Sunday, July 06, 2008

Weekender : yoghurt eating grandpa is sex king of the Balkans

- Suspicions are raised right from the off when looking at the track details of Wire's Object 47, their 47th release and 11th proper studio album but first without co-founding guitarist Bruce Gilbert. The shortest track is just under three minutes, the longest approaching five and a half. Where's the cutting short when all has been said or undulating cosmiche workouts of recent EPs and first post-reformation album Send? In fact, in the way it trades in a more melodic metre albeit bent towards their experimental purposes it most recalls 1988's proper verse-chorus mobilising and highly regarded A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck, coupled with the dread atmosphere of a Chairs Missing. It's certainly another fine entry into what wasn't too shabby a back catalogue to start with, and its insinuating insectoid ways make it a repeated listen grower.

- Independents Day is an event held Friday just gone designed to celebrate the history and increase awareness of the vitality of properly independent music. To that end it's put together a two CD charity compilation, the first comprising covers - the Prodigy finally getting a go at Ghost Town, the Futureheads giving With Every Heartbeat the rework Jo Whiley has so far denied them, Maximo Park massaging the Go-Betweens' Was There Anything I Could Do, British Sea Power ruffling Galaxie 500, Devendra Banhart messing with Don’t Look Back In Anger, who on earth told Feeder to cover Public Image? - and the second of new bands recommended by the bands who are responsible for CD1. Among these the Futuremen keep up their good work with a word for Thomas Tantrum, XL big up Laura Groves, British Sea Power reach hands across the Brighton scene with a nod to The Tenderfoot and Shrag's selection once again proves the Cribs' record collections are far better than their music.

- Seemingly without telling anyone, another album has eked out from the minimal faux-naive wonderment of Jonathan Richman, responsible for almost as many studio albums as the Fall but with less of a musical palette. Indeed Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild sticks largely to themes - acoustic guitar and drums, songs of simple affinity, a song about an artist (No One Was Like Vermeer). This time there's also a Leonard Cohen cover, another go at a Modern Lovers song and a closer about his late mother. There's even suggestions about graceful ageing and maturity, and when that happens to Jonathan Richman lyrics it's time to worry. Whatever, it's bound to be less produced than Black Kids' Partie Traumatic, and here that's all for the better.

- Strong week for single releases this week, with more choral Americans, the return of some old new friends and some genuinely new favourites. In order: when we saw them at End Of The Road last year we tagged Port O'Brien as West Coast rockers in a Bright Eyes sense - little did we realise how accurate that would prove to be. I Woke Up Today is an exuberant harmonic shoutalong just made for yelling along to in big fields. Perfect for summer in another sense are Those Dancing Days, now all out of school and free to spread the gospel of summer Northern Soul organ/organic indiepop with a lyrical kick, which Run Run does down to a T. The new names to Weekender are Mumford and Sons, yet another of those rootsy folky melancholy-suffused banjo-friendly bluegrass-aware co-operatives London is doing so well at the moment - not only have they played with Johnny Flynn and Noah And The Whale, but singer Marcus Mumford leads a double life taking a regular drumstool seat offering prime views of Laura Marling's back. Just because you can kind of tell from all that what the Lend Me Your Eyes EP will sound like doesn't mean it's not highly accomplished for a first release just eight months after forming.

COMING SOON: After all the cool quotient work he'd put in it took one album for Beck's star to implode, The Information disappearing straight down the concensus plughole. A linkup with Danger Mouse and a move back to 60s exotica influences, more the British psychedelia of the Zombies and Syd Barrett than the tropicalia of the underrated Mutations, colours Modern Guilt, released tomorrow and previewed by this trailer and this live version of the title track.

MYSPACE INVADERS: Male singer-songwriters may be probably the most maligned of artistic arrangements nowadays - after all, even with a guitar band there's still plenty of scope - but we like to think that we've nurtured a good record of late in seperating the wheat from the Nutini. So let's properly bring into the open Matthew Saunders, an acoustic wielder originally from Cardiff with broad accent to match and whom we were first introduced to via April's Welcome To Our TV Show!. He's also supported Dirty Pretty Things at Shepherd's Bush Empire, which raised our critical defences a little, but his way with matching a folk strum to a direct, sentimental lyric with a kick in the post-Syd Barrett mould overcomes all associated doubts.

VISUAL AID: Is Louie Louie the most covered live rock'n'roll song ever? Gloria might have a case, but the tale of a Jamaican sailor returning to his love's insistent riff and groove has proved irresistable for everyone from the Beach Boys to Motorhead. Most famously the Kingsmen brought it into the garage age and through the slurring of the lyrics made the song the Outhere Brothers' Don't Stop of the 60s, except in the 60s that meant a year long FBI investigation. It was actually written and first recorded in 1957 by Richard Berry, who sold the copyright cheaply - well, of course he did - and by 1989 was inviting anyone to have a go. Among those who did have a go in their own time were Iggy Pop and the Sonics. Toots And The Maytals skanked it up, Black Flag took it direct to the hardcore kids and the film 24 Hour Party People recreated one of John The Postman's all star performances. That's a barely recognisable Dave Gorman in the role of the aforementioned cult soused stage invading sorting office employee. The Pretenders named a seperate song after it, Hot Chocolate were inspired to write their only US number one as a follow-on, including the riff in a minor key transposition, and British Sea Power referenced it, Iggy and Charles Lindbergh at the same time. Even men in chicken costumes can pull it off.

* Lifts and taxis are all very well, but someone filming guerilla performances needed to take it back to live music's heritage. Hence Bandstand Busking, in which a crew and performer find a largely abandoned bandstand in London and film/perform in it. School of Language, Wet Paint, Stars Of Sunday League and currently Wild Beasts have had a go, with Johnny Flynn, Laura Groves and Frightened Rabbit coming shortly.

* While you may be of the belief that the last thing this summer needs is another music festival, you can't help but prick your ears up at news that British Sea Power are organising a long weekend's shindiggery. Sing Ye From The Hillsides! is being held on 29th-31st August at Tan Hill Inn, the highest inn in England at 1,732 feet above sea level, located on the Pennine Way in North Yorkshire. BSP are playing all three days with support plus sideshows including husky racing, duck herding, a pub quiz and an attempt to record the loudest ever human voice. The band will also be launching their own brand of nut brown ale at the festival. Of course they're having their own nut brown ale brewed! Tickets £50 a pop, available through Ticketline.

* Coming to our attention right at the death before posting: Boxing Duck hoys up the final Neutral Milk Hotel gig, although really it's just Jeff with Laura Carter (Elf Power's multi-instrumentalist, not the one out of Blood Red Shoes) And from that page, a link onto endless live, demo, rare, radio and connected Mangumosity.


Dead Kenny said...

I'd just like to say I think 'Mutations' is one of the most over-rated under-rated albums of all-time.

'The Information' however, I think, is genuinely under-rated...

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