That’ll be summer gone then. After a week of lunchtimes spent basking in a carpark under a vivid cerulean sky, I’m sat here shivering while the lady on the TV tells me it might snow again in a bit. Thankfully, if that really was the best we can expect from British Summer Time (and can someone please get the comedy genius who decided on that name a knighthood*), then at least I have a small reminder of it in the form of this very sunny record that easily distracts from the fact that it’s perishing cold outside.
Which isn’t the only reason why I bought it. I bought it partly because Teenage Fanclub’s Shadows was a huge highlight of last year, this project intrigued me from first hearing, and well yes because it was cheap.
With Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci’s Euros Childs’ paths crossing on more than one occasion over the years, a more substantial coming-together than the occasional guesting on each others’ work was probably always going to happen. And in fitting fashion, the end result isn’t so much a collection of painstakingly-crafted and produced soul searching balladry, as a strange parallel 1970s universe where a young Euros seemingly pops round to the Blake’s house to ask Norman’s mum if he can come out to play for a bit and make an album.
I do like films. I’m currently ploughing through a 21-disc set of Hammer films from the mid to late 1960s that all seem to have been filmed in the same village in Cornwall, but are fun nonetheless. So it should come as little surprise that I’m also a fan of film soundtracks.
Movie soundtracks are a strange affair when removed from the film they were created for. Many struggle to hold my attention, as most are written to be accentuate whatever’s going on up on the big screen, and even being utterly iconic doesn’t always help – Bernard Hermann’s Psycho theme is one of the most famous pieces of modern music, but it doesn’t lend itself too well to a relaxed evening in with the headphones on its own. Not compared to Lalo Schifrin’s funky approach to, well, everything, anyway. But this doesn’t mean that the expolitationfest that is the theme to Magnum Force is culturally superior to the screechy strains that accompanied Hitchcocks’ finest hour and a half, it’s just a bit easier to dance to.
Then you have the utter greats, where the composer and his work becomes this whole other entity and sit alongside – Ennio Morricone’s work on Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy, John Barry and Harry Nilssen’s amazing score and song for Midnight Cowboy make great films even better, and stand up as great music in it’s own right.
And there’s also the soundtrack that does away with scores for the most part, and assembles contemporary artists and songs in order to make some cash back when it turns out that the film is a bit crap. The confusing oddness of Less Than Zero has a musical background that is far more famous than the film itself, as it gave the world The Bangles doing Hazy Shade of Winter, Slayer offering their cover of In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida (a song also covered by Boney M, so there’s probably a musical first in there somewhere) and Glenn Danzig’s finest work in the film’s title track – which, if memory serves me right, was relegated in the film itself to about five seconds on a tinny radio in the background. And this album fits firmly into this category.
The problem with starting this nonsense early enough to get it all finished before Santa doesn’t bring me any of the stuff I asked for yet again, is that I’m still hearing new stuff and in one particular case, being utterly blown away by it. So, what’ll probably happen is that I shall cheat even more than I already have done and include a joint “something in the top 3″, as I’m not sure exactly where it’s going to go yet. Something as good as this (which I hope to find the time to witter properly about sometime this week) can’t be left out.
Anyway, more on that when I get round to it – bit gutted that Joseph Arthur’s show in Manchester tomorrow (or, as it’s now know, today – as this took longer than I thought it would) is cancelled as I was really looking forward to that, although with any luck I’ll be off to see Sleepy Sun on Tuesday instead providing the temperature doesn’t drop any further than it already has done. Then again, they might be just the ticket to put the cold out my head for an hour or two…