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.
Somewhere around the 20th of March 2010, I was at a very low ebb. To be honest, I can’t remember what gave me the dumb notion that trying to order my thoughts through other people’s words and music was a good idea, and I have even less memory of why I thought it would be sensible to make those thoughts public. I think it was only supposed to last a week.
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.
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.
When buying film soundtracks, I guess the obvious way to be going about this sort of thing would be to buy one that scored a film that you liked. Emotional bonds tie moving or exciting imagery to the sounds that accompany them, which makes delving a bit deeper and listening to that music in isolation a no-brainer. Right? Well, not really. If I did that, then I wouldn’t have the soundtrack records here for Spawn or Judgement Night for example. Terrible, terrible films with wonderful soundtracks – although Spawn’s seems to have dated rather weirdly.
Room 237 is a very strange film indeed. Essentially a group of people obsessing over details in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, it wound me up no end as the theories expounded veered from the slightly plausible to the utterly nonsensical, presenting the tiniest glimpse of evidence to prove whatever idea they had while ignoring much larger evidence to the contrary. And the Moon Landing bit is just plain weird. But – it’s something that I’ve watched more than once (I suspect I sometimes like to be annoyed) and it’s an excuse to watch the original, so there we go. And the soundtrack is a corker.
I was supposed to have posted this last week, but it ended up a bit glum. So after letting it simmer for a bit before deciding whether or not to post it, I’m glad I didn’t and have deleted the entire above-the-line bit and started again.
It is a weird time for 6 Days From Tomorrow and for me – being out of work redefines priorities and shifts perspective (the latter, somewhat uncomfortably), which means that the times where I’m inclined to sit here and rattle off a load of drivel are fewer as well as the funds required to buy stuff to do the aforementioned drivel-rattling. This isn’t the most expensive pastime in the world (although, certain formats dictate that it can be), but while the immediate future is a bit unsettled, I have to cut my cloth accordingly. Never sure what that idiom meant, but there you go.
All of which ties in rather oddly with something I’ve been pondering this week. At this very moment, I am waiting for a pre-ordered record (or two – there was a bit of a mixup) to arrive from the US. After tracking it from Seattle earlier in the week, it left San Francisco on Friday to I know not where, because it’s not arrived yet. I was a bit grumpy about this, as I’d paid for it ages ago and I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m not alone in this grump after reading elsewhere. This is where I kind of stopped in my tracks though – when did punctuality become so important in all of this? When did expectation overrule anticipation? We buy into this stuff not for a scheduled date, but for years ahead of us. Tomorrow I’m off to a record store (Piccadilly Records in Manchester, if you must know) to see what’s there and not worry too much about the bill, which’ll make a nice change in the current climate.
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
One thing that 2013 will certainly be remembered for is the amount of Event Releases – those records that arrived with masses of fanfare, or even none at all. I remember reading a tweet or two along the lines of “has anyone heard that David Bowie might be releasing a single tomorrow?” followed by “nah”, same with My Bloody Valentine. I suppose the trouble that comes with such events is that they threaten to overwhelm the thing they’re heralding if they’re not too careful…
Not so with this one. Beginning on April 20, a record turned up in Other Music in New York containing a little fanfare and some numbers. Oh how we laughed at the hoax! Until another one turned up in London’s Rough Trade. And then Radio 1 played the same fanfare with another set of numbers. And then… well, by this time, a lot of people were hooked. Of course it was hype, but it was hype that seemed to include its intended audience rather than via the usual playlisted channels, and that made it feel different, even if the motives remained the same. And this would have all been for naught had the final product failed to live up to the bizarre marketing. It exceeded it, seemingly by becoming an extension of its own advertising.