Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I could have written so much more in June...

There are, I have now learned and accepted, simply months like this.  It is not that I have been away from music, far from it in fact, but sometimes that is just the way things work out.  Nor does it mean that I have been involved in music that, to a great extent, is far away from that which I consider my mainstream.
On the subject of 'singles' I will however mention two that I like unashamedly:

  • You Make Me Want To Die - The Pretty Reckless
  • Self Machine - I Blame Coco
Both young and privileged artists?  Indubitably so, if in rather different ways, but both talented and determined to make it in the music industry on their own terms?
That also seems to ring true to me.  This is not what the major labels want, as you can well imagine, but currently they have to get anything they can.
Many of the new artists that they are currently releasing are not signed, in the old sense, to the label but are tied to a pre-determined distribution deal, which may or may not include music publishing.
This is not to say that all is gloom and doom. HMV recently posted good financial results, especially from its diversified music interests, particularly live promotion and ticket sales. Rest assured that I'm not about to back away from what I like either and inter alia that includes further forays into alt.folk,, Americana and the rest.
You have been warned.

Friday, June 25, 2010

'Hold On To That Feeling' - Carrie Rodriguez

To whoever asked for it, this is one lyric that I can do. The song is 'El Salvador', from her 2008 album 'She Ain't Me'. 

El Salvador
Got your letter from El Salvador
I wish you wrote just a little more
But I guess I'm really missing you today
I know words can mean so much
But I don't need what I can't touch
Been a month tomorrow since you went away
It's been a month tomorrow since you went away
I keep waiting, so long
I've been waiting, too long
So many miles between us
We gotta hold on to that feeling
And get on home
You better get on home
I know you got a job to do
But I can't live my life for you
And today I look much older than I should
I think I might just waste away
If I don't see your pretty face today
I'd swim across that ocean if I could
I'd swim across that ocean if I could
I keep waiting, so long
I've been waiting, too long
So many miles between us
We gotta hold on to that feeling
And get on home
You better get on home
Now you're off to Panama
Just one more place I never saw
While I sit at home wishing you were here
Without you I feel incomplete
Though I'm not the neediest girl you'll meet
But today I cannot help but shed a tear
Today I cannot help but shed a tear
Today I cannot help but shed a tear
So many miles between us
We gotta hold on to that feeling
So many miles between us
We gotta hold on to that feeling

This is a song from an amazingly good, but largely ignored if perhaps only in the UK, album and artist. I have mentioned this album before, including some lyrics - 'Infinite Night' and 'Let Me In':

The new album that I have not heard as yet, but which I really want, is 'Love and Circumstance' (2010).

This is the track listing for it:

1. Big Love
2. Wide River to Cross (feat. Buddy Miller)
3. When I Heard Gypsy Davy Sing
4. Eyes on the Prize
5. Steal Your Love (feat. Bill Frisell)
6. Waltzing's For Dreamers
7. I'm Not for Love (feat. Bill Frisell)
8. I Made a Lover's Prayer (feat. Bill Frisell)
9. I Started Loving You Again (feat. Buddy Miller)
10. Rex's Blues
11. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (feat. Bill Frisell)
12. La Puñalada Trapera

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yuck... Festival thoughts and other bands

More often than not I write my thoughts ‘live to blog’, or at least something pretty close to that given that the images have to be found and or adapted. Just at the moment I can’t seem to get started, although I know things about which I want to write. I hope you don’t mind that I’m thus minded to invite your comment here. I am cheekily using you as a sounding board – knowing that we share at least a proportion of our music in common – but the truth is I’m really not sure where my boundaries in new music lie.

Wednesday 23 June:
Glastonbury is 40 and, while I’m not going in person, I’m minded to catch as much as I can via the various media sources. Therein lies another problem: like many of you I guess I like much older music and I’m not even sure where that lies for me either. In the last few days I’ve been working my way through more vinyl: those that have particularly caught my attention are ‘LIVE – In Europe – Rory Gallagher’ (1972) and, just this evening, ‘Bruce Hornsby and The Range – On The Southside’ (1988). Two totally different albums but I like them both, a lot. In fact after some cleaning they both appear to be as essentially faultless as any vinyl that you might be prepared to risk playing.
The underlying problem is, and this has become more so over the last few years, that I like more and more new music and also a wider range of music in general. I had long believed that it wasn’t like this! The point here is that I’ve been trying to prioritize those bands appearing at Latitude 2010 that I would most like to see. That there will be unavoidable clashes is inevitable and that is just the way of things. The scarier thing is just how many, not just how many clashes, but just how many acts including the perhaps lesser known ones that I am already aware of. Previous years have been notable for my seeing ones that I was completely unaware of – that is a joy of live music – and some of them are now rather better known.
Of course I want to see ‘Florence And The Machine’, headlining the main stage on Friday, but also many others less well known. Acts as diverse as ‘Laura Marling’ and ‘Crystal Castles’, both on the (main) ‘Obelisk Stage’, are almost certain to clash with other acts, on lesser stages, that I also want to see. There will indubitably have to be some tough decisions made…
I have a long list… the problem is that I know it cannot be fully realistic, not least as I do not have the set times, but even then certainly not fulfilled.
I want to see 'Yuck’, a good band name if ever there were one and it has a blog too, ‘Esben and The Witch’ and plenty of others. What is perhaps more interesting, at least to me, are the as yet less widely known bands that are well and truly on my 'must-see' list and those as yet unknown to me.

Thursday 24 June:

The first bands are just taking to the small stages at Glastonbury as I write from a location that is just twelve miles away as the crow flies. The thoughts always come round to weather - and the mud that comes with it - when Glastonbury is mentioned.
Let me tell you this: It is 9pm and I've just been outside to take a look at a Wedgwood Blue sky with hardly a white cloud as appliqué decoration. It is warm, about 20ºC/68ºF, virtually calm and if that is not perfectly wonderful festival weather then I can't imagine what is. It is predicted to remain thus for the duration too, with just the possibility of a thundery shower on Sunday afternoon, and by then it might well be welcome relief.
I've plenty more to add, and I intend to watch as much Glastonbury coverage as I can this weekend, but this will have to do just for now.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gray or blue?

Someone asked about the lyrics to this song by Jaymay, 'Gray or Blue', earlier this afternoon. As it happens it is a favorite of mine too and one of the less complicated ones as luck would have it: this is currently the best I can do.

Gray or Blue
I feel so helpless now
my guitar is not around
And I'm struggling with the xylophone
to make these feelings sound.
And I'm remembering you singing
And bringing you to life 
And it's rainin' out the window
And today it looks like night.
You haven't written to me in a week
I wonder why that is.
Are you too nervous to be lovers?
Friendship's through with just one kiss?
I watched you very closely
and I saw you look away.
Your eyes are either gray or blue
I'm never close enough to say.
But your sweatshirt says it all
With the hood over your face
And I can't keep staring at you mouth
Without wondering how it tastes.
And I'm with another boy
He's asleep; I'm wide awake.
He's tried to win my heart
But it's taking time...
I know the shape of your hands
Because I watch them when you talk
I know the shape of your body
Because I watch it when you walk.
And I want to know it all
But I'm giving you the lead
So go on, go on and take it
Don't fake it - SHOOT.
It hurts me. Are your eyes gray or blue?
Make a move. I will not make a move.
If you don't then I'll not make a move
And if that's so we will both surely lose.
Don't second guess your feelings
you were right from the start.
And I noticed she's your lover
but she's nowhere near your heart.
This city is for strangers
like the sky is for the stars.
I think it's very dangerous
if we do not take what's ours.
I'm winning you with words
Because I have no other way.
I'd love to look into your face
Without your eyes turning away.
And last night I watched you sing
Because a person has to try
And I walked home in the rain
As a person cannot lie.

To be honest track #6 'You'd Rather Run' would, despite its rather simple sounding guitar accompaniment, be a far greater challenge. Consider this: 'Gray or Blue' is just 3:25 and manages to include all the lyrics above and 'You'd Rather Run' is 9:50 in length.
I believe that Jaymay is currently scoring a film and it's hard to think that it will be anything other than art-house but none the less worthwhile for that...   It might not be easy, indeed the album Autumn Fallin' is not, but if you like a challenge it is a near-as-perfect example of New York creative intensity. In many ways the strange ambiguity of the album title says a great deal.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Revenge and return.

Fefe Dobson is, sine qua non, the artist who has bought more folks to this blog than any other.  Some others have more recently given her a run for the money but they are not even close as yet!
That her first, the self titled Fefe Dobson and to date only released album, pre-dates this blog by almost three years may therefore come as something of a surprise.

Her second album would have been Sunday Love but her label dropped her after it was recorded and just before its release. Things come and they go, sometimes in strange ways.

The track-list for Joy is this. The release date soon, July I believe:
1. I Want You
2. Ghost
3. Watch Me Move
4. You Bitch
5. Thanks For Nothing
6. Can't Breathe
7. Didn't See You Coming
8. Let's Go (Turn It Up)
9. I'm A Lady
10. In Your Touch
11. Set Me Free
12. Joy

Many thanks to 'Angel' for much of the above information and to everyone else who has made this one topic the most sought after over the last three years.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alela & Alina - Matty Groves... live

This is why festivals matter.  It has taken me nine months to finally track down a physical release, which is rather tardy on my part.  To hear it live first is just awesome compensation and so, simply because I can, here are Alela Diane and Alina Hardin performing 'Matty Groves' live at EOTR 2009.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

New Music 2010 - Part 11

Where to start?  It goes like this as often as not.  After what seems like weeks of waiting a whole host of new music impinges on my consciousness at once; it is not all about the music it is in part about me.

This one I can't wait to hear but the release date is  September 13 in the UK (a day later in the US and their native Canada).  I am, however, off to both Latitude and End Of The Road festivals and this band is performing at both of them.

Wilderness Heart - Black Mountain

This is the third album from the prog/psych outfit from Canada, a band that I have long wanted to hear live. Now I have two chances and the opportunity to hear some of the new material before the release of the album.  This band has also spawned two side-projects - Pink Mountaintops and Lightning Dust - and I'm rather hoping that the 'secret stages' at EOTR might provide an opportunity to catch either one or both of these (please).

Those heading to Leeds/Reading Festivals will have the opportunity to see the band that, almost single handedly as they headlined Sunday at Latitude 2007, convinced me that I needed to go to a festival again and that band is of course Arcade Fire.  

 They release their third full length album, The Suburbs, on August 2 in the UK.

Whatever you currently think of their music I can pretty much guarantee that you will see an incredible performance.  It is no coincidence that I am still going to festivals three years later and would like to add more to my schedule if that proves possible.  Enjoy!

This only covers part of my interest in music and only part of that which comes from Canada. My first thought about this is 'help, help and rescue!' but, on the other side of the coin, that leaves a whole load more new music for another post or three.
At some times I only want to listen familiar music while at others I really want to discover new music including new acts and new genres.  It would be really useful if I could understand why this is.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Eurovision 2010 live - part 2

Thank you to 'The Voyeurist', who commented upon my first post about Eurovision 2010 in which I didn't make it clear that what I posted were only some of my live musings and, specifically, I did not include the entry from Serbia.  That said here are most of the rest of those notes that I did take and it does include a brief note on the Serbian entry... 

I simply didn't have the time to write everything I might have done just on a single listening and certainly not the fascinating lyric highlighted.  What I will say is the Balkan influence on much western European traditional music is centuries, perhaps even far more than a millennium, older than Eurovision. 
The entry from Moldova caught my ear too. Another entry that I commented on is that from Albania and that is not merely a comment on the fact that it was a good shot from a nation so recently integrated into Eurovision.  If I had to choose one song to plug from the whole competition then this would be it - what a wonderful fusion of apparently incompatible influences.  Expect this kind of thing anywhere, and everywhere, across Europe soon.

We (in the UK) complain about the Eastern European influence (in Eurovision terms) in recent years but, on the latest evidence, I'm coming to like some of it.  The problem is ours: we can do great music but when it comes to Eurovision we are always something like a decade behind.
You can find any number of similarly minded, and very successful, artists and acts in the UK at the moment but why would they want to risk their reputation by participating in Eurovision?

It is a sad state of affairs, as regards the UK, but it is no reflection on the the Eurovision Song Contest itself and this might seem to be a very curious place to start to explain why...

The album is ostensibly Celtic folk and this my example of it, Polydor 'SUPER 2383 301' of 1974 and thus on vinyl. Several tracks on it are taken from North American renditions of folk songs and two others are interpretations of Romanian folk tunes. The thing is that there isn't a huge musical gulf between any of them...

It also includes 'P stands for Paddy I Suppose', a track that I rather like and one that has also been covered much more recently.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Remember this album? What has happened to...

That it is a long while since I have written one of these posts had occurred to me quite recently but at this time, although those that I have written have been quite well received, writing to order is not really something  I seem to be able to do.  That is unless somebody asks, or says, something that lights a spark.  That can be a direct thing or one that simply puts me on a new train of thought.  That happened just now, in both ways one leading to the other, and resulted in the searching of the dustier depths.
This album I have had for the better part of a decade but have not listened to for some years until now and then three times in succession - something that I admit I'm a bit prone to do - but that's just me and music.

It might just surprise you that I think it remains relevant; it surprised me too.

The following is another one that I found in the deepest, cobweb encrusted, recesses of my CD music collection and it was there for a reason I think but I pulled it out, dusted the case, then opened it and put the CD in the machine.  It played like new of course and with some good reason...

I don't expect that it had been played more than two or three times before and I remember now that I really didn't much like it then. That was a long time ago and so it seems that there is a reason for not getting rid of music after one or two listens and, while I agree that it is not going to change the world now, I've listened to it several times this evening and that has rather changed my perception.
These albums are from 2001 and 2003, respectively, but that does not tell you what either of these these artists are, or might be, plotting in 2010. That will have to wait for now...