Musical moments of 2009


13 Ene 2010, 21:32

10) No more George Lamb on 6Music! Fuck yes.
Not much more to say, really. I still don't find time to listen to it much, but the other afternoon I tuned in and heard Steve Lamacq playing Hefner. Hefner. On the radio. It was brilliant. Though I'll not manage to be a regular again until they put Phil Jupitus back on the breakfast slot, followed by Gideon Coe.

9) Finding that Patrick Wolf's still got it, live.
See my review of him at the Junction on 10th March 2009. The album was a bit pants, and I only listen to it selectively, but I stand by the Kate Bush comparison, and my longing to see him in a venue for the 18+ only... (not so he'll take his pants off, you see, so that I don't have to punch drunken 14-year-olds in the kidneys to get them off my feet). A great live performer, even if the corpus of his material is getting unwiedly and hard to combine into a single set.

8) A live Talking Heads album that blew my mind.
It's amazing what having your hard-drive wiped makes you do. Having lost two or three Talking Heads singles, I casually picked up a Talking Heads album for £2.99 noticing that a couple of them were present on the tracklist. Getting the album home I realised that it was all live, and there was lots of it. No bad move - I can take all the warbling Jeff Buckley gives, because I mistakenly bought Live at L 'Olympia before Grace, thus becoming acclimatised to the live sound and finding the studio stuff a bit over produced. Now ditto Talking Heads, plus the bonus discovery of songs I'd not otherwise have come across, the glorious The Girls Want to Be With the Girls and I'm Not in Love.

7) First experience of the Cambridge Folk Club
First trip to Arbury, standing on a large cross-roads, eyeing the ginormous chain pub across the road suspiciously; I'm sure GoogleMaps said it was here, but that place is huge, and I'm pretty sure it's not in the dental surgery... Do the guys smoking outside The Golden Hind know where the folk club is? "Folk club? I've lived in Arbury my whole life, never knew we had no folk club." Does the barman know where the folk club is? "Folk club? Never heard of it." Luckily the girls buying drinks at the bar knew it was just upstairs, beyond the bar. So, for a folk gig, in a folk setting, with a folky impressions were immediately that the support bands in this kind of venue are always going to be of a far higher standard that at bigger venues (see Kiss the mistress), and so were the audiences. Bella Hardy worked the crowd expertly, was funny and charming (along with her side-kick from Doncaster) and played some very good music. And I drank a lot of gin because the patrons of The Golden Hind, in their excellent taste, had drunk all the nice beers. The up-tempo, frivolous version of Dog + Gun was exceptionally memorable, and the harp-free Three Black Feathers was gorgeous. The whole experience made me kick myself for missing Mawkin : Causley the week before...

6) Discovering Nic Jones and the amazing Mud Cat Café
The Jim Moray gig at 4) originally introduced me to Nic Jones, then questioning my folk-knowing Dad gave me a bit more info, before revealed the whole sorry mess of his motorbike accident and the catalogue of folk music that is not currently being released in any way that rewards its artists.
It's not pretty, but people ought to know, so they buy Game Set Match rather than a copy of Ballads and Songs that gives no royalties to the amazing guitarist who made songs such as Billy Don't You Weep For Me and Clyde Water his own.
Also, Mudcat has some more cheerful stuff, and introduced me to the history of loads of folk songs (Reynardine isn't a fox, but comes from French folklore via Robin Hood? Lord Bateman is actually Thomas a Beckett's father?) as well as this awesome tidbid:
To the woods, to the woods, with the rubber goods...!

Little Girl: But I'm only thirteen!
Vicar: This is no time for superstition
L.G: I'll tell the Vicar
Vicar: I am the Vicar!
L.G.: My mother's not going to like this!
Vicar: Your mother's not going to get it
L.G: Besides, Mummy said I mustn't, the grass is wet and ten pence isn't enough!

5)The slow creeping up on me of Richard Thompson
Less of a moment than a slow burning of Richard Thompson and Steeleye Span* appreciation throughout the year, begun with the 1000 Years of Popular music tour, culminating with the slap-round-the-face rememberence of a half-read fact as I listened to Beeswing that the song was about Anne Briggs. Just probably the most beautiful and over-covered song out there. Yeah, screw you, Hallelujah, one cover was too much for Beeswing.
So yes, I have a best-of RT but badly need some more - I'm can't really get keen on his stuff with Linda, I'm not a big fan of her voice, but any solo albums of his that people would like to recommend would be gratefully explored.

*Yes, I know RT didn't play with them, but the way they grew on me echoes the way RT's solo stuff grew on me. Also RIP Tim Hart :(

4)Jim Moray and his rockin' hurdy gurdy working live, as well as the Bubbz bit in Lucy Wan!
His hurdy gurdy player was head-banging to The Rufford Park Poachers. He made Trafalgar Square scream when he wore a Morris dancing hat. He got played on Rob Da Bank's radio show. Coolest folk around right now. And oh, I want a hurdy gurdy now.

3)Falling back in love with Maxïmo Park
I didn't mean to fall out of love with them...I wanted more people to appreciate them...but then when they released Girls Who Play Guitars and Karaoke Plays I despaired. Like I despaired when I saw them at the Cambridge Corn Exchange and it wasn't even that big a venue but I didn't feel like I was in the same kind of audience as the one they used to draw. And the more I listened to their second album, the worse more of the lyrics sounded, the hammier the attempts to write pop songs that didn't make sense (á la Prefab Sprout who were name dropped by the band at some point during the evolution of the second album). I cite as songs that I LOVED from the second album...The Unshockable and Parisian Skies. Others were ok. But didn't make up for the cringeworthiness of A Fortnight's Time or By the Monument (shudder).
So maybe it's because the music is more mature in the third album, because I'm blind to what are probably still a fair few ropey lyrics now. I listened to the early release of Wasteland out of curiosity. And it fell flat. And I listened again, and it got better, and better. Ditto The Kids Are Sick Again. But still not amazing. Then I got the album (signed by the band? Pff, signed by Archis!) and although the live DVD was kind of bland, like their Cambridge gig (I have high standards for Maxïmo), Calm was a revelation, and every track on the album bar Tanned (weirdly creepy) grew and grew on me, until I couldn't get the fucking thing out of my head all summer. And still love it despite that. Now I just need them to announce a secret gig at The Potland Arms, Cambridge, and tell only me and my mates and no kids with cameras...
But seriously, I thought 'Recording in the US? The producer of The Dreaming? This is not going to work'. But the synthey background, the spaced out keyboards and toned-down guitar sounds perfect for a more mature band, who I hope will only continue to improve from now on. And release some better singles.

2)Do we have a new best gig? I think we do. Stand up, Shane MacGowan and your new teeth! The Pogues' annual shindig in Brixton.
How much longer is he going to live?! Oh, comeon. He's so pickled by now, they'll be touring for years. And I now wish to go to each of those tours. It helped that I was numbed by enough alcohol and wearing sensible shoes so could hold my own at the front without being crushed against the barrier, and that the London Irish are very polite about short girls kicking their shins because they're being trodden on and can't see. And that anyone who was genuinely being a dick got removed pretty quickly. And that I got Guinness all over me. And that they played The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn. And Shane rememebered most of the words to most of the songs. And it was an absolute bloody riot where everyone on the last tube back sang Fairytale of New York. <3

1)Buying tickets to see Half Man Half Biscuit in 2010...
My new best gig ever? Looks set to be. I never thought I'd get to see them because they weren't leaving the Wirral and I wasn't going there, but altogether now: "FUCKIN' 'ELL! IT'S FRED TITMUS!"

Happy 2010 dudes.


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