The supposedly weekly column returns! I talk about what I’ve been upto throughout June and July, and bring you news of my brand new radio show. Plus top class new music from the Manic Street Preachers, Public Enemy, Temples, Beck. Classixx, Moby, MONEY, Gesaffelstein, Midimúm, Hot Chip, Kings Of Leon and the Owiny Sigoma Band. Then at the end of the column, more classics from 1995.
Greetings readers and congratulations for remembering that I am actually still supposed to be writing this regular (or slightly less regular of late) column. This is in fact the first RW/FF in over a month, although I have not managed to publish a full one since May 31st! Shockingly slack. Does the shortage of recent columns mean I’ve been listening to less great music? No, in fact the exact opposite.
Multiple factors have played a part in my recent break, including the fact that at the beginning of May I began a part time job beginning work at 4am six days a week, so my whole sleeping pattern and day to day routine has changed. Secondly there’s the major setback I suffered when my phone stopped working, a phone which contains pieces that I am writing for a book, some almost-completed articles and tracklists for some upcoming mixtapes. Worse still this phone is what I usually use for writing all of my material, since I do not have a computer or internet access at our flat. Instead I write all my articles, reviews and columns using a mobile blogging app and then publish it to the internet at my Mum’s house or sometimes at the library using wi-fi. At the moment I’m waiting till I can afford to get the phone fixed but I’m also hoping to buy a laptop soon, so all of this will be a hell of a lot easier. Of course many of you will have seen me still managing my usual Twitter and Facebook updates, but these don’t take the time and thought required for a column such as this. So this week’s column comes to you drafted on bits of paper, scribbled by myself throughout the week.
Not being able to write in my usual way has given me opportunities to spend the downtime listening to more new music to write about in future, and some of the stuff coming out over recent months has been awesome. I expect quite a few of you have heard some great new albums this year. But are you still listening to them one or two months later? Lots of people say that albums aren’t as great as they used to be. I think it’s because these people aren’t giving the albums in question a chance to grow on them, like music did in the pre-digital age. This is something which I am going into much greater detail about in my upcoming book, and I think that the internet and its choice and free availability of music has actually proved to be a negative thing in terms of music standing the test of time and meaning anything hugely significant to listeners.
What I’ve been doing lately is trying to balance out the discovery of new music whilst also remembering the other records that I have enjoyed this year. In the pre-digital age we had to buy albums in order to hear them, unless someone you knew had a copy. When you listened to that album for the first time, you’d WANT it to be great because you’d just spent money on it, so if you didn’t instantly love all of it first time, you’d play it more and soon the music would grow on you, revealing its brilliance over repeated listens and embedding itself into your day-to-day life. We couldn’t just go on the internet and instantly listen to an album for free. Sometime you will check out an album, not warm to it immediately and then move on to the next new release, before doing the same again and again. Years ago we had to make the best out of the music we already had, we valued it more and we gave it more time. I feel we’ve lost that, and it has led a lot of people (sometimes including myself) to take it for granted. Time for that to change. Of course don’t limit yourself to a tiny amount of new stuff and repeat things till you get sick of them, but remember to listen to something more than a couple of times before you make up your mind. Employ a healthy balance by focusing on the best of the new as well as giving plays to the recently-released albums and singles you’ve enjoyed the most, and they will soon sound as special and significant to you as music did back in the pre-internet days.
So with that in mind, throughout June and July I have been paying special attention to superb records such as Primal Scream‘s ‘More Light’, Jagwar Ma‘s ‘Howlin’ and ‘Silence Yourself’, the thrilling debut from Savages. As well as those, there have been a whole host of singles as well as odd tracks from various releases that I round-up and turn into top class compilations. As a member of the press I get most of these free, but you can get them easily and cheaply as digital downloads if you don’t want to shell out on the full releases. Don’t just stream them for a while and forget about them, BUY them, turn them into a compilation when you have a CD’s worth, and those songs are still able to wow you in years to come when you haven’t heard them for ages.
Here are some brilliant tracks from the last few weeks or so, perhaps I will talk about these more in next week’s column when there isn’t so much to catch up on…
Manic Street Preachers – Show Me The Wonder
Oh yes, my beloved Manics have returned and are sounding magnificent. Unlike on the previous album, they’ve finally stopped trying to remake ‘A Design For Life’. OF COURSE we’d love another big anthem like it, but magic like that cannot be forced. You can’t just DECIDE to write an all time classic. So instead of trying to recreate their old glories, they are moving forwards and creating new glories, although in a more creative sense than a commercial one. Rousing brass lifts this lovely track even higher, as smiles are born out a joyously playful melody coupled with a touch of humble sadness. Their 11th studio album ‘Rewind The Film’ is out in September. SO good to have them back.
Gesaffelstein – Pursuit
Fearsome tune, absolutely heavy with darkness. Sounds a bit like DAF, which is never a bad thing….
Midimúm – Junk Beach (Original)
The ‘Last Minute Version’ was featured in this column a few weeks back, here is the glorious full length one. One of the summer’s finest musical moments I think, sounding stunning on a blazing hot day. Like a dance anthem back when dance anthems were good.
Temples – Colours To Life
Now this keeps sounding more and more massive every time I set ears on it. Discovered this lot a few months ago on a great CD that came with MOJO magazine. Sky high, powerful and truly mesmerising brilliance. Cannot wait for the debut album.
Beck – I Won’t Be Long
The most beautiful piece of music that Beck has uncovered for a long time. Here is an edit, but seek out the 15 minute version which features former Sonic Youth legend Kim Gordon on backing vocals…
Classixx – All You’re Waiting For (feat Nancy Whang)
On Facebook I am a member of PSL, a group made up of people who used to read Planet Sound, the old music pages on Channel 4 Teletext. In a special ‘new music’ thread I started, a fellow group member made me aware of this piece of electro-pop genius that recalls classic Human League amongst other stuff. Heard another track from them on Lauren Laverne’s 6Music show a few weeks ago, so will be investigating their album soon.
Hot Chip – Dark And Stormy
As a BBC 6Music listener, I’ve certainly been aware of this band for a long time, since they have enjoyed a lot of airplay on the station. However up until now I haven’t liked anything they’ve done, viewing them as a bit overrated, frankly. But with this single they have well and truly proved themselves and have deservedly won my respect.
Kings Of Leon – Supersoaker
Well, this was a surprise. I loved this band’s 2003 debut, but haven’t really been keen on much of what they’ve released since. So I certainly didn’t have high expectations for this new song of theirs. Turns out it’s a cracker, with an utterly charming melody and signs that point towards a return-to-form. Or maybe it’s a one-off and the rest of the new album will be shit. We’ll see…
Moby – A Case For Shame (feat Cold Specks)
An artist who I have gradually warmed to over the years, as my tastes have expanded and my mind has opened. Ghostly, classy and a fine taster for the forthcoming album ‘Innocents’.
MONEY – Bluebell Fields
All I know so far about this group: Manchester band. Absolutely wonderful track. Will be keeping a close eye out for more in the future….
Owiny Sigoma Band – Harpoon Land
Sizzling sunshine tune that I’ve been hearing lately on 6Music. Short and so, so cool.
Public Enemy – Get Up Stand Up (feat Brother Ali)
Best tune they’ve pulled out the bag in years! Downloadable for free here http://bundles.bittorrent.com/public-enemy/
After over a year away from presenting radio shows, I have recently returned to the airwaves, or should I say the online airwaves. Following the launch of my local station Melksham Town Sound, I decided to join the team and bring with me my own unique brand of musical wonder… In simpler terms I mean I now have my own radio show, a show that subverts all normality for two hours of whatever the hell I feel like playing. Better still, this is on a station where the listeners are used to Top 40 chart hits and (to them) more familiar things. Sod that, I’m there to open up their minds and ears with some interesting music. Some people tuned in on Monday night expecting to perhaps hear some JLS or Ed Sheeran and instead what they got was a ferocious blast of ‘Sir William Wray’ by The Fall, Mark E Smith‘s abrasive growl tearing through their ears like a knife. Things like this please me.
My show, The BPS Broadcast is on LIVE (yes, live) on Mondays from 5pm till 7pm. As you’d expect lots of great new music, as well as lots of treasures from the past and the classics. Go to http://www.melkshamtownsound.co.uk/ and if you can’t get their media player to work, then just click this link HERE to listen live. On Monday nights that is.
So what else have I been upto throughout June and July while this column has been on a temporary break? Here’s a few things I zapped across the internet via my Twitter page throughout June 2013…
14th June – “Glad to hear @liamgallagher has changed his mind about going on the shitty X Factor. He’s going on The Voice instead. Not QUITE as bad… But it is very sad when one of our greatest icons says it’s been his “lifelong ambition” to go on a karaoke show that’s been on TV for 2 years…”
20th June – “i am getting VERY impatient. where the fuck is my Jagwar Ma album? I only ordered it online so i DIDN’T have to wait weeks for it… Do vinyl copies of the @JagwarMa album actually exist or is this some sort of cruel tease? Last time i EVER use mail order if i can help it”…
(After being told the vinyl version wasn’t out for another 3 weeks) “i wish certain online shops would tell me things like that before taking my money! not one mention of the delay… i want mine to hurry the fuck up! Mp3 just isn’t good enough for those of us with working ears…”
23rd June – “Currently listening to Delakota‘s ‘One Love’ album. Awesome record. Who else remembers Delakota?”
“Not many stalls today at the car boot sale due to weather, but getting a John Coltrane live album on vinyl for 50p was worth the visit”
24th June – “As usual the @NME are giving us important cutting edge music news. “Justin Bieber forces private plane to wait 8 hours for his pet monkey”…” “@NME Wow. “First for music news” eh? Well done, you must be so fucking proud of yourselves. Great journalism.”
“No 🙁 Bobby Blue Bland has died. RIP @BobbyBlueBland” (Note: this was considered by the NME to be less of a headline than the Bieber monkey story).
25th June – “Amazing track from the great Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland who died yesterday. ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMAJrREHQw4 … RIP”
27th June – “Wow. He’s gone up in the world… Pete Doherty planning to sell cigarette butts smoked by Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse http://www.nme.com/news/babyshambles/71052#DAJWfDlZXUeGLihR.99″
DanteBanks: “Think we can close the book on which famous person will die during @GlastoFest :o( Mrscottmusic: “@Dante_Banks @GlastoFest – Probably Dizzee Rascal on Friday afternoon if his songs are anything to go by. :)” DanteBanks: “@mrscottmusic @GlastoFest TOTALLY Agree there. At the Muse gig he said died on his arse…”
“My Vitriol are back together! How did i not klnow this news @NME??? You’ve failed music fans AGAIN! Enough Bieber, more musicians…”
@BBClamacqshow: “#nowplaying @lordemusic who is 16 year old singer-songwriter Ella from New Zealand. Tell us what you think and be part of #Roundtable” Mrscottmusic: “@BBClamacqshow @lordemusic that was terrible. Please don’t play it at us again…”
“I hope all the people moaning about the lack of good music on TV make the most of Glasto on the BBC this weekend! @BBC6Music”
28th June – “No RW/FF column this week due to continued busy-ness. Enjoy Glastonbury folks. I’ll be experiencing it on TV as usual with @laurenlaverne and the rest of em”
NME: “It’s hours til the music starts @ #glastonbury Keep checking here…” (at 10:56am) mrscottmusic: “@NME so @Beady_Eye aren’t classed as music anymore then? Theyre on in 4 minutes!” “My homebound Glasto has started earlier than expected thanks to @bbc6music with a live set from Peace. Sounding good…”
“Portishead at Glasto truly brilliant. Also because im watching delayed tv coverage, they’ve been the headliner for me, last band on”
29th June – RocketRecording: “Two storming sets by Goat at @GlastoFest yesterday!!! Apparently was on telly too!!! Who saw it?” mrscottmusic “@RocketRecording @GlastoFest I did and it was glorious. Good to see the bbc showing interesting stuff rather than just big name acts…”
“@BBC6Music @bbcglasto I hope some better artists get as much coverage as The Vaccines. They’re a sloppy live band…”
“Fatoumata Diawara backstage performance incredible. Different language yet you can feel all that REAL emotion. #glastotv”… “BBC should give more coverage to world music, incredible Malian artists make a lot of western music seem commercial, soulless and pointless…”
“Glasto so far today: Noah And The Whale a crime against excitement. Elvis Costello reliably fantastic. Haim I still don’t see the appeal…”
“Sucks that bbc3 choose to show Two Door Cinema Club instead of the legendary Primal Scream. Why?”… “I’m aware that bbc2 will show Primal Scream highlights later but why not show the set live from 9 till 11 instead of panel shows?”
June 30th – “Saturday night Glastonbury: Rudimental = shite. Ben Howard dull and average. Example impressive. The Strypes pub standard #glastobbc”
“Saturday night Glastonbury: a white guy singing bad and unimaginative Oasis cover in a rastafarian accent? oh that was @MaverickSabre“
“Saturday night Glastonbury: Savages brilliant. Rodriguez disappointing. Primal Scream superb. Rolling Stones old yet timeless. #glastobbc”… “My top Glastonbury moments (on TV): 1. Primal Scream 2. Portishead 3. Django Django 4. Savages 5. Bobby Womack 6. Goat 7. Chic 8. Arctic Monkeys“
“By the way my top Glasto moments only include what i saw on TV. LOADS left to watch on the iPlayer! http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ej58q9/performances/lg49mb …”
2nd July – “@JagwarMa @_sounditout AT LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD THE VINYL IS FINALLY OUT!”…
Those were my highlights of June 2013 in tweets, ignoring my birthday. Some of the things I tweeted throughout July will be coming next week in part two of this “update”.
Some of you may wonder what the “RW” part of RW/FF means. Well it means “rewind”, which is something I usually do in the second half of the column. Since the beginning of the year I have been reminiscing about my musical life and the journey in sound I have been on throughout the years. Before my little break I’d reached up to 1995, a truly wonderful year that I was lucky enough to be around for. If you go HERE you will find a list of all previous RW/FF columns, start from #1 and begin reading the story. HOPEFULLY (and I say that with fingers crossed) I will continue my journey through 1995 next week, until then here are some more classic tracks from that year…
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.