Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Kinks

1966

Thirty Days of Sun # 19 Rockers Revenge




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 206 Jimi Hendrix


Song(s) of the Day # 1,614 Oh Mercy


They don't write them like they used to. But of course they do, if you care enough to look. Here for example. Café Oblivion, the finely titled, (people haven't gone to cafes seeking oblivion since the Existential set on the Left Bank have they?), the fifth album from Melbourne's Oh Mercy which came out earlier this year. They're a band that seem to have little or no profile over here which seems plain wrong.

Oh Mercy is essentially the project of a fellow called Alexander Gow who seems to have a fascination both lyrically and melodically for specific six-stringed aspects of the Eighties. Over the course of Café Oblivion I found myself minded at various points of Mike Scott, Matt Johnson, Roddy Frame and Grant McLennan. Fondly.



I chanced upon Gow and Oh Mercy through the Mr Jeremy Dylan - My Favourite Album Podcast listed on the right hand side of this page. There Gow sings the praises of Liberty Belle & the Black Diamond Express, the fourth album by his Australian counterparts The Go Betweens which came out in 1986. It's well worth a listen as a fascinating illustration of how a formative influence can provide the gateway for artistic birth and growth.

Café Oblivion is well worth a listen too. Gow and Oh Mercy have a lot of Go Betweens' spirit going for them. Literate, thoughtful, romantic, informed by books, films, art and life. They're a real find. Australia comes up with another musical boundary. Read a fascinating track by track account of the new record here, and then make a point of getting to know it better for yourself and then perhaps venture further into their back catalogue. That's my plan anyhow.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Songs About People # 638 Harvey Haddix


Baseball lore from The Baseball Project. Harvey Haddix, famous for pitching a near-perfect game for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1959.


Protomartyr - Consolation


More maximum heaviosity from Protomartyr who won It Starts With a Birthstone's nod for album of the year in 2017 with the remarkable Relatives in Descent. Now they're back with more wry missives from the abyss of despair, accompanied by Kelley Deal on the splendidly morose four-track Consolation E.P. 


Thirty Days of Sun # 18 The Doors




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 207 The Byrds


Song of the Day # 1,613 Clay Hips


A rather lovely offering along the Sufjan way of doing things from Clay Hips from a duo who have made their way from the Bay Area and now live in live in Germany and Finland respectively. This comes from their debut album Happily Ever After, just out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Songs About People # 637 Jenny Agutter


Jenny Agutter is an actress who means something quite specific of course to a certain generation of boys who grew up in the Seventies. As Swansea band Superczar know only too well. Even if they wilfully mis-stress her surname.


Thirty Days of Sun # 17 Ultra Vivid Scene










The Heart of Rock and Soul # 208 Bob Dylan


You get a live version from 1978 due to the lack of availability of the single version.

Song of the Day # 1,612 Interpol


I saw Interpol, way back in 2001, in New York City playing with The Walkmen. I was highly unimpressed, they struck me as a Joy Division cover band which I didn't see any need for and I . pretty much dismissed them. The Walkmen meanwhile were just splendid.

Almost twenty years on I've come to reconsider. Joy Division is pretty much an irrelevant comparison point at this point. Interpol have earned their right to their own space. They deserve respect just for still being standing at this point in time and still having something to say. And this, from a forthcoming album, has all their trademark menace and dread.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Khadhja Bonet - Childqueen


One of the more interesting records of 2016 was The Visitor, the debut album of LA based musician Khadhja Bonet. Very much rooted in the Soul sound of the early Seventies at its most extravagant, think of Minnie Ripperton's Les Fleurs, Isaac Hayes's Hot Buttered Soul or the gorgeous orchestral swirl of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, while borrowing freely from the fertile imaginations of the likes of George Clinton and Sun Ra, it was a luxuriant re-imagining of the past, a waking dream. 

In her self-penned biography, Bonet wrote of herself: 'Kad-Ya was born in the backseat of a sea-foam green space pinto. After spending an extraordinary long time in her mother's plasma, she discovered the joys and gratifications of making noise with her hands and face while travelling at maximum velocity through intergalactic quadrants.' There's no real answer to this, but you have to at the very least respect its chutzpah and the music very much lived up to its hype. It was a glorious, technicolor Cosmic Soul statement. There was nobody else around attempting quite what Bonet was aiming for here.


Two years on and Bonet's new record Childqueen consolidates and enhances the achievements of The Visitor. It's another gorgeous, multi-faceted and deeply layered record, entirely self-written, played and produced. Like bathing in milk or sleeping in silk sheets, it's a perfectly realised vision, like watching time-lapse film of petals opening, fruit ripening and raindrops plopping on enlarged images of flowers. A special album indeed!


Thirty Days of Sun # 18 Primal Scream




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 209 Wilson Pickett


Song of the Day # 1,611 Cape Weather


Wistful and regretful from LA duo Cape Weather.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thirty Days of Sun # 17 Neil Young




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 210 Edwin Starr


Song of the Day # 1,610 Ex-Void


Two former members of Joanna Gruesome come together to form a band called after after Black Sabbath's Into the Void and The Raincoats The Void. It's as good a description of their sound and intention as you could want and these three songs are the band's first fruit.


Heavy and sweet all at once. Short and to the point, taking ingredients from Punk, New Wave and Grunge in equal measure, they're sure to be someone's favourite new band.



Saturday, June 16, 2018

John Cooper Clarke


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Down


Hope Downs, the debut album from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever out yesterday from Sub Pop, a record I had no little anticipation for and one that didn't disappoint me in any respect. The Melbourne band have been showered with critical garlands over the past couple of years with their two splendid EPs laying the groundwork for this, surely as good a guitar album as anyone will put out this year.


The record sparkles in a remarkable way that will remind those of a certain age of those of their youth, the songs and albums that made you fall in love with this stuff in the first place. The band are well aware of this themselves, commenting on the amount of 'grey hairs' that tend to attend their gigs. There's good reason for this as their songs are distinctly reminiscent of a fabled lineage of bands, The Go Betweens most obviously, but also Flying Nun bands The Clean and The Bats and the still thrilling guitar play of Television. They had Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd while Rolling Blackouts go for a three pronged attack both in terms of guitars and songwriters and lead vocalists.


There's a restless spirit and forward momentum from first to last. Also a determined positivity which is wonderful to hear in these most troubled of times. The record comes racing out of the traps and never once lets up, ten tracks of small characters on a vast landscape, quite clearly an Australian album that evokes sky, sand sea and outback like the best Triffids and Go Betweens records. The band themselves give an apt description of their sound and approach as 'tough pop - soft punk', they're Indie but more expansive and in some ways more ambitious than their immediate peers


It's a record that just invites you to come back to it again and again. Lyrically flowing and continually interesting, picking up the baton from McLennan and Forster and running freely with it. So while this is not necessarily anything new, there's so much invention with familiar ingredients, Hope Down is an album of eternal return and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever a band of current wonder and future promise.



Nick Knox 1958-2018


Thirty Days of Sun # 16 Allah Las




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 211 The Diamonds


Song of the Day # 1,609 Loose Tooth


Australian Milk! Records signings and support band on Courtney Barnett's recently completed European tour. And here's their new single ahead of their third album Keep Up which is due in August. And it's a cracker. A tune that will be firmly in your head by the end of the song and a wonderful promo video where the band take their turn on every form of transport possibly imaginable. Fun!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Courtney Barnett in Luxembourg


C-18



In honour of the glorious debut album from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, released today (to be reviewed in time), here's a new playlist. The thought behind it is how much wonderful old school indie guitar records I've been hearing recently. It feels, to my middle aged ears, like some kind of rebirth of the Eighties records that I first fell in love with, but these are new and beautifully fresh sounding records that have all come out in the last eighteen months. So you get Korea's Say Sue Me, Canada's Alvvays, New Zealand's Salad Boys, Sweden's Holy Now, England's Orielles and Goat Girl, America's Holy Tunics and Lawn, and Australia's Goon Sax and Flowertruck. And plenty more. Much better played that the original C-86 stuff it has to be said!

Thirty Days of Sun # 15 Stevie Wonder




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 212 Double Dee & Steinski


Song of the Day # 1,608 Christine & the Queens


Christine & the Queens made considerable waves a couple of years back with their, (or probably more accurately her), debut album Chaleur Humaine. The record didn't really do it for me at the time as I didn't really go for the very Eighties feel of the music and imagery. Janet Jackson came very strongly to mind.

Two years later and things have changed. Probably I have. The wonderful new Natalie Prass album is definitely allowing me to re-experience the joys of Janet Jackson. And Christine & the Queens new song Girlfriend sounds, and looks, (on the state of the art video posted here, somewhere between West Side Story and Michael Jackson), pretty great. Perhaps its time for me to re-investigate Chaleur Humaine.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Songs About People # 636 Lev Yashin


And in another nod to The World Cup whose opening ceremony is just commencing in Moscow, here's a rather odd song devoted to the legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin.


Parquet Courts - Total Football


The World Cup starts today and it seems only appropriate to include the promo for Parquet Courts wonderful Total Football which focuses on the glorious, iconic related culture of Panini stickers. Highlighting the lyrics of the song of which A.Savage is probably justly proud. The Nineteen Seventies Dutch football team set up as an archetype of collective-based freedom set up against American individualist corporate, political and sporting power-structures. The USA, unusually didn't make it to the finals this time but here is a worthy contribution that manages to namecheck Hesse, Twombly Tzara, Mina, Dada and Beatles. Respect. Here also is a clip to illustrate what they are talking about.



Thirty Days of Sun # 14 Sonic Youth




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 213 Gene Chandler


Song of the Day # 1,607 Estrons


Punky, spirited, Welsh and new.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Songs About People # 635 Hulk Hogan


The last of this little Ash mini-series.


Thirty Days of Sun # 13 Felt




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 214 The Four Seasons


Song(s) of the Day # 1,606 The Saxophones


Married American couple The Saxophones' debut album Songs of the Saxaphones is structured around the centrally defining conceit that we are all living in the Fifties still. While the spell holds the record is deeply affecting, imposing an aura of calm equilibrium for me at least yesterday at work as the clock ticked towards lunchtime.


Recorded over ten days in Portland, Oregon and drawing on Exotica of artists from that remote decade like Martin Denny and Buddy Ho and all kinds of cool jazz, the record is sparsely orchestrated and all the more effective for it. Alexi Erenkov's voice has the faintest lilt of Tim Hardin's haunted moan and it contributes to a mood that's almost stillness itself.


There's flute, synthesiser and the sparsest drum and bass work imaginable. But very little of it. Less is more though in this case, and this is a record to turn to for particular moments when calm is required, and provides graceful and much-appreciated relief from whatever passes as 'reality' nowadays.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Songs About People # 634 Henrii de Toulouse Lautrec


Second of the Ash mini-series. An early b-side, very much in Nirvana mode. Always a prime influence on the band.


Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 299 Swervedriver


Swervedriver make it onto the jukebox at Rosie's. And not before time!




Thirty Days of Sun # 12 Family




The Heart of Rock and Soul # 215 The Stylistics


Song of the Day # 1,605 Snail Mail


Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan is operating in a crowded field. There are no end of emotive, young female singer-songwriters crowding in on the Indie scene nowadays and it's pretty difficult to make yourself heard above the clamor of  rather similar sounding records.

Nevertheless, Snail Mail are getting no end of attention for their debut album Lush. Pitchfork love it of course. There's nothing that floats their boat as entirely as this kind of lovelorn, plaintive Indie strumming. Fitting very well within the lineage of rather glum American artists, both male and female. File between the Replacements, Chastity Belt and Waxahatchee. Snail Mail more than hold their own. It's a fine, if slightly familiar album. Here's one excellent and sparky track!