Sunday, August 03, 2008

Weekender : weeping openly on discovering Truck and Indietracks are on the same weekend next year

- While there's been no shortage of male folk revivalist twists recently there's not been a lot of women doing the same. Laura Marling more than ably approaches it, but for someone who works off more of the Sandy Denny/Anne Briggs/Vashti Bunyan school of pure vocalled gossamer storytelling Mary Hampton is a good bet. She's from Brighton and, wouldn't you just know it from someone from the south pushing this stuff forwards, is affiliated with Drift Records (seeing her in the Local tent at End Of The Road last year we even found ourselves sitting right behind Tom White), although My Mother's Children is out on Navigator Records, a relatively new spinoff of Reveal Records, which brought us Joan As Police Woman a few years ago. Like Ms Wasser Hampton's initial impressions are deceiving, as behind the fragile cloak lies tales of pure Brothers Grimm, all gothic ghost stories and dark parables. Eliza Carthy says this is "an album I know I am going to love for life". Fair does.

- How convenient it is that Port O'Brien already have life hooks on which the whole British press can hang assertions, although in fairness you'd have to be making a lot of extended metaphor based assumptions not to guess that frontman Van Pierszalowski works as a fisherman, spending three months a year on his father's boat in Alaska. His method of escape was to craft All We Could Do Was Sing, another entry into the not exactly underwhelming canon of indie-folk turmoil. Hopefully you'll know the sheer giddy choral exuberance of I Woke Up Today, and hopefully you'll be able to accept that the rest of it isn't much like that, instead turning out more like the minutely detailed crescendos of M Ward, the dusky hushed nature of Funeral's less bombastic moments and in parts the sainted Fleet Foxes, who they've supported in Britain recently. Conversant with nature? The others don't know the half of it.

- Meanwhile, Chatham garage punk par excellence Billy Childish releases the 109th album - not all studio, but still comfortably Fall-besting even though Mark E had a two year start - of his career, if we take into account The Pop Rivets, The Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars, The Del Monas, Billy Childish & Sexton Ming, Wild Billy Childish & Big Russ Wilkins, Jack Ketch & the Crowmen, Wild Billy Childish & the Blackhands, Thee Headcoats, Wild Billy Childish & the Natural Born Lovers, Billy Childish featuring The Singing Loins, Billy Childish & Holly Golightly, The Buff Medways, Wild Billy Childish & The Chatham Singers and now Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians of the British Empire. Thatcher's Children is... well, it's snotty, splenetic, ragged garage rock, obviously.

- Elsewhere the never resting Wave Pictures put out the Just Like A Drummer EP, the Instant Coffee Baby track plus five brand new songs. Lisa Li Lund's on it, obviously, as is current part-time backing singer of choice Rebecca from Slow Club.

COMING SOON: One of Rebecca's other clients has been Noah & The Whale, who on the verge of top ten success - Five Years Time gets its physical issue tomorrow - are at last putting out their album next week, granted the excellent title Peaceful The World Lays Me Down. Given they're playing with the big boys now there's a suspicious official tint to this horn-aided version of Rocks And Daggers where once there was Give A Little Love in a dressing room, Doug turning up late to find Laura's filling in on chair percussion in his place. Between which times they toured all over the place - Jocasta in Holland - and made a nuisance at SXSW, from which comes this recording of Mary. And for extra ballast, a jaunty live shantyesque cover of Girlfriend In A Coma.

MYSPACE INVADERS: So we've been working on a little project connected with next weekend's Summer Sundae festival that in part involved us going round all the Leicestershire local bands playing, most of which we'd come across in truth so was fairly easy...until we stumbled across Project Notion, who are playing the Saturday, and came to a prolonged halt. Five teenagers from Melton Mowbray, where they make the pork pies, who are still playing Battle Of The Bands nights have a sound that you jus cannot reduce to a few words of passing reference without much headscratching. Here goes: it's Youthmovies reduced to three fifths speed and given a half acoustic guitar arrangement, then met by Tori Maries' trip-hop vocals and turning into a far less silky Steely Dan jazz-rock as The Sea And Cake might envision it. The top line of their Top Friends includes Anathallo, Califone and Steve Reich, which is all in there but doesn't do much for pinpointing what they actually do. Let's coin the brand new genre of math-folk and wonder where the hell it's going to go when it's not merely a self-produced demo.

VISUAL AID: How's your summer been, then? Cambridge Folk Festival, Kendal Calling and The Big Chill this weekend and plenty still to come, but we thought we'd use our one week at home in four (well, technically so) to have a quick look at what you may have missed. Everyone in the world is aware of how Jay-Z started at Glastonbury, and the jury is still out on whether the overkeen crowd reaction disproved his point or not. What you won't have seen, as he precluded his much admired set from being filmed, is Leonard Cohen there, but fortunately one person had the presence of mind to film the big screens during Hallelujah, Suzanne and First We Take Manhattan among others. Also absent from BBC coverage for the same reason was Rage Against The Machine at T In The Park, but nobody can stop the camera phones, hence we have an excitable documentation of Killing In The Name Of. While some went down anthemically well at the big events, we've been keeping things low key and hospitable - the best Indietracks representation we've found is the Wedding Present's I'm Not Always So Stupid, preceded by Gedge outing himself as a Man Utd fan. Meanwhile Truck offers up a series of mini-documentaries featuring Ben Fellows and local resident and Truck fan Bob Harris. We suspect there's more to come so go to Fellows' uploads page, where as we type are six short films. Parts 1 and 2 are about Danny And The Champions Of The World, 3 Ian MacLagan, 4 Alphabet Backwards, 5 a guerilla set from the Coal Porters (as mentioned in our review), 6 Indigo Moss.

* You've joined our new Twitter, right? Right. Carry on.

* Best new blog since the last best new blog - My Old Tapes goes through some old tapes, oddly, and then digitises them, including Portishead live in 1995, DJ Shadow at Oxford for Radio 1 in November 1997 and two John Peel Perfumed Gardens for Radio London from 1967. Meanwhile, back back back is if push comes to shove probably our most consistently favourite Stylus writer, William B Swygart.

* Twones! It's a music aggregator and sharer for iTunes,, YouTube, Myspace, Hype Machine, Muxtape and so forth! Together! We have no idea how it works! Or if!

* So we did the big list of albums coming out in the second half of the year, then TV On The Radio announced they had one ready (Dear Science, 22nd September), and now there's a new Los Campesinos! album out, already, before the end of 2008. How are we supposed to cope with all this choice? Pass notes: it's called We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, it's out on October 13th, and it's produced by John Goodmanson, who mixed most of Hold On Now, Youngster... and whose production CV, apart from even more recent work with Fight Like Apes, we've reprinted several times over now in relation to him having worked with LC!'s mates Sky Larkin on their own upcoming (no date yet) album. This year's end of year list will be impossible.

* Also coming before the end of the year, but only just, as it has an ETA of December, unless Jamie McKelvie starves to death or something, Phonogram: The Singles Club. They have tie-in T-shirts, apparently.

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