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Posts from the ‘Music’ Category

When The World Was Young

Sgt Pepper's“With Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band finished, the group left Abbey Road at dawn bearing an acetate and drove to ‘Mama’ Cass Elliott’s flat off the King’s Road where, at six in the morning, they threw open the windows, put speakers on the ledge, and played the album full blast over the rooftops of Chelsea. According to Derek Taylor, ‘all the windows around us opened and people leaned out, wondering. It was obvious who it was on the record. Nobody complained. A lovely spring morning. People were smiling and giving us the thumbs up’.”

Ian MacDonald, Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties.

Of Monsters and Men

If you haven’t you must see these two extraordinarily beautiful videos from Icelandic group Of Monsters and Men’s fantastic debut album, My Head is an Animal. The ‘Little Talks’ clip was directed by Mihai Wilson of We Were Monkeys and has already been nominated for a number of awards, the video for ‘King and Lionheart’ was directed by Wilson and Marcella Moser. You can read a little about the background to the ‘Little Talks’ clip on the We Were Monkeys website.

“It’s the devil I love”: Neko Case, Bob Dylan and David Bowie

I’ve just come across this little item on NPR about Neko Case’s new album, which includes a scrap of a song and a bit of her sounding pretty vulnerable about the process of putting a record together. It’s worth a listen, as is this great little featurette I posted a while back about the recording of her last album, Middle Cyclone (and indeed this amazing live version of ‘I wish I was the Moon’).

I’m always slightly bemused by the fact it’s Middle Cyclone that’s ended up being Case’s breakout album, because if the truth be told the album I find myself going back to the most is the one before it, the brilliant and luminous Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, a disc that might be less polished than Middle Cyclone, but is starker and stranger and filled with that very special sense of magic and discovery you get when a writer or musician or artist is suddenly liberated into the possibilities of something new.

Here’s an interview and a live performance of ‘Hold On, Hold On’. Jump to 7:24 for the song.

And while I’ve got you can I recommend you check out the rather hilarious Nash Edgerton video clip for ‘Duquesne Whistle’, the first track from Bob Dylan’s new album, Tempest (and while you’re there Alexis Petridis’ review of the album, which pretty much nails my feelings about it (not least because I’ve spent a lot of the past week listening to the extraordinarily brilliant Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde)) …

And finally you might want to take a look at Dorian Lynskey’s profile of David Bowie, published to celebrate the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Bowie retrospective exhibition (an exhibition that also inspired the now-reclusive Bowie to release one of the funnier public statements I’ve read in a while). You might also want to check out Hugo Wilcken’s excellent 33 1/3 study of Bowie’s Low (available as a book and for Kindle) a book I can’t recommend enough. And if that’s not enough Bowie for one Monday perhaps you should take a look at this post of mine about him from a while back.

And because I can’t resist it, here’s Bowie’s ‘Song for Bob Dylan’, off Hunky Dory (another album I’ve been working hard lately) and a lovely HD video for ‘Life on Mars’.

Preview the new Avett Brothers album now …

Well this is a little bit exciting.

Summertime …

… is here again.

Little White Pills

A while back I was plugging The Fabulous Ginn Sisters’ fantastic 2010 album, You Can’t Take a Bad Girl Home. There’s no sign of a new album by the sisters in tandem, but I’ve just discovered Tif Ginn released a solo record a couple of months back. Although it’s available for download on iTunes, it’s a little hard to lay your hands on the CD (I bought it from them direct), but it’s got the same mixture of sweetness, toughness and smarts that made You Can’t Take a Bad Girl Home so great. There’s a live version of one track below, and you can hear more on their website.

Oh – and apparently you pronounce their name with a hard “g”, as in “guilty”.

Aimee Mann’s Robot Double

A new Aimee Mann single, Laura Linney and John Hodgeman? What could be better?

Cold Specks

Back next week (or just maybe the week after). In the meantime, here are three tracks from my current musical obsession, Cold Specks’ wonderfully-titled debut album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion.

Dexys Midnight Runners

I’ve long thought Dexys Midnight Runners were one of the great misunderstood bands of the ’80s. Mostly remembered for ‘Come on Eileen’, a song most people treat as a novelty single, they were actually much more than that, managing to combine the energy of bands like The Pogues, the Celtic Romanticism of Van Morrison and an odd combination of anger and passion that was very much their own. It’s a combination that’s most obviously on show on their most successful album, Too-Rye-Aye, and its commercially disastrous follow-up, Don’t Stand Me Down (an album which these days sounds like a model for creations like Josh T. Pearson’s glorious Last Of The Country Gentlemen).

All of which makes it oddly exciting to hear Dexys (now sans not just the possessive apostrophe but the Midnight Runners as well) are back with an album The Guardian is saying is nothing short of brilliant. There’s a long interview with lead singer and songwriter Kevin Rowland and – even more excitingly – a new single, ‘Nowhere is Home’, which is full of the questing passion and anger that makes the best of their back catalogue so electric. You can hear the single below, but I’ve also pulled out two other tracks that are well worth hearing, ‘Let’s Make This Precious’, from Too-Rye-Aye and ‘That’s What She’s Like’ from Don’t Stand Me Down. So enjoy (and be sure to check out the drummer’s decision to get back to sartorial basics in ‘That’s What She’s Like’).

Love’s making its way back home

A lovely little tune from Josh Ritter, complete with a super-cute video. Perhaps not quite as gorgeous as the entirely wonderful video for ‘The Curse’, but still pretty great:

Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

A new Justin Townes Earle album, with the first single available for free? I’m a little bit excited.

Check out the awesome ‘Slipping’ and Slidin” from Harlem River Blues, then watch the trailer for the new one and tell me you aren’t as well …

Santa Fe

I’d never quite got the Beirut thing until I heard their new album, The Rip Tide, but I’m now officially converted. Of the many lovely tracks on the album ‘Santa Fe’ is one of the best, but it also boasts the fantastic video below, which is both very funny and a very clever exercise in storytelling. The payoff comes late, but I promise it’s worth it …

Pumped Up Kicks

A few people have been offended by the lyrics, but seriously, has mass murder ever sounded so catchy? The album’s pretty fab as well …

Queen of the Minor Key

Ah, Eilen …

William Shatner sings Rocket Man

Is there anything Shats doesn’t make better?