A new single from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

It’s now thirty years since Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds emerged with their debut album, From Her To Eternity.

September 19 will see the release of a documentary on Cave entitled 20,000 Days On Earth. A new song has been revealed alongside this, entitled ‘Give Us A Kiss’ which was recorded during the sessions for last year’s Push The Sky Away sessions. It’s now available as a single and also features an awesome live recording of ‘Jubilee Street,’ one of the outstanding tracks from that album from the Sydney Opera House.

The trailer for 20,000 Days On Earth can be seen below:

Stanley Odd on Scottish Independence

In less than two weeks’ time (September 18) Scotland will hold a referendum on Independence. Trying to get unbiased and balanced views from either side has become difficult in Scotland, and whatever happens on that date, you can bet your bottom dollar that the shouting, posturing and hand-wringing will not be over.

I’ve long championed Edinburgh Hip-hop act Stanley Odd on these pages (and you can read an interview with them here. They have recorded a new song (with an awesome take on the notion of a lyric video) entitled ‘Son I Voted Yes.

Stanley Odd will join an awesome lineup that includes the likes of 17 Seconds favourites including Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai and Frightened Rabbit at ‘A Night For Scotland’ which takes place at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on September 14. Tickets for that event have been selling like hot cakes, but it may be worth trying…

Stanley Odd are touring in November, too:

Sat 15th Nov – Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
Fri 21st Nov – Edinburgh, Liquid Room
Tue 25th Nov – London, Barfly
Fri 28th Nov – Inverness, Ironworks
Sat 13th Dec – Glasgow, The Garage
Oh, and if anyone asks me why I haven’t featured a ‘no’ event or songs on here – I haven’t been sent any.

First new music from Aphex Twin in years!

It’s been a very long time coming.

But after 13 years, Richard D. James AKA Aphex Twin has shared some new music with us, entitled ”mini pops 67 (source field mix)’ which you can stream above.

It’s the first track to do the rounds from his forthcoming new album, which is entitled Syro and comes out via Warp on September 22.

I like this new track – yes it sounds like him, and whilst it’s not a mindblower like ‘Windowlicker’ or ‘Come To Daddy,’ anyone who is familiar with his work knows that one track is unlikely ever to be typical of an album.

The album tracklisting, according to Amazon, is as follows:

1. Minipops 67 (120.2) Source Field Mix) (Aka the Manchester Track)
2. XMAS_EVET10 (120) (Thanaton3 Mix)
3. Produk 29 (101)
4. 4 Bit 9d Api+e+6 (126.26)
5. 180db_ (130)
6. CIRCLONT6A (141.98) (Syrobonkus Mix)
7. Fz Pseudotimestretch+e+3 (138.85)
8. CIRCLONT14 (152.97) (Shrymoming Mix)
9. Syro U473t8+e (141.98) (Piezoluminescence Mix)
10. PAPAT4 (155) (Pineal Mix)
11. S950tx16wasr10 (163.97) (Earth Portal Mix)
12. Aisatsana (102)

(I say according to Amazon, because there’s no way most humans are capable of making sense of all of that!)

Does there have to be a reason?

It was only when I grew up (well, sort of) and realised that actually: most people had pretty rubbish teenage years.

Mine were well-soundtracked, though. I saw Perks Of Being A Wallflower a while back and wished this film had been made twenty years previously (much as I wish ‘Misshapes’ by Pulp had come out five years previously).

Tonight’s song is ‘Asleep’ by The Smiths, one of their most beautiful and possibly the song they have ever recorded. The video uses footage from the aforementioned film.

Enjoy.

“Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I’m tired and I
I want to go to bed

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don’t try to wake me in the morning
‘Cause I will be gone
Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I don’t want to wake up
On my own anymore

Sing to me
Sing to me
I don’t want to wake up
On my own anymore

Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I really want to go

There is another world
There is a better world
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well…

Bye bye
Bye bye
Bye…”

Presenting…Avec Sans

Avec Sans are a name I’ve heard bandied about, but not really sat down to listen to until, well, today.

They are the London-based duo of Alice Fox and Jack St James, and their name, if my schoolboy french serves me correctly, translates as ‘with without.’ Better in French, I think you’ll agree. They make gorgeous electro-pop that is extremely moorish.

They’ve done a number of tracks and remixes, of which the latest ‘All Of Time’ can be streamed at the top of the page.

They’ve also done some excellent other stuff, including ‘Hold On’ and ‘Shiver.’

And this Kate Bush cover:


Go and like them at Facebook

Gig Review – Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson, Edinburgh Queen’s Hall, August 25

It takes a really special skill to be able to walk out onto a stage with scarcely any more equipment than a street busker. But Richard Thompson really is a special kind of artist. It’s not the first time he’s played Edinburgh Queen’s Hall, armed with just his guitar, a few effects and a mike. But the fact remains that no matter how many times I’ve seen him, he still blows his audience away.

His latest album, Acoustic Classics, is his own attempt to convey what just some of his back catalogue stripped down to just him and his acoustic guitar sound lie. For someone frequently reckoned to be one of England’s finest electric guitarist, that might seem either leaving one of his main strengths behind or a way of conning more money out of your audience, if you wanted to be cynical. The fact is that it shows why he has such a fantastic songbook, and tonight’s gig reinforces just that.

Not only is he a master of all trades (singer, guitarist, songwriter) but he’s also a pretty witty raconteur. Early on in the set he plays ‘Valerie,’ casually fluffs up the intro and makes a joke out of it, being as he’s played it so many times. He goes on to deliver a version that is even better than on record – there’s comedians playing the now-ending festival that would do well to learn from him how to handle an audience.

And with a songbook like his – going back to very nearly half a century – he has an awesome array of tunes at his disposal. So we get a number of tunes that have reappeared on Acoustic Classics – ‘Walking On A Wire’ ‘ Persuasion’ ‘I Misunderstood’ and of course the fabulous English road song that is ’1952 Vincent Black Lightning.’ We get a number that didn’t – including tracks from last year’s brilliant Electric -’Stony Ground’ and ‘Good Things Happen To Bad People,’ as well as ‘The Ghost Of You Walks’ ‘Dry My Tears And Move On’ and ‘Pharoah’ (he introduces the latter as being his ‘paranoia’ song).

Yet perhaps the most moving moment of the night is when he talks about being in Fairport Convention and it’s clear he misses Sandy Denny still. And then he plays ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes?’ I have honestly never cried at a gig before, but it was intensely moving and I wasn’t the only bloke playing with their glasses in the dark trying to make out they had something in their eye.

And justly, our man goes off to a standing ovation, before giving us ‘Beeswing’ and ‘Wall Of Death’ for encores (and another standing ovation). Even into the 2010s, Richard Thompson is continuing to win new admirers (the kid in front of me was ten years old, if that) and finally, getting the chart positions that he deserves.

A performance that touched a loyal and loving audience.

Acoustic Classics is out now on Beeswing/Proper

Album Review – Tiny Fingers

Tiny Fingers -’Magafauna.’ (Anova Music)

The first international release from Tiny Fingers is an enjoyably intense listen. Whilst it’s easy (too easy?) to file them under post-rock, there’s both a mixture of electronics and prog influences here that sets them apart from many other acts lumped in under that banner. They were picked to support Mars Volta, which makes sense.

Clocking in at nine tracks over forty minutes, this is very much an album as a whole, and it’s hard to pick out individual tracks per se. When I say intense, it’s not necessarily that it’s as fast as Slayer or Napalm Death or acts in that vein, it’s more that listening to this album it tends to envelop you in its sound, to the point that even in the middle of the day, on one of my many listens to it, I almost felt I was hallucinating.

It’s also entirely instrumental – and given the dance collaborations the band have been involved in, I think film producers would do well to snap them up for soundtracks. Whilst this album won’t appeal to all, for those who enjoy their music intense and atmospheric, this hits the spot.

***

Megafauna is released on August 25 on Anova Music.

Album Review – New Pornographers

New Pornographers -’Brill Bruisers.’ (Matador)

newpornographers

Yesssss!

When the title track and ‘War On The East Coast’ (the latter a serious contender for track of the year) started doing the rounds, it suggested that the latest album from this eight piece indie supergroup was going to be very, very good indeed. And so it proves.

A.C. Newman and Neko Case are [probably the most well-known members of the troupe, but between them all, they’ve produced a glorious album that begs to be played again. Right from the openeing ‘Bah-Bah! Bah-bah-bah-Bah!’ of the opening title track, this is a warm and fuzzy glow sort of record. It has been described by A.C. Newman as a celebration record and that’s exactly how it feels. And as well as the aforementioned tracks, other excellent songs can be found here in the form of ‘Another Drug Deal Of The Heart’ and ‘Champions Of Red Wine.’

Some people still think that indie rock is always navel gazing misery. If someone repeats that falsehood in your presence, hand them a copy of this: an effervescent joy from start to finish.

****

Brill Bruisers is out on Matador on August 25.

Stream the album via The Guardian

Album Review – Trwbador

trwbador

Trwbador -’Several Wolves.’ (Owlet Music)

Having released their rather fine self-titled debut last year, Angharad Van Rijswijk and Owain Gwilym have followed up with their sophomore album. And like that album, this is a veritable treat for the ears.

There’s a wonderful mix of pastoralism and bedroom beats going on here and this is a record that unveils itself to the listener with each successive listen (note: the tiny built-in speakers of a computer really will not do Several Wolves justice).

It is like wondering into another beautiful world – a feeling that is given extra enhancement by the track ‘CO2.’ This feels almost nightmarish in comparison to the rest of the record, as if to remind us all that if we are not careful about protecting what is special, we can lose it.

Last year’s album featured collaborations with Cornershop, amongst others; this time around they have worked with rapper ESSA on ‘Breakthorugh’ and former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci man Richard James on ‘Blue Minds.’

In lesser hands the very different threads of this album could have made an interesting rather than pleasurable listen. In the hands of this Welsh attic duo, it’s another treat.

****

Several Wolves is out now on Owlet Music.

The continuing story of Hiatus

I’ve featured both the music and video work of Cyrus Shahrad on 17 Seconds before, I interviewed him in 2011, and his track ‘Insurrection’ topped my annual Festive Fifty that year. You can read Cyrus’ thoughts on the song here.

Hopefully you read the papers and take some interests in current affairs (and anyone who thinks music and current affairs shouldn’t be linked is an idiot). Cyrus’ latest project is a download single ‘Precious Little.’ As he explains on his website:

“I’m releasing this track to raise money for Medical Aid For Palestinians (MAP), an organisation currently engaged in a humanitarian effort to help innocent people caught in a terrible crossfire. The track costs £1, but please give more if you can, and please do share the link around.

All proceeds will go to MAP, a UK charity that has been working in the region for more than 30 years, and is currently being stretched to the limit in the unfolding medical emergency in Gaza – providing support and training to embattled Palestinian doctors and nurses, stockpiling and distributing medical supplies, and responding to emergencies on the ground. You can find out more about MAP’s work via their website: www.map-uk.org.

Artwork for the track has been provided by my friend Spencer Murphy, who has donated an image from his recent series of bird portraits, Traces: bit.ly/X9so5E.”

If this doesn’t move you, shame on you.

As the track has now raised over £1,500 so far, Cyrus has made this track available as a free download: