There is so much great music in the world and not enough time to listen to it all. I am not stuck in some late-60s/early 70s bubble. It was the music of my formative years. A time when I had nothing else to do but have a good time…all the time. I mean..come on…”Electric Ladyland”, “Astral Weeks”, “What’s Goin’ On”, “The Gilded Palace Of Sin”, “Raw Power”…these are timeless works of art. I hear something good now & because I have listened I know that someone has done this sort of thing before & they have probably done it better. I love “1960s What” by Gregory Porter but I have heard Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scot-Heron & Willie Hutch and I know that these guys made album after album as good as that.
Any road up…I need to hear something new. I need to confirm that the music is not over yet. Here are some tunes that are not released yet on album and sound good to me.
Band of Horses have their 4th album out this month. Over here in the UK you don’t get to make four albums unless you sell a shitload of the first three. A band needs the room to mature and grow into the sound they want to make. Look at poor old Alex Turner. He wrote some wonderful teenage songs about hanging around Sheffield bus stops, going to clubs for the first time and the Arctic Monkeys just took over. Now he is 26, a wealthy young man who wants to write about grown-up stuff and maybe sound like Scott Walker. His audience don’t want to hear that, they want “Mardy Bum” and re-writes of “Dancefloor”. I hope he gets a chance to be heard because I think the guy is a talent. (check for the soundtrack of “Submarine”, it’s good).
So, the Band of Horses…I have friends who like them more than I do. I am a little too far down the line with the Drive By Truckers who, I think, can be more angry and more subtle. However they always have an attack about them and the template seems to be that of Crazy Horse. As we all know the secret of Crazy Horse is never to let the rhythm section play anything but rhythm. Neil Young insisted on “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” (another one !) that Talbot & Molina played strictly no frills. There are Y-tube clips of the band doing exactly the same in 2012. If the Band of Horses remind me of the Horse then that is no bad thing. This first single sounds good enough. I don’t want to damn them with faint praise and will be listening to the rest of the record with interest. I will have no choice because there are people out there who make sure I listen.
Now we are talking. DJ Shadow has a fine pair of ears. Should I say out loud that sometimes I prefer his selections to his records. There I’ve said it. “Entroducing” was a landmark album. When a guy is sampling Murray Roman, Georgio Moroder and Nirvana on the same track you know that respect is due. He made plenty of good music in the early 21st century and then took 5 years away. This track is a new one from a best of collection released this month.
If you read this and are already a fan of Terry Reid then send me a “friend request” on the F-book. You are obviously a person of taste. I don’t buy into all that “shamefully overlooked” blah, blah about some artists when it has never been the case round our yard. He is a household name in our household anyway. Terry, famously, turned down Led Zep & put them on to Robert Plant. He liked the L.A. lifestyle a little too much to bust his ass selling his brilliant 70s LPs so perhaps the great British voice of his generation did not sell as many records as his contemporaries. Give me a day or so & I’ll get on the case. He is a treasure.
Terry always had a coolness about his work. He was not a blues shouter but needed to hit the groove first. When he did …well. People who saw him play this year say he still has the pipes and is a great gig. It is so great that DJ Shadow has chosen to collaborate with Terry to complement the fine groove of his new track. The feelgood hit of the late summer I think.
OK, out next week is the 2nd LP from the xx and it’s going to be a big one for the band. The debut was the flavour of more than one month, winning awards and praise from all over. I liked it but there was a touch of the Sixth Form about them. Like they were the best band in the school but lacked the emotional range in the music and lyrics that I wanted from my music. Jamie did not screw up his remix of Gil Scot-Heron’s last work “I’m New Here”, kudos to him for that. His DJ mixes are interesting too.
I have heard a couple of tracks from the new record “Coexist” & I am liking them. I chose “Chained” because I like the vocal interplay between Jamie & Romy. The mood of the song is established and that’s enough. It’s an admirable trait when bands are writing songs with the singalong of a festival audience in mind. I am more convinced by the emotional pitch now they are all 3 years older too. If the xx are the big new UK band then it will be a good thing. The stadium fillers of today just make an empty noise. The boys on their gap year are hobbyist musicians. this bunch sound serious about it.
Well…I found 3 tracks I want to share from this month’s releases. Sometimes I think that I am lucky to hear 3 songs a year I like. I may try this again sometime.