“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.
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 Monkeyswebsite.
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)) …
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”.
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’).
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 …