Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Sounds...New Styles...

"If music was the food of love then I'd be a fat romantic slob"
Frank Turner - Substitute

"One good thing about music, When it hits you feel no pain,
So hit me with music...Brutalise me with music
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Trenchtown Rock

Just about sums things up for me I think. But every now and then I go through periods when I think that pop certainly has eaten itself and that I'll never find anything new or exciting to listen to again. I have to confess to having spent most of this year collecting and listening to old soul and reggae records.

But then in the space of a couple of weeks a whole clutch of new music has come to my attention and if you'll indulge me I'd like to point some of it your way

Shared is a project started by my brother in an attempt to bring to the world's attention some new and exciting music, an admirable cause indeed. The Shared album was released earlier this year and features 3 tracks each by 6 artists, some you will know and some that will be new to you all.
Alongside Miles Hunt & Erica Knockalls you'll find Wayne Hussey (formerley of The Mission), Dirty Ray (previously of the Immaculate Fools) as well as new artists Rob Dunsford, Matthew Derrick and Timothy Parks.
Dirty Ray's astonishing "Rain Song" and Rob Dunsford's 3 songs really stand out for me but it's all great stuff that you can get here

I've been a fan of Brendan Benson for a long time now. You may know him from such bands as The Raconteurs but he had a solo thing going on way before that band.
I've often thought that amongst the 2 Raconteurs albums there is a very good Brendan Benson record struggling to get out.
Well he has a new solo record out this month, "My Old Familiar Friend" and although I haven't yet heard it I'm very excited about it

The Music Lovers. One of my Dad's post swimming drinking buddies told my Dad his friend was coming over from the US for a couple of weeks. He's a musician, came from Birmingham but now lives in California and has a band and will be playing at the Moseley Folk festival on Sept 4th. He handed my Dad a copy of his friends latest CD asking if myself and my brother might want to take a listen.
I put it on one afternoon while I was doing something else, honestly not expecting much. Oh how wrong you can be. This is a great record, with great songs delivered in a vaguely Scott Walker-ish style. Lyrics about Alum Rock must confuse the hell out of their American audience.
You can hear samples from "Masculine Feminine" here

Steve Heathcock sent me a Friend request on MySpace. I presume because of our shared liking of The Wonder Stuff. I was in the office alone yesterday so went to his MySpace site and listened to his music. It appears we also have a shared liking of all things 60's and mod-ish.
If you are at all a fan of things like The Prisoners, Making Time, Paul Weller etc. then I advise you to give Steve Heathcock some of your time and check out his tunes.
And when you've been suitably won over you can buy them here

Sometimes you stumble across/run into/get introduced to something that knocks you sideways and becomes an obsession for the next year or so. I think I'm going to be obsessing about Frank Turner for the forseeable future.
There we were sitting on a bank at the back of the main arena at the Beautiful Days Festival last Sunday, myself and my inarguably better half, Duffield and Sally, Mr EveryWare, Suz and Rich, we were drinking beer and nattering away about this and that. There was a band on stage and I kept hearing bits of music and the odd lyric that kept making me stop and take note of what they were doing.
A running order was consulted and I found out this was Frank Turner, never heard of him before. After he'd finished I wandered off to the onsite CD store and bought a copy of "Love Ire & Song". We put it on in the car on the way home and again, things kept jumping out amidst the chatter and the road noise. When I got home on Monday I managed to find time to stick the album into iTunes and get it onto my iPod so I could have a proper listen on the train the next day.
Jesus H Christ this is good stuff! The line up at the top of this post there from Substitute is only one amongst some truly inspiring lyrics harnessed to fantastic pop tunes (I don't know if he would thank me for that description given his background in hardcore and Punk Rock) and sung with heart and soul.
I haven't been this moved by new music since hearing Damien Dempsey. I recommend you visit Frank's Myspace and pay particular attention to "I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous", "Photosynthesis" and "Long Live The Queen".

Enjoy people...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Read All About It...

Tellin' Stories...

Been away for a while, virtually and literally. I had a (much needed) week off last week and on Monday last commenced the great shirt hunt, more of which to come.

So last Monday myself and my inarguably better half boarded a train bound for "that London", primarily so that I could buy the suit (see here) for the wedding we are going to in September, and with the secondary purpose of purchasing a particular shirt to go with said suit. Now my other half is Matron of Honour at this wedding and will be wearing a most comely wine coloured gown. So in the spirit of spousal solidarity I thought it would be a rather splendid idea if I were to wear a shirt of a matching hue (you'd never guess I'd been reading PG Wodehouse recently would you!). I didn't think my requirements were too outrageous, shirt, one of, wine in colour, button down collar, (preferably) short sleeved. The shop from which I purchased the suit had such an article but, alas, not in my size. All sorts of promises were made about getting the material and making me one but I kinda knew I would never receive the promised call (I haven't).

Off we set around the West End in search of a shirt. 5 hours and at least 30 shops later (including an hour traipsing up and down Jermyn Street to no avail), I remained shirtless. This search was going to be more of a challenge than I had suspected.

On Tuesday we were waiting in for a delivery which had been promised between 9am and 2pm. The delivery driver rang the doorbell at 7.45 am ! As we needed to be in The Celestial City that evening we set forth for the city centre to resume the great shirt hunt. 3 hours later all we had found was a shirt of almost the correct shade but costing more than the video camera I recently purchased. I told the salesman I would have to think about it !

Wednesday was my darling wife's birthday. We had spent the previous night at her mother's and arose on Wednesday morning at stupid-o,clock in order that we might catch the 7.15am flight from BHX to Auld Reekie (that's Edinburgh to almost everybody else) where we were to spend 3 days in the absolute luxury of the Hotel du Vin with my brother (who shares the same birthday with my wife) and his girlfriend.

Highlights were many, varied and sometimes unexpected over the next 3 days; my brother's pop concert on Wednesday, meeting up with Dave the Hat in the Grassmarket, the seriously expensive business of wading through the Hotel du Vin cocktail menu, the Drop Ride at the Edinburgh Dungeon, Dubh Prais (if you are ever in Edinburgh and in need of a good restaurant I can highly recommend this one), Mary King's Close, The always wonderful Bow Bar and a cousin's delivery of Haggis and Scotch pies on Friday afternoon among them. But we knew we had something to do, something was gnawing at us that we needed to attend guessed it, the great shirt hunt.

We began in Frasers on Princes Street, they had a burgundy and white striped Ben Sherman but sadly again, not in my size. Debenhams...nothing. High & Mighty...some very nice garments but none fit for purpose, but the very friendly salesman in there suggested a place called Get Shirty on Rose Street. I have included their URL as an aide to any gentleman reading this with a similar shirty problem too myself. Get Shrity is truly a jewel amongst shirt shops. Any colour, any style any size seemingly available all the year round. Yes you guessed it we found the shirt (and at a very reasonable price I might add (so reasonable in fact that I was able to go to HMV and purchase a copy of a Charlatans CD containing a track that had taken my fancy in a shop earlier in the's here if you're interested)) 400 miles from where the great shirt hunt began we ended our quest, a lesson in perseverance if ever there was one.