Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Simon & Garfunkel

I've recently slipped into a Simon & Garfunkel phase. I think I was rearranging my wardrobe and I had a sudden urge to put on Bookends, I blame my wooly cardigans. Any way it got me thinking about which of their songs I like the most and so I put together this list.

In no particular order:

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Flowers Never Bend in the Rainfall
Homeward Bound
Sound of Silence
I am a Rock
El Condor Pasa
A Hazy Shade of Winter
Bridge Over Troubled Water

I always feel that Elmo or Big Bird should have joined them in this video for Feelin' Groovy.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band - 'The Right One'


I like this! The Right One is the latest disco-tastic offering taken from The Phenomenal Handclap Band's new album, Form and Control, due out on February 13th.

NPR explains the background of the song here. Think Logan's Run.

[February and March tour dates]



Peter Broderick - http://itstartshear.com (spoiler alert! video feat. cute cats & ten pin bowling)


*UPDATE* -Hear the new album streaming over on the The Line of Best Fit website

The soothing tones of Peter Broderick will be caressing our ears once again with the release of his second album on February 20th. He's called it http://www.itstartshear.com and it will have a physical release even though the name of the album might suggest otherwise. Peter explains why on http://www.peterbroderick.net/:

"How do you feel about music downloading?


It is a common question addressed to musicians and one that I have been asked several times in interviews. My response has always been that it doesn’t bother me. It is unavoidable. And in the best case someone who downloads an album and likes it might consider buying it at some point, or they might come to a concert and buy it directly from me at the merchandise table.


What does bother me about downloading is how most of the time the listener doesn’t have access to the artwork and/or text that comes along with a physical copy. Perhaps for many people this doesn’t even matter, but personally I have always felt a great satisfaction from having an image and some words by the artist to accompany and enhance the sounds. To take in the full picture as the artist intended, which in my mind includes all the liner notes and artwork as well as the music .


So, http://www.itstartshear.com was designed simply to be a place where all listeners, no matter what format they obtain the music in, can easily access all the lyrics and notes and visuals which are meant go along with the songs. And as a title, http://www.itstartshear.com serves the music well by automatically becoming a link any time the album is written about. A link to the place where people can learn all about the album, directly from the source. A link that is the album."

What a good idea. Peter talks a lot of sense.

It Starts Here (the song) I find very relaxing, that is when I can manage to zone out of thinking about work every time I hear h-t-t-p colon slash slash... Peter might be the only musician who I can forgive for including such a lyric in a song. It helps that the video features cats, throwing stones in rivers and ten pin bowling which pretty much describes my perfect kind of day. Very much looking forward to hearing the whole album.

[http://www.peterbroderick.net/]

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Nick Mulvey - 'The Trellis'

If you ever want to hear beautiful guitar music, I can't recommend Nick Mulvey highly enough, the guy is so talented. Check out this interview I did with him a few years back.

Nick has been playing with the London based modern jazz group, Portico Quartet, and is now focusing on his solo career. Thanks to the thelittlestmojo.com for pointing out this lovely song of his called The Trellis.

Everyone should see this guy play at least once, amazing.





[The Trellis]

'Copper Blue' 20 years on

On hearing the news that Sugar will be performing Copper Blue in it's entirety at the San Francisco's noise pop festival next month, I just had to find my copy and give it a whirl. It's been 20 years since the album was released hence the special show and hopefully an International tour of the special show (please??). I still have my brother's CD copy but I think it's high time I committed this album to my vinyl collection.

Copper Blue is an excellent example of an album in the original definition. It flows. It works. There's a special driving timeless energy that I find so refreshing every time I listen. I used to find a similar quality in some of the early REM albums such as Automatic for the People and Out of Time. If I had to take one or two songs off the album and put them in a play list they would still sound good, but if you listen to them as an album they somehow hold more power. It's almost as if you have to go to planet 'Copper Blue' to get the full experience. Instead of just having one or two great tracks as a lot of albums only seem to have these days, there's an overall standard carefully crafted into every track on this album. From the spine tingling chord changes of Hoover Dam (my favourite), to the feel good groove (and tribute to the Pixies) of A Good Idea, Copper Blue is crammed full of so many little intricacies, subtleties and layers and yet it can still sound so simple.

I really hope to be able to see this show.

Monday, 16 January 2012

'In this World'




[Listen here]

Friday, 13 January 2012

London Short Film Festival - 'Severed Dreams' & 'I Don't Have A Lot To Say'

Here is a lovely little short film about a imaginary robot friend. Directed by Ian Bucknole, it's the official video for Severed Dreams taken from the album Shoulder to the Wheel by Ruarri Joseph.

I saw this short yesterday evening at the Roxy Bar and Screen as part of the London Short Film Festival. Among a good three hours of high quality shorts they also showed the new Esben and the Witch video for Marching Song. The video features all the band members staring intently into the camera while become gradually more bruised and dishevelled looking. It's pretty gruesome stuff and fits the intensity of the music to a tee (T?). Other favourites included the incredibly complex Szofita Land by Szofita and the cute (and somewhat vicious) animated forest creatures of I Don't Have A Lot To Say directed by my friend Tony Johnson.

The London Short Film Festival comes to a close on January 15th.




Dear Royal Festival Hall...

...I think you're awesome.

I like to use this place to write. I love the sense of space and they also do a mean hot chocolate and amazing concerts (sometimes free), what more could you want? I think I might have accidentally moved in.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

'Wuthering Heights' - Why does Kate Bush sing "Heathcliff" in that way?

A had an interesting conversation about music with a lady in my office the other day and I've been thinking about it ever since. It all started with her asking me whether I'd read Wuthering Heights. I replied "Yes, which is more than can be said for Kate Bush when she wrote her hit song." This led to the inevitable comical renditions of the song and then onto a conversation about Kate Bush's pronunciation of "Heathcliff" or as she sings it, "Heath-Cleef".

The lady said that when she used to take classical singing lessons her teacher would encourage her to sing her i's so they sounded more like ee's. She said the i in Heathcliff is sung as more of an ee because it sounds better, i's are better avoided if possible because they don't sound as good when sung. This does sort of make sense and is the only plausable explanation I've heard so far for Kate's pronunciation but I can't find anything about it anywhere on the internet. Can anyone verify this?

In the meantime, here's Kate in that red dress singing her 1978 classic. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Baby Huey - 'Hard Times'

Baby Huey, your song Hard Times breaks my heart. You sound so worldly and yet you were dead by 26.

Hard Times is from his only album, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend. It was released in 1971, a year after he suffered a fatal heart attack.

This song still sounds so fresh, sometimes it's hard to believe it's 41 years old. 


Colin Stetson

Colin Stetson is a genius and I love this Take Away show he did at the beginning of last year. If you're looking for a cheerful little jazzy number then you've come to wrong place. This is hardcore extreme bass saxophone that is especially amazing just after about 3 mins in and builds and builds all the way to the end by which point he looks as wrecked from playing it as I felt from watching it. I actually forgot to breathe. Eat his shorts Lisa Simpson.


Colin Stetson is also responsible for this biting cover of gospel blues guitar legend Blind Willie Johnson's Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes which features on his 2011 album New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond is on vocals. It's serious stuff and a lot smoother in comparison to Blind Willie's much grittier original version. I like them both although after just hearing Colin Stetson's version, Blind Willie's makes me feel somewhat less like crying but just as moved. Make sense?



[http://colinstetson.com/]

Coachella 2012: Are you going?

Coachella, a festival I dutifully mention on here every year but have never actually attended. I guess there are two main reasons for this, I'm not good with intense heat (it's located in the Californian desert), and at $285 for a weekend ticket (plus flights from London and food etc), I'd struggle to justify the cost.

There's also the added quandary of buying tickets for a festival before any of the acts are announced, it's just not something I like doing and especially at that price. It feels a bit like an expensive lucky dip but if you don't do it you run the risk of not being able to get a ticket in the mad rush once the acts have finally been announced, as is happening this week.

Having said all that, the Coachella line up is usually pretty good with this year being no exception. M83, Jeff Mangum, St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Beirut, Metronomy, M WardPulp are just some of the many acts playing I'd love to see. Also, At The Drive-In and Refused have just announced they have reformed and will be playing.

Maybe if I can have my own personal climate bubble to move around in I could go one year, until then I'll just stick to the temperature I function at best, well below 100F.

The last batch of tickets go on sale for the two Coachella weekends this Friday. For more details read here and check out the Coachella Website if you can get on it, it's been down every time I've tried today.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Abbey Road Live Webcam

[Thanks to LargeHeartedBoy for bringing this to my attention.]

This is quite entertaining.

If you're a hardcore fan of The Beatles and have ever visited/lived in London, there's a good chance you'll have convinced a friend to take your photo walking over the pedestrian crossing outside Abbey Road Studios.

Fans re-enacting the front cover of The Beatles' 11th album, Abbey Road, (and risking their lives) happens without fail on a very regular basis. To see what I mean take a look at this live webcam on the Abbey Road studios website. I've spotted loads of people doing 'the walk' in the space of just 5 mins. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to live and drive around there!

Music fans eh?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Musicians Guide to Google +

I've been reading a few 'Guides To...' over the past couple of days including one calledThe Musicians Guide to Google + on musicthinktank.com.

I signed up to Google + a while ago and in all honesty hadn't really found much of a use for it until a few days ago when I googled my own name. Now usually I'm googling myself to make sure no-one is doing anything untoward with my identity and I also like to check up on what my namesakes are doing in the world (any one else do this?). On this occasion my Google + profile popped up as the #1 result ahead of the Brighton based dog photographer, the nurse, the doctor, the ceramist, my Linkedin profile and a photo I took of some heather in North Wales that made it to the BBC News website 5 years ago. Google +, for the moment, seems to push you to the top of the results list which is great if that is where you want to be. The Musicians Guide to Google + highlights this point along with a few other useful ideas such as the 'Band Pages' functionality and suggestions on how to use 'Circles'.

The long and short of it is, if you're a musician/band you will always need publicity. I recommend you read this article, get yourself an account and set up a band page even if that's all you do with it.

[Read the article here]


[Source: Largeheartedboy ]

Father John Misty & Phosphorescent - 'I Would Love You'

There's a great little track called I Would Love You by Father John Misty & Phosphorescent over on the Aquarium Drunkard site.

Father John Misty is otherwise known as J. Tillman, the drummer from the Fleet Foxes. The reverend will apparently be releasing his very own album in May on Sub-Pop.



You can also see some photos of the rev and Matthew Houck recording this song along with the lyrics and other bits and bobs here.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Roy Orbison: 23/04/36 – 06/12/88

Last month Roy Orbisons' widow, Barbara Orbison, died on the 23rd anniversary of the star's death. Reading about it prompted me to re-visit my Roy Orbison collection reminding me of just how great his music is.

You Got It is from his 1989 album Mystery Girl and reached number 3 in the UK heralding quite a come back for Roy after a 24 year hiatus from the charts. Sadly he had already died of a heart attack in December of the previous year, he was just 52. He only performed the song live once at the Diamond Awards Festival in Antwerp, Belgium. He was dead just a few days later. Such a shame. Here's the video.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Cant - 'Dreams Come True'

Cant is basically Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear) releasing his solo material on his own label, Terrible Records (that would have made a great record label name spin off for this website but I guess they beat me to it!)

Cant released Dreams Come True back in September last year and Too Late, Too Far is by far one of my favourite tracks on the record.


Listen here. (2 min onwards is simply delicious).

Vinyl Revival

ohhhhh, I meant to remind you of 6 Music's all day vinyl revival. They're only playing vinyl all day today. Most radio stations phased out the use of vinyl records in favour of CDs in the early 1990s. This retro knees up is currently sound checking my kitchen and my garden as I let the smell of bacon out of our house.

Happy New Year! 

 
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