Tuesday, 22 April 2014

TORONTO TIM SAYS: MORE NEW MUSIC: FUTURE ISLANDS - SINGLES

Singles
Here's where I hand the page over to Tim Patrick; our friend from Canada who has an insatiable appetite for new music. Tim has unearthed some unearthly pleasures recently. This one's no exception...

I caught this band on 'Late Night With David Letterman' show recently, and at first didn't know quite what to think. Shoegazer synth-pop backing band with a bonkers Stanley Kowalski look-alike singer crooning away, beating his chest, punching the air, doing the same nerdy dancing that I used to do as a lad.
Yikes! 
Awkward? 
Strange? 
Parody? 
Or friggin' great?
Certainly left grumpy old Dave Letterman gushing 'n grinning like I've never seen before...
Damnedest thing was that after just one listen to "Seasons (Waiting On You)", the tune embedded in my noggin', and I couldn't get to sleep for hours...
"People change, But you know that some people never do."
When people change, they gain a peace, but they lose one too.
I've been waiting on you....I've been hanging on you."

Since then I've watched/listened to the YouTube clip dozens of times (along with 1,000,000+ other folk), and despite the weirdness... it's a mesmerizing performance, and I sheepishly have to admit that I love It. Kind of a 80's synth-pop throwback, Peter Hook-ish melodic bass-lines, OMD/Spandau Ballet synthscapes, but with a "real" drummer. Vocally, I hear some similarity to Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals, except when he drops in a scary Tom Waits growl @ 3:08. Or is that the Cookie Monster... or Death Metal?
There's something endearing about lead-singer Samuel T Herring. He's an odd performer, but his passion, conviction and honesty connects with this old fart. Have a listen to his interviews and you'll see that contrary to his eccentric on-stage persona, he's actually a sincere, down to earth fellow… 
The CD arrived today, and first impressions are that it's pretty solid. Nothing ground-breaking, but if you like 80's style synth-pop music with an odd vocal twist, give it a spin...
The new album is titled 'SINGLES' on 4AD Records. 
It's getting brilliant reviews...

SEASONS - (Live On David Letterman): 


SEASONS - (album version/official video): 


A DREAM OF YOU AND ME - (album version):


FUTURE ISLANDS (Live at KCRW):


FUTURE ISLANDS (Live at KEXP - sans dance moves): 


Future Islands

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Retro Easter Sunday: 12

Tom Waits: Blue Valentine



I finally had to turn the volume up on the TV to watch the new series based on 'Fargo'.
Glad I did, it's a dark treat.
Ready for bed now so I'll sign off with this album; a dark treat too.
You can't beat a bit of late night Waits. He shouted less in the 70s; still a dark heart but the 4 chambers were still recognizable as such.
Here's 'Somewhere' followed by the album version of 'Kentucky Avenue' which I can't get through without making seal noises. Finally a live deconstruction of the same song.
I've
got
something
in
my
eye...
Happy Easter!




Retro Easter Sunday: 11

Steely Dan: Aja 


I tried Charlie Mingus's 'Ah Um' but the Jazz Police, she say 'No!'
I agree on the grounds that it's a '59 album and therefore outside of the 60s/70s perimeters.
I then manage to sneak Aja under the jazz height restriction bar because Di likes Deacon Blue.
The band.
Not the song…
What's your favorite foreign movie?

Retro Easter Sunday: 10

Terry Callier: Occasional Rain



Just because it smells of burning doesn't mean it's burning… does it?


There go the leeks. Di's carefully stirring a burning pan…
Pork still slowly roasting so… we ease into the evening with the smooth sounds of Terry Callier.
I love this guy's voice; his reach always exceeds his grasp but it never stops him from going for it.
Terry died last year. Never did a perfect vocal but, boy, the imperfections are… just perfect.


Retro Easter Sunday: 9

Santana: Abraxas


Di now back in the bath.
Bottle of Sancerre opened for her and I've just broken the seal on a 15 year old Glenlivet.
Looking for candles and lighting a fire; can't find one, but this always lights my fire…
Love the cover; used to stare at those breasts long and hard as a 12 year old wishing I was that white dove…
Does anyone else hear a 'Close to the Edge' Yes riff in Samba Pa Ti?


Retro Easter Sunday: 8

Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks



"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."
Steve Earle

Not even close to the greatness of 'Blonde on Blonde' or 'Highway 61 Revisited' but still a great album, though dismissed as 'functional' by The Rolling Stone magazine in 1975, it seems to have gained gravity with the passing years.
Watching Everton dismantle Man Utd with the sound down with this as the soundtrack.
'Blood on the Tracks' seems oddly appropriate for this car crash of a performance.
And now 'Idiot Wind' plays as Rooney mouths off at a team mate...
Ha! 'Tangled Up in Blue' indeed.

Retro Easter Sunday: 7

Townes Van Zandt: Our Mother the Mountain



I had to wait for Di to go to the gym before spinning this.
Most fans prefer his stark live recording 'Live at the Old Quarter'; find this album overproduced; hate the flutes. Even though Di murders it, I love the flute! I also love that live recording but it breaks my heart that no-one seems to be listening to him. Apparently, before hitting the stage he asked the barman for 'just on last hit'. The barman knew him well and lined up seven shots of bourbon. He downed them one by one within the minute and took to the stage...

"If I had a nickel I'd find a game, if I won a dollar I'd make it rain,
If it rained an ocean I'd drink it dry, and lay me down dissatisfied"


Townes wasn't a happy man, eventually the drink would lay him down forever. He left behind an uneven body of work and a reputation as a wasteful man with a wasted talent. But take the time and wallow with him, the flutes and strings recede and you are left with a man who sang just for the sake of the song. Listen to the sad poetry of 'Second Lover's Song'. Then, from 'Tecumseh', could you think of a lovelier line of love affirmed than "the sunshine walked beside her"?
Then watch the prophetic final clip of a song from his debut, 'Waitin' Round to Die' and see him reduce an old black geezer to tears…
Wasted and wounded indeed...




Retro Easter Sunday: 6

Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis



Talk about finding your feet!
Apparently Dusty was nervous at stepping outside of her comfort zone and into the a studio full of exotic 'Memphis Cats'. Initial intimidation became a challenge to which she was more than worthy. Her taste and modesty stopped her from becoming overwhelmed by the band's undoubtable musicality. The chops were garnered and did nowt but support the sublime delivery which was as vulnerable as it was sexy. As well as that familiar brassy tone, there's a softness in of delivery that sweetens every song.
Just listen to the voice and the awesome arrangement of 'Song of a Preacher Man'. The warmth of the brass, the rooted drumming and twitchy, inventive bass playing is just brilliant.


Retro Easter Sunday: 5

Bruce Springsteen: The Wild the Innocent and the East Street Shuffle


The debut was great, but a mish mash of Dylan and Morrison.
This is the joyful sound of a man finding his feet and stepping out in his own shoes.
Side two might just be my favorite slice of vinyl…

Retro Easter Sunday: 4

The Beatles: Rubber Soul


This sounds archaic against Revolver. Still a beat band here rather than the soon to be opened Pandoras Box of invention. It's amazing how much the fab four developed in the months in between. The benefits of marijuana (rather than the later intake of LSD) and genius I guess.
There are still treasures within. 'Norwegian Wood' sounds breathtakingly contemporary, whilst the jewel for me is a wistful Lennon's 'In My Life'. I can't help but giggle when the harpsichordist (a double timed piano) falls off the stage at the end of his (George Martin's) solo…

Retro Easter Sunday: 3

Yes: Close to the Edge


I was recently gifted the whole Yes back catalogue by Macwood Fleet.
I love The Yes Album and Fragile, but this still sounds otherworldly and monumental.
I always assumed that there were deep hidden meanings within; still buggered if I know what they are…
I love the way that the title track builds to that final climax… great guitar playing.


Retro Easter Sundy: 2

Cat Stevens: Teaser and the Firecat



It was always Tea for the Tillerman for me but this is nice, if a little bland, with it's simple mixture of lite protest songs and nursery rhymes.
I'd forgotten how sweet is the melody of 'Moonshadow'.



Retro Easter Sunday: 1

Staying indoors today after a Thu/Fri/Sat of driving across the country in Bank Holiday traffic delivering a car. My Mum's given up her beloved 'Suzi Q' Suzuki Swift for a newer model. Di's sister Hilary is now the proud owner. Mum talked to that car. Wouldn't drive the new one until the old one was gone, just in case Suzi saw her… 'Bat Shit Betty' is my mater; bonkers and beloved.
Anyway, although it was great to see everyone I'm done with motorways and 'secret' back routes.
Today I'm staying put.
Girlfriend in the bath.
Slow roast of pork for lunch.
Football on with the sound down and…
Retro albums all day: '60s & 70s' classics that I've stuck away for a rainy day and… yup, it's raining!
I'll post them as I play them.
You can play along or just heckle at my lack of cool.
I know that you'd like to be sitting next to me on the cinnamon chair so, with that in mind, first up is:
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
Now, I love Dark Side of the Moon, but this album always surprises me when I play it.
It's as if I didn't really pay attention to it way back…
I'm thinking that might be a reoccurring theme today.
Artist's 2nd best albums; the ones that suffered in the shadow of the behemoth…
I'll post the track that strikes me boldly…




Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lovesong: Elbow: My Sad Captains

Fantastic evening yesterday.
Di and I made our way down to the Docklands.
Destination was the dreaded O2 to see Elbow in concert
.

We decided to tart things up by not treating ourselves to a shiteburger from within the depths of the dome. Instead we made for 'The Gun', a 250 year old pub on the edge of the water overlooking the O2 on the opposite bank. The Gun was refuge for many a smuggler and is so called because it was also the drinking place of the welders & melders (?) who made the canon for the British Navy during the glory days when the world was half pink…


Lord Nelson lived up the road and often met up with
Lady Hamilton in the rooms above the dining
room. The cracks are still there to behold…
We had cocktails on the terrace; Mojitos for Di, an Old Fashioned for me, not fashioned with Bourbon though, this was liberally laced with Mezcal. A proper 'sharpener'.
The meal was fantastic; the best kind of gastro-pub grub: I had lamb stuffed with kidneys and haricot beans served up with buttery mash and asparagus, whilst Di tucked into some crispy Brill fresh in from Billingsgate. All washed down with a (slightly bland) white Rioja. Then a treacle tart and a rice pudding that made a mockery of their school dinner monikers, served up with some sweet, sticky port.
Lovely.
All for less than £100; pretty good for London.

On to the O2 and a fine performance by Elbow.
No other band can make a cavernous hanger seem so intimate.
We swayed and sang along as Guy and the band reached out and gave us a great big communal hug. We all hugged back of course.
I haven't felt that benevolent whispery warmth since early Blue Nile days.
The highlight amongst many?
Lippy Kids and the new album's keenest anthem, My Sad Captains.
I was concerned, as the latest record is a gentle thing, but, bolstered by a female string quartet and a brass trio, the musicians played a blinder. Muscular beats, and gentle loops, angular guitar riffs, soaring strings and honking horns; all laced with Garvey's humor and unsuppressed affection for his mates and his roots.
He's been criticized of late for 'over sentimentality' has Guy.
But why shouldn't he sing about that which he loves?
Seems that he's had his heart broken too recently, so...
Joy and jocularity tempered the undeniable melancholy of middle age survival.
And I do love a sad song.
Boom!
Lest you've not heard or have simply forgotten:

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Toronto Tim Says: Sprout Shout: From God to Rod

Toronto Tim writes:

I'm not sure if you're aware of this one already, but I've just discovered an interesting website, all about songwriters and their insights into the process... "sodajerker.com". Specializes in podcast chats, in-depth audio interviews with "some of the world’s most successful songwriters." 

A few minutes ago finished listening to a recent posting featuring a gentleman you're familiar with... PADDY MCALOON. Truly enjoyable & fascinating... Covers a lot of ground in an hour and a bit, but still just the tip of the iceberg about the old magician. Wish it went another five hours. Paddy's such a wonderful interview, even on a fuzzy phone connection. He exudes infectious joy & passion when discussing music and the process of songwriting. Sounds like he's constantly creating new music, but somewhat insecure/lazy about getting anything released. Hilarious that he's written a box full of tunes for Rod Stewart, but doesn't have the courage to tell him about it. Rod???

Anyway, if you have a free hour, it's time well spent... 


Also, many more hours to spend with other interviews including Jimmy Webb, Thomas Dolby, Andy Partridge, Neil Finn, Nick Lowe, Ron Sexsmith, Rickie Lee Jones etc...  

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Jens Folmer Jepsen Reviews 'To the Bone'.

It's a strange thing releasing a record.
You hope that it will connect with new friends, make some new beginnings.
You also wait with bated breath for the reaction of the tried and the tested; in the face of commercial neglect, the folk whose opinions you come to value and cling to, like barrels in an ocean of seeming indifference.
One such man is Folmer Jepsen. Folmer is a friend and fan of Miracle Mile from way back. He would slavishly request that I send him an album upon every new release and would always respond with keen eyed and honest criticism... and kindness. 
You could always tell that Folmer had 'listened well'.
He was a Danish TV producer and journalist back then but has since gone on to become the Director of Denmark's biggest Arts Festival, The Aarhus Festuge which takes place in Denmark's second largest city at the end of every summer:

"It is highly esteemed and recognized both in Denmark and abroad. For 10 days every year in August - September the streets and alleys, clubs, stages, galleries and museums of Aarhus are teeming with entertainment and art. The programme encompasses a number of events in music, architecture, stage performance, gastronomy and much, much more."


As soon as Folmer took on that mantle he invited me to play the festival. For many years I had to decline because it clashed with my day job: in the Summer months I'm the Director of a large Summer Camp for an International School in North London. But then the fest' dates were moved to late, late summer and I could no longer resist. Thus it was that I found myself up on stage on the opening night, in front of the Queen of Denmark and 1600 of her citizens, TV cameras akimbo; the first musical turn at 2012's Festuge. It was quite a night. The previous night I had finally got to meet Folmer in the flesh, Di and I were guests at his house alongside the other main protagonists of the opening gala: actors, musicians, poets and writers. We sat around a long table and delighted in the offerings of our host and his lovely wife Anne, who just happens to be a celebrated TV chef; Denmark's version of Nigela if you like, although Anne is half the size and twice as charming… the food and wine was fabulous, as was the chat.
I always felt a kinship with the man, but after watching him in action I got to add 'admiration' to a list that started with 'friendship'. He is a true Prospero (he must tire of me saying that) as he draws all of his players together and coaxes performances out of them with great charm and subtlety. Sometimes you don't even know that he's there, such is his low key but benevolent spirit. Di and I returned last year as non performing guests and had another fine time. Actually Di ended up as unofficial Festuge Photographer and captured a moment or two. 
Anyway, all of this is in recognition of a blithe spirit, a fine friend, and by way of an introduction to Mr Jepsen's short but sweet review of my latest album 'To the Bone':




'To The Bone' is perfect for night-listening.
It is beautifully sad or sadly beautiful.
Each song is a little light that turns darkness into blue and makes life possible to live with. I came to think about this whilst driving tonight.
And Trevor… after the first few listenings I thought it was good - some of the songs up there with your best - but I had the feeling though I'd been there before - and that you`ve been there earlier too; but I know your songs: that besides having an immediate effect, they also need time... and suddenly, when I drove, and it was late evening and literally dark out there, it all started to make another, and deeper kind of sense.
Congratulations.

Folmer

Saturday, 5 April 2014

TORONTO TIM SAYS: NEW MUSIC: BILL PRITCHARD - A TRIP TO THE COAST ****

Here's where I hand things over to a guest writer; Canada's Tim Patrick.
Bill Pritchard is new to me; I like it. 
He reminds me of Stephen Duffy and the original Miracle Mile singer, Steve Smith of 'Bless This Ship' vintage. 
Steve now lives in LA and records under a moniker or two: 
Deltaboy and Zachary Black, a video of whom you can see below, where Steve seems to be attempting the most unflattering 'selfie' ever filmed. Is he hanging upside down?



Toronto Tim writes:

A Trip To the Coast, Bill PritchardReleased only a couple of weeks ago, I've been keeping an eye open for this album to pop up on Spotify, after stumbling across a track ("Trentham") that caught my attention on Youtube. I managed to sample the entire album before the Spotify police caught up with me and shut down my account that I'd carried back from the States three weeks ago. The CRTC and our Big Brother government in Canada still refuses to allow us Spotify here. Bastards...

Comparisons to Lloyd Cole, Morrissey, Prefab Sprout & the Go-Betweens and an early album produced by Ian Broudie, are what initially grabbed my attention; but after a few listens, I'd have sworn 'A Trip To The Coast' was some "lost" Steven Duffy /Lilac Time album...

Unbeknownst to me, BILL PRITCHARD has apparently been kicking around the music scene since the late 80's, even having a minor MTV moment way back in the day. For some reason, never made a dent in the UK market, but something of a cult hero across the channel in Belgium & France, which he's adopted as a second home. 

Anyway, 'A TRIP TO THE COAST' is a pretty damned good record. 
AllMusic rates it 4 1/2 stars. 
Sophisticated, easy-going, jangly guitar pop tunes mixed with pretty ballads, Pritchard possesses a homely but likeable voice. 
Opener "Trentham" is one helluva catchy pop song, however "Yeah Yeah Girl" is the standout track for me, recalling 'Love Story' era Lloyd Cole, with a pre-chorus lyric worthy of old LC:
"I heard you moved out of that flat in St Denis, Away from the bars and the cars and the sounds of  the city.
So you shop in all those lucrative places where the Sherazar shimmers amongst beautiful faces,
But I sometimes wonder how it could be if I'd been more commercial and you less twee." 
"In June" rocks out suprisingly nicely, whilst slower songs "Truly Blue" & especially "Polly" bring a winsome change of pace... 
“Drifting through the stations in a pacamac with photos she took on the run, from someone, to someone”. 
Finally, the title track recounts a touching story about an afternoon jaunt to spread a deceased friend's ashes... 
"Fancy the idea of a trip to the coast?
Take a trip in a car and under a bridge
And roll over memories drinking pop from the fridge
Let’s do what we planned give him back to the island
The 3 of us now are what we weren’t then
But thanks to those memories we can be again
Let’s do what we planned give him back to the island
Watching the sun leaving the sky"


It's also worth a trawl back into Pritchard's early collaboration with Ian Broudie on the 1991 album "Jolie", which supposedly was a breakthrough in Japan & Canada, which I seemed to have missed. Must've been in bloody Quebec! Sounds a wee bit dated, certainly a Lightning Seeds flavor to it; but holds some excellent tunes nonetheless. I've posted a few tunes below...

I apologize for the lack of video clips from 'A Trip To The Coast', especially disappointed at being unable to find "Yeah Yeah Girl"
But for those of you blessed with access to the luxury of Spotify, I'd encourage further investigation...

Number Five:


Trentham:


Gustave Cafe:


I'm In Love Forever (w/ Francoise Hardy): 


  Tommy & Co: 


A Trip To The Coast (making of doc):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOdNsoHbPho

Bill Pritchard (Official Site with Soundcloud samples):  http://www.billpritchardmusic.com/#!music-/cp83

Friday, 4 April 2014

Lovesong: San Fermin: Sonsick

I've just got this Brooklyn band's debut album and it's a wonderful thing.
Unclassifiable... I think that they are a 'collective' but am unsure; it's the brainchild of songwriter/composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone who composed everything. But for me the real stars are the songs and the singers: The guy (Allen Tate I believe) sounds a little like Bill Callahan wearing the trousers of a decipherable Kurt Wagner, the girl... like something from a girl band with balls...
And the music is a mash up of beats and baroque string arrangements. Dissonance meanders into moments of quiet beauty. Saxophones wail, strings soar and beats collide.
There's even a rogue duck in there somewhere.
Seriously!
It shouldn't work but it does.

Here's 'Sonsick' followed by 'Renaissance!'.
After that check out the short live performance.
Then buy the album and tell your friends.
There's something for everyone in this wonderfully collaborative music.



Saturday, 29 March 2014

Toronto Tim Reviews 'To the Bone'


Okay, I've had a couple of days to gnaw on "To The Bone"... 
The album title is apropos, and certainly a brave move considering the majority of MM/Jones discography tend to lean toward relatively polished & expansive productions, which I do happen to love. However, sometimes a change is a good thing. The songs at first had me wanting for more, but then after a few listens, I realize they contain all that is needed. Does that make sense? 

It's a subtle album then, not a lot of huge anthemic choruses, but a few tracks are already favorites... 

"Phil The Hat & TJ" is the perfect opener. A sweet, warm slice of nostalgic melancholy; memorable images glimpsed, but not stared upon...

"Pardon Me" recalls the stark beauty and honesty of Paul Buchanan's 'Mid-Air'. The opening line "Pardon me for this intrusion..." reflects exactly how I feel when I hear this one. So raw and personal, one feels like an eavesdropper. Intimate, concise and fully-formed...

"Some Kind Of Surrender" has a weird spaghetti-western Morricone intro/outro that still has me scratching my head, yet it's somehow become a favorite.

"Fireworks" is a corker, simply one of the prettiest tunes I've heard in a long while. A gorgeous waltz with a stunning chorus... "We will bring fireworks, to light up the sky. Our hopes and our dreaming, and dreams I deny... will light up the sky."

"To The Bone"... That singalong-drinking-song chorus is an ear-worm that won't leave my head, it's so bloody catchy. Not sure if I love or hate it! 

"Somewhere North Of Here" stands with the very best songs in the MM/Jones catalog. A perfect blend of brilliant melody/musical arrangement and intensely moving poetry. In the timeless tradition of "Hopeland", a hymn of hope, empathy, perseverance & love... 

"I will walk beside you, and you will know I'm there
And I will touch you gently, to comfort your despair
That you might go beyond me, and the permanence of fear
To where your guilt and sorrow will fade and disappear."

The outro that follows "You will find me standing, on the other side of fear... Somewhere north of here" with MC's church-organy keyboards, Melvin's heavenly pedal-steel,  and I'd swear there's a choir in there somewhere... then TJ's killer falsetto "Ooh-ooh... Ooh-ooh" gets the chicken-skin crawling and the tears welling. Whew...

"To The Bone" very tasty indeed! Once again, well done & Thanks boys...

Friday, 28 March 2014

Lovesong: Passenger: Whispers

'Everyone's filling me up with noise
I don't know what they're talking about
See all I need's a whisper
In a world that only shouts'

Well said that man!
Marmite?
I like Marmite.
This song is naive.
This song uses the word 'Twitter'.
I don't like naive songs that use the word 'Twitter'.
I love this song.
Naive and with a big old heart.
Just how I like my... humans.
I want to hug this man and grow a beard.
Just watch me now...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Plethora of 'Tims'. Tim's 50th & Toronto Tim Says: Tom Hickox: War, Peace & Democracy

I hate Karaoke! 
I always resist the call at parties. 
I'm supposed to be a singer right?
I'm not really a 'singer' though am I?
I'm a songwriter who sings his own songs in the controlled environment of a studio... but...
"Come on Trev, show us how it's done!" comes the inevitable call.
You can't win, folk expect and, I suspect, secretly bate their breath in the hope of a car crash.
So, I always resist.
Except... last night it was my good mate Tim's 50th birthday.
He'd reformed his school punk band 'The X Men' especially for the occasion.
Tim, Tim, Stu and ringer, 'Plinky Plonky Paul'.
I somehow ended up playing keyboards on The Specials' 'Message to You Rudy' as 'Plinky Plonky ' needed to do that trombone bit. He did it very well, and I kind of bluffed my way through the song; there were only 3 chords and it was in the key of 'C'. No black notes to bother...
The X Men trundled splendidly through a zestful set with muscularity and no little affection for their beloved Sex Pistols, Damned, Vibrators et al. Great fun as these successful businessmen rolled up their sleeves, rolled back the years and rallied against Thatcher and 'the system'. Anarchy indeed! Tim sprayed out some fine riffs, gurning, grinning; garrulously shooting from the hip with his sunburst Les Paul. Drummer Tim (shipped in from Norway) thumped away with grey abandon, making an orgiastic, organic din with his rubber drums, whilst singer and bassist Stu came over like a holy union of Paul Simonon and Eric Morcambe as he spread his legs wide and formed a solid foundation in that bopping basement, playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order. The high spot was a gusty, gutsy encore of The Stranglers' 'No More Heroes', which they grabbed by the throat and dutifully... strangled; 'Plinky Plonky's' airy arpeggios adding an oddly lofty musicality to the dynamic dirge. 
It's lovely to glimpse old firm friends re-engaging with the folk and folly they'd forgotten they loved. 
I think we'll call it 'Joy!
I'd have them at The Hat Club but I fear that we'd have to sand bag the place to protect us from the neighbors....



Next up was the dreaded Karaoke.
Tim dragged his lovely wife Donna on stage and they sweetly mugged their way through 'You're the One that I Want'; charming as John and Olivia. 
Then came the call. 
I resisted as best I could but... Tim presented me with a lyric sheet for The Kinks' 'Lola' in an unfeasible font with tiny unreadable text and... we were off. 
I thought I knew the song. 
Do you? 
Go on, give us the lyric then? 
Not so easily rendered or remembered eh? 
"I met her in a club down in old Soho..." and then, nothing. 
A blank. 
So I let Tim lead and decided that I'd just 'guest star' and flesh out the chorus. 
Easy. 
Sorted. 
But could I spell 'Lola'? 
Could I buggery! 
It's L  O  L  A
LOLA! right? 
I did 'lilo'. 'Loulou', 'lala'. 
Anything but 'Lola'. 
Tim then suggested 'Waterloo Sunset'.
'Dirty old river...' and then... nothing; a blank.
Tim avoided eye contact and pulled the plug.
I shuffled off stage to tumbleweed and bewildered whisperings from a nonplussed audience. 
Not for the first time, but definitely the last. 
Di took my hand and sympathetically whispered "you were rubbish!"
She did however profess the X Men as 'brilliant'.
Here are some clips of the band's performance. 
Something for you to rate her judgement of me by...

video

video

video


Meanwhile, this just in from our tertiary Tim; Toronto Tim who has just resurfaced from a 6 month sojourn in Florida.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Trev, 

You're aware that I've been in the wasteland regarding new music for a few months. 
Trawling now and finding a few gems...
Your blog thing seems to be a bit sporadic these days... I'm sure you're exhausted after giving birth to another album; as well as dealing with neurotic Mom's...
Anyway, if you find the time or inclination I've cobbled together a minor entry for the blog if you deem it worthy. Please edit to your liking...
..............................................................................................................................

TORONTO TIM SAYS: NEW MUSIC: TOM HICKOX - WAR, PEACE & DEMOCRACY 

Only released last week, so I must confess that I've just ordered the actual CD. However, based on the couple of lovely tunes that I've been able to sample, Hickox's album appears more than worthy of purchase. 

First off, don't be led astray by the album title. It's not folkie political protest songs. No, this is mostly lush, piano-based orchestral music, wed to nuanced poetic imagery and sung in a husky North-London baritone in the vein of Nick Cave, Richard Hawley, Scott Walker & Leonard Cohen. There are a few modern touches added to the production... tasteful pedal steel and echoes of Brian Eno-style atmospherics. Hickox also bears a refined pedigree, son of the late Richard Hickox CBE, one of Britains most renowned conductors. He's also a very snappy dresser...

This is an ambitious, meticulous and imaginative debut, with smart storytelling that demands repeated listening. As Hickox himself says, “I am a great believer in the listener finding their own way. I have failed as a writer if there’s only one interpretation of the lyrics.” 
He's certainly a young artist to watch...

"Pretty Bride Of Russia" already rates as my favorite song of 2014 (thus far). Hickox sings from the perspective of a naive young girl looking to go to London: “I’ll learn to act and sing and make my father proud.”  Absolutely gorgeous...


"Angel Of The North" appears to be the "single" release, accompanied by an artsy video...
I don't expect to see it on MTV I'm afraid to say...

"Let Me Be Your Lover" is a "love song" featuring somber, moving lyrics very unlikely to make the pop charts: “Let us share a tombstone in a graveyard by the sea/ then let us hear the crushing in immortality/ let me be your lover, let me be your friend/ let me be beside you whenever it’s the… end.” 


WHITE ROSES RED:  

Visit Tom Hickox's website here: http://tomhickoxmusic.com/

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Lovesong: Beck: Morning Phase

Beck's 'Morning Phase' was our soundtrack on Saturday as we drove the coast road from Hastings to Beachy Head. We walked up the glorious South Downs and there it was; the infamous cliff edge that too many sad souls have stepped off.
Tiny crosses everywhere...
I didn't propose, so I didn't jump.
We sat and sipped as the sun set over the sea, surrounded by toy planes, kite flyers, people throwing themselves off the cliffs with wings strapped to their backs.
It was a lovely end to a lovely day; a day that inevitably ended in a mash up on the M25...
So we put this album on again and sunk back into our smugly snuggly heated seats.
This really is beautiful.
Don't listen to it too intently.
Just put it on and look at it from the corner of your eye for glimpses of true pastoral beauty.