Monday, June 30, 2014

New Music 2014 - Part 21 - The Secret Sisters - Put Your Needle Down

After a spell in which the 'New Music' series has predominantly been about UK based artists the pattern, like the weather does, seems to have wandered west to feature North American ones once again. As usual this is often dominated by ones that I have seen live, are going to see live or simply wish to see live. This one falls in to the first of those categories.

'Put Your Needle Down' is The Secret Sisters recently released second LP. 
They opened the Garden Stage at End of The Road Festival 2011 around noon and, true to festival form I got off to a very poor start with photography. I only took two and this is the better of them!
These days I am aware of this problem and, while I still don't really know why it happens, I am consciously able to compensate for it to some degree. One thing is evident here: that had I had wished to be up against the barrier, towards the left of this picture and a spot that would have been ideal, then there was absolutely nothing to stop me.
WTF was I thinking?
One answer, given that I only had the faintest idea about what to expect, is just how astonishingly good it was. The self-titled début LP had then only recently been released and I had not heard it. Unlike some such sibling-named acts Laura and Lydia Rogers really are sisters and, since these things matter more than they seem to in some forms of music, their home town is Muscle Shoals, Ala.
The title of this LP may be rhetorical; I don't know and I have no knowledge as yet of this LP released on vinyl. That is no matter but I can tell you is that it was considerably cheaper (delivery to the UK included) to buy it brand new and sealed (it arrived thus) on CD from the USA than to download it on
That says something.  It took a few days longer; I'm quite down with that. I'll buy LPs direct from the artist if I can.
It certainly won't please everyone (and that I regard as a good thing) but for me the overarching thing about 'Put Your Needle Down' is that it is perfectly poised between being reverential of tradition and a contradictory need to seem to out-grow the same. Some of the new songs could have been written in the late 1950s or early 1960s except to say that they weren't.

There is a cover of a much more recent song in PJ Harvey's 'The Pocket Knife' and then, from the early 1980s, something more than a cover - Bob Dylan never completed 'Dirty Lie' and so, about twenty years down the line he offered Secret Sisters the demo recordings and a plea to pull it together, which they duly did.

There is a whole lot of good stuff coming out at the moment, and even the 'major labels' have stepped up to the plate, at least to some extent. It is hopeful, but tempting, to say that 'Times They Are A Changin...'. 

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