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.