Neighbour’s password isn’t “password” after all. Curses.
So instead, I’ll just park all of this onto Notepad and copy it all over when I get to the De La Warr Pavillion tomorrow (note: actually two days ago now), where the Wifi is free and provided by Eddie Izzard, according to the pamphlet. It doesn’t state anywhere however whether he stands behind you providing it from somewhere about his person while us mere mortals surf away. It’s a lovely thought though.
And so, onto Number 3. What I’m finding with these is that I always get really giddy about writing the next one rather than the one I’m currently doing. And what I know for certain now is that this list will have not one, but two number one choices as I can’t pick between them due to the reasons for me loving them so much are so completely different that it’s pointless putting them up against each other.
I have to admit that updating this blog had become a slight chore not long ago – work getting busier, free hours becoming fewer etc. But knocking this list together (however randomly organised and reported) has made me remember why I set this little unread corner of the internet in the first place; to remind me of the fun and excitement in listening to something new for the first time, and also the fun in wittering on about it to people who have better things to do than pay attention to this excitable Northern idiot.
This is getting a bit in the way of blogging a couple of new records (and a few old ones into the bargain), but it’s a welcome diversion for me, and they’ll still be there when this list is out of the way.
Number 3: Erland and the Carnival – S/T
I have to thank the Grand Old Dames of interesting Radio 2 programming, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie, for bringing this band to my attention as they had them in the studio doing a live session at the start of this year, and I was absolutely blown away by what I was listening to.
Saying exactly why something just grabs you musically is pretty difficult, as the moment between not hearing something for the first time and going “wow!” is fleeting and gone before it properly registers. I think with these guys is that they are absolutely impossible to place chronologically, given that they pilfer liberally from both decades and centuries past, often at the same time.
It’s like a musical version of Summerisle from the Wicker Man (which, to be fair, was pretty musical to start off with) – old folk sensibilities from way back kept alive and vital by reinvention, although thankfully in this case Erland and his cohorts stop short of sacrificing young girls and Edward Woodward in order to keep this balance true.
It’s an approach that works astoundingly well – lyrics taken from Leonard Cohen and William Blake feel completely natural in this surrounding, as does the cover of Jackson C. Franks’ My Name is Carnival (where E&TC’s name is also half-inched from). Elsewhere, ancient words and tunes are lifted and bent to the will of the band, and fashioned into the cohesive whole that this debut album proffers.
And all packaged with the strange tweed-wearing Deer-headed mascot that brings Christopher Lee’s madly-haired performance once more to the fore, almost like a folk-pop version of Iron Maiden’s Eddie – and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s rare nowadays that new bands establish themselves both sonically and visually without resorting to identikit stereotyping. And I for one look forward to a fully-robotic Deerhead lurching across Erland & The Carnival’s stage in the near future.