4th time!). Other new festival additions include ALT-J, CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN, GRAHAM COXON, GRAVENHURST, HORSE THIEF, HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF, KING CHARLES, PATRICK WATSON, SAVAGES, THE STEP KIDS, WOODS and ZACHARY CALE. Some names I recognise, some I'm going to need to familiarise myself with. Will definitely be aiming to see these guys.

(Footage is from the beautiful 1988 film "Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation.")

or there's this video version:

Artist: Alt-J
Song: Taro
Album: An Awesome Wave
Album Release Date: May 28th 2012

Monday, 18 June 2012

Moving house with Baba Brooks

Two posts in one day! Blimey!

So we're moving house and everything is a little chaotic. We're leaving London for the city of dreaming spires, Oxford. It's all change around here and I'm using the soothing ska- filled tones of Baba Brooks to help keep me sane as I pack yet another box. How did we get so many books? I have been selling some of our furniture via local forums and have met the strangest of people. It's been quite a time. I've also been stood up while selling a shelf for a fiver, this has to be up there as being one of the low points of the experience so far, that and the seemingly endless trail of potential home buyers treking to and fro through our living room. There are 2 here right now - it's OK, it's not my house, I don't have to do anything. Deep breaths,  here's Baba.

P.S. Wanna buy a sofa?

Artist: Oswald 'Baba' Brooks
Song: The Portrait of my Love
Year: 1963

Caitlin Rose

Confession time. I wasn't sold the first time I heard Caitlin Rose. I then saw her play live and still wasn't convinced, but now... at last, I finally get it! When did this happen I hear you ask? Somewhere in between peeling the carrots and pouring myself a glass of wine while listening to the repeat of her playing a session the BBC 6 Music Marc Riley show. Something clicked. Such a lovely voice on this session, and on this song in particular. It took me a while but I'm converted. Enjoy.

Artist: Caitlin Rose
Song: For the Rabbits
Album: Own Side Now
Album Release Date: August 9th, 2010

Monday, 14 May 2012

Clarksdale, Mississippi - 'Home I'll Never Be'

If you follow my twitter account, you might have seen that Mrchalky and I recently took a road trip from Baltimore to New Orleans. It was quite a long way (the equivalent to 1/10th of the circumference of the world) and we did it in just over 2 weeks. We drove through tornado ravaged towns, defunct coal communities, past cotton fields, old plantations, national parks, race courses, bourbon distilleries, swamps and even a baby bear and a squashed baby alligator.

As we passed from state to state, the music on the radio went something like this: Rap/R'n'B -> Bluegrass -> Bluegrass Gospel -> Country -> Rock'n'Roll ->Blues -> Jazz.

I got introduced to hot tamales and juke joints in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and the best margarita I've ever tasted in Kentucky. Indiana gave us a home for the night, as did our lovely friends in Blacksburg, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland. We stopped our car for a moment to figure out which part of West Virginia we were in, only for a woman to approach our window to ask us for our order for drinks and something for lunch. America! We saw Low play in the amazing Louiseville palace. We got inadvertintly sucked into Elvis's childhood home in Tupelo, Tennessee, and saw a lot of drunk people dancing in Nashville. We stopped off the Natchez trace in Alabama for a picnic and saw swimming snakes and 'disappearing' turtles. The trip ended up in Lousiana with more Jazz than you could shake a stick at, oysters at $3 a dozen, racer snakes and plenty of sneaky gators. I loved it all apart from the snakes.

Clarksdale, Mississippi was the music highlight of the trip, although a night in an uptown bar in New Orleans and of course, the Low concert ran close seconds. Clarksdale is a crazy place. By day, the town looks like nothing more than a fading homage to times past. Many of the shops and homes are boarded up with paint peeling everywhere, collapsed roofs, plants growing through the floor, that kind of thing. It has the feel of a place that everyone has just upped and left, and that is in part exactly what has happened. Many left in what is known as the The Great Migration to the north in search of greater economic opportunity during the 40's/50's. Mechanical cotton equipment replaced jobs and many other social problems made people want to leave in search of a better life. You can't fail to visit the Mississippi delta without getting one hell of a history lesson.

As far as musical history goes, Clarksdale is basically the home of the delta blues. Names such as Sam Cooke, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Johnny B. Moore, Ike Turner and Muddy Waters to name but a few, have all lived in Clarksdale. Ike Turner wrote 'Rocket 88' while staying at the Riverside Hotel (see photo below). This is considered by many to be the first rock'n'roll song. He also used to work at The New Roxy theatre back in the 40's (see photo below). There is really too much musical history to do it justice in this blog post.

By night, Clarksdale still has the delta blues pulsating through it's ramshackle looking juke joints. We ventured out to Red's juke joint for some Monday night blues having just missed a big weekend festival hosted all over the town. We were quite lucky because Monday night is usually a pretty quiet night, but Red's was putting on an evening in memory of their old friend, legend and regular performer, 'Big Jack Johnson'. Red's was about as laid back as you could get. You could help yourself to some bbq out the front, there was a guy dunking some kind of fish in a batter and then frying them in a tin of hot oil. The bar had a few bottles of beer you could buy, if you wanted hard liquor you had to bring your own. We sat near the back taking it all in. A guy sitting near our table was invited to pay his respects and join the band on stage. It just so happened he was another local bluesman. You just never knew who you were sitting next to. I caught the owner, Red, laying back on a couch right next to the stage while the band was playing, possibly the most chilled out person I've ever met. What a hero to be running a place like that. He's the kind of person you want to keep going for ever.

I could go on, but I'll save it for another time. I wanted to get something up on the blog to share with you the awesome experience that was Clarksdale, Mississippi. The town does have it's problems for sure, but getting a glimpse of it's history coupled with it's fantastic juke joints is something I would recommend any music fan to visit at some point in their life.


Riverside Hotel, Clarksdale in operation since 1944. Blues legend Bessie Smith died here in 1937. Ike Turner wrote Rocket '88 here. John F Kennedy Jr stayed here in 1991.(Read more)

Riverside Hotel - You can stay here.

Riverside Hotel

Riverside Hotel

Me playing my gee-tar in our shack in Clarksdale

Keen Clarksdale kitty visiting our shack

Flat Mississippi


New Roxy, Clarksdale

W.C. Handy Marker, Clarksdale

Wade Walton's Barber Shop - " Wade Walton was a unique individual having spent his entire life in Clarksdale, cutting hair and slapping out blues rhythms on his razor strap. A barber for 55 years Wade has probably known more blues performers and has performed for and with more blues performers than anybody else around the Clarksdale area." - Delta Musicians

Gritty Clarksdale

Former location of Sarah's Kitchen, Clarksdale

Nature taking back this empty shop building

Former Stackhouse Records, Clarksdale's most famous blues record shop, now defunct. Cat Head record shop took it over but also didn't make it. It looks like a boat and apparently it was one?

Typical collapsed roof in a shop in Clarksdale

Ground Zero Juke Joint - Morgan Freeman's club, Clarksdale.

Ground Zero, Clarksdale

Delta style Hot Tamales - So tasty.


TCB at Red's

TCB's bodyguard at Red's

Sunset at Clarksdale

Friday, 30 March 2012

M Ward @ The Leicester Square Theatre & 'A Wasteland Companion' Stream

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing M Ward play at the Leicester Square theatre in London. Anyone who has ever been there will know it's a pretty intimate venue so I always knew this was going to be a bit of an extra special opportunity to see the maestro at work.

Over the course of the show we were treated to a mixture of his classics mixed with a sprinkle of songs from his soon to be released album, A Wasteland Companion. No backing band meant fairly stripped down renditions of songs; 'Me and My Shadow' sounded almost like a different song compared to the album version. 'Poor Boy, Minor Key' sounded divine as did 'Helicopter' and the awesome looking 'Duet for Guitars #3' where he gets his fingers into the kind of shapes that would make many a guitarist weep.

As with all good shows, it was over too fast. I've seen M Ward play 3 times now and each time has been an absolute pleasure. I highly recommend you listen to his new album which is streaming for a limited time over on NPR.  I'll write more on that soon.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bill Withers - 'Grandma's Hands'

If there's one thing I'm certain of in this world it's this, Bill Withers sure can sing. Flicking through the TV channels on Saturday night, I stumbled across a BBC4 program called 'Bill Withers - In Concert', filmed for the BBC in 1974. I was just in time to hear him singing 'Grandma's hands' and to put it simply, his performance is nothing short of perfect. His voice is soothing and his talent effortless. What I would have given to have been in that audience.

You can see the full 'In Concert' on the BBC iplayer here. For those of you who are not in the UK, here's a clip of that performance of 'Grandma's Hands'. He starts singing at about 1 min 20 but his intro explaining the song is well worth a listen.

You can also watch the really lovely documentary about Bill Withers' life called 'Still Bill' here (that's another iplayer link, sorry non UK people).

Friday, 9 March 2012

'John Maus' Days

Watching John Maus perform a free show at Rough Trade East a few months back left me needing a lie down. Pacing around the stage like a crazed animal while repeatedly banging himself on the head, John's live show is pretty out there. A girl who I volunteer with has also seen him perform and this has led to us sometimes refering to crazy days in the office as 'John Maus' days.

Since that show, I have found myself going back to his 2011 album 'We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves' time and time again. His cover of Molly Nilsson's 'Hey Moon' really is quite something. Take a listen.

Song: Hey Moon
Album: We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
Date: 2011

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bonnie Tyler - 'Holding Out For A Hero'

I love how videos from the 80's knew no boundaries, especially Bonnie Tyler ones. If ever there was an appropriate time to use the word epic, this is it.

Artist: Bonnie Tyler
Title: Holding Out For A Hero
Year: 1984

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Alabama Shakes @ The Boston Arms (London) 24/02/12

Here are a few of my photos from The Alabama Shakes concert at the Boston Arms last Friday. I don't think I've stood in a crowd with that many smiley faces in forever, maybe I should make a point of listening to cheerier music more often.

My friend and I agreed that singer Brittany Howard sounded like she had swallowed Janis Joplin, she has an incredible voice, so very very talented.

So happy I went and excited to see what new songs they'll have to offer next time they're in town. What a great way to end my fairly long gig drought.

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