Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lyrics again - Arlington Way (English version)

Again just because someone asked and I really like doing this when I can...

Arlington Way
Arlington Way whose idea was it anyway to stay the night out of sight out of mind?
Once in a lifetime a dream must come true I'd be heading there with you
with a spring in the step and a lightness of being and we'd be walking in the door
Arlington way go down to the place do it if you want to - I don't need to know your business
no plan of attack no turning back nobody did it quite as good as you
A coin falls to the dance floor it shines in the bright light
uncertain what I wish for heads, you know that tails, I want you back

Once in a lifetime a dream must come true I'd be standing there with you
with a beat in the heart and a mind on the good times and you'd be holding out for more

Nobody said it would be easy nobody said it couldn't come true
nobody said it could feel so natural I don't need to know your business
no plan of attack no turning back nobody did it quite as good as you

You came, you saw you offered me more than I could take  oh I've changed
I won't make the same mistake again but this ain't time for the heavy..

For the Welsh lyric to this song, and the rest of the album, see here:
Paid Edrych Y Lawr

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cover Versions 2010: Jolene

I have mentioned a number of cover versions, both heard live and recorded, that have impressed me in 2010.  Thank you to whoever asked about this one just a couple of hours ago for it falls into that category. It is a cover of 'Jolene', written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton, performed live by Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons at Cecil Sharp House for BBC Radio 1 in November 2010.

Here is the lyric specific to that performance:

Jolene (Mumford & Sons with Laura Marling)

Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

He talks about you in his sleep
There's nothing I can do to keep
From crying when he calls your name, Jolene
And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you don't know what he means to me, Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I'm begging of you please don't take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don't take him just because you can

You could have your choice of men
But I could never love again
He's the only one for me, Jolene

I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do, Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I'm begging of you please don't take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don't take him even though you can

Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I'm begging of you please don't take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don't take him just because you can
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I'm begging of you please don't take my man

One thing that I cannot do, however, is supply a translation in Spanish!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Music - Part 5 - The Go!Team - Rolling Blackouts

I bought the first album 'Thunder, Lightning, Strike' out of curiosity and was not in the least disappointed. Then, after the release of their second album 'Proof Of Youth' in late 2007, I saw them live at Latitude 2008.
There were many, even then, that marvelled at their longevity and indeed their virtuosity. The doubters are indeed wrong for, in early 2011, Go!Team are back with their third full length album - Rolling Blackouts.
The first song to be released from it is "Buy Nothing Day" and, to say the least, they have teamed up with one of the artists of 2010 indie for this: the vocals are provided by Bethany Cosentino of 'Best Coast' - so it is where and when South Coast (UK) meets West Coast (US) - and it works far beyond any reasonable expectation.

I'd love to see 'The Go!Team' live once again; I'd love to see 'Best Coast' live for the first time...  so  add both to my 2011 festival 'wish list'.
"Buy Nothing Day" is released on 24 January, by Memphis Industries, and will be available on 7" vinyl too.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Live and Local - Ben Waller & The Telltale Signs

Yesterday evening was the Christmas 2010 edition of Acoustic+, which I have mentioned in posts before.  It was a cornucopia of local acts and artists, each performing just a very few songs.  It was all interesting but, for me at least, one act stood out and here it is.

Ben Waller & The Telltale Signs, live in Frome, December 17.
They performed three songs of which this was the first - and it really was acoustic in this case.  It was one of those revelations that ranks amongst the best of those that I experienced at festivals during the summer.  They could have been on one of the stages at EOTR 2010 and would not have been remotely out of place and neither would the instruments.  Five-string banjo, fiddle and a rather wonderful Hohner 26-key (two octave) piano accordion and one of some vintage I suspect. 
While 2010 seems to have become the year in which banjo finally became acceptable once again on this side of the Atlantic, for it never went away in US country music, at the very least any band with a piano accordion will catch my attention.

You might think three tracks could offer little variation - but that is not so.
On the second song that piano accordion had been put back in its case to be replaced by this - a very new-looking autoharp; the first that I have seen at Acoustic+ and only the second that I have seen live - First Aid Kit at EOTR 2009 being responsible for the only other.
On the final song of their set Tina didn't play anything but did a tap dance routine to the song instead - something that The Unthanks also do - and now you can see why this was the most compelling set of the evening.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No lyric, no track list, no future?

This apparently rather depressing resumé of the 2009 trilogy by James Leyland Kirby should not put you off the 3-CD set (or indeed the 12 sides of 12" vinyl if you can find it). There are no lyrics at all and, what perhaps I did not mention before, there is no track list either.

In fact it is not obvious what the three instalments are called...  certainly not on the CD version from which the above artwork is taken.  They are, however, thus:
  • When We Parted My Heart Wanted To Die
  • Sadly The Future Is No Longer What It Was
  • Memories Live Longer Than Dreams
Thanks to whosoever asked about this just now.  I don't actually find this at all depressing and it opened my ears and consciousness to a whole genre of music that hitherto I would most probably have simply ignored. What was the catalyst? I don't really know, just curiosity I suppose.

It is not easy music for sharing but, given the luxury of two-and-a-half  hours of uninterrupted listening, it is magnificent in its entirety. It looks like being a cold, cold weekend and the thought of curling up in front of a coal fire and doing exactly this seems very appealing indeed. Music matters.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 in Music - EPs & mini-albums

Last year I started with this category, deeming it the easiest to solve.  This year, as will be noticeable, the inter-relation between items in all these lists and artists that I have seen live at one time or another has become much more apparent.  I find that an interesting paradigm but it does make keeping the lists distinct, let alone self-contained, much more difficult.  An extension of this, that I mentioned in my previous post, is that it is also interwoven with my thoughts on new music in 2011.
Ask Simon Cowell and Nick Clegg about why your votes don't always count like you thought they should have, if you will. This is not a list, nor is it a manifesto commitment; it is an exposition and therefore the rules governing lists and voting do not apply to it.
It is in reverse-date order and thus starts with the band with which I finished yesterday's post.

It is a bit of a triple-whammy, for it relates to three CD EPs by the same act:
  • Lungs Quicken (not in the image above)
  • The Starlight EP
  • Misfortunes and Minor Victories EP
These three EPs comprise eleven tracks in total and amount to about forty minutes of music and  Lanterns On The Lake is to be filed under New Music 2011 even before the release of their first album...

...and just before the power failure during the opening chords of 'I Love You, Sleepyhead'.

The next, Esben and The Witch, has featured here before and is now also included in the fifteen-strong long-list of acts nominated for BBC 'Sound of 2011'.

This is the the 12" vinyl EP 'Marching Song'. The album is 'Violet Cries' (January 2011).
The next one is no great surprise I suppose, given my lists of  2010 albums already posted, but perhaps the most controversial.
She is not really enamoured with this, her first release, and when you listen to 'Own Side Now' it is perhaps possible to understand why.  I still rate it highly, which is why it is here, and I believe that I will eventually be forgiven. 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

End Of The Road Festival 2011

With my tickets  for Latitude 2011 and End Of The Road 2011 already booked, only yesterday was I thinking which artists I currently anticipate (or would like to see) populating the stages at them. In due course I will post my thoughts...
In the case of EOTR 2011 I can go a bit further than that for today the first tranche of confirmed acts was announced and here it is:

  • Bo Ningen 
  • Bob Log III
  • The Deadly Syndrome 
  • Doug Paisley 
  • Dry The River
  • The Fall
  • Gordon Gano and the Ryans
  • John Grant
  • Jolie Holland
  • Josh T Pearson
  • La Sera
  • Lanterns on The Lake
  • Lightning Dust
  • Micah P Hinson
  • Midlake
  • Mountain Man
  • Treefight for Sunlight
  • Twin Shadow
  • Wild Beasts
  • Woods
  • Young Man
  • The Walkmen
  • Willy Mason
Tickets are on sale from www.endoftheroadfestival.com/tickets and if you purchase before the end of 2010 you save £5 due to the impending increase in VAT.

It is too soon to really digest the above list, let alone expound even my first thoughts on it, but two that would have been on my 'want to see in 2011 list' without a doubt are these.
 'Lightning Dust'I have never seen but shares Amber Webber and Joshua Wells with 'Black Mountain', which I saw at both Latitude and EOTR in 2010.
The return of 'Lanterns on the Lake' is fantastically well deserved and verges on or into New Music 2011 territory in any case. One of my revelations of EOTR was this six-piece, in the Tipi Tent on Saturday evening: it was more than a misfortune when their final song of the set, the wonderful 'I Love You, Sleepyhead', was cut short after only seconds by a total power failure.  Not only are they returning to EOTR the band announced yesterday, on its website, that it is now signed to Bella Union Records.  Regular readers will know that is a huge thumbs-up in my book.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

2010 in Music - Albums - Part 2

***[In progress  ---  further links and comment to follow in the next few days]***

Following on from what I wrote yesterday this is the second instalment of my lists of 2010.  I decided to tackle the albums in two tranches, for the reasons I outlined earlier.
These are not necessarily any less worthwhile (and this is of course subjective) than those that will appeared  in '2010 in Music - Albums - Part 1', which is one reason I did not choose this format in 2009...

To imagine that compiling this list must be in some way easier than doing so for the former would be a major misunderstanding.  It is shorter than the previous part but had I gone beyond ten, and I tried, it became a matter of simply sticking pins in an, admittedly rather pleasant,  map of music. The problem I had was that there was so much worth choosing...
  • Anaïs Mitchell - Hadestown [link1]
  • Beach House - Teen Dream
  • Best Coast - Crazy For You
  • Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart
  • Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This
  • First Aid Kit - The Big Black and The Blue
  • Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me [link1]
  • Lauren Pritchard - Wasted In Jackson
  • Nicole Fermie - Babel In Three [link1]
  • Trash Kit - Trash Kit [link1]
There is also an honorary inclusion:
  •  Jessica Lea Mayfield - With Blasphemy So Heartfelt [link1]
This is actually a 2009 release but, in the UK at least, might as well not have existed until 2010. It could equally well have been included in my first list for that matter.  It is an album that illustrates very well an issue to which I will return soon.
Some will, can and should question why there are what many would see as blindingly obvious omissions in my listings. That is how it should be but, equally, I don't think I want a list that is just the same as any or every other.  If that were the case then it would be more than a bit boring.

Please feel free to comment, argue and suggest additions/deletions by comment or e-mail. I will add links and further comments as and when I get the time through December.
Artists highlighted in green are those that I have seen live in 2010 or, if in orange, those from before but also mentioned in 2010. Items/artists highlighted in red are those on which I have commented in 2010.
Now over to you and please feel free to comment.  I'm not scary, I'm merely curious to know what you think!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

2010 in Music - Albums - Part 1

***[In progress  ---  further links and comment to follow in the next few days]***

Following on from what I wrote yesterday this is the first instalment of my lists of 2010.  I decided to tackle the albums in two tranches, for the reasons I outlined.
These are not necessarily any better (and this is of course subjective) than those that will appear in '2010 in Music - Albums - Part 2, which is one reason I did not choose this format in 2009...
  • Arcade Fire - Suburbs
  • Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo [link1]
  • Besnard Lakes - Are The Roaring Night
  • Caitlin Rose - Own Side Now [link1] [link 2] [link 3]
  • Corinne Bailey Rae - The Sea
  • Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles II 
  • Ellie Goulding - Lights
  • Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can [link 1]
  • Lissie - Catching A Tiger
  • School of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire [link 1]
  • Smoke Fairies - Through Low Light and Trees [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]
  • Warpaint - The Fool [link1] [link2]
The above however define the contours that have sculpted my musical landscape in 2010.  I could easily exchange several items between this list and the forthcoming one but ultimately I had to make a final decision. Albums released in December 2010 are clearly eligible for addition too, as are a few that I have recently acquired but have not, as yet, listened to sufficiently to form a stable opinion.

There are no images in this post because I don't want to prejudice anything. On the other hand I have already mentioned many of these artists in 2010... if you want to see what I wrote then please use the search facility in the side-bar.
Please feel free to comment, argue and suggest additions/deletions by comment or e-mail. I will add links and further comments as and when I get the time through December.
Artists highlighted in green are those that I have seen live in 2010 or, if in orange, those from before but also mentioned in 2010. Items/artists highlighted in red are those on which I have commented in 2010.
Now over to you!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

2010 in Music: Thoughts of a Willing Victim

Now it is December I think it is no longer premature to publish my own versions of 'Best of 2010 in Music' lists.  This post is not one of them but that is not to say that I have not been thinking about them for a long while now!  I plan to roll the project out between now (Wednesday evening) and the end of the coming weekend and I might well add content to some of the posts (and particularly links within them) after first posting them so please bear with me if a post seems a little threadbare when you first see it.
On the other hand I have made the decision to launch with the list of albums this time around by I may revert to my 2008 format of doing so in two sections. I am as yet still undecided but there are two reasons in favour of this.

  • About ten days ago and out of the blue, as the result of a comment on their part about a certain album that I mentioned was one of my favourites, a stranger asked me what my others might be. This was a face-to-face chat, in a real record store, so I had to decide on the hoof.  I surprised myself, and also my interlocutor, with the result.  I can't remember exactly how many I reeled off, another eight or so, but I can pretty much remember what they were as I wrote most of them down when I got home.  This was a far better outcome than trying to self-consciously compare each contender with every other and generally over-think the whole process. It makes sense too, as music is very much a subconscious thing: It is sometimes immediate, while sometimes things take time to grow on me, but this encounter made me realise just which albums inveigled me in 2010.
  • The second reason became obvious at an early stage of my consideration. My choices are influenced by the music and artists that I have heard live, whether in 2010 or not, like never before.  That is, in part, just a reflection of the fact that I have now heard so much more live music than I had when I wrote my first such list in 2007. 
I will continue with the policy of listing items in any list alphabetically. I can't rank them as that would change daily depending on my mood. I can change my mind for other reasons too...  This post was, until just now, going to have a rather prosaic title:
Thoughts on 2010 - in lists, albums, live, songs, singles, &c.
The one it now has is a more honest and accurate reflection of the way I feel about music.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts on vertical integration...

This is something of a service announcement, I'm afraid, but it will be followed by some more real thoughts.  For some months now I have been considering how I might improve 'Thoughts on Music' within the constraints of my resources, both financial and temporal. I have some ideas of my own already but all realistic suggestions are always welcome. I must add one proviso, however; at this stage I am not planning to add downloads to the blog.

Vertical integration  - the interaction and accessibility across the various modes and platforms of social networking -  is certainly something that has crossed my mind and it is one aspect that I would like to improve. It is early days, and the time to implement and monitor it is still something of a limiting factor; furthermore it is going to take considerable effort and a steep leaning curve to make it work seamlessly. There will without doubt be some trials, tribulations and false starts along the way, and this is on a not-for-profit and just-for-satisfaction basis, but I think it worth a try and the first real steps were taken this evening.
You can now use Twitter to comment on blog posts: @ThoughtsOnMusic or see my tweets for that matter.
Let me know how it works, or doesn't, for you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Live and Local - 3 Corners

This is part of the ongoing Acoustic+ that takes place most months here in Frome. The most recent incarnation took place this Friday just gone and the stand-out act for me was '3 Corners'.

It is not often that one sees an eight-piece, including a brass trio, live on stage.
And yes it was good, very good indeed.  For this reason it is important that local arts, crucially that infrastructure needed to sustain it, is not abolished. It is a soft option - Somerset County Council has suggested that it might cut its funding for arts by 100% in 2011-12. The money saved is relatively small in the great scheme of things but vital to the well-being of, and regeneration in, the local community; the involvement of which is something the Government has said is central to the new way of thinking. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dylan LeBlanc - EOTR 2010 - Part 6

Thoughts on music now concern, in large part, that which I have seen and heard in the last year and the season of compiling lists and making choices is soon upon us. I have a good idea how that works out in my opinion but, in the meantime, I don't think that it too late to mention a few other things for tickets for 2011 festivals are on sale or, in some cases, long sold.
I like new music. I like independent labels and Rough Trade Records has had a blinding 2010 in my opinion. To open a festival stage is a challenge; to open the main one on Sunday is to encounter an audience that, possibly unknowing of the artist in question, might also be tired and hungover.  That is an invitation only some might accept, but for the sake of ambition, and many would later rue.

He took the bit willingly and owned that stage for the duration.

The songs came (in large part) from his 2010 début album 'Pauper's Field'. You might argue that such musical territory is in general rather well populated just now, and you would be right, but I say it is for a reason and this album is a fine demonstration of just why so.

If you think that, just because I have already posted about some 2011 artists and albums, I'm now done with 2010 I hope to prove you wrong at least once. I'm not even done with 2005 yet, dammit.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Music 2011 - Part 4 - Smart Flesh - The Low Anthem

Well I knew it was well in hand by the time I returned from EOTR 2010 almost exactly two months ago.  It seems such a long time but now what I said then is finally to become reality.

Recorded in disused industrial premises in Providence, RI it is to be entitled Smart Flesh. The current release date on Nonesuch/Bella Union (in the UK) is February 21, 2011 and I for one can't wait. They played some of the putative tracks from it live at EOTR 2010 and, oh my God Charlie Darwin, they were so good once again!

Other recent and relevant posts:
The Pirates of Providence...Low Anthem @ EOTR 2010
While I'm on this general subject their cover of 'Ghost Woman Blues' (George Carter, 1929) is something of an ear-opener.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Live in 2010 --- Bella Hardy

She is on tour across the UK, starting towards the end 0f this month.
Live in Bath (Theatre Royal, Ustinov Studio) Friday 3 December 2010.

See here for details about the tour dates and more.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Music 2011 - Part 3 - The Duke Spirit, Laura Marling, &c.

The Duke Spirit is one band my love of which pre-dates my days as a blogger.  They are a five-piece and are well advanced in the recording of their third album.  They are also awesome live and this is just how rock should be...

The Duke Spirit live in New York last weekend.
Too much reliance on the, albeit marvellous, digital age can have its downside! Still there is solace to be found in things thoroughly analogue...  FM radio and a pile of vinyl recordings.

While what I am to mention next actually belongs in 2010 its inclusion in prospects for 2011 is also apposite. Since she appeared on the new folk scene in 2006, most notably then as part of Noah And The Whale, barely a few months have gone by without her releasing something to delight us.

She recently apologised for the delay in the release of her third studio album (now due "sooner rather than later" in 2011) but instead consider it in this light. In these days a gap of  at least two years between studio albums is now quite normal due in large part to the more profitable touring commitments that might follow: her second album 'I Speak Because I Can' was however released on May 3, 2010.  That is not to say that she has stinted on the latter front and for those lucky enough to be attending the Crunch Festival, Hay on Wye next weekend you are in for a treat not least because she is headlining the music aspect on Friday evening:  There are still some tickets left if you have a gap in your diary.

I saw Laura Marling live at Latitude 2010 and the performance was flawless even in the rather wide expanse of the Obelisk stage. As well as the obvious highlights of her own song writing there is the ease with which she interprets and incorporates cover versions into the proceedings. If you can find a recording of her recent performance at Cecil Sharp House (for BBC Radio 1), with Mumford & Sons and covering Dolly Parton's 'Jolene', then I suggest you do so.  Her latest release, vinyl 7" (TMR044) physically, but also available to stream from Spotify, is another pair of covered songs recorded at Third Man Records' studio in Nashville by, label founder and analogue addict, Jack White.
The a-side (it is so good to write that and really mean it) is 'Blues Run The Game', written and recorded by Jackson C. Frank (1965) and from the album of the same name, which was to be the only one from someone stalked by misfortune from a young age.
The b-side is more a reflection on the misfortunes of others by one whose career has lasted decades, is very much ongoing, and in the current musical climate increasingly influential.  'Needle and The Damage Done' saw Neil Young tackling such territory and it was originally released on the 1972 studio album 'Harvest' but it was performed live somewhat before that and I have an admission to make. 'Harvest' was something of a joke in the days when I first started to appreciate vinyl and it always seemed to be in the 'bargain bin' - "Any 3 for £1" - and guess what?  I'm listening to 'Harvest', quarter of a century later and on original vinyl, while writing. I paid over the odds for it too - it cost me £0.50 in December 1986 - and I know that because I made a note of it inside the sleeve!
On the face of it nothing - except for my mysterious taste in music - connects the worlds of Duke Spirit and Laura Marling but in that you are perhaps misguided. In 2006 The Duke Spirit released a 7" Covered In Love comprising two tracks by artists who were then recently deceased.

 2011-related posts about Laura Marling's music:

Further posts on New Music 2011:
Part 1  --- Esben and The Witch
Part 2  --- Yuck
Part 4  --- Low Anthem
Part 5  ---  Go!Team
Part 6  ---  Rhosyn

Part 7  ---  Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo
Part 8  ---  Those Dancing Days
Part 9  ---  Some things I am looking forward to.
Part 10  ---  More things I am looking forward to.
Part 11  ---  New Heads On Old Shoulders?
Part 12  ---  Snowglobe - Jesca Hoop
Part 13  ---  Queen of the Minor Key

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Jill Jackson - Lullaby - lyric

Thank you to whosoever asked about this just a few minutes ago.
I'm on the case already because I've been intending to post the lyrics from the rest of the songs from this album for absolutely ages. I hope to have those for 'Lullaby' by the end of tomorrow evening.

There was a boy and girl
Living in a shadowed world
The girl has gotten sick
Nothing they can do for it
She slowly passed away
On a cold November day

Held on to her hand
Felt like half a man
He sang her a lullaby
I'll meet you on the other side
This is not our last goodbye
'Cause you are my life
For him it was too much
To try pick the pieces up
Found it hard to beat
They found him down on his knees
His house was not a home
He could not live alone
Life was just too hard
He died of a broken heart
And he sang her a lullaby
When they met on the other side
Said we'll never say another goodbye
'Cause love has no time
For we are inseparable
What we have is beautiful
And nothing else mattered before
Just you and I - promise you
Promise me If I go before you
You would know I'd sing you a lullaby
I'd meet you on the other side
We'd never say another goodbye
'Cause you are my life
We are inseparable
What we have is beautiful
Nothing else matters at all.

Just you and I.

I hope that I haven't made too many mistakes. This is one album I suspect that I will never tire of. I still listen to it frequently, although I would baulk at paying the Amazon.co.uk price of £44.99 for a CD version. The d/l price is more reasonable; then again so is a CD from the lovely folks at www.cdbaby.com and if you like this then they could point you in the direction of plenty more artists that might be of interest.
Other Jill Jackson lyrics:
Fragile Heart
Rain On My Window
Now that I have done the last three of the ten album tracks, of which Lullaby has proven the most taxing, I'm inspired to do the other seven. When I have I shall perhaps reward myself by buying the 2010 Painted Faces EP.  She is on tour in the UK in the next few weeks but many of the gigs in Scotland are already sold out...

Jill Jackson live in 2010.
 A new album in 2011 too; that deserves a blog-post all of its own as soon as I know more.  On the Painted Faces EP (CD only) she swaps her acoustic guitar (above) for ukelele. Three are new tracks while the other two are stripped back versions of older ones and I'm not going to tell you which. Painted Faces is available from CDbaby for $10 plus the shipping charges for the appropriate location.