Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Holy Hell!

Radiohead have made a decent record!

Like many others, I sat in a virtual queue awaiting the arrival of "In Rainbows". Unlike most, I failed, gave up and waited a few days and got it off a friend of mine (don't worry, I've got the disc box on order as well).

Well to my amazed dazzlement, it's a ruddy good record. Properly defined tracks, an acoustic guitar, it's almost as good as "the Bends", well, not quite. However, it's certainly the most accomplished album since Kid A, frankly, as a massive Radiohead fan, Amnesiac and Hail to the Theif bored me to tears. God knows, what the "I like that one about Karma and the police and that one about the surprises" crowd, although I suspect that deep down, that was the plan.

"In Rainbows" has restored all but the tiniest fragment of my belief that right now, Radiohead are the most important band still recording on the planet. One has to question who else could covertly record/release an album in that manner and create the levels of fan hysteria or media interest and for the end product to be a refined and credible fills me with a warmness much as apple pie and custard on a rainy Saturday teatime does. "Today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen" croons Yorke at the end of "Videotape" which acts as a perfect epilogue to the album. Sentiments shared by many fans upon 1st listening of this.

Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Sex Pistols, who cares?

Rant time, my blogging chums.

Who the hell cares about the "Get the Sex Pistols to Number 1" campaign??

OK, so it seems odd that only 30 years ago the British crown was so weary about a band upsetting the Queen's Silver Jubilee, but it's hardly worth all the fuss. If you visit this blog there's a pretty high chance you also get your kicks from NME.com, in which case you'll be aware of their non-stop stories about so-and-so loving the hell out of Rotten, Vicious and co. Yup, pretty much anyone with anything to promote has jumped on the bandwagon; The Cribs, Kate Nash, Dave Grohl, Ian Brown, Razorlight and even good old Slash has rattled on about how amazing this would be. Really? A bunch of denial-ridden heroin addicts who can't play their instruments, can't sing and can't write a half-decent lyric and now can't afford to pay the bills are actually being encouraged to come out of the wilderness (or Reality T.V.)? Talk about looking backwards for no reason. OK, the Pistols had their time and begrudgingly, I'll admit they may have influenced the way this country has developed musically, after all we'd have no Babyshambles without them (OH NO!), but enough is enough. Plus, the self-congratulatory shite we'll have to put up with from the New Musical Express will be worse than if England win the Rugby next weekend.

I'm so against this campaign that as a mark of sheer fuckofficity, I'm providing a non official, 100% illegal download for you all. Enjoy, or preferably, dont.

Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Joanna Newsom at the Royal Albert Hall

Words cannot describe how it must feel for a musician to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. It is surely the pinnacle of any artist’s career however, of the lucky handful contemporary artists that do get to enjoy the grand old hall’s buzz, few show the overwhelmed gratitude and gratefulness that California ’s anti-folk heroine, Joanna Newsom exuded on Friday.

A special night was afoot and despite the best efforts of irrelevant 60s crusty folker Roy Harper to dampen proceedings by running through his self-indulgent, mind-numbing 1969 album “Stormcock” (which was closer to “Cock Storm” if truth be told).

Newsom herself seems to have chosen Harper specifically and refers to seeing him live ad-nauseum as being on e of the greatest moments of her life. Little does she know that a crowd of nearly 8000 people are thinking the same thing about seeing her.

On this night, Joanna Newsom is transcendent, her elfin figure perched daintily behind her harp as she regales us with allegorical tales riddled with simple lyricism and timely grace. In an industry so dominated by perfection, it is the little (and they are little) imperfections in Newsom’s show which makes her so endearing.

The performance tonight was spell-binding: Following the exemplary “Ys”, any live performance is going to be difficult and although her full orchestra shows earlier in the year were celebrated, it is the low-key (re)arrangement of this evening’s show which I find so delicate. Turning a Van Dyke Parks opus into a stripped down composition is near impossible, but Joanna and band do extremely well. Yet it is “Inflammatory Writ” from excellent debut “The Milk Eyed Mender” which strays furthest from the beaten path of the original converting a piano driven ditty into a harp and banjo propelled folk classic.

The populists in the audience will have left the show slightly irked by the lack of “Sadie” and that one from the advert “This Side of The Blue”. However, the rest of us go home thinking we’ve seen something truly special. Words cannot fairly put justice to this show. So in my best efforts, let me just comment that following this, all other music seems somewhat futile. On 28th September 2007, live music achieved perfection.

In case your appetite needs further whetting:

Joanna Newsom - Inflammatory Writ