Sunday, October 31, 2010


Best Of season is upon us and two of this early batch are of particular note. When Elliott Smith was found dead a week and a half over seven years ago a lot of those mourning his passing would console themselves with the opinion that such was his cult standing that surely he'd be elevated into a more widely known treasure like Jeff Buckley. That hasn't happened, maybe because unlike Buckley Smith never had the one big defining song, and he's settled into a tier of occasional influence instead. That may change now he's on the front of the NME and more overtly we have a supposedly definitive collection, An Introduction To... Elliott Smith, on Domino with a decent press push. Only one track each from XO and Figure 8 seems churlish, and only fourteen tracks means plenty of interest has been left out, but poor is the understanding of the modern singer-songwriter's craft without knowledge of Ballad Of Big Nothing, Waltz #2, Needle In The Hay or Pretty (Ugly Before). At the other end of the glamorous scale, Ultimate Pet Shop Boys notes 25 years to the week since the release of the hit version - it had been out in 1984 to no acclaim - of West End Girls. With just the nineteen tracks to play with, one the obligatory new song, sacrifices have had to be made and while we weren't exactly expecting Absolutely Fabulous, the lack of Rent, So Hard, Was It Worth It?, Can You Forgive Her?, Yesterday When I Was Mad and I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore is glaring to us. Being Boring's there, obviously, there'd have been riots otherwise.

Unsurprisingly for a band who can certainly 'do' bombast on record, Broken Records can move mountains, or at least feet, at their barnstorming live best. Then again, they can dial it down and send a cold wind through their audience at their most intimate. Touring for Let Me Come Home starts on Tuesday at Manchester's Deaf Institute and carries on to Sheffield Harley on Wednesday, Leeds Brudenell Thursday and Birmingham Institute Saturday, thereafter heading to Bristol, London (Borderline), Brighton, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen. Meanwhile the rejuvenated, in all senses, Edwyn Collins begins a tour on Thursday at Brighton Komedia, with Oxford Academy 2 on Friday, Leeds Brudenell Saturday, Glasgow Oran Mor Sunday, then Newcastle, Manchester, Preston, Liverpool (Anglican Cathedral!), Bristol and Birmingham. Frankie & The Heartstrings support on the first six dates. Glasgow's 13th Note on Wednesday night hosts The Indelicates Super Special Acoustic Live Album Recording Party, the title of which somewhat gives the game away. We think entry may be list only - check with the promoter.

One day Explosions In The Sky will kill us all, but they'll leave a beautiful, desolate set of extended metaphorically charred bodies behind. One such is Rumour Cubes, an instrumental sextet who build violin, viola and electronics into the skyscraping sounds explored on EP We Have Sound Houses Also (download free or buy the specially packaged CD from Bandcamp here, just listen on Soundcloud here, and you really should) and already count Warren Ellis - the acclaimed graphic novelist, not the beardy Bad Seed - as a fan. As with fellow instrumental post-rockists led by dual violins Talons, but in a less frantic way, those strings provide succour and pensiveness one moment and lead catharsis the next as the sonics crash down or ungainly flutter around them. Their biog says they're "working with film makers, poets and DJs". A multimedia experience? That could be in these hands if handled with care a different plane altogether. Even just musically they're getting there.

Well, next weekend some get to see how much of the organisers' flagrant papering of anyone who asks with tickets - we know of at least five people who've been offered up to four places as long as they pay for their accommodation - has held up the NME Weekender, which it should be noted isn't even an official NME event, just the brand name licensed by a company that usually puts on events in Ibiza. British Sea Power's booking agents really have got to stop agreeing to everything put their way. No, multi-day event of next weekend, and ATP aside this is probably the last time we can do this in 2010, is Bristol's Big Pink Cake Indiepop Weekender at The Croft, which stars Davey Woodward (best known for Brilliant Corners, but he'll always be the leader of the Experimental Pop Band to us), The Blanche Hudson Weekend and The Sunny Street on Saturday and Standard Fare, The School, Jam On Bread and the Mai 68s on Sunday.

Who'd like to contribute to MJ Hibbett's Christmas song?

No comments: