• Don't Miss This! I and Love and You From The Avett Brothers

    21 sept. 2009, 17h08m par marissamiller

    It is due time for a post and you're in luck because you're going to love the new material! Avett Brothers are releasing "I and Love and You" on 9/29. If you haven't heard anything from the record ... it is time! The title track I and Love and You speaks for itself as it unfolds the strengths of The Avett Brothers. Bluegrass-country roots, soulful melodies, and harmonies that keep each listener hooked. Check it out and please, please, please let me know your thoughts!

    Listen Here:

    Order Here:

  • New Video - the Proximity of Death - online now

    22 sept. 2009, 18h38m par jordanReyne

    New video for the dark folk CD "How the Dead Live". Someone called this antipodean goth ;) and filmmaker Eloise Coveny has done an incredible job of catching New Zealands harsh but beautiful landscape. Thanks also to Mary McGreggor Reid of Blackrobin Design who plays History and Susannah simultaniously (she is a very clever woman!).

    Video directed, edited and produced by ELOISE COVENY
    Cinematography by MARC MATEO
    Susannah/History played by MARY MACGREGOR-REID
    Make-up by KERRY WALKER
    Post Production by AFTERGLOW FILMS
    Compositing by JONATHAN LAMB
    Photographed on CANON 5D MARK II DSLR
    Also thanks to PURE PRODUCTIONS for use of facilities
  • Bondy does it again!

    1 sept. 2009, 19h24m par gvda

    Today it's - after months of eager anticipation - finally September 1st: Download Day for the new album from A.A. Bondy - When The Devil's Loose.

    It's - again - a masterpiece. Even though I already heard four songs on it (free downloads and various live recordings from 'Mightiest of Guns', 'Oh The Vampyre', 'I Can See The Pines Are Dancing' and 'When The Devil's Loose' the album as a whole still took me by surprize.

    The really new tracks, the ones I heard for the first time today, are just as beautiful. 'A Slow Parade', 'To The Morning', 'False River', 'On The Moon', 'The Mercy Wheel', 'The Coal Hits The Fire' and 'All Rise': there isn't a weak song amongst them.

    For now I'm going to play it over and over again (just as I did every single day with American Hearts since I first got my hands on that album). Not because I want to be sure that it's a wonderfull record, but to be surprised again... and again... and again.

    By the way: this is what the man himself says about the album:

    It's 12:52 in the morning and I'm at a hotel in Springfield, Ohio.

    My new record is called When The Devil's Loose. To me it sounds like a radio washed ashore after a shipwreck. This whole thing started in upstate New York with snow on the ground. I got out of there, drove around the country for a bit and landed in Water Valley, Mississippi, where I kept working. The days grew longer and the snakes began to wake up. I ate catfish and walked around a lot. We got a lot of rain. The weeds grew at an alarming rate and we finished work one night under a red moon. My last record was called American Hearts. I know people that like it. Fat Possum Records put it out and is releasing When The Devils Loose. My brothers and my friends helped me record this new one. I'd like to thank them for that.

    This hotel may have been nice once.
  • Review: 'Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle' by Bill Callahan

    23 avr. 2009, 20h01m par cogwheeldogs

    This review was originally written for Heavy Soil

    Bill Callahan (once Smog/(Smog)) is one of the relatively few songwriters who'll actually make me think about his lyrics. Because his delivery is so refreshingly opaque, so stripped of interpretative clues, listening to his work often approaches a literary experience.

    That sounds fucking pretentious, doesn't it?

    But it's true. The vast, vast majority of artists ram their meaning (such as it is) squarely in your face. Even those whose lyrics may be obscure or surreal will commonly deliver their performances in a way which offers precious little emotional ambiguity.

    Bill Callahan is different. He performs as though he were reading poetry from a book, or covering someone else's songs. He does not presume, with his delivery, to govern the listener's response.

    This endows his music with several a massive integrity. And makes interpreting it something of an endeavour.

    ... Which means, I suspect, that this review – of his 13th album, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle – is going to be like a bloody essay. Good news, eh?

    Well, let's get started, shall we?

    'Eid Ma Clack Shaw' is the most intelligent song I've heard so far this year.

    All pert piano, sonorous horns and Eleanor Rigby strings, the song prepares us for the preoccupation of the record – the core to which so many of the songs may be nibbled down: coexistence of contradictory states. In Eid Ma Clack Shaw, it's dream-world and reality. The speaker dreams 'the perfect song / [that holds] all the answers' – the answers to his lonely desire to rid himself of memories (we presume of a departed lover). Waking, he 'scribbles it down' – but the words turn out to be incomprehensible.

    (We'll come back to this.)

    ... Meanwhile (Christ a-fucking-live) I can't remember the last time I found a line of song as moving as the climax of Too Many Birds: 'If you could only stop your heartbeat for one hearbeat', sings Callahan, dispassionate as ever. Except that's not how we first hear it. The line is stoically repeated, eked out:

    If you.
    If you could.
    If you could only ...'

    – and so on.

    As the line is painstakingly built and its meaning and emphasis shimmers and shifts, we witness the evolution of a beautiful melody, its character changing with each added word.

    There's something of TS Eliot in this. The way in which a simple device (in this case repetition) is deployed in such a way (in concert with achingly dispassionate delivery) as to apply an emotional mace to the belly.

    You're used to my grinding pretension, by now, I suppose – so you won't mind me illustrating my point with a quotation from the fucking excellent [that's a literary term] opening of Eliot's 'Ash Wednesday', will you?:

    'Because I do not hope to turn again
    Because I do not hope
    Because I do not hope to turn'

    ... Similar idea. Similar power.

    Grand, Beautiful, Metaphorical.

    And then there's the grand, beautiful metaphor that plays itself out across these songs. Like all good grand, beautiful metaphors, it is complex and not manifested outright. It doesn't govern the album, and it is not unambiguous. But it's all the better for that – and let's continue our jamboree of literary magpieism with a few lines from the wise and awesome Walt Whitman:

    'Do I contradict myself?
    Very well then I contradict myself,
    (I am large, I contain multitudes.)'

    Well put, Mr Whitman.

    So, with that in mind, I'm not about to elucidate what I take to be the grand, beautiful metaphor – except to say that the whole of the album flits around the push and pull of togetherness (horse & rider; flock of birds) versus independence (the eagle). Around the concept of belonging; of possession, fixity and ownership. But I don't want to start explicating and ascribing symbols (even those bracketed equations I've just made are jarringly black/white) ...

    And, in any case, the skill (and the magic) is not in the arraignment of neat symbols or allusions, but in their combination with one another and the shades of overlap and ambiguity. Take the song All Thoughts are Prey to Some Beast, which opens with the lines,

    'The leafless tree looked like a brain
    The birds within were all the thoughts and desires within me.'

    To this tree flies an eagle – causing the birds scatter – leaving the the eagle to alight, powerful, independent but alone – and ushering the song to its climax:

    'All thoughts are prey to some beast.
    Sweet desires and soft thoughts: return to me.'

    If we plod through this record as though we're dealing with simple metaphor/personification, we run into trouble. Where's Callahan in all this? What represents what? Tempting questions. But probably futile ones.

    Let's return, then, to this idea of coexistence.

    And let's think about the title of the record: Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle. In the context of 'All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast', that's clear enough. Independence and power (the eagle) are good; but togetherness is also good. Hence the desire that the contradictory states of independence and companionship be reconciled.

    But – like the gibberish refrain of 'Eid Ma Clack Shaw' – this only makes sense in a dream world. And the speaker is left trying to pull together fistfuls of air.

    The record's title, and the eagle's lament, and 'Eid Ma Clack Shaw' ... In all of these, there's the sense of Callahan the storyteller pushing together two repelling magnetic poles. Of straining at a metaphor or a narrative to try and make it contain and reconcile experience. Which it ultimately fails to do.

    So what's the answer?

    'I started telling the story without knowing the end', says the speaker of opening song Jim Cain. 'I used to be darker, then I got lighter, then I got dark again. And something too big to be seen was passing over and over me.'

    The record ends up hinging upon storytelling. Running in counterpoint to 'Eid Ma Clack Shaw' and 'Too Many Birds' – with their ultimately futile struggle for comprehension of and control over emotion – is the notion of control through rationalisation and narrative:

    'I looked all around
    And it was not written down
    I will always love you
    My friend'

    ... is the opening of 'My Friend'. And there's something very touching about this – the sense of liberation by which the song is buoyed – the empowerment of the simple declaration. It's no coincidence, I'd argue, that this is the record's most upbeat, straightforward song.

    ... And this in turn makes a sort of sense of the album's expansive final song – 'Faith / Void' – and its gently insistent repetition: 'It's time to put God away.'

    More than just a paean to atheism, isn't it a kind of epiphany? A realisation that there's not an external power to be found that will easily reconcile all contradictions, pull together all strands.

    God, in this sense, is just another image, another entity onto which the speaker (is it Callahan, by now?) may project – and through which he may imagine completion (or 'peace'). And the song is about retreating from the struggle for resolution or control or comprehension – in favour, perhaps, of simple (bittersweet) reflection.

    And it don't get much more Ash Wednesday than that.

    Yeah, anyway.

    What did I warn you? Like a bloody essay, I said. And that's what you got. Your fault for persevering, innit?

    So, to summarise: if you haven't bought an album yet this year, end your streak (you fucking streaker, you) with Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle. And if you have bought albums already this year, add this one to your shiny horde.

    Without any doubt at all, I say that this is the best album I have heard so far in 2009.

    Read the original review together with trial mp3s on Heavy Soil
  • 'Beware' by Bonnie Prince Billy. Light, perhaps, but not lite ...

    19 mars 2009, 21h37m par cogwheeldogs

    This is a copy of my review as published on Heavy Soil

    The Obligatory, Obliquely Self-Revelatory Anecdote Part

    When I was a nipper, I used to have singing lessons.

    And I was a fortunate nipper – to have been taught, successively, by two very pleasant singing teachers.

    The latter of these – the magnificent Nicholas Perfect (magnificent, hear ye, not merely in name) – once posed an insightful rhetorical question that has stayed with me: 'But don't you think it's so much easier to write an interesting sad song than an interesting happy one?'

    Remember that nugget of Perfect wisdom. It'll come up again later.

    The Long-Have-Been-My-Struggles, Difficult-And-Painful-Is-My-Task Part

    It's not particularly easy to review an artist such as Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (hereafter, 'BPB'). The last time I did so, I grappled with Ask Forgiveness – itself a tricksy wee album – and now I grapple with the newly-released Beware.

    Perhaps you've read a review or two already. Who knows? You might be into that kind of thing. If so, you'll perhaps have observed that early reactions have been subdued. Drowned in Sound's Alexander Tudor isn't keen, for instance, damning the album with a slightly-worse-than-mediocre 4/10.

    Straight off, I'm going to ask you to forget that (slightly smugly iconoclastic?) rating. No way is this album worth a paltry 4/10.

    Indeed – [Here, Heavy Soil pauses for its own interlude of smug self-reflexion] – this is why Heavy Soil avoids any kind of rating system. Because it's all too easy for a reviewer's score to be warped beyond recognition by the forces of his or her expectation. A rating system works, perhaps, for new or unknown artists, simply as a filter. But applied to a superb, versatile and seasoned musician such as Will Oldham (the human behind Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), a rating is something of a joke. We need to be nuanced, here.

    Beware is not I see a Darkness; not The Letting Go. It is considerably less dark (at least on the surface) than much of Oldham's work; more whimsical. It is also more lavish and expansive in its production. In these two respects, it moves away from what might be considered BPB heartlands – from the territory in which many of his fans may have cemented their raptness.

    So let's beware [a ha!] of measuring Beware against a scale extrapolated from BPB's earlier work. For the moment, at least. Let's consider it on its own merits.

    The Actually Talking About The Songs Part

    Opener 'Beware your only friend' strikes out with an exuberance that characterises many of these songs – and (again, typically) the sense of ensemble and musicianship is strong. The whole record is peppered with jubilant instrumentals (provided, of course, by BPB's intimidatingly distinguished and extensive array of collaborators) – and these are carefully, neatly, sensitively combined, thanks to fine, transparent production (the kind that's good enough seldom to be noticeable).

    So on 'You Don't Love Me', raucous fiddles swoop and peck, saw and squall; mandolins shimmer and accordians flutter on 'I Don't Belong To Anyone'. Meanwhile, 'Heart's Arms' opens with a wash of vibratoless fiddles and deep, buzzing, woodily resonant bass – but masterfully swells to a resounding series of fuller-textured climaxes, before ebbing away back to its original sparseness.

    A good many of these songs, I might add, have rather splendid middle-8s/C-sections. 'You Can't Hurt Me Now', for instance, suddenly breaks from its leisurely, countrified swing into an affectingly direct injunction to 'Do it now and not let someday / Get in the way'. In my characteristic, achingly pretentious manner, I couldn't help but be reminded of Lambert Strether in Henry James' brilliant (but long) novel The Ambassadors:

    'Live all you can – it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had?'

    Like Strether's impassioned outburst in the novel, its directness is striking in the light of what has gone before it – in James' novel, the mannered, restrained conversation of high society; in Oldham's song, the settled, predictable, conventional country swing.

    Indeed, I suppose this is actually a symptom of one of the record's most pronounced qualities: its organicism. Whether its in terms of their structure (BPB commonly eschews or adapts familiar verse-chorus-verse-chorus sequences), or the fluctuation of their instrumentation, these songs feel natural. They feel like a conversation between friends – led not by the conventions of polite discourse, but by the desire to communicate.

    This means that they develop in unpredictable yet uncontrived ways.

    Often, you'll be swept away by a flurry of unexpected key-shifts, or drawn in by a sudden dynamic change. Thus, whilst the form of many of these songs is more accessible than BPB's bleaker and more experimental earlier work, it does not follow that they are simpler.

    Want to hear what I'm blathering about?

    Listen to 'I Won't Ask Again'.

    Dig, first of all, that woozy, fluking fiddle line, and the way it subsides into the vocal entry. Then feel how the change begins at 0.57 with the unexpected, colourful move to minor (accompanied by the addition of the organ) ... is temporarily relaxed by the resolution at 1.10 ... before kicking into a beautiful change of key at 1.23, full of sunbathed backing vocals and flutes.

    This is songwriting with the harmonic deftness and nuance of the Beatles at their best. Notice how superbly judged are the swells of dynamic and instrumentation – how the music gathers pace, density and urgency to keep pace with the motion of the chords – so just as the song is moving into new grounds of harmony and key, so the instrumentation and tempo are subtly augmented to further the impression of movement.

    The Part Where He Seamlessly And Not Even Remotely Predictably Brings It All Back To The Anecdote From The Opening Part

    So this is where Mr Perfect's words re-echo in our ears. Crack on some reverb, so he sounds like Obi Wan Kanobi talking to Luke Skywalker, if you like:

    'Don't you think it's so much easier to write an interesting sad song than an interesting happy one?'

    I think you're right, Mr Perfect. And I think – for all its apparent breeziness and countrified charm – this is a pretty damn intelligent album; a pretty damn sensitive album; a pretty damn worthwhile album. And it would be a grievous mistake to follow the likes of Drowned in Sound in equating light with lite.

    (Heck, these days, it'd probably just be a mistake to follow Drowned in Sound, full stop. But I'll never learn.)

    All that said, however, I will – as promised – return to the subject of Beware in the context of BPB's earlier work. And I will say this: personally, I do not find it quite as engaging as 'I See A Darkness' &c. Personally.

    Somehow, these songs do not address me quite so directly, emblazon themselves quite so starkly upon my mind as I listen. There is that small degree of distance. A slight sensation of mutedness.

    Less powerful, perhaps.

    But I'd be very, very wary of saying less good.
  • [My Gang] This Mortal Coil – Another Day : Reco of the Week 27 Jan 09

    27 jan. 2009, 23h56m par Babs_05

    Track: Another Day
    Artist: Elizabeth Fraser for This Mortal Coil
    Album: It'll End in Tears, 4AD (1984)
    Tags: , , , , , ,
    Video: Click the pic...


    When I was at school, I got in the habit of borrowing cassette tapes from the library for 10p a week. I pretty much started at one end and worked my way across the shelves, nabbing new releases as they came in. This is how I heard what I consider to be a modern essential - This Mortal Coil - It'll End in Tears.

    It was the cover that caught my attention first. Have a look:

    What kind of music is all misty mysterious, punky and a bit old-fashioned at the same time?

    I can't remember my first listen but I can the next day. Maybe that was the first listen. It was a Sunday evening, already dark out, the lamps were on and the curtains drawn in our upstairs bedroom. My younger sister was in bed with a book, which was all she ever did at the time, and I was ironing my clothes in preparation for the week. I told her she had to listen to this and put the tape in. Bearing in mind it was a big deal for my sister to be parted from her books, I noticed her attention slowly shift away from the pages to the music. It couldn't have been a better setting.

    I had already heard Song to the Siren on Annie Nightingale's Radio One show, another one of those stopped-in-my-tracks-to-listen moments. The rest was new to me.

    This was roughly around the time of the release, 1984. The memory and the album have stayed with me all this time. It was years before I heard the subsequent two albums in the series, Filigree & Shadow and Blood, and by then, I was either travelling or at university, ie skint. By the time I did have the money to buy them, they weren't available in record shops any more. I had to wait till somebody invented eBay and I had a home computer and broadband before I could get hold of them. Happily, they haven't been remastered.

    I think I am not alone in my passion for this series of albums, this special mix of dark and light, goth and classical, rock, avant-garde and ambient. I think the people who have found them love them dearly. Or that's my impression.

    The video I have chosen is a trippy amateur homemade one using very basic special effects but whoever made it knew what they were doing. It's got the misty mysteriousness, clouds, otherworldly flora and is in perfect time with the music.

    I can't listen to Song to the Siren now, in the same way I can't listen to Ghosts by Japan. Sign of a true fan, is that. Another Day is also sung by Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins and is, in my opinion, a finer, more delicate song that sounds as good after decades of regular listening as on that first weekend.

    The original was by Roy Harper, a British folk singer, and appears on his album Flat Baroque and Berserk (1970), reissued in Aug 2008. You can hear it at YouTube here.

    From Wikipedia: Background - This Mortal Coil:

    The gothic dream pop collective This Mortal Coil was one of the most representative bands on the 4AD label, not least because they were run by 4AD president and co-founder Ivo Watts-Russell. Whether they played covers (of Watts-Russell's favorite artists) or originals, their material epitomized the haunting, ethereal sound that came to be associated with the label. Lush, swirling arrangements drenched in echo, reverb, and other effects were the project's stock-in-trade, often approaching ambient music. A rotating cast of vocalists and musicians supplied the sounds heard on record, all overseen by Watts-Russell and co-producer John Fryer.

    A studio entity only, the group started out as something of a 4AD all-star unit, but evolved into a way for Watts-Russell to collaborate with up-and-comers and other artists not signed to his label. Whoever was performing, the music was united by its gentle surges of melancholy and by Watts-Russell's highly influential aesthetic.

    From Amazon, user review:

    Cut to 1990. Some friends and I go to watch Ride play in Oxford. What was that intro music? Cut to a record shop in which I've just started working. A guy from The Grooveyard (of 'Czechoslavakian Moomin' non-fame) puts on a cd of This Mortal Coil's 'It'll end in Tears'. I am blown away- and pleased to find out the Ride intro music was Fyt. Cut to getting an advance on my meagre wages. Cut to getting home. To turning my stereo on. To pressing play. To listening to heaven.

    This is an album that I always come back to; personally I thought the follow-up albums were too long. There were some great moments: Late Night, Morning Glory, The Jeweller, The Lacemaker, You & Your Sister- but nothing as great as the whole here...The album begins on Kangaroo, from Big Star's heartbreaking Third / Sister Lovers. Was there ever a perfect line as "I first saw you/it was at a party"?. Martin McGarrick (Siouxsie and the Banshees; Therapy?; Marc and the Mambas) and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins; the producer of Billy Mackenzie's Beyond The Sun -as mindblowing an album as this) create a wonderful ambience for Gordon Sharp's vocal. It's not as good as the Big Star version...Song to the Siren is the famous one - used in adverts, (almost) used by David Lynch in 'Blue Velvet' (he couldn't afford it). Eventually used in 'Lost Highway' (though not on the soundtrack album) in one of its best scenes: whiteout headlights and a naked Patricia Arquette telling Bill Pullman he will never have her. Liz Fraser's vocal is as gorgeous as anything else she's done- Teardrop, Suckling the Mender, Aikea Guinea.It's written by Tim Buckley, from the wonderful Starsailor album- any chance of a reissue,Warners?..Howard Devoto, post-Magazine, sings a wonderful version of Third / Sister Lovers, Holocaust. Perfect...Fyt is a building ambient glory, fit to rank next to anything by Brian Eno, Steve Reich et al...Fond Affections is minimal-ballad, again sung by Gordon Sharp and leading to the Cocteau-barrage of Guthrie & Raymonde on instrumental The Last Ray. This builds to the return of Liz Fraser on Roy Harper's Another Day- I prefer this to Song to the Siren. Dead Can Dance vocalist Lisa Gerrard fuses with Ivo & Fryer for Waves Become Wings -as good as anything on The Serpent's Egg. Simon Raymonde joins her for Barramundi; while DCD partner Brendan Perry aids her on Dreams Made Flesh. This songs will move you towards A Passage in Time or the recent DCD box set...Not Me is from Colin Newman's post-Wire#1 (Pink Flag-154)album, A - Z- which also features the wonderful Alone, that is heard in 'Silence of the Lambs' and TMC perform on Filigree & Shadow. This is as close to rocking out as TMC get; Robbie Grey's vocals are VERY Colin Newman. A Single Wish is an original composition and brings a wonderful album to a conclusion. Add the awesome 23 Envelope cover and you have an album you cannot live without.

    This is the direction- rather than formless 'chill out' music (a very 1991 concept). As with the first Portishead album, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance- it's basically joss-sticks & shagging music. Oh, you're going to buy it now?

    Official Site: This Mortal Coil - Lyrics and Photos

    Another Day

    (Roy Harper)

    The kettle's on, the sun has gone, another day
    She offers me, Tibetan tea, on a flower tray
    She's at the door, she wants to score, she didn't means to say:
    "I loved you a long time ago
    Where the winds of forget-me-nots blow
    But I just couldn't let myself go
    Not knowing what on earth there is to know
    How I wish that I had, 'cause I feel so sad
    That I never had one of your children."
    From across the room, inside a tomb, a chance is waxed and waned
    The night is young, why are we so hung up in each other's chains?
    I must take her, and I must make her, while the dove domains
    And feel the juice run as she flies
    Run my wings under her sighs
    As the flames of eternity rise
    To lick us with the first born lash of dawn
    Oh really my dear, I can't see what we fear
    Standing here with ourselves in between us
    And at the door, we can't say more, than just another day
    And without a sound, I turn around, and I walk away

    Wikipedia: It'll End In Tears:

    It'll End in Tears was an album released in 1984 by 4AD using the name This Mortal Coil as an umbrella title for a loose grouping of guest musicians and vocalists brought together by label boss Ivo Watts-Russell. The album features many of the artists on the 4AD roster at the time of issue, including Dead Can Dance, as well as key post-punk figure Howard Devoto, who sang "Holocaust", one of two covers of songs from the "Sister/Lovers" album by Big Star to appear on the album. Two key songs were performed by Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins, including "Song to the Siren" by Tim Buckley; this was released as a single. Fraser also performed "Another Day" by Roy Harper, a track which has also been covered by Peter Gabriel as a duet with Kate Bush. 4AD would go on to release two further albums under the This Mortal Coil name: Filigree & Shadow (1986) and Blood (1991).

    Track Listing:

    1. Kangaroo (Alex Chilton) – 3:30
    2. Song to the Siren (Larry Beckett, Tim Buckley) – 3:30
    3. Holocaust (Chilton) – 3:38
    4. Fyt (Ivo Watts-Russell, John Fryer) – 4:23
    5. Fond Affections (Rema-Rema) – 3:50
    6. The Last Ray (Watts-Russell, Robin Guthrie, Simon Raymonde) – 4:08
    7. Another Day (Roy Harper) – 2:54
    8. Waves Become Wings (Lisa Gerrard) – 4:25
    9. Barramundi (Raymonde) – 3:56
    10. Dreams Made Flesh (Gerrard) – 3:48
    11. Not Me (Colin Newman) – 3:44
    12. A Single Wish (Gordon Sharp, Steven Young, Raymonde) – 2:26

    YouTube: Filmed in 1979, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel - Another Day. (brought a tear to my eye)

    Official Site: 4AD - This Mortal Coil

    I have taken over leadership of the group for This Mortal Coil and have added all the relevant artists to group connections. If anyone is missing, please do let me know.

    Babs My Gang

    Reco of the Week archives

    Admin - Stats as of today: listeners of this track - 8,268
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    Position in Last 7 Days: 2 / 224
    Position in Last 6 Months: 3 / 2,478

    Main Video
    Date Added: July 18, 2008
    Views: 2,950, Ratings: 20, Responses: 0, Comments: 15, Favourited: 53 times

    Roy Harper Video
    Date Added: September 15, 2007
    Views: 27,955, Ratings: 51, Responses: 0, Comments: 38, Favourited: 127 times

    Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush Video
    Date Added: May 02, 2007
    Views: 25,471, Ratings: n/a, Responses: 0, Comments: n/a, Favourited: 299 times

    Stats after 7 days: listeners of this track - 8,327
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    Main Video
    Date Added: July 18, 2008
    Views: 3,117, Ratings: 20, Responses: 0, Comments: 15, Favourited: 53 times

    Roy Harper Video
    Date Added: September 15, 2007
    Views: 28,578, Ratings: 54, Responses: 0, Comments: 39, Favourited: 129 times

    Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush Video
    Date Added: May 02, 2007
    Views: 25,813, Ratings: n/a, Responses: 0, Comments: n/a, Favourited: 303 times

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  • [My Gang] Music: The Next 10 Years, 2010 - 2020

    30 jan. 2009, 1h21m par Babs_05

    Continuing my series of speculative journals:
    Wonky Pop. Bahahaha
    Is Pop The New Avant-Garde?
    RIP Indie : 1982 - 2008

    It is fair to say the have been dominated by indie music. From The Strokes to The Libertines and Pete Doherty. From Oasis and The Foo Fighters all the way over to Goldfrapp, with a little wave from Bjork, as a genre exploded and scattered, each element evolving to form something new.

    Where in the past, we had tastemaker TV, in the form of Top of the Pops and CD:UK, to inform us and influence the mass market, in the 00s we had download culture and a total disregard for what the music industry wanted us to buy. The whole dynamic shifted. We had the internet at our disposal. We could do whatever we wanted, listen to whatever we wanted, when we wanted, and on an increasing number of platforms, thanks to ever cheaper digital technology.

    We slowly stopped socialising in clubs and started hanging out online. No longer the preserve of geeks and nerds, by the end of the 00s, if you don't have broadband and you are not online, if you don't at least use email, you are not in the loop.

    The music industry as it was collapsed. We destroyed it. The very idea that we should pay full price for an album we have only heard one track from became outlandish. It was an arrogance we were forced to accept for decades but now, we didn't have to. started up around the middle of the decade. Our mass tagging for the is a fair reflection of the last 10 years or so.

    Retro music became big news but, in my opinion, that was tied with celebrity culture and Amy Winehouse. The fascination lay with her, not retro music. The music industry tried to monetise what they thought was a new trend, spending a good year or two searching for the 'next Amy' and the best they came up with was Duffy, who pretty much destroyed the vibe before it got going with her one-note singing.

    Underground, we saw great strides in , from retro 80s Hercules & Love Affair to Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter and his ringtones album 24 Postcards in Full Colour, and music and from labels such as . We saw most of the new bedroom music come from this genre, Maps - We Can Create being a great example.

    music didn't really change, it just went back to skool. went abstract and underground. Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Daedelus. We got two big internet stars, Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen. Rock was sidelined, no one listened unless it had some elements.

    If people were complaining in the 90s that things were accelerating, in the 00s, acceleration was almost at breakneck speed, with trends barely lasting a season sometimes. Some trends arced over a number of years, but even they were forced to evolve to keep our dissipated attention. We stopped doing one thing at a time and got used to multi-tasking. Our attention became more divided once we got home from work or school, balancing demands from people around us, the television / radio, and the internet and email, with our mobile phones by our sides.

    In music, people started to just grab the tracks they wanted from albums. Listening to one whole album, in one sitting, became less and less attractive. Bands responded by creating album-albums, as opposed to albums containing a few great songs and the rest fillers, but fewer and fewer artists were rewarded for their efforts, notably Radiohead.

    Pop ... heh, you just missed my typo but it's so appropriate I'm going to use it... pop became poop. Having lost tastemaker TV, the only way the music industry thought they could get our attention was to morph with reality TV. So we had Pop Idol and the other one to deal with. Only a precious few actually hit the bigtime, notably Girls Aloud and Leona Lewis.

    As the decade comes to a close, we see a shift away from modern America / Western values in music to an embracing of musical styles from around the world and from history.

    So what of the next decade? 2010 - 2020? What can we reasonably expect? What can we predict already? What can we hope for?

    I listen to a lot of music, but even I can't listen to everything, time being a factor for one thing. If we are to look at future music trends, we need to also consider wider cultural factors, as well social, political and economic climates, and global and local trends.

    I'm opening the floor to you, my fellow Last.fmers. What do you see?

    In conversation somewhere else, I brainstormed the following: the future of the internet and increased broadband uptake. Cyberculture. Porno avatars. Erosion of morals and inhibitions in a bid to be noticed online. Then the opposite - the new prudes. 24/7 lifestyle. Flexibility - working at 3am, working from home or the park bench thanks to new gadgets and cheaper technology. That's if technology gets cheaper. Earth's resources plundered and precious metals getting more expensive. So we either recycle our tech or pay more in future. Mass dumbing down. Ever poorer education. Inability to concentrate on one thing. Divided attention. So a division in music - music that can be enjoyed in short bursts. Or slow music, 'old-fashioned', to be taken time over. If people have time. A whole hour dedicated to one activity a rare luxury.

    If artists are to do well in the next few years, they must be able to effectively use social networking sites and communicate with their listeners. Why? Because with rising mass unemployment, we can expect to see a surge in social networking, and everyone knows online advertising doesn't work. Artists must be personable and have warmth and humanity to keep listeners coming back. Communication must at least appear to be two-way between artist and listener. On the net, Radiohead lead the way. In, it has to be Pixieguts. Of course, there are artists we don't expect to connect with to such a degree, but this new angle will become the new norm.

    The current global recession will have an immediate impact on the early years of the next decade. With rising unemployment comes greater creativity. and were born out of the troubled times and recession of the end of the 70s / early 80s. We can reasonably expect to see more homemade music and it quickly becoming available to all online, especially via social network sites. Electronic has been the favoured medium until now, but with more time on their hands, it's not unreasonable to expect artists to pick up other instruments, continuing the trend so markedly brought to the fore by The Arcade Fire and Coldplay.

    The second half of the next decade is harder to see. It depends how well we recover from the global recession for a start. It also depends on us finding decent alternatives to energy because as things stand, if electricity becomes too expensive, we can kiss goodbye to sitting at our PCs all day, streaming music, downloading and file sharing. If things improve and we all feel happier again, we won't need pop, classic rock and electro-disco as much as we do right now. We can go back to being introspective and will be able to afford to wallow in something miserable, or deep and meaningful, for an hour or so.

    Where before it was quite easy to predict a return to a particular decade, it's not so straightforward now with no unifying medium to bring us all together. Instead, it might be helpful to look at how we use music in our lives. We always want dinner music, dance music, background music to shop by or drown out the neighbours and the city by. We always want music to relax to, seduce to, sleep and wake up to. We want music in our cars, on our mobile devices, and we want it cheaper or free. In amongst this almighty racket, we want music to think to, to inspire us, to mull over. We want music to mark out our groups, our social standing, maybe even our age. Sometimes we want a break from music we hear all the time and want to rest our ears on something different. These are all givens. We could see a rise in local collectives, such as The Arctic Circle and The Magpie's Nest. Local music for local people. Collectives create an opportunity for small performances aimed at target audiences, or just the local community. There is no need for great budgets for big concerts or extensive travelling, gigs take place in small venues that are cheap to hire. So far, they have been word of mouth, even online. Whether they catch your eye or not is down to sheer luck or serendipity.

    I think as in fashion, where we no longer have a single defining style we are all forced to adopt, the next decade might be a free-for-all, with us listeners grabbing what we want, whenever we feel like it. We will be less the victims of cynical marketing and more the consumers of music that resonates with us. It means musos will be in heaven and people who need a little guidance, who aren't so into music, will feel a little lost. They will most likely turn to tastemaker bloggers for ideas. The choices of bloggers will therefore become increasingly critical. We might see a shift away from official sites such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Stereogum to smaller, individual blogs run by real people with real opinions. They are already seen as more trustworthy. Mass marketing might try to fake it but hopefully, we will see through the ruse. And with the music industry having less influence on artists, we can expect to see more self-indulgence, more progressiveness across the genres. We can expect baroque prog pop and rock, as well as more jazz-influenced music.

    Far from an end to music as we know it, the collapse of the music industry in the 00s will free us to explore and we should see a rise in people enjoying music. It might just be we're not all listening to the one same thing.

    Babs My Gang

    PS: This is my 150th arcticle!

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  • [My Gang] Emily Barker - Unreasonable Dream, Christmas Night : Reco of the Week 16…

    16 déc. 2008, 23h55m par Babs_05

    Track: Unreasonable Dream, Christmas Night (unavailable in
    Artist: Emily Barker
    Album: That Fuzzy Feeling EP (Static Caravan records)
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    Listen here:

    If you have been watching the BBC's adaptation of Wallander with Kenneth Branagh, you might have enjoyed the song over the title sequence. The track is a version of Nostalgia, by Emily Barker. However, it is her contribution to the Arctic Circle's Christmas EP that I want to draw your attention to.

    Unreasonable Dream, Christmas Night is the meltiest loveliest Christmas song I have heard in a while and by far my favourite on the EP, which is doing well on UK radio already. It begins softly, sounding a little melancholy and bittersweet, gradually rising to a cheerful crescendo, and ends softly again.

    The unreasonable dream is a man wanting to be home at Christmas and not knowing if he'll be able to get there. The song describes his wish as he falls asleep on Christmas Eve and his decision to get home no matter what when he wakes on Christmas morning. The stomping, marching crescendo is him tromping through London streets all the cold, long day. The soft end is him arriving at the door, exhausted but happy, on Christmas night.

    With any luck, it will be uploaded here in sometime, so we can all tag it for our radios. In the meantime, be OCD like me and listen via Arctic Circle's MySpace (above), or better still, treat yourself to the EP which also features Josh Weller, Paloma Faith and Dale Grundle (The Sleeping Years).

    Emily Barker is a singer-songwriter from Bridgetown, Western Australia. From
    She first entered the UK music scene via the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2002 where she appeared with guitarist Rob Jackson (Boo Hewerdine’s guitarist). The success of this performance, lead them to form a band called the-low-country of which Emily was the songwriter and front person. They released 2 albums, played numerous Alt-country venues and festivals, and enjoyed several plays on John Peel’s show.

    Currently, Emily performs with The Red Clay Halo - Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo - (an all-female trio comprising cello, accordion and violin) with whom she has released one album called Photos. Fires. Fables. to much acclaim. She and the girls will release the eagerly anticipated follow up album called Despite the Snow in October 2008.

    Wishing everyone a merry Christmas!

    Babs My Gang

    Reco of the Week archives

    Admin - Stats as of today:


    No. of plays in MySpace - 84 listeners of this track - 5
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 17
    Position in Last 7 Days: 17 / 3
    Position in Last 6 Months: n/a

    Stats after 7 days:

    No. of plays in MySpace - 147 listeners of this track - 5
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 31
    Position in Last 7 Days: 17 / 3
    Position in Last 6 Months: n/a

    320 Unique Visitors
    372 Page Views

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  • [My Gang] Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Asleep on a Sixpence : Reco of the Week…

    9 déc. 2008, 23h55m par Babs_05

    Track: Asleep On A Sixpence (full track)
    Artist: Isobel Campbell, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
    Album: Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart EP (15 Dec 08)
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Sometimes, the only choice at Christmas is either Slade and Bing Crosby. If someone gives you a choice. Usually, people are so Christmas'd up, they're too excited to offer options. So it's either "It's Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaaas!!" yelled inches from your face, or crooning. Don't think if you stay at home you'll escape; someone will ring you.

    For those of us looking for something a little different, either to impress or, quite simply, a break, there are a few options out there. You will have already heard, or formed an opinion, on Coldplay's Christmas EP, Prospekt's March EP, which, far from being an afterthought, was a clever way of tapping into the Christmas market without asking people to pay full album price. Similarly, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan kept a few tracks back from their summer release, Sunday At Devil Dirt for their Christmas EP, Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart EP. It isn't available in the UK till next week, 15 December, but has all 6 tracks fully streamable, on demand, unlimited play and auto-advance for this promotional period.

    I came to this collaboration from the belle & sebastien route, so I was already used to Isobel Campbell's style of singing. Mark Lanegan was the revelation for me. He had me at Deus Ibi Est. I tend to focus on him when I listen to them, but from time to time, Isobel grabs my attention with her harmonies. I would say this project is more lovable than the sophisticated and polished Raising Sand, from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. I think there's more romance and wonder in Campbell/Lanegan. Certainly, Sunday at Devil Dirt sounded like they should get a room. The new EP sounds like they did and now it's breakfast-time.

    Someone in Amazon describes Asleep on a Sixpence best: "'Asleep On A Sixpence' is a cello and piano-led vagabond ballad that sounds like Tom Waits gatecrashing a Christmas carol concert, an effect evoked by the appropriation of `While Shepherd's Watch Their Flocks' as an outro." It's like a lullaby gone wrong. It would probably frighten the average toddler, sounding like the monster under the bed trying to be festive. But after years and years of "It's Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!!", it's heaven.

    There is one other EP I would recommend for Christmas. I'm trying very hard to get it uploaded in for you and have been begging and pleading on your behalf. It is The Arctic Circle That Fuzzy Feeling EP (various artists). I know it's already in iTunes and Boomkat and whatever the other usual digital download outlets are. If you're quick, you might be able to get a limited edition physical copy. You can listen to some tracks on their MySpace, but my favourite, the track I want to show you, isn't there. I hope it is for next week.

    Christmas doesn't get any cooler.

    Babs My Gang

    Reco of the Week archives

    Admin - Stats as of today: listeners of this track - 35
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 54
    Position in Last 7 Days: 54 / 11
    Position in Last 6 Months: 54 / 11

    Stats after 7 days: listeners of this track - 44
    No. of plays scrobbled in - 82
    Position in Last 7 Days: 43 / 16
    Position in Last 6 Months: n/a

    393 Unique Visitors
    465 Page Views

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  • Great Mark Sinnis review by Rebel Spirit Music

    16 nov. 2008, 17h59m par SINisterRex

    CD Review: Mark Sinnis – Into an Unhidden Future

    Taken at face value, ‘Into an Unhidden Future’ is an unquestionably fine country album offering from Mark Sinnis - a veteran of the New York music scene. Setting it apart from other generic western albums, however, is the gorgeous, gothic undertones that plague each of the album’s nineteen songs - something not done so well since Johnny Cash’s ‘American Recordings’ series. Sinnis’ enigmatic vocal incorporates the gritty hostility of Cash as well as the refined power of REM’s Michael Stipe culminating in an album of integrity and depth.

    Years of endeavour have rewarded Sinnis with an enviable talent for producing lyrics of resonance and ferocity. He writes with an inspiring sense of confidence on this record and messages of significance can be found in each of the wonderfully-arranged compositions. In ‘Waiting for the Train’ he shares feelings of despair and his desperate longing to be saved (Nightime, and I’m waiting for your call / I don’t care about the future, I see nothing there at all / I look back and wonder, wonder what for? / Don’t think about tomorrow there’s nothing there for me).

    A true master of emotive performance, Sinnis pummels his way through the beautiful ‘When the Sun Bows to the Moon’ highlighting a need for inner-strength in the face of personal adversity (Light, it falls down on my face / And it fills the frown / That I can’t replace / It holds me tight and it won’t let go / But you cannot fear what you can’t control).

    ‘Into an Unhidden Future’ is a demanding LP offering from Mark Sinnis, one that - by bravely fusing both Americana and Gothic influences - looks set to deservedly win scores of new fans across the country.