Thursday, May 18, 2017
Just when I was thinking that Mr G. Reaper was being remarkably well behaved this year Chris Cornell, grunge figurehead, passed away suddenly last night after a gig at just 52. My knowledge of his output is pretty slim but Black Hole Sun is an absolute 100% gem isn't it eh? RIP.
PS: Here's an equally great track from Audioslave...
While we're on the subject of all things queer (see Joss Stone bit below) cop a listen to current single from queer punksters PWR BTTM (quite possibly not suitable for work...). Wise words so I've posted a version with the lyrics on too...altogether now...'curse that mother fucker...'
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Although she only played three songs I can’t let Joss Stone’s appearance at Exeter Pride 2017 go unmarked. I’ve seen her a couple of times now, the first way back in the early noughties at Glasto when she was being hailed as a new queen of soul, the second...rather unbelievably...at The Rainbow in Digbeth. In the intervening years she’s sold the odd 14 million records or so and ditched major label backing to pursue her own thang. Whilst that’s no doubt more rewarding artistically and spiritually speaking it’s probably reduced her public profile somewhat, in turn depriving a lot of potential new fans from one of the best white female soul voices around, but there we go, you can't have everything eh? Anyway on a lovely chilled out Saturday afternoon in Exeter she was on fine form with mini set closer Right To Be Wrong (no footage sadly but the clip below gives you some idea) reaching the parts that few female (or male for that matter) reach these days.
PS: Dodgy photo of Joss sporting pink hair taken using Lady B's mobile.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Good grief, can it really be 10 years since Kate Nash released Made Of Bricks? Her last album, the Riot Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl-tastic Girl Talk (2013) failed to make the impact it deserved but new single Agenda brings back some of that Made Of Bricks era quirky pop gloss with a little MIA flava thrown in for good measure and, let's face it, it's pretty much made for those BBC election broadcasts. If only eh?
Anyway if you've forgotten how good Made of Bricks was here's the big single Foundations which was only denied the number one slot by that ruddy umbrella song. Criminal.
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Dug out my slightly battered vinyl copy of Carmel's classic album The Drum Is Everything last week and blow me down with a brass section it sounded amazing, even with more scratches on it than grooves. Wasn't it John Peel that once defended his continuing love of vinyl itself by saying something like "Well, life has scratches too"? If it wasn't him then it should have been.
Anyway, Carmel had a cracking voice and sound back in the 80s and this prompted me to look her up again. Turns out she released something new as recently as 2015 and she was still in fine form. Bugger all since then sadly, her website's vanished and her Twitter account has gone quiet so who knows what she's up to. Another much underrated artist though in my humble opinion.
Friday, May 05, 2017
Blimey, what the hell happened to Paramore? I'd always had them down as ever so slightly angsty Emo rockers but their new single's remarkably chipper, even if it is called Hard Times (you can take the Emo out of the band...). Apparently half the group left a while ago so that might explain the pretty radical change in direction, whatever the reason the pop whore in me thoroughly approves.
PS: To utterly destroy any shred of credibility I may once have had I'm still addicted to Katy Perry's current single too. I blame old age...
Wednesday, May 03, 2017
From one bunch of musical mavericks (The Day Ends) to another. Every once in a while I'll stick up some Bobby Conn in the vague hope that the rest of the world will wake up to him but so far they're clearly too busy downloading endless Ed Sheeran tracks. Anyway, seemingly out of the blue Conn released a new track last week, a typically twisted genre mashing epic that's right up there with the brooding classic King For A Day. What's that? You've NEVER heard King For A Day? Oh dear lord...
Please, please, please do your ears and soul a favour right now and get stuck in to this dude's back catalogue. You're welcome.
Brief clip from The Day Ends set in Kings Heath last week and it looks like they played another blinder with Miles donning not one but two guitars for the pounding panting ear melting climax. If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times (probably quite literally by now) but The Day Ends really are one of the most exciting, inventive and confrontational (Miles has probably had 'run ins' with more people than I've had hot dinners...and I've had a lot of hot dinners) bands on planet earth. So there.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Very sad news from Brum, The Rainbow (picture above from the Monotonix gig there way back in 2008!), one if the city's finest small venues, is set to close next month unless someone comes forward to take it on. Current landlord Lee McDonald took it over 13 years ago and in the intervening years it's played host to some of the best local and up and coming bands around. We first started going there back in the early noughties before Digbeth was 'cool' and to be fair the place was a little bit rough around the edges (the men's loos were always a bit of an experience), but over the years Lee and his team clearly put a bucket load of blood, sweat, tears and money into it. I know very little about the mechanics of running a pub or a gig venue but I'm guessing it ain't easy so to have stuck with it for so long is pretty commendable, especially when the development of apartment blocks nearby resulted in a costly noise abatement order. Yeah, I know, why move to a city centre location and then bitch about a little noise?
Sadly it seems as though live music venues are shutting at an alarming rate these days, either because the building's worth more as a residential development or no buggers bother going there anymore and, with a lot of mainstream music becoming so blandly polished that performing it live is practically impossible/pointless (reducing gigs to nothing more than mere playbacks) I can't see that changing. There'll always be live music of course and there'll always be venues but the days when big cities could boast a good half a dozen or more diverse places to perform or watch music seem to be slipping away. I guess that's progress for you. Speaking of which here's an interesting little interview with The The's Matt Johnson. What he says isn't particularly new but it sums up just what a mess the music industry made of things and how the people who got (and are still getting) royally screwed over are the artists themselves. 20 years ago a moderately successful band could make a decent living, but now? Seemingly not a hope and that's not only bad for venues like The Rainbow but also the soul nourishing cultural broth that, for many of us, make life just that little bit better.