Friday, March 19, 2010

Keep both eyes on the sky...

With Chris Bell and Alex Chilton, Big Star produced some of the most achingly beautiful music of the 1970's - in stark contrast to the baleful excesses of the time they focused on the craft that is songwriting - and what songs they were! The first album in particular demonstrates this - the only album to feature both Chilton and Bell - effortlessly marrying lyrical introspection with all out rock and roll assault. It is, and always will be, one of the great albums. After Bell left there were some who thought that Big Star would find it difficult to continue - however, 1974's 'Radio City' comprehensively dispelled this notion - with songs such as, 'September Gurls,' and 'Back of a Car,' reinventing power-pop and reinvigorating Chilton as a songwriter. 4 years passed before Third/Sister Lovers was released - ostensibly an Alex Chilton solo album, it is, unquestionably, one of the great underappreciated, unrequited works in modern popular music.

Chilton was more than just a member of one of the defining rock bands in history. He was, since his teenage years with The Boxtops, throughout his time with Big Star, and as a solo artist and producer, that genuinely rare thing - a gifted, troubled, generous artist.

Thanks Alex.

Paul Westerberg 'Alex Chilton'

Alex Chilton 'The Letter'

Big Star 'Kangaroo'

The Cramps 'Garbage Man'

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another great day

Kenzaburo Oe's new novel, 'The Changeling,' is his first to be published in English since 2004. On the surface; and contrary to Oe's own opinions of his writing style and content, Oe is one of Japan's least Japanese authors - his recent work is more akin to the later writings of Philp Roth: in this sense his work has a determinedly Western feel - incorporating elements of reference markedly at odds with those commonly associated with his homeland. Oe's writing is highly imagined - autobiographical elements are woven into the fabric of his, often existentially derived prose - more than anything though, his is a world concerned with order, dignity in that order and the ambiguities created by it.

'The Changeling' is available to purchase soon in the UK.

'Other Karate Kid'

Monday, March 8, 2010

Here twines the path...

(Spoils) - released 2009 on Drag City records.

'River Rhine'

Alasdair Roberts is one of Britain's finest songwriters. This video juxtaposes images of examples of some of Andrew Goldsworthy's work with one of Alasdair's compositions,'River Rhine,' from his 2007 album, 'The Amber Gatherers.' Alasdair is playing at Stereo in Glasgow on the 14th of March...go and see him.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crazy hearts on fire...

Jeff Bridges has been making movies for almost 40 years - his first major role coming in 1971 in Peter Bogdanovich's seminal, 'The last picture show.' Bridges brooding screen persona has often been the best thing about some of the movies he's made - the list is long and well known and his latest - playing the role of Bad Blake in Scott Cooper's assured debut, 'Crazy heart,' is guaranteed to enslave even the most wearisome. There's a nice cameo from Robert Duvall - himself no stranger to country music portrayals - winning the best actor Oscar in 1983 for his role in Bruce Beresford's outstanding, 'Tender mercies.' Jeff Bridges is one of Hollywood's most watchable character actors - he deserves his Oscar nomination and he deserves to win.