Thursday, 25 May 2017
The Charlatans have a new album out tomorrow, Different Days. The single came out at the end of April, a chiming and clanging guitar led tune with some of the six string magic down to Johnny Marr.
The new album has all kind of special guests on it-Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert from New Order, Paul Weller, Anton Newcombe, Ian Rankin, ACR's Donald Johnson and Kurt Wagner among them. I hope it doesn't get weighed down by this multitude of guest stars. The previous album, Modern Nature, was a stunning record, full of songs shot through with sunshine and loss, a band writing their out of tragedy (the death of drummer Jon Brookes). The single above sounds like a Charlatans song to be played on sunny days from your car stereo or heard through open shop doors and windows. That's good enough for now.
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
What happened here on Monday night and what we woke up to yesterday morning defies belief in so many ways and it's difficult to know what to say, especially in a music blog. Equally, it's hard not to take something like this personally when it happens so close to home. My family and my workplace knew several people at the Ariana Grande show at the MEN on Monday night.
Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse, multi-cultural and inclusive cities in the country. As Dave Haslam said on Twitter yesterday 'You've got the wrong city if you think that hate will tear us apart'. We don't do small mindedness, racism and intolerance. One deluded, indoctrinated, murderous little fucker does not prove anything about the people we know as our neighbours. Anger and hatred and rage are understandable reactions to the deaths of twenty two people, including children, on a night out to see a gig, but the minute we give in to hate we have lost. We stand together, we feel anger but we love life, we love love and we hate hate.
This song by Doves came to mind and the opening line which gives this post its title. And also this part...
'We don't mind
If this don't last forever
See the light
But it won't last forever
Seize the time
Cause it's now or never baby'
At times like this football seems like a very small thing in terms of importance but it's also a massive part of this city's history and traditions. With any luck tonight United will bring home a European trophy, with a multiracial, multicultural team of young black British Mancunians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Equadorians, Dutchmen, Italians, Belgians, Ukrainians and more besides. United we stand.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
On Saturday night we had a party at a friend's house. The hostess and myself share a birthday and this year we decided to have a joint celebration. Rather than dj at my own party (which could have been a little anti-social) I set up the mobile disco gear and burnt a load of cds, sequenced in the order that seemed right at the time. The first disc was all northern soul, ska and party reggae. This song sounded immense- that horn fanfare and the swell of the vocals. From 1969, it is an amazing tune, sung by The Flirtations, three girls from South Carolina (Ernestine Pearce, Shirley Pearce and Lestine Johnson) but written by the British songwriting team of Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington (who later came up with The Rubettes). But all that is history- the song is all that matters now and if it doesn't make your heart beat a little bit faster, there's no hope for you.
Nothing But A Heartache
Monday, 22 May 2017
Jane Weaver's recorded music is so otherwordly, it seems to exist in its own perfectly formed universe. Seeing her perform live at Band On The Wall on Friday night, a packed out venue with some difficult sight lines and a band of four blokes dressed in black, makes her music a bit more earthbound and of this place. This is not a criticism at all. The songs still take flight and Jane's vocals soar over the motorik drumming and shades of Hawkwind guitars. Single Slow Motion is a perfect slice of electropop, and the Silver Globe songs get the full 60s folk plus 70s sci-fi via loopy psychedelia treatment. There's a real warmth to the tunes and the playing, the songs coloured by dappled sunshine and shadows, with a sense of wonder in them, but for every drone or keyboard squelch there's also killer verses and choruses, psych with songwriting. This gig is a brave move in some ways- the album Modern Kosmology was released on the day of the show so most of the people in the audience, me included, are hearing many of the songs for the first time. I'd like to see her play them again in a month or two when I've got to know them. As a result of having lived with this one since early April, when I woke up the following morning, this was the tune going round my slightly fuzzy head.
Sunday, 21 May 2017
Bass-O-Matic were William Orbit's 90s house outfit who hit the top ten with Fascinating Rhythm, a single I have a lot of time for- early 90s positivity, pianos, a rap from MC Inna Onestep and the lovely vocals of Sharon Musgrave.
For a sultry and less poppy take on Fascinating Rhythm Renegade Soundwave offered up this version, also a tribute to Claudio Caniggia, Argentina's long haired forward at Italia 90, a man fouled three times as he danced and dribbled his way through Cameroon's defence before being scythed down. This being Renegade Soundwave the focus is very much on the bass.
Fascinating Rhythm (Claudio Caniggia Mix)
Saturday, 20 May 2017
Fresh up on the net after the limited vinyl release for RSD, The The with a one off reunion of Johnny Marr, James Eller and Zeke Manyika (1989 line up with Johnson, Marr and Eller pictured above. Johnny Marr's hair and clobber was pretty much what I was trying to achieve at that time). A tribute to Matt's brother, Andy Dog, as I'm sure you all know. This is a very special piece of music.
Friday, 19 May 2017
I'm bookending this working week with The Replacements. After posting the outtakes on Monday I was listening to a couple of their albums and I Will Dare came on with that little guitar riff at the start and then Paul Westerberg sings...
'How young are you?
How old am I?'
And today, as it happens, I turn 47.
The number 47 doesn't seem to have very much going for it. As Wiki points out it is the fifteenth prime number, the thirteenth supersingular prime and the sixth Lucas prime (nope, me either). It is strictly non-palindromic and in binary is represented as 00101111. A U.S. Maths professor used it to prove something funny to his students about numbers and this led to a long running visual gag in Star Trek. It is the atomic number of silver (my hair may be going that way). Mars has a forty seven year cycle around the sun. The Brooklyn hip hop collective Pro Era used 47 repeatedly because they felt that it represented perfect balance in the world and tension between the heart and brain. They also had a 47 logo that looked a tad swastika-like. It is the international dialling code for Norway. The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are forty seven degrees apart. There are forty seven Ronin in the Japanese story of the same name. More up this blog's alley, FAC 47 was the Factory anvil badge.
Frankly, there are more interesting numbers than 47. I'm spending the evening of my 47th birthday watching Jane Weaver play her psychedelic/electropop/folk music at Band On The Wall. I'll let you know how it was.
I Will Dare is a cracking little song off 1984's Let It Be album. The guitar solo was played by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck who was astonished by the amount of alcohol The Replacements could put away. And as he pointed out, R.E.M. were hardly the soberest band in the mid 80s.
I Will Dare