Saint Saviour has been one of those artists bubbling under for so long now that when her name is mentioned I kind of assume that everyone knows who I'm talking about. To be frank, people should be talking about her as her talent deserves for her to be mentioned in the same sentence as Martina Topley-Bird, Goldfrapp et al. Her oeuvre of late has been power pop; that 80s tinged electro that a lot of female artists have championed recently but this, her first official single sees her with a slower, more understated tune. I really hope she hits the big time with this as there's so much dross out there getting way more than their allotted 15 minutes fame yet we have right here someone with genuine talent who deserves a calendar's worth. I suspect that it's because she's way too nice in real life.
30 April 2012
Please forgive the rash of posts here on my blog. A very tedious train ride to Bristol from Brighton via a replacement bus service has meant that I've had a lot of time to catch up on some Soundcloud surfing. I came across this remix of a favourite Dengue Fever track. I think I've already put the original on here some time ago but this is well worth a listen for a version that is well and truly a dozen dance floors away from the Cambodian psychedelia that you expect from the band.
And as a little bonus, here's a more orthodox song from them. 'Sister in the Radio' is from Cannibal Courtship.
I'm quite looking forward to listening to Laibach's soundtrack to the wonderfully nonsensical film, Iron Sky. I'm not giving too much away of the story line when I tell you that another more literal film title would have been "Nazis on the Moon", it really does do what it says on the tin. I'm firmly of the opinion that the soundtrack genre is a much under-rated source of great music but when done well can stand on its own as a great album as well as lifting a film. In fact, some soundtracks possibly upstage the film. I'm thinking Saturday Night Fever, Get Carter or possibly Dead Presidents. This remix by Gabriel Shinoda has the teutonic doom turned up to 11 and is brand new to me although it appears to have been out for some time.
29 April 2012
I went with my brother to see Tricky play Maxinquaye, in full, in London on Friday. I really wish I hadn't gone as so many illusions were shattered. Tricky was shambolic and kept disappearing offstage every 5 minutes, in fact he was on stage possibly 20% of the time. Martina Topley-Bird was fantastic...when she was onstage. She also seemed to need quite a few loo breaks, leaving the house band basically to jam on their own. We also had a completely inexplicable deviation from the album with his little brother and chum rapping for 15 minutes. Now, we all want to see our brethren do well but surely there's a time and place. A Maxinquaye retrospective is definitely neither.
The coup de grace was delivered at the end with an invitation for the crowd to join him on stage for a guitar dirge-led sing-song. It was awful to think we'd paid £35 plus the travel costs to see a p*ss-poor Maxinquaye finish with a bunch of trustafarians filming themselves for Youtube's benefit and the ever-dwindling audience who had voted with their feet and left. I kid you not, at one point there was a heavy metaller head-banging centre-stage. It really is not how I want to remember this most seminal of albums and an essential part of the Bristol trip-hop holy trinity of Massive Attack / Tricky / Portishead. Apparently the entire tour has been like this and the rumours seem to be that he's struggling with some sort of problem. Maybe an explanation from someone associated with this debacle might go some way to rebuilding the love for him that I and others have lost with this tour.
Here he is in better times.
Outside, however, it appears that Poseidon is the main man. Can we declare this drought officially over yet? (This video shows footage of Nick Cave recording the album 'No More Shall We Part'. It's a fascinating little insight into his world).
27 April 2012
26 April 2012
I've been listening to the classic 'A Pagan Place' by the Waterboys this morning. I picked up a re-mastered copy of the early 80s album and this was added to it. It's brand new to me and has shades of a certain Bowie riff to it. You know what? The Waterboys should have been massive. The music they were making back then blew U2's output pre-Eno out of the water (excuse the pun).
Posted by lee at 09:37
25 April 2012
I like this.
Posted by lee at 23:19
I bought their album, Long Black Cars, the other day and I've not been disappointed with it so far. It has all the hallmarks of classic Wave Pictures by which the lyrics are incredibly witty, well-crafted and beautifully metred and the music itself is incredibly powerful with some genuine rock and roll guitar work. At times it reminds me of early James and has inspired me to dig those albums out.
This is one of the quieter tunes from the album, I've tried to find out what the story is behind the song but so far to no avail. If you know, please do let me know.
Actually, let me edit this post to add this beauty I came across which is also from the album. It's called 'Stay Here and Take Care of the Chicken'.
23 April 2012
22 April 2012
20 April 2012
19 April 2012
Two of my bestest buddies make up the talented Family Funktunes and if you're in the Brighton area tomorrow and looking for music and smiles then get yourself down to the Latest Bar for a very special charity night. Not only is there great music but I hope I won't get into too much trouble when I reveal there will also be cool as you like videos back-dropped at the venue that will compliment the music so well. All proceeds go to the Rockinghorse Appeal which aims to help very sick children and their families in the Sussex area. I've been to a few of them now so you can take it from me that the music is authentic funk, soul, groove and all good. More details can be found here.
In the meantime, here's them presenting their radio show with very special guest, Norman Cook.
Posted by lee at 19:55
If you're going to cover a subject like this then you really ought to have lyrics that have gravitas and a killer (sic) bassline. Both boxes are ticked with this monster.
Posted by lee at 16:08
I think I'm going to have to say a "no" to this one. I was never a big fan of the original and this is quite a faithful rendition. Even someone as uber-cool as Beck can't rescue it from being a bit all too ironic and, frankly, dull. Sorry Beck.
18 April 2012
I can't wait to see Tricky next week with my brother. I've a feeling it's going to be very special. This is one of my favourite Tricky songs ever. It features his then girlfriend, Lubna, on backing vocals and has so much depth and passion. It's the kind of song I put on loop for a whole afternoon.
17 April 2012
Anyone who has followed this blog for any appreciable time will know about my weakness for moody left-field dance music. There's something that strikes a chord with me and it has the ability to conjure up so many mental images. Nicolas Jaar has hit the spot right here with a wonderfully trippy remix that lingers in your psyche long after the song has finished. It reminds me in part of the Nick Cave novel "And The Ass Saw The Angel" in which the oppressive rain is a permanent fixture.
Posted by lee at 21:37
16 April 2012
He played at St Bartholomew's Church tonight in Brighton and neither the venue nor Daniel disappointed. The church itself is massive, built to the biblical dimensions of the Ark and is reportedly the biggest church in Britain and consequently it provided a dramatic stage and wonderful natural acoustics. Daniel Johnston was supported by British Sea Power (BSP) who played a short, low-key set as support. Never ones to take the conventional route, all but the drummer sat whilst he stood. I particularly liked the bass drum with the Boy's Brigade emblem on it. I'm an ex-BBer myself (5th Worthing Brigade) and they taught me the only musical instrument that I could play albeit terribly. The bugle is an instrument of torture in my hands.
Daniel came on shortly afterwards and played 3 songs solo. The venue was rammed and there was a lot of love for the most idiosyncratic singer I've ever seen. He started somewhat nervously, which we all expected but his voice was much better than I'd heard previously both on tape/cd and also live. After his solo set, he almost ran off the stage before returning with BSP, reincarnated for this tour as Texan Sea Power. I'd never heard Johnston sing before with such a full sound behind him and it gave a whole new dimension to his songs.
At this point, I must add that, apart from being alongside some very knowledgeable and lovely friends, my 12 year old son was at his first ever live gig. I'm a little wary of foisting on him the kind of music that I think he ought to like but I felt that this kind of venue with this kind of performer would be an interesting introduction. I needn't have worried as he absolutely loved the gig and Daniel Johnston. We discussed at length in the cab home, the history behind his music and it was a pleasure to see my son so animated about musicians that I adore.
Back to the gig. The second part of the gig saw Daniel J in top form with a few jokes and some black humour that belied the myth that Daniel is a perennially fragile person. In that large frame is a wonderfully funny and engaging man. My night was made complete when he played my favourite song "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Your Grievances". There was also the obligatory Beatles cover and for the first time ever, I saw the man rock the stage. (If you've ever seen him live then you will know I mean metaphorically, not just physically.) I think there might be some merit in getting hold of any master tapes of his earlier stuff (if they exist) and re-mastering them. Perhaps not. In my enthusiasm, I think I might be gilding this beautiful lily.
Part of Daniel Johnston's charm is his brutal honesty about himself tied with his unswerving faith in the goodness of others. That, and the fact that I genuinely don't think he realises how great he really is. Tonight was very special and I'm glad to have been a part of it.
He also played this song 'Love Enchanted' from his finest album 'Fear Yourself'.
15 April 2012
12 April 2012
10 April 2012
Gothic-look videos never seem to date. Here's a fine example by half-Iranian, half-Danish duo, Rosemary with a new song, Sleep Alone. I can't quite get Abba's 'Lay All Your Love On Me' out of my brain when I hear this song. It's not a bad thing, it's definitely one of Abba's better songs.
Posted by lee at 17:11
09 April 2012
I just read that long-time collaborator with Bill Callahan, Cynthia Dall passed away last week. She had a signature lo-fi sound which even with a melancholic tinge to it was strangely uplifting. She was also a very accomplished photographer with an eye for retro-style pictures long before Instagram cornered the market. Cause of death is, as yet, unknown although we do know she was working on material for a new album at the time. Here she is with Bill Callahan on guitar.
08 April 2012
07 April 2012
06 April 2012
05 April 2012
04 April 2012
I have become so disillusioned with politics in general that I have gone past the point of cynicism and probably past the point of caring any more. I used to worry that this wasn't a particularly healthy place to be but when I hear songs like this from profoundly wise people such as Gil Scott-Heron I don't fret so much. GSH pretty much nails it all for me here. What was true 31 years ago is still true today and that is so depressing. Thank the Lord for music.
03 April 2012
02 April 2012
I adore the concept of the Black Cab Sessions and have featured Daniel Johnston before on this blog. This time it's the band that had, for me, the album of 2010. It is of course Our Broken Garden with 'La Sagittaire'.
You can see more Black Cab Sessions by clicking here.
Posted by lee at 22:11
I don't know an awful lot about this band; I think they are Indonesian, they sing in their native tongue and it's quite a catchy tune. I came across it quite randomly on Youtube last night and if this is the quality of Indonesian music I'm going to do some more exploring. See what you think.
Posted by lee at 13:12
01 April 2012
This came as a bonus mini CD with Bonobo's Black Sands remix album. It's a 20 minute mix of the tracks and just oozes class from every pore. They are well known for their lush orchestration but even by this Brighton band's standards this is so warm and sensual. If you are after that perfect 20 minute chilled mix then this is the one. I think I will leave this blog tonight with this as my swansong. Sleep well.
This falls straight into that genre I can't quite describe with Damian Jurado / Daniel Lefkowitz / Low Anthem / Bon Iver / Fleet Foxes et al. How would you describe it? Lo-fi indie folk? It seems almost that you are dealing with minutae of differences with a tag like that but it is definitely its own sound. The Heart and the Hand are a Seattle band with a fantastic back catalogue already and I confidently expect their name to be mentioned when, in years to come, we talk about the great lo-fi indie folk bands or however we choose to describe them. Let's hope it's someone better qualified to define the genre who gives it a proper name!
Between them, Jeff and Tim Buckley were on this planet for a total of 52 years. How very sad to consider.
I find Smiths covers very hit and miss. The Jeff Buckley version is almost up there with the live Smiths version from Rank although I believe Jeff Buckley could have sung the football league final scores and it would have sounded beautiful. The Tim Buckley in session on the Old Grey Whistle Test is perfect with Whispering Bob Harris almost reverential in talking about Tim Buckley.
Jeff Buckley - 'I Know it's Over'
Tim Buckley - 'Dolphins'
Posted by lee at 21:58
Here's some new music I bought recently.
I'm particularly looking forward to giving the Grinderman remix album a good listen but the one that I chose to play first is the EP from Daniel Rossen (frontman with Grizzly Bear). His voice reminds me of Paul McCartney or specifically the kind of music that McCartney should have been making all these years. There's some Neil Young thrown in that voice too. It's a very good little album.