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Partly Porpoise

Updated: 2018-03-06T22:15:28.224+00:00





The Boy Wonder has set me up with a new account for Partly Porpoise. He assures me it’ll be better…

It was a pleasure meeting you. What's your name?


I’m turning into an irritable old bugger… I’m breaking my recent gig fast next weekend by making a trip over to Bristol and catching the venerable, if barking, reggae legend Lee “Scratch” Perry, his first gigs in this country for a good few years (seven I think). So I thought I’d put together a little mix of some my favourite tracks by the old nutter and had started work on this. But then having mentioned it to some of the cronies I stand next to at The Home of Rugby, it became clear that everybody has their own Upsetter favourites, and that as his output is just massive, we all knew albums that the others didn’t. So, anyway, I’m thinking I’ll use the iTunes Genius function to throw up a few random Upsetter gems. And that’s when it all went pear-shaped… I won’t go into details, suffice to say a combination of a new computer, lost passwords and bloody iTunes made it all very frustrating… The air was blue… Anyway, here’s a fairly random Upsetter Lucky Seven, which ideally will introduce you to seven new (and appropriately goofy) insights into the mind of a fine old Jamaican eccentric. Hold of Death (title track of a 1993 album) The Dragon Enters (from Kung Fu Meets the Dragon) Django Shoots First (a single I think, I have it on Bashment) Santa Clause (from Repentance) Having a Party (from Scratch Came, Scratch Saw, Scratch Conquered Black Bat (No idea where from originally, but I have it on an album called Original bass) Noah Sugar Pan (from Heart of the Congos) Upsetter Lucky Seven Here’s a video of an interview the man did in Austen, which made me chuckle… Of course, as more than one person has pointed out to me, the whole gig could go very wrong …[...]

Scream blue murder 'cause you need something for the pain...


Dunno why this post has taken so long to put together (apart from the obvious, that is…) One of the people that occasionally pops into this eminent organ is a feller who calls himself Devoted Hooligan, and has a damn good blog himself. He recently posted a link to an album called Fandom & Faction which featured local bands and singers. As he is based in Bristol, not a million miles from the old city, and as it featured a couple of artists I’ve seen (including dear old Men Diamler), I thought I’d give it a go. There’s some good stuff on it. Babel Including this band of groovy folkers... Babel are five musicians from the Bristol area, who contribute a track called Pearl St Raga to Fandom & Faction. I see the word “Raga” and I think of Davy Graham straight away, a comparison which is over-flattering but gets you to the right area, if you know what I mean. It’s a track which has violins and a vaguely Indian feel to it, as you’d expect, but, driven on by a busy drummer, rhythm guitars and liberal amounts of clapping, it also really swings. Pearl St Raga - Babel Pearl St Raga is taken from a mini album from 2007 and there is another album released since, called Crooked Timber , both of which are available from Emusic, here, and which I’ll download in the near future. The last release from them seems to be in 2008, but they’re still gigging, as this review from February of this year confirms. I imagine it would be a good evening… In the meantime, here’s a rather nice video of “Made Your Bed” from YouTube. There are a few other videos available too, including one for Pearl St Raga, which I can recommend.[...]

Once had a heart, could not be told...


Here’s some mouth-watering news…

Will Sheff of Okkervil River has coaxed some material out of notorious acid-casualty and genuine legend, Roky Erickson, and a bona-fide album is due to be released in the next couple of weeks in the US (another couple of months for us Brits, I’m afraid). Apparently the record features new stuff and some archive songs recorded in Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. We’re going to hear a fair bit about this in the next month or so…

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Didn't mean to disappoint you


It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

And, yes, I know my behaviour’s been abominable, simply intolerable – I just breeze back in here without so much as a by your leave. (I don’t call, I don’t write…).

But, hey ho, you knew that about me when you first got involved, right?


Erland & the Carnival

(File this one under “Not breaking any new ground”, to use a Coleser-ian device…)

When you know people have been banging on about a band for a while, it’s easy to feel like you’ve missed your chance, that the ship has sailed, and that you didn’t really want to catch it anyway.

Well, everywhere I turn people seem to be raving about Erland & the Carnival, to the extent that a Mercury nomination seems inevitable… What with a number of other “difficulties” (for instance, there’s some sort of Blur / Verve connection that I can’t be bothered to investigate…), I’ve been putting off any investigation at all.

Anyway, turns out they’re rather good…

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(With apologies to Mr Ashby, why do I never listen?)

The younger, cooler member of the family has just drifted in, and when I tried to suggest he might like this, instantly replied

“Sounds boring…”

No telling some people, eh?

Honey, take a run down to the beach!


Did something very old school Partly Porpoise this evening. Haven’t done it for ages…

Long time readers of this Blog may remember how I used to go about finding new music by muddying my hands in the waters of Myspace. A pretty good yield it used to afford me too, for a while. For some reason though, Myspace changed the way they do things, and suddenly no downloads available anymore.

Anyway, I just thought I’d have a look…

The Drums

The Drums are a New York based band, who (if the stories are to be believed) decided to make a conscious move away from synths etc towards guitar-driven pop, without actually being able to play guitars. I like the story, so I’m choosing to be believe it.

Turns out the results are rather fun, lots of sixties harmonies, jingly guitars, bouncy bass lines and jaunty whistling. A winning formula.

Watch this:

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You can download five (moderately) different versions of “Surfing” from here, including the “straight” version, but I thought I’d host one of the remixes.

This is the Nothing but the Girl mix:


Not enough whistling in music theses days…

Ooh, we could dance and be free!


Well, I’ve gone and joined that Twitter thingie.

Not entirely sure what I’m doing yet, but if the only fruit it yields is the exciting news that there’s a new Ted Leo album out – today in fact - well that’s something…

No videos or freebies yet, (and although, his site claims that you can stream the album on his Myspace, that’s not up yet), so we’ll have to go for something old to celebrate…

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I think I’m ready for a new album from the Pharmacists – the last one passed me by…

Oh, and as you’re asking, it’s @Sweeny99… And yes it would be a pleasure to have you following me.

You’ve got a rabbit in your hat! You’ve got a few tricks up your sleeve!


My blogging chum and I are becoming increasingly infatuated by the ever-enjoyable Classic Albums Podcast – basic format: two fellers talk about records they lent to each other. A simple format but a winning one, that I wish I’d thought of myself – although I doubt my ability to carry it off in such an affable and urbane fashion. I look forward to each new edition and am gradually working my way through the back catalogue.

One of the ideas Gary and Steven have got me thinking about is the idea of a record having space - quieter moments in which ideas can grow and take hold. I like the notion that the listener needs the occasional pause in proceedings in order to gather his thoughts – a metaphorical parting of clutter as he picks his way across the room and onto the bed.

The Soft Pack

Anyway, I’ve just bought myself the eponymous first album from California’s The Soft Pack, and I’m afraid Gary and Steven would be disappointed. Basically, there’s no space, none at all, not a second to catch your breath at all. Ten bursts of punchy, Garage Punky, sixties fun (there’s even what sounds like a Farfisa organ, God’s choice of keyboard, I feel) and all of it delivered with bursts of youthful energy and exclamation. It’s catchy, exhilarating stuff that you’ll either love or find utterly empty-headed. Or maybe both.


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And there!

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Bought the record at the height of Ofsted fever, during the week (and yes, as your asking, it was fine, thank you), but now in the lavish post-Ofsted position of being able to read magazines and browse cool websites at my leisure, I find that pretty much everyone’s (Everyone) all over this already.

Honestly, bees round a honey pot…



Any good Green Man ligger will be well aware that Welsh music (or indeed music in Welsh) has become really rather cool over the last few years, with folk such as Gruff Rhys, Euros Childs, Richard James and Cate le Bon making terrific records that are usually acoustic and distinctively Welsh, all of which are firm favourites of this Blog.

I’ve got something different for you here but definitely of a similar ilk…

Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree

Moving swiftly on from another … shocking… name, (thankfully there’s no sign of people with skye in their hair or stars in their brows…), the Magickal Folk are some sort of collective of musicians travelling the British Isles making recordings in traditional settings, previously only available on long sold-out CDRs. Deserted Village records have now re-packaged and released a couple of these together with some other songs as “The Soup and the Shilling”.

They are beautiful recordings, sung in English, French and Gaelic, and supplemented lavishly by strings (plucked and bowed), pipes and gorgous backing vocals. I rather like all this clever, linguistic dabbling around – it adds a certain outlandishness to a recording and avoids the tricky business of making an old lyric sound fresh. The result is a bunch of quirky, moss-covered folk songs that are not a long way from some of the early Gorky’s records.

Deserted Village profess to know nothing about these Magickal Folk, claiming that they find the recordings in a hollowed out tree stump (I believe them...), and I’m quite happy for this to remain the case – a little unfamiliarity does us no harm.

We do have a few samples made available, however, by the good people at Deserted Village.

Is Iomaidh Coiscéim Fada

Le Bon Marain

Bewitching stuff…

If it's not for ever, just know I love you now


In a futile (and I suspect, unsuccessful) attempt to convince the outside world that I do indeed have my finger resolutely on the pulse of modern music, I do try to keep up with a few choice labels. To be honest, it would probably be fairer to say that one or two labels do stick with sending me emails, in the hope that every now and again I might be stirred into action.One of these labels is Loose Music, who have quite an impressive roster these days but maintain an appealingly homemade feel to their operation. Over Christmas I bought the well-regarded The Duke & The Spirit album Nothing Gold Can Say, but I have to say it hasn’t really worked for me, and has drifted to the pile of albums that I really should give another listen (never a good sign).Danny & the Champions of the WorldNot to be deterred, however, I’ve just today bought the new Danny & the Champions of the World record, Streets of our Time, and am enjoying a much lighter country sound which works very nicely.Danny is apparently the former front man of Grand Drive, and so has some considerable pedigree already. I don’t really know a whole lot about Grand Drive but I probably need to investigate their catalogue further.I’m not keen on defining a band’s sound by referring to another band (very lazy) but it’s hard not to talk about this record without thinking Springsteen, the Byrds, Neil Young or Dylan. To be fair, however, the influences go back a lot further too, sounding very old-timey, with banjo to the fore (I do love a banjo, me).Anyway, I was scratching around YouTube looking for a video to play, but the only video up that refers to the new album was this one. It’s not an official video and not really a video at all, just a series of photographs, by a bloke called Tony-Ray Jones. Now, I’m not going to claim I knew who Tony-Ray Jones was, (a trip here soon sorted that out) but the photographs chosen by YouTuber Victoory (who seems to have a rather a nice line in this sort of video) are gorgeous and fit the feel of the title track from the album very nicely.Loose Music and Danny and the Champions of the World don’t seem to have much up in the way of freebies or even videos to watch but what they do have is this Spotify playlist which is made up of tracks that obviously inspired the record (sure enough, we have Dylan, Neil Young, the Byrds etc).The younger, cooler member of the family has been telling me to take advantage of Spotify playlists for a while now, and I am reluctantly forced to agree with the young hopper…[...]

I’d go blind to save you…


Despite my best intentions, I am beginning to get a little animated by the prospect of going to Green Man again this year. If you remember, I’d pretty much sworn off buying a ticket ever again after two successive wash outs, until my friend and fellow Kingsholm crony Martin had come up with a late ticket last summer. The rest is history, as they say…

This year, Green Man have already ensnared me with the news that the magnificent Beirut have been persuaded to come over. Now, this was also announced a couple of years ago, mind, only for Zach Condon to pull out at a fairly late stage; so I’m still a little wary at this stage… (Even so, Alastair Roberts is also appearing…)

Cate le Bon

It became something of a standing joke last year that everywhere we turned we seemed to come across Cate le Bon on stage – coming on for a guest spot with Richard James here, performing a few songs for Will Hodgkinson there. I don’t think we even caught here actual set. (I’m sure she performed with Gruff Rhys a previous year as well…)

Anyway, there is now an album from Cate le Bon, Me Oh My, which came out at the end of last year, but which I have only just picked up from Emusic. It’s really rather a charming record that I’m enjoying greatly at the moment. She has a dark, beautiful voice and a slightly melodramatic delivery that gives her songs something of a jarring edge.

And now, it seems that those clever buggers at Green Man have sent her out with her bewitching ways as a sort of advanced guard, heading a mini Green Man tour that will be snagging further unsuspecting and weak-willed punters around the country.

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Be on your guard, people!

You must leave here and not come here again, for my husband has made his return


“Gothic” is a funny word, isn’t it?

This being a music Blog (of a fashion), the word will be inextricably mired in a Batcave / Alien Sex Fiend sort of a morass. Visions of lip-stick smeared ninnies singing in grotesquely deep voices spring to mind.

A queasy thought, you'll agree.

If, however, this was one of the myriad of Victorian literature Blogs that clutter up the Internet, a completely different state of affairs would start to unfold. Cruel and sadistic masters, mad women in attics, improbably murky monasteries, providing shelter to defenceless travellers, perhaps. Hardly pleasant, but much more interesting…

So in the unfortunate event of my using the word “gothic” in the course of the next few lines, well, you’ll know where I’m coming from.

The Phantom Carriage

(Actually, quite how I’m supposed to write about a band taking their name from a seminal Swedish horror film, without using the G-word is a little further than my threadbare skills will take me.)

Phantom Carriage is the gloomy vehicle of two blokes calling themselves Mike Seed and Empire State Human, producing dark experimental pieces. I like a bit of eeriness every now and again and this is certainly scary music. Ghostly folk tunes are swamped in tape effects and crackly distortions, producing genuinely creepy music.

Truth be told, I’m still giving their newest album, Skull Exposed To March Rain, (now there’s Gothica for you) its early listens and there are some elements of the record I’m still not really sure about. But right now, right here, I fancy a bit of a chill wind…

The record has been released by Spoilt Victorian Child records, and is completely free to download, here, at SVC or here at the Phantom Carriage’s own site. There’s even a second previous record available, again free, again at both sites. Such startling generosity is only to be applauded I feel.

Here’s a couple of tracks to whet your appetite…

Hawthorn Tree

A Brackish Spirit

Now pick up your lamp and tiptoe downstairs, I’m sure I heard something…

Did you stay down wind? Yes, sir!


(I’ll save you the bleating on about having no time, yada, yada, yada..)

No new music at the moment, just some old stuff I missed at the time…

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Open the bottle and let the wine breathe


Ofsted prowls with murderous intent on the doorstep of our beleaguered establishment, causing adults who probably should know better to careen hysterically about the place.
It’s all a bit hairy really – I hope they come soon…

Alasdair Roberts

Am currently very keen on this album from Scottish folk singer, Alasdair Roberts. Clearly a kindred spirit with Will Oldham, he manages to fill out some classic (or classic-sounding) old songs with a little light and shade – just enough to make it a little more edgy.

Just looking around the Internet, I came across this superbly pretentious article and interview which made me laugh aloud. Didn’t understand a word of it!

No downloads around at the moment, but a trip to YouTube yields a few good shows and a rather fine collection of Andy Goldsworthy videos set to the tune of a Roberts’ song.

I’ve linked to this show, however, mainly because, having spent a day on school work, I slipped my wearisome bonds and got along to it in person.

A very pleasant evening that I’m glad to return to.

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He might stay, but he will leave in the morning


Rather too many lists and bootlegs of recent. Let’s get back to basics…

Pants Yell!

A truly awful band name (surely, the worst…), but one to listen out for, nonetheless...

Pants Yell! (I’m sure the exclamation mark is vital) hail from Boston and are a three-piece writing genuine pop songs, with lovely brittle guitar lines that skitter around energetically.

I’ve just downloaded what is their fourth album out on Slumberland, Received Pronunciation, and am still giving it its first listen, so I can’t really speak with any authority. What I can say about it is that there’s a real hum about the record that for me could go either way – a huge grower or a hasty dismissal. Obviously I’m hoping for the former, but right now I’m not too fussed which way it’s going to go. I’m living in the moment (and thoroughly enjoying it).

I rather like what Slumberland have written about them. Have a listen…

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Slumberland are one of those labels that have a very cool roster of bands (Cause Co-Motion!, Crystal Stilts, Pains of Being Pure at Heart) and we may well be hearing more from them on these pages. In the meantime, the good folk over there are giving away a track from the record “Cold Hands” which you can snag here, but there are another couple of Pants Yell! tracks available on the Asaurus site too, here.

I will also be giving a listen to the third album, Alison Statton, intriguingly named after the singer from bedroom luminaries of my youth, the Young Marble Giants. Endearingly, Popfrenzy, (another of their old labels) have a short clip of Ms Statton herself giving a luke-warm endorsement of the band and apparently asking for them to send her a copy of the record.

Love it…



There are one or two very patient punters out there!

Mr Hooligan has pointed out (with commendable restraint) that the Chinese White link I posted a couple of days is still not working.

For once this is not down to my oft-referred to cack-handedness - I've actually tagged this correctly this time - but all the fileden links seem to have crashed. I have no idea why.

So anyway, here's a .RAR file fo all four songs, which people can snag until I get my (ahem) shit together... Hitchcock Green Man '09.rar

Even kissed you once or twice...


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Very sad news...

Every step I take, I think my feet are getting older



Some feller calling himself Devotional Hooligan has left a comment on an old post of mine about Green Man. Apparently the Robin Hitchcock recordings I made have gone down, and Mr Hooligan has asked for a re-up (I’ve got to stop watching quite so much of the Wire).

Couldn’t be happier to oblige, mate, and what’s more I found another recording, taken at the same event, of Mr Hitchcock singing Robin Williamson’s Chinese White.


I Can Hear the Grass Grow


River Man

Chinese White



The words “breath” and “bated” spring to mind as I continue to post my best of lists. As I said the other day, my record buying habits are such that whether an album is new or not rarely enters into my thinking. In fact I’m very often unaware of a release date until I get round to preparing these sort of lists. Some of the records I’ve been most excited about in 2009 are already a few years old. I’m a little slow.So this first list runs down some of the nearly new records I’ve really enjoyed this year:Seven Nearly New Classics of 2009Coles Corner – Richard HawleyLove, Ire & Song – Frank TurnerFor Emma, Forever Ago – Bon IverThis Nation’s Saving Grace – The FallSnow Tyres – UnbunnyLost Wisdom - Mount Eerie , Julie Doiron , Fred SquireThe Wailing Souls at Channel One – Wailing SoulsSome of these I’m embarrassed to have only just cottoned onto, some I feel that I’m arriving at fashionably late after all the fuss has died down. They’re all great records that have enriched my life this year.Seven Records You Should Probably Buy(Even though I haven’t…)The Hazards of Love – The Decemberists (actually, I have just bought this, not much liking it so far…) Real Estate – Real Estate (ditto) Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective (I just know this is going to be too difficult for me, and it’ll end up being flung across the room) Tarot Sport – Fuck Buttons Psychic Spasms – Neon Indian Fever Ray – Fever Ray (highly recommended by Mr Cole) Bitte Orca – The Dirty Projectors (even more highly recommended by the aforementioned Blogger) And finally...The Seven Best Records of 2009But, anyway, what can you do? You can’t get them all can you?Actually, once I got round to checking out which records were new and which weren't, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much quality music has been released this year. Honourable mentions go to the Volcano Choir, the Antlers, Califone, Vic Chesnutt, You Can Be a Wesley, Euros Childs, the Leisure Society, the Phantom Band, Art Brut, the Lemonheads and Sin Fang Bous, who all produced good records that I’ve enjoyed listening to, but sorry fellers, no cigar…So here we go, no particular order, I love them allVeckatimest – Grizzly BearTwo lovely performances - at Green Man and in Bristol – certainly enhanced this record for me, but even without that, how can you fail to be entranced by those harmonies and complex arrangements?DoryThe Liberty of Norton Folgate – MadnessI’ve always been keen on Madness and their ability to write a decent pop song, and it’s particularly gratifying to see older gentlemen writing mature songs.Idiot ChildAlbum– Girls“Weedy”, “adenoidal” and “morbid” are all phrases that flash through the mind when you hear this. Their performance at the Cooler confirmed everything, (rather reassuringly so in fact) and added “Hunky Dory” to the list…Lust for LifeThe xx – The xxThe xx are another band who crept under my creaking radar system this year and another band who produced an eponymous classic for me. Right now I can’t get it off the iPhone…Heart Skipped a BeatThe Crying Light – Antony and the JohnsonsAnother record that benefited dramatically from my seeing it performed. It’s that voice again, obviously, but also his ability to write aching, moving songs that makes him continue to stand out.Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground Hometowns – the Rural Alberta AdvantageGreat songs and a punchy restless approach made this record a cut above all the other Americana-style releases of the year. Basic[...]



Like I said, I’m getting a bit of a taste for this list-writing mullarkey. So this next one is concerned with what was a characteristic of the year for me – live music. Basically, it’s been a stonking year for live music in the West Country, the best I can remember for a good while.Six Cracking Gigs of 2009 (in chronological order)David Byrne, Colston Hall, MarchA wonderful, winning return from a man who had passed from my consciousness many years ago. Memorable for the choreography as much as the musicAnthony & the Johnsons, Colston Hall, MayReminded me why I was so impressed by their previous album and made me go and listen to the new album a bit more closely. A remarkable performance.Bon Iver, Green Man, AugustNot having really listened to the album properly, wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy his set. I needn’t have worried, an atmospheric and moving performance, all pulled off with genuine humility. With hindsight, my highlight of a great festival. I actually have a recording of the set, and I can’t understand why I never posted it. I’ll remedy this ASAP.Frank Turner, the Anson Rooms, OctoberOne of those events that grew and grew in my mind as the days followed on from the gig. From being a complete Turner novice at the start of the month, I felt like a veteran by the end of it. Probably the warmest gig I have ever been to but it didn’t stop Frank putting a helluva a session.The Fall, Jesters, NovemberA belated rite of passage for me really, and by all accounts up there with some of their better performances. “A glorious racket”.Lou Rhodes, Thekla, NovemberWhat started out as a bit of an away day in the big (well, medium) smoke, turned into a breath-taking gathering in the company of the ex Lamb singer. A very special feel to the evening altogether.Primal Scream, The Guildhall, DecemberOvercoming the Guildhall’s dodgy electrics and any tendency towards a spreading waistline, as skinny and as white as ever, Bobby Gillespie remains textbook rock’n’roll. Another rattling evening.And one other…Roky Erickson, Green Man, AugustAlright, he wasn’t very good - pretty turgid blues rock, if truth be told. But… there he was a mythological figure from another time (another planet really) on stage before us. And he did You’re Gonna Miss Me – if only I’d brought my electric jug with me...[...]

A Proposition...


Everyone does lists at this time of the year don’t they? Best album of the year / decade etc. I don’t really like making lists like that partly because it takes a certain amount of prior planning and organization and partly because, as you’ll have noticed, I dot around, not really noticing what’s new and what’s not. After all, if you’ve not heard it before, it’s new right?But anyway, not to be churlish, let’s get into the spirit of things…Five Events that Made my YearMy iPhone – getting myself an iPhone in October proved to be every bit as distracting and fascinating as I’d hoped it would be. I love the touch screen and being able to push icons around on the screen, I love the combination of wireless connectivity and playing music, and I love the Apps. I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface so far, but I am loving it.Podcasts – one of the upshots of getting the iPhone was that I have discovered the world of Podcasting. Somehow, I’ve never quite got into listening to podcasts previously, mainly because I’ve now gone back to using iTunes, which makes it very easy to keep up with a particular podcast. Current favourites are The Word podcast, The Classic Albums Podcast, Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone, The Football Ramble and Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews.My First Fall Gig – They’ve always been there, but I’d never seen them before, a little like the Queen (in so many ways…)Green Man – What a difference a bit of sunshine makes. Previous years had been characterised by expansive rain falls and too long spent huddled in tents feeling wretched, but this year the sun came out and it was a wonderful experience. Highlights were listening to Jah Wobble and Joe Boyd reminiscing , being berated by David Thomas, meeting a few new friends, the new Chah Wallai tent, great sets by Bon Iver and Grizzly Bear and seeing Roky Erickson in the flesh.Rediscovering the Fall – You’re probably all bored of my going about this, suffice to say that 2009 has been the year Mark E Smith came back into focus for me (albeit a somewhat fuzzy sort of a focus…)The Wire – actually strike that, 2009 has been chiefly characterised by the obsessive and increasingly impatient wait for the next disk of The Wire to come through my letter box from LoveFilm. It’s been a fantastic journey, one that I would heartily recommend to anyone – easily the best thing I have ever seen on TV.And now that it’s all over, Michael and I wander, bereft, from room to room unable to communicate our sense of loss to others. Broken tragic figures...(Fortunately, Santa was tipped off and a gleaming Box Set sits on my desk top, a slightly golden hue emanating from its shrink-wrapped facade…)Here, watch this, the opening scene from the first series…I’m having fun here actually – now I’m in the mood I can see myself doing a few more of these lists in the next few days…[...]

Gotta keep on, keepin’ strong


It’s not a competition, of course it isn’t, (although I’ll admit to being secretly pleased that I do on occasion manage to beat my esteemed blogger-colleague and fellow shedhead to the punch…)Anyway, probably just as well…Primal ScreamComing on for two weeks ago, my beloved Guildhall staged a bit of a coup, bagging indie-veterans and still by most standards fairly cool guitar slingers, Primal Scream on one of their warm-up gigs, preparing for an ATP affair (also, by now, in the past tense…). Haven’t been to the old place for a good while now, not having a taste for the procession of money-spinning (but god-awful) tribute bands that the bookers seem to be falling over themselves to engage. But you’ve got to say every now again, they do manage to pull something out of the bag…No support band, which I was a bit put out about at the time, but it did allow for a good hour and half set from the Primals (the Screamers?). It was a good set too, full of noisy stompers and classic rockers – ticking all the boxes that Primal Scream do well. Gillespie is as white and as skinny as any rock’n’roller would aspire to be, Mani and the rest of the band as tight (and at the same time loose) as you want.They weren’t helped by the fact that not once but twice the power went mid song, the second time during a rousing Movin’ On Up. Surely entitled to have a full-on hissy fit, to their eternal credit they ploughed on stoically, with Gillespie leading the audience singing until power was restored. Nice moment, really, captured here:(Credit to ensutton, cheers!)Another good evening, bringing my Autumn of music to a decent finale. I managed to record the gig, and offer it here minus one of the songs that fell foul to the power gremlins…Can’t Go BackMiss LuciferCountry GirlJailbirdBurning WheelNecro Hex BluesKill All HippiesDeep Hit of the SunExterminatorSuicide BombSwastika EyesMovin’ On UpRocks OffDamagedLoadedAccelerator And the whole gig in two .rar files... Part OnePart Two[...]

A wise man said to me, don’t underrate simplicity


It's pouring down. I mean … throwing it down, biblical proportions.We're on the coach back from Bristol. I'm thinking of what I have to do tonight and what I have to get done for tomorrow...The woman sat in the seat next to me is large and seems to want half my seat. She is reading a copy of A Bit on the Side and smells of beans.Ah, Saturday night…Lou RhodesNewsflash: Thekla is still as cool as it was last week. And although I've seen a noisy gig there, I'm now convinced that it is even better suited to quieter acoustic evenings. Again the sound was excellent and having gone up to the balcony this time (in reality only a vantage point of about ten feet) the set up and general vibe (there's a good muso word for you) was even better.Didn't know a whole lot about Lou Rhodes before last night (ex singer with Lamb, apparently, not that I’m much clearer after finding that out, either) but we'd carved out a weekend away and were keen to see some music. Got hold of her first record and, consummate professional that I am, did my homework - turns out Beloved One is an album I can easily endorse with a clear conscience.She's a frail looking thing but has a clear and striking voice well suited to an evening of delicate songs accompanied carefully by a classic Nick Drake-style format of cello and double bass. Occasionally the pace of her songs got a bit same-y, but the short attention span of this punter was well catered for by the way the arrangements changed from song to song, with the cellist moving to glockenspiel and the double bass player switching to an acoustic bass.At one point, she introduced one of her songs by saying that if you were one of those people who were too cool to arrive in time for the support act, you’d have missed a real treat. Well (astonishingly) we were one those too cool people and did miss the support, who turned out to have been John Smith.I’ve seen and written about John before (here) – he was the best part of our ill-fated Davy Graham evening a couple of years ago – and so I was disappointed to have missed him, but fortunately he was called on to play with Lou Rhodes for one of her songs. He’s an astonishing player.The evening was over rather too soon, but I did manage to make these recordings of the set. (Don’t know the actual name of the fifth track, I’m afraid…)JaneyThere for the TakingTrembleEach Moment NewCirclesAs well as this, there is currently a free download (available here) which I would recommend you getting hold of too.A beautiful and engaging singer.[...]

I'm a fifty year old man, what you gonna do about it?


So on Monday I proudly made my Fall debut, going along to the Metropolis in Bristol in the company of old lags, Steve and Martin whose entire adult lives seem to have been punctuated (perhaps even shaped) by Fall gigs. A fair old history indeed, one I’ll admit to being a little envious of, but (I got the feeling) one that was matched over and over again by the dedicated souls that packed a fairly small venue.The FallFollowers of this Blog will have found out that I’m a bit of a late-comer to the Fall; I’ve always been aware of their awkward spidery charm, and owned a couple of their records, but never quite “got” them. Until recently, that is with the rediscovery of This Nation’s Saving Grace, Grotesque and Bend Sinister, all records I’ve enjoyed this year.So where do you go, faced with this history and your own status as a part-timer? The pub’s always a good place, I reckon, so having found that they weren’t due on stage until fairly late, we decamped across the road for a couple of drinks.We did come back over for the support bands, but, as with a few gigs I’ve been to recently, they weren’t really worth watching. Time clicked on smartly, however, and it wasn’t long before the band came on and a slightly fragile looking Mark E Smith stumbled on stage. Someone at some point described the Fall’s sound as a glorious racket to me, and this was just how it was. A really tight band ploughed through a furious hour and a half of punchy noise, over which Smith ranted, screeched and occasionally crooned. All of the features of a Fall gig that I’d been assured would be present were indeed there – drunkenness, leering, amp twiddling, the mic being passed around the audience during “Blindness” and an amount of falling over.I’d love to pretend I recognised all these songs and indentified them all immediately but I doubt I’d be fooling anyone. There’s a huge website called the Fall Online which is a good starter for anything Fall-related and perhaps not surprisingly a very active forum there, with people posting about lots of the gigs, including a whole thread on the Bristol gig here.A jolly good time was had by all, and for once I managed to record the whole gig without talking over the recording or switching it off half way through. I imagine there will be people interested in this, so here’s the set in its boisterous entirety:IntroductionStrangetownWolf Kidult ManChino SplashbackSlippy FloorI’ve Been DupedCowboy George / Scenario50 Year Old ManBlindnessPsykick DancehallMr PharmacistI’m Not From BuryAnd two .rar files of the whole evening:Part OnePart Two[...]

Something’s happening in the attic, there’s no way I’m going up there


It’s been a grand old week, taking in a meal out with friends, a gig in Cheltenham and culminating in a famous win at Castle Grim for the beleaguered Cherry & Whites. But you’ve not ventured onto these pages to hear about the rugby have you, so we’ll move on to the Jetpacks…We Were Promised JetpacksWent over to the Frog & Fiddle with Adam on Wednesday for evening of music and warm ale, culminating in a performance by Glasgow’s humourously-named We Were Promised Jetpacks. This is the second time I’ve been to the Frog & Fiddle in recent months and as a venue I’m quite liking it. You have to go through the main pub, which is a frankly unpromising Sports Bar, and come out into a sort of barn area with a small stage. The sound’s surprisingly good and if you don’t mind nipping into the main bar you can get the aforementioned warm ale.This evening, there were three other acts on before the Jetpacks ranging from the ballsy (Century Man) to the ridiculously over-confident (didn’t catch the name - probably best all round). The second (rather dull and also anonymous) band actually brought a lot of support with them all of which seemed to wander off after their set, which meant that by the time the Jetpacks came on the numbers were down somewhat, and attention was wandering amongst those who did stay.I made some recordings of the Jetpacks’ set which are decent enough but reflect the rather small audience. What’s more, whenever I wear my super sensitive stealth mic, it’s almost a given that I’ll find myself standing next to some boorish idiot who just wants to continue a shouted conversation with his mates. (Honestly, hanging’s too good…)Tellingly the recordings get a little better as the set went on mainly because the Jetpacks were good enough to bring people back on track. Led by a frighteningly intense singer (borderline autistic according to Adam - not me, you understand) who belted away at a rhythm guitar to the extent that he’d broken a string within the first two songs. (Not to worry, though, they had another one – rhythm guitarist that is…) He hooted and yelled throughout the set, often not bothering with the mic at all and was ably assisted by a boisterous but firmly-in-their-place set of Jetpacks.The album is available on Emusic (here) but I’ll give you a couple of recordings from the night – some of the others were ruined by said loutish behaviour, I’m afraid.It’s Thunder and It’s LightningRoll Up Your SleevesThere’s also this by Century Man, a recording of their single, who were also good on the night and is worth a listenMarauders – Century Man [...]