what we’ve been liking round these parts:
I’m loving Compliments, the first track off the new Band Of Horses record. Their last album, Cease To Begin, came recommended by my friend Andy Kelly and rapidly took up position like those stealth rock’n’roll records that you find yourself endlessly playing after approaching with zero knowledge or expectations. It’s a pure power-pop blast of summer sun whatever the weather, whatever colour the sky might be. Compliments delivers the same kind of rush. Early words are gushing on the new album. I can’t wait. Sweet video on their site too.
Bit late to Miracles of Life by JG Ballard but happy to say it really is as good as everyone says. Written under the long charcoal shadows of terminal cancer, Ballard’s autobiography is a thing of wonder. By rights he should be a miserable soul. This book proves that it’s possible to retain a glass half full mentality when dealt some rotten cards. Wonderful, essential.
The Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy version of the new Hot Chip single really is bloody brilliant. (listen here)
The Office: An American Workplace. Proving the Americans can – once in a blue moon – take one of our ideas, hone it, sharpen the edges and sell it back to us utterly perfected. Just gunned series 5, it’s staggeringly good.
If the choices listed above seem unduly positive, it’s probably because my first child was born on March 31st. I won’t be the first person to rant and rave about the overwhelming flood of love one faces at childbirth and I certainly won’t be the last. Safe to say, Pip Eira Hanny Turner has truly spun my head 360 degrees and then off its axis these last few days. Promise I won’t get this soppy ever again.
‘Provided You Don’t Kiss Me – 20 Years With Brian Clough’ Duncan Hamilton
I read David Peace’s novel ‘Damned Utd’ and the film that followed which gave a wonderful fictional account of Brian Clough’s time at Leeds Utd. They were both brilliant, but I think I found this book more fulfilling. Written by a journalist who spent the bulk of his early working life covering Nottingham Forest, you get a real feel for how Cloughie operated, his genius and his shortcomings. As he slowly declines into alcoholism and the results falter, you squirm with Hamilton as he uncomfortably recounts the tragic events.
‘Technique’ New Order (Factory): I’m enjoying randomly picking albums and listening to them from start to finish. An anti shuffle, respect the artist, type of approach. Radiohead would approve, although I don’t own their records. New Order are a great band. Technique is fantastic. A dance record that doesn’t require dancing. Electronic before TV used generic beats as a soundbed. I recommend digging it out. I think Jeff may have done the press when Bez knew him as, ‘Foxhead.’
‘The Shadow Of An Empire’ Fionn Regan (Heavenly): This is on our record label so I must declare a vested interest. With that out of the way, its a great rock and roll record from start to finish. Brilliant, intelligent lyrics. Great music, great haircut. Have a listen
Iphone 3gs: I’ve resisted the iphone for ages. I don’t use a Mac. Substance and economy over style when it comes to my choice of computer. However, it would be remiss of me not to sing the praises of the new iphone. I talk into it and it calls people. I speak to it and it searches google. I put it on my pool table and it tells me whether its level. That’s before all the boring stuff that it does, replacing not only my phone, but palm pilot and ipod. I know you’ve probably all got one, but my God, our generation is experiencing wonderful technological innovation. And it was a free upgrade.
Chesscube.com:Not for everyone this. I happen to have loved chess as a kid and recently started playing again. This site allows you to play any speed of game, for free, with people all over the world. Simple to use and fun. Just log in and there are 1000s of people wanting a game. The only downside is being beaten by kids who use what I believe are called ’emoticons’ to laugh when they win.
Marcus Coates – Dawn Chorus / Shamanism. Milton Keynes gallery.
This guy is totally new to me. Ceri Levy got me up to see the exhibition and I loved it. The guy is brilliant. Very funny. Very serious. Made me think of Bill Drummond. Still trying to work out why exactly. Ceri’s got him booked for ‘The Bird Effect’ at Port Eliot.
Lots of records;
Chub 5.15 (Dorset Stour)
Tracey Thorn – ‘Love & it’s Opposites’ LP (Strange Feeling)
Paul Weller – ‘Wake Up The Nation’ LP (Island)
‘Elektronische Musik – Experimental German Rock & Electronic Musik 1972 – 83’ (Soul Jazz) Mind-blowing stuff.
‘I Smell A Rat – Early Black Rock ‘n’ Roll vol 2 1949 – 1959’ (Trikont)
Ten City – ‘One Kiss Will Make It Better’ (Atlantic 12”)
Marcel King – ‘Keep on Dancing’ (Factory 12″)
Alex Chilton – ‘Bangkok’ (Fun 7”)
Blind Blake & The Royal Victoria Hotel Calypsos – ‘John B. Sail (wreck of the john b.)’ (Thanks Andrew)
02 Blind Blake-John B. Sail (Wreck Of The John B.)
Charles Steinbeck – ‘Travels With Charlie’
Jude Rogers – ‘Lines Made by Walking’ (CBTR)
Luke Jennings – ‘Blood Knots – of fathers, friendship & fishing’ (Atlantic)
Andrew Greig – ‘At The Loch of the Green Corrie’ (Quercus) A brilliant book. A memoir that initially appears to be a quest to fulfill the last wish of a highly regarded friend and inspiration ( “I should like you to fish for me at The Loch of the Green Corrie”) unexpectedly turns out to be a memorial to many fallen friends. I can’t think of any other books that take in Himalayan mountain climbing, Joe Boyd and Witchseason Productions, the lives of highland poets and the ‘Kiss My Sweet’ coffee bar in mid ’70’s San Francisco.
“It is not just the dead that accompany us through life; certain places come too. The Loch of the Green Corrie had become my Rorschach blob, my oracle, my revelation, it’s meaning expanding like rings after the fish had gone”. A travelogue of the soul. With fishing.