Friday, May 20, 2022

Lawn - Down


More terrific product from Lawn, the New Orleans duo a band who have been one of my favourite bands of recent years. This song, Down explains why/ Prerhaps a third album is coming. We can but hope.

Cola - Deep in View


It's delightful to see the return of Toronto's Ought in new skin. Two of that band are back from Ought's disolution a couple of years back as Cola, and debut album Deep In View is just out. 

In retrospect Ought were ahead of the curve. Now just about every young indie chancer who picks up a guitar is in some kind of Post Punk, but when Ought set off in 2014 that kind of attitude was a great deal less commonplace.

Cola's sound is pretty much a continuation of what we became used to with Ought. Tim Darcy has a voice that's recognisably 1979, not a million miles away from Ian Curtis in its glum austerity. As close contemporaries, think Protomartyr or Omni.

Meanwhile the sheet guitar sound is appropriately monochrome. This is an album which doesn't surprise enormously perhaps, but it certtainly ticks the boxes that Ought customarily ticked.

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 15 The Revolutionaries


The Enduring Saga of The Smiths # 24 The Smiths


Strangeways is recorded and the Morrissey Marr relationship comes apart.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 638 Eminem - The Eminem Show


Song of the Day # 3,033 Michael Rault


AOR Seenties radio with high production values.But from the here and now.  A sound that seems quite commonplace these days. Can't say I mind a bit of it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Songs About People # 1,343 Benicio Del Toro


Song for one of the coolest actors of all. 

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 13 Giorgio


The Enduring Saga of The Smiths # 22 The Smiths


The Smiths become something of a cultural juggernaut between The Queen is Dead and Strangeways.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 640 Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory


Song(s) of the Day # 3,031 Best Bets


Crunchy, glad to be alive from New Zealand band Best Bets know exactly what they're doing .Debut album On An Unhistoric Night has been a long time coming with the band drip feeding songs for over four years now but is well worth the wait.

In love with the sound of the guitar, there's an immediate, frantic, punky wonder to every song here. Something of Black Lips nous transposed to the Antipodes. Fabulous record.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 499 Dion


Pure and simply a beautiful song to listen to with a pint in your hand looking out the window of The Newcastle Arms on a lovely sunny day.

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 12 Generation X


The Enduring Saga of The Smiths # 21 The Smiths


The Smiths become a genuinely commercial proposition both in the UK and the US. They start to talk to EMI.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 641 Beach House - Depression Cherry


Song(s) of the Day # 3,030 Modal Melodies


Australian duo release eponymous old school Synth record. Austere, pulse. With plenty of the rather po faced approach of British bands of the early Eighties. OMD, Ultravox, Depeche Mode and the like come to mind but the glassy female vocals make this somewhat more likeable.

It's the replicant vocals that make this work. There are echoes of Trish Keenan here and that always works for me. They keep straight faces here. You know what you're getting after a couple of tracks and it flows like a high speed train on rails.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Kevin Morby - This is a Photograph


Kevin Morby has a tendency to release too many records. In an age where a two to three year gap between the release of albums is deemed the decent thing to do, his indecent haste means that he's possibly not given due for the consistent excellence of what he does put out.

I confess, I haven't listened to everything he's done since 2016's Singing Saw, the quite wonderful album of his that first came to my notice. There's just been too much of it. Too many slight but distinct changes of direction and perspective. Everything I've heard has been good but somehow the sheer amount of it has sometimes been difficult to absorb and appreciate.

But I have given his latest This is a Photograph a few listens since it came out last Friday, and I like it very much. Inspired here it seems by a heart attack his father experienced ay the beginning of Covid and Lockdown, (fortunately he pulled through), Morby is pulling out all the stops.

To do what exactly? To make a big statement it seems. About the life experience itself and our journey through it and its joys and pains, its highs and lows, and doing all we can to savour and enjoy it. Morby is first and foremost a Dylan inspired artist but he casts his net much wider this time.

There are duets with female collaborators, most notably Erin Rae as well as his own partner Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield. Child choirs, I'm always a sucker for those. All played out over wonderfully judged rootsy Americana campfire musical settings, Morby is remarkably only 34, but he's always had wisdom far beyond his years. On This is a Photograph he comes across as a past master.

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 11 Iggy Pop


The Enduring Saga of The Smiths # 20 The Smiths


The most painful section of the book. Andy Rourke's heroin addiction escalates and is finally notuced by Morrissey. Jourke is ejected, Craig Gannon briefly replaces him and then Rourkes rejoins and The Smiths become very briefly a five piece.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 642 Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger


Song of the Day # 3,029 Bear's Den


     Not a million miles away from Christopher Cross. Not quite my thing, but it might have some takers.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 10 Pere Ubu


The Enduring Saga of The Smiths # 19 The Smiths


The making of The Queen is Dead, for many The Smiths' enduring statement. Listening to it now, I can quite understand why.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,028 Victor Mucho


Moonlight in Visby by Victor Mucho, a rather beautiful personal statement in the Sufjan Stevens tradition that I chanced upon while skimming through new album releases early this morning.

Just hearing the name of a record, seeing a picture of Mucho, (actually Brian Macdonald, also of Judah & The Lion)), wearing a knitted patterned sweater and the cover of the record, an old school imap of the region in question, an island in the Baltic Sea where he had moved to from Nashville with his wife to set up a new life, are enough to tip you off.

Tip you off to the fact that this might be a Sufjan Stevens kind of highly personalised statement and experience that is. The Twenty First Century, The Internet and all they've brought have been very good in that respect. A democratisation of sorts. Andy's fifteen minutes if you like. An opportunity for individuals and groups of people to make crafted, idiocyncratic statements abour experience without needing to spell out every single thing.

Mucho, (Macdonald) seizes his personal opportunity. Moonlight in Visby is a Folk record essentially. Campfire Tapes. Misucally populated by rather lovely mandolin and guitar, McDonald's slightly disembodied voice and an altogether spectral ambience that give you the sense that you're experiencing the Northern Lights at times.

It's all rather lovely. A young married couple experiencing and exploring a new universe and seeing where it takes their lives and love. Lots of light and shade. Plenty of sheer wonder. Beautiful in its simplicity. A record I'll return to.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 643 Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Songs Heard on the Radio # 416 Anna Calvi


A Cash cover.

Say Sue Me- The Last Thing Left


I've been very fond of Korean Indie band Say Sue Me for a few years now. Probably since I came upon them by chance, playing on the radio in 2018 and hearing their debut album, Where We Were Together.

Now they're back with their third The Last Thing Left and I'm delighted to be able to report that it's their best. What Say Sue Me, three guys and a girl who sings, do is definitely Indie. Jangly, melodic, accessible, fun, with a kind of surf twang. The kind of thing that a lot of bands do but very few do as well as this.

It seems they're coming to slightly broader acclaim and this is a very good thing. It's definitely to break through a broader market playing this kind of rather niche music, particularly if you're singing in Korean, they tend to alternate between their native tongue and English.

You could probably count the number of bands that have managed to do so over the last fifteen years: Alvvays, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Snail Mail, erm can't think of anymore off the top of my head.

The Last Thing Left should help them raise their profile further. It's lovelorn, it's crafted, it's quality. It should cheer you up. It doesn't really need to be compared with any Indie forbears or contemporaries because they've crafter their own identity by now. It's Pop of the kind that I wished got into real charts. A sign if one is needed that Summer is almost here.

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 9 Space


The Enduring Saga of The Smiths # 18 The Smiths


The Smiths tour America in support of Meat is Murder and are embraced. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore is released, against record label advice, and flops.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,027 The Smile


Smile! It's a new album from Radiohead. Or at least it might as well be, even if it's only actually Thom York and Johnnny Greenwood, working here with Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner, rather than the rest of the band.

The new record entitled A Light for Attracting Attention, to all effects and purposes, might as well be a Radiohead album.Listening to it it's difficult to work out how it might have sounded differently had the other three members contributed.

All of them doubtless, have been invaluable contributors to all of the immense and incredible recordings the band have put out down the years. But it's not a huge diservice to them to  say that Yorke and Johnny, (to distinguish him from brother Colin), have always been the driving creative heart and soul of that band.

Such is obvious here, if it wasn't already.  A Light is immediately quite thrilling. Replete with the juderring unease and disquiet that marks Radiohead and Yorke's best stuff. And with a band as good as this one, it's difficult to know where to start in that respect.

Yorke is still all tics and itches.  All Post Millenium restless angst, like an insect pulsing just beneath the skin. Johnny meanwhile provides the shifting surfaces, and boy is he one phennomenal musician. Able to switch from Can, to Led Zeppelin to Jazz to signature Radiohead pathways at will.

Much of this is familiar. Both Yorke and Greenwood have made a lot of music that sounds like this before. It may not actually put a smile on your face. That's not something either of these two or indeed Radiohead have really done much down the years. Perhaps there's some irony at play with the name they chose for this particular project. That doesn't mean it won't exhilarate you.

But the record is certainly fairly essential. Undoubtedly one of the best albums I've heard this year. They're both remarkable and so is this album. A Light for Attracting Attention is a model lesson in doing essentially the same thing differently and most of all keeping it very, very fresh.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 644 Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go