Yeah, I did it again. I forgot to switch of the Auto-Renew thing on the web hosting front page and I’ve accidentally paid for another year. Whoops. A fuller state of the place will probably follow in a week when this place turns six (!) years old, but doing this as a solitary endeavour hasn’t been quite as much fun as it once was and various other “this & that”s have been getting in the way.
This all sounds rather glum, but I don’t think it is – I’ve been writing elsewhere for and with a lovely bunch of people over at Echoes and Dust and hope to continue to that for as long as they’ll have me. You won’t find me in the “Meet the Team” bit, because I’ve not written my bio yet. I’ve not written my bio here yet either. But you can see what I’ve been up to here, where I don’t witter on about myself quite as much as I do on this site.
I short, I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing here this year, I don’t know how often I’ll be updating, I don’t know if I’m just going to be talking to myself the whole time I’m here. I do know that I’m quite looking forward to finding out, and that I get more stuff both in and out of my system in the process – which was the whole bloody point in the first place back in 2010…
Jeff Klein – Everything Is Alright
Mumblings elsewhere would suggest that a new My Jerusalem album is a bit on the imminent side, it’s possibly apt to restart the whole shebang with an old favourite about destruction and rebirth, or something. Jeff’s Everyone Loves a Winner record is somewhere I go whenever reflection is required (ie, often) as this song is typical of the self-depracative lift that he brings to all his work to date. Losing rarely sounds this good.
Human Don’t Be Angry – 1985
Still something that gets a regular airing on the lengthy drive to and from work (30 miles each way since we got relocated…), I remain transfixed by this mix of indie and electronic goings-on. Probably because I have yet to truly understand what’s going on. If Cliff Martinez had parked this in the soundtrack to Drive, the world and his mum would be shouting its praises from the high heavens for eternity and a day. As that wasn’t the case, you’ll have to do most of the donkey work yourself.
Bent by Elephants – Building Blocks
Sage advice to bands everywhere – pick your name well. Where spods like Viet Cong pick something offensive, pretend they didn’t realise it was offensive and promise to change it when people point out it’s offensive and then don’t change it anyway, Bent by Elephants go for something that begs the question of people stumbling drunk around Bandcamp “what’s that about then?”, and I still have no idea. Sort of indie, sort of a bit jazzy, sort of brassy, very sort of lovely and I have no idea why I haven’t delved further than this album. Back shortly, then.
The Night Terrors – The Devil Played Backwards
Messing about badly on Google’s Theremin thing to celebrate Clara Rockmore’s birthday reminded me once more that this exists. Australian prog shenanigans based loosely around US and Italian horror soundtracks with the aforementioned gesture-based instrument taking centre stage is a difficult concept to sell to anyone, but it’s an absolute winner with this track showing just how good it can be. Utterly preposterous on paper, sublime in the ears – especially when the whole thing blows up towards the end.
Olivia Chaney – The King’s Horses
Another one from the “people who were on the last Wolf People record so it’d be rude to to check them out” (see also: Stick in the Wheel), Olivia Chaney’s record from last year is a bit of a charmer. I did try to write about this months ago, but struggled to find the words for something so delicately varied – as well as just wanting to wax lyrical about her resurrecting the art of the “Thanks” section of the liner notes as the Longest River’s runs to three and a half pages – so this paragraph will have to do.
Low – Just Make it Stop
Low are a band who I’ve tried to listen to for ages but never got round to. Since November 2015 when I finally decided to give them a bit of a go, I’ve listened to a lot of Low. Ilove this song. It’s beautiful and it hurts, just like proper music should. As I said when I did my Top 20 for E&D at the end of last year, it’s incredible that a husband & wife can write this sort of stuff to sing with and at each other. It breaks and lifts the heart to know that they do.
Bibio – The Spinney View of Hinkley Point
Initially included more for reasons of topicality than anything else as some company or other is still deciding whether to build a new nuclear reactor or not on said point or if they’ll make more money by saying they will for the cash and then not bothering, this choice cut from Bibio’s semi-recent EP is rather sad and lovely. Whatever the current view is (never been there), it would appear on this evidence to be rather a conflicting one.
Matthew Ryan – Then She Threw Me Like a Hand Grenade
Matthew’s last Boxers album turned stuff up a bit more than it had been on his previous three both in terms of volume and outlook, but there was still room to step back a bit for a spot of relationship-ending introspection. The lyrics are a bit more opaque than previous visits, but when they become clear they fit with the rest of Boxers’ ethos with the chorus line you might feel lonely but you’re not alone and a middle bit that brings everyone into focus.
Calibro 35 – Thrust Force
Italian crime-funk aficianados Calibro 35 turn their gaze upwards to the heavens (and backwards to the late 1960s) for an album full of sci-fi soundtracking. Supposedly using the title as reference to the properties of rocket propulsion rather than anything saucier, it’s difficult to envisage that this may well be a double-entendre after all. Cheeky. Anyway, this is an absolute corker of a track, and is further grist to the mill of my insisting to anyone that will listen that they should listen to Calibro 35 as often as possible.
Mark Lanegan – Frog Trouble
You know, it’s just enough that something like this simply exists. Dark Mark Lanegan is here singing a song about amphibious infestation, and it’s bloody brilliant. For anyone already “whut?”-ing about this caper, this is the second time he’s done this for children’s author Sandra Boynton, as Dog Train’s Sneakers will attest to. And it’s an undeniably lovely song, performed with a sincere joy that makes me hope that wherever Lanegan is taking his music next, he still stops by to do stuff like this.
Normal service will be resumed eventually. Probably.