Archive for April, 2008

Current Listening: Leonard Cohen “Who By Fire”

21 April 2008

Listening to Leonard is so depressing.

You can’t help but reflect upon how inarticulate and untalented and imperfect 99.9 % of other poets and musicians are. Maybe apart from Bobby Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Mind you it’s music for the head isn’t it and there always has to be music for the feet to complement that. 

Bring on Rodgers Edwards.



Shuffleathon 2007. Part 9

17 April 2008

Norma Waterson – Reply to Joe Haines

Joe Haines was a journalist who wrote, to quote the sleeve notes, “an iniquitous article …on the subject of Freddie Mercury’s disclosure that he was HIV positive (indeed that he had full blown AIDS) and which the Daily Mirror saw fit to print”.

This is a song written by Norma’s late sister Lal, all of whose songs were some of the most beautiful skewed lullabies written in the last fifty years. Occupying a middle ground of somehere between Syd Barrett, rural English folk and Leonard Cohen, if that can be imagined. There are far too few of them but those that there are are shining gems.

Norma Waterson does of course have one of the great voices of our age and of any age. Shes a modern day living breathing Piaf or Caruso and I wish more people would see it.

A sad song but very beautiful.

Current listening: Daft Punk “Superheroes”

17 April 2008

Discovery was such a fantastic album wasn’t it ?

Anger management: Waste waste fucking waste

17 April 2008

Half of me is relieved to see common sense being promoted, half of me despairs at the fact that it is necessary.  Here. The only food which I ever throw out of my kitchen, literally, is salad that has gone over a bit and that goes to the hens so ends up as eggs eventually. Leftovers can be next nights tea or get frozen for a work night when I don’t fancy cooking.  Is it just me that behaves logically ?  Maybe my parents drummed the philosophy of “waste not want not” into me a little too much as a child but it does my head in. We don’t need it. The planet doesn’t need it.

The same goes for the likes of the idiot who told me earlier in the week that “they put the dishwasher on every day no matter how full or empty it is in case it starts to smell”.

Are we breeding a world of complete idiots or do people just not give a shit anymore in this odious meme I want culture ?

There. That feels better. 

Then I get even more depressed seeing how full of hate I am.  All those evil thoughts about wishing an armageddon on the west just to make people realise what they don’t need and what is important.  It’s not love is it.

Shuffleathon 2007. Part 8

14 April 2008

Shack – Finn, Sophie, Bobby and Lance

“What we see and what we seem, are but a dream, a dream within a dream”

I bought the “I Know You Well” twelve inch single for fifty pence from Our Price in Manchester’s Arndale Centre sometime as the eighties turned into the nineties and the Mondays and the Roses ruled the world. It was sublime, although it could have easily been mistaken as a Johnny Come Lately Stone Roses copy. But Shack had been raiding the nineteen sixties for years before then, ever since their Pale Fountains days with their hints of Love and Burt Bacharach. I liked the Pale Fountains and even bought their second single “Thank You” and in particular loved its wonderful soft focus b-side “Meadow Of Love”. But in retrospect I feel the Paleys were a mere rehearsal for what Shack were going to be. The first album Zilch was a sort of halfway house between the Pale Fountains sound and Shack proper but from then on they were motoring. Or not as the case may be what with lost albums, drug addictions and a baffling lack of commercial success. Their time nearly came in the mid nineties when their record company tried to tag them on to the Britpop phenomenon and while “HMS Fable” did reasonably well, it didn’t gain them the size of audience which was being enjoyed by the likes of The Verve or Oasis, which should have been their due. Maybe they were just too real and grounded for the 1990s. Of their six albums released since 1990, three are perfect. These are Waterpistol, The Magical World Of The Strands and On the Corner of Miles and Gil. My favourite is the The Magical World.. which was released under the name Michael and The Strands and is just a beautiful idyllic hazy dreamy summers day folk record.

Now I am the first person to admit that I know nothing about Home and Away. Apparently this song refers to characters from the long running Aussie soap. This shuffling, murmured song is so beautiful. It could easily be off The Magical World … but is from their last full studio release “On the corner of Miles and Gil” which was a return to form after the patchy “Here’s Tom With The Weather”. It sorts of sounds like some strung out beatnik poet landing in the world of daytime television and trying to make head or tail of it. It also namechecks “Dick and Judy”. ‘Tis good.

Current listening: Prince “Sometimes it snows in April”

7 April 2008

It has been snowing in England the last few days. Not in any very major way but it is still pretty late in the year for it to happen. As I look out of the window smallish flakes are gently drifting down onto the bright pink of the viburnum bodnantense and canary yellow of the jasminum nudiflorum. Strange bedfellows. The cloches in the vegetable patch have been topped with a duvet of snow, the lettuce snug underneath. This song comes to mind for obvious reasons. It has always been one of my favourite tracks by Prince, from his glory days of the late eighties and is a song that frequently ends up swilling around my head, usually for no apparent reason. The start sometimes sounds like it is about to turn into some kind of raga with its eastern tones and then it turns into this beautiful piano and guitar acoustic lament. The first time I heard “Bed Of Roses” by The Lilac Time back in 1989 it immediately put me in mind of “Sometimes it snows in April” and since then the two songs have been inextricably linked in my head. I can’t hear one without thinking of the other. Maybe its the chords used or maybe its my imagination. I think there are sections in each song which are very similar. They certainly do sound good back to back. Ten minutes of real beauty.

Shuffleathon 2007. Part 7

7 April 2008

Midlake – Roscoe

Such a good song. Yes, it wears it’s Fleetwood Macisms on its sleeve, but it manages to sound both beautifully evocative of a certain 1970s scene and completely at home in 2006 as well. The lyrics are as far removed from the Mac as you could get. The album this comes from (“The Trials of Van Occupanther”) is great too. They remind me of Grandaddy in their looking backward at the same time as looking forward.