Talk Talk - The Rainbow (from Spirit of Eden)
Donny Hathaway - The Ghetto (from Everything is Everything)
RSD - Pretty Bright Lights (from Dubstep Allstars Vol.6)
Burial - Unite (from Soul Jazz Records...Box Of Dub. Dubstep & Future Dub )
John Wayne - Call the Police (from King Jammy's Selector's Choice)
Solomon Burke - Maggie's Farm (from Maggie's Farm 7")
Dan Deacon - Red F (from Bromst)
Dalek - Ever Sombre (from Absence)
Fudge Tunnel - Sunshine of Your Love (from Hate Songs in E Minor)
Mountain*7 - for the person with nothing better to do
This is bonkers. Anyone any idea what station this is?
The Old Weird America
I've got a potential chat coming up with James Blackshaw - master guitarist and questing composer genius - and wanting to know more about the genesis of his playing style I've dug back into a bunch of old John Fahey lore. His is a fascinating (if bleak) tale, about which I'll try and get something more solid up soon. But for now, reaching back into Fahey's past as a folk and blues archivist, I've come across this fascinating site and epic project. Using Harry Smith's Folkway's Anthology, as a starting point (and the brilliant Greil Marcus phrase 'The Old Weird America' - taken from his Dylan book, The Invisible Republic) it utilises a post per track to branch out across the backpaths of the American folk and blues past. Each post (16 out of christ knows how many to come) comes with a well-researched collection of information and links plus a downloadable compilation. It's stuff like this that the internet was invented for, oh yes. Check out this site too - Wrath of the Grapevine - which explores similar themes - especially this huge post featuring six compilations on the roots of Fahey (the links are dead but reposted towards the bottom of the comments).
Download: John Fahey - Old Southern Medley
There's a lovely session from The Acorn over at the increasingly brilliant Daytrotter site. Go grab.
Album: Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues
Label: Song, by Toad
I've had this awful levitating nausea all week. I did have a heavy weekend, admittedly, but this has been something else, like my spinal fluid was rotten with outside influence. My toenails felt sick. It also manifested in this peculiar feeling that the lower half of my skull was made of mahogany - at times my neck was utterly frozen and it made me lurch uncontrollably. Christ. Curse those burgers I ate at Donington all those years ago... All of which is to say I've barely listened to anything for the best part of five days. Haven't been able to; haven't wanted to. A peculiar situation considering how generally sodden I am with music.
Well, this Meursault record was the first thing I came back to. Maybe it was the newgrown ears, but it sounded so fresh. I'd fallen for some of the tracks anyway, but the first thing I noticed on this listen was the production. It's resolutely lo-fi, but it has so much space and odd dynamics: different instruments rise to the top of the mix, and the lack of the curse of compression means you get coils of sound reaching out to you; Neil Pennycock's voice - a chameleonic thing of creaks and anguished cracked hosannas - sits behind the sound, at times merely another sonic frequency fighting for purchase then becoming a howling thing. Perhaps we're just inured to shit production these days but to hear emotion expressed sonically, instead of planted before you like an exhibit, seemed a real novelty.
Having said all that it's the songs that count - and they just keep coming. 'Salt Part 1', the album's opener sets the tone. It's built around what sounds like a backwards wheezing accordion line and a drum beat that goes from a flickering thing to an off beat thud. It slides into a squall of guitars and synths which gives way to 'Statues of Strangers' an acoustic vignette of quiet beauty. 'The Furnace', which follows, nearly trips over itself in on its onrush, the mandolin line working against a screed of oddly manipulated guitars. Some of which might suggest this is a noisy record, which I guess it is; but it's the melodies that live with you, that and Pennycock's plaintive wail.
I've heard The Postal Service mentioned many times in relation to Pissing on Bonfires... and the comparison is there for sure - there is the same poise and juddering upthrust; but for me a closer comparison is the bedroom symphonies of Matt Adam Hart, the one man librettist behind The Russian Futurists. This has the same otherworldliness, the same integrity and ambition.
All this and I've not even mentioned the best tracks, the buzzing joy of the title track that works against the wail of the lyrics ('I wont pine for you, I wont wait to be told to run), 'A Small Stretch of Land' that manages to sound beamed in and a traditional all at once...
To top it all, it's released by a truly independent label, set up by someone who believed in the record so much as to want to release it himself. I can see why.
So in praise of being able to hear clearly once more, I say go and buy the damn thing. It's a belter.
Download: Meursault - Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing with Tongues
Download: Meursault - A Small Stretch of Land
A live session for Song, by Toad.
We haven't had a ruined fairground on here for an age - and this is the ruined fairground that contains all others. If ever a metaphor outgrew itself and monstrously claimed that which it was used to describe then this is it. There isn't much else to say.
A flickr set of the abandoned Neverland fairground.
(spotted at Fantastic Journal)
I must get my shit together and buy this. For now it's book of the week on Radio 4. Sinclair, via Neil Pearson, sounds on fine form - closer than ever to the elusive alchemical mixture of poetry and prose. There's also some Miles in there to ease the passing.