Spreading from the centre of much of my listening habits of the past 25 years or so (sshh) are but two bands. From these parts of my musical youth all manner of tendrils have sprung forth; some branches with stronger ties to their roots, some less so. Looking at this from a wistful, nostalgic view it’s a genuine pleasure to gaze right back to these sources and also to the younger me who was so moved by it all back then as well as feeling a strange tinge of glee that it’s all still going on. It’s also great to see and hear so many of the people involved in these groups and their various satellites continuing to create and amaze as they find new avenues to explore with new people alongside them. One of which appears thusly.
- Category Archives Music Reminiscings
Hope 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.
Well, crikey. This is the second of these, which technically makes it a series or something. Woo. It’s something I should make more of an effort with though as I am very fond of singles, relegated as they largely are to novelty items instead of the towering make-or-break powerhouses they once were. And now that the UK charts are going to factor in streaming media when compiling the charts, these little chunks of music are under even greater threat than ever. Pretty soon if we’re not careful, Record Store Day will be the only place that we will be able to purchase singles in graspable form, and we all know how bloody expensive that gets…
It’s not all doom and gloom though as the below doingses illustrate – and I’m happy to report that I am having to be on the lookout for another 7″ box because mine is full to overflowing (and there’s nothing at all funny about that statement), so there’s plenty of people still willing to give it a bit of a go. And it has to be said there’s more than a couple of digital noteables as well out there.
Just a quick break in proceedings (thanks to the current vagaries of an overstretched and underpopulated vinyl-pressing industry) to mention that I wrote a short thing for another music site recently, and they were very kind enough to publish my thoughts.
The very nice people at Echoes and Dust are currently running a series promoting the discussion of Mental Health and Music, as the two are rather inextricably linked in a variety of complicated manners. My piece concerns how, just as listening to beautiful and inspiring music can send the spirit upwards, listening to troubled music or musicians (and there’s a lot of them, especially in this house) can both cause and soothe my own troubled times. It’s complicated, it does look as though sometimes I push myself into dark corners where I’m going to suffer somewhat (because I do), but it does make an odd sort of sense to me and even getting those notions and explanations out of my head and onto the screen brightened the fog I was experiencing that evening.
Anyway, it’s there if you wish to read it by (in theory, not tried it yet) clicking the image below. Thanks to Hannah and everyone else at Echoes and Dust for the opportunity. And, as it’s a related thing, the Mark Linkous/Sparklehorse tribute Last Box Of Sparklers, raising money for Mental Health charities, is currently at the Mastering stage so should be available soon.
This is a record that makes the notion of being a Record Collector a bit of a strange one. Our various and varied collections are not passive artifacts for us to hoard and catalogue (none of mine are, anyway – which is probably why I can’t find anything), they exist as a series of buttons and triggers to be pressed, pulled and even provoked in order to bring forth memories, feelings and sometimes tears. They remind us of times that are better off forgotten, but still we prod the hornet’s nest whenever we want to reminisce about something wonderful or even terrible. We can be so stupid.
So while Lepidopterists don’t rifle through their hoard to find a particular moth pinned to a piece of plywood that reminds them of an ex-girlfriend, and Philatelists don’t spend hours gazing at a stamp from a far-off country they’ve yet to visit because they miss their Dad, some of us (most of us?) find ways to feel alive in whatever way we can by listening to other people’s joy and pain. Benji is a prime example of this.
Wont as I am to occasionally delve into the nerdier recesses of the CD shelves, especially during this time of year when there’s not much out and finances don’t stretch to having a bit of a gamble. This one, timed as it is, ticks a few boxes in 6DFT towers as it’s not only one I’ve felt like writing about for a while but also appears here in the form of a recently reissued vinyl selection as well as providing grist for the ranting mill with regard to the current vinyl market.
Slightly in keeping with the themes held within the last post, here’s another slice of otherworldly visitations from a bygone era. But where Ed Harcourt’s ghostly parlour-seance dreamscapes come across as gentle harbingers of evil, Moon Wiring Club’s chronologically different offerings provide an altogether different aural and ethereal experience. But I get ahead of myself. Firstly, from a year where “Event!” releases were all the rage, this seemed to have been put out with the same short-term fanfare (I got an email saying it was on the way from the ever-polite Servant Roberts, I pre-ordered, it turned up very shortly afterwards) but without all the screamy fuss accompanying others. This was less of a rooftop-blasting “hype by no hype” thing and more of a sedate, genial “let’s see what this does” sort of affair. And now I’m rambling.
It’s nigh-on impossible to keep a secret these days. It was back in June that news started filtering through that an anthology of Mark Lanegan’s work was in the pipeline, and it’s been an agonizing wait while it was rumoured, then confirmed, pre-ordered and finally finished. Then again, even as I thought I had the whole thing sussed, it turns out that there is still room for a small measure of stealth as I’m thrilled to discover that a very good friend of mine was in on it all along, and whose contribution (of which I am still largely in the dark) has deserved no less than three mentions in the credits to this release. I raise my glass to Debbi, whose hard work, dedication and exasperation (the latter for which I was on most occasions at least part of the cause, for which I continue to apologise) in the creation and continuing growth of Onewhiskey, as informative and steadfastly enduring a labour of love as you’re ever likely to encounter on the internet. Meeting this head-on are the masters of the curation and reissue of the sort of wonders you never realised you were missing out on in the form of Light In The Attic Records, who have put this double-CD / triple LP set together with care and a rare attention to detail that makes this record stand out even before anything plays. Hats (presumably in the other hand than the one raising the glass!) off to everyone involved.
Albums are all well and good, but what of the individual songs contained within? A silly question to be sure, but it’s a bit more complicated than merely going “well that was the best record, so it had the best songs on it” – that works sometimes, but not always. Sometimes, a song in its right place in the context of its album home is a euphoric, emotional high; but remove it from its running order and the joy is lost. Conversely, a song can be so big, bold and beautiful that it swamps the rest of the record to the point that it has to be removed and isolated to give the rest of it a chance. In short, this list (in no particular order other than the one in which they occurred to me) has very little bearing on the wordy behemoth that preceded it.
The following ten tracks I think (by happy accident) typify 2013 as far as 6 Days From Tomorrow is concerned. They all trigger a response that goes beyond mere emotional; they make the heart beat faster or slower, they make arteries expand or contract, they make eyes mist up or a focus sharper. It’s a strange thing to be talking about how the act of merely listening to something can evoke a physical reaction, and maybe this is just something that affects me. If the latter is the case, then I’m the lucky one.
Before I start this bit, something of an apology is due for a bit of an error while doing what little I do to publicise anything on here. When tweeting each page as I’d finished them, I got my numbers wrong in haste, and pegged Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood’s wonderful Black Pudding album as Number 5, when it was actually Number 6. Whoops. And before I had any chance to delete them and repost (because to be honest, I didn’t notice for 3 days…), these two cheeky retweets happened which led to lots of others…
It’s always a rare thrill when someone I write about likes something enough to repost it, and anyone whose read this blog for any length of time will know how much of a lift this would have given me. If only I’d got my bloody numbers right so that I wouldn’t be sitting here now in a state of mortal embarrassment. This must be how the nation’s tabloid editors must feel every time they make an error in their publications. Erm, yes.
Anyway, almost done with the end of year goings-on (Top 10 single/EPs and Top 10 tracks to follow suit either tonight or soon after), and it’s a weird year-end because I’m not sure what’s going to be happening with 6 Days From Tomorrow, at least in the short term. I was made redundant on the Friday before Christmas, and although I’m not destitute just yet, I don’t know when I’ll be back in gainful employment in these uncertain times. So unfortunately, hobbies and pastimes must take a financial backseat to more sensible matters for at least a while, as records aren’t cheap – especially the nice big waxy ones I’m so fond of. I could delve back again (part of the reason for this blog’s existence in the first place, lest I forget) for those interested in the oeuvre of Nuclear Assault etc, or maybe one or two ruminations on records, formats or anything else that annoys me. I don’t know. An uncertain future could be the kick up the backside I need anyway, as 6dft has been losing readers by a consistently huge margin all year (down by a third all the way through). Maybe this is a problem with all homespun blogs now that the bigger ones are now well established as tastemakers and bigger shop windows, maybe I don’t split my posts down into enough separate pages to get the traffic count up, maybe everyone hates the Oxford Comma, or maybe I’m just not s much fun as I once was. But sod it, if I still enjoy doing this, then I’m still going to do it.
Ranting out of the way, it’s fun to re-edit the full Fifty down into one, difficult-to-read post. These lists are all very silly anyway as they take far too long to type and become very wrong very quickly. Looking through the lists from 2011 and 2012 (never did a 2010 full list in one post, but they’re all in there somewhere if you’re bothered enough to search), there’s so much stuff at the top of each respective list that I barely listen to now, or ones near the bottom (or that never featured) that get spun constantly. They’re little more than snapshots of a week at the back end of November, which makes it all the more strange then that we all get so irritated when someone else’s list is wrong or – worse! – in the wrong order.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who’s read, commented, contributed, liked, shared, retweeted or just plain enjoyed/disagreed with having a few minutes of their time wasted (although I don’t think there’s a button for that, and so Social Media Regulations seems to mark this down as being a somewhat irrelevant activity, which is a bit of a shame really), hoping that Christmas went well for all and that 2014 brings everything you strive for. And fingers crossed, this place may still be here. Maybe with fewer mistakes. Although while I say “with fewer mistakes”, I exclude the formatting of everything below as it’s taken me ages and I’m way beyond the “sod it, that’ll do” point of the evening. Enjoy! x