Category Archives: Music Review

Lovely Jubil…eey Wanderings

My first chunk of time away from work for a while gave me distance from the daily same old and run away escapisms to get back to a bit of writing and a good slice of exploring music.

Here is a sum of my musical findings through last week, with the kickoff event on Bank Holiday Monday at Dot to Dot festival, Manchester.  Prenders and myself found ourselves there on a half baked whim after umming and ahhing about what we should do on the forced fun weekend.  We didn’t arrive until the bands of the day were in full swing and had missed Clock Opera, but the type of mood we were in was evident as neither of us cared and I’d been drinking fruli for old time’s sake.  We started at Sound Control with a band called Pure Love, an English-American rock act (who I’d never heard of before)  formed in 2011 by former Gallows front man Frank Carter.  They proved a fitting way to start the day with the stage scrapped in light of the dance floor, and the microphone cable contorted in a rock out.  Next up Cloud Nothings – simply awesome.  Only playing a short set, but included the 8 minute track Wasted Days as they filled out the sweat fest of Sound Control.  I proceeded to have an amusing accident walking on stage whilst Wavves were playing, as I tried to get back from the toilets via the wrong staircase.  Next stop the Ritz where I found an early game over, whilst The Drums were in full swing.  Baileys tipped me over the edge on the sticky sprung floored venue and after the amount I’d consumed since midday.

Friday last week saw the visit to festival début No Direction Home, set in the heart of Welbeck Abbey (near Sherwood Forest).  A twee fest that hosts along with tunes: a Post Office Service who’s workers cycle around delivering mail to your friends by description; The Long Lost Picture Show – a cinema with a giant bedded floor; bird making master classes and Artisan food and drink.  The festival fell a bit on the rainy side, but because of the small scale it was easy to navigate from tent to tent and stay relatively dry and extremely merry.

Band highlights on the Friday included Boat to Row who were the first group to kick off my shindig in The Electric Dustbowl.  Onto Django Django fun, where I had a good laugh and a dancaroo to their awesome debut album.  Dirty Three and The Low Anthem speak for themselves as being always splendid – highlighted as the rain subsided to the backdrop of Welbeck Abbey.  The real highlight of the evening was sexy Austra, the Canadian electro outfit.  I missed Austra at last year’s EOTR festival as they were playing when Bob Log III was on – a difficult predicament.  They were pure danceatronic.

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Woke up feeling relatively fresh after having a giant pile of friends dancing the night away to tunes in the Dustbowl after the live music had stopped.  The music of Saturday did not find me till later that day – I was entrapped making a bird which I’m yet to complete.  I successfully missed Liz Green once again, she sounded lovely from the birdy tent though.  The first act I properly saw that day was Beth Jeans Houghton who I didn’t like from Green Man all those years ago when she was supposedly cherry picked from the crowd to join Devendra Banhart on stage.  Moving swiftly from the 22 year old Geordie to David Thomas Broughton who always provides a good tune and comedy value.  Other Lives happened and were awesome, I could see the drink was taking its toll though as I kept shouting at every song “This is the one I like!”.  They were followed by Gryff Rhys and as far as I’m concerned this was expert scheduling.

“And though I look for inspiration . . . Lion… Still my favourite combinations”. 

Onto Andrew Bird who was lovely, but instead of mesmerising in the loops and percussion I found myself wandering the forest with Ames and going down to the boat stage to dance to cheesey pop.  We reliably sobered ourselves up for a second crack of the whip with The Pyramids.  All else remains a bit of a blur, but I know hot cider happened as the pictures say so.

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Sunday fresh and early to watch The Iron Giant – a really cool animation with a bizarrely cast Vin Diesel as the Giant’s voice.  Perked up and ready for round ???.  Bloody Mary and a lovely bit of Trembling Bells.  Next up Cold Specks, but I got them confused with the band I really liked who were on later.  The Wave Pictures were in a perfect slot at 3pm in the now basking Summer Sun.  Tiredness and booze crept upon so I ventured wandering to drink water.  Slow Club at 6pm roused me and then we had mammoth presence at The Unthanks with Bighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, as over 30 of them were on stage.  A quick bit of Spectrals then the awesome Richard Hawley as the headline act for the evening.  With glitter on our faces and a hot cider in my gullet we ventured to The Electric Dustbowl for Mikal Cronin.  An excellent round-up of acts for the first No Direction Home.

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I will have seen more bands than I remember and have many more than just music highlights, including Jon Ronson’s talk and reading from The Psychopath Test, which is winging its way from Amazon to me as I write. The memories of sitting round the tents and talking merrily with the gaggle about our memories of life, pile-ons in the Dustbowl, drawings in sketchbooks, hugs, giggles and Hardcore IPA being drunk out of a Carling can.  Festivals don’t come much better than having a quality group of loveliness and a well thought through event.

After the weekend was rounded up and the tent was placed back in our mop bucket, we had what might seem like the end of the road . . . a gig to see Sunn O))).  This proved the perfect way to combat the fatigue and lack lustre feel a festival end.  I stood near the speaker with ear plugs in and fell into a trance, whilst the members of Sunn O))) proceeded to drone and drink four bottles of wine on stage.  By the end of the gig my feet were throbbing and I couldn’t hear, but it was an awesome way to end the week of tunage and reconnect with thoughts and feeling.


LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip at the Apollo on Monday

It was a smooth move to get seated tickets as we arrived at doors, 7pm, to see Shit Robot.  We could have left home an hour and 45 minutes later, as we hadn’t even realised they were on.  I’ve never sat at the Apollo before and I loved it, because for the first time I could see the stage and the people on it. The night kick started with LCD Soundsystem who have been touring with Hot Chip in toe, they played their last gig together here in Manchester on Monday night. 

LCD kicked off the party that was in free flow downstairs and on the rows in front of us, whilst I stuck to the chicken head bop.  Second song in my favourite LCD one of the moment  Drunk girls, it started to get raucous in the rafters and I enjoyed sitting nicely and seeing everything, whilst tapping my leg and watching as a guy crowd surfed into the bouncers to Yeah, the song that oozes yeahs. 

LCD played for an hour, with Daft Punk is Playing At My House and You Wanted A Hit, being selected preferences of mine.  Then we saw the frenetic operation to get their kit off stage and Hot Chip’s together.  It was quite something and one of my favourite parts of the latter half of the show, as I failed to be blown away by Hot Chip.

Alexis Taylor came on stage sporting a luminous head band and striped pyjamas tucked into his trainers.  I haven’t got into Hot Chip’s new album One Life Stand, and was hoping seeing it live would make it grow on me, but nah.  It was the old favourites that still got me Over and Over and Ready for the Floor, I just kept seeing Alexis Taylor as Timmy Mallet in those pyjamas, maybe this was my biggest stumble.

Hot Chip finished their set and this was when I started to get excited again, as drums were being carried on stage, could it be    . . . yes, the encore we really wanted?  LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip together.  When Hot Chip were then joined on stage by a Manchester Steel Band.  Now . . . it’s not they were bad, but the question WHY?  I could see James Murphy and Nancy Whang waiting in the wings and . . .  they eventually did it, talk about a bladder buster. 

Whang and Murphy joined Hot Chip on stage and collaborated for a rather lovely rendition of Alessi  Brothers, Seabird

It was great to have the 2 groups together, but LCD were the real headline act that night.  The gig was well worth £25 though as we were there for almost 5 hours, and I only spent 80p on the cheapest drink I got advised there was with flavour, blackcurrant and soda 40p a pint. 

Hope it’s not the last time I’ll get to see LCD Soundsystem, but if it is they live on as good as the first time in memory.


Grizzly Bear at Manchester Cathedral

93485735670236Disclaimer: If you are suffering from Swine Flu, this is all a figment of imagination none of the following existed.

Checking out the reviews on Drowned in sound this morning made me gulp, Great band – Shit venue, Shit band – Great venue                      Were we at the same gig?

We had the cathedral on a dark rainy night, with St Vincent to start and Grizzly Bear for mains, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

2St Vincent, aka Annie Erin Clark, is the same age as myself and she’s opened some amazing tours from The National, Andrew Bird, Death Cab for Cutie, to Grizzly Bear’s recent adventure.

When I first heard St Vincent, I was convinced that their songs were covers as the music instantly got me as what I already knew. Her voice is stunning and she did a lovely job of opening last night without the rest of her band.  Her and Daniel Rossen, (who I thought was Edward Droste’s brother, why did no one correct me?) made a cute onstage couple for the last few songs.

In short she’s as cute as a button, as talented as a whole band and her music is a beautiful mix of sounds that remind me of Dirty Projectors and a better version of Regina Spectra.

grizzly-bear_1515567cNow for the Grizzly’s

 The stage adorned with tealight bulbs lit up for these loveable chaps, Ok so we have Daniel Rossen vocals guitar and keyboard, Edward Droste same, Chris (Blondie) Taylor bass, backing vocals, whistler  and producer and Christopher Bear backing vocals and drums.

Veckatimest A place out of time, like the people in the songs.  With their music and their performances it is such a journey, you go through. The sombre reflections and then the high notes that make you start to shake, it makes you feel the reality of what it is to be human and explore this wide range of talent along with feeling and a beautiful stylised look and sound, simply because it is such a real stage presence.

Seeing them at the Cathedral was beautiful and so close, although there were a lot of people there, at least a lot of people got to eexperience something very special.

In short they are one of my favourite bands that take me somewhere I am willing to go.


The Green Man Festival

DSCF2013What a treat we all had, with the delights of bands I already knew and sought out like Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, Camera Obscura and Grizzly bear, to the unfamiliar Wilko, The Lesuire Society, The Gentle Good and Peter Broderick, just a few of the delights I saw stowed away in the Brecon Beacon’s last weekend.

The festival is all but a dream now, and it’s hard to imagine that I was ever there squatting on Andysloos and drinking chai brandies.

The moments were exceptional, to share beautiful music with friends and for me be the most open I have ever felt around people who I adore, was a real experience.

Some festival classics

Me getting Bon Iver confused with Akron Family, I wondered why they weren’t wearing headbands

Dom comparing everything to Battles and saying she’d have a cup of tomato ketchup

Owen’s incredible love of everything, “let’s have a lovely sit down,”  “this wine it’s really lovely,”  “that’s really lovely that is,”  “that’s a great photo,”  his enthusiasm obviously fuelled by his double breakfasts

Jay and his willy wees, pork scratchings and oh yes philosophy

Adam in his I’m moving vigour and real ale party antics till 6am

Amy “chai wallah wallah”

Mish to India, a rave in a cave, and the wicker man – all in five minutes

Chris, my little moomin friend, King Kreosote doesn’t suck, and if you think he does don’t say it to the man himself.

We had fun, we had chai, we had rain, we had laughs, we had scran (that one’s for Mat), it was a honkin time that will be documented


Irony and Morisette

Ironic or just bad timing? more tomorrow, it’s bad timing

I am reading or rather dipping in and out of a book called the Alluring  problem by D I Enright, images 2 which I have just foud out retails on Amazon marketplace for 1p.

So far I have learnt, that in 1985 crocodile meat was to be sold for human consumption in Australia because the reptile was no longer an endangered species.

The more I start to think I understand irony, is often when I get more confused.

Irony should be a disconnect of the outward message to what it is actually saying, so the irony of the croc is that we should celebrate the fact that they are no longer endangered by killing them for the barbie.

Makes sense, but then Alanis Morisette came along.

Apparently her sense of irony is not ironic, is that ironic? maybe she’s called a double bluff, but here is why her lyric don’t live up to the label she’s slapped on the single. (ps this is not from Enright unless he is way ahead of his time)

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day

It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
Isn’t it ironic … don’t you think

It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid

It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought … it figures

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
‘Well isn’t this nice…’

And isn’t it ironic … don’t you think

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face

It’s a traffic jam when you’re already late
It’s a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break

It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think
A little too ironic… and yeah I really do think…

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out

just shitty coincidence

completely mising the point of irony, which could be a double bluff

maybe ironic don’t you think?

she scores


The Pope for Christmas No 1

VATICAN POPEA strange idea, perhaps a great money making spin, but here we go. The Pope is going to be featured for the first time singing on a CD released in November

Geffen Records, who have signed bands such as Guns n’ Roses, Elton John, Donna Summer and Snoop Dogg, new artist will be Pope Benedict XVI

The CD released in time for Christmas 2009  will be called “Alma Mater” – nourishing mother (could also mean college or uni someone has attended, I think in this case we can stick on the side of Mary)

Some of the proceeds have been quoted as being donated to helping underprivileged children around the world have musical education, I want figures on this one.

A nice one for my gran at Christmas if the price is right and the charity donation is above 39%, but if it comes with free Rosemary beads or baptismal candle I maybe inclined to pooh pooh the whole charade.

If anyone knows anymore I’d be intrigued

catherines-booze Christmas 2009 Sherry and the Pope’s Christmas Rap I wish


Thank you for Purchasing this – Of Montreal Hissing Fauna you are the destroyer

I really love this group ever since Adam told me that the main singer appeared on a horse at a gig. 

The album is fun and has enough lyrics that strike a chord with the inner need for depth.

“I’m in a crisis, I need help, come on mood shift back to good again,come on mood shift back to good again,come on be a friend.”

“Together, let’s go together, let’s do it together, let’s go together”

 “Eva, I’m sorry, but you will never have me, to me you’re just some faggy girl, and I need a lover with soul power, no you ain’t got no soul power.”

Ok I’m being lazy you do the work, listen to the album, I’ve got dark beer to drink


Fever Ray Manchester Academy Tuesday 14th June

fever-rayWow, an amazing performance.

I only found out two weeks ago that the project is Fever Ray, the album is Fever Ray, but the lady behind all this has another name (namely Karin Dreijer Anderson for any of you who may have fallen victim to the same mistake.)

Branching off from her half as The Knife, who I find awesome with their gothically modern sound inter cut with weird and wonderful lyrics. Karin goes on her own route from her brother and leads what is an incredible album.

Her lyrics drift into streams of consciousness, with the emphasis shifting from drama to the everyday delicacies of life. All  show I was looking out  for the most memorable lyrics to my mind, from “Seven” the fourth track on the album.

“if we have time, if it’s the right time, accompany me
by the kitchen sink, we talk about love, we talk about dishwater tablets
and we dream about heaven.”

The whole album was played in it’s entirety with an amazing light show to boot tribal ritualistic dancing. It’s one of the few gigs I’ve been to for a long time where I’ve been taken on a journey, I think Animal Collective was probably the last real experiential gig I saw.

The show is eclectically mixed, with African sounds, psychedelia, Romanian gypsy music, smoke and a laser show. The whole group does the trick, and I was going to add credits to the drumming lady and the guys who do the other business, but I looked on myspace to give them a thumbs up and the only band member to be listed is Karin, so I guess it’s probably not usual to credit them, but I tell you they were all amazingly “curated” might be the right word to use.

You have to excuse any haphazard writing as I am in the library with the desperate urge to write something meaningful, and some 14 year old knobs have made the weary looking librarian call the police by chasing another 14 year old called “Nathan” by threatening to kill, they are all drinking cans of coca cola.

Thank God you don’t get these sort of idiots at Fever Ray, the most harmful you’d see is some pilled up 30 year old poking someone in the eye as they point at the spaceship above.

Such an awesome gig, if you’re a fan and you can go to see them/her, do.

A word on what the next venture is apparently according to The Guide (my oracle), Karin and her brother Olaf are writing an opera based on the man Charles Darwin, it’s sure to be a journey. It’s no surprise that they are choosing to focus on the figure of Darwin himself, as their music always explores identity in some warp or another. Can’t wait to see what we get given.

I like the way that listening to her own stuff makes me want to return to The Knife, it filters through and does both of the projects a great justice.


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