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Archive for the ‘2010s’ Category

The Grubby Mitts – To A Friend’s House (2011)

June 2, 2016 Leave a comment

One of my great pleasures in life is receiving my monthly copy of The Wire Magazine. It’s a bit esoteric and, to be frank, a lot of the “experimental” music they cover is unmitigated tosh.

Nonetheless, three or four times a year, the magazine comes with a free CD and the “Wire Tapper” series now stretches past 40 volumes …. I do try and listen to these all the way through but they can be a bit of an endurance test. Occasionally, however, you hear something that makes you pause and really sit up. This track is one such example.

To A Friend’s House” by The Grubby Mitts appeared on Wire Tapper 37 early in 2015. While this was the first official CD release of the track, it actually dates back on vinyl to 2011. Whatever its provenance, this is an intriguing and beguiling track – for me, a blend of classic English folk with the lo-fi, indie-pop nous of the bands on New Zealand’s peerless Flying Nun Records label. It turns out that The Grubby Mitts are from Bedford in the UK; only 20 miles from where I type this missive … guys, can I have a beer for plugging you?

A bit of accordion, a spot of bass and some multi-layered spoken vocals adds up to considerably more than the sum of its parts.

Give it a go!

 

Max Richter – Spring 1 (2012)

May 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Over the years, I have watched my kids perform in a vast number of dance shows – ballet, modern, tap, etc. Now, sadly, they don’t appear in every single dance and, when this happens, one simply hopes that time will pass as quickly as possible or that something calamitous will befall one of their hapless contemporaries …

However, occasionally, you find yourself watching a dance where you are hearing a piece of music for the first time and it just takes your breath away. One example was hearing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” a few years ago … (I haven’t yet put that on this blog for fear of attracting some derision from my handful of followers who usually think that any departure from the world of Crispy Ambulance b-sides is an appalling sell-out).

A second example is this piece by Max Richter – a reworking (or recomposing) of Summer from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  Layering sample upon sample of violins from the original and complementing this with a spot of Moog synth, Richter achieves near perfection in a beautiful composition.

There are a small number of other CDs in the Recomposed series on legendary German classical label Deutsche Grammophon (including a fantastic LP featuring a variety of recompositions  by techno legends Moritz von Oswald and Carl Craig).

The only flaw with this piece is that it is too short …

Sonny and the Sunsets – Green Blood (2013)

February 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Having a great birthday working my way through my mountain of unheard CDs after a slap up lunch with Sarah and a couple of the youngsters that almost left me in “food coma” territory.

Anyway, I was listening to the Rough Trade Shops End of the Road 10th Anniversary compilation (which, to be fair had been pretty humdrum for most of its length) when, suddenly, this track leapt out of the speakers!

An immediate classic of US lo-fi, the song has echoes of the Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman, Camper Van Beethoven, the New Bad Things and some of the timeless New Zealand bands on Flying Nun Records .. a winning combination!

“Green Blood” is the final track on Sonny and the Sunsets 2013 LP Antenna to the Afterworld. Apparently, the composer, a Mr Sonny Smith, based the songs on some paranormal experiences he had ….

And a nice video as well – the perfect way to end a great day!

 

Bill Ryder-Jones – Two to Birkenhead (2015)

December 12, 2015 Leave a comment

The best song from the best album of 2015. The guitarist from The Coral channels the Velvet Underground, Pixies and, on this track, Pavement at the peak of their powers.

An intimate account of a trip to Birkenhead (very near my birthplace!) which after 2:20 mins morphs into the perfect existential debate about what to do when things are going off the rails and concludes that “desperate times, call for desperate pleasures” …. :

And turning on your side,

You said, “Don’t be too long”,

I said I’ll be right back,

Though I kept my fingers crossed.

And sitting on your hands,

Well it kind of broke my heart,

It wasn’t in the plan,

When we went to Conway Park.

And as I’m slipping out You whispered, “Desperate times”

You say that desperate times Call for desperate pleasures

They say that desperate times Call for desperate pleasures

They say that desperate times Call for desperate pleasures

The official video and then a definitive live reading!


Model 500 – Storm (2015)

April 5, 2015 Leave a comment

One of the founding kings of techno, Juan Atkins, returns to top form on “Storm” from the new Model 500 album released a few weeks ago!

Sounding not unlike Maurizio at the peak of his powers (check here), the track rolls back the years to the days when Basic Channel and Chain Reaction defined the apogee of minimalist techno …

Charles Bradley – Golden Rule (2011)

February 7, 2015 Leave a comment

Like many an aficionado of 1960s deep soul, (and one of many who have worshipped at the shrine of Dave Godin), the first time I heard Charles Bradley I thought, “how on earth have I missed this guy”?

The sound, the delivery, the sentiment, seem to stem directly from the motherlode from which Otis Redding’s genius stands as only the most populist tip of an immense iceberg of heartache and pain.

But it turns out that Charles Bradley has been recording new material in the 21st century that is not only equal to, but often surpasses, the tracks we all love from the 1960s.

His debut album “No Time for Dreaming” is a flawless soul collection. So many highpoints, but Golden Rule is (just, and tonight) my favourite.

And it gets better, not only has Charles Bradley released records utterly essential for anyone with an interest in modern music (and life itself) but his history has been captured on a wonderful documentary Soul of America that charts his remarkable rise from James Brown impersonator to the greatest singer in the world today.

A perfect live version then the LP version and then live in Paris! Stunning.

 

Elbow – My Sad Captains (2014)

January 10, 2015 Leave a comment

This is a stupendous record.

For some reason, I’ve always regarded Elbow as a bit of a “guilty pleasure” – a band that I couldn’t help liking despite an overriding feeling that I really shouldn’t do so for reasons of fashion or doctrine.

Or maybe it was because the singer looked a little bit too much like Ricky Tomlinson playing Jim Royle in the Royle Family?

I started to really warm to them when I heard singer Guy Garvey in engaging form on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (which you can hear,  here). I think the moment I was won over was when he selected “New Grass” by Talk Talk as the first of his 8 records. This is a peerless choice that I have previously posted on this blog  here.

Around the same time, I saw them play this on Later with Jools Holland and was entranced.

Suffice to say that “My Sad Captains” even surpasses the genius of Talk Talk.

The relentless rhythm, the bass, the brass, the soaring vocals and a connection with the live audiences that just makes you wish you had been there.

Another sunrise with my sad captains
With who I choose to lose my mind
And if it’s all we only pass this way but once
What a perfect waste of time

The version from Jools Holland, a Radio 2 In Concert version and then the record.

 

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