Sunday, October 31, 2021

It Starts With a Birthstone - Albums For October


It Starts With a Birthstone - Songs For October


Songs of the Year # 56 Marina Allen


Albums of the Year # 56 Serpentwithfeet - DEACON


'serpentwithfeet is not only imagining but exploring a world wherein Black love is paramount.' On recently released album DEACON this leads to a set of intense, textured and deeply felt songs. Perhaps a little luxuriant for some tastes but consistently playful, layered and tuneful and occasionally rather intoxicating.

Statements like these are becoming increasingly commonplace in the Pop marketplace and life in general. Expressions of sexuality, individuality and pride.DEACON is as good a manifestation of this as I've heard thus far in 2021 . By turns flirtatious, intent, demanding to be lead onto the dancefloor, or kissed, it's certainly not lacking in personality, or bravura.

Plenty of variety here in terms of tempo and lyrical intent, it's nice to hear a record so consistently gentle and teasing but deeply thought through and purposeful at the same time. An album to get to know, respect and not least enjoy.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 836 Black Sabbath - Volume 4


The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 451 Rocket From The Crypt


'Pure smart-dumb adrenalin - rock'n'roll reborn.'

Song of the Day # 2,835 Mewn


Young anchester band. Thankfully not justdoing that Post Punk thing which seems so prevalent.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Waiting For the Sun by Barney Hoskyns # 6 The Mamas & The Papas


The Monterrey Festival. Pop turns to Rock. The Golden Period for LA music wise but then things begin to go dark as heroin encroaches. Strangely, The Mamas & The Papas represent that transition as well as any band.

The Surfing Magazines - Badgers of Wymeswold


The Surfing Magazines are made up of two thirds of The Wave Pictures and one half of Slow Club. They're named after a Go Betweens song which is a good sign. They're the kind of band who are quite content to play your local pub venue every couple of years in between bringing up children and finding other ways to pay the mortgage. I like bands like this.

Their latest album, the splendidly named Badgers of Wymeswold, starts with probably its best song, Joke. It's an eclectic record and you probably won't like every song. But if you like Vic Godard, the aforesaid Go Betweens, Wire, Modern Lovers, Weather Prophets and the like you'll probably like some of it. It also has some rather neat flamenco turns which I can recommend.

'I don't want to listen to The Silver Jews tonight.I want Mendelssohn to mingle with the moonlight. And I'm glad that I'm not 15. The cruelty of the crown was obscene.' Those are the opening lyrics of Century Breaks, a song halfway through Badgers of Wymeswold. It might as well be a mission statement for the record and the band. 'All things considered, it's good to be alive,' they conclude.

All in all it's a very nice record for those that like this stuff. If you were prone to being pernickety you might say that it's a little long at 16 tracks. I'm quite sure Surfing Magazines wouldn't give a fig about such peripheral criticism. And why should they. They're haveing far to much fun, judging by Badgers of Wymeswold.

Songs of the Year # 57 Rats on Rafts


Albums of the Year # 57 Holiday Ghosts - North Street Air



Still slightly under the radar. North Street Air, the third album from Holiday Ghosts came out last Friday but escaped my notice until now. I loved their previous records. They chimed completely with my own tastes. Down at heel late Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers and Kinks played at you with warmth, humour, sincerity and beatnik charm in a small room above a cool pub.

Since their last album the band have moved base from Falmouth to Brighton but the switch doesn't seem to have impacted on their basic modus vivandi.  North Street Air doesn't really change the line of attack, but refines it somewhat, they're definitely getting better at what they do. 

Essentially a core duo, Katja Rackin and Sam Stacpoole, who pick up new members to flesh them out as a quartet from time to time. This never leads them to miss their stride stylistically. They have a clear vision and this new record is as clear a realisation of it as they've come up with thus far.

 North Street Air, has an assurance and flow that reminds me of a lot of bands that I love. Early Clean and Go Betweens. The bunch of pioneers of this sensibility that I mentioned above. Holiday Ghosts embody a certain independent guitar driven insouciance, a beat spirit that's been detectable since the Fifties or probably before, a conviction that much of what's really interesting in society lies beyond the mainstream.

I'm very taken by this on first listen and so pleased to hear the band are still chipping away at their particular seam of Rock and Roll. While higher profile young English bands ransack the corpses of The Fall and The Gang of Four with ever diminshing returns, this strikes me as a much more honest approach to our shared musical and cultural heritage, and certainly a much more listenable one.

This band may not ever fully get their due but I'm so pleased that they exist and look forward to them visiting a venue near me one day. They're a night at the funfair, rich with small, affordable and pleasurable joys. North Street Air, should more than do me over the coming summer months and beyond.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 837 Julia Holter - Loud City Song


The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 450 The Divine Comedy


'an oasis of intellect, satire, music subtlety and lyrical risk in a desery dreary 'indie' rock inarticulacy and traditionalism.'

Song(s) of the Day # 2,834 Strawberry Guy


It's entirely appropriate that Strawberry Guy, whoever he is, lives in Liverpool, although he originally hails from Wales. Because the most cursory listen to his latest album Sun Outside My Window, leads you to an immediate and overpowering conclusion. That he is deeply and inescapably under the spell of John Lennon, particularly the Lennon of the early Seventies, when he himself lay under a spell, that of his love for Yoko Ono.

Some of these Lennon songs are a little claustrophobic in nature but Strawberry Guy makes use of them to trace and altogether beguiling dreamscape on Sun Outside My Window. On his publicity release for the album he doesn't mention Debussy, Ravel and Monet and the allusions are actually highly apposite in relation to the rather lovely impact of the album.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Clinic - Fantasy Island


Liverpool's Clinic are one of the more interesting bands to emerge from these islands over the last twenty five years. Probably influenced by Suicide, (the New York Punk band rather than the act of extreme self-violence), as much as anyone else, they've stuck to their own cool road ever since and never failed to be less than diverting.

The same goes for latest album, Fantasy Island, their ninth in all. Boasting a similar sound, not radically different from the ones before, it holds your intrest, or at least it held mine. They're the model of quiet consitency. Content to dwell on the margins. as they always have been.

The influence of Suicide is still there. But their's is as good a shadow to labour under as  any. Suicide themselves are still one of the most original and particular Rock and Roll bands there have ever been. Clinic prefer the quieter, more melodic, less attritional Suicide these days. He,y we're all getting on. 

 Fantasy Island sticks to its guns and is a worthy new entry to their canon. Long term fans of the band will not be disappointed.  Fantasy Island is spooky and brim full of their trademark, dark wit as you'd expect.  It sticks to its guns and is a worthy new entry to their story.

Songs of the Year # 58 Vern Matz


Albums of the Year # 58 Kasai Allstars - Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bagle Makes No Sound



Congo's Kasai Allstars latest. Wait for it Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound, might be a record that'll make you move around a bit. Together for over fifteen years now, a collective made up of members from five ethnic groups from all over the Kasai region, they give the principle of unity a good name.

An album bedded on the goals of collaboration and cooperation Black Ants is permanent motion. The determination of the Allstars is clear and their joyousness infectious. A record you don't necessarily need to understand the lyrics  of in order to appreciate and get behind its message.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 838 Drake


The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 449 The Spice Girls


'it's a din - a fucking unholy row.'

Song of the Day # 2,833 Los Golden Boys


Thursday, October 28, 2021

Whisky a Go Go


Vanishing Twin - Ookie Gekkou


Vanishing Twi'n's The Age of Immunology was one of my favourite albums of 2019. Squaring the circle between Stereolab, Broadcast, Kraftwerk and  the occult it was something of a magical gift. I've been living with its successor, Ookie Gekkou for almost a fortnight now before posting judgement, but I'm pleased to report, it promises to be equally rewarding.

This new one is something of a slow burner in comparison with The Age of Immunology but sometimes good records need a little patience and Ookie Gekkou is certainly a very good record. Taking inspiration from similar sources but with slightly more liquid funk at play it improves with every listen.

Comparisons with the record before are specious frankly, just as it seems quite unecessary to compare Can's Seventies records to one another. They were all good in different ways. Ookie Gekkou is ever so slightly more obscure than The Age of Immunology, more nocturnal in terms of its charms, but those charms are just as prevalent, if perhaps requiring slightly more encouragement to surface.

The only record of precisely this type that's really held my fancy apart from this one in 2021 is Jane Weaver's Flock which appeared early on in the year. It's great to see Ookie Gekkou come and keep it company so late in the day. 

Certainly one for the cool crowd, I imagine this one will be in constant rotation in Rough Trade Shops up and down the land for a while. Put on your black polo neck and shades and make your way to the heart of the alternative dancefloor.

Waiting For the Sun by Barney Hoskyns # 5 Love


Love come storming in with their wonderful first three albums.

Songs of the Year # 59 Good Morning


From the splendid Good Morning album Barnyard, which I reviewed recently. This is the last song and a highlight. One of the best songs never written by Grant McLennan though it might have been. A quite conscious tribute.

Albums of the Year # 59 The Chills - Scatterbrain



A lesson in looking on the bright side. I rather thought I might give the latest Chills record, Scatterbrain, a miss this time. I've been rather underwhelmed by their recent offerings and it seems rather late in the day for a late career masterpiece.But Scatterbrain was released on a quiet morning for notable new releases, so I gave it a listen. Then I played it gain, Then again. They're in fine fettle.

On first play I was underwhelmed. Second play and my interest was pricked. Third play I was chastising myself for my lack of faith in them. The Chills are rarely any less than likeable. Here they're truly lovable. In many ways this initially sounds a bit like a Martin Phillips solo album, as he's foregrounded a lot more in the mix, certainly much more so than on their best known Eighties records when it was always clearly a team effort. The band are there for sure here, but more content this time to play supporting roles.

But give them time. This lot know just what they are doing just like Teenage Fanclub and Dinosaur. Jr have proved they do in recent weeks and the record unwraps on each  play revealing further gifts with modest but assured grace. The Chills have stood the course of time. More so even than either TF or D.Jr., they were always something of a paradox. Upbeat tunes, downcast, troubled interiors. More than immediately meet the eye. No change here.

This is very much a rumination on mortality, perhaps something you'd expect, given the band and particularly Phillips' advancing years and also their track record preoccupations. He was always a somewhat contrary, fatalistic type. Song titles like Hourglass and You're Immortal and lyrics almost everywhere else, underline this without the greatest subtlety. It's late in the day. Time to consider all of our final journeys. Our final curtains. For Phillips and Co. but also for the rest of the planet.

The Chills are the most pastoral of Pop groups, more almost than any band I can think of.. They always had an innate feeling for the undergrowth, the ocean bed, the verdant and nocturnal, and how entwined they are with the human condition.  I'm pleased to report that these instincts are present, correct amd fully functioning here too. Scatterbrain scatters hints and clues for the listener on first play like adults planting clues for a birthday party scavenger hunt. You'll have to come back if you wish to discover how it all fits together.

These are bleak times in many ways. But this is far from a bleak record. The settings are arcadian and verdant, the band determined and more than able to make the most of the hand that life has dealt them. Scatterbrain is a record that takes a while to unfurl its charms but they're worth the investment of time. It's another fine product to add to the band's rich legacy. That's something I'm more than happy to endorse. Cheer up Martin, it might never happen.

Song(s) of the Day # 2,832 Trace Mountains


Undemanding, reflective, lilting country / indie record, given fulsome review by Pitchfork recently.

David Benton, who essentially is Trace Mountains and was formerly in LVL has a way with winning, drifting melodies. This reminded me of a lot of things though I couldn't always put my finger on what exactly they were every time.

In many ways this is the kind of record that has been very prevalent in vaguely Alternative American circles. Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Father John Misty. You name your favourites. This is very easy listening with some lovely moments without ever grabbing you by the throat which perhaps it needs to do. Wins you over the longer it plays mind.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 839 Faust - Faust IV


A true classic of the Krautrock genre.

The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 448 Busta Rhymes


'just what hip hop needed...'

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Songs of the Year # 60 The Umlauts


Albums of the Year # 60 Whitney K - Two Years



Coming across as drunk, or stoned, or both in song is a particular gift. Jeffrey Lee Pierce could do it. So can Nick Cave. Beck,Shane McGowan, Dan Stuart of Green on Red, Tom Waits, Kurt Vile, Stuart Staples, Paul Westerberg. Masters of the art. It seems we can add young Canadian Whitney K to their ranks.

His latest album Two Years is a proper treat. Life viewed through the raised glass of the grizzled and dissolute regular at the end of the bar who's showing no desire to leave at this point of the evening even though he's already told the barmaid his life story three times tonight.

Konner Whitney, for he is Whitney K, hails from Whitehorse, in Northern Yukon and has recently moved back there. Two Years is a wonderful record, scarred and wizened but also sage and nuanced. There's much wisdom to be found in bars, as well as pain, fellowship, release and the bitter dregs of experience.

There are traces of The Velvet Underground here, both Reed and Cale, but it's both at their most Country and at a point where neither of them could care less anymore. Beck certainly raises his head at several points of the record too, the frayed trenchancy of Odelay.

But most of all this is Whitney, and he's consistently good company. The kind of person that you chance upon a bar once in a while. A fascinating raconteur who tells you the deepest secrets of those at the other end of the room, buys a round of shots that makes your head spin and tells some of the best and tallest tales you've ever heard.

There's plenty of wit here too but it's of the wry and mordant kind. Gallows humour essentially. Also plenty of variety. Two Years is a pleasant reminder that reports the death of this kind of songwriting has been greatly exagerrated, In fact judging by this, it's in rude health indeed. I'll drink to that!

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 840 The Congos - Heart of the Congos


The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 447 Tupac Featuring Dr. Dre


'a funk masterpiece.'

Song of the Day # 2,831 Dinneri


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Songs of the Year # 61 The Goa Express


Albums of the Year # 61 Maja Lena - The Keeper



Joanna Newsom is perhaps not the kindest influence to labour under. So quirky and specific in its approach that once you have the idea that a record sounds a bit like Joanne it's a difficult notion to shake off and fully appreciate the record concerned on its own terms.

On the other hand, perhaps being influenced by such an original artist has its up side too. Because liking Newsom, you're almost duty bound to push out the boat and attempt to be innovative like she is. 

Such is the case with The Keeper, the debut album from Swede Maja Lena, once of Low Chimes. Although certainly labouring under an influence, this is also  a rather lovely record altogether. It's not as if Newsom herself emerged entirely from a vacuum. She owes a fair deal to Kate Bush too, something you can also hear strongly on this record.

So prepare yourself for an hour or so of delightful flouncing around sunlit meadows in Pre-Raphaelite frocks in the grand tradition of Joanne and Kate. The Keeper is a delightful listen. And though it never altogether transcends its influences and steps into its own space, there's plenty of time for that. In the meantime this will more than do.

A Post Script. Since chancing upon this a couple of days ago I've been listening to it on loop. Regardless of its debt to Joanna and Kate, it's a lovely thing in itself. 

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 841 Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet


Oh dear!

The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 446 Manic Street Preachers


'the last gasp of their romantic despair...'

Song of the Day # 2,830 Good At Rockets


Out of Huntingdon Beach, California. Sounds like a nice place. Nice sounding song too. Not a million miles from the Automatic For The People vibe. Not a bad starting point. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Waiting For the Sun by Barney Hoskyns # 4 The Byrds


The Byrds become LA's Pied Pipers.

Jarvis Cocker - Chansons d'Ennui Tip-Hop


We're all belately returning to the cinema and there are a number of proper ytreats beckoning us into the darkness. Todd Haynes ' Velvet Underground, much more than a documentary, a new Bond if that'syour thing, Dune, a Ridley Scott. Also The French Dispatch, the latest from Wes Anderson, certainly up there among my favourite directors of recent decades.

And to sountrack that. Jarvis Cocker, the most unlikely Parisian adoptee of all, singing a number of absolutely classic Gallic Pop songs of the Sixties in a truly terrible French O Level accent. It's a quite miraculous performance. He makes French sound like an unspeakable language.

What more could any fan of this kind of infantile ennui wish for. Not much, This, along with Elvis Costello & The Attractions Spanish Model and Tronco's spectral Nainonai is my fun album of the year. A place to retreat to when the travails of life become all a bit too much. That's rather often these days.

So Jarvis does Serge. He does Cristophe. He does Francoise Hardy and her grand amour Jacques Dutronc. He does it all admirably with his tongue in his cheek and his heart on his sleeve at one and the same time. Tres Bien! Jarvis. Tres Bien! J'irai voir le film plus tard dans la semaine.Merci Google Translate.

Songs of the Year # 62 The War on Drugs


Albums of the Year # 62 Civic - Future Forecast

 In a year of Post Punk wherever you looked. This was one of the finest albus to actually deserve that label:


Post Punk. Trust the Australians show the rest of us how to do this too. After less than inspiring, but much touted records from Dry Cleaning, IDLES, Squid and Black Country, New Road in recent weeks and months, and with a new Black Midi album coming up that's highly anticipated by many but which I suspect I won't be able to listen through to in its entirity, it was sheer pleasure and relief to hear Future Forecast, the debut album by Melbourne's CIVIC a couple of days back .

From the opening notes,this comes on like Proto and Post Punk Bingo, something that might not be so far off given how long ago those days are now. During the three minutes of opener Radiant Eye alone I caught unmistakeable snatches of Magazine's Shot By Both Sides, The MC5's  The Human Being Lawnmower and The Saints Know Your Product and none of this remotely irritated me. The reminders were thrilling, encouraging me to go back and reaquaint myself with the source material and their use was plainly motivated primarily not to ape the past, or strip CIVIC's heroes of their key assets, but to adrenalise their own listening experience.

Having laid down its Mission Statement, Future Forecast proceeds to itemise it again and again with only the most basic amendment on its prototype. This is hardly an album that builds or maps out a band's vision with any variation. nuamce or subtlety. CIVIC are clearly not a band with the remotest interest in nuance and subtlety. Only full on sonic assault. The resulting record is all the better for this absolutely basic, stripped down approach.

The immediate and obvious sources for what CIVIC do are five fold. Primarily, The Stooges, the band that first demonstrated this full on primal squall, way back when. Then The Saints and Radio Birdman who came up with the original Australian Punk statements of that sort. Future Forecast has guitars that sound exactly, self-consciously like that. CIVIC also probably also owe some debt to younger compatriates Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control who have shown so fluently in more recent years how this kind of thing can still be done with quite admirable urgency and intent..

So this is a record that takes you right back without any unecessary nostalgic or maudlin edge. CIVIC's stated purpose on forming apparently was to 'do good Rock and Roll and not to stuff about with it.' Mission accomplished I'd say. Does what it says on the tin.

Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present State of the Union - The American Dream in Crisis - # 25 The Brothers Four


Another fine records comes to an end. Might need to get onto yet another Bob Stanley compilation.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 842 The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute


The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 445 Prodigy


'a right rollicking mosh...'

Song of the Day # 2,829 Sylvie


Canadians Sylvie hit the soft spot between George Harrison and Teenage Fanclub. Good stuff.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Songs About People # 1,309 Matthew Newton

 Another from the new Good Morning record. This time for the troubled Australian actor and film         director Matthew Newton.

Good Morning - Barnyard


Good Morning. Greet the brand new day. There are worse ways to do so than by listening to Barnyard, the latest album by the Melboune duo of the same name .

Good Morning have been around for a while now,  churning out quite a few records over recent years that I've cared for. Leftfield oddball Pop of the Jonathan Richman, Jad Fair, Stephen Malkmus way of doing things.

They're not a duo here. They've definitely fleshed out to sound like a whole band. Barnyard is the best thing they've ever done by a considerable way, even though as I've said, I've always liked their stuff. But here they're really growing up, aiming for the heart rather than the funny bone and hitting the spot more often than not.

They clearly haven't completely lost touch altogether  with the child inside 'That's a real big wig. For such a small dog,' they sing in Big Wig // Small Dog. It's the kind of moment of ennui that Evan Dando used to specialise inon Lemonheads albums. But Big Wig // Small Dog is probably the weakest song on Barnyard. There's much more substantial and interesting stuff going on elsewhere.

Altogether a really well realised record and an indication that there might be still finer stuff up the road for these two. Good Morning indeed!


Songs of the Year # 63 Aldous Harding


Albums of the Year # 63 The Notwist - Vertigo Days

 A record that reminded me of one of my best lifetime musical friends:

A terrific new record from a few weeks back that I've neglected to write about until now. Hey, there are a lot of really terrific new records coming out just now. This one particularly takes my fancy because its authors, Munich veterans The Notwist were particular favourites of one of my best friends, Matt, who died in very upsetting and vastly premature circumstances a couple of years back.

So while listening to The  Notwist, and other particular musical favourites of Matt will always fill my chest with pain to some degree, I should really get over myself. This album,Vertigo Days, their umpteenth, (they've been putting out records for almost thirty years now), before I met Matt actually, is something that should be enjoyed and experienced. Because it's a wonderful record.

Nominally the start off point for The Notwist is certainly Krautrock. There are definitely echoes of Kraftwerk in particular here, the mysterious electronic chimes of machinery and motion. You're certainly in Europe here and Vertigo Days makes me realise how much I miss it. British musicians might be capable of imitating this but they couldn't ever make it. It has Mittleuropaisch DNA.

So  Kraftwerk is here but Notwist deserve to be considered entirely on their own terms. They've been herelong enough. They're certainly good enough. They have the distinctive, specific genes of a great European band. Matt also loved so many of these. The Nits, Can, Deus, 22 Pisterpekko, Bettie Serveert. So many more.

There's a deeply nuanced sense of regret here, again something that most artists from other parts of the world simply cannot do and will never quite understand. There are some notable exceptions. Bowie, Iggy, Eno. An awareness of the Twentieth Century and the way the events of some of the terrible tragedies of those years drained the continent once and for all and somehow it will never, ever quite be the same.

Vertigo Days is by no means a difficult record to listen to though. In fact it's a very easy one. Matt would have loved it. Cheers Matt!

Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present State of the Union - The American Dream in Crisis - # 24 Theresa Brewer


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 843 Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing


Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson doing a rather Proggy thing in 2013. Porcupine Tree have three albums coming up at some point on this list.

The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 444 Mark Morrison


'a super-funky sweet soul strut of a tune.'

Song of the Day # 2,828 Royal Target


Rather lovely, lilting guitar pop song from Munich, Germany. Although it feels like it might hail from Dunedin or Melbourne.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Robert Forster


Vanishing Twin


Parquet Courts - Sympathy for Life


It's been an interesting watching the Parquet Courts trip over the last ten years or so.When they really came good with blazing second album 2012's Light Up Gold, they seemed like a bunch who'd be content to stay on the ,margins in the shadow of their clear inspirational and guiding initial heroes Pavement, Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma and Guided by Voices.

Not so it seems. Every album since has seen them expanding their horizons, scope and ambitions further to an increasingly surprising and pleasing degree. Now with their latest record Sympathy for Life they seem nothing less than a twenty first century Talking Heads equivalent with a brilliant counter cultural, abrasive edge about them.

That'sTalking Heads things is a bold claim, but listen to the record. It's not necessarily an easy album to listen to as virtually every song here seems to set itself a quite different starting gate and end destination point. That's brave if nothing else. This makes it a record you'll need to get to know. Listen to a few times before you really get to know it and go with its different flows. Though I've instantly taken to it.

What seems clear is that the band are not content to behave as you might expect an alternative white guitar combo to behave and this is where the Talking Heads comparison seems apt. They're constantly looking to tease new funky directons for themselves. This puts them open to failure, as with disappointing recent records from the likes of Bon Iver and Tame Impala.

But I'd say on first listen to Sympathy for Life that it's a quite brilliant success. It might even have a good claim on being the best Parquet Courts record yet. That's not bad going for a band seven albums into their career.

This is a fabious, bold, inventive album. Perhaps coming too late in 2021 to get the full attention it deserves, it's nevertheless probably the best record of its sort that I've heard of this sort this year. Parquet Courts are properly firing on all cylinders.

Songs About People # 1,308 Mark Wahlberg


You'd have to assume that this is about Mark Wahlberg. From the quite delightful new Good Morning album Barnyard. Review forthcoming.

Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present State of the Union - The American Dream in Crisis - # 23 Johnny Tilotson


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums - 844 Sweet Trip - Velocity: Design: Comfort


New one to me. Not easy listening.

Songs of the Year # 64 John Grant


Albums of the Year # 64 My Morning Jacket - My Morning Jacket

 Louisville, Kentucky's My Morning Jacket's eponynous new album takes a strange departure points. It is, it seems 1972. America's Horse with No Name is Number One in the Singles Charts.My Morning Jacket have just embarked on a cross country tour with Stillwater, the fictional namd from Almost Famous and all is very much right with that world.

There's nothing wrong with this approach and attitude to life. I like nothing better than sitting back on Saturday night to immerse myself in a well realised vision of the past, whether it be Withnail & I, Almost Famous or Dazed ^& Confused. Like them , I believe in yesterday.

My Morning Jacket is certainly a well realised vision of the past. Quite a triumphat one actually if that's your thing. Every solo is note perfect. Every lyrical croon spot on, hitting the missing link between Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Grateful Dead.

I really enjoyed listening through to this record although I did find myself wandering sometimes exactly why I was listening to it when I might have been listening to Zuma or American Beauty instead. Still, it's a set of beautifully registered songs of eternal yearning. Here's a band that very much know exactly what they want to do and My Morning Jacket fids them doing just that.

The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk & Disco # 443 Super Furry Animals


'prodigiously talented and intelligent Welshmen.'

Song of the Day # 2,827 Ritt Momney


I can tell you nothing about Ritt Momeny except that this song lives up to its name and is a sunny start to a Saturday morning.