Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Songs Heard on the Radio # 240 Marianne Faithfull


Songs About People # 531 Edgar Allen Poe

From Lou's full on 2003 Poe tribute The Raven. Edgar Allen Poe kicks in at 3:21.

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 362 Percy Sledge

Song(s) of the Day # 1,458 Curls

The wonderful Christopher Owens, formerly of Girls, returned late last year with a new band a four song EP called Vante. He's gone from Girls to Curls and bases himself on Haight Ashbury,San Francisco. One of the very few stars we have, and that's not measured in status but talent and allure, these songs don't yet capture the staggering impact of the last Girls album 2011's Father, Son, Holy Ghost but they do auger well for whatever comes next for Curls.

Gentle & Kind, joins the dots between Lennon, Chilton, Parsons and Nilsson, Owens strength is not just his knowledge of this stuff but his skill at re-crafting it, his ability to emote like it's still 1972. Emotion is slightly too shameless in lifting the riff and swing of Sweet Jane for its chassis for my liking. Nevertheless, Owens remains one that needs to be watched!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 262 Lindisfarne

The jukebox at Rosie's at its best is a communal place and it was just that at the end of last night as regulars gathered at the end of the buskers session. The brothers Stu and Neil turned up late and this is a favourite of Stu's. A local song, as Lindisfarne are a Newcastle band, and frankly it sounded great!

Songs About People # 530 Salome

The bad girl of The New Testament dances for Pete Doherty.

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 363 The Chairman of the Board

Song(s) of the Day # 1,457 Milk Teddy

Yet another Melbourne guitar band. Right now you get the impression that they're coming out of the taps. This, Sweet Bells Jangled from their 'fashionably late' second album from last year Time Catches Up With Milk Teddy, does indeed jangle sweetly, somewhere in the imaginary space between Teenage Fanclub and The Shins. The whole album is worthy of exploration.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 364 Prince

No direct access to Delirious, the song chosen in this slot, but here's a link to him playing the song.

Song(s) of the Day # 1,456 Posse

Seattle three-piece who've been recording and playing live since 2004. These two tracks come from last year and reported to be their last together. If so they're fine examples of how to go out at the very top of your game. There's an exploratory wonder and guile here that Patti herself or Sonic Youth would doff their caps to.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Nap Eyes - Thought Rock Fish Scale

Lest we forget. Hearing that new Nap Eyes material encouraged me to revisit their glorious previous release Thought Rock Fish Scale. Here's what I wrote about that at the tail end of 2016.

Albums of the Year # 9 Nap Eyes

Second portion of Nap Eyes today. Their two albums, from the last two years Whine of the Mystic and Thought Rock Fish Scale are really companion pieces. Fluid and free form within the confines of Indie Guitar music, they're a delight.


Mid to late Velvet Underground are the key influence here but Nap Eyes channel it cleverly in their own direction and it sounds very much a 2016 record. Slackers, but quietly confident ones.

Nap Eyes

Halifax, Nova Scotia's Nap Eyes, have new material forthcoming. Keepers of a sacred flame their first two records were stoner classics. And here's a wonderful taster for their  new album, I'm Bad Now, due in March. They do that loose limbed, late sixties/ early seventies, Sterling Morrison, Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman thing better than any band I know of on the planet at the moment. But this is no dewey eyed nostalgia exercise. These boys are classicists. An early marker is laid for 2018!

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 365 Jerry Butler

Song of the Day # 1,455 Alien Stadium

Steve Mason, (Beta Band) and Martin Duffy, (Primal Scream, Felt, Charlatans), combine on a gloriously 'out there' four track EP called 'Livin' in Elizabethan' Times'. Here's one moment from it.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 366 Sam Cooke

Song of the Day # 1,454 Courtney Marie Andrews

One fine album I neglected in the stampede last year was the self-titled debut album from American Singer Songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews. I can make amends early in 2018 with this taster from her second which is coming up the pike. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dexys Midnight Runners -1980

Songs About People # 529 Samuel L. Jackson

Still fuming no doubt about not getting that Oscar for Pulp Fiction. And he was right!

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 367 Johnnie Taylor

Song of the Day # 1,453 The Vertebrats

There's nothing that the sad likes of me relishes more than unearthing a largely forgotten classic such as this. The Vertebrats were a Garage / Punk band, active in the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois region between 1979 and 1982. This song, Left in the Dark was covered over the years by The Replacements, Uncle Tupelo and Courtney Love. It has a special, dark energy, full of the snarling invective of the very best of the Nuggets band upgraded for the following decade.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Crystal Stilts

To honour Crystal Stilts further here's a Song(s) of the Day post for them a couple of years back. No sign of band activity on their front for a while but I very much hope they return eventually:

I'm a bit late on the case with this one but Crystal Stilts are my new current, favourite band. Not particularly active at the moment, their last single came out a couple of years ago, but I'm presently immersing myself in their records and particularly their last two albums, 2013's Nature Noir and 2011's In Love With Oblivion.

Brooklyn based, active in some form for over ten years, and very much a New York band in terms of sensibility though their two main members, singer Brad Hargett and guitarist JB Townsend hail originally from Florida, they draw on the heritage of driven, murky, melodic alternative guitar bands from the last fifty years, very much record collection rock, but with time their mix of sounds and feel becomes more distinctive and original, more and more their own voice.

I seem to be swimming against the tide here. They're receiving less attention rather than more with every successive release, as from my perspective, they get better and better. Nature Noir for example seemed to garner very little media attention or acclaim, even though it's a very fine record. The Velvet Underground is the clear start off point, but there' are also traces of those who picked up the baton from the Velvets years down the line, The Fall of Dragnet, The Blue Orchids, the Flying Nun bands, particularly The Clean, and also, as an aside, the mid-sixties garage bands, Aftermath period The Stones and 13th Floor Elevators.

Perhaps they're one of those bands whose reputation will build with time, as happened with many of those listed above, I certainly hope so. They have a dark, but inventive melodicism and lyrical focus that seems to touch on art, literature and the subconscious in the way that The Velvet Underground & Nico, Marquee Moon, The Modern Dance and Dragnet did. Listening to them is somewhat akin to being present at a seance among good friends all dressed in black and wearing shades.

It's difficult to make your voice heard playing this stuff nowadays, so prevalent is this psych sound that draws in turns from the decades that preceded it and walls the listener in with immersive, strangely familiar noise. I hope Crystal Stilts have more strings to their bow although I'm very happy just to have stumbled upon what they've put out up to date, I imagine they have.

Twelve Songs by Bands That Are Named After That Band # 12 Crystal Stilts

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 369 The Robins

Song(s) of the Day # 1,451 Robert Lester Folsom

Seventies singer songwriter from Georgia whose only album, Music & Dreams came out to general indifference in 1978 but was reissued in 2010 by Mexican Summer to greater public attention. It's an oddly deceptive record, on the surface generic, mainstream and unremarkable but on closer inspection containing a few very interesting tracks that lean closer to Todd Rundgren and great lost enigma Jim Sullivan than Bread and The Eagles 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Songs About People # 528 Emmylou Harris

It was Gram yesterday so it might as well be Emmylou today. From First Aid Kit who are returning soon with a new record. This is from 2012's The Lion's Roar.

Twelve Songs by Bands That Are Named After That Band # 11 Myslovitz

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 370 War

Song of the Day # 1,450 Seazoo

Wrexham's Seazoo have their debut album due at the end of January 2018. Judging by this taster it should be well worth listening out for. It serves to illustrate all that is best in leftfield Welsh pop.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Songs About People # 527 Gram Parsons

Something I didn't know until today. Gram was short for Ingram. Here's a song for him which manages, (quite skillfully), to integrate a namecheck to Guided Palace Of Sin alongside some slightly dodgier wordplay.

Twelve Songs by Bands That Are Named After That Band # 10 Warpaint

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 371 Del Shannon

Song of the Day # 1,449 Brona McVittie

Here's something beautiful and new for 2018. Brona McVittie is an Irish musician who has just returned home after spending some time in London. This comes from her debut album We Are The Wildlife, which came out on Friday. Wonderfully embroidered folk and electronica, it reminds you that spring is only just around the corner.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Songs About People # 526 John Paul Getty

Back in the news and not in a way that he would like as the anti-hero in Ridley Scott's new film, All The Money In The World. Here's a track about him by Jackie Leven.

Twelve Songs by Bands That Are Named After That Band # 9 The Monochrome Set

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 372 Guns N Roses

Song of the Day # 1,448 Saba Lou

From the seventeen year old daughter of King Khan and her debut album from last year Planet Enigma. It's a must hear record, as simple as it could possibly be, drawing on all kinds of goodness, Lee & Nancy, Mo Tucker fronted Velvet Underground, Sixties Girl Groups, Jonathan Richman, Moldy Peaches, Cat Power. She's been doing this for quite a while since she was kissed as a baby by Iggy Pop and made her first recordings when she was only six so it should come as no surprise that the record is so good. It's as unadorned and pure as you could ever want, just Saba Lou and acoustic guitars with the occasional backing vocal from dad or the most minimal of studio effects. Nine originals and a deeply haunting version of Nature Boy. Recorded at her father's studio in Berlin between 2016 and 2017, it's a classic example of Rock and Roll naivety, and why sometimes it's best when things are stripped to the absolute bare essentials!

Friday, January 5, 2018

?, Gerard Malanga & Andy Warhol

Twelve Songs by Bands That Are Named After That Band # 8 Talulah Gosh

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 373 Little Willie John

Songs About People # 525 Lloyd Cole

Speaking of Lloyd Cole. This, quite beautiful indie song by Camera Obscura, (the very best of them really do take flight), namechecks Lloyd and the Commotions' classic Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken.

Song of the Day # 1,447 Pale Lights

New York's Pale Lights sound a lot like Lloyd Cole & the Commotions. And I mean a lot, not a little bit. The guitars, the vocals, the lyrics, the way the songs ebb and flow. In fact the resemblance is so complete and inescapable that it's rather difficult to know how to take it. But I happen to very much like Lloyd Cole & the Commotions. So here's the lead song from their latest album, The Stars Seemed Brighter.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Songs About People # 524 The Queen of Sheba

From Nick Lowe's quite splendid 1982 album Nick The Knife.

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 261 Wreckless Eric

Nice bit of Wreckless Eric for my first trip to Rosie's for the New Year.

Twelve Songs by Bands That Are Named After That Band # 7 Canned Heat

The Heart of Rock and Soul # 374 The Danleers

Song of the Day # 1,446 Crepes

Pleasant. There's no doubt at all that what Melbourne band, (seriously, another Melbourne band...) Crepes serve up on their debut album Channel Four can be fairly described as pleasant. The cover shot of the band looking down at the camera from a balcony is probably an indication of formative influences and they produce an assured, consistent sounding record without burning any bridges. Still, pleasant is good, and gets them a Song of the Day.