OK folks, there will be another radio show from me this week at 7-8PM on Fresh Air this coming Thursday.
This was last week’s show -here’s the tracklisting again, and if you wish to listen to it, it’s there below:
1. Dead Can Dance ‘Children Of The Sun.’
2. Kate Bush ‘Running Up That Hill.’
3. Twin Shadow ‘Five Seconds.’
4. We Are The Physics ‘Applied Robotics.’
5. Aggi Doom ‘Bring Me The Head.’
6. Shamen ‘Jesus Loves Amerika.’ ‘Gone but not forgotten.’
7. Soap&Skin ‘Wonder.’
8. Cancel The Astronauts ‘Making Dynamite.’ Album of the month Animal Love Match
9. Matt Norris and the Moon ‘Roots Below.’
10. The Delgados ‘Mr. Blue Sky.’ ‘Cover version of the week.’
11. Grimes ‘Genesis.’
12. Antony & the Johnsons ‘Cut The World.’
Antony and the Johnsons -‘Cut The World’ (Rough Trade)
If you were going to talk in fairly blunt terms, you would simply say that this is Antony Hegarty’s first live album, and draws on his four studio albums so far.
Which, technically speaking, is true, but, there’s so much more to it than that. The album’s title track and opener is a new song -and it’s a pleasure to have your heart broken in this way -once more- by Antony and the Johnsons. Recorded in Copenhagen last September with backing from the 42-piece Danish National Chamber Orchestra, these are reworkings of some of the thought-provoking and wonderful music he has recorded over the last fifteen years.
‘You and Your Sister’ may not feature Boy George on this version, but it still manages to compete admirably with the original. The thought of a seven minute spoken word piece on feminism might put some people off, but Antony has a speaking voice that is easy to listen to, so that you do get drawn to what he is saying. And the versions of ‘Cripple and the Starfish’ and ‘Swanlights’ -hell, the whole album!- make it worth the price of admission.
If only all live albums were as beautiful and worthwhile as this.
Cut The World is out now on Rough Trade
NB The video for ‘Cut The World’ is very good, but quite violent in parts. NSFW. You have been warned.
Antony and the Johnsons -‘Swanlights’ (Rough Trade)
A few weeks ago, the Mercury Music Prize announced its’ winner and the usual debate(s) ensued about whether the award ever goes to anyone who does anything exciting musically, and whether it will have any positive bearing whatsoever on sales.
One man who showed that it most definitely can do both is Antony Hegarty, who won the award in 2005 for his sophomore album I Am a Bird Now. A few months previously, someone had come into the record shop where I worked at the time and I had to confess ignorance at who he was. ‘You’ll know soon,’ said my customer, as she purchased the album. I did indeed -and word started to spread.
But awards or not, the important thing is that here we have another excellent album from Antony and the Johnsons (as he pointed out in last months Mojo, in deference to Marc (Almond) and the Mambas), and it has arrived less than two years since the last, The Crying Light. That voice is present there as always, and the music is there, but subtle for much of the time. Yet again he has produced another absolutely stunning album.
There’s a number of highlights here – the single ‘Thank You For Your Love’, ‘The Spirit Was Gone’ and for me the outstanding moment is the collaboration with Bjork on the almost nursery-rhyme like ‘Flétta’ and which could fit comfortably alongside most of the material from PJ Harvey’s White Chalk album. Sometimes his music may be dark – yet there are moments to suggest that this maybe his most upbeat album yet; it feels more like spring than the autumn which so often permeates from and into his world.
Antony Hegarty is a true original, and a God given talent. There’s songs on here that are as good as any he’s done thus far; and whether the next album emerges in six months or ten years, I’ll be waiting, and appreciaiting what he’s produed in the meantime.