Who wants to be the last of anything?

I’m trying to get through these quickly but it seems to be taking a while, eh?

Devendra Banhart

I’ve put up two sets today, both of which I enjoyed immensely. The first is this one from Devendra Banhart, which featured a full band (made up largely, as I said yesterday by members of Vetiver), and was not quite the kooky acoustic affair I was expecting. In fact opinion on the Green Man message boards has been pretty mixed, a number of people not going for his full band sound. The word “Santana” was mentioned at one point. (No need for language like that…). But Michael and I had a great time watching.

I should say that the set also featured a sort of impromptu open mike section, where he invited anyone who’d recently written a song on stage – a game lass from Newcastle jumped on stage and did her thing. I’ve included this part in the recording but to be honest I could have done without the whole thing…

Devendra Banhart, Green Man 2007

Soft Hearted Scientists

The second session I’ve got here was a great set from Partly Porpoise favourites the Soft Hearted Scientists, whom I fear I’ve neglected somewhat recently. They cheered up a fairly bedraggled audience with their gentle mix of atmospheric keyboard sounds and quirky songs, and played a combination of songs from their first album and their new one which has just appeared. The versions of “Brother Sister” and “Wendigo” were particularly good, I thought.

Soft Hearted Scientists, Green Man 2007

You’re with me tonight…

Vetiver

Another Green Man set I saw and was rather impressed with was that by Vetiver. I knew (and you probably all did) that the band are led by Andy Cabic and have spent a lot of time playing with Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsome. I’ve also heard their first album, but somehow it hasn’t really registered with me.

So I was really rather impressed by their set on the Saturday afternoon, filling the main stage quite easily with what is still rather an unassuming folky sound. The songs were entertaining, and the playing was gentle but assertive – I really enjoyed their performance.

Idle Ties (live) – Vetiver

Hurry On Sundown (live) – Vetiver

I did record most of Vetiver playmate Devendra Banhart’s set the following evening, but I’ve not yet cleaned it up though (or managed to edit out the idiot woman who spent the whole 45 minutes calling out “Will is my Friend”…)

For the time being, though, I’ve got a YouTube video of Little Yellow Spider from the evening (although, he seemed to rechristen it Little White Spider for the evening), and if you’re sharp you’ll notice Vetiver guitarist Saunders Tripp and drummer Otto Hauser making up half of Banhart’s band.

The video was shot by my son, and he’s a very clever boy…

Thinking of drawing a line at praying to the Dark Lord with you…

I’ve got some more recordings from Green Man that I’ve cleaned up and made as good as I can…

The Broken Family Band

This set was probably at one of the more miserable points of the weekend, Saturday tea time, rain all day and it was still drizzling, the walk ways were getting more and more churned up, etc. But I’d been looking forward to seeing this bunch for a good while, and it was seeing their name added to the bill that finally convinced me to part with my money and order my ticket back in March. So, this one was a must for me, and it was a good set, although I reckon a dark and sweaty pub might be more suited to their sound.

The first track was not one I knew, although I haven’t heard their new album yet. It sounded like it was called “New Looks”, but I’ll be happy to be corrected on that one. “Living in Sin” has always been one of my favourite tracks, so I was pleased to hear the opening bars of that one too…

The dope talking over the first notes of “Happy Days Are Here Again”, complaining about rain on the lens of his camera was my first born, has since been led away and shot…

New Looks (Live at Green Man 2007)

The Booze and the Drugs (Live at Green Man 2007)

Again comments on quality are welcome.

Maybe I’m the one who’s already gone…

Well, that’s been an experience!

Green Man 2007

I’ve just come back from Green Man, a tad wet, very grubby but with enthusiasm very much in tact. The weather was, of course, dreadful – it rained all of the Saturday – and the site was quickly turned into a real quagmire. Martin’s Somme analogy, as he left, was not overstating the case in any way, and in fact I had myself been trying to fashion some sort of “trench-foot” joke for these pages.

But anyway, you get the idea.

I have, though, seen some new and interesting artists and some cracking performances by a few I already knew. I’m also particularly pleased that I’ve managed to come back with a beltful of recordings from the weekend, most of which are useable. I did try to make some recordings last year, but none of them were really much good. I got myself sorted out this year, though, and over the next few days I should be able to share a good few with you.

Not really sure what sort of quality people might be expecting, there’s some audience noise and the bass is a bit crackly, but to my ears, what I’ve got is kinda OK. I’d be interested to know what people think…

The first one I’m going to share is one track from the Earlies, a band I sort of knew about, and have their first album, but can’t really say I “got” until I saw their set on the Sunday. Genuinely exciting and full of beautiful surprises, I think it was probably the best set of the weekend. The track I have here is regrettably the only one I recorded (I was saving my battery for Devendra Banhart coming on later that evening), and with hindsight I wish I’d recorded the whole set. Great song, great performance, and easily worth standing ankle deep in mud for – I’d do it again!

One of us is Dead (Live) – The Earlies

They’re installing meters in the trees, there’s no air to breathe, forget the time we panicked for free.

Definitely not breaking any new ground with this one either…

Magoo

Magoo have been around for quite some time now (over ten years I think), but up until now have not really made big enough waves to reach from Norwich to the distant shores of far off Gloucester (water analogies are big round here, these days…). In those ten years they’ve released six albums and recorded seven John Peel sessions, but it’s only their last album, “The All Electric Amusement Arcade”, that’s really grabbed my attention (I say that as if I’m well acquainted with all their albums, which isn’t true – though give me time…)

On the surface, Magoo just seem to do good pop songs (nothing wrong with that…), but I really like the extra washes of nerdy studio sound they can’t resist adding to their already strong songwriting. Although, it’s all very modern stuff, there’s definitely a strong hint of sixties Psychedelia in with it. In fact it all seems to take place inside a brightly coloured bubble which you don’t quite appreciate from the outside, but inside…

And what I really like about it is that it all includes using a number of different sounds and effects that I traditionally can’t stand – synths, for example, and even one of those cheesy voice-modifiers a number of times. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in the year and a half I’ve been doing this Blog, for each of my prejudices against particular sounds, someone will step forward and use it in a new and interesting way that will make me think again.

And so it is with Magoo, a good example of this would be the excellent “Expansion Ride”, which comes from The All Electric Amusement Arcade. The other tracks are older ones, from the “Close Continental DNA” and “The Soateramic Sounds of …” albums respectively.

Expansion Ride

Polka Party No 2

Queen of the 8-Bus Singers

Magoo have a Myspace page, but the real treasure trove is their page at the Sickroom, where you can snag a load of extra tracks from each of there album, eleven in all – very generous, and all power to them, I say…

(Oh, and to save you the trouble, I already looked “soateramic” up in the dictionary – I think they made it up…)

I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground here, but here’s someone I’ve come across, who’s well worth a look-see…

David Thomas Broughton

David Thomas Broughton is a guitarist and song writer, from Leeds, a singer-songwriter, if you will. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you may remember that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with singer-songwriters, generally being bored to tears by many of that ilk, but I have to admit that there are enough performers who do manage to grab my attention. I still think it’s still quite a trick, to sit in front of an audience (or a recording mike) with just voice and strings, and actually stand out from the rest, making yourself sound interesting and exciting. But anyway, David Thomas Broughton certainly does it.

If you do a bit of Googling for the name, you’ll not be clicking long before you see comparison made with Anthony and the Johnsons. I try not to do this, but you can’t ignore the similarities between both their voices. Broughton’s voice is definitely from the same packetas Hegarty’s even if the accompaniments are quite different. It’s a haunting powerful voice that you’ll want to hear more of.

I think what also helps Broughton’s recordings to stand out is the fact that he uses loop pedals really cleverly to build up quite a large but often unsettlingly disjointed sound. If Ignatz is an ultra modern (can I say “post-industrial”?) blues player soaking himself in static and distortion, then David Thomas Broughton is definitely a folk-blues cousin, treating his songs with a similar jarring touch.

Broughton has two albums out on Birdwar Records, the beautiful but tainted “The Complete Guide to Insufficiency”, which was recorded in one long take in a church in Leeds, and a newer release “It’s In There Somewhere”, which was released in March this year, and is I believe a collection of songs from the last six years.

I can only find one track available for download, which comes from his Myspace page, and unfortunately it’s a live recording which is pretty hissy, but which is still worth sticking with. From there, I’d really recommend getting the albums. And then, if you’re cool enough to have a Green Man ticket, you’re in… You’ll be able to catch him at the Green Man Café on the Sunday. See you there.

Another Hole

There are, however, a bunch of YouTube clips of the guy, and here’s one of them, (see you at Green Man…)