Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Does he cry through broken sentences like "I love you far too much"?

Apologies for my recent lack of writing,to be entirely honest I've been far too preoccupied to discuss music lately as for the most part I've been consumed by Harry Potter,what with 'The Deathly Hallows' and 'The Order of the Phoenix'.Well I did my part with the midnight queuing and was rewarded with a pristine copy for only £5.I won't share my views on Harry Potter here as it's not the place but suffice to say that I enjoyed every minute of it and cried lots.My reading since have been a lacklustre experience in comparison.My current read is my initiation into the 33 and a third series on classic albums,my first choice is Colin Meloy's book on The Replacements 'Let it Be'.It reads more like a memoir than a book about the Replacements,and as a bona fide fan of The Decemberists it's nice to read about Meloy's formative years.

In musical news I am honoured to announce I will be seeing a certain Ryan Adams again in a matter of months in what looks like a beautiful venue in Cardiff.I feel beyond lucky,and can only assume the two tours this year are my cosmic payload for the shitty reasons behind missing last year's solo tour.(There was a hospital stay and much trauma and general devestation,both from being ill and missing Ryan).I will also be seeing Rilo Kiley next month,which I am looking forward to despite the godawfulness that is 'The Moneymaker'.A funk-style song leads to just one question:"WHY?"

In another attempt at discourse on my most treasured albums I bring Bright Eyes 'Fevers and Mirrors'to the table.After listening to it whilst travelling through some of the Midlands less desirable spots yesterday I was overwhelmed by how fucking much I love this album.Not a new revelation of course but one it's worth remembering despite,or maybe because of my recent Conor bashing on this blog.Songs like 'The Calendar Hung Itself' and 'Haligh,Haligh,A Lie,A Lie'never fail to move me.I love the desperate emotion in lines like "she had eyes bright enough to burn me,they reminded me of yours" and "I was determined in Chicago but I dug my teeth into my knees".As for 'Haligh...'that has the honour of being the first song I added to my favourites on the arrival of my MP3 player and it's still there.Every line is exquisite,where has that attention to detail when discussing despair dissappeared to?So it was nice to be reminded of the awe I experienced when first listening to Bright Eyes is still there.I then listened to 'Letting off the Happiness' and Read Music,Speak Spanish',the latter being an album I need to be in a certain kind of mood for but completely adore.

So all in all a time for revisiting and rediscovering old favourites rather than new ones,but that's certainly cheaper for me anyway.I am also playing 'Born to Run'religiously,and must say that it's a perfect soundtrack for washing up.The soundtrack for reading 'The Deathly Hallows'consisted of much Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams and a healthy side order of Harry and the Potters.How awesome is it that Harry Potter has inspired so many bands?I mean come on,'Voldermort Can't Stop the Rock'?There are no words to desribe that level of greatness,wizard rock rules.

And on that note,my geekiness fully exposed I will depart and return soon with word of my latest fixations.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Stylish Kid in the Riot

As promised,here is the first of my 'influential albums'posts.I'm not sure why I chose to feature The Libertines 'Up the Bracket' first apart from that a few words to say on it have been rattling around my brain for a few weeks.It doesn't seem very 'cool'to like The Libertines now what with the chaos Pete Doherty's life has become and the shambolic disarray of Babyshambles.Since the arrival of the Arctic Monkeys et al it seems the Libertines influence and impact has been woefully overlooked in favour of newer,and in my opinion inferior bands.

Although it took me a little while to pay full attention to the Libertines,once I listened to 'Up the Bracket'properly it seemed ridiculous to have not noticed it before.The sound was so visceral,urgent and raw and the effect was like tearing off a plaster really quickly.I'd go so far as to say it's one of the greatest debut albums I've ever heard and is almost certainly the best from the last 10 years,particularly in England.Most of the time,particularly recently I feel ashamed of English bands who become successful as they often have so little to say and what they do say is painfully embarassing to hear as it usually revolves around drinking tales and little else.Of course The Libertines were drenched in booze and the sleazy trappings of groupies,but more importantly they managed to capture a sense of England in a way that hadn't been seen since the likes of 'Modern Life is Rubbish' and 'Definitely Maybe'.Their sound somehow managed to incorporate punk with something entirely modern and fresh and their influence seems to be ringing out with so many bands now it makes me feel a little nauseous,mainly because most of them have recaptured the sound but not the spirit.

'Time for Heroes'really should be considered a modern classic as it's a majestic song,I always smile at the line "there are fewer more distressing sights than that of an englishman in a baseball hat" followed by the much more striking "yeah we'll die in the class we were born".It is apt too that my memories of this song largely revolve around hearing it whilst travelling through one built up and often grey local region after another.

If you don't appreciate The Libertines and their collosal impact on modern music it's unlikely I've managed to convince you of otherwise with this rather clumsy post,but nevertheless I thought it was important to note that aside from the Pete Doherty circus he helped to create something truly great,even if it did implode pretty quickly.That's not to overlook the involvement of Carl Barat too,who I think is overlooked far too often,particularly as Dirty Pretty Things are awesome,and produced my favourite and most played album of last year,as well as providing me with four sublime gigs within one calendar year.At the moment there's some discussion about if the two will reunite,I'm not sure it could work in the old way but regardless they did something amazing and it's worth remembering the way it felt to hear 'Up the Bracket'a few years ago.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The scales always find a way to level out

Firstly I have to say that being an obsessive music fan isn't as easy as the casual fan might be led to believe.Because just as there is always the chance that something new or previously undiscovered/unnoticed song or album might be unearthed and enhance your existence,there is also the threat that something previously amazing and untainted,might suddenly become humdrum without a second of warning.This may be coming across as wholeheartedly melodramatic,perhaps even trivial.If that's the case it's probably better you find your way to another blog entirely,you see this one isn't about discussing the world and its many conflicts,its much more micro than that,and it concerns itself only with my various rantings and ravings about music.

Anyway,the artist the above paragraph most relates to at the moment is Bright Eyes.As previously mentioned I've been struggling,nay wrestling with 'Cassadaga'since its release,and this week came to the conclusion that I could do no more.I resigned myself to not liking the album and managed to accept that it isn't my fault,sometimes these things just don't work out.However,I still felt a trickle of glee at the thought of seeing Bright Eyes live and hoped the most recent songs would fully come to life live.Alas,that was not to be and so another,slightly less crushing blow was dealt.The gig was at a rather large venue and indeed my least favourite local venue.I struggled to see easily despite changing location several times,and eventually chose to stand fairly near the stage with an awkward side view some of the time.The gig lacked the spark of previous Bright Eyes gigs and the only real moment of connection I felt was during 'The Calendar Hung Itself',one of my very favourite Bright Eyes song.Even one of my favourites from 'I'm Wide Awake...'and the only song from that album not featured last time I saw them('First Day of My Life'for fact fans)rang hollow in its new,speedier version.I spent the majority of the gig feeling frustrated and aching(both physically and metaphorically).

So there we are,another perfect relationship in shreds.I know it seems unreasonable,idealistic and all the rest of it to expect your favourite artists to keep you happy,but such is the euphoria when you first discover them that you feel confident they could never disappoint you,until one day the manage to easily when you're not expecting anything.

It's a shame that this post is so heavy with its own woes,but after endless posts detailing my love and excitement concerning various artists,I guess the balance needed to be addressed.Don't worry about my negativity though,the next post will be about a life changing album.At the risk of repeating myself I will say that the life of any hardened music fan is always swinging from disappointment to hysteria,the risks have to be taken I suppose.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Oh My God,Whatever,Etc

It may seem,to anyone who has noticed that I've been somewhat quiet considering 'Easy Tiger'was released this week.Well,that's not because I dislike the album or any such nonsense,more that I've been trying to decide precisely what to say about it.Of course I rushed out in the rain on Monday to buy it and decided on the slipcase HMV version because well,I fell for the gimmick of it I suppose.I listened to it as soon as I got home and it felt a little odd as besides the UK bonus track 'Nobody Listens to Silence',I'd heard all of the songs already,(I hadn't heard 'These Girls'or the new 'Off Broadway'but neither really counts as 'new')and as one who tends to avoid internet 'leaks'as much as possible that felt odd.

I've since listened subsequent times and with each listen have discovered a lyric,a sound or a little sigh I like,I enjoy noticing these nuances that bring me back for more.I must say too that I've found much that is worth returning to 'The Sun Also Sets'blew me away the first time I heard it on a bootleg and the recorded version is fifty times more powerful,the lyrics are ferociously good and the way Ryan sings "next time,next time,oh be sure"shakes me every time.I also love 'I Taught Myself How to Grow Old'.his voice sounds so angelic and wonderful.Yes,it seems that once again I am drawn to the songs most heavily seeped in sadness,that's what appeals to me I guess,and probably explains why I'm a Ryan fan.I'd been adoring 'Goodnight Rose'for months and the recorded version does not dissapoint,in fact it emmulates my favourite live version(one without all the muso type stuff).Also,unlike most other people I've seen discussing it,I absolutely love 'Halloween Head'.I wasn't very keen from the early live versions but I love the recording,and the lightness of it shakes things up a bit.

So,there it is.Predictably the mighty tiger has eclipsed dear Jesse Malin for the album of the year(so far at least).It's a really subtle record and very consistent,it flows easily and even less memorable songs like 'Rip Off'have their moments.I prefer the 'Suicide Handbook'version of 'Off Broadway',although it's namely the drums that spoil the new one for me.It's the same with 'These Girls' vs.'Hey There Mrs Lovely'really,although I love the line "one christmas I got a funeral and they handed me the receipt".

While I'm writing a post dedicated to everything Cardinal I may as well mention that I greatly enjoyed the interview on Bob Harris Country this week too.It's so amusing to listen to interviews with Ryan cos you hear people laughing along in that bemused way that suggests they're not entirely sure if he's joking.And when you hear him begin an interview on a country specific show by saying "I always hated country music but being from North Carolina I could just play it"you know it's going to be a classic.

Right,fan geeking over(for now at least!).I'm planning to do some posts about some albums that are important to me in the coming weeks to break up the "stuff I'm liking at the moment"type posts.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

I would be sad

No matter how low my spirits might plummet there is always something good just around the corner to pick me up again,musically speaking at least.My latest love and probably soon to be a passion leading me to rant on about them uncontrollably,is the Avett Brothers.I heard snippets from 'Emotionalism'recently and fell under the spell,leading me to buy the album speedily.It is gorgeous and sure to be right up there in the albums of the year(yes,that rears its head yet again,what can I say?I love list making and music geekery fits snuggly alongside it wouldn't you say?)The style,for the uninitiated is bluegrass meets alt-country with heart tuggingly well observed lyrics.There are more upbeat moments too to balance out the touching heartache of the rest.Unmissable for those who like their heartbreak well articulated.

So,'Icky Thump'.I haven't fully digested it yet but my response after one listen is that's it is a solid beast of an album.My worries were quickly cast aside as 'You Don't Know What Love Is(You Just Do As You're Told)'burst through the headphones.It's a fantastic blend of rock and country and my favourite song on the album so far.Generally it's a vastly consistent record though and I am suitably pleased.For once this year my fears were not realised,but I'm sure my fellow music obsessives can relate to my skepticism,2007 has been a lacklustre year for albums when it should have been brilliant.

I've also been indulging in a little Amy Winehouse recently.I really didn't like her previously and absolutely detest 'Rehab'but I thought I'd give her a shot after I heard 'Back to Black'on the radio and it sounded much better.In an odd twist I fate I also saw her the street in Camden last week which was suitably random!I've been listening to a few songs and do quite like them.I don't think I'll ever be a 'fan'as such but I can see what the appeal is more so now I think.

Last night I went to se Charlotte Hatherley performing her first ever acoustic show.I was never her biggest fan when she was in Ash,having assumed she was responsible for their weaker offerings.That said I wanted to give her the opportunity to impress solo and she certainly did.I generally prefer her debut album to 'The Deep Blue'as I love the unabashed pop of songs like 'Summer' and 'Kim Wilde'.All of the songs sounded great live though and she did some interesting covers like Kim Wilde's 'Kids in America' and The Beatles 'I Want You'.So overall a suitably pleasing event.I love live music for its spontenaity,you can go and see a band you love dearly and be dissapointed or see someone you have little expectation of and be massively impressed.

So that's about all for this dose of musical morsels,but thank you for visiting and feel free as a bird to leave comments or suggestions!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

You cried the union forever,but that was untrue girl

I've set up a 'stats'feed for this blog so I can see how many visits it's getting and I must say that I've been pleasantly surprised so far and hope that by posting regularly I can increase that gradually.Thanks to those of you who do read,in particular those who have left comments,it's always nice to have made connections with other people,especially as a lot of the time I feel like one of the only ones who feels so strongly about music.(I know I'm NOT,I just don't come into contact with like minded types too often,certainly not in 'real'life anyway as gigs seem to be populated by morons).

Anywho,I was in London for a few days this week which was fab as always.I love it there,the vibrance and the noise and the hustle and bustle.It is also the location of my favourite bookshop in the country.I haven't visited every one in the land of course but it's safe to say that outdoing this one is not possible.There are also some lovely record shops there and I found some wonderous things,like 'The River'.Perhaps belatedly I am in the grip of a Bruce Springsteen fixation and am very slowly building a collection of his records.'The River'was particularly sought after as it's considered such a classic,and double albums are always worth perusing.It is a fantastic album and I'm very glad I found a reasonably priced copy.I also found 'Tim'by The Replacements,which sent me into a music fan stupour,another fantastic record.Sadly there was nothing by The National to be found but I will persist,and I am more than happy with my purchases.I also found Eleni Mandell's 'Miracle of Five'for £1!I believe I was introduced to her by a certain Lis( and the album is lovely stuff.

Of course the main reason for my visit was to see The White Stripes,but my description of that can only be a heavy hearted dissapointment.I'm not sure what it was about the performance but I just didn't feel the spark that would mean the gig would forever be in my mental hall of fame.It didn't help that the crowd was huge and unbearably squashed close together.The other times I've seen them were much better and this time seemed a little perfunctory to me.I wasn't keen on the meandering solos either,but I guess you expect all the crowd pleasing flourishes at such a huge gig.I left feeling a little hollow though,glad to have seen them again but feeling as if I hadn't heard most of my favourite songs.I also hate it when bands have one very iconic song that the majority of the crows is waiting to hear and will inevitably be the gig's finale.Of course that song is 'Seven Nation Army'and while I like the song a lot and do think it's probably amongst their best I hate the predictability of its appearance and the crowd's response.Especially as a guy behind me remarked "everyone in the place is just waiting to hear that opening riff",well actually,I wasn't.I would have preferred 'The Hardest Button to Button','The Union Forever'or 'The Big Three Killed My Baby'.I'm still looking forward to hearing 'Icky Thump'for the first time tomorrow,although I must admit not being that impressed by the couple of live previews.

As I write this I am listening to the Bats for Lashes album.I got it about 8 months ago and listened to it but had neglected it since then,until today I stumbled across a rather magnificent cover of 'I'm on Fire'which led me to rummaging around for the album.It's a lot more memorable and loveable this time so I guess it's a grower.The opening track 'Horse and I'really reminds me of old Bjork.I love the first three Bjork albums dearly but have liked the more recent three less and less.I can't really get into 'Volta'at all,I just find it overwhelming,it seems to have taken on far too many styles.

Well,this has seemed like a very long post to type so I will end it there,I'm sure I'll be back soon with my thoughts on a certain 'Icky Thump'.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

You gotta play that music for who's listening,you gotta have someone you wanna sing it to

I don't want this blog to seem like the 'Ryan Adams music blog'(who am I kidding with that one?)But something on my musical mind at the moment is the thorough dismissal of '29'.At the time I did wonder if it was possible for any mere mortal to produce a hat-trick of jawdropping albums in a mere year,but after hearing the album I no longer wondered.To me the album will forever be tangled up in some unfortunate personal history but despite that I adore it.No it isn't the lightest listening experience but the fragility and poetry on display are both utterly inspiring and phenomenally devastating.Yet it seems such thoughts are in a big minority,with even the Ryan-friendly 'Uncut' describing it as "weak",with 'Filter'calling it an album that meant "pretty much nothing to no-one".I'm sorry but it meant and means an awful lot to me.So that's the rant of the day.The album isn't necessarily easy to digest but it's well worth investing some time in,for 'Strawberry Wine'alone.The lyrics read like short stories and tell well woven stories of heartache and loss.

Elsewhere musically I am enjoying Emily Haines a lot at the moment.I saw her live recently with the Soft Skeleton and she was wonderful.'Knives Don't Have Your Back'is an awesome record.At first I wasn't hugely impressed but it worked its magic on me in a subtle style.Again the lyrics are well written(basically the first thing I look for in music)and the simplicity of the piano accompaniment is really striking and effective.That sounds like I'm writing a review but I guess I am,informally at least.I have since invested in 'Live it Out' by Metric too.I have listened to them before and liked what I heard,but the beguilling Emily Haines has led me to investigate her repetoire further.

I'm also enjoying delving into Bruce Springsteen's back catalogue at the moment,although I have a long way to go.It seems I can only ever discover or become a fan of bands with a vast expanse of back catalogue.Like The National.I listened to 'Alligator'and wasn't fully moved,but still investigated 'Boxer'and well,that was that.'Slow Show'will be on my end of year mix.Yet my initial joy at finding them gave way to a sigh after seeing they have a total of four albums plus an EP to their name.I mean really,is it too much to ask to like a band with only one album?I guess not because I seem to favour the more mature artist,the kind with a lifetime of dysfunctions to their name.Meaning lots of CDs and little cash is a constant state for me.Still,I will be in London tomorrow for the White Stripes meaning I have an excuse to rummage through some record shops along the way.

Monday, 4 June 2007

I haven't vanished

I feel bad for neglecting my fledgling music blog recently so I thought I would return before my tiny handful of readers vanish all together!The main reason for my absence is that I haven't been feeling very inspired by music of late.By that I mean that I haven't felt inspired by anything new,I hear things I haven't experienced before but they generally leave me untouched.As a result I have been retreating into nostalgia and listening to the likes of Ash,Oasis and Kenickie.

I also went to see Manic Street Preachers recently(AKA-huge and intense musical obsession of my youth).I've been a fan for more than 10 years now and during that time our relationship has changed a great deal.The arrival of their new album and tour has regnited the spark and the gig was wonderful.Parts of it left me feeling rather emotional as I felt the same connection with certain songs and lyrics as I did many a year ago.It's nice to think that after all of the good and bad memories hearing their songs can inspire it's still possible for them to inspire and comfort me,particularly as for a few years they felt lost to me completely.

I am still in the firm grip of my fixation with a certain Mr Adams of course and will be seeing him live this very week,I am thrilled at the prospect,and feel that there has never been an album so heavily anticipated as one 'Easy Tiger'.I already have an 'Easy Tiger'promotional badge which I plan to co-ordinate with all of my outfits in the coming weeks.

I've been listening to a lot of Anais Mitchell recently,I got her latest album 'The Brightness'this week and it is as pleasing as its predecessor,she is so wondeful and hardly known,that obviously needs to be remedied!

I'm off on a couple of musical trips in the next week and on my travels will undoubtedly be visiting the greatest branches of the Music and Video Exchange in the UK,I do hope I find some gems!I will definitely be updating with some more musical rantings again very soon so if you like what you see then please do return.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

My Augustine / I have given up

Well,who else could my latest post be about?News is rocketing around the internet about Patrick Wolf quiting music,and I'm sad to say that it has all come from the man himself.I love Patrick,I fell under his spell quickly and utterly when I heard 'Wind in the Wires' a few years ago and promptly booked tickets to one of his gigs,a gig which is up there amongst the greatest I've attended,and there have been a fair few.

I saw him live again a few months ago and things seemed to have changed substantially,suddenly he was dressed up like a pop star,playing less instruments and all before a crowd devoid of enthusiasm.Still I fell rather heavily for 'The Magic Position'after a little perseverance,all of which amounts to a feeling of loss after reading his au revoir letter this morning.It's been a while since a band I love have split so such feelings make me feel like a teenager,you never really expect solo artists to 'split' on you though,they seem like a safer bet,especially if they're at the peak of their success and talent,although that is probably a huge contributing factor I guess.

I don't have anything new to add to this debate but I just wanted to launch my thoughts into cyber space.I love Patrick's songs and it's a great shame if industry bullshit and speculation has lead to him retreating from music entirely,as more visionaries of this type are badly needed.

Monday, 23 April 2007

A little worn around the edges

I haven't updated here for a while as I haven't had any thrilling musical outpourings to share.Things are currently quiet as far as gigs go and impressive new albums have been scarce.(By new I mean new additions to my collection as opposed to just released albums).

My view on Bright Eyes 'Cassadaga'is a lacklustre one really.I had high expectations despite the slight dissapointment of the 'Four Winds' EP but sadly it hasn't delivered.I want to return and give it another chance but am afraid I'll think even less if I do so.It's sad as alt-country is my thing and I've been a Bright Eyes appreciator for many a year so I really didn't see this coming,which leaves me somewhat creastfallen.It's only music I hear you say,well,if that is your opinion I'm afraid you're perusing the wrong blog entirely.I want to feel umbilicaly connected to music,and the right songs and artists create that type of connection,for me Bright Eyes previous albums have hit me like a train,whereas 'Cassadaga'came in,politely introduced itself and then faded into the background.My main criticism would be that it all seems rather abstract and I miss the guts being exposed,confessional lyrics of old.Oh well,I shall dust myself off and get back out there,as music is something I just cannot give up on,no matter how many times it fails me.There is still the new Ryan Adams record to anticipate after all,not to mention the suitably random album going by the name of 'Icky Thump'.

Perhaps as a result of recent letdowns I've been investigating some artists from my musical past,namely Ash,a band I was fond of 'back in the day'but haven't dedicated much time to of late.I'd forgotten/repressed how many truly great songs they had,'A Life Less Ordinary'will always be my particular favourite.I've heard a couple of songs from their forthcoming album too and they sound like the Ash of old,so I may well invest in the record.There's always hope then I suppose,and the new Manics stuff is sounding pretty damn good,a huge surprise as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Bastards of Young

Perhaps by this stage in my life I should be beyond posting lyrics I relate to online,but this song is helping me out a lot at the moment,and the lyrics are highly relevant to anyone having the quarter-life crisis,so I thought I would share them.

The Replacements-Bastards of Young

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons
Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, there'll ain't no beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the son
Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no war to name us
The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of youngThe daughters and the sons
Young...take it, it's yours...

If I could talk I'd tell you

I haven't updated this for a while as I haven't been feeling very eloquent recently,my head is too clouded with thoughts and feels very woolly at the moment.Last week was spent in something of a gigs frenzy so that is worth commenting upon.I find it hard to share my thoughts on live music though as I find such things fleeting and hard to describe.I will at least mention who I saw.My first two attempts at live reviews happened last week courtesy of The Shins and Polly Paulusma.I saw The Shins live last year and enjoyed them a lot,but this time there was no spark for me at all.The songs didn't inspire me and from the moment the gig began I was itching to get out of there.The reason for this reaction may be circumstantial as I'd had a pretty long and quite stressful day leading up to the gig,but overall it was a big letdown with few lasting impressions.The review was a hard one to write as a result too.Thankfully Polly was a more vibrant gig meaning the words for the review danced across the page for me.Now I am impatient for her new album and hope I can get an advance copy.

The most notable event of last week though was seeing Damien Rice.I am rather besotted with his music and had been looking forward to the gig massively since I booked the tickets way back in October.Sometimes such experiences can be crushing in their dissapointment but this wasn't at all.I watched in awe and every second was amazing.His banter was non-existent so the songs came thick and fast in an onslaught of wonder.Greedy as I am I left incredibly thankful I booked tickets for his next tour a few months ago,obviously very assured that he would be worth repeated viewing.

Elsewhere I have been listening to the new Laura Veirs record.I'm a big fan of hers and the album certainly has the likeability factor so far,I'm not sure if it will progress beyond that though.I also visited Fopp again,I should have learnt the error of that particular decision by now.This time I left with Richmond Fontaine's 'Post to Wire' and Calexico's 'Garden Ruin', and very nice they are too.Perhaps I will share further thoughts on those albums after repeated listens,but for now I am absorbed with trying to determine my top 10 albums based on lyrics alone,which a friend asked me to come up with.As soon as it is determined I will post the list here,exciting eh?

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Spread our ashes round the yard

I feel a little irrate right now as already I have discovered the potential peril lurking beyond my dissmissive attitude towards the 'save as draft'option.I just wrote a post and then entered an imcompatible character in the tag,meaning the post is unpublished and lost.It wasn't particularly impressive but I'm annoyed that it didn't save as I can't write exactly the same things from memory and now the ideas seem contrived as opposed to spontaneous thoughts.

I'm currently listening to The Replacements,and as ever once I've discovered someone new I curse myself severly for not paying more attention previously.All I can say is thank you Jesse Malin for introducing me to them.Not only do you produce outstanding music of your own but you are also a huge music fan.I loved hearing his description of 'Broken Radio'at the gig I attended a few months ago,"It's about when music was a way of life",I found that profound and something I could relate to wholeheartedly.It's no joke to say I don't know where I would be without my music.

Thinking along those lines lead me to contemplate songs I feel moved by every time I hear them.As a rather sensitive type who always listens to emotionally wraught music it's not surprising there are an army of examples behind me,I thought I'd just share a few of them.The song I was listening to earlier on as I considered this theme was 'That I Would Be Good'by Alanis Morissette.She is someone I have been a fan of for a long time and retain a lot of appreciation for.I've never understood why she is dismissed as something of a joke.'That I Would Be Good' and 'The Couch'which follows it are both such fragile and stirring songs that I can never listen to either without feeling moved.I love the music I listened to to expose raw emotions and that's exactly what they achieve.I CARE about the sentiments being expressed because they are so genuine,unlike many overly earnest singer songwriters.

Another song which abandons me on the edge of tears after each listen is 'Naked As We Came' by Iron &Wine.I would reproduce the lyrics if I didn't think that might leave me in some kind of trouble,but needless to say those three or four minutes have moved me more than any poem I have ever read.Put simply it is one of the most poetic and affecting songs about death I have so far encountered.

This theme is one I plan to return to,but for now I want to make sure I can actually 'publish'this without losing it again!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

My musical current

Although it's true that downloading is killing music in terms of destroying it as something substantial you can hold in your hands,the odd bit of web based perusal can benefit types like myself with an insatiable appetite for new music.It is such random stumblings which lead to my discovery of a delightful band called Bishop Allen,a band who have released an EP for each month of the year.Their music is twee indie type stuff,pretty songs with lush harmonies and loveable lyrics.For your aural delight and because I believe bribery works in gaining popularity I have uploaded this gem:

Click Click Click Click

(That will be active for 7 days or 100 downloads so act fast!Obviously it's unlikely 100 downloads will be reached but still...after my endorsement who could resist taking a sneaky peek?)

Of course I gain most of my enjoyment from actual purchases,such as yesterdays aforementioned to Fopp.I bought the debut album from Uncle Topelo,a seminal factor in the development of the alt-country scene,and after disbanding one of the members formed the mighty Wilco,all of which(along with the bargain price of a fiver for 19 songs)informed my decision to purchase the album.On listening I was quickly pleased with my choice and the songs,in particular the title track are easy to like.Oh Fopp,you lighten my wallet but fuel my musical heart.

Expect more discussion of Fopp purchases shortly,I have yet to digest all of my new albums!

Saturday, 17 March 2007

It's only the future that didn't last

Last night I went to see Idlewild for the eighth(!)time,so you could say I'm a long time fan of theirs.They're a band I can return to again and again and I've always enjoyed seeing them live.Each time there are a collection of memories flooding my brain and I liked thinking about the different phases of my life they've provided the soundtrack to.So last night I left the cold air of the city to enter a familiar venue where I'd seen the band twice before.I found a good spot near the front,sadly situated in direct proximity to a rather ridiculous man who stumbled into me countless times and a rather large person with hygiene issues,but seeing the stage was the most important thing.

Idlewild played a mixed set,but after seeing them on so many occassions previously I was hoping to here the majority of the latest album 'Make Another World', yet they chose a greatest hits set instead and played only five from their latest outing,and neither of their favourites.Of course I love their older songs too but these were very safe choices and all singles besides two exceptions.So I spent the gig thinking that Idlewild and many of their fans might be trapped in nostalgia,particularly as the reaction to tracks from the latest album seemed decidedly lukewarm.

So I left with a slightly heavy heart as I acknowledged that this gig wouldn't go into my Idlewild hall of fame,and would instead join their other dissapointing gig from 2002.I think I differ from the majority of gig-goers in that I usually hope to hear the latest songs as opposed to clamoring for the oldies,I guess that's because if I wanted to hear lots of old songs I'd go and see a band who only had hits a million years ago so subsequently only play their 'hits' at gigs.

This is not my most eloquent post so far,probably due to being a bit cranky at the moment after reviewing a rather appalling CD by a rather awful band called X is Loaded.I urge you to investigate them under no circumstances,well,unless you desire to punish your ears for some heinous crime they've committed.

Next up will be a post of recently acquired music,most of which was the product of a lucrative trip to a rather wonderful shop called Fopp this afternoon.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

A swirl of excitement

Perhaps it's good karma coming my way that has meant after setting up my blog lots of exciting music-themed events will take place,or maybe it's just coincidence.Either way I am incredibly excited to announce that I just booked tickets to see my much beloved White Stripes at the Wireless festival.For those of you who don't know me personally The White Stripes are my favourite band and I love them dearly,I've seen them live twice before and they were so magnetic and mesmerising.I went to Wireless for the day last year and it was wonderful,and as I am rather infatuated by London it's great to have an excuse to go there for a couple of days.This is also the only White Stripes date in the UK this year according to the NME(not always the most reliable source I know,but something that will fuel the festival selling out quickly nonetheless)and I am desperate to see them live again after being unable to see them at all when they toured 'Get Behind Me Satan',an album I was listening to just this morning as it happens!
June may just be the greatest month on record with releases from Ryan Adams and The White Stripes,I sense July will be crushing as a result though.


I may be alone in this(but thanks to the internet that is rarely the case,there's always someone to share the most obscure of viewpoints isn't there?)but I think the greatest albums are the ones that break your heart over and over and each time you thank them for the privilige.This thought occurred to me yesterday as I was listening to the rather aptly titled 'Heartbreaker'.Albums such as that are timeless for me as I return to them repeatedly and regardless of the situation or my state of mind at the time I feel moved by the experience.

Getting so connected to music may be unhealthy and illogical when you consider it is mass-produced and not just intended for your ears at all,and yet that's the beauty of music,each listener reacts and connects to what they're hearing differently.I'm the kind of listener who reacts emotionally and for me lyrics are the deal breaker each time I hear a song.If it has something to say and is expressing that sentiment well,be it poetically,bluntly or angrily,then chances are I will enjoy it.What I loathe are trite,bland attempts at expression and such attempts make me furious.During the time I've spent writing music reviews I've been sent a lot of this kind of stuff,far more than one person should be expected to tolerate quite frankly.Each time the artist was treated to a verbal critque from me and comparisons to the likes of James Morrison and James Blunt.It's hugely unfortunate that despite there being hundreds,probably thousands of heartbreaking and breathtakingly talented solo artists out there it is usually just the horribly mediocre ones that are championed and taken to the hearts of the masses.It's enough to keep me awake at night really.Still,that's the naive aim of my blog,to write about music that means something to me and moves me.

Perhaps I will do a series of posts about albums I hold dear which fall into the "left my heart feeling bruised"category,and I might upload some particularly touching songs to go with it.Another facet to this blog will be posting themed mix CDs I've made,and whilst they're on the agenda,there's a great site here:
for any fellow mix CD fans.
That's all from me this time as my head is filled with aspirations for this modest blog and I need to organise them all!

Hello and welcome!

Obviously this is the first post on my blog so I should introduce myself.The reason I'm setting this up is that I wanted another creative outlet,a public one where I could expose the full extent of my geekiness.The idea I had is to create a music blog where I basically discuss well,music related things,like my current loves,great albums from the vault of my collection,new discoveries,live music and anything else that comes to mind.I will also add links and mp3s to make visits worth your while.
I also write music reviews regularly so I will also discover what comes my way via that,mainly the extremely bad and the shockingly good,as I tend to be a rather opinionated type.