It’s time to dig out the commemorative teatowels and give the posh spoons a bit of a buffing, as Sunday Whatever’s Silver Jubilee is upon us! Or upon me, at least. Anyway, hooray for a series that I just do to keep my typing fingers occupied at times when I generally can’t be bothered typing, and that has managed to crawl unconvincingly to 25 posts, all of which take me about five times as long to do as a normal one…
It’s been another strange week here, there’s been a couple of interesting bits and bobs that have appeared recently and the impending arrival of a month that promises to be very exciting indeed for me, with a couple of oddities out tomorrow, a couple of nicely-anticipated things the week after and then two of my most looked-forward to albums of the year out on the 21st. And to put the tin hat on everything, I’m going to be a bit rude and blow my own trumpet again and link you to this, where – after I said that I didn’t like doing book reviews! – a snippet of my review of this book is used as proper promotional blurb. Considering this is just a hobbyist blog talking to itself for the most part, it will never not be a source of a constant mix of bemusement and pride when this happens.
The Fireman – Nothing Much Just Out Of Sight
Apparently, it used to be quite the secret that The Fireman was/is Paul McCartney. No idea why this should have been the case, as even if one of the most recognised pop voices of the last fifty years could slip by unnoticed (which he seemed to have done for two albums), this is the finest stuff he’s done post-Beatles. Maybe it’s the whole way that this project was formulated that allowed him to really have a go at doing something extraordinary, but he’s really letting loose in this guise and on this record, sounding more like Plant than Macca.
Ryan Thomas Becker – Boys, Girls, Pills
More shenanigans from Denton, Texas (and The Angelus’ label Gutterth Records) and a singer-songwriter whose output sits happily in that “recorded as it occurs to me” style, as each song seems to appear on his Neighbourhoof album channelled and fully-formed rather than having ever being written and worked upon. A very calm and easy song to listen to, it’s gone almost before I can get a handle on it.
The Besnard Lakes – Glass Printer
Great Big Swirly Dreampop from this band from Great Big Canada (the swirliness of which I can’t recall from my one visit there), with harmonies like a Beach Boys from another dimension (presumably the same one that the Mission popped up from, given the backing to this track). I have no idea what the lyrics are about, although this is one of those songs where it doesn’t really matter: the words are there to give the vocalists something to make massive harmonies over, and so they do their job brilliantly.
Moulettes – Requiem
A favourite of mine from a short while back, the Moulettes are about to release a new album so it’s only fair that I remind myself of just how much fun they are. Approaching their craft with an authenticity missing from others who have a go at this, the baroque music is well-structured and the folktales and ghost stories contained within are graphic and salty. This one seems to revolves around death (a favourite subject of the Moulettes), starting as a solemn dirge and becoming something altogether more upbeat as it progresses, ending up as a somewhat nautical singalong. Can’t wait for the new stuff.
My Jerusalem – Under Your Skin
Another revisit, and one that I’m sure has got more than one mention in these pages in the past. Drums and guitar are so lucidly reminiscent of New Order’s Temptation, which has always been part of the fun of trying to pin down My Jerusalem’s myriad and disparate influences. By far my favourite song of theirs, it’s one of those songs that I find myself stumbling over every so often and wonder why I don’t listen to it every day.
Ozric Tentacles – Sploosh!
Something that takes me back a fair way, and bizarrely it’s one of those “inextricably linked to a specific memory” ones (I just remember the day I bought Strangeitude, the album this is from, on a particularly awful day) but one that kind of operates outside the normal “triggering of glumness” that others tend to do. Probably because I was generally otherwise “herbally-refreshed” whenever it was on and any sense of loss and/or confusion from that day is largely lost in a haze of cravings for sweet tea and Maryland Cookies. I love most things that the Ozrics did around this period, but nothing brings about that early-90s zeitgeist of all the little weirdy subcultures coming together than this. Psychedelic/Prog/Dance? Most likely.
Jason Parker Quartet – Three Hours
It’s not that big a step from Nick Drake’s slightly otherworldly folky offerings of his first album and the generally deliberately off-kilter world of Jazz, so it was probably inevitable that the two worlds would collide. Three Hours is probably the most ‘natural’ sounding choice for this treatment of this, off the JPQ’s tribute to the whole of Five Leaves Left, a slow burning and late night song made even slower and nighthawkish here. There’s a bit of Riders On The Storm afoot in the background throughout, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Soulsavers – Sunrise
I suppose when someone digs out a Soulsavers song to introduce their music to a newcomer, Revival would be the destination of choice for most. For me, it’s this – much as I love Revival‘s retreading of REM’s Country Feedback, Sunrise does something similar with Mark Lanegan’s original but there’s that little indefinable something that takes the song into that territory that defines a band’s sound, even when they’re covering someone else’s and with a vocalist not normally associated with them. Unconventionally definitive.
Ólafur Arnalds – Lag Fyrir Ömmu
Part of the Living Room Songs collection where Arnalds invited us into his home for a week where he performed and recorded a different song every day for a week, this is the most touching installment. Song For Grandma hits strange nerves for me as I never really knew any of my grandparents (and the only memory I have of my Grandma on my Dad’s side is something so upsetting that I cannot share it), nevertheless this song brings out feelings of such warmth and love that it’s impossible to not share in Ólafur’s sentiment.
Half Man Half Biscuit – Vatican Broadside
And finally, one I’ve been meaning to include for ages. Notable partially for its brevity (a whole 31 seconds!) but mostly for its joyous, very sweary, top-of-the-lungs-in-the-car-after-a-crap-day chorus that makes this one of the finest songs in my whole collection. The very fact that a song that barely squeaks past the half-minute mark and actually contains a chorus is a thing of wonder in itself.
Spotify playlist for the above can be found by clicking thusly.