Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New music and festivals - random thoughts...

Some excitement.
The first tranche of acts for Deer Shed Festival 4 has been announced and it looks very promising.
Stealing Sheep and Public Service Broadcasting are just two that have appeared in these pages before. On the other hand I have seen neither live! 
Also of great interest to me are Glasgow five-piece 'Kitty the Lion' and singer-songwriter 'Blue Rose Code'. Things are looking up - this is the kind of news that I like the best.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Music from the past - discovered (Part 1).

The history of this; it became something of a project that in essence goes back a long time and to 1977, at least for me. This is the first post on that, and it involved this album originally released in 1971:

As I mentioned then, back in early 2012, it had taken me almost thirty-five years to actually track this down. For some reason, in early December 2012, I decided upon a more ambitious project. That was (to attempt to) track down the two albums that preceded 'High Level'. The proviso was threefold:
  • it would be done on a tight budget, with no particular time limit therefore
  • the albums had to be playable (not mint or wrapped, as I fully intended to play them)
  • the albums had to be the original vinyl releases
You might wonder about this, as did I but a little searching it proved what recordings I was actually looking for. Knowing what you are trying to find is always a good place to start.  It turned out to be this trio:
  • Northumberland For Ever (1968) - Topic Records 12TS186
  • The Lads of Northumbria (1969) - Trailer Records LER 2007
  • Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinnie (1970) - Trailer Records LER 2020
I was already aware in essence of the first two of the above, which are studio albums, but not the third and that is how it turned out to being a search for three albums. The last was the final one to succumb and also the most expensive although not by much. Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinnie is a live album recorded in a single take at Balmbaras, an old-time music-hall pub in Newcastle.

Here are the covers of the three albums that I purchased, as taken by me just now:
So there you are. The total cost for all three, including all delivery charges, was £33.71.  In Part 2 of this post I shall try and comment on the music and also the history behind some of it, not least that of Balmbaras.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)

This is a post that I couldn't resist. I love snow, and there is plenty of it here right now, but there is however a certain ambivalence to that comment; it actually makes me want to be at home, warm and with good food. I could do the whole snowed in thing - at least for a week, I guess.
This song sums it up far better than I ever could.

You were so smart then
in your jacket and coat.
My softest red scarf was warming your throat.
Winter was on us,
at the end of my nose,
but I never love England more than when covered in snow.

And a friend of mine says it's good to hear you believe in love even if set in fear
well I'll hold you there brother and set you straight
I won't make believe that love is frail and willing to break.

I will come back here,
bring me back when I'm old.
I want to lay here forever in the cold.
I might be cold but I'm just skin and bones
and I never love England more than when covered in snow.

I wrote my name in your book,
only god knows why,
and I bet you that he cracked a smile,
and I'm clearing all the stuff out of my room,
trying desperately to figure out what it is that makes me blue,
and I wrote an epic letter to you,
but it's 22 pages front and back and it's too good to be used
and I tried to be a girl who likes to be used
I'm too good for that.
There's a mind under this hat,
and I called them all and told them i've got to move.

Feel like running
Feel like running,
running off.
And we will keep you
we will keep you little one,
safe from harm,
like an extra arm you are part of us.

You were so smart then
in your jacket and coat
and my softest red scarf was warming your throat.
Winter will leave us,
left the end of my nose,
so goodbye old England 'till next year's snow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Music 2013 - Part 8 - Wolf's Law

One of the things I am really coming to like now is the fact that there are some bands and artists that I have followed, often as a result of festival performances, since the early days and who are continuing to flourish. This is one of them, The Joy Formidable, and here is the band early one day on the small but lovely Sunset Stage at Latitude Festival 2008, before the release of their début mini album 'A Balloon Called Moaning' (2009).

They release their second full LP 'Wolf's Law', and the follow up to 'The Big Roar' (2011) on Monday, 21 January - on Canvasback Music distributed by Atlantic Recordings. To say that their live performance is energetic would be litotes of some order.
They are touring the UK and Ireland in support of the album between late January and early March and I'm much minded to try and catch them during the latter stage of the campaign.

The Fall of Glorieta Mountain

I thought I saw you by the side,
Illuminating foreign climes.
A figment, a splinter, a vessel for me.
To wander as freely as I'll ever be.
Shrapnel stars puncture brightly,
Wounding skies that stretch so widely.
Other dunes of dust, in shades of rust
Where shadows claim the both of us.
Is that an answer or is this an echo?
Are you the answer or are you an echo?
These godly skies kindly provide
The perfect scene for our goodbyes.
A providence, so palpable
It sets aflutter, palpiter.

Bleached by the moonlight
Bathed in bone white
Undercover of cobalt and shelter of slate
You appeared immaculate.
Is than an answer or is this an echo?
Are you the answer or are you an echo?
I know that distance lends enchantment to the view
But I know that I see you and I know you see me too
And so I called out.

See more here:

New Music 2013 - Part 1 - Wash The Sins Not Only The Face

I just felt like some lyrics. Not particularly cheerful but then what did you expect? The album 'Wash The Sins, Not Just The Face' is released  by Matador Records on vinyl, CD and d/l. Let us celebrate the third Monday in January at it is often said, by those that believe this sort of thing, to be the most depressing day of the year.
You can currently listen to the whole album streaming on Pitchfork here.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

New Music 2013 - Part 7 - 'Mericana

It has taken a while for me to get around to this.  In the week that I got to write about Mike Harding's first independent "radio" folk show I thought it about time to pay dues to music from elsewhere.  Some years ago, let's say about early 2005, I had become bored with the horizons of the music that I was listening to. The result, after some vacillation, included starting this blog. That, in order to feed it and my new curiosity, led to a new era of festival attendance.
I had long liked much UK folk music, both traditional and more modern, so I suppose I was predisposed to fall for Americana, even if I didn't really know that it existed as such. Looking back now that seems astonishingly naïve - surely I should have spotted its influences on music of which I was already at least somewhat aware?
Well, apparently not.
Since then however Americana and the rise of UK contemporary folk have extensively, but not entirely, defined my musical existence: is it coincidental that while the UK is increasingly falling for Americana and alt-country 'Mumford & Sons', four tweed-waistcoated lads from middle England, are nominated for six Grammys? I suspect not.
What it has certainly done is pique my curiosity about music, especially new music in genres of which I am less aware, and that is no bad thing. In that vein, rather than a roll-call of the well-known, I'm going to mention one or two artists rather less so.
This is a new song and therefore I can pretty much guarantee that you haven't heard it before:
Lyric to 'Burn it Down', tomorrow I hope, and it's a good excuse to listen on repeat. On the other hand the song I was intending to add must wait. It is, at the request of the artist, going to be re-recorded before it appears here.

I am truly humbled for music doesn't get much newer than that. If you are out that way then catching the duo, Sylvia Novak and Clay Cutler, is still a possibility. In fact they are just waiting to go on stage this evening (5 January, 2013)...
Cigar and Fine Spirits, Auburn, AL.