Thursday, February 18, 2010


2009 Music

A bit late to reminicise I suppose but I haven't reviewed the year thus far and thought this would be an opportunity to do so. 2009 probably saw me more current albums than I have done for a long while. Therefore I looked with interest at the press reviews or lists of the great albums released this year. In NMEs top 50, where you would have thought would parallel my own tastes there were just three albums I had bought in the list. Lily Allen, Bat For Lashes and Kasabian. Ok maybe I more in the magazines Mojo remit. No in their top 50 I had two. Bat For Lashes again and AC/DC. The Q magazine list was a similar story. Maybe classic rocks list is more my thing yet only The Answer, Band Of Skulls and Kiss were on their list despite great albums from Magnum, The Quireboys and Paramore that fall within the magazines remit. So none of my top five albums of last year made it into any of the music mags lists. Why? I don't have obscure taste just maybe I find decent artists that don't get the publicity. However, I do remember reading reviews of these in various places some of which were very positive, yet somehow they then disappear when refelcting. However, below are my top five in reverse order.

Five) Luke Haines - 21st Centruy Man. The frontman of the Autuers best solo work to date. The title track is an indie 'We Didn't Start The Fire', 'What A Rotter' is seventies glam, 'Surberban Morning' and 'Love Letter to London' would have made this a britpop classic had it been released fifteen years earlier, which Haines would have hated....
Four) Paramore - Brand New Eyes. Despite a teeny bop audience and being American, probably the best current rock band. The added bonus track of 'Decode', previously a stand alone single makes it even more fantastic.
Three) Jemina Pearl - Break It Up. Ok I've cheated here as it's only availiable on import. However, a more mature approach than her Be Your Own Pet stuff, topped off with a guest appearance by Iggy Pop on 'I Hate People'.
Two) The Lovely Eggs - If You Were Fruit. The most brillant Twee album with songs with titles like 'I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too' and 'Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordian?' which are as fanastic as they sound.
One) Sky Larkin - The Golden Spike. If there were any justice this Leeds trio would be selling out somewhere at least the size of Brixton. Sounding a little like a modern Sleeper, tracks Like Fossil I and Beeline are catchy, bouncy and intelligent.

2010 has already started for me with my purchase of the album by The Murder Of My Sweet. A Scandinavian goth metal band. Good stuff it is too.


Band Of Skulls, Garage 12.2.10

The future of Rock / Metal / Guitar based stuff is looking good. Band Of Skulls were headling in a series of gigs billed as HMVs Next Big Thing. Their set consisted entirely of their debut album 'Baby Darling Doll Face Honey' and it opened the same as their album with 'In The Light Of The Morning' 'Death by Diamonds And Pearls' and new single 'I Know What I Am'. The band are from Southampton and play scuzz blues rock and the vocals are shared between Russel Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson. This works exceptionally well where the vocal is shared as on Patterns where nothing is going to save you from the six six six. They encored and ended the set with 'Hollywood Bowl' leaving me with the impression I will be seeing this three piece again in a much bigger venue. No surprise they are hearlded not only by classic rock magazine but also crossing into NME territory who gave their album nine out of ten.


Scouting For Girls, Scala 10.2.10

Thursday night in Kings Cross for pop band Scouting For Girls. I say band although it is clearly run by singer and keyboardist Roy Stride. Everyone knows 'She's So Lovely' and the set opener here 'Elvis Aint Dead' but some of the album tracks are as equally catchy. I was pleased to here the ode to 'Michaela Strachan' who put the Wac in Wacaday and 'I Wish I Was James Bond' which was followed by a cover of 'Live & Let Die'. They played a couple of new songs too from a fothcoming album which they will be promoting in a May tour where they play Hammersmith, a venue much much bigger than this Kings Cross nightclub. Just under an hour and a half and a fun pop night out. Good for a band I had not previously seen anyway.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Let The Right One In

After rave reviews of the book and film I bought both the DVD and the book at the same time with the intention of reading the novel first. However, I found the book heavy going in places with three stories going on and you couldn't work out which character was saying what. I stopped halfway through and watched the film which was absolutely brillant. It's about an adolescent male who falls for a female of the same age but is a vampire and has been the same age for a long time. I then finished the book and was confused. Whereas the film is a straightforward boy girl love story, the book has the vampire turning out to be a adrogynous castrated male and is bogged down by paedophila issues that the screenplay quite rightly ignores. The film also ignores the obsession with the Kiss Destroyer album that the book loves. There is an american film version coming out next year (as there is with all great foreign subtitled films - Nikita, The Ring etc,) and it will be interesting to see what take they have on the story. Needless to say the film I love, the book not so much.
My next book is Matt Beaumont's follow up (after 11 years) to E, imaginatively titled E2!

Monday, February 08, 2010


Go West To Exeter

Now I know I have been appalling updating this blog and I have no excuses. So I have decided to update this not only for gigs but also when something else exciting happens in my life (just gigs the really!).
Went to Exeter for footie on Saturday. An ale pub called the Wellhouse Tavern by the cathedral was the first point of call. I plumped for the Torbay Gold ale (an ale drinker says you can't go too far wrong with an ale with the word gold in it) and it was surprisingly nice. The lager option was Peroni although there was a farmhouse cider at 9%! However, exiting the pub I took out my bean wrap from M&S to eat on the way to the next pub when I was mugged by two massively huge seagulls. Not much physical contact as they went straight for the wrap that was promptly dropped. Didn't bother about calling the police.
Two Saints (away) fans pubs followed, the unispiring Duke Of York and the Wells Tavern with two tatooed busty young barmaids. however, here I had to wait twelve minutes before being served as the bloke next to me ordered a round of over 25 pints amounting to just under £100.00! Had just enough time to have a could of halves in a place called the Bowling Green, a nice fullers pub, and The Horse & Dray, an irish pub and the only one showing the merseyside derby (on a dodgy egyptian channel). A young peroxide blonde was also perched at the bar here who I assume to be the daughter of the elderley lady who served me.
The game itslef wasn't much. St James Park is like a non-league ground where you'd expect Sutton to play. An open ended shallow terrace and a cut up muddy pitch. Saints played well first half but run out of ideas after Exeter equalised shortly after the break and a draw was probably a fair result as the play-offs get furtehr out of reach.
On the way back to St Davids there is a mega huge Wetherspoons near the station called The Imperial. A singular building on top of a hill that reminded of a rural Alexandra Palace. Typical wetherspoons clientele, old people and barely legal girls but due to its vastness it is probably better than your Sutton's Moon or Croydons George. A nice away trip which for some reason has become rarer this year (only doen Walsall outside of London before this, this season).
Anyway I will update this next time I have something to say, if not you can cover me in honey and call me Susan.


Rose Elinor Dougal, Flowerpot Kentish Town 3.2.10

First gig of the year and a free one too by the lovely Rose Elinor Dougal. Saw her six times last year so I am now very familar with her set. However, she has just announced a proper tour for May so i imagine her album 'Without Why' is now finished and due for release around then. Seeing an artist reguarly before they release stuff is good to see how the songs evolve and some of them are now getting a more 'commercial feel' that you can see closing an u.s. drama episode. Bit of a shame you lose that rawness, which is still present, in 'To The Sea'. However, one of the songs has now added chimes and others sound produced, I assume what the release will be like. Hopefully she'll release some demos to document her starting out. Opener 'Another Version of A Pop Song' was her first single played at the Queens Head 14 months ago hasn't changed much thankfully, nor has the sublime 'Come Away With Me'. Utterley gorgeous. For those who still haven't cheked her music out, check out the video to Stop Start Synvhro on youtube or her myspace.
Top part of this gig was a pole just behind Rose which she could have danced around. Shame she just hung off it the odd time!

Photos from Lorne Thomsons Flickr page. Good stuff there!

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