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 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 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.

Britpop revived: Live with little comment.

  • Blur reunited - check.
  • Suede reunited - check.
Today Pulp announced their return...  at least for one day in Hyde Park in July 2011.

Jarvis Cocker, comedian and musician, live at Latitude 2007 and quite unforgettable.

Note added November 18, 2010:
We now have confirmation the the above mentioned reunion of all six original members of Pulp is not a one-off: the band is confirmed for Isle of Wight Festival 2011 the tickets for which have now gone on sale.

Monday, November 08, 2010

New Music 2011 - Part 2 - (eponymously) Yuck

As I suggested a while back the début album by UK/US/Japanese band Yuck is to be titled exactly that. It is such a good name for both band and, by extension, not using it for the album would seem contrary.
It is due for release on January 10, 2011 and is a worthy topic of my second post concerning new music to which I am looking forward in 2011, which is not to say that I have lost hope for more worthy of comment in 2010.

I have seen Yuck live twice this year, so I feel able to comment, and on both occasions found them impressive which provides a link between this year and next.
This had many hallmarks of music that in all probability I would like.  I was truly impressed, to the point that what might have been an anticlimax exceeded any expectation that I had. More telling, perhaps, is the tenor of the comments that I overheard, or have received since then, by those who heard them with no preconceptions whatsoever, in some cases not even having any prior knowledge of their existence. 
There have been a couple of tantalizing releases to date:

This one, which was a limited cassette-only physical release (!) is, hence the parentheses, a stripped back, acoustic incarnation of Yu(c)k. I don't have this, nor currently any viable equipment on which to play cassettes, but it may still be available to download from the band's blog [I'll look in to that and report back].
There is also a three-track a 12" vinyl EP 'Rubber' that was released in October, 2010.
With the benefit of hindsight and reflection on my part, and in the light of this wider observation, they should be well worth watching and listening to in 2011.

Further posts on New Music 2011:
Part 1  --- Esben and The Witch
Part 3  --- Duke Spirit
Part 4  --- Low Anthem
Part 5  ---  Go!Team
Part 6  ---  Rhosyn

Part 7  ---  Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Loads to write but ISP issues currently make that almost impossible.  I hope to fill the gaps very soon...

Note added November 9, 2010:
Well at least the ISP seems to be back behaving once again. Watch this space.