Monday, November 26, 2012

It's the end of the year as we know it...

I usually wait until mid-December before beginning posting poorly constructed opinions and biased reviews of the year's best records, movies, books etc. This allows me sufficient opportunity to arrogate obscure albums, independently released movies and stand-up comedy 'discoveries,' reviewed by other people, as my own.  

Completely my own.  

Absolutely me.

- Here's a record by someone I like -

Kendrick Lamar's official debut album is, for many people, this year's great Hip-Hop record.  In a year where the music has enjoyed considerable and renewed commercial and artistic success - many contend that it's been the best year for breaks and beats since the early 1990's - Lamar's 'good kid, m.A.A.d city' sets a considerable benchmark.  

Following sexily, uncomfortably closely, great new albums by Odd Future, Action Bronson, Apollo Brown, De La Soul, Fushawn, JR and PH7, Prince Paul, Gangrene...

Two albums, however, for this writer, stand up and out.   

Small Professor's 'Gigantic, Vol 1' and Oddisee's 'People hear what they see.'  

Both are genre redefining examples of the new music: containing nods to an illustrious musical past - whether Soul, Funk, Rap or ? - whilst spitting and shitting, however respectfully, on their memory.  

If you like your music loud and Canadian then Metz may be for you.  Recalling the mighty Nation of Ulysses and, to these ears, Bob and Grant at their howling best, they know how to chill out the rolling rock in you.  Bone-cruising stuff.

More past and future noiseniks, more new records by these c****.  Batsauce, Chuck Prophet, Dan Deacon, Bill Fay, Bobby Womack, Dexy's, The Flowers of Hell, Josephine Foster, Mac Demarco, Mission of Burma, Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs, Momus, Orbital, Tindersticks, The Wave Pictures, The One Ensemble, Laurel Halo, Bob Mould...Momus.       


If 2012 saw anything, it saw a return to 'floaty dreamscapes' - a bit shoegazey but where you could see your reflection in your uppers.  Both Tennis and Taken by Trees are fine examples.

It's been a great, great, great year for noise, noise, noise.  

Australia's Royal Headache delivered a fast and furioso set, harking back to torn and ripped ears/jeans of yesteryear.  Arto Lindsay, Marc Ribot and Mike Ladd resurfaced on Anarchist Republic of Bzzz's marvellous eponymous album. 

More noise?  Records from Dean Blunt, Japandroids, Dope Body, Agent Side Grinder, Dead Rat Orchestra, Godspeed (in a magnificent return to form), remixed albums from Bjork and Mogwai and their various collaborati, Gonjasufi, El Ten Eleven, Mark Eitzel, The Fall, Iris Dement, La Sera, Astra, The Pheromoans, Death Grips, Kid Koala, Spider Bags, Dinosaur Feathers, This Many Boyfriends.  The Fall.

The Fall?

In an astonishing year for reissues, no album was more revered than William Basinski's 'Disintegration Loops.'  An awe inducing piece of work, it paved, and continues to pave the way, for much of what is happening in new electronic music today.  

You must have it.  

What else? Drexciya's phenomenal output collated in the 2 volume 'Journey's of the Deep Sea Dweller,' David Sylvian's 'A Victim of Stars,' the recent slew of Karen Dalton re-issues, more new King Tubby releases - especially those on VP records, the welcome remastered version of Lynch/Splet's, 'Eraserhead,' Oliveros's 12 CD box set (not forgetting the collected Deep Listening Band material reissued recently on Ltd edition vinyl), Virgin's Roxy Music Complete Studio Recordings and, of course, reissues of classic albums by Massive Attack, MBV, Ken Higney, The Heads, The Human League, Swans, Tortoise... and, of course, undoubtedly the best and most important, this...

So, 2012 rears and allows its ugly head to fall.  If you like any of these records why not buy them.  In your local record shop.  NOT HMV.  Y'hear?

To finish - Gerry Love's/Lightships homage to love - the beautiful 'Electric Cables.'  

Being beautiful is not impossible.

Now where did I leave that NEW SCOTT WALKER ALBUM!!!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Marfa, my dear...

"Art is made as one lives. It must be as decisive as acts in life..."
     Donald Judd, 1983

Larry Clark has chosen to set his most recent film in the border town of Marfa, Texas - made famous, some of the inhabitants of this small town would contend 'infamous,' by its close cultural associations with the artist Donald Judd and the proto-artistic community he established there.  

In common with other artist, musician and writer contemporaries, Clark is eschewing more traditional means of release/distribution by premiering the film on his own website for a nominal fee (see above.)  His first feature in 7 years, it will be especially interesting to see how such an uncompromising stance fares both artistically and, crucially, commercially - for Clark's sake and for others who share a similar viewpoint on hyper-commercialism in and beyond the Hollywood mainstream.

Despite some early negative critical impressions of the movie I, for one, hope it's a success.

- 'Marfa Girl' - released 20 November 2012 on

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Slashed, not burned...


Although officially released by Slash records in 1983, Violent Femmes actually recorded their eponymous debut in 1982 - which affords us legitimate ample opportunity to shout about it, get all dove-eyed about it and near demi-deify it in this, the 30th anniversary of its release.

It was a bit of an odd record even way back then - coming as it did in an era of lovingly upholstered long coats and perma-dried ice, the debut single from madonna and an era and genre defying record by some guy who used to sing/dance with his brothers in a band.

With so much going-on and being begun, a freshmen album from some mid-North West musical miscreants was hardly likely to register highly if at all on pop/rock's increasingly ephemeral Richter scale.  But, hugely, surprisingly, it did.  The record found its audience: the same long-coated sophomores looking for a new bible of the beats finding it in the new age kerfuffle-skiffle-punk of this mightiest of trios from Wisconsin.

The record has not dated one inch of one iota.  2 tracks to follow - one live, and one not so.  

Break your heart all over again.