I’m so happy it’s the julie ruin, and this was almost my album of the year. I’ve written so much about Kathleen Hanna there’s little more to say, so here is the single. She still has the coolest voice around. The album, hit reset, which strangely enough I bought on cassette, has so many amazing songs on, I think it’s one of her best albums to date.
Uber-hip and occasionally annoying Thurston Moore said something silly this year like “I only buy tapes these days”, and of course that’s a ridiculous way to live, but it’s true there are an awful lot of amazing bands that only release things initially or on cassette. A few years ago I’d be scoring tapes at little charity shops getting over excited by a copy a early 7o’s Elton John tape for 25p, whereas I get things now like the new julie ruin album and twin forks on cassette and hardly ever pick up old stuff on tape anymore.
So, it’s no surprise that the best EP of the year is out as a download and on cassette too. It came out in October and by it’s a little New York band called Wild Pink. The title may not be the most exciting (4 songs), but the songs are. Calming, instinctive and soft. It’s reflective beautiful music, and that’s where I am right now, and I think where a lot of people are after all the craziness. “Don’t let the fear of losing me keep you from moving on….I’m the one that goes away”. Poetic daydreaming songs for daydreamers. What more do you want? Not only EP of the year but a close contender for track of the year too, to find out who gets that title come back in a few days.
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.
Hello. So, here we are in January, and it’s been an electrifying start to the year. I got some great books for Christmas (including Laurie Lee collection and Owen Jones). Aside from the Year 2/Year 3 work I do, this month I’ve started the breakfast club at school too. Sadly it’s not like the film, but like Gordon Brown once said, it certainly wakes you up in the morning.
I don’t have any new year resolutions. I’ve not read a single magazine article about losing weight or going to the the gym, work out, whatever. I don’t have time for that right now, besides I got a wearable step monitor for Christmas, it’s fun but after a while it bores me as I don’t particularly care if I’ve done 5,000 steps or 8,000 or even 1,000 (hey it’s Sunday!). No resolutions as such, but I do however have some poems I need to put together, and I’m continuing the writers course down by the seaside so hope to keep writing fiction.
But perhaps what I’m most excited about this year is the amount of rad music due in the next few weeks! I can’t remember a year I was so excited about new albums in the first couple of months. Unless you count the new New Kids on the Block album when I was 10 🙂
So, here’s a list of just a few of the coolest records due out very soon.
- Jesu/ Sun kil moon – yes, this is Mark Kozelek’s latest. Yes I spent most hours listening to his songs, so of course I’m excited about this. I don’t care the Koz-Cats saying it’s going to be rubbish and “this is the first mark kozelek album I’m not going to be buying and I’ve bought everything since 1989”. This one is out on 21st Jan you can listen to a song on the sun kil moon website here it’s very “dear diary, today I thought life is sad but I try to look at the nice rainbow and then I feel happy again”, but I like that kind of thing
- Nick Zubeck “skydiving” – Ok, I’d not heard of him before, but he plays with Mark Kozelek so straight away he gets my attention. Turns out his music is also pretty nice too. Slow, rich and comforting with the right about of heartache and confusion to make things interesting. Out 11th March
- Lily and Madeline “keep it together” – They make really beautiful music, “the wolf is free” from 2014 was my favourite single of the year, it’s all kind of bleak but if your heart is broken there’s nothing better than music like this. Out 26th February
- Julie Ruin “???”. Kathleen Hanna. A new record! Nobody knows anything about it, but it’s recorded and ready to go
- The Welcome Wagon – If, like me, you really struggle with church check this out. If you dig reading the bible and praying, but find yourself feeling uncomfortable in church and with religion, this is the music for you. It’s, err, Sufjan Stevens’ church pastor and his wife and they make the coolest music (including this one, which is one of my all time favourite songs. Makes me cry every time…but let’s move on)
Finally, I just got the new album from a band called hop along. The singer has a terrific raw shrieking voice, the coolest voice I’ve heard in a while. She’s like a younger cousin of Corin Tucker. Cool name too. It’s worth checking out, so here’s a song to enjoy.
Catch you later…
I’m back from summer adventures overseas, boat trips and lost car keys, overheated coffee and a 48 hour fever in Berlin, reading the New York Times and drinking sparkling water, 9 hour car trips and table tennis, letters to Salinger and peppermint ice cream. Yep, that’s how we roll.
Then there’s the music. I’ve been away, I don’t know what’s going on. It looks like those of you who stuck around saw some amazing live music.
Mark Kozelek with Thurston Moore which really seems crazy, and a couple of years ago an impossible match. But with x-sy drummer Steve Shelley working with MK, somehow this now makes perfect sense. A great song, Thurston plays the part perfectly and Kozelek is as cool/crazy as ever.
Then there was this. Kathleen Hanna played some songs at a music festival too, and everybody went nuts. I saw her a few months ago in Brighton, and I’m just so happy she’s getting better, she’s healthy and she can still write songs like this.
Kathleen Hanna is also re-releasing the Bikini Kill demos, first out back in 1991. It’s out on cd, record and cassette. I cant wait to hear this. You can find out more info here. Oh, and next year there is a new mark kozelek album…of course there is…here are the tracks for the Jesu/Mark Kozelek album out Feb 2016, that’s just half a year away now 🙂
Good Morning My Love
A Song Of Shadows
Last Night I Rocked The Room Like Elvis And Had Them Laughing Like Richard Pryor
America’s Most Wanted Mark Kozelek And John Dillinger
I must begin by apologising for long delay in writing. Political (dis) engagement, trips to Sheffield, quick trip to Romania, fun family weekends in London, visits from relatives, working at the school, watching cool films. late night conversations and the like that I’ve simply just had no time to write about how rad the new girlpool album is! 😉 So click on those links if you’re bored, but do come back because I’m addicted to making lists like this :
1. The new girlpool album really is rad. Play it loud and dance away.
2. But the new sun kil moon album is even better. Play it soft and cry.
3. I saw Kathleen Hanna’s band Julie Ruin in Brighton a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun, the music is so infectious my 9 year old son and I are driving around the sleepy Sussex villages blasting it out at the moment. She’s also, apparently, making a new album and just this week there’s a brand new fascinating interview with Ms Hanna in Pitchfork where she talks about the challengers of making music with a chronic illness and why she’s sick of hearing about her “supportive” husband. She makes a pretty good point really that everyone tells her how cool and great her husband is because he pretty much had to be her full-time carer, and although she says he is of course supportive and totally cool, she said if it was the other way round everyone would expect the wife to be the supportive one for the sick husband, but when it’s the other way round everybody makes a big deal about the “supportive and caring” husband, when it should naturally be this way. She says it a lot better than I have just now. Check it out.
4. I sent my first payment for the Brighton Writers 2 year course. It gives me two years to write a book. It’s suppose to make-or-break writers, and some have gone on from this course to win the booker prize and all that. Others have faded into obscurity
5. I was reminded of just how epic Norah Jones is. I listen again and again to her cd’s, and I’m often so transfixed by the sheer beauty of her voice and the brilliant love-gone-sour lyrics it just gives me goosebumps. She was on David Letterman a few weeks ago, when he did his final shows, and she played an old song that was simply gorgeous. So gorgeous I’ve put it below. Sorry those hoping for the Kathleen Hanna girl punk, or the hipster lo-fi indie of girlpool that will have to come another time. I’ve always been a sucker for voice and melody and you can’t beat Norah Jones at that….
These days I only listen to female singers. I don’t know why exactly, but these last few months the coolest music has been girl-led. Feels good the world is waking up to this, today in good old Boston it is official Riot Grrl Day. Which seems like a crazy joke, but is true. The Boston mayor Marty Walsh said this “The riot grrrl philosophy has never felt more relevant, with misogyny still rampant in many cultural spaces.”
You tell ’em, Marty.
Here’s some music I’ve been listening to these last few days, it’s all freedom rock. You can listen to them all below but first here’s why :
Mourn – Jack has the best opening line I’ve heard for years “You think you’re awesome, I say you’re boring…” Break ups never sounded so much fun.
Colleen Green – Pay Attention Ok, you might have heard this on the radio. It feels like 90’s veruca salt at the start.That’s ok with me 🙂
Lily and Madeline – the wolf is free This is the most beautiful intoxicating song I’ve heard all year.
Joanna Gruesome – last year Whirling guitars with an angry singer is always a hit in my house.
Girlpool – blah blah blah Another hip band. I’m sure this band are going to be huge.
Juliana Hatfield Three – if only we were dogs. I was really into this band back in 1993. This is their second album, released this year. A long time, but they sound as fresh as ever to me.
Speedy Ortiz – The Graduates I’ve always liked the lyrics to Speedy Ortiz. The songs are all like little short stories that keeps you hanging on ever word.
Emma Kupa – Half Sister I liked Standard Fare, and this is her first solo album all about her family. It’s sweet with just enough frustration and despair to keep things interesting.
PINS – too little too late I read about them in the Guardian, who know far more than I ever will on any subject, and they call them some kind of all girl punk revolutionaries so I’m not going to argue with that.
Alvvays – Archie, Marry me is really just such a great pop song. It makes me wish it was 1978 and I’d have this on 7 inch and play it again and again until it got scratched or Archie really did marry her.
Glorious late winter days here, sun soaked fields flash by as the wind rushes through rain falls then eclipses into beautiful rainbows, and I keep running to find that pot of gold. At my writing club the other day we had to “rewrite” the owl and the pussycat. I had so much fun, turning into it a romantic speedway thriller. rewrite. It’s the time of year music starts getting interesting again. Last century there was a band called sunny day real estate. They were an almost perfect emo band, releasing two sensational records Diary and then Sunny Day Real Estate which really belongs in every record collection. Anyway they split up, tensions and the singer Jeremy Enigk turned to Christianity, which sounds amazing to me, but somehow the band was in freefall now and it all fell apart. They did reform a couple of years ago to play the “hits” but that was soon wrapped up and all was quiet. Interesting news then that the bassist Nate Mendal, who now plays for Foo Fighers,is releasing his first solo LP under the name Lieutenant US , and you can listen to it all on soundcloud right now. I got tickets to see the incredible Kathleen Hanna in a couple of months play in Brighton, and she also plays Leeds and London in May. Catch her if you can. Also on tour is the always awesome Sarah Brendel. She kicks off a intimate tour of North Germany on Friday, including dates in picturesque Hanover and industrial Dussoldorf. If you still have the energy after those two concerts, I’d suggest you check out modest mouse on tour. They’re playing lots of dates in America and Europe over the next couple of months. Every time I hear their new single on the radio I have to start dancing around the kitchen, and just let the soup boil over and the toast burn. The World Health Organisation said we should all limit listening to music to one hour a day to protect our hearing. Sorry WHO, I can’t do it. But if you want to, here are some songs from those mentioned above for your daily allowance 🙂
It’s been an astonishing 12 months of music, and no doubt you’ve read most of the highlights in the music press, butI found it really hard this year to choose a favorite album of 2014. I suppose the obvious choice is Mark Kozelek. Sun Kil Moon had a wild year, Benji is featured in all the end-of-year round ups (but usually beaten by, err, war on drugs) yet somehow, despite this public affection – at least of the music if not of Kozelek himself – it’s not my favorite. I prefer “Among the Leaves” and “Perils from the sea” both from 2013 which I think are the best things he’s done in years. I saw Kozelek play in Brighton earlier this year and the show was so enchanting it was easily the best concert of the year. But best album? No.
I am giving another kind of award this time. The best band of the year, and it goes to Kathleen Hanna and her band Julie Ruin. If you have not seen the incredible documentary “the punk singer” (released this year in the UK) you’re missing a rare glimpse in the sheer awesomeness and determination of this American lady. feminism is still all important, but the Julie Ruin now have broadened that to fight for human dignity. She suffers from a major health problem, in fact had to cancel a big tour this year due to it, but her husband looks after and stands by her. She is married to Adam Horovitz and I don’t know, after Thurston Moore turned out to be such a phony, she and Ad-Rock are quite an inspiration for people like me who have been happily married since the early 00’s. 🙂
Here’s “one of my kind” which came out in March. Love songs still matter in 2014.
See you next year.
You don’t want to read about my h(l)azy summer with my kids rolling along the French countryside, Mark Kozelek singing his sweet songs on the stereo, trying and giving up camping, prowling through bakeries, drinking Chinon wine, playing table tennis with a communist and watching surfers on the SW coast. No, you don’t. You want music to blaze away your senses and to accompany you on autumn walks and autumn heartache. Right? Right!
It’s astonishing the amount of great records coming out at the moment, so I’m just going to post five of the more interesting ones for your entertainment :
Rural Alberta Advantage released the best record of 2009 with hometowns, those happy sweet/sad songs sprinkled with hope summed up everything that music should be about..Anyway they’re back with a new album due soon and their love is strong enough.
Paul Draper, the guy from 90’s indie idols Mansun has a album out “soon”. I have no idea what to make of this, it’s all still too new and to shocking to really understand but a glismpe of his first music for, what 11 years, can be heard here.
J Mascis has a new record out too. I’m probably biased because Dinosaur Jr. is my 5 year old son’s most requested cd to hear in the car. Anyway, this one sounds pretty ace too.
Thurston Moore who played the most disappointed show I’ve ever seen back in 2013 is back. No longer with Kim Gordon and Sonic Youth is long gone. He’s now living in London with his hipster bookish young girlfriend, and I’d pretty much given up on him. Then I heard this song and fell in love with his voice all over again.
Leonard Cohen releases a new album for his, err, 80th birthday celebrations. This one sounds dark and moody, but full of life too with glimpses of salvation. He can still write clever songs/poems, and in a perfect world this would get straight to number one.
Five new releases. If you’re missing girls, then go watch the Kathleen Hanna documentary the punk singer, it’s the best documentary I’ve seen in years. She’ll inspire/transfix and blow you away with her radness and determination to fight for a better world. Oh, and Adam from the beastie boys seems really nice too! Watch the preview below for a taste!