Nights of Love

Been so caught up in the merry-go-round of school/children/domestic bliss/regretting regret/to-do-lists that I’ve not had time to capture much in writings, either poetic or here. Doesn’t matter, as I read in an essay by the American essayist Mark Grief that people  waste their time trying to write diaries or take photos because people like that…like me….he argues do not fully experience life, but merely live in a fantasy escapism trying to catch time before it rushes on to the next experience. He says better to just drift through…Well, Marky Mark, I’ve been doing that a bit too much recently, and it somehow doesn’t quite fulfil me. Maybe I’m into escapism as I need to record words more than ever these days.

For my birthday I had a HMV voucher so I picked up the latest albums by Neil Young (Peace Trail) and Thurston Moore (Rock ‘n’ Roll Consciousness) Neil Young is  here is railing on in an enjoyable way about how he doesn’t understands the modern world, and he’s angry with too about people messing with nature, native Americans and the workers, and it’s full of energy and protest. Thurston Moore is a nice collection of breezy 10 minute songs, with flowing guitars and a relentless drumming by good old Steve Shelley. It’s got Debbie Googe on too, and it feels like early 20th century sonic youth. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve been listening to it a lot driving to and from work, and it’s got the right balance of escapism and interesting lyrics to keep you focused after a crazy day working in a little school.

Been reading lots of interesting things. Really like this Dutch magazine called Flow. Also got a copy of the always brilliant and funny PJ O Rourke “How the hell did this happen” in which he attempts to understand how the hell Trump got elected. Also the new Gwendoline Riley “First Love” which I’m hoping will win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, because it’s the best modern novel I’ve read in ages. It’s sad and brutal though, but as I watch “Neighbours” everyday for 20 minute blasts of escapism in sunny Australia with nice happy one dimensional characters, I need to counter it with something like Gwen Riley.

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EP / Cassette of the Year

Processed with VSCO with c2 presetUber-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.

 

 

 

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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.

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

songs to drink cocoa to

I’ve got another week off work with this chest infection. It’s really not too bad though, it just makes me sleepy and gives a few other odd side effects such as a strange tendency to over-analyse scenes from “Before Midnight” and to spend too much time plotting a green revolution. I even joined the Green Party. Hmmm.

Anyway, I’ve told you about all those cool books I’m reading every night, and here’s a little mix of songs to go with it to keep you going over cold January days. Let’s call it “songs to drink cocoa to”, some old and new things to keep you warm! You need to click the links to listen though and watch the videos – mostly live versions.

Fun Home “Wasting Time”

Sun Kil Moon “Admiral Fell Promises”

Corrie Tucker Band “Kill my Blues”

Hiss Golden Messenger “Drum”

Broken Bells “Holding on for Life”

Spiritualized “Life is a Problem”

Norah Jones “After the Fall”

Mudhoney “I don’t remember you”

The Julie Ruin “Oh Come On”

Thurston Moore “Detonation”

Memphis “I Want the Lights Out After Dark”

Rural Alberta Advantage “Edmonton”

Kingmaker “Ten Years Asleep”

The Welcome Wagon “American Legion”

That last song gives me goosebumps every single time….see you soon xo