too late to fix it

Conor Oberst is a guy I’ve been fascinated with ever since I first picked up a Bright Eyes EP back in Norwich in my hazy but happy post uni days dating an art school girl, we drifted in and out of cd shops scribbling Dr. Frank lyrics on paper airplanes and throwing them into open windows….Anyway, that’s another story….Yeah, that first Conor EP “Every day and Every night” it was amazing, it pulled me into another world. Songs like “on my way to work” and “a perfect sonnet” capture your imagination and set your heart on fire in a way few others songs have done since. Then came “Fevers and Mirrors” which just breezed somehow making emotional despair, confusion and sadness feel not just arty, but universal and a gateway to golden eternity.. No wonder Mark Kozelek is such a fan.

So, he’s been around a long time. I saw him once in 2002, he was drunk it was crazy. He made some good albums, some bad ones, and then last year had a mental health breakdown which he captured so brilliantly and elegantly in Ruminations which was by far my album of year. He then went on tour and sang with my hero Mark Kozelek (musically only), and then he releases, quite by surprise, Salutations. This is the re-working of Ruminations, so ok it’s lost it’s rawness, but it sounds more complete – a whole band doing lots of things on it! There are also seven extra songs on. I’m still going through it all but you can listen to it over at NPR now. Meanwhile here are a few of my favourite Conor songs from yeas-gone-by

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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 🙂

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 café 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.

 

new ideas

There’s a little Irish band called Villagers, well actually it’s just one guy. An incredibly talented young man I saw a few years ago on TV looking like the new Conor Oberst, now somehow he’s got older, greying hair, but his music is still poetic, emotional and he sings like the falling snow – crisp, clear, illuminating fears and time itself.

He has an interesting new album out. A re-recording of songs from the past 5 years, recorded in a day. It’s much more musical, an almost classical take on his songs with harp and grand piano included. I think it makes these already great songs stronger. You can listen to the whole thing on his website, or just watch the video below. Either way it’s really worth listening to, especially if you think all music sounds the same these days…

The other album I’m listening to is, of course, the new Sun Kil Moon. It’s very loud. He shouts a lot and swears a great deal. He sings about his day, and hanging out with his girlfriend, watching boxing matches and things like that. I think it’s amazing, but I know it won’t be for everyone. Mark won’t let any of this stuff go up on youtube, but you can listen to a song here from his website.

Finally I must write I’m half way through reading Owen Jones “The Establishment and how they get away with it”. It’s such vital important reading even if, like me, you already assumed the government and big business are far too cozy.  Some of the facts and interviews in the book are really inspiring. The book shows how important it is we vote in elections, we get involved in things we believe in,  and stand up for our diplomatic rights and to be critical independent thinkers. It shows how can power can, but doesn’t have to,  lead to absolute corruption.

Last of all, news about a film being made about a young JD Salinger excites me! What happened to those new books of his that were promised in 2015?

 

 

new music to beat the january blues

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.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Julie Ruin “???”. Kathleen Hanna. A new record! Nobody knows anything about it, but it’s recorded and ready to go
  5. 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…

 

 

music video of 2015

I’ve had a busy week at school, there’s probably nowhere that’s more fun (or exhausting) than a primary school over Christmas. I spend my evenings listening to Mark Kozelek’s Christmas album and I’m half way through my end of year review.

So far we’ve had EP and single, this week it’s time for my favourite music video of the year. It’s not just a nice video you can watch in some awful clothes shop to pass the time, it needs to fit to the music. Nothing does that more than Lily and Madeline’s “Blue Blades”. L+M are so talented it scares me how effortless they seem to make such haunting and delicious music. One of these days I hope they play in England so I can go and see them. Until then enjoy this stunning video.

Next week it’s album of the year.