I was going to do this a week or so ago, but I must admit to constantly being sidetracked every time I try to do the thing that I tend to call “research”, but which in all honesty actually equates to “going on the internet for a bit”. During that extended period, the main thing I have researched is that There Are A Lot Of Bands Called Argonaut. Which leads me to hope that, in the description of the band that follows below, I am talking about the right one. If I do have the right one however, it’s a rather lovely story of how this EP kind of came together. If I haven’t, then it’s a lovely story anyway.
It is of little surprise to anyone who has breezed through these pages before that I’m rather partial to the Cover Version. Reasons for my love of this particular form of expression are many and have no doubt been mentioned before – a new slant on old favourites, a previously unseen roadmap/blueprint from much-appreciated artists, a way of discovering previously unknown material or sometimes just goofing off for entertainment purposes. Out of the previously-listed criteria for what I usually enjoy from a collection of someone doing a bunch of songs by other people, I honestly have no idea where to file this one, and the way that I went through the first listen was fraught with myriad temptations that would have meant that it would have taken several hours to get from one end to the other.
Mark Kozelek of course isn’t averse to knocking out the odd cover version (and knocking them out of the park), and something particular to his treatments of classics, favourites and assorted others is that they are well and truly bent around his own personal outlook to the point that they are scarcely recognisable as covers, fitting in cuckoo-like among his own body of work. Like Rats is sort of a continuation of this; thirteen songs from a very broad church that make perfect sense here due to the way that they have been reconstructed, and a palpable sense of the joy of reinterpretation and making completely new versions that retain those precious few moments of “Hang on, I know this one…”
There’s much been said about the classic Side 1 Track 1s of musical history, and rightly so. However – and this my be a bit weirdly compulsive of me – when I have a quick sample of something completely new to me, it’s not the first track I head for. Instead, I decide on blind buys on the strength of a record’s second piece; introductions are all well and good, but I prefer to take in the song where the artists have already drawn in their audience having got their attention, and are now having to keep it for the remainder of the album. Track 2 is where the work starts, and it’s a method that’s served me well. That this particular record contains one of the best second tracks of any record I’ve stumbled across lately should therefore come as little surprise after that buildup.
It’s Shrove Tuesday! And while the rest of the world celebrates the onset of Lent by indulging in big sparkly parades with shenanigans aplenty, we Brits pretty much fry glue. Ah well, each to their own.
But enough of this, I need to get this typed out before the unremitting misery of Ash Wednesday befalls us. This quirky gem is from an artist who appears on quite a few of the records in here either as guest vocalist or instrumentalist, but this is the first instance where I have bought something with her name on the front. And what a strange place for me to be starting this with.
It’s been a silly old 2013 round here. Stresses, strains, constant six-day weeks and a bit of soul-searching have been hammering away at the back of my head, with somewhat inevitable results. The weather not bothering to make its mind up about what it’s doing hasn’t helped the general feeling of unspecified malaise either, although that might just be the horsemeat in the lasagne talking (or neighing).
Thankfully a couple of major changes have taken (or are in the midst of taking) place, leaving a clearer view. And there’s also the arrival of this, which has helped rather a lot – a record that lifts the spirits by instilling a feeling of camaraderie and community by simply being itself, and that revels in the battles against the crushing normality of daily doings that get to us all.
Men. We do like our gadgets, don’t we? Of course we do. And the more things that a gadget has to tinker about with in a knowing fashion (“knowing”, usually meaning “what happens when I do this?” – generally leading to “honest, it was like that before I came in” mumbled excuses), the better it is, because Tinkering has long since replaced Hunter/Gathering in our genetic makeup, much to the annoyance of everyone else.
And now, after some confusing jiggerypokery regarding the way that our much-loved Transatlantic chums do their dates the wrong way round which had me all excited for watching this on the 2nd of January, Dave Grohl’s paean to a particular mixing desk is finally available to view.