Tuesday, May 31, 2022

It Starts With a Birthstone - Albums For May


It Starts With a Birthstone - Songs For May


Michael Bracewell - England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie # 8 David Bowie


                               Roxy and Bowie. Re-imagining the past and imagining the future.

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 10 Nat 'King' Cole - Love is the Thing


Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 26 The Human League


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 627 Fleetwood Mac -Tusk


Song(s) of the Day # 3,044 The World Without Parking Lots


David Berman meets Bill Callahan meets Jeffrey Lewis. Oddball indie, the eternally skewed smalltown American view of the world. Great name. Great record.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Songs About People # 1,344 Agnes Varda


                                              Belgian born Film Director who passed recently.

Michael Bracewell - England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie # 7 The Slits


The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 9 Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool


Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 25 The Undertones


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 628 Death Cab For Cutie - Plans


Song(s) of the Day # 3,043 Bottled Up


Washington D.C's Bottled Up's latest Grand Bizzare is an odd proposition indeed. A full on dystopian synth vision with its roots in the British New Wave of the early Eighties welded to the visionary overblown concepts of the likes of Bowie, Genesis, The Who or The Tubes.

The whole exercise has an immaculately smooth pristine sound. All slightly strange in 2022 but impressive nevertheless. A jerky paranoid record but a very realised one.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 502 Ashford & Simpson


I appreciate a lot of the wonderful, wonderful Soul records from the Eighties, much more than I did at the time. This one for example.

Michael Bracewell - England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie # 6 The Television Personalities


The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 8 Johnny Burnette & the Rock & Roll Trio - Johnny Burnette & the Rock & Roll Trio


Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 24 Suicide


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 629 Frank Sinatra - Songs For Swingin' Lovers


Song(s) of the Day # 3,042 Stars


Music-Map .com is a useful app to access sometimes. Particularly for me, when trying to write these posts, when you come across a band you've previously been unaware of and you want to make sense of them. 

Such was the case when I listened to Montreal, Canadian veterans Stars ninth album  From Capleton Hill and couldn't make head or tail of it. It was difficult to tell where they came from, where they were coming from an when they were going.

Music-Map, the app that gives you similar bands to the one you put in the search engine came up with Belle & Sebastian, The National, The Postal Service and countless other songwiting indie worthies. Fair enough That makes perfect sense listening through to From Capleton Hill.

It starts off very well,, certainly lyrically on Palmistry with a spooky spoken intro or sample, (not quite sure), telling us that,' your guardian angel has put candles on both your knees'. Then an opening line, 'She slept in her car at Beachy Head.' So far, so very, very good.

The songs on the record itself don't really impress upon me. I think this is because they remind me of someone else, rather more than the bands listed above. Large because of the alternating male and female vocal leads. Also because of the vaguely bland results. It's a shame. It's not really for me. But it may be for others.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Michael Bracewell - England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie # 5 The Cure


The Cure, Pop's suburbs. With Robert Smith,  'A pseudo-occultist pallid romantic, trapped in the haunted semo of his unbearable memories.'

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 7 Frank Sinatra - Songs For Swinging Lovers


Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 23 The Normal


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 630 The Pretenders - The Pretenders


Song(s) of the Day # 3,041 Ball Park Music


Brisbane band Ball Park Music's sixth album Weirder & Weirder doesn't sound particularly weird to me. More like a straight up Power Pop album, like the ones that they used to make. They certainly share no DNA with their hometown's best band The Go Betweens.

I like a bit of Power Pop as much as the next man but I don't really care greatly for it in its purest forms. I prefer R.E.M. to dB's for example and I vastly prefer them to the likes of The Knack or the Raspberries . There's something relentlessly cheerful about this record.

It's all perfectly listenable. Much of it would detain you briefly if it showed up on indie radio station daytime radio. It should fill mid sized venues and make plenty leap up and down inside them. It just didn't excite me very much really.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Endless Rooms


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have a sound that immediately appeals to me. A crystalline gleaming guitar sound, three of them no less, intertwining and heading forward. Reminiscent of all time favourites of mine. Go Betweens, Television and The Chills. A lyrical approach most obviously indebted to The Go Betweens again, both Forster and McLennan.

I've written about them plenty in the past, yet I haven't posted my thoughts about their newest album,  Endless Rooms,(their third in all), even though it came out several weeks ago. Why is that? It's probably because as much as I like their ingredients, a certain saminess has crept into their sound.

When Courtney Barnett first emerged, I wondered whether she'd ever top Avant Gardener an early highlight which announced her arrival as one to watch. Down the years she has topped it, or at least equalled it on numerous occasions. She's more than fulfilled her early bright promise. And more.

RBCF face a similar dilemma. On the 2017 their wonderful early EP French Press, and particularly its title track, set the bar pretty high for themselves.

They've put out consistently good records since but not notably great ones. It seems Endless Rooms is another to pile on that stack. It sometimes feels like they're running while standing still at one and the same time.

The guitar sound is quite gorgeous as always here. Lyrical concerns are more difficult to gauge. This is another fine, thoughtful alternative pop record without immediately striking me as an essential one. I'll give it a couple more plays over the weekend before deciding whether to go and see them live next week, where they're playing just around the corner from me.

Michael Bracewell - England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie # 3 Billy Fury


A wonderful passage of text describing the British class journey from Evelyn Waugh through the Ealing Comedies and Kitchen Sink films to Cliff Richard and Billy Fury.

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 5 Sonny Rollins - Saxaphone Colossus


Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 21 The B-52's


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 632 The Doors - Waiting For The Sun


I like The Doors but this is not a good record. Here's probably the best song on it.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,039 Thomas Dollbaum


A down at heel Springsteen with similar intent on escape, but with less hope that he's going to make it out. Probably no hope at all. Tampa, Florida's, Thomas Dollbaum's debut's Wellswood is a decidedly glum but well crafted record.

He doesn't have Springsteen's inner strength. He cerainly doesn't sound like the Boss. He's not in charge. He sounds more like a cross between Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Beck's eternal Loser. His voice is scarred and pained. A voice from the other side of the tracks. One more trip to the liquor store, when putting the money towards that motor bike would probably be a much better idea.

This isn't an easy record to listen to. It's essentially glass half full from the off. A realistic perspective for many in Modern America, or indeed America as it's always been. It's a very good record anyhow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 501 Fleet Foxes


A reminder of the purity, beauty and clarity of the first Fleet Foxes album yesterday afternoon.

Michael Bracewell - England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie # 2 Morrissey

Incredibly erudite and thrilling. Barcewell's ideas are impossible to describe adequately, he just makes you just want to chase down his reference points immediately. He does identify Morrissey as a key player, (the book's title comes at least partially from a lyric of his), as being in a long tradition in bemoaning the loss of an Arcadian ideal. Sorry if that comes across as pretentious but listen to the lyrics of this which describe aspects of an essential English condition and in some ways prefigure the Brexit moment.


The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 4 The Four Freshmen - Four Freshmen & Five Trombones


Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 20 Buzzcocks


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 633 Madonna - Ray of Light


Madge's highest placing in this chart.

Song of the Day # 3,038 Melts

Dublin band going in a completely different direction from that angry Post Punk vein that seems so prevalent in that scene at the moment. This is very Teardrop Explodes and Chameleons, which I definitely approve of.


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Michael Bracewell - England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie # 1 Donovan


I'm in big posting mood at the minute. Must be the move to Summer. So here's another series and a book I've written about begore. One of my favourite Pop Culture book. Michael Bracewell is a wonderful cultural commentator about what makes England what it is.

The first 25 pages nails its manifesto to the mast. It's so think with connections between films, literature and music you know you're going to have to hold on to your hat. He menntions Donovan's Gift From a Flower to a Garden and it's an prropriate starting point here as Donovan is a very, very English artist, even though he's actually Scottish!

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 3 Julie London - This is Julie


'the girl with the come-hither look...'

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 19 Subway Sect


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 634 New Order - Substance


Song(s) of the Day # 3,037 Astrel K


Another recommendation from Darren Jones, consistent supporter of this blog for which I'm grateful as always. We have similar tastes, but he always has a knack of tracking things down that have evaded me in the weekly new releases.

His latest tip is Astrel K's Flickering i solo project of Rhys Edwards of Ulrika Spacek, one of the more interesting British alternative bands of recent years. Based in Stockholm and sounding much like it, it's an elusive, and perhaps not immediately arresting record but I found it drew me imperceptibly inwards as it played on and by the end of my first play I was both intrigued and won over.

It's released on Duophonic Super 45s, a label with a history of putting out records by the likes of Broadcast, Stereolab and Yo La Tengo. That's as good an indication as I can give of what  Flickering i spunds like. Spacey, disembodied, other worldly. Altogether fascinating and staking a claim in a noble tradition that takes you back to My Bloody Valentine, Can and other Krautrock bands and all the way back to early Bowie and Roxy.

It's also delightfully poppy.  A band that is regularly having hits in other universes but will never have any in this one. Mapping other galaxies. I'm always grateful when I come across records like these. So thanks again Darren.

Monday, May 23, 2022

C. Duncan - Alluvium


Scotsman C. Duncan is one of the most remarkable Pop practitioners we have in the world right now. Somehwere between Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson and Paul Buchanan, his records paint a picture of a verdant, abundant expanse of cultivated arcadian bliss.

Latest album, Alluvium, for the most part, (there are a couple of tracks which don't quite fit), unfurl in the most graceful, assured strides. He could just as easily be an architect, or an engineer who really know their trades, as an alternative pop musician.

It would be better in some ways if he weren't a low profile alternative musician really. It woud be preferable that he were mainstream. Then at least we would know we were in safe hands. But this is a post Gary Barlow world unfortunately, not a Brian Wilson or Burt Baccarach one, so Duncan will not get the attention and acclaim that he deserves.

I love the record though. As I say, a couple of tracks don't fit the overall design so he gets docked a point. But still, this is another fine, fine record to add to his excellent body of work. 

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 500 The Langley Schools Music Project


For people like me, one of the best records ever made. The Langley Schools Music Project's Innocence & Despair, has finally come on the jukebox weeks after requesting it.

Meanwhile 500. Made it to 500. What am I doing with my life?

Cathal Coughlan 1960 -2022


The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 2 Peggy Lee - Black Coffee


Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 18 Brian Eno


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 635 Iggy Pop - The Idiot


Song of the Day # 3,036 Penniless


Full on Finnish start to the week.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Iggy Pop




The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 1 Frank Sinatra - The Voice of Frank Sinatra


I like these long series. Clearly after almost ten years of doing this I'm wedded to the idea of doing this every day and this is a long, long series which will clearly introduce me to a lot of great music. This is one of those enormous doorstoppers from a hugely aithoritative music source, Mojo Magazing that tell you what records you should have in your record collection going back to the Fifties and on to 2002. As with so many things we start with Frank. 

Jon Savage's 1977-1979 ~ Symbols Clashing Everywhere # 17 999


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 636 Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak


Song(s) of the Day # 3,035 Sister Ray

When you listen to a record by a band, (or artist), called Sister Ray, it's not unusual to expect to hear something that sounds a bit like The Velvet Underground. That's not an unusual assumption to make.

Sister Ray, from Edmonton, Canada, is essentially the project of Ella Coyes are first and foremost, not remotely like The Velvet Underground, which is frankly a relief, much as I love that debut.

Instead debut album Communion sounds like the kind of rites of passage soundtrack. The kind of thing that ends with coming to the end of the record deciding you need to leave the small town you grew up in. I don't think Edmonton is that small a town but you get the impression that it felt like it, listening to this.

Communion is never a joyous album. It'sa narrative of intense experience in the same way as early Big Thief records are. Not as good as that, but definitely worth a listen.


Saturday, May 21, 2022