Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 17 The Cribs


Err The Cribs. As Indie Landfill as they come.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 485 Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 96 LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver


Albums of the Year # 26 Wednesday - Rat Saw God


Rat Saw God, the latest from North Carolina's Wednesday has been one that's appealed to me as its approached along the Golden Avenue of Pop in recent weeks.

Wednesday have distanced themselves from the Indie pack for some time. My Bloody Valentine meets Replacements meets Country music. An unlikely collision. But one that works. Miraculously.

Now that it's here, the record doesn't disappoint in any respect. A series of woozy, melodic pipedreams that offer up much more than your average Indie adventuring. There's genuine heartache here.

Rat Saw God, shifts the deck you're standing on from sonic meltdown to emotional tearjerker from track to track apparently at whim and it works remarkably well. It's not quite like any record you'll hear this year and that's altogether a recommendation.

Songs of the Year # 26 Corinne Bailey Rae


Song(s) of the Day # 3,576 Corinne Bailey Rae


Corinne Bailey Rae's Black Rainbows is a record that figure high on the end of year record countdowns currently doing the rounds. If that's the kind of thing which winds your wristwatch. 

It's a slightly odd record. And not one that's easy to hang on a particular peg. It's Rae's fourth album in all and first in seven years. It's not obviously a soul record or an R&B one. It's not remotely an Indie record. Or a Heavy Metal or a Jazz one.

It struck me as a Rock one and a sprawling and slightly alien and odd one. Uncut calls it Afrofuturism whatever that may be. I prefer to call it Odd. If that's not a label, it jolly well is now. 2023 has been an odd one for me personally and it seems I'm not entirely alone. 

Although Black Rainbows is not an easy record to listen to, (far from it frankly), it does have a strangeness, a remoteness which might appeal. It's brave and adventurous certainly. Like all the best records should be.

Anyhow it has New York Transit Queen, a short but fantastic moment which on its own is worth the entry fee. This song alone made me feel young again. Anything that does that, gets my vote and undying loyalty. That goes for Corinne Bailey Rae and everything she represents. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Sex Pistols


The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 18 Mystery Jets


I thought this was good.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 483 A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 97 Pixies - Surfer Rosa


Ghost Woman at Bobik's in May


What I Did on Monday Night - Ghost Woman at Bobiks in The Punchbowl, Jesmond


I'm going to gigs this year. After a couple of decidedly dry years during Lockdown. It's partly something that I think will be generally good for my health and partly something I can afford to do because I'm drinking less. Anyway it's going well. Monday night was my sixth meaningful gig of 2023, in addition to my regular Jazz Jams. So far they've all been great too.

The Punchbowl Bar is in Jesmond, near to Jesmond Dene the miraculous natural public park established by William Armstrong in the 1860's. It's one of the best pubs I know and if it were closer I'd be a regular. It's got a nice range of beers, a great kitchen, friendly regulars and a cool interior. It just feels good being there. I arrived early and went upstairs to Bobik's, which is the small club venue they have inside. It's for band events mostly. They have a cool long bar at the back. Room for between 100 and 150 I'd imagine and a low stage. It's the best kind of place to see a band on their way up.

I forget the name of the support band but they were great. I chatted to their lead singer who was standing at the bar when I came in. A highly vivacious and friendly young lad in his early twenties with a broad grin, excellent teeth and a cracking haircut which made me think he was Noddy Holder's younger brother in 1973. He didn't mind the comparison, in fact seemed rather flattered when I told him. They set off to play.

They, whoever they were, the Something Something Band, were rather good. They sounded very, very 1973 and Noddy Holder's young brother had a fine shrieking, rasping howl that made me think of Ozzy. The band didn't sound like Sabbath but they did sound like an early Seventies Rawk band, which isn't a specialist area of knowledge of mine but I would hesitate a guess at Bad Company, Uriah Heep or Humble Pie. I've never heard a single note by any of these bands but this lot, whoever they were, made this sound like an error on my part and one I should amend. The band were fun, the audience enjoyed them and so did I. They're off on their first European tour soon and I wish them well.

Headliners Canadian duo Ghost Woman came on after a short break. I do know them and their records. They've already put out a couple of albums and they're excellent if slightly illusory because they don't sound at all what they do onstage. I've never had quite such a confusing gig experience and can't imagine I'll ever have one quite like that again.

So, on record they sound like a Psychedelic American guitar band from '66 or '67 Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield and the updated equivalent Brian Jonestown Massacre. Kind of mellow.  

Onstage though they're anything but. They're something else and altogether a much more intense experience. First of all they look mean. Their gear is set up so their drums and guitar are facing each other with him on his guitar with one of those curly retro guitar cable that looks like 70s curly telephone wiring and her in her t-shirt and jeans and shoulder length hair. Frankly they're a hot and mean looking couple, the kind that Quentin Tarantino would write dialogue for.

They may not be a couple but they certainly act like one onstage and if they're really getting the hots for each other and don't really care who knows it. He looks like he'd beat the shit out of you as soon as look at you while she seems like she'd probably back him up and get a few kicks in too once you were down. They're both covered in tattoos. They're probably very nice but they certainly don't care to give you that impression and they don't talk much either.

She, the mean rock chick drummer, is wearing a Gun Club t-shirt and that's the clue to what they sound like onstage. They're 80s and 90s American Jack Daniels and heroin addiction alternative rock. They're Gun Club, Cramps, Pussy Galore, Royal Trux, White Stripes, The Kills, Boss Hogg and all those guys. Wrapped up with a bow. you get the impression the syringes are lying around waiting for them backstage so they can have a hit before heading back to their sleazy motel room. OK, there aren't any motels, never mnd sleazy ones in this part of Jesmond, but you get the image they definitely wish to convey.

They're relentless frankly and they barely pause for a second of their forty five set. They have eyes only for each other rather than us and this seems to be because they're horny rather than shy. This makes the whole spectacle even more impressive and I head for the exit before they finish as it's a school night, more than satisfied because they're cool, and smart and I've more than had my money's worth. They're certainly ones to watch because I get the impression they're only going to get better, and bigger. I'm glad I saw them early.

Ghost Woman - Hindsight is 50 / 50


On Monday 12th May this year I went to see American Noisniks Ghost Woman, kicking up a fuss at Bobik's in Jesmond near where I live. It was a tense and stormy day in my own life for reasons I won't bother you with, except to say that I'd just had a bad argument with someone who means a lot to me.

Ghost Woman calmed the fire in my belly although their music is driven music. It was an intense, noisy evening at the lip of a low stage, watching a couple of possessed, driven musicians summoning up a storm.

Ghost Woman look like White Stripes but they play most of all like Gun Club. Their tattoed pony tailed drummer wore a Gun Club T Shirt that night. Like Jeffrey Lee and his gang of outlaws they plug into the Wild Old West. The Delta Blues.

They're a prolific band . Labandtest record Hindsight is 50 / 50 is their third album in 18 months. Time is clearly of the essence. It's another urgent, conflicted missile.

This records sounds more like Ghost Woman are as a live proposition than previous reords.  Hindsight is 50 / 50 is a gnarly, uncompromising beast. Knotty. Coiled. Dangerous. A band on a roll.

Songs of the Year # 27 Ahnoni & The Johnsons


Albums of the Year # 27 Ahnoni & The Johnsons - My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross


I haven't followed Anohni's career enormously closely. I was aware of her at her emergence as Anthony & The Johnsons with 2005's I am a Bird Now. It would have been odd not to as a music lover. This was such an extraordinary record.

But I haven't followed the trajectory since and My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross, the record which came out on Friday is probably the first since I am a Bird Now I've listened to with any serious attention. I suspect I've been tardy. 

Because My Back Was a Bridge is an excellent if characteristically gloomy work. Anohni has never been one of life's happiest campers, and here, in her first album since 2016 once more uses Nina and Billie as guiding stars to map more tales of loneliness, isolation and loss.

It's all impeccably done though and sadness is one of the cards we're inevitably dealt and asked to deal with at points of our life. This is another brave, varied and tasteful set which testifies to why Lou Reed was so taken by Anohni in the first place. He didn't have great patience for fools but recognised astonishing talent when he saw it. Here's further evidence of that.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,575 Sam Burton


As usual I find myself mopping up at this point of the year. As always this first entails looking through the end of year album lists from Mojo and Uncut Magazine and finding out what I've missed along the way these last twelve months. As generally, I find I've missed a lot.

Sam Burton and Dear Departed. An old school singer songwriter of the most affecting type. A young man of impossible youth but incredible talent. And grace and wisdom beyond his years. Nick Drake, Jim Sullivan, Jim Croce. Take your pick of troubadors. There are no end of options.

Dear Departed plays its cards immediately and then shuffles and deals from the same pack for the rest of the evening. Burton knows his heritage, his tradition and sticks to the rules laid down by those that went before him.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, but if he has a natural home it is surely the Laurel Canyon Valley. Dear Departed ranks 23rd on the list of Uncut's albums of the year but really what listening to this record underlines is the sheer foolishness of this ranking exercise so many of us indulge in at the end of each year. It's like trying to bottle lightning. And lightning cannot be bottled.

Listen to this. If you like it, pass it on. That's what this is really all about. I was captured and slain, listening to the record. I hope it has the same impact on you.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Patti Smith by Joan Baez


The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 19 1990s


                        Better yhan most of the records here. Some genuine Glaswegian vim and swagger. 

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 482 Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 98 Wu Tang Clan - Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers)


Songs of the Year # 28 Mersault


Albums of the Year # 28 Ora Cogan - Formless


Loyal follower and supporter of this blog, Darren Jones, has been on holiday. I'm not sure Darren Jones is allowed to go on holiday. Put that in the ship's log Stubb. It's not in his job description. He was Shanghaied, many moons ago. For the services of The Pequod As Starbuck to my Ahab, chief mate to my captain, cast adrift on the ocean seas of musical blog. 

He's been doing sterling, work onboard It Starts for a number of voyages now. Going back years. Rising through the ranks. Eyes scanning the horizon keenly for approaching schools, promising new releases, catches,  to cast the ship's nets for and bring their catch onboard for the captain's table, (though of course I know he likes listening to them just for himself of course). 

But Darren / Starbuck is always very generous in letting me know . Prizes which I otherwise might miss, so I in turn can bring them to the notice of anyone who's interested out there in the world of blog. Apologies for my enthusiasm and ludicrous prose. But that's what language and imagination is here for after all.

The good news is Darren's back from his holidays. And he's just posted me one of his latest listening finds, Ora Cogan and her latest album Formless. Ora's a recording artist based on Vancouver Island. who's been recording and playing for going on twenty years now, with EPs and albums on various record labels. Never really coming to the attention of the majors. But do we really need the majors anymore. Discuss in pairs.

Ora's a restless soul that's for sure. Formless is as good a place to make her case as anywhere. The music is difficult to categorise. I'd call it Independent Folk. It's so enticing you might make you want to cancel all immediate engagements and make your way to Vancouver Island post haste endeavoring to track her down.

Midway through Formless  she plays her take on Katie Cruel a Traditional American Folk song of Scottish origin. Karen Dalton performed probably the best known version. It's also been covered by Odetta, Bert Jansch, Lankum and adapted for their own purposes by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds down the years. Several of them are well worth hearing.

Cogan's version of this classic wasn't instantly recognisable to me and doesn't bear any immediate relation to my ears to any version I've heard before. But it holds its own. More than holds its own.

As does the rest of Formless. In itself an interesting name for a record. There's plenty of form here as far as I can see. Great form! Good shape! Thanks Darren. Hope you had a great holiday! Now back to your duties And put your back into it lad. This is just wonderful anyway. Like so much else you recommend.

Cat Power - Cat Power Sings Dylan : The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert


A friend and former colleague Richard Elliott generally keeps a low profile in terms of social media. I've known him for over ten years now and he rarely posts on Facebook. However he's been putting his head over the parapet there more of late, posting links to a series of fascinating and informative music related articles.

Richard is a music professor at Newcastle University and his writing has a genuine academic heft while retaining the passion of a fan at one and the same time. I can't recommend his article on Cat Power's latest release more highly. The record it focuses on is a live recreation of one of the great musical moments. Dylan and The Band's truly momentous 1966 concert tour of English venues.. Playing acoustic sets which captivated his audiences and then howling, electric ones that generally enraged them.

Power,like Dylan is something of a divisive artist. A genuine representative of the 'Outsider' tradition who refuses to be contained and is remarkable for that alone. Renowned for her erratic live performance and changeable behaviour. One thing she's most famous for for is her sensitive and mastery of that rare art. The art of the cover.

Here she covers not just an album, but a live one. Richard writes about it and how much he appreciates it. Much better than I ever could because he's a genuine academic and a musician to boot, I direct you to his article. It's fascinating.

I'm an apreciator of great music most of all. Not an academic really. I certainly appreciate the record though. Power's phrasing here is exquisite.It's a record that's all about phrasing in some ways. Cat Power's understanding of the resonance of the historical moment she documents is something. It's  a beautifully nuanced recording of events of an incredible historical set of moments that we're still trying to comprehend and process almost sixty years on. 

Song(s) of the Day # 3,574 Biosphere


Making space becomes increasingly important to me with the passing months. 2023 has been a strange year for me in mny ways. Exciting, sobering and frightening. A year to reflect and plan my next move. Some years don't make much of a mark. This one certainly has.

Biosphere's latest album, Inland Delta is a record that allows you to appreciate and immerse yourself in space. It's an instrumental, orchestral and ambient record from Norway. Tromso precisely, a city 500 miles above the Arctic Circle. 

Geir Jenssen, the visionary behind Biosphere, works in the tradition of Eno, Jon Hassell and Walter Carlos. If you want more detail, go to Biosphere's Spotify page. That was enough for me. That and listening to the record.

It's nine tracks and almost an hour long. I enjoyed the time I spent in its company. Sometimes words fail us an we need to listen and talk. This is a record for those moments. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

NME Reader's Poll 1985


Geordie Walker 1958 - 2022


My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize # 30 Kevin Rowland


The strange return of Kevin Rowland.

The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 20 Mumm-Ra


                                       Bexhill-On-Hill's finest. Quite quirky and nice actually.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 481 Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 10Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 99 David Bowie - Station To Station


Songs of the Year # 29 House of All


Albums of the Year # 29 Dignan Porch - Electric Threads


I've just come across my favourite band in the world. Ever, ever, ever. Since the last time. It happens to me quite a lot. That's possibly why this blog is still going. Ten years and counting.

My latest favourite band in the world. Ever, ever, ever is Dignan Porch. There are five of them, they are unfeasibly young  and they are from Tooting Broadway. How cool is that!

Their second album is called Electric Threads.  It has a cool cover with a drawn circle of ghoulish heads on the cover It rocks the Garage sound first minted in the mid Sixties by the likes of The Seeds and The Strangeloves most recognisably, and updated by the likes of The Woodentops and The Triffids in the Eighties. They might have taken notes from the likes of The Horrors more recently.

That's it. That's Dignan Porch. That's their source of inspiration and that's what they sound like. Fucking fantastic. I do hope they play in Newcastle soon. In the meantime I have Electric Threads.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,573 Feeling Figures


A bit of rolling, urgent Indie Punk for a Monday morrning. Montreal's Feeling Figures latest record. Migration Magic. Why not? I'm not dead yet.

I liked this instantly and devoured it at a single sitting. Feeling Figures have an Independent and roving spirit. I was reminded of the great American Rock underground rennaissance of the early Eighties that excited me so in my late teenage years.

Each track starts from a different place and heads for its own destination with breakneck urgency.Feeling Figures don't always play in tune but have no real desire to. This has a ramshackle emergy and momentum that's a rush to witness and experience.

First mate Darren Jones has directed me here, once more.Excellent work Darren. In the words of the press release ' unconstrained synthesis of multiple areas of  indie rock, psychedelia, folk and outsider pop.' I couldn't put it better myself.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Wurld Series - The Giant's Lawn


Wurld Series hail from Christchurch New Zealand. Not perhaps the city in that wonderful country that the music fan might think of first. That would be Dunedin. But they're a trio that live and breathe the musical values of that fair country.

They're certainly present and correct on The Giant's Lawn. This is not released on Flying Nun Records, but it should be really as it embodies its DNA. By that I mean, melody, guile and a refusal to embrace the obvious and nondescript.

This has influences. As so often I thought of Syd Barrett. I love to recognise the continuing influence of Syd. These are songs that explore the undergrowth of Giant's Lawn and find it verdant. There's a lot of utopian thinking at work here. An awareness of the darkness, a refusal to embrace it.

There's something of the Canterbury Scene perhaps here as well as the Dunedin one. Idiosyncracity and oddness. The qualities that make us all unique despite all the worst efforts of the world to make us the same. . I fell in love with the record on its first play. Wutld Series have always been a fine band but I'd say  The Giant's Lawn sees them becoming a remarkable one.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 480 Nirvana - Nevermind


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 10Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 100 Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Songs of the Year # 30 Bonnie Prince Billy


Albums of the Year # 30 Lael Neale - Star Eaters Delight


An outstanding new release from last week that I'm only just getting round to. Lael Neale's third album Star Eaters Delight on Sub Pop has more than enough vim and vigour to separate it instantly from the Singer / Songwriter pack.

In fact the very term 'Singer Songwriter'  is becoming an increasingly reductive, inadequate term for pigeon wholing music and artists these days. To my mind it summons up thoughts of Joni and James Taylor and we live in an entirely different universe from the one they chronicled in the early Seventies. Just listen to Star Eaters Delight for ample evidence of this.

It's a record that seems fueled by Mexican jumping beans, it doesn't hang around for a moment of it's eight track, 35 minute run. It's sheer delight in vinyl form, best sat through in a single sitting. I doubt you'll hear a record that is so simply thrilled to be alive all year.

Neale's voice is the obvious main drawing card of the album, but actually I'd say that this is deceptive. Still it's an instrument of natural clarity and beauty. But its the way its used, in harmony with the arrangement, orchestration and general production here that makes the record such a must hear.

Comparison points are often a sticking point in the way I try to describe records I'm excited by. Sometimes they're obvious and immediate and also necessary in order to describe where a band or artist are coming from or what they're trying to do.

In Neale's case I'd say comparisons are not really necessary. The record is best listened to. I'd just quote her Spotify bio to give you an idea of what the woman herself is like; 'she splits her time between rural Virginia and Los Angeles. She loves walking, Emerson, fantasy fiction espresso and not listening to music. She is an amateur gardener, painter and musician.' 

She sounds great doesn't she? So does her record. In fact it has something magical about it. Spectral if you will. Another really special album in a year that seems blessed with them. Another to add to your list of things you need to hear. 

Song(s) of the Day # 3,572 Edwin R Stevens


A gap in my schedule and first mate Darren Jones / Starbuck comes to the rescue once more to correct the wheel and send us into clear and open waters once more.

This morning with Edwin R Stevens and his latest God On All Fours. A cross between Starr and Shakin' you might imagine, but you'd be mistaken. 

God On All Fours is more it transpires like a cross between Bill Callahn and David Berman. Wrtness, slightly sad, offbeat humour if the kind that has no interest in joining the herd.

'Heaven apparently is a place on earth. And it's just behind those bins.' This is just down my street. As generally. Starbuck knows what his Captain Ahab. Will appreciate. An extra ration of grog for that man.

A little biological detail. Stevens is from Llanfair fechan on the North Wales coasr. He lives in Glasgow, Scitland. His record is excellent. Sometimes, you only need the bare bones and you can fill in the details yourself.

Pillows & Prayers # 16 Quentin Crisp


The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 21 Maximo Park


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 479 Simply Red - Stars


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 101 Queen - A Night at the Opera


Songs of the Year # 31 Mother Said


Albums of the Year # 31 Bonnie Prince Billy - Keeping Secrets Will Destroy Me


It's been a tough week. I've been worrying about an old, dear friend who has been informed about a grim potential diagnosis and is waiting to hear something more definitive. Such a scenario is not just agonising for the person concerned, in some ways it's every bit as tortuous for those who hold that person dear.

Still, I finally got to speak to him last night and it put my mind at ease. For the time being. Anyway, it's the weekend now and I can get to listen to the the new Bonnie Prince Billy record. As generally with Billy these days it's a place of comfort, regarding what you might be going through at the minute.

Billy seems to be in a nice place. A domesticated one from which to face battle with the demons which have always haunted him. Latest record Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You is hokey. folky. Time spent with the near and dear across the generations on a sunny weekend in Kentucky.

It's corny. Billy likes a big dollop of corn with virtually everything these days. He clearly shares a fair bit of DNA with John Denver as well as the more established icons of Folk, Country and Blues.

These are calming, soothing melodies. Ditties that touch on the deepest darkness but constantly strain towards the light. Billy has a wonderful turn of phrase. He's one of the good guys and should be treasured. 

Song(s) of the Day # 3,571 Spector


Spector are an Indie band that dress in black. Their third album Here Come The Early Nights is well structured and orderly and doesn't make too much of a fuss about itself. 

Songs built on sometimes stretched AB rhyming patterns. About from what I could gather forbearance and fortitude. I enjoyed the listening experience without ever being dragged to my feet.

Listening to the record was something of a middle of the road Indie experience. Spector's music is an amiable rather than an exciting exercise.. They are Starsailor or Embrace in 2023. They never once threaten to 'jump the shark'.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Pillows & Prayers # 15 The Nightingales


The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 22 The Enemy



Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 478 Crowded House - Woodface


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 102 Bob Dylan - Bringing it all Back Home


Songs of the Year # 32 YOWL


Albums of the Year # 32 Fog Lake - Midnight Society

I love an immediately recognisable sense of place in a record. That you're being transported to a Saharan sand dune or a Brazilian swimming pool. Somewhere you'll probably never go to, but that you can experience as richly as if you were there right now just by putting on and listening to a record. Today children, we're going somewhere colder but don't throw your hands up, because trust me you're going to enjoy it, because we've got a really great guide. You'll want to tell mum and dad all about it, when you get back home.

One of my favourite moments in the release calendar in recent years has been when I spot a new Fog Lake record appearing on the schedule.. Aaron Powell, for he is Fog Lake, has been proffering invitations to an arctic horizon for a number of years now. Powell hails from Glovertown, a small rural town in Newfoundland, Canada and boy can you tell from the briefest exposure to his music. It's a blurred and occasionally numb sound, but warming too. Like opening the door to the town's only bar on the coldest night of the year, sitting down, discarding your mittens and warming them in front of the blazing, open fire.

Latest record Midnight Society is a familiar but vital variation on the particular seam Powell is intent on. His life's work, a shelf of records of a certain experience. Every bit as vital in their way as E. Anne Proulx and Anne Tyler's bookshelves. Powell's delivery is whispered and wistful. But he's always intent on extracting the warm moment from the savage landscape and I must say, having listened to his records any number of times he's always excellent company. A master craftsman.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,570 Lagos Thugs


There's very little that's better than an Afrobeat outfit called Lagos Thugs. From..... well you make a wild stab in the dark. Making Fela inspired rhythm and tune. On an EP called CHAOS.

This music doesn't surprise. It does what it says it will. The four tunes on here are as sinuous and robust and joyful as you could possibly wish.

I sat back in my chair and enjoyed yesterday at my leisure. It didn't dissappoint though it oes lean towars the generic at some points as these things tend to. A track called New Improved Elephants the icing on a considerable cake. Excellent. Pure and simple.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize # 29 Hurricane # 1


  Post Be Here Now Creation records is dying on the vine.


Pillows & Prayers # 14 Attila The Stockbroker


The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 23 The View



Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 477 Electronic - Electronic


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 103 Neil Young - Harvest


Songs of the Year # 33 LYR


Albums of the Year # 33 Radiator Hospital - Can't Make any Promises


Today's a rather special day for me emotionally. Ten years ago I started this writing and musical endeavor and today I'm in double digits, 19,504 posts later. No time, (or only a moment), to pause and smell the coffee. Onward we go. I've come across another good one. 

What on earth is a Radiator Hospital. A hospital where radiators convalesce? Search me. In this case they're a band. driven by Michigan born and bred songwriter, Sam Cook-Parrott. They've been around for at least a decade now and now find themselves in Philly mostly. That's all the backgound information you're getting. If you want more, seek out The Internet.

They're as good a band as any to celebrate the tenth anniversary of It Starts With a Birthstone because they've got plenty of what I appreciate about guitar based music, (the loose genre I probably appreciate most). This, as I've testified many, many times on here, kicked into gear when I first bought Murmur in late 1983 and began to fall in love with it and a whole way of listening to music.

Radiator Hospital have plenty of mystery and guile. The same DNA as R.E.M. back then.  Give their latest album, Can't Make any Promises a listen, if you don't believe me. It has everything that makes this odd pursuit, so incredibly special. Namely,  a group of people who feel they've got something in common, gathering  together to make a noise and almost by accident producing a work of art instead.

I loved Can't Make any Promises on first play. At some point in 2023 I'll put it on a list. Really you could ask for nothing more. Its spiritual twins are Teenage Fanclub and Dinosaur Jr. Oh and early R.E.M. You couldn't ask or better adopted kin. I get the impression that Peter Buck would appreciate this too. It brims with ramshackle, melodic joy.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,569 Black Pumas

Funky, Soulful. And UP! Black Pumas latest record Chronicles of a Diamond comes out of the traps critically garlanded, and rightly so, and breaks into a long sprint for the tape. 

An Austin Texas duo, singer songwriter Eric Burton and guitarist / producer Adrian Quesada are Black Pumas and they know their Soul & R & B. They're righteous without being self-righteous and conscious without being self-conscious. That's enough dumb wordplay from me. 

The record speaks for itself . It's aware of its roots and not remotely interested in standing on the spot,  Burton has a questing, versatile voice and Quesada provides a slick, shifting backtrack. The record flows like The Mississippi on a breezy day. 

You may have heard about or read about thus band and be wondering exactly where they're coming from. Listen to the album It's a record that should be heard and celebrated first and foremost. While dancing.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Pillows & Prayers # 13 Everything But The Girl


The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time # 24 Milburn

Virtually every song on here seems to be in a direct line with either Alex Turner or Pete Doherty. This time Alex.


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 476 Slint - Spiderland


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 104 Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water


Albums of the Year # 34 Water From Your Eyes - Everyone's Crushed


Finding it difficult to keep up frankly now. With all the great music and live musical experience coming my way. Every time I lower the virtual needle onto the virtual record these days or find myself in a club or at a gig, I seem to encounter a thrilling experience, a thrilling journey that I immediately need to bear witness to on here. Well, it beats thinking about work.

This is the latest. Everyone's Crushed the new one from Brooklyn duo Water in Your Eyes which is currently burning its way into my memory banks. It's their fifth album in all, but the first to come to my attention, thanks to a review in A Pessimist is Never Disappointed the blog that misses very little, listed on the right side of this page.

A pair who have been working at the Pop seam now for a number of years now in search of a sound. Everyone's Crushed feels like the moment they emerge from the laboratory with their new invention cradled in their arms. 

It's all buzzing electronic noise and scientific discovery. I was reminded of early Eighties Pop pioneers; Thomas Dolby, John Foxx, Heaven 17, DAF and the like. Even Eurythmics before they came on their gold dust formula. There's something fabulous experimental here. It feels at once retro and thrillingly cutting edge 

Songs of the Year # 34 Necromoon


Kurt Vile - Back to Moon Beach


What can you say about Kurt Vile. He's quite a difficult one to write about. Much of the time he's just there. Like rocks and trees. The sea and the sky. His latest album Back to Moon Beach sounds like a Kurt Vile album. Much in the way that rocks, trees, sea and sky look not unlike each other.

Listening through to it I found it difficult ro make any really pertinent observations save that it sounded very much like Kurt Vile. Songs content to drag on longer than perhaps than they strictly needed to. The kind of thing you expect to see when you open your dictionary to laidback.

I enjoyed the ride without telling myself at any point that it was essential in any way. Vile is Dylan , the stoned hippie rabbit from classic children's television programme The Magic Roundabout. Curled out under a tree with his guitar wrapped around him, drifting inyo an acid flashback. This I concluded was not one of his greater visions. Hardly JohannaBack to Moon Beach is more of a lake than a beach really. It hints at murky depths which will surely reward further play. I'm inclined to leave those to the faithful. 

Song(s) of the Day # 3,568 The Slaps


Chicago's Slaps make the kind of music you want to when you're young. Full of wonder. Wiser than your years. Like Paul Simon of Homeward Bound. The Shins of New Slang.

On latest record This Is my First Day at Drawing, you get seven of these. Slacker Folk. Kurt Vile;s nephews. It must be a Chicage thing. 

Antway, It's charming and easy going. It's never a good idea ro try too hard. The Slaps realise this. Sun comes up. It's Wednesday morning.