This week: the Reading and Leeds festival disappoints, lots of musical bargains turn up at another Wiltshire boot sale, the awesome Thought Forms announce a joint tour with Teeth Of The Sea and Esben And The Witch, and Bath record shop Raves From The Grave announces a week of events to celebrate its first birthday. Plus new music includes Nine Inch Nails, the Pixies, Asian Dub Foundation, Pylo, Stephen Jones, Higamos Hogamos and Paul McCartney. In the “Rewind” part of the column, more gems from 1995.
A slightly shorter column than the ones of previous weeks. No, that’s not laziness, just an acknowledgement that perhaps this weekly column DOES tend to ramble on a bit more than necessary, and that by keeping it a bit more simple but including links to expanded articles, people might be more inclined to check out the music featured. So I watched the BBC’s coverage of the Reading And Leeds festival a week or so ago, and… Let’s just say I’m glad I was born early enough to attend the festival in 2000 rather than having to make do with what they had this year. With internet access, viewers can watch some great sets by the likes of Johnny Marr and Tame Impala. Foals didn’t disappoint, and Frank Turner delivered the kind of moment when you realise just how far an artist can come after enough hard work. But unfortunately the rest of what the BBC were showing just didn’t have any kind of impact on me whatsoever. For a band who released THREE albums only last year, Green Day playing the 1994 favourite ‘Dookie’ from start to finish just seemed like a backwards step and a bit of a cop-out. And Billie Joe, don’t ever sing ‘Let Yourself Go’ (or any other song) without wearing your guitar. You look like an idiot.
But each year the festival always comes at a time when the summer is beginning to wind down. I first noticed this 13 years ago on the journey back from Leeds the very day after the event, how it seemed to suddenly get darker earlier even thought the clock change was still a while away. There are a lot of songs and albums that remind me of the interim between summer and autumn, and that year Placebo’s ‘Slave To The Wage’ was one of them. Already there are tracks and even albums from 2013 to be released over the coming months that I know are going to provide this year’s post-summer soundtrack. Of course, I will be featuring many of these in forthcoming editions of this column. For the time being I’m wrapping up summer with some of the essential songs of this season that you might or might not have missed. I’m including these as part of my daily Track Of The Day feature on the RW/FF website, so go and have a look HERE at the entries from the last seven days or so...
This week's edition of my radio show The BPS Broadcast was fun as always. Made even more fun by the presence of my friend Jason B in the studio, which made for a more humorous show, humour that provided a slight distraction from the amount of technical errors, skipping CDs, memory blanks (sorry Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce for referring to you as "the other two") and my awful pronunciation of Vieux Farka Touré's name. Another mishap took place during my regular '1 To Z' feature, where each week I play two artists from my record collection, gradually working my way through every single band or act whose music I own. This time it was the turn of The 101ers and Admiral Bailey, and the 101ers CD I had brought with me refused to even play any of the tracks. Technology, you cunt. Luckily our equipment did allow me to treat listeners to a blast of 'Big Belly Man', the 1987 dancehall classic from Admiral Bailey, which I hadn't heard in a long time... My radio show goes out weekly, and more details can be found HERE.
As well as buying and being sent lots of new music (and despite the fact I still own a huge number of records I’ve never investigated properly), going shopping for old records is one of my greatest joys. Living in Wiltshire means there’s no shortage of car boot sales around here, and the weekly one held in Lacock is where I have acquired many great additions to my collection. I didn’t expect there to be many stalls this week. I was wrong. Having spent all my money halfway through the sellers, I came back with a stack of bargains. I tried to be strict with myself: no CD’s this time, just vinyl. I’ve got FAR too many CDs. But that restriction disappeared out the window once I had discovered some people selling CD albums at £1 for three. At a price like that you’d expect them to be crap wouldn’t you? Not so. 'Music: The Best Of The Beta Band' (2CD edition), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s ‘Howl’, Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’, the ‘Supergrass Is 10’ compilation, Cornershop's wildly eclectic 'Handcream For A Generation', Beth Gibbons And Rustin Man's 'Out Of Season', The National's 'Alligator', 'At War With The Mystics' by The Flaming Lips, 'Silent Cry' by Feeder, '1999' by Cassius, as well as ‘Quality Control’ and ‘Strength In Numbers’, two albums by the superb Jurassic 5. Also for £1 each I got a lovely vinyl copy of New Order’s ‘Substance’ and another OMD album to add to my growing collection, in this instance 1985’s ‘Crush’. As a cherry on the icing, a 7” copy of ‘Geno’ by Dexy’s Midnight Runners provided even more satisfaction.
Those who live in the South West of the UK may be aware of the fantastic Raves From The Grave, a record shop in Frome which over the last few years has now expanded to shops in Warminster and Bath. In fact it’s almost been a year since the Bath shop first opened its doors, and to mark the anniversary the shop will be holding a series of special Birthday Bash events, including live gigs from Nick Harper, Tim Graham and Ali George, The Bookshop Band, Sam Brookes, Pedestrian Gate and Alice Maria Sparey. There will also be a screening of the film Last Shop Standing (with live music by GIITTV and RW/FF favourites Port Erin) and on October 3 there is 'Hail Hail Rock N Roll', a music quiz hosted by the legendary music jouranlist and broadcaster John Harris. More information can be found HERE.
As well as that wonderful new Manics album ‘Rewind The Film’ and Atlanter’s stunning debut ‘Vidde’, I’ve spent a good portion of the week indulging in the new albums from Crocodiles, Franz Ferdinand, Dreadzone and Troumaca, the latter of which is what I can honestly describe as the perfect soundtrack for these late summer evenings. In something of a reviewing frenzy, I will be publishing the lowdowns on all of these records over the coming week on the RW/FF site.
It’s been quite a busy week for albums: the skewed psych of Splashh’s debut ‘Comfort’, NOCEREMONY//’s self titled full-length, and ‘Rubies And Ruffians’, the second LP from the Antwerp-based Strumpets. You’ll hear more about those in next week’s column.
I’ve also been listening to Factory Floor’s much-anticipated debut, which is out next week (September 9), as well as Teeth Of The Sea’s extraordinary third album ‘MASTER’ (not entirely sure if the capital letters are compulsory), which is hitting the music world on October 7. It has just been confirmed that the band are to co-headline a tour with the incredible Thought Forms and Brighton's Esben And The Witch. Take a look at those tour dates HERE. Talking of Thought Forms, take a look at this recent live session, filmed at Melksham's Nine Volt Leap studios. The studio (whose website can be found HERE) is highly recommended for quality, expertise and value...
When bands reform or return from a hiatus, it can often be thrilling and worrying in equal measures for the fans: always great to be able to hear your favourite songs played live, but always a chance of disappointment when it comes to releasing new material. Some band feel a bit rusty after so long out of action, and sometimes you can hear them struggling when they emerge from the studio with the results. But Nine Inch Nails aren’t exactly a band, and Trent Reznor’s return isn’t a case of him desperately cobbling together whatever he can come up with, more a case of a confident, bold revitalisation that shows he is still very much a man with a heedful of ideas. While admittedly some of it still sounds like a chrome-covered mixture of Depeche Mode and Bowie, a lot of ‘Hesitation Marks’ can be surprising at times, and some old-school NIN fans will take a while to get used to some of the more melodic moments. Even after one listen I’m impressed, and after a few more plays I will see if I still like it enough to review it soon. In the meantime, here’s ‘Everything’. It's a bit poppy yes, but does this also remind anyone else of My Bloody Valentine?
Earlier this week on Tuesday, the world woke up to a brand new Pixies EP. The four songs were produced by Gil Norton and Dan Austin, the latter doing a fine job on Six By Seven’s new album. Austin is another musical figure who grew up in my hometown of Melksham, and his father is the same Mr Austin who sometimes features in the “Rewind” section of this weekly column. In another bit of “what a small world” information, the bass on these new tracks comes courtesy of ex-Fall member Simon ‘Ding’ Archer, a top bloke who I met a few months ago when his band Bobbie Peru supported Mark E Smith and co at a Bristol gig. Of all the tracks on the new EP, this belter is the one that is most reminiscent of their earlier works…
Paul McCartney has a new album out on October 14, titled 'New', and here is a song from it, also called 'New'. Nice.
Asian Dub Foundation still haven’t announced a release date for their new album ‘The Signal and The Noise’ but you don’t have to wait to hear the LP’s fierce title track, which delivers a hard-hitting combination of bhangra beats, hard rock guitars and punk attitude. Brilliant stuff. News of the album will appear on their Facebook page HERE soon...
Formed only last year in 2012, the Bath-based five piece Pylo make beautiful melancholic music with plenty of space and room to breathe. Some of it reminds me of Coldplay... wait come back! I meant Coldplay when they first started out, when they had a real emotional depth to their music. I can also detect hints of Doves, but as you will hear, this lot are no copycats. This gorgeous track is lifted from their 'Bellavue' EP, which came out earlier this year. They're playing Bestival tomorrow (Saturday 7 Sept), at 11am on the Replay stage. For more info go to their Facebook page HERE...
Stephen Jones, that fellow who used to wear condoms around his neck and cover his head in baked beans on Babybird record sleeves, is back with new music. When I say he’s back, what I really mean is he’s returned with his first new material in over a week. Yes, a rather prolific figure is Mr Jones, who posted this brand new song on YouTube a few days ago, a beautifully fragile track which could hopefully make its way onto his upcoming solo album. For another side of Jones, check out the Black Reindeer albums he’s also been releasing throughout the year. Oh, and apparently he’s releasing ANOTHER one of those any day now, probably during the time I’ve been typing this article. Slow down, I’m having trouble keeping up! http://thestephenjones.bandcamp.com/
After hearing Al Lover's 'Vodun Moon' for the first time last week, I decided to play it on my radio show during Monday night's show. Cranked-up tunage of the absolutely mental variety.
Last week I recalled the September of 1995, the beginning of secondary school and the brilliant (in some cases not so brilliant) music that soundtracked those times. While I’m writing the next instalment, here’s more of the tracks that made ’95 the golden year it was…
THE VERVE - THIS IS MUSIC
BLACK GRAPE - KELLY'S HEROES
GENE - HAUNTED BY YOU
ELASTICA - WAKING UP
CAST - HISTORY
SUPERGRASS - TIME
OASIS - THE MASTERPLAN
PULP - BAR ITALIA