Friday, March 06, 2009

Back again

Just stopping by. The day job is hell-ish but good, naturally. On my sick bed listening to the following

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Brief post... say, how good is Jens Lekman's Night Falls Over Kortedala?

Answer: Very; mind-meldingly good.

Go and buy yourself a copy!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Not for the faint-hearted

Life has been very busy; it's been an age since the last post but new jobs can throw spanners when you least expect them. I'm going to keep this one short and sweet as interesting sentences are in short supply and the sofa is calling.

Photo by James Mejia

Keeping me sane lately has been Canadian improv electronica noisemakers Holy Fuck. They seem to have a revolving door policy with drummers (Death From Above's Sebastien Grainger for example). They don't really sound like anyone but if pushed, I'd say they have something of Battles about them. Stand-out track by about a bloody mile is Lovely Allen on my DIY CD. Lovely indeed, and full of mind-altering hooks.

Can't summon up the energy to post an MP3 so do yourself a favour, go here and buy it yourself. But maybe hide the record sleeve from your mum if she's easily offended by the word 'Fuck'.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Animal Collective

Animal Collective are one of those bands I know I like and yet ask me to explain why and I can find no definable reason. There's something strangely soothing about their discordant manner of address. They take winning hooks, run them through the mangler, add some feedback and electronic odds and ends and mold sounds that are truly idiosyncratic and wholly their own.

In short, I thought their last record 'Feels' was a real humdinger. But that was way back in 2005. Doesn't time fly? Between then and now there have been forays into other projects; Panda Bear explored his inner Brian Wilson with the scintillating 'Fever Pitch'; Avey Tare brought work home with wife Kristin (formerly of Múm) and 'Pullhair Rubeye' was born, sadly not so well received as his bandmate's solo outing.

Listening to the few tracks I have heard from forthcoming long-player 'Strawberry Jam' (in the shops September 10 via their new home Domino), I have every confidence that it will garner the same sort of adulation as 'Feels', if not more so.

Tracklisting looks something like this:
01 Peacebone
02 Unsolved Mysteries
03 Chores
04 For Reverend Green
05 Fireworks
06 #1
07 Winter Wonder Land
08 Cuckoo Cuckoo
09 Derek
(taken from 'Feels' which you can buy here)
Pre-order 'Strawberry Jam' here

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Latitude Festival

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. As an excuse I am currently on a sojourn from the rat race and basking in the heat of Barcelona for a few days. The rest of the blame can be placed on work as well as a temporary inertia scuttling through my brain over the past week or so.
It's thanks to work that I managed to land a last minute ticket to Latitude Festival which took place this weekend past in the rather splendid setting of Suffolk's Henham Park. I had a troupe of lady friends by my side and all in all an excellent time was had, in rain and shine (lots of shine thankfully). I even found time - sheltering from the rain - to stop in and listen to a Radio 4 recording of festival stories featuring Dylan Moran whom I like to describe as 'scruffilicous'.

Musically I enjoyed in no particular order:

Andrew Bird
The National
Cold War Kids
Elvis Perkins
Final Fantasy
Camera Obscura
Guilty Pleasures*

I think they've been trying to pitch Latitude as some of sort of miniature, middle-class version of Glastonbury. Personally I thought it was a fantastically organised affair. I've become increasingly loyal to smaller festivals; the ones where you can find your friends if you lose them, get between stages within minutes rather than hours and, more importantly, remember where you pitched the tent. Latitude made the grade for me but only just. Increase its size (as many festivals are wont to do these days) and it will lose all its charm.

So yes, I urge one and all to go to Latitude next year, so long as they don't go making it as large as Glastonbury...

* shamefully, it is mostly because of my 70s-disco-sized crush on Sean Rowley, although he does put on a fantastic club night.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Nina Nastasia & Jim White @ Union Chapel

I've never been inside the Union Chapel before. It's a pretty spectacular building from the outside. One of those hidden gems nestled between Georgian terraces and tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Islington's main drag Upper Street. Enter its main hall and you are transported to a warm and cavernous idyll where wrought iron chandeliers hang perilously above your head. Stained-glass windows feature heavily and wooden pews are the seat of choice. As places of worship go, this is a pretty impressive one.

So it's a shame that the bands on stage could not make more of an impact than their rather opulent surroundings.

I think I would have appreciated the fine musings of The Twilight Sad more had the percussion not completely drowned out the rest of the band. Perhaps the drummer would have benefited from a set of brushes...

My knowledge of Nina Nastasia's work reaches as far as a handful of Daytrotter session tracks that I thought were interesting but I would never have considered myself a real fan. I guess it was the coupling with Dirty Three's Jim White (last seen with Cat Power) that lured me to this show.

For the most part, the set was excellent. I was impressed with Nina. She has a wonderfully pure and effortless delivery. Jim White is a phenomenal drummer, his movements across his kit like a well-rehearsed dance. Much of his percussive contributions seemed improvised; sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. When it did, boy was it good. The songs were winsome and lovely but didn't strike a chord. Perhaps I should have made an effort and listened to more of her records before the gig.

Then all of a sudden, mid-set, plagued by monitor and tuning issues (how can she not know how to tune a guitar?), the momentum was suddenly lost. I found myself looking everywhere but the stage; staring intently at the ornate carvings on the ceiling, studying the grandiose pulpit. What a great venue. What a disappointing show.