Thursday, 30 June 2011

Songs I Love #11 The Redskins - Bring It Down

In light of todays strike action I had The Redskins Neither Washington Nor Moscow soundtrack my travels round the North East today. Missunderstood due to their appearance The Redskins delivered politically charged music that they described as The Supremes on speed, I can't argue with that! (It is a great great album)

It's funny that the last 2 posts in the thread seem as relevent now as they were twenty odd years ago....

You've never had it so good
The favourite phrase of those who've always had it better
Burn it up!
Realise the altogether
Bring it down
Burn together
The altogether's an insane thing, insane thing
Bring it down
All together
The altogether's an insane thing, insane thing
You've never had it so good
The favourite phrase of those who've always had it better
You never had so much is the cry
Of those who've always had much more, much more than you & I
Burn brother burn
Fight together
This altogether's an insane thing, insane thing
Bring it down
All together
The altogether's an insane thing, insane thing
Insane thing, insane thing
Insane thing, insane thing
Burn brother burn
Let's burn Together
Burn brother burn
Burn, burn, burn
This insane thing, insane thing
Burn brother burn
Burn sister burn
Spurn the lie
They use to justify
This insanity!
The inhumanity!
Of this insane thing
Burn brother burn
Burn, burn, burn
Some's got it easy
Bring it down
The altogether
Keeps getting better for the few
Who've got it good to start with ...

Random Review #77 Jill Scott - The Real Thing Words And Sounds Vol.3

C7S9CD15 picked by @MMmmwa thanks Michelle.

Jill Scott is one of those artists that can turn her hand to anything, discovered by ?uestlove (from the band The Roots) delivering performance poetry he encouraged he to put her words to music, which started her on her musical career. So published poet and successful recording artist, it was suggested that she might try her hand and acting, anyone who say the BBC Sunday night drama The First Ladies Detective Agency will has experienced Scott as the main character of the series, so safe to say, talented lady.

This is Scott’s 3rd studio album they are all given the subtitle Words and Sounds which gives you what Scott feels about her music, just words and sounds....It follows a well worn path of the first two volumes chilled grooves, clever lyrics delivered with a great backbeat. The lyrics cover the usual bases for the most part, being in love, falling out of love etc, but there is a element of pro-feminism (and I mean that in a good way) about a lot of the lyrics. Hate On Me is really quiet aggressive in its delivery but it’s really saying stop bringing me down I don’t care what you say I’m going to be strong. Celibacy Blues is a fairly graphic description of what Scott is doing to cope with the absence of a ‘good man’ so to speak, maybe not a track to play when your folks come round!

Scott has just released a fourth studio album and has 2 live albums under her belt as well as a compilation of Collaborations where she has contributed to other artists albums which includes a wonderful duet with Darius Rucker (yes singer with Hootie and The Blowfish, but that’s a whole new blog!) so you can she a woman on a mission to get her work heard and long may it continue.

I would say that Scott’s debut (Words and Sounds Vol.1) is a stronger album but this is no slouch, and is worth investigation if you are not aware of Scott’s work.

Mark 7/10 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Songs I Love #10 Big Country - Come Back To Me

It's been a funny day, not sure why I have been thinking about musicians that have left us, first Lynden David Hall now Stuart Adamson. I listened to this song today and couldn't believe how poignant the lyrics were now as when they were written. I think they were written from the perspective or a Wife mourning the loss of her Husband from the Falklands War but in view of the troubles in Afghanistan they are as relevant now as then. This songs comes from an album Steeltown which was a dark angry album set written at a time when Thatchers cuts were hitting hard.

The day they had a party
Right out in the street
Flags and flowers and singing
For the homecome hero's treat
I sat in the kitchen
Without a fire on the range
I knew this house had lost the cause
To ever make me warm again

Come back to me
Days are all too long
Come back to me
You never should have gone
I was so young and full of pride
And you were wild and strong
I never knew how weak I was

I watched them gather round him
When he stepped down from the car
While tears fell on my cigarette
He handed out cigars
I have your child inside me
But you will never know
I never will forget you
While I watch that child grow

Come back to me
Days are all too long
Come back to me
You never should have gone
I was so young and full of pride
And you were wild and strong
I never knew how weak I was

I was so young and full of pride
And you were wild and strong
I never knew how weak I was

I will always be here
Fading by the day
I will wash the bloody hands
And cast the bowl away
As the years hang on me
You will always be young
And one day I will lie down
Where the rose was flung

Come back to me
Days are all too long
Come back to me
You never should have gone
I was so young and full of pride
And you were wild and strong
I never knew how weak I was

Come back to me

Songs I Love #9 Lynden David Hall - Medicine 4 My Pain

I think Lynden David Hall was the closest the UK have come to have a true Soul singer over the last 20 years. He died in 2006 at the age of 31 from cancer, and for me it was a great lost to the music industry. If you have ever watched the film Love Actually you have seen Lynden David Hall as he is the guy that stands up in the church and starts singing All You Need Is Love. This song is truly beautiful. I really wanted to post Do Angels Cry? which is equally good but there wasn't a video online.

I was only five when daddy flew the coup and left me
All I had was tears and pain, as my sunshine turned 2 rain
There were troubled times, daddy only saw it on the weekend
I was growing up into a man, he didn't seem 2 understand

My heart screams your name
Whenever your near
My heart feels no pain
You're the medicine 4 me

I used to treat ladies with little respect at all
I was a fool at the time, looking 4 some love I could never find
The cross that I carry on this thorny road
Doesn't feel so heavy when your love lightens up my load


My heart, my heart, my heart
Screams your name whenever you're near
My heart feels no pain
You're the medicine for me


Medicine 4 my pain
Medicine 4 my pain
Medicine 4 my pain
Medicine 4 my pain

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Songs I Love #8 Patrick Watson - The Great Escape

If you have ever heard The Cinematic Orchetsra's beautuful To Build A Home  you have heard Patrick Watson as he is the guest vocalist. Patrick Watson are a French Canadian band with a singer with the same name, they write beautiful fragile songs of which this is one of my favourites.

Bad day, looking for a way,
home, looking for the great escape.
Gets in his car and drives away,
far from all the things that we are.
Puts on a smile and breathes it in
and breathes it out, he says,
bye bye bye to all of the noise.
Oh, he says, bye bye bye to all of the noise.

Doo doo doo doo doo noo noo
Doo doo doo doo doo noo noo noo noo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo noo noo noo

Hey child, things are looking down.
That’s okay, you don’t need to win anyways.
Don’t be afraid, just eat up all the gray
and it will fade all away.
Don’t let yourself fall down.

Doo doo doo doo doo noo noo
Doo doo doo doo doo noo noo noo noo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo noo noo noo

Bad day, looking for the great escape.
He says, bad day, looking for the great escape.
On a bad day, looking for the great escape,
the great escape.

Random Review #76 Gun - Gallus

C2S12CD7 Picked by Bearclarej thanks Clare.

Gun arrived on the music scene at the same time (1989) as Texas and another band called Slide, all hailed from Glasgow, had a similar look jeans, biker jackets and boots, and to start rocked a look as if they had just walked in off the street rather than spent hours in make-up and getting their stage clothes right, this was a refreshing change in the 1980’s and struck a chord with the public. If Texas sat to the left of this trio on the pop throne, Gun were to the right sitting in the rock throne, and Slide sat in the middle with a foot in both camps. We know that Texas went on to great fame and fortune and Gun started on the same road and fell away some years later, but sadly Slide never gained the commercial success of the other two and if I’m honest their debut was the one I liked most!

Gun debut Taking On The World spawned a number of hit singles, Better Days, Money (Everybody Loves Her), and Talking On The World and led to a support slot opening for the Rolling Stones on a huge European stadium tour. So the anticipation around their next release was high, unfortunately it took 3 years to arrive and I suspect the momentum generated around their debut had dissipated by then. Gallus, I believe the term is Glaswegian for ‘something that is good’ failed to deliver as it didn’t really move on from their debut. It was a blueprint of the debut but without the killer tunes, and would stall Gun’s career until a cover of Cameo’s Word Up would get them back on track, but that’s another album review.....

Gallus has some good tunes, Steal You Fire, is Gun at their best tight pop rock with attitude, and Welcome To The Real World is good, but it lacks the consistency of their debut, the songs are alright but lack the killer hooks we were expecting.

Always a great band live, mixing energy with off kilter covers, Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols) Let’s Go Crazy (Prince) and Word Up (Cameo) to name but three, but frustration with lack of commercial success meant that the band broke up after releasing another 2 albums. Recently reformed without original singer Mark Rankin (who has a successful career in the music industry as an A&R man) they still seem to be a decent live band but for me I prefer to remember them as what they were, a good rock bad with pop sensibility and a welcome relief from all the ‘hair metal’ that was about at the time.

Just a footnote to say the image on the front is in fact as the vest says Benny Lynch, who was Scotland's first boxing World Champion and was undefeated throughout his career

Mark 6/10

Monday, 27 June 2011

Songs I Love #7 Horse Feathers Curs In The Weeds

Can't remember how I found out about Horse Feathers all I know is I love what they do. Bits of Bon Iver in there but they have their own style wonderful.

Lover of things,
won't you agree
how the winter could bring
the darkest spring?

With hell on your face,
dirt on the walls
in the back of the place,
you grew and complained.

Father of three,
won't you believe,
that the ones in between,
the ones that are blamed.

Of fickle faith,
cynics that seethe,
how their children are cursed,
cursed to believe.

It's like marrow without bone.
To live in a house with no home.
Where the son is the darkest seed.
He crawls with the curs in the weeds.

Where had you been son?
Not in the street, not in the yard.

Only once, I'll call off the dogs, if you call off your guard.

Where had you gone?
Where had you been?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Songs I Love #6 Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill

Fabulous Artist, amazing song and a great video. Kate Bush is an amazing talent and interestingly  her work has lent itself to some imaginative covers one of which I have posted below. Placebo's cover of this track is great, slowed down and given an element of menace it works really well.

If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.
If I only could, I'd be running up that hill."

It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?
You, it's you and me.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could, oh...

You don't want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder.
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts.

Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?
You, it's you and me.
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
Say, if I only could, oh...

It's you and me,
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

"C'mon, baby, c'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh..."

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

If I only could
Be running up that hill
With no problems...

"If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Songs I Love #5 Alex Lloyd - Amazing

Australian Singer-songwriter who writes great songs. Should be better know than he is, hell we bought Men At Work so why not Alex Lloyd!

When all you want to do is rock,
But you don’t want to bear the shock no more.
When it’s just swell that fills your eyes,
Belated feelings that you have denied.
When every wolf is at your door, just like a hundred times before,
But you don’t want to leave the end.
Cause you were amazing and we did amazing things,
And I wouldn't change it, cause we were amazing things.
Rebuilding bridges in your mind, your eagerness now is on the line,
The plastic mountain at your feet, divided streets now as you look to find a seat.
When every wolf is at your door, just like a hundred times before,
But you don’t want to see the end.
And I really didn’t want that push today,
No, I really didn’t want to end this way.
But the things that seem to bind us,
Are the things we put behind us on this day.
Chorus x 2

Friday, 24 June 2011

Random Review #75 Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost Of Tom Joad

C5S10CD15 Picked via Facebook by Sharon Taylor, thanks Sharon your OCD worked out nicely.

I have to say prior to this review that I’m a big Springsteen fan, he can do little wrong in my eyes, at 60 he is still one of the great live performers and he continues to release relevant music rather than coasting on past glories and let’s be honest he has enough to songs in the bank never to write another and tour greatest hits packages for the next 10 years if he so wishes.

This was a big deal when it was released in 1995 a Springsteen acoustic album, I know we had Nebraska prior to this but that was a load of demo’s that they thought were good enough to release (they were) but this was the first true acoustic album. You have to remember that Springsteen is the only artist to do MTV’s Unplugged, plugged in as he wasn’t comfortable interpreting his songs acoustically! Now with Devil’s and Dust and We Shall Overcome we take for granted Springsteen’s credentials at doing this but in 1995 this was a big deal.

I have mentioned Nebraska and Devil’s and Dust and have to admit if I’m looking for a bit of acoustic Springsteen I would automatically reach for either of those albums rather than this one such is their quality. This isn’t a bad album, far from it just in my eyes it’s not as good as the other two.

Twelve original songs written by Springsteen some played by Springsteen alone and some backed with a band (not the E Street Band) stripped down you realise (if you didn’t already know) what a great songwriter Springsteen is. Due to the nature of these songs none really make his current live set and therefore seem to be forgotten about but there is lots to like here the album opener and title track The Ghost of Tom Joad and the brilliant Highway 29 are worthy of  mention.

I can’t pretend I still won’t choose Nebraska or Devil’s and Dust before this one in the future in my opinion they are stronger albums but I have enjoyed the dalliance I have had with The Ghost of Tom Joad this week.

Mark 7/10

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Songs I Love #4 Talk Talk - I Believe In You

Can't really same much about this other than one of the greatest bands ever, and for me sadly missed.

Hear it in my spirit
I've seen heroin for myself
On the street so young laying wasted
Enough ain't it enough
Crippled world
I just can't bring myself to see it starting

Tell me how I fear it
I buy prejudice for my health
Is it worth so much when you taste it?
Enough there ain't enough hidden hurt
A time to sell yourself
A time for passing

How long?
How long?
How long?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Songs I Love #3 Radio Bombay Bicycle Club - Leaving Blues

This is from one of my albums of 2010 Flaws, I think this track is just heartbreaking and sums up that moment when you know a relationship is over but you haven't broken up yet......

Now your back's to the road
The waiting's everything you know
I'm sure you know that I'm leaving

Riding home everyday
Sure in a cinematic way
Breathing the smoke of the train
Keep the thought of you aflame
I'm sure you know that I'm leaving

Curse God for my regret
I miss you indefinite
Not once did I think that
Love would stay til I come back

Now your back's to the road
The waiting's everything you know
I'm sure you know that I'm leaving

Random Review #74 Cherry Poppin' Daddies - Zoot Suit Riot The Swingin' Hits Of The

C9S2CD9 Picked by@spurssimon follow his life in music year by year (amongst other things) at the great blog rumbles and grumbles which is linked at the right hand side of the blog.

Due to my High Fidelity style reshuffle of my music collection this pick takes me into the Blues section of my music and an album I confess that I have hardly listened to. As I have explained  before once I start to get into a certain genre of music part of the joy for me is the research and discovery of the different sub-sections of music within the genre, and where it all evolved from. Blues has lots of sub sections, piano blues, guitar blues, harmonica blues to name three instrument led sections, but then you can split guitar blues into Chicago, Memphis and Texas if you want to go by Geography. I could go on forever but you get the idea. I got into the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies via a great guitarist called Ronnie Earl (see review dated 20th February 2011) who led me to discover a band called Roomful of Blues, they played what is called swing blues, upbeat high tempo, music heavy on brass and delivered by bands, dressed to the nines, in baggy (Zoot) suits, shirts and ties and the odd fedora hat. The music comes originally from the likes of Cab Calloway who most will remember singing Minnie the Moocher in the film The Blues Brothers. Loving Roomful of Blues made me want to find more music of this ilk and I discovered the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies in a blues magazine.

This album is a greatest hits, but doesn’t mention which part of their career it covers or when it was released. I think it was packaged together for the UK market when swing dancing was becoming popular and doesn’t even have a picture of the band and you get the idea it was pulled together in a hurry. There are 7 members of The CPD’s however there is an additional 29 musicians on this album including a  9 piece brass section classed The First Church Of Sinatra who play on Come Back To Me.

Most of the tracks are as mentioned up tempo danceable songs that are full of innuendo, Shake Your Lovemaker, Here Comes The Snake, and Dr. Bones, give you an idea of what I mean! I don’t know why I’m trying to explain this they are called the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, what more do you need to know!! Saying that Drunk Daddy addresses alcohol abuse and domestic violent, all be it in a very crude way......
“Drunk Daddy broke my fingers
Drunk Daddy kicked my head
Drunk Daddy smashed my Sister
Turned my whole world red”

The album is a bit to samey for me tracks merge from one to another without really making an impact, I much prefer the band I mentioned previously Roomful Of Blues, that for me have much more variety to their music and a bit more style. I can’t hate this album but I also can’t imagine playing it again this side of 2020.

Mark 5/10

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Songs I Love #2 - The Waterboys - Whole Of The Moon

I discovered The Waterboys when I was 18 and they were a revelation to me, this song was the pinnacle of their commercial success and at the time I had 7" and 12" versions bought to get the different b-sides and also Mike Scott used to write little messages on run out bit of the vinyl and I needed to make sure I had all the messages!. I used to contribute to a Waterboys fanzine (anybody remember them?). Whole Of The Moon still makes me sit up when I hear it and I never get bored of listening to it.
I pictured a rainbow
you held it in your hands
I had flashes
but you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
while you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

You were there at the turnstiles
with the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
and you know how it feels
To reach too high
too far
Too soon
you saw the whole of the moon!

I was grounded
while you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth
you cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley
you saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon!

I spoke about wings
you just flew
I wondered, I guessed, and I tried
you just knew
I sighed
but you swooned
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

With a torch in your pocket
and the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
and you know how it feels
To GET too high
too far
Too soon
you saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

Unicorns and cannonballs,
palaces and piers,
Trumpets, towers, and tenements,
wide oceans full of tears,
Flags, rags, ferry boats,
scimitars and scarves,
Every precious dream and vision
underneath the stars

You climbed on the ladder
with the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
blazing your trail
Too high
too far
Too soon
you saw the whole of the moon!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Songs I Love #1 - Justin Currie - The Fight To Be Human


I don't feel like this all the time but can't pretend that over the last few years I haven't had my moments. I think that Justin Currie is a modern day poet and I think the lyrics to this song prove this.

I'm not a master of what I survey
To death and disaster I am a slave
But I am the author of the words that I say
But why do I bother; it's all trash anyway.

I try to be truthful- or I think that I try
I may not be useful but at least I'm alive.
And millions of letters spill into the hive
And all of them worthless
Except for this line:

I hate the world they gave me,
I hate the world they gave me

I stand on a mountain of pitiful prose
My mind is a fountain that pointlessly flows
They give you a trophy if you make the kids scream
But it's such a joke to me; how insipid I've been.

I hate the world they gave me,
I hate the world they gave me

I dig into my past now; I dig into my wrist
To recapture the last time I felt the knife twist
And I kick at the shackles, And I heave at the chains
But I am the governor Of my empty domain

I hate the world they gave me
I hate the world they gave me

And dead and diseased they prey on my mind
And after they leave me, I drink til I'm blind…
I once had a refuge in music and wine but now I am deaf to
The word on the line

I cling to my records I cling to my fates
That fool in the mirror has taken my place
And the funniest funerals; the saddest of births
Are all an excuse to indulge in my thirst.

I hate the world they gave me,
I hate the world they gave me

My body's a riot; my mind's the police
I feed myself lies to enforce some peace
Tell people I love them; shake idiot's hands
And sometimes I hug them as custom demands

I used to believe in the goodness of man
But not anymore since I became one of them
So I hoodwinked my woman and bought her a ring
But like the fight to be human- it don't mean anything.
Like the fight to be human, it don't mean anything.

Girls gather around me and pick at my seams
Like death in the family docking my dreams
And I'm fitting to watch them infinite plays
I wish I had done something good for the race

Poisonous postings singing songs in the streets
The government's boasting of catching the cheats
I cringe into my collar and drink into my shoes
As cheerleaders holler which color I use

I step up to the plate yeah with a match for a bat
And strike at a lightning set fire to my hair
And I won't be dragooned by the whitest and worst
In a shoot for the moon and shoot myself first

And the harder it gets now the softer I sing
Cause the fight to be human don't mean anything
Yeah the fight to be human; it don't mean anything

Random Review #73 David Ford -Songs For The Road

C2S7CD12 picked by Judith Falla (via Facebook) an ex work colleague with a love of animal and Bruce Springsteen, and a person so laid back I think she only ever see’s the sky!

I have blogged about Ford twice before, reviewing Easyworld – Kill The Last Romantic (24th May) and also I posted a video of Ford playing State Of The Union on 19th February which I still think is incredibly clever.

This is Fords second album and as I listened to it today I realised it’s  the one I play the least (he has released three) and like the other 2 is a mixture of love songs, (some very bittersweet) and state of the nation addresses (Requiem) Ford has an ability to deliver a love songs either in the very traditional manner(Decimate and Song For The Road) and sometimes in a very honest real life way very few people write about (Go To Hell and Nobody Tells Me What I Do). For all his anger Ford writes some of the most beautiful love songs I have ever heard, and his lyrics often sum up things I wish I had said to people over the years but never had the eloquence to think never mind say!

This album is short 9 tracks (10 including the ‘hidden track’ which I get onto later) but Go To Hell, and Song For The Road has 2 of my favourite Ford tracks. Song For The Road is a road trip of a song, documenting Fords musical travels and his love someone and in my opinion is one of the best songs he has ever written. Whilst singing about his travels, “I’ll Tip My Hat To The Angel Of The North” he sings about missing someone whilst being away. One of the video’s I have posted below is a live version of this song from some American TV show, and the camera cuts away to a girl in the audience about 2 minutes into the songs, as Ford sings, “ But for this evening I will play back every message that that you sent, so I had sleep to the sound of your voice” a gorgeous line that I suspect melts hearts everywhere, well the girl in the video has a single tear falling down her face. Now the cynics out there will say it was all staged but if you have ever seen Ford live you will understand the emotion that he can bring to the stage.

His live shows are amazing whether playing with a band or solo, filled with humour and stories of ‘how he nearly made it in the music business’ He has just written a book of the same title, (I’m waiting for it to arrive in the post) which I suspect will be a brilliant read.

I can’t finish writing without mentioning the ‘hidden track’ from reading my blog you may or may not know that I’m not a lover of the hidden track, pointless and pretentious is how I have described them. This has one and although I haven’t changed my opinion of the idea of hidden track this is Ford covering The Smiths There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, accompanied by only a piano it is achingly beautiful, and truthfully deserves to written about or listed, not hidden away on an album.

Ford is one of those songwriters that deserves to be know but I suspect is destined to play small venues full of loyal fans for the rest of him career. I hope not but that’s the way of the world.....

Mark 9/10  


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Random Review #72 Low - The Great Destroyer

C3S10CD15 I know so little about Low I have had to do some research prior to writing this review. I knew they have been going a long time, but didn’t realise how long, (1993) and I thought they were from Minneapolis, I was wrong, Minnesota!(hey I was close, well maybe not geographically) I thought that that 2 of the band were married to each other, (I was right), I didn’t know they were Mormons, so maybe all of them are married to each other (sorry cheap joke).

What I do know is they make a great noise, I would have called it Lo-Fi but I’m not sure if that is the right term for it. To me it’s that dark music that is strangely gloomy whilst being uplifting if you know what I mean. This is their 8th album and seen by many as their most accessible, with fully formed tunes which have structure and form. In some music magazines it was seen as a crossover that with give them access to a mainstream rock audience, and I can see why, however I don’t think it deviated too much from the original sound of Low.

Monkey, California, and Everybody’s Song lead off the album and are drenched in effect pedal noise whilst delivering infectious hooks that demand you to sing along, (although from personal experience singing the line ‘Tonight The Monkey Dies’ out loud with your headphones on will get you strange looks any City never mind Newcastle!) This album can be dark in places (Walk into The Sea) but I never come away feeling depressed after listening to this album.

I couldn’t write about Low without mentioning their Christmas record strangely enough called Christmas. I have a lot of Christmas records (most quite left of centre) but this is one of my favourites, 4 original songs and 4 covers, all are broken down and given a Low work over and it’s a really special album.

I pick up Low’s music when I see it cheap but that’s a reflection of my buying habits rather than Low’s music but if you want something a little on the dark side then Low might be the band for you.

Mark 7/10

Friday, 17 June 2011

Random Review #71 Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armani

C6S3CD13 I saw North East hopefuls Let’s Buy Happiness advertised recently ‘for lovers of Scandinavian female vocals’ and although I found this a bit bizarre I understood exactly what they meant by the description. That quirky clipped English accent delivered in a sing-song manner.

I have no idea how I found out about Emiliana Torrini, but I ended up going to see her at The Sage Gateshead and bought this album at the concert. The gig was great Emiliana had that charm that is infectious and you can't help but like. Her stories were funny even when not that funny such was the delivery. Suffice to say I was taken enough with the artist and the music to buy the album.

I think this is Torrini’s second album, and although I haven’t got round to buying anymore of her music this is no indictment of Torrini’s music this is a really great album.

The style of the music changes from track to track, we have bits of reggae, (Me and Armani) power pop, (Jungle Drums) ballads, (Bleeder) and in Gun a real dark ominous song that if Nick Cave sang would sit perfectly on this murder ballads album. It’s hard not to compare the vocals with Bjork but that’s unfair on Torrini as she deserves to be listened to for her own music without comparison.

The album seems perfect for when the sun shines it is full of optimism and it feels like the sunshine beams out of this record, Torrini has been quiet for a while so I’m off find out what she’s is up to and when she’s got some new music coming out.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Random Review #70 John Mayer - Continuum

C4S4CD1 John Mayer is a bit of a contradiction, an old gnarled blues slinger trapped in the body of one of ‘LA’s beautiful people’. If he’s ever interviewed Mayer sees himself as a guitarist who sings in order to get his music heard but really all he wants to do is play guitar.

He started as a bit of a teenage pin-up and over the years has used his looks to court the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson, but really none of that interests me it’s his music I’m interested in and that’s what I’ll be talking about go read one of the gossip mags if you want to know about his love life.

This was the first album I bought of Mayer’s and it was his fifth album and as I’m prone to do if I like an artist then I’ll search out his back catalogue. I think his early work leads him to this album and the previous album Try! (The John Mayer Trio) released the year before this album (2005) really shows the leap he made from his ‘younger years’ and bridges the gap to the new more mature Mayer (I mean musically here) that I love.

Try! The live album is Mayer tipping his hat to Cream and all the other Blues power trios of the past, stripped to a very basic level with nowhere to hide, Try! Finds Mayer in his element and also trying out some of the songs that would appear on Continuum, he also takes a stab at covering I Got A Woman by Ray Charles, the clever thing he does is starts be singing the hook from Gold Digga by Kanye West before breaking into the Charles song, and therefore without giving the audience a musical history lesson shows where West had got his hook. I think Mayer is proud of America’s Blues heritage and wants people to know this.

So to Continuum, my favourite Mayer album filled with songs use in America drama’s from CSI to Greys Anatomy, if you’re looking for a song to soundtrack a emotional moment in a film there are plenty to choose from here. It feels to me that Mayer grew up on this album his song writing really taking shape, Gravity, Vultures, Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, Waiting For The World To Change, and Dreaming With A Broken Heart all deserve mention, but truthfully there isn’t a duff track on this album.

In the liner notes Mayer thanks Eric Clapton for letting him pinch his style, and you can see the similarities between Clapton and Mayer, both are guitarists that found their voice, both have been seen with the world’s most beautiful women on their arm, it seems that Mayer has used Clapton as a blueprint for his career (without the drink and drugs) in and outside of the recording studio.

I have a feeling that as Mayer gets older he will immerse himself more and more in the Blues, but at the moment sit back and enjoy his music for what it nicely crafted soft rock tunes with a big dollop of Blues guitar dropped on them every now and again!

Mark 8/10