Sunday, July 27, 2008

Diet Weekender: Sweeping The Nation is away, being killed by lightning

Most of the stuff we'll leave for next week, but wouldn't you know it, things are getting back into gear in terms of new releases this week. Oh, the new albums are much of a muchness, led by the not entirely satisfying re-recording of old favourites and if not by any means a disaster then perhaps slightly missing the boat from when they seemed really special of artier than artrock XX Teens' Welcome To Goon Island, followed by the diversion of another band who seem to have been around for a long time without going full-length until now, Kitty Daisy & Lewis. We're guessing if you've been paying attention you'll know what this sounds like.

In the reissues, though, alongside Dinosaur Jnr's so-so but featuring Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher 1997 effort Hand It Over, we find a Husker Du live album. And not just any old package but The Living End, issued in 1994 but recorded during the Warehouse: Songs and Stories tour across 1987 and spanning their entire career but unavailable for some years. Rolling Stone's respected senior editor David Fricke pens extensive liner notes about the period and the breakup that followed but the music, starting with New Day Rising and ending with a cover of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, is left to speak for itself.

Meanwhile, for a couple of years before the BBC picked up the ball and ran into their treehouse marquee with it, Channel 4 broadcast Glastonbury for a couple of years with Mark Radcliffe and Mark Lamarr as chief hosts, supposedly having it taken away for not fully reflecting the spirit of the event. In 1994 Johnny Cash singlehandedly turned the Sunday afternoon novelty turn spot into a gathering place for legends (although it seems to have moved back since Brian Wilson did it) with a classic performance, arguably the start of his critical renaissance, coming as it did just after the release of the first volume of American Recordings. Quite a bit to live up to, then, documented on Johnny Cash Went To Glastonbury, thirteen career spanning songs from that set plus a Johnny Walker interview from said coverage.

Bill Drummond has a good record with putting his thoughts into print. The Manual, despite an introduction get-out clause stating its authors believe it will have ceased to be relevant in a year's time, is still being cited by new bands, while 45 was a triumph of honesty, humour and self-aware pathos. We're not sure we get 17 yet but it's sure to be an intriguing venture nonetheless. As the title suggests it follows on from his series of The17 performances, one-offs involving a choir/audience of seventeen people, behind which lies a theory about finding new ways to connect to the love of music. Actually, we'll just quote the synopsis, that'll be easier: "Drummond analyses the past, present and possible future of music and the ways in which we hear and relate to it. He references his own contributions to the canon of popular music, and he provides fascinating insider portraits of the industry and its protagonists. But above all, he questions our ideas of music and our attitude to sound... A time has arrived where we can listen to any recorded music, from the entire history of recorded music, wherever, whenever, while doing whatever we want. This has meant our relationship with music is rapidly and fundamentally changing, faster than it has done for many decades. This is good for numerous reasons. But a by-product of this is that recorded music will no longer contain the meaning it once held for us. The era of recorded music is now passing and within the next decade it will begin to look and sound like a dated medium. Recorded music will be perceived as an art form very much of the 20th century. These notions excite me."


Anonymous said...

In case anyone’s interested, 7Digital are offering a free 320k MP3 of the XX Teens track ‘The Way We Were’ – click on the link below:

The album is also available as pre-order with the release being on Monday:

Anonymous said...

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