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Apologies, apologies.

It’s been absolutely yonks since I shared anything on this blog. Consequently, I’ve picked up way too much music and given myself a bit of a backlog. Let’s do this quick fire.

I love this band. I love this band. I love this band. And this track, my God………it’s not for everyone and I’m a relative newcomer to them, but oh Bubblemath, you’ve made my year. Avoid That Eye Candy makes me want to jump up and down; not in a particularly rhythmic way, just the stupid House of Pain, dog on a leash sort of motion. What the hell happens to the drums at 0.36-38? How do the changes fit so well together? It’s genius.

 

Oh Yeah by Dutch Uncles. Label buddies of long time favourites Field Music, it’s a similar art poppy, catchy clever thing. A pleasantly surprising highlight of this year’s Glastonbury, the band’s latest album is undoubtedly worth a spin.

Speaking of long time favourites and somehow escaping my attention, Deerhoof’s contribution to 2016 was releasing two albums. Life Is Suffering is the band at its best: muddy grooves, DIY guitars and those signature vocals. Immerse and appreciate.

I first heard of Nickel Creek when I was maybe 15 years old, the virtuoso mandolin player gracing the front of my Guitarist magazine. I didn’t take my intrigue any further. Rekindling my interest only now, their last album, Dotted Line, is friggin’ great. Though there are a host of self penned country niceties, the cover of Mother Mother’s Hayloft is a real treat. It’s better than the original dare I say.

Another Glastonbury highlight, I don’t really need to say anything more about the great Thundercat. Just buy his latest album, Drunk.

I’ve outstayed my welcome. To leave with, the ‘technical sunshine instrumental offering of the year’ award goes to Chon. I uncomfortably listened to these guys at first, now I will unashamedly promote them to the hilt.  Here And There from this year’s album Homey brings the West Coast to your doorstep.

And that is what has been perpetrating my ear drums for the prior months. May it do the same to yours.

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This is it!

I’m a little bit drunk, which, to be honest, I hope I would be after having undergone an entire month of being dry. It was a pleasant period of time, one where even the vaguest remnant of alcohol was banished from my very being. However, here I am, about to splurge uninhibited; the shackles have been cast and I have an overwhelming feeling to wax lyrical about the greatness of the following music which has recently come to my attention.

 

I’ve already shared this EP release numerous times on the book of face, but I must preach about its greatness once more. In particular, the track Equations For A Falling Body by Monobody. I can’t get this bloody track out of my head. It literally starts as if you’re falling down the stairs; not at the stage of even thinking about beginning to topple over whilst stood at the apex, no no no, but head over heels, bowled over but yet to hit the first step. Whilst your body is crumpling at the impact of your frightful staircase episode, take a moment to listen to the interplay of the instruments: the guitar’s cascading nature, the piano’s stabs, the phenomenal drumming. Everything about the first thirty seconds of this song makes me want to hyperventilate.

 

1.34, what’s the piano doing? Wait, it’s stopped (1.42); tell a lie, we carry on. A change of direction at 1.58, the bass drum accentuating the forceful rhythmic beat. Oh Christ, what’s going on from 2.43? Computer game antics at 2.52 to 2.54. It rises, and rises, and rises, and rises further. The drums roll, the delayed guitar kicks in; I begin to have tears in my eyes at 3.41, at which point ‘buh buh, buh buh, buh buh’ signifies the perfect crescendo (the guitar lovingly maintaining the same note whilst the piano/bass have other ideas). And…….BOOM! You’ve reached a perfect circle, the intro replays to close on a flourish. And that ladies and gentlemen, is why I love music so. Its construction can take you places that no other form of art really dares to. A controversial statement perhaps, but I’m a mere mortal so give me a break.

Well, I’ve exhausted myself on the above. Let’s carry on with the rest of the grand music to reach my lugs.

Bueno by Morphine. If there’s one out of many, many a reason to start watching The Sopranos, this could be a clincher (if you forget the supreme acting and masterful storytelling). But in all seriousness, this is a dirty track that deserves your attention, driven by the inescapable fact that a sliding blues riff coupled with an abrasive sax and low end crooning digs its claws deep into your consciousness. Who needs guitar anyway?

Moving swiftly on, we have the dreamy tones of Lonnie Liston Smith. I think I heard this in the delicious Piebury Corner.  It was a most welcome accompaniment to my jerk chicken and porter pie.

And finally, where would life be without some Bach? To close, the ever lovely, ever elegant counterpoint of Concerto For Two Violins in D Minor: Vivace.

I’m going to be hungover this morning……………enjoy!

Hot damn

Occasionally, when I sit down and write this blog, I will feverishly type away about the music by attaching it to a relevant side story or angle with the faintest whiff of creativity. Alas, or perhaps luckily if you’re a half empty kind of person, this is not one of those times.  On this occasion, it is simply to alert the good folk who stumble upon my deliberations that there are a couple of VERY DECENT compilations out there that I’ve recently purchased. Perhaps you should think about doing the same.

bayfunk

These gems are respectively known as Bay Area Funk II and Street Sounds From The Bay Area: Music City Funk & Soul Grooves 1971-75. The key word here, is ‘ bay’.

In the red corner, representing Bay Area Funk II, we have Devil’s On The Run by Uptights Band. I mean, what more do you want? How can anyone with a curious mind and sane persona not get on with this punchy number? Intro? Bam! It’s right there before you’ve even had time to adjust. The dual guitar playing is something else, trading off sweetly picked lines with quick sliding chords to land on a chorus of fitting wah. Strangely, both guitars sit in the left channel, but it bloody works so who cares?

Tag teaming in, Stop Look Listen! by Primevil sits back in its groove while delivering raw vocals.

In the blue corner, we have Street Sounds From The Bay Area: Music City Funk & Soul Grooves 1971-75. Throwing a heavy right hook to the face, we have Stop Telling Me by The Two Things In One. Does the hyperlinked article even refer to the right band? That doesn’t matter. What does matter is the vocal melody over that uplifting chord progression, coupled with the breaks at 0.42 and 1.02.

Well, that should give you enough food for thought, if not your feet, for the time being.

Enjoy!

Everything eventually moves south

As I approach the ripe old age of thirty years on this planet, tiny molecules of doubt have started to fester in my psyche. They jostle around, largely ignored, but slowly come to the fore with each day that passes; the fear that I have begun my descent into middle age-dom, my musical tastes irreversibly damaged.

I suspect most young people hold this fear, the unknown date of when your brain becomes chemically unbalanced and you decide that tucking your t-shirt into your jeans is not only better looking, but wholly practical. The day that you decide you should wear hiking boots for every social occasion, rather than just when climbing a mountain. The day when you’d rather listen to the Archers than Gilles Peterson. In my case, deciding that early Rolo Tomassi is just a little bit over the top (what was I thinking in my younger days, my word!) and wouldn’t I rather listen to some placating Joe Bonnamassa?

Two events have recently spiked my self awareness of decrepitude. First off, I had the enjoyable experience of seeing my friend’s band, Mt. Wolf, play a set of their highly polished, superlunary music at Oslo this week. It was very much a ‘cool’ event, having appeared in Time Out as one of the week’s must see gigs. Now, I’m not saying I even belonged there in the first place (though I can’t remember a time when my street credit was this unbelievably high), but it did make me wonder at what point would I no longer fit into the crowd of fashionable youths.

The second event was the purchase of Theo Croker’s latest album, Escape Velocity. Upon sampling the sounds of Croker’s new release, I instantly had the uneasy feeling of whether this was on the cusp of funky lounge jazz………even writing ‘funky lounge jazz’ has just sent an unpleasant shiver down my spine. The kind of music that you inoffensively tap your foot to, enjoying the sensation of nothing breaking any boundaries.

Having listened to the album for an entire week, I have come to the conclusion that this is the right side of generic; a happy mover with a subtle gritty production. It sits back in the groove with interesting and brain imprinting melodies, encompassing electronica and world music, not fading into flavourless mush that I imagine horrible jazz funk would.

Not every track is a winner (It’s Gonna Be Alright is irksome) and some insipid elements creep in, but tunes Transcend (0.32-1.04), This Could Be (1.04-1.35), In Orbit (1.35-2.05), The Right Time (2.35-3.11) and Love From The Sun (6.00-6.30) really are bloody excellent. Unfortunately, I could only source the above album sampler, but I would recommend with no hesitations buying this album for a proper play through.

Perhaps no one will agree with my view of this album and I really have descended into my forties far too early. Perhaps ignorance is bliss.

Enjoy!

Windy mcbindy

Ah Chicago, you have thrown up something great yet again. Aside from Maps & Atlases, and Billy O’Neal, we now have Monobody.

monobody

It’s nimble, tricksy, and bloody infectious. Peppered with little funk melodies, jazz interludes, and what could be Jazz From Hell outtakes; we have a winner.

Enjoy!