Sunday Whatever

It's a TinyWorld!This is taking a while to type as my right arm, as is its wont, is dangling somewhat uselessly and painfully to the side of me.  That I am having to take extra care and consideration about what I type means that not only is this taking a lot longer to do than usual, there’ll probably be fewer spelling mistakes as well as I’m paying proper attention.

I could be wrong, and I can’t be bothered checking, but I think this might be the first Sunday Whatever on here for over six months.  It may be because Sundays are a pain in the backside at the best of times (and I now work six days most weeks, thankyou Austerity Measures making us work longer for less, and us having to be grateful about it), or maybe I’m not quite as excited as I used to be about stuff as I was three years ago.  The reasons for me wanting to do this haven’t changed though, so I’d better just shut up and plough on; temporary physical/psychological disabilities and crap traffic be buggered.  I need to be getting back into the swing of these again.



Ed Harcourt – Wizard Bounce

WizardWell, this has buggered up my day.  In the nicest possible way though.  I was supposed to be catching up on things here (and there’s a lot of catching up to do, a whole bunch of albums sit here untalked-about and about to be joined by others, plus general tidying up and adding things).  And then this happens.

There was mentionings from Ed Harcourt the other day that something would be happening on Monday, but in all honesty I wasn’t expecting a new album.  And why would anyone, as his last new album still has that lovely “New Album Smell” emanating from its warm grooves?  But he has (sort of), here it is (indubitably), and everyone’s happy.  Well, there’s some people moaning about the bitrate of A Free Thing, but those people will be miserable in perpetuity if that’s their attitude.


Best Of 2012, No.2: My Jerusalem – Preachers


Hmm.  I was going to leave this until Christmas Eve, but sod it.  External influences have put me in an incredibly bad mood (someone who wants me to have a crap Christmas has at least in part succeeded, but hey ho), and I’m listening to this as a way of both dissipating, soothing and – as a somewhat guilty pleasure – exacerbating my current disposition.  Somewhat handily, this record manages to do all three rather well, so I’m sitting here alternating between sheepish, impotent grumpiness (rage doesn’t really become me) and a slightly stubborn “stop making me feel better!” vibe which I excel at.

So I’m really glad that this record is at Number Two in this little list.  Mostly because of all the above cathartic nonsense, but also because the post I wrote originally about this back on release was a terrible piece of prose even by my own unlofty standards, so at least now I get another go to try to come up with something a bit better.  Maybe.


My Jerusalem – Preachers

Well, that’s that plan knackered.  What was supposed to happen was – as I tend to enjoy doing with other such highly-anticipated titles – I was going to write about this particular record during its first playthrough.  I suspect that this approach is something that would horrify most artists, who would probably want the songs to bed in to the listener’s consciousness at every level, to be comfortable with everything that’s going on and to be able to slowly and eloquently describe the subject in a manner as to allow said subject to then use that prose to sell more copies.

But where’s the fun in that?

For me, the thrill in every new record is the fact that it’s NEW.  Stumbling through the unchartered waters of a whole new set takes on a life of its own – I don’t know if this is how everyone’s brain works, but mine looks for patterns of recognisable otherness in each new song that only occur to the deeper levels when confronted by the unknown, which is why sometimes my comparisons on here can be a little strange.  And all of those bits are lost from the second play onwards, as what was previously new and mysterious is now familiar.

Anyway, that’s what I was going to do.  Being somewhat floored by the first listen meant that typing anything over the top of it would have been plain rude.  Anyway, after that little insight into how this blog (sort of) works, on with this beauty.


My Jerusalem Mother’s Day Sale 13th May

And now, a quick advertorial.


I don’t usually (ever?  Can’t be bothered checking) do this sort of thing, and it’s not even Mother’s Day in this corner of the Empire where I’m typing this, but the band in question are very well-regarded by this blog and the cause is a grand one…  EDIT: And since typing this, my sister’s partner lost his Mum this morning.  We’re all a bit devastated.


My Jerusalem are having a bit of a sale today, with all proceeds going towards research into Alzheimer’s – digital downloads are all available as a “name your own price” deal, so please mosey on over to their site for the opportunity to hear for yourselves why I keep banging on about them being brilliant, as well as raising a few quid for a cause that sadly affects more and more of us in one way or another as time moves on.

Also, popping over to the band’s main website and entering the case-sensitive code MOTHERSDAY will get you 50% off all the stuff available on there, all money again going to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, Fisher Center.


Please help to raise a bit of money, and give your ears a treat in the process.  Win-Win.


Sunday Whatever

Well, what a strange week that was.  Usually, popping down to London is the most stressful for this vaguely-panicked scribe, yet it turned out to be the most relaxed out of four jaunts around the country.  They were all well worth it though, it’s nice for me to occasionally realise that I’m not quite as antisocial as I tend to think I am, and running into friends old and new has left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that will no doubt be completely obliterated tomorrow morning when I go back to work.

Not entirely sure how many new readers I’ve gained this week (hi, fellow Grauniadistas!  Hope you find something worth hanging around for), I’ll probably lose them all again as this week I plan to put my feet up a bit, save for trying to think of something to do for this coming Tuesday as 6dft will be a whole two years old.  And, as the web-hosting types have already renewed my subscription, I have at least another year left in me.  Or at least paid for so I’d better make the most of it…


Best of 2011 – Favourite Singles/EPs

I’m trying to ease myself into this gently this year.  Mostly because this is an even bigger pain to do than it was last year, which is a good thing, as it means that I’ve listened to more new stuff (and, more importantly, enjoyed it) than I did last year.  Or, I’ve just been less picky.

I suppose that there’s huge advantages and disadvantages to doing this on my own as opposed to by the committees that decide these things for publications from larger blogs than this (almost all of them, then) right up to the posh glossies.  On the plus side, I don’t have to argue with myself about what gets put in and in which order, and what gets left out.  On the minus side, I end up arguing with myself about what gets put in and etc etc.


I have had to cut-off at 50 albums because any more than that would have been overkill, and this isn’t a list of Everything I Have Listened To This Year, it’s going to be a list of favourites.  And any less would have been missing some stuff that I really wanted to include.  And this year, I’ve not included any unique singles and EPs in that main countdown as it felt just as unfair to kick out an album to make room for, in some cases, two great songs.  So instead, I’ve whittled down a bunch of great and short releases down to a Top 10 (sort of…), partly to get me into the habit of getting this whole hellish list thing going (and hopefully finished), and also to get me to go back over the year’s music with a fresh set of ears in order to reconnect and re-appreciate a daunting pile of records…


My Jerusalem – Sleepwalking Refurbished

One of the plus sides to this new-fangled digital approach to music distribution is that artists or labels aren’t necessarily tied down to traditional release dates.  That many still do is probably a nod to tradition and habit more than anything else, as chart-bothering doesn’t seem as exciting as it used to be; overhyped drivel from whatever was on the TV karaoke shows the day before to a market with the attention span of a ringtone being the one-hit order of the day.

So it’s nice that, in these uncertain and compressed times, that it’s possible for anyone nowadays to go “hello everyone, have a record” pretty much on a whim.  Social media provides instant advertising to those already in the loop, who then pass it on and on.  In theory, all this model really requires in order for it to succeed is for the artists and labels embracing it to put out stuff that is actually good.  Which is sort of how I remember good music being promoted and passed around as well.

Thankfully, there’s a point to all of this.  Texas-based musical co-operative My Jerusalem has today released 11 tracks of something that casts their communal net wider than ever, and evoking the spirit of a favourite album of mine from some time ago.


Jeff Klein – kidbones EP

Another day, another Jeff Klein EP appearing from seemingly nowhere.

It’s probably not unfair to say that Jeff has a better handle on the machinations and communities of that there internet than most artists, eschewing the usual route of getting someone in to knock up a website and forget all about it while some poor spod sits there fielding questions about favourite biscuits and the like.  This particular recording type uses social media and the like in the exact same way that we do, engaging with people and being utterly open, honest and friendly, and occasionally releasing stuff without warning.  So this morning’s appearance which basically stretched to “Hello everyone, here’s an EP I made” will have come as little surprise to anyone.


Billed as an “anti-EP” possibly for the reasoning that 8 and a half mins may seem to push the definition of “extended” a wee bit just as much as it being as he describes it himself somewhat self deprecatingly as “some lint from my sock drawer”, this thrifty five-tracker serves well as both introduction to Jeff’s omnidirectional musical identity nowadays and as more reason for existing fans to enjoy this ecelectic mix of new, familiar and downright endearingly odd.


My Jerusalem – Manchester Night & Day, 17th Jan

It’s not unfair to say that I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, as the band who came up with one of my joint-favourite albums of the year roll into town.  I’d seen frontman Jeff Klein play a few times both as travelling member of the Twilight Singers and Gutter Twins and also as a lone act, the last time being a sparsely-populated, incredibly hot, but thoroughly entertaining solo set back in the summer, with some mention that his new collective contained members of Overkill, Megadeth and Stryper, this has a lot to live up to.

Thankfully, we are instead treated to members past and present of the Polyphonic Spree, Midlake and Ed Harcourt’s band.  And no bee-like stripey spandex in sight.