25 October 2004

A thought for the foolish, a word for the wise.

Last night I hit the pub with my pal the Osh, met a couple of cool art girls, and enjoyed a couple of pints and a hot port. Full of free radicals after having spent much of the morning working out.

Some furthur thoughts on what I listened to last night:

The ugly and the beautiful - The Real Tuesday Weld

"But... but it's the same chords as She's Electric by Oasis!" Ha ha. This isn't a bad song at all, and soon outgrows that unfortunate little similarity.

River of Orchids - XTC

XTC had been away for years, and then reappeared with Apple Venus and this. Not the sound diehard fans would have expected, but this has everything that's good about XTC. Partridge and Moulding take it in turns to sing: "I heard the dandelions roar in Picadilly Circus!"

Takin' My Time - Little Feat

From the first, uh, 'eponymous' album, when they had Roy Estrada from the Mothers playing bass. Plenty of promise, and good strong playing, but not very well produced, and Lowell George has yet to come into his own. This is an agreeable enough piano-and-strings ballad with Bill Payne to the fore.

Sorry For Laughing - Josef K

From Postcard Records, the Sound of Young Scotland... This is a classic, because it sums up a certain giddy enthusiasm, because it's of a time, and because it is one quite glorious racket. If Cole Porter had bought a cheap electric guitar and joined a garage band, he might have sounded like this, great mixture of the winsome, the louche and the completely bonkers. Given the euro-dance treatment by Propaganda a couple of years later.

The Stars of Track and Field - Belle And Sebastian

By a nifty bit of random-play technological serendipity, more fine chords from Caledonia. It took me a while to get into B&S but I'm glad I did now. Tuneful, memorable, and plenty of Scottish wit to temper the dippy bits.

King Harvest - The Band

As Harry Smith would have said, RURAL LABOR FLUMMOXED BY POLIT BOSSES. NOSTALGIA FOR SIMPLER TIMES; SYNDICALISM FAILS TO ASSUAGE. Not regarded as a high point of the Band's repertoire, it's one of those self-conscious 'portrait of Americana' things that Robertson was fond of writing; different voices evoke different characters and states of mind. They'd done this sort of thing better, but I still like this quite a bit.

Amazing Grace - Aretha Franklin

Play this on Sunday, so you don't have to go to church. Sixteen minutes of searing, soul-drenched gospel. Not just The First Lady herself, but the whole Southern California Community Choir sound fine on this. I'm sure the man upstairs approves.

Photographs And Memories - Jim Croce

I love the guitar intro to this one, and the arrangement is pretty and unforced; a bit too cloying in places. Croce does ballads very well, even minor ones like this; on balance it would have been better without all the sugar sprinkled on top.

Terrorized - The Posies

Who cares about having 1,000 odd songs in your pocket? All I want is a box that plays this, all the time, forever. It's beautiful and heartbreaking and one of my favourites and no, I don't know why.

Genesis - Me & Sarah Jane

From Three Sides Live. Pretty forgettable, way too fussy to engage the interest. Bring back the loony in the flower costume.

Happy Ever After - Shack

Michael Head knows how to write (and arrange) a melodic, tuneful ballad that tugs the heartstrings without tipping over into too much gooey stuff. It's from ...here's Tom with the weather, which I prefer to its predecessor, HMS Fable. But why is New York, New York such a wonderful town?

Since I Met You - Shack

Something to do with people pulling plastic guns and shop assistants twitching, but the chorus is classic and the Head Brothers as usual fail to disappoint, even if this isn't the most focussed number from The Fable Sessions.

Dead Disnee - EL-P

If you've heard El-P you know what to expect - deranged beats and disturbing noises, scattershot vocals, all stirred together in a soup of hip-hop cacotopia. The falsetto chant of the title scares the shit out of me. Does exactly wot it sez on the tin, then.

Critical Mass - Teenage Fanclub

Don't know if the Fannies ever heard of Dublin band The Stars Of Heaven, but they sound close to them on this one. They're starting to come into their own in terms of writing, and Critical Mass has one of those great circular guitar riffs that were to become TFC's stock-in-trade. The vocals sound very diffident, buried and shoegazey.

Gypsy Woman - Tim Buckley

Fifteen minutes of suede-fringed blue-eyed funk from Live At The Troubadour, near the end of his career. Great jamming and some white-hot singing.

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