• Category Archives From the Present
  • [Article 3403]Smoke Fairies

    Smoke_FairiesIt always seems a bit strange when a band goes eponymous some way into a career.  The usual way about things is to self-titlingly announce yourselves right at the start and then take it from there, wherever “it” takes you.  When it does happen though, it’s an eyebrow-raiser.  Why now?  Why this?

    It does all become rather apparent once attention is paid to what the Smoke Fairies have achieved with this record, that both expands their musical palette and brings an intangible feeling of a closer bond, which is rather nicely illustrated by the image on the cover – it takes two wings for one to fly, after all…

    Continue reading  Post ID 3403



  • [Article 3386]Sunday Whatever

    weblogoHope  you like the new look of the place!  There’s still much tinkering to be done as I had to put in a whole new theme at very short notice when it turned out that the one I’ve been using for the last four years didn’t want to play, and I’m not 100% sure about the one I chose in a moment of “that’ll do for now” late on Friday night, but it’s certainly something to build on over the next few weeks or so.

    What I am 100% sure on is the new logo and banner.  Nick Rhodes at Switchopen has produced some beautiful art for the likes of Mark Lanegan, Soulsavers, Ed Harcourt, Queens of the Stone Age and so many others, and now his work adorns the top of this page.  I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that this happened at all and how happy I am with the result, especially after it puts a happier hat on the end of a rather sad few weeks.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3386



  • [Article 3378]Sweet Apple – The Golden Age Of Glitter

    sweetappleI have no idea if it was a collective act or sheer coincidence, but somewhere along the line a switch was closed and we all became earnest, miserable sods.  Or at the very least I did and presumed that everyone else did too.  Thankfully, we have Sweet Apple here to decide that not only is it perfectly OK to be fun and bright and occasionally silly, but it’s also possible to look over one’s shoulder at the past and mark all the colourful spots without getting all maudlin about it.  And of course it’s even better to do so when you get to include Mike Watt in a canoe.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3378



  • [Article 3375]The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast

    Whigs_cover_nobandI suspect that I may well be the only person who does this, but there you go.  After waiting with bated breath from the moment it was announced to the day that it finally arrived on my doorstep, I then went and left the new Afghan Whigs album to one side for a day.  Unplayed.  Then again, it’s been over a decade and a half.  Another 24 hours spent tantalisingly within touching distance just adds to the anticipation.

    But now it’s here, and after a quick read – because this vinyl edition sees the return of something among the grooves that I thought this wax renaissance had forgotten about – it’s spinning.  And it was worth every second, day and year of the wait.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3375



  • [Article 3370]Myriam Gendron – Not So Deep As A Well

    gendronparkerSomething I do enjoy about certain musical paths I’ve trod over the years is when I get sent down the avenues of other media thanks to the melodious recommendations and tributes from the various performers.  Sometimes it’s a hint or reference in a song title, sometimes it can be a whole list of new things to see, read and do.  It’s interesting to see what influences and drives artists from areas outside their chosen profession, and in a world of entertainment where self and shallow currently rule the roost, it’s both refreshing and heartening to see someone doing the opposite – and doing so just because.  I stumbled across this record a day or so ago while looking for something else (always a favourite method of discovery), and have been absolutely flattened by it.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3370



  • [Article 3364]Inventions

    LP_Jacket_RE11183And when all else fails, it’s only right that one treats one’s own brain to a hug.

    Let’s face it – the brain gets worked the most during the course of the day, and it is usually the least-rewarded.  It’s harshly judged, poorly nourished and barely exercised in these weird times when to be “hard-working” is announced to be a political virtue rather than a damned necessity.  It’s the least we can, and indeed should, do to relieve the pressure we heap upon the poor things on a daily basis.  The brain is a lovely thing, as it makes us us without us ever really noticing that it’s doing so.  Popping Inventions’ self-titled album on for a spin is as fine away as any of giving the old cerebral matter something to relax with and to occupy it in ways it’s not normally used to.  And if you’re really lucky, your brain might also play along.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3364



  • [Article 3312]Jozef van Wissem & SRL – Only Lovers Left Alive Soundtrack

    ollaIf the previous post wasn’t indication enough, I can confirm without the tiniest shadow of a doubt that I am in a very bad mood indeed.  Reasons are myriad and too important to go into here, but take it from me, it’s a doozy.  Now, there are two ways I can go with this: I can dig out something entertainingly self-pitying (and of that I have plenty) and have a bit of a Thursday Night Wallow; or I can dive right in and listen to something suitably, beautifully  and proactively nasty so that I can turn this mood into something much more fun to be with.  Thankfully, the twin red vinyl discs containing the latter have appeared to save the evening.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3312



  • [Article 3346]Frankétienne and Mark Mulholland – Chaophonies

    chaophoniesIt’s all about the tannins, apparently.  Those cheeky little biomolecules that bob about in red wine that combine with certain foodstuffs to make everything that much tastier, or so I’m led to believe.  I don’t see why this shouldn’t be the case with music either – we are more emotionally susceptible when we’ve had a couple, we’re really good at darts when the optimum blood-alcohol level is achieved (although when exceeded, we revert once more.  And it’s a very small margin), and different beverages combined with different stimuli provoke different moods.  Or at least it does with me.

    It may well be a synaesthesia thing, but I can say without any deviation of certainty that this is a Red Wine Album.  I know this not because I’d started the wine before the record, but because about 30 seconds into said record, my tastebuds went somewhat, and very specifically, mad so I had to stop, fetch a glass or two, and start over.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3346



  • [Article 3338]Afterhours – Hai Paura Del Buio?

    haiThere’s nothing quite like a band who choose their name wisely.  The two times I’ve seen Italian band Afterhours perform, it’s been a rather late affair.  Which turned out to be a bit of a bugger as both of these times were in places 200 miles from where I lived and on one occasion (a February!) I ended up trying to sleep on a bench outside Euston Station as I’d missed my train.  Whoops.

    Another thing about Afterhours is that they’ve never been afraid to experiment, and as such spent much of their time several years ahead of their peers.  This is a rather handy aspect, as this re-released (with surprises!) album from 1997 seems as fresh as if it had appeared just last week.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3338



  • [Article 3310]Joe Delia – Ms. 45 Soundtrack

    ms.45Many moons ago, I once went to the pub dressed as a nun.  This was done because

    1. It was Halloween;
    2. It was also a Saturday;
    3. I assumed that, because of points 1 and 2, everyone else would have made some sort of effort; and
    4. Due to me deciding to do this rather late, it was all they had left in the shop.

    Imagine my surprise when I swanned (nunned?) into said establishment only to discover that nobody else had bothered.  Worse than that, everyone else then decided we were all going to go to the local Student’s Union bar, where nobody else had bothered either.  I wish that I could say that I learned a valuable lesson from this, but I didn’t.

    I mention all this because this is a soundtrack to a film that I know nothing about other than the cover (which is a stunner, courtesy of Alice X. Zhang) features the titular heroine in similar garb, and that set me of reminiscing.  It also helps that the actual vinyl arrived similarly nun-coloured, which is always a bit of a treat.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3310