music video of 2016

So turns out I needed a 6 month break. Everything fell apart, but then it started to grow again in a different way, full of light so strong it could blind me. So, I turn back to music and books, and it’s a good time to reflect on the past year. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be celebrating my favourite music video, song, album and EP of the year. Going to start with video.

It’s been a crazy dark year, and it certainly seems like every music video reflects that. A couple of years ago there were lots of fun bright, breezy videos of people going surfing, or falling in love in the summer. This year it’s all about the end of the world, darkness and people falling apart. Even Lily and Madeline have a horror film for their new video! I’m still trying to make sense of the world in 2016, but I know, like Fontane wrote, there’s no way back. We’re in a Brexit, Trump, broken world. Now need to find the happiness and hope, and joy of everyday life. I’m hoping the music videos next year help bring some of that.

Anyway, here’s the best video I’ve seen. Radiohead. For anyone, like me, who dreams of moving to Camberwick Green…or maybe not, if this is what it’s become in 2016.

 

next week >>>> EP of the year.

 

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what is it you want from me?

Last time I’m going to write until after the summer so here goes….Quiet night here in the countryside, apart from a hamster chewing on my socks, I’m thinking of a Mark Kozelek sad song about him staring at the ceiling and singing about all the people he has lost in his life. Thinking too of all my favorite writers – Kerouac, Richard Yates, Stefan Zweig and how they all suffered so much. I’m writing poems again, many disposable lines that I just throw on the fire at the end of the day. I’ve kept a few, but I don’t need a poetry collection, throw them all away ūüôā It’s much better to spend 10 minutes writing a poem about the day than scrolling down facebook feeling disconnected. I’ll read a couple of these poems out at poetry club, but that’s as far as it will go.

International Noise Conspiracy once had a song called “abolish work”. The title “what do you want from me” is from a scene in Reality Bites. Ethan Hawke (of course) trying to explain why he doesn’t want to get a job because he wants to be free. Winona Ryder is saying he’s wasting his life and is going to end up a loser like his dad and doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to get a job like everyone else.

I use to make that same argument as Ethan 15 years ago. I use to read “days of war nights of love” and had this romantic idea about a better world. I still believe it, but the book has now long gone from my life. I guess things change, people change, life is a weird mix of happiness and sadness at the moment, but hope is eternal.

Enjoy the summer. Here’s a song from a few years ago. It’s a bit crazy, but that’s ok…The best things in life tend to be. Oh, and don’t forget to buy the brilliant new Kathleen Hanna “julie ruin” album.

 

Time to let you go

Three songs below, here’s why :

Tonight I’m watching the dvd Norah Jones: Live from Austin, and she’s so talented and so brilliant I always get goosebumps lying on the sofa just listening to her voice. As she sings I’m thinking about things, trying to make sense of sad things – it’s all good. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, to you, or to anybody but I know what makes sense in life¬†– ¬†it’s astonishing to just be alive and feel free and let yourself be in awe of nature and to¬†surround yourself with¬†words and songs, and “Rosie’s lullaby” is a good place to start.

You can’t get much different from Norah Jones to Dr. Frank from the Mr T Experience. He’s a guy I listened to a lot in the early years of this century. He’s still around, writing novels for teenagers, being all dopey-intellectual. I can’t think of anyone else who makes such happy music, even if he’s singing about his broken heart and how he’s “running out of girlfriends as they keep on running out on me”…anyway here’s “love is dead”

Finally, Elliot Smith. Just those two words have so much emotion to me now, reading¬† about his life, waiting for the film to come out. So many cool songs, it’s hard to choose one but here’s “everything reminds me of her”

xo

 

 

it’s ok I dont need you anyway….

I don’t usually write much about films, except once last year I suggested 7 films for 7 days , but I am pretty excited about the new Richard Linklater film “Everybody wants some” a kind of sequel to one of my favourite films ever made, Dazed and Confused. Pretty much everything Linklater does I enjoy, boyhood and the before sunrise triology – particularly the final one “before midnight”

Something else to be happy about is the new Norah Jones album, out in a few months. She played a concert a few months ago with some new songs, and so if you feel so inclined you can check out a couple of songs below! It’s not the best recording, some kid with a mobile phone I think, but it still sounds pretty interesting.

Finally… I just ordered the twin forks album on cassette. It’s a limited edition 100 copies only thing. I think tapes are the kind of thing I can afford to collect. I tried collecting first edition books but it got far too expensive! Just because it’s Monday, and because I love everything Dashoard Confessional and Twin Forks have done, here’s a video too which feels like a little short film (the sequel is “cross my mind”). Enjoy.

 

 

sadness comes, sadness goes

Tonight I’m listening to sun kil moon’s sad sad songs, and I’m trying to get this poem right I’ve had in my head all evening. Things distract me though like lost car keys and¬†a wild hamster eating my socks, but I’m pretty much awestruck once again by Mark Kozelek,¬†who writes the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

Before that, I’m excited to hear that Kathleen Hanna’s little band the Julie ruin have a new album out in the summer,¬†there’s a song you can listen to at the bottom of this post.¬†Just hearing her¬†voice is enough to infect enthusiasm into your life, and I’m happy to see this album is out coming out on cassette. There’s been so many ace albums on cassette recently, I almost feel like going into WHSmith and¬†asking for the tape section.

But Mark…I don’t know, he just makes things ok when things aren’t ok.¬†He could write the saddest bleakest song in the world, and somehow it would¬†make things seem ok, because he’s a poet. Like Thurston Moore once said “sadness comes, sadness goes” but it’s what you do with it that counts. Mark Kozelek creates art out of it.

Good night here’s the new Julie ruin single “i decide” and straight afterwards a mark kozelek song from a few years ago which is one of the most astonishing 7 minutes of music you’ll ever hear.

 

 

the best thing about today

I’ve just come back from a mini adventure in Sheffield, lots of walking and hanging out in the best children’s book shop I’ve ever been to, which I’m also pleased to say is not only jam-packed with radness¬† (we picked up¬†“chitty chitty bang bang”) but also hasn’t updated it’s website for over a year which gives it extra points for me ūüôā

I’m in Sussex for a couple of days then off to Norfolk for a while, where I’ll be buying the wonderful Eastern Daily Press every day, and catching up with old friends. Back just in time to go and check out the Wizard of Oz play down the road, where the waitress from my favourite local caf√© is playing Dorothy!

Anyway, unless you happen to be visiting either Sheffield or Uckfield that’s of little interest, but I will say both books – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Wizard of Oz are exciting and spectacular. Doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 89, they’re worth reading…

And Sarah Blasko is worth watching too if you can. She’s a super-talented Australian singer, I listen to her records a lot. She’s going on tour around Europe from May, including London (10th May), Brighton (16th May), Paris (19th May)¬†and Berlin (31 May). I haven’t heard her new album yet, but I’m really looking forward to watching her live as she’s original as you can see yourself from this live video from a few years back

Before that I can’t not mention the upcoming Mark Kozelek project. It’s a covers album,¬† and it’s out next month. If, like me, you can’t wait that long you can listen to his version of a song called “Amanda” originally sang by some cowboy guy I’ve never heard of. Doesn’t matter, because this is beautiful.

If you’re looking for something more upbeat, one of the best American girl bands around, Bleached, have a new album out too which I’ve been listening to every day. Good old NPR is streaming the entire thing, and there’s a song below too. If I tell you they¬†wrote it after the singer broke up with her dead-end boyfriend¬†it’s no surprise to find it¬†full of angry garage pop songs, but what makes it different is the a sweet upbeat outlook on the future, trust me¬†this record¬†will make you feel happy to just be alive and like Brayn Ferry once sang “love me, leave me, do what you will – who knows what tomorrow may bring?”

Until next time enjoy these songs!

https://soundcloud.com/proxymediapr/amanda

for the weak

Hi everybody! Grab yourself a cozy blanket and put the kettle on…Oh no, I am so sorry, for a moment there I thought I was a writer at “New Day” newspaper. It’s a UK newspaper that launched this week,¬† and I’ve bought a copy of issues. It’s umm, ok I guess. It’s ultra light with a lot of fun advice (“Smiling is good for you!”) and little quizzes¬† (“Did you marry the wrong person?”). It’s like a mix between¬†Readers Digest¬†magazine and spending a weekend with your oddball but harmless aunt whilst listening to Radio 1¬†newsbeat. Still I love newspapers so I suppose it’s a good thing, and I hope it works out.

Last night I watched “Amy“, the Amy Winehouse documentary. I’ve also been listening to the Elliot Smith “heaven adores you” soundtrack – more of him in a second… I’m also reading a bleak biography of a fantastic Austrian writer who killed himself (Stefan Zweig).¬† I’ve just been sent “love and mercy“, a ¬†film about Brian Wilson I’m going to watch tonight.

Oh happy day…

No, but this is where life is for me. I’ve always being drawn to the broken, the weak, the outsiders,¬†to people who don’t quite fit in, those who have broken families and broken hearts. People who try to make sense of the world with music, with words, with art. Sure it’s fun to tune into Absolute 80’s radio and dance around when I’m doing the washing up, but put on a Mark Kozelek record and life makes sense again. Somebody makes a record, makes a song and It feels real and pure, and I think it’s those moments when you can experience life for what it is, feel it’s presence around you, and you feel connected, if only for a moment, of yourself, the music and of the spinning crazy world around you.

So Elliot Smith…That sums him up, ¬†and I’m really excited about a new tribute album “Say Yes!”¬†out later this year with covers by J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Juliana Hatfield, ¬†Mark Kozelek and Tanya Donnelly…who also has just reformed Belly, a really cool band from the 90’s!

 

And whilst we’re at it here’s a an original song

 

Last of all here’s a Belly song.