Well, The Suburbs, obviously. Unlike everyone else in the world we haven't heard it yet because we've learnt not to trust advance leaks, but we're slightly disconcerted by the way every single review stretches to call Neon Bible a letdown of Sonny Pike proportions. No it wasn't! No Funeral, but then very little is, and it's got (Antichrist Television Blues), the growing terror of Black Mirror and the superior version YES IT IS of No Cars Go, none of which can make a record bad per se. Still, what they say about this one is it's becalmed, Win's singing about kids again and there's some fascinating musical divertions. We'll just have to listen to it on Spoti...oh.
SOMEWHERE TO GO
Jens Lekman doesn't get about much, especially now he lives in Melbourne. He's having a sojourn around Europe at the moment while he works on his third album, the first sightings of which we discussed yesterday. In the past his live presence has run the gamut from acoustic and backing tape to huge choir, strings and horns. All he'll give away for this trip is he'll be backed by "a full, formidable band", which pull into the Manchester Deaf Institute tomorrow and London Union Chapel on Tuesday.
BANDS START UP EACH AND EVERY DAY
The frankly wrongly named Biggles Flys Again is the name under which Conor Deasy (not the Thrills one, though he's also from Dublin) makes quiet songs of simple feelings and internal confliction. Elliott Smith comes to mind in the subtly intricate singer-songwriterliness of it all, although something also tells us he's heard a bit of solo Paul McCartney, the early stripped back stuff.
THERE'S ALWAYS A FESTIVAL SOMEWHERE
Relentless Boardmasters looks so depressing while Rebellion looks faintly hilarious - the King Blues and Gallows adrift among third reunion wave punk - so that'll be the Big Chill next weekend, then. It's always seemed to us slightly too keen to project itself as cosmopolitan and 'laid back', that old standby, and Spencer Tunick's doing some mass nudity-based nonsense. It's not art as living sculpture and texture, it's an excuse for papers to print a lot of people's bums. Still, once we're past that we're on for headliners MIA, Thom Yorke and Massive Attack, plus Liars, Gregory Isaacs, Kelis, Beth Jeans Houghton, Explosions In The Sky, Roots Manuva, Lonelady, Caribou, the Willkommen Collective, Steve Mason, Gallops, Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions, Patrick Wolf, The Heavy, Gaggle, Mystery Jets, John & Jehn, The Phenomenal Handclap Band and The Agitator, plus talky turns from Harry Shearer, John Hegley, John Shuttleworth and Paul Morley. And also Peter Hook And Howard Marks Present 'An Evening Of Unknown Pleasures', but into every life a little self-promotion must fall. And the ever popular Disco Shed turns up. It's just a shed with lights and a smoke machine, but people flock to it. Meanwhile Standon Calling has the somewhat left of the usual headliner rota Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portuondo heading up affairs this year, alongside British Sea Power, Liars, Jeffrey Lewis, Joe Gideon and the Shark, The Phantom Band, Summer Camp, Steve Mason, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Three Trapped Tigers, And So I Watch You From Afar, A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Jesca Hoop, Telepathe, Fucked Up, These New Puritans, Erland and the Carnival, Sparrow and the Workshop, Lone Wolf, Revere, Swimming and Tom Ravenscroft DJing.
- You don't come across the concept of a splendid tribute album every day, but here goes: a splendid tribute album is being released soon. None Of Your Fairy Stories is an indiepop tribute to the Ramones, being issued through Precordial Catch Records, the outlet of Spiral Scratch co-ubermensch Marianthi and sparkly Grimsby Town fan of note Pete Green. All proceeds go to Lymphoma Association, the support charity for the type of cancer that killed Joey. Helen Love, of course, get track one, followed in various order by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Allo Darlin' (doing I Wanna Be Sedated), MJ Hibbett (Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue), Pocketbooks, the Just Joans, Liechtenstein, Little My, Horowitz, plenty more, and closing with Green's own take on Blitzkrieg Bop.
- Speaking of which, did we ever link to Pete Green's pub review blog? Well, we have now. His band, formerly the splendidly named Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut, are called The Sweet Nothings now, by the way.
- Here's a curio, passed on by our man on the inside of superior post-nostalgia dumping ground TV Cream. He has a copy of the 1978 Christmas Radio Times for the West, and on 5th January 1979 the listings include this:
A synthesis of the unorthodox and the conventional. One of the leading new
wave groups based in Swindon perform their latest songs. Plus rock in a
rather different style from the Bath group Interview.
Director ROY CHAPMAN
Leaving aside what "rock in a rather different style" might be, and whether Julian Cope should know about it, this seems fascinating scheduling. They'd had a couple of albums out by then, White Music and Go 2, which had had critical acclaim and sold well but nothing you'd call worthy of a BBC1 documentary, even regionally (although Partridge did go the local BBC TV feature route later on) - indeed they'd only break the singles chart in 1979. Given the exhaustive archiving tendencies of the XTC fanbase it's strange that this doesn't seem to be known more widely. Anyone know anything?
(Also, just found out while researching this that expanded reissues of the whole XTC catalogue are reportedly due to start before the end of the year, with English Settlement, Skylarking and Oranges & Lemons first. Coo.)