• Stick In The Wheel – Bones

    bonesIn amidst all the near-evangelical happy-clapping about physical musical media, there’s always something that never gets mentioned: and that’s the bit about there always being some shiny nugget or two hidden away in the smallprint that comes with the record (or indeed CD, because whenever “physical media” is mentioned, they don’t mean that, snobs that they are) should you be so inclined as to sit down and read it.  In this case, it was reading the various credits and liner notes to Wolf People’s excellent Fain that I first heard about Stick In The Wheel, and their cheery, murderous songs instantly won me over.  There’s something about picking old songs and tales up, or creating new ones in the same old spirit, that appeals to these ears; stories of death and toil that are best belted out late at night when the body tires and the subconscious comes out to play and further colour in the grim poetry.

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  • Sunday Whatever

    005Things are going a bit slow here at the moment, largely because things are far too full-on elsewhere.  There’s a definite disparity in the work-life balance here, and that can never be seen to be right.  So while I try to address that, this week shall be mostly comprised of EPs and quiet things as that’s all my attention span can cope with while all else goes mad around me.  This whatever also reflects the lunacy of the past couple of weeks, but I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about and nothing that a bit of a sleep can’t remedy.

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  • USA Out Of Vietnam – Crashing Diseases And Incurable Airplanes

    usaSpreading 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.

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  • 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…

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Geinoh Yamashirogumi – Akira

    akiraAs my mood fails to improve, tactics have shifted from playing along with it (see previous post) to shocking it into compliance: and this means bringing out The Big Guns.  If you’ve never seen Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 film Akira (of his own vast comic series), you should really do so at the earliest opportunity.  And don’t be worrying about not being able to follow it at all, for the film makes little, if any, sense that I’ve been able to ever ascertain.  It’s a massive assault on the senses, a spot-on critique of high-level corruption, a strange sense of future dread from the fact that Tokyo really will be having an Olympic Stadium built in 2019 (and here’s hoping the architects display some sort of knowing sense of humour), and frankly it’s really weird.  Visually, it’s a feast.  But it would be half a film without the utterly unique soundtrack that backs it up.

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