Band of the year

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.

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five go adventuring again.

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.

https://soundcloud.com/leonardcohen/leonard-cohen-darkness

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMbLzaVkn2s

just my kind of hope

Had a crazy day, a whole range of emotions and feelings thrown in today. Some edited highlights included hanging out with the jet setter since 6am, trying to fix stereo cable that was chewed off by little ol’ Pluto the hamster. Finishing off a brilliant political spy thriller by John Le Carre, drinking coffee. Driving around counting the circus posters, and getting all sad reading the Daily Mail (don’t ask) and watching part of a football match I don’t understand. Trains to Germany. Flights to Spain. Our Children French film. Intensity. Fragments of a day I can’t keep.

But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here to listen to this super rad song by the always inspiring, always brilliant Kathleen Hanna. It’s a little love song to her husband, and it might just melt your heart. I’m putting it up because of course it’s cooooool, but also because Ms Hanna is suffering a relapse from the Lyme Disease that crippled le tigre a few years ago, and she’s had to cancel her European tour. I spent a blissful childhood in a kind of wild forest, I was always out – hours every day – running around and exploring the forest with my dogs, and ticks were part of life but I never thought a tick bite could really destroy your life. I hope she’s better soon.

“The punk singer” a documentary about Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Kathleen Hanna is out on dvd on 23 June, and I’ve already reserved my copy.

Talking of “rock” dvds, I saw Mark Kozelek’s the other day rich which was full of subtle, beautiful, intoxicating sadness and hopeful daydreams of lost memories and the passing of time. Perfect for days like these.

xo