Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Vinyl Detective

Taking a break from music, here's some books that I got for Christmas - they appear to be murder mysteries with the USP being that the main character is a vinyl collector and connoisseur. Rarely a page goes by without some reference to music (mainly jazz), vinyl (mainly jazz) or turntables and valve amplifies (mainly for listening to jazz).

80 pages in with the first book and it's just starting to get exciting in a non-vinyl way.

As the blurb says: "And so begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all...."

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Candylion Etching

After a wonderful Gruff Rhys gig at the RNCM on Sunday night, featuring the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra, I thought I'd give his thoroughly charming Candylion album a spin. It still sound great, but I'd forgot about this superb etching on side 4.

And here's some photos from the gig...

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Blue Dot Moments 2018

Arriving straight from work, there wasn't much time for band watching, but Public Service Broadcasting were, as usual, great fun even if some of the performances are a little familiar by now - There's photos on here from a previous Blue Dot which are pretty similar, but I did manage to catch them on the phone. Nice to hear J. Willgoose, Esq. speaking as well as using his pre-recorded voices.

Headlining were the Flaming Lips. Probably the worst Flaming Lips gig I've been to! Given that the previous 4 or 5 have been 10/10 gigs, that's not a surprise. This was a mere 8/10 - a fantastic spectacle. My phone had run out of charge, so I didn't get any photos, but I did take this picture two days later, showing the aftermath of the confetti cannons.

Other performances not photographed - Mad Professor and UNKLE.


The Radiophonic Workshop, promoted from last year's Orbit Stage to the Lovell Stage, were the perfect start to the day - I forgot to take any photos as I was too busy sitting there with a huge grin on my face. Later on, hampered by a murky sound, Hookworms still managed to impress at times, particulary with recent album highlight, Ullswater.

Best gig of the weekend by far was Gary Numan, with many people questioning why he was not headlining instead of Future Islands. Some people have expressed surprise at how good Savage, his most recent album, is. These people seem to be forgetting (or haven't heard) previous album, Splinter, which is at least as good. Anyway, half of this set is given over to three songs apiece from those albums, but there was still time for old classics Metal, Cars and Are 'Friends' Electric. Other highlights included the tearjearking classic Prayer To The Unborn and his daughter, Persia, joining him onstage for My Name Is Ruin.

Late night entertainment was provided by Cassetteboy's disco - many of their classic cut and paste moments interspersed with music and dragged along at a frantic pace by their Maestro collaborator, DJ Rubbish. Not that I approve, but there's something envigorating about seeing a 10 year old girl in the crowd being encouraged to tell Theresa May where to go.

Starting the day off slowly with the Roberts Bakery Band's take on some pop classics.
Warm Digits could've been a weekend highlight, but their set was hampered by technical problems at the start, a quiet sound and being far too short - their set finishing just as they were hitting their stride. Bring them back next year, give them a later slot in one of the tents and they'll blow everyone away. Then onto the two highlights of the day, starting with another excellent live performance by Vessels. Note to future self: Yes, I did dance to them again - not bad for someone who doesn't dance.
Then the band with my least favourite name, Snapped Ankles, who put on a great show, peaking with them motorik post punk of Johnny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin
God knows what this is supposed to be, but this child went past me during Snapped Ankles' pagan rock set.
 Ending the weekend on a visual and audio overload was the Chemical Brothers, packing in as many of their songs as possible into two hours. The Dancing Robots were clumsy but brilliant.

Other moments: Fragments of Little Dragon, Boy Azooga and Henge

Friday, 22 June 2018

Les Garçons De Première - Caprice En Couleurs

Begone Dull Care is often mentioned as being the weakest of the Junior Boys' five albums. Right now, listening to it loud and alone late on a Saturday night, it - and The Animator in particular - sounds magnificent.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Records I Forgot I Owned

#3 Jello - Voile

Okay, so it's not so much forgotten as overlooked, which is a shame as this is a sublime piece of electronica from Darrel Fitton, AKA Bola.

It still has all the hallmarks of classic early Bola albums Soup and Fyuti (it was released shortly after the latter), but has a more organic and eclectic feel, including a couple of tracks based around piano melodies. In fact, there's also a 12" he released around the same time featuring a stunning Autechre remix of album highlight, Neph.

Monday, 23 April 2018

The New Brian Eno and Kevin Shields 12"

This is incredible.

One of this year's record store day purchases is the 12" by Brian Eno and Kevin Shields. 2 tracks - 'The Weight of History' and 'Only Once Away My Don't - totalling 18 minutes.

It's almost ambient, but there's such a throbbing power, intensity and force coming out of the tracks that my turntable can barely contain the sound. It is, to use a phrase of Julian Cope's, Ambient Metal.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Photographing Reflective Sleeves Can Be A Challenge

... So I thought I'd take a selfie.
The new Cavern of Anti-Matter album is another great collection of analogue synths, motorik beats, gurgles and squelches.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Pale Fountains - Pacific Street

Early and often overlooked brilliance from Michael Head. Released in 1984 and out of step for its time, the album channels the spirit of Arthur Lee and Burt Bacharach and is topped off by the trumpet playing of Andy Diagram.

Favourite track today: Unless

Sunday, 11 February 2018

FSOL- ISDN. The Longest Record I Own

Not including locked groove records, I think this, the original pressing of ISDN, is the longest single piece of vinyl I own. It's quiet, but still sounds pretty good.
Side 1: 38:37
Side 2: 36:20

I know there's some classical music that is longer, but I wonder how much non-classical music packs this much onto one disc.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

My First New Album of 2018 is...

The Thread That Keeps Us, by Calexico. Deluxe edition double vinyl with a pack of 10 Calexico postcards that, let's be honest, I'm never going to send to anyone am I?

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Scott O)))

Relaxing on a Saturday morning to Soused, the baroque doom metal album by Scott Walker and Sun O))) . It also might well be his most accessible album for 30 years.

The best way to review it is by taking the words from the "Album Moods" section from Allmusic:
Austere     Cerebral     Cold     Harsh    Indulgent   
Insular     Intense    Menacing    Sprawling
Weary    Meandering    Tense/Anxious
Anguished/Distraught  Atmospheric     Complex 
Dramatic     Gentle       Uncompromising

Now Playing: Fridge - Ceephax

I'm up to F in the "listen to all my albums" challenge.
The 1997 debut album by Fridge, on white vinyl. Still sounding great.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

2018 Re-view

I've loved some of these releases from 2017.

Favourites? It will change I'm sure, but particular mention should go to the following:
Four Tet - New Energy
Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology
LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band - Adiós Señor Pussycat
First Swords - Compassion
Warm Digits - Wireless World
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Flying Microtonal Banana
The XX - I See You