Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's Christmas time. Be afraid.

Merry Christmas!

And, many apologies to those less than avid readers of this less than average site, for my tardiness regarding the maintenance/governance/effluence of this music etc blog.

So, then, gentle, accursed reader, why should you feel compelled to be similarly cursed to read this hastily, poorly assembled thing?

Well, it's got MUSIC in it!  

Of course, I don't mean the music that you see on the television, hear on the radio or eat on your computers.

I mean, well, this...

 And this... 

And maybe this...

Definitely this...

Lastly this...

In a return to monstrous form Aphex Twin and Locsil both released fantabulous records - music that ran the gamut from danceteriaeria to sit down, listen, shut the fuck up.

Also: Dan and Letha Rodman Melchior, Flying Lotus, Cut Chemist, The Weather Station, Orcas, Angel Olsen, FKA Twigs, Beck, United Nations, Scott Walker and Sun O))), Grouper, Fatima Al Qadiri, Ex Hex, Clark, Jonathan Richman, Perfect Pussy...

It was a quieter year for Hip-Hop with a myriad number of releases - but little that was outstanding.  The mighty Madlib reigned supreme - his collaboration with Freddie Gibbs proving, once again, to be 2014's Rap high point.  Disshonourable mention must also go to Run The Jewels, Shabazz Palaces and Edinburgh's very own Young Fathers - who released their weirdly wired debut on Anticon early in 2014.  Marvellous stuff.

Reissues?  I'll give you issued reissue...

With Roy Montgomery, Yo La Tengo, Boards of Canada, Townes van Zandt, Horace Andy, Josef K, Slint, Muslimgauze, Angus MacLise, Jonny Trunk's 'Funny Old Shit Vol1', Pablo Moses, Public Enemy, Drexciya, Sly Stone's 'I'm Just Like You.'...

However, Boom!

And Bang!


Tav Falco's musical outburst is almost certainly the album of the year - funny, hysterically so, it meanders Cramps like through every inconceivable music genre - creating some new ones in its sweet-smelling wake.  It's a delight - ask Santa to buy one but don't expect him to have any in stock as Donner and Blitzen both sold their souls for this Rock and sweet and sour Roll.

To finish, it wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't have some Svenonius.  'Minimum Rock and Roll' was a lovely stinky thing - worth the admission money alone for the line 'We want the Middle Class to feel alone.'

And we all want that don't we Pop Snickers?

Happy Christmas.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bobbi Humphrey: Jazz Musician.

Bobbi Humphrey is a comparatively rare phenomenon in that she's one of the few women ever to record for Blue Note records: the label synonymous with, and celebrated for, the hard bop style that originated in the 1950's and which was popularised by musicians such as Horace Silver, Art Blakey and Miles Davis.

All men. All middle aged men.

It must have been a tough gig - literally and metaphorically - for the 21 year old Bobbi.

The flute playing on these 1970's Blue Note releases is as tight and accomplished as any contemporary male instrumentalists - so much so that artists as creatively distinctive and industry renowned as Stevie Wonder and Duke Ellington wanted her to perform and to excel on their records.

And play and excel she did, paving the way for other, similarly talented female musicians and singers to be successful in their own rights often under their own terms.

Bobbi Humphrey's third LP for Blue Note is her best.  'Blacks and Blues,' is a gorgeous record - evocative and irreverently funky, not unlike the records being made by the more celebrated George Benson at CTI and label mate and trumpeter extraordinaire, Donald Byrd.  

A great and underrated musician, still recording and performing today, look out for Bobbi Humphrey.  

Boy, can she play.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

'Friends, Romans, comedians, lend me your ears.'


I only just heard about the death of one of comedy's greatest figures - the incomparable Sid Caesar.

Sid's life and career spanned ten decades - as a comic actor and performer, on stage, screen and, famously, on television. Less well known, however, was his musical prowess - as a saxophone player - for musicians and bandleaders as forward thinking and as indomitable as Art Mooney and Benny Goodman.

It's the small screen however, that has the most to be thankful to Sid. His imperious 1950's shows signalled in a new era in comedy writing initiating the careers of Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen...the list does go on and on.

Unfortunately for us, human beings don't last for ever. We are all extraordinarily lucky to have basked in Sid's talent, his appreciation of it in others and his overwhelming generosity of spirit in developing these then new custodians of comedy.

Thanks Sid.