Friday, March 31, 2023

It Starts With a Birthstone - Albums for March


It Starts With a Birthstones - Songs for March


Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 554 Jesus & Mary Chain


Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 72 Camille Saint - Saens - Symphony No 3 in C Minor


The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 262 Tangerine Dream - Atem


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 328 Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz


Song(s) of the Day # 3,346 Babaganouj


A highly amiable and enjoyable guitar Pop album called Jumbo Pets from Brisbane's Babaganouj. Is there a Brisbane scene these dys. This kept me company in a waking hour on Friday morning. Always good to have good company on a Friday morning.

Starting out like a less troubled Chills it's pretty determinedly glass half full fare for the course of its run. Well they're from Australia. Reference points with other, generally Antipodean bands aplenty, are there if you want to hear them. But they also manner to project their own persona pretty well.

Nothing really leaps out at you and makes you want to nail your allegiance to their mast. But all in all it's a pretty good record. I give it seven.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 69 Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No.7in D Minor


The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 259 Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 331 Fishman's - Long Season


Song(s) of the Day # 3,343 Cecilie McLorin Saivant


With the kind of exquisite Gallic phrasing that immediately made  me think of Brel, Melusine by Cecilie McLorin Saivant had half the job done where I was concerned, in seconds.

Cecilie is the kind of ice cool chanteuse best appreciated in a Jazz venue with the the lights dimmed, on the banks of the River Seine. Failing that, your Living Room and a good set of headphones should do.

This is the kind of record that tempts me to resort to pidgin French, Google Translate and smack my lips. Allez-y. mon ami. Vous ne le regretterez pas. Bet you wish you could do that with your tongue.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 68 Giuseppe Verdi - Otello


The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 258 New York Dolls - New York Dolls


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 332 Xx- The Xx


Song(s) of the Day # 3,342 Mary Anne's Polar Rig


Malmo seems to have plenty going for it these days. Formerly just largely known as part of the most densely populated regionoif Scandinavia, now it seems to be establishing an unlikely reputation as a hotbed of Rock and Roll.

I won't attempt a rundown on what's going down  'on the scene'. But hot on the heels of my rave review of the latest from Death & Vanilla a week or so back, here are Mary Anne's Polar Rig. Whether you're ready for them or not.

Makes You Wonder their latest, carries on where 2021's Makes You Happy left off. It's nice to see a clear career path. As for musical direction. Sugarcubes Bjork meets Breeders Kim comes to mind. Pip Blom might be the immediate contemporary comparison.

                       Anyway it's raucous fun. They don't uproot trees but why should they?

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 67 Johannes Brahms - Symphony No 4 in E Minor


Songs About People # 1,361 Desmond Douglas


Haven't done this one for a year. Desmond Douglas, British table tennis player of the Seventies gets a song. About time too.

Purling Hiss - Drag On Girard


Philadelphia's finest noise merchants, Purling Hiss, are back. That's always a cause for celebration. Churning up and pumping out records that are equal parts rage, bile, strangled melody, Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr. and their own sweet selves since 2009. They don't show any sign of slowing down just yet and that's a great thing.

Devised initially as a project for former Birds of Maya guitarist Mike Polizze to express and amuse himself, they've gradually and organically become a quite spectacular mutation all of their own.This is their first new album for six years, but Polizze has certainly been extremely active in the meantime and anyhow, as soon as this starts playing it feels like they've never been away.

Latest album Drag on Girard is no attempt to reinvent their wheel. Thank god. In these ever changing times it's good to have some constants. It's all screeching guitars, early twenties mumbling hits from a bong in some imaginary summit between J. Mascis, Kurt Vile and Grant Hart. In an extremely messy room. What more could you honestly want

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 257 Stevie Wonder - Innervisions


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 333 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu


The Reds, Pinks & Purples - The Town That Cursed Your Name


Modern musical conyeyor belts. They're difficult things to process even for someone who likes listening to new music as much as I do. King Gizzard, Guide by Voices, increasingly it seems Lana Del Ray. If you're after wistful indie, Reds, Pinks & Purples. Why do these people put out so many records, another one apparently appearing up the pike every few months. Couldn't they exercise a little more restraint, some quality control. Give the rest of the musical world a chance. Give the listening world a rest.

As someone who writes a blog like this one, posting something every day, all this activity on the parts of some, hyperactivity some might call it, leads to a dilemma on my part whenever a new King Gizzard, GBV or Lana album shows up. I'm partial to a lesser or greater extent to all of these artists. I just think they put out too much product to allow the listening audience to fully digest and process it all.

Back in the day, (the days when I was growing up), this was quite normal behaviour. Bands were expected to stay on the conveyor belt, and churn out singles every three months, albums twice a year and tour the rest of the time or else risk redundancy. But times have changed and you can't help feeling that artistic behaviour should change along with it.

As far as The Reds, Pinks & Purples are concerned, I'm always pleased when I hear another one of their records. They, (and by 'they' I mean Glen Donaldson, the middle aged San Franciscan who plots their course), map out narratives that I'm particularly prone to. Teenage or twentysomething  rites of passage, rites of heartbreak, relived in middle age, soundtracked by strummed guitars and pained if resigned vocals. The Go-Betweens, The Smiths, The Feelies, Guided By Voices. Them again.

Latest album, The Town That Cursed Your Name,( and what a name for a record that is), does what you'd expect it to. It's the seventh album Donaldson has put out under the Reds, Pinks & Purples moniker on Slumberland Records since 2018. Now that is ridiculously, ridiculously prolific.

It's a very good record of its sort. Some absolutely masterful lyrics that describe a certain ennui that owes everything to early Morrissey and The Smiths. Whether it's the Reds, Pinks & Purples record you need, I'll leave that to others. It's literary, melodic investigation of the behaviour of the human heart. A series of finely wrought short stories set to song. That will never go out of fashion.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,341 Caroline Rose


One of those artists, (Billy Nomates and Arlo Parks also come to mind), who put out a significant record, just as the world was closing down in 2021. In American songwriter Caroline Roses' case a brilliant New Pop record called Superstar ,(her fourth), which operated somewhere between the world's of Billy Eilish, Sharon Van Etten, Lorde and St.Vincent.

Rather than licking her wounds, or feeling sorry for herself at the hand fate dealt her, Rose is back with a new record, The Art of Forgetting and if anything it's an even stronger record than Superstar.

This is a record that it's difficult to pigeonhole, if that's what you're looking to do. I was reminded of many of Rose's female contemporaries and antecedents, most pleasingly the whisper of early Kate Bush records.

It's all highly emotive, but also cleverly crafted, First and foremost a Pop Record that explores the full territory that wonderful format provides. I hope it will make Rose a lot more friends. It deserves to.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Lankum - False Lankum


A record I've been waiting with some anticipation since 2022 became 2023 and one that more than lives up to its promise. False Lankum by Lankum a Dublin group who've been operating mostly under the surface of the pop lake previously, though this seems like the moment that they're likely to rise to the surface to greater recognition.

A fine, fine album, though one I don't care for the cover of. This is generally a key factor of my appreciation of LPs but it would be prissy of me to make a major issue of it in this case as this is surely as good a record as I'll hear all year. Which year it actually is, is sometimes somewhat difficult to define as you'll discover when you start listening to it.

Lankum, if you care to label them, are a Contemporary Folk band. That does seem an apt basic description. But they're one who consciously attempt to bypass traditional perceptions of what that label might appear to be. Their records don't conform to easy comparisons with the Seventies Folk revival for instance,  although there are links to be made. With Fairport, John Martyn or Steeleye Span and that set of names. Reference points that make just as much sense have been made down the years with Swans, Sun O))) and My Bloody Valentine.

On False Lankum you get eighty minutes, a proper immersion of medieval intensity. Rehearsed and recorded during Lockdown over an extended period of time in a 220 year old tower which was clearly ideal for their purposes.

This will unmoor you from wherever you find yourself in 2023 and set you adrift somewhere else entirely. It's an act of creativity that lays down a marker, a challenge that few others will be up to this year. Further words would be redundant. It's a rich and rare record.

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 66 Edward Grieg - Cello Sonata in A Minor

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 256 Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 334 Beck - Sea Change


Song(s) of the Day # 3,340 Sparrow


Before Elaine Paige was Elaine Paige.

Friday, March 24, 2023

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 255 Sly & The Family Stone - Fresh


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 335 My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade


Song(s) of the Day # 3,339 Connections


A record I missed out on in the mad rush of the last few weeks. Columbus, Ohio's Connections have been around for almost fifteen years now years now and exist in a time honoured American tradition. 

It seems that rootless young men, in the days of the Old West would hang around on street corners, eventually tool up and terrorise their neighbourhoods. Now it seems they buy guitars and form bands and decide to do this' til the end of their natural, or at least useful years.

So Collectives exist at the end of a long and notable line. Feelies, Replacements, Guided by Voices, Pavement, Black Lips, Districts. Add your own gang. Latest album Cool Change is tough and ragged and altogether lacking in polish and all the better for that.

There's something quite touching about the way this record pitches its tent and stakes its place within this grand tradition. Something that has been going on since Punk and actually before that, to The Sonics, the Nuggets bands and The Stooges and before that even to The James Gang, Butch Cassidy  and Billy the Kid.  Cool Change is a record entirely lacking in pretension but with a genuine and not inappropriate sense of quiet pride.

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 65 Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Eugene Onegin


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 64 Johannes Brahms - Violin Concerto in D Major


What They Heard - How The Beatles, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan Listened to Each Other & Changed Music Forever # 9 The Beach Boys


Pet Sounds. And how The Beach Boys became a greater contemporary influence on The Beatles than    Dylan.

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 253 Can - Future Days


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 337 Burial - Untrue


Song of the Day # 3,337 Library Card


'I'm unemployed now and sincerely plan to never land another job again...'

It seems there's quite a music scene in Rotterdam, Holland these days. Latest young colts Library Card/s recent single is rich stuff indeed.. Turning the Post Punk trick of Sprechgesang from a ball and chain into a runway for genuine take off and imaginative flight. A tale of teenage / early twenties ennui. A short story in song that might have brought a smile to Salinger's face. One of my favourite musical hings this year thus far.

Surf Friends - Sonic Waves


Auckland, New Zealand buddies Brad Coley, and Peter Westmoreland have a new LP Sonic Waves out now on Flying Nun records that allows the reader to experience the sensation of surfing virtual waves.

Remarkable that this is primarily the sound of a duo as it often feels like a band in full flow. The Clean, Teenage Fanclub, Television Personalities or Ride. Also, occasionally and quite thrillingly Krautrock. The fact that there's a drum machine at work here's a key factor in that illusion.

Really this is as easy, but at the same time whipsmart a formula for independent success and listening pleasure as you could possibly come up with and it couldn't come out on a more appropriate record label. Flying Nun have a track record as good as any record label in music history for this kind of thing.

An album that dragged me into a happy trance. Like I said, a simple but happy recipe but credit to Surf Friends for summoning it up. DIY at its very best and one of the most purely enjoyable records I've heard thus far this year. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 63 Antonin Dvorak - Slavonic Dances


What They Heard - How The Beatles, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan Listened to Each Other & Changed Music Forever # 8 The Byrds


What The Byrds heard.

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 252 Planxty - Planxty


Song(s) of the Day # 3,336 Dark Horses


Dark Horses are an Alternative Rock group from Brighton who list their influences as The Velvet Underground, PJ Harvey, Can and Gang of Four. That, and their name, a classic one for a band, (given all its connotations), were enough to persuade me to give their third album, While We Were Sleeping a listen at the start of my morning. 

It's a suitably dark record, with plenty of murky depth on show, and all seems rather 'adult' if that's what you're after. Such a term,, probably has as many negative implications as positive ones.

For whatever reason Dark Horses have not been active in terms of releasing records, since their debut in 2013. While We Were Sleeping is their first since the following year and certainly hints at a prolonged, drawn out processes.

Listening to it was a rewarding process, though I'm not entirely sure I'll be inclined to return to it as it's certainly not an easy listening experience, in the way that an hour with PJ rarely is. I would recommend it though, as it's a work a lot of thought and intense effort has been put into ad this has certainly resulted as a set of gifts that require unwrapping..

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 338 Foo Fighters - The Colour & The Shape


Monday, March 20, 2023

Aztec Camera


Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 62 Georges Bizet - Carmen


What They Heard - How The Beatles, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan Listened to Each Other & Changed Music Forever # 7 The Beatles


Rubber Soul. The Beatles turning point.

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 251 Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 339 U2 - War


Song(s) of the Day # 3,335 Flying Colours


Melbourne band with evident love of all things Ride and My Bloody Valentine . They put this devotion to useful purpose on latest record You Never Knew, with songs that build and build on waves of clashing and chiming guitars and wistful vocalising.

While there's nothing on here that surprises, or even intends to, there's something I found really warming and comforting. Like falling asleep in the back of a car taking you home, with a set of favourite songs on the stereo that remind you of memories from long ago.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Perfect Pitch - Tim Bouverie # 61 Giuseppe Verdi - Messa De Requiem


What They Heard - How The Beatles, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan Listened to Each Other & Changed Music Forever # 6 Bob Dylan


Imperial phase.

The Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 250 The Wailers - Catch a Fire


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 340 Bjork - Debut


Song(s) of the Day # 3,334 The Lost Days


Now here's a record that's rather lovely. For its precision. For its melody. For its sincerity. The Lost Days, (and that's a wonderful name for a band in itself) are Sarah Rose Janko and Tony Molina and In The Store is their debut album. It has ten tracks and remarkably lasts 13 minutes and 33 seconds.

Not a moment is wasted. Janko and Molina realise that much of life is about the moment, and you should never stretch the moment out too long or it's liable to snap. That never threatens to happen here.

The Lost Days understand that some of the best moment in Pop Music ever occurred in early Beatles and Byrds songs. They say multitudes in less that fifteen. minutes here. In The Dude's words, 'they're into that brevity thing.' And the world is a richer place for that.