Nights were just too long, with all your children gone

Haven’t done one of these for a while.

Lucky Seven 12

I’ve heard some great songs of recent and I think that’s duly reflected in this month’s Lucky Seven – incidentally, I think this may be the first one without any Jamaican music at all. There is on the other hand a wonderful track by a Japanese musician called Shoukichi Kina. The track is “Jing Jing”, and it’s a delightfully demented slice of surf-Psychedelia from the other side of the world (in all senses of the word). You should listen to it.

I looked for a YouTube clip of it for a quite a while (and I’m sure one exists), but my Japanese is sadly not up to the task, and none of the other tracks by him are quite as off the wall. It comes from this album, on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. What a guy.

Anyway, I’ve dragged up this video from one of the other tracks on Lucky Seven number 12:

Lucky Seven 12

Twister – The Fall (Peel Session)
That’s Us / Wild Combination – Arthur Russell
California – Low
Jing Jing – Shoukichi Kina
Chicago (acoustic version) – Sufjan Stevens
Kettering – The Antlers
Just a Moment – George Danquah

It’s true that I always wanted love to be filled with pain

Well, to say that I’ve missed the boat on last week’s Antony & the Johnsons gig at Colston Hall, would be stretching the point a little. In reality, the ship has sailed and is currently half way across the Atlantic, the Bravo film crew having already got six days of filming drunken Brits Abroad well and truly in the can.

Bugger. Not only has my trusty iRiver refused to surrender a wonderful recording of the whole evening – it was great, believe me – it’s actually completely packed in, and no amount of hanging around techie forums for the week, has managed to sort it.

Antony and the Johnsons

A really wonderful gig, one of the best I’ve got along to for a good while. As we filed out at the end, I heard someone say to a neighbour,

“That was really quite remarkable!”

And it was. Some of the arrangements weren’t quite to my taste, but the highpoints (Her Eyes Are Beneath the Ground; Fistful of Love; Cripple and the Starfish; For Today I Am a Boy and an encore of Hope There’s Someone) were so touching, delivered with such melancholy and poise. The man is certainly possessed of an astonishingly affecting voice. We’re way past the novelty factor, here.

He had a five Johnsons with him, moving between a number of instruments – guitars, violins, saxes, flutes and various percussive thingamajigs, who backed him with well-rehearsed sympathy and intelligence. In common with a number of people I know, the new album had not grabbed me as compulsively as the Mercury winner. but seeing him perform some of the songs from it, made me think I shall need to go back and give it another listen.

As I said, I have no bootlegs to give away here, but I like to think that the persistent souls that keep returning to Partly Porpoise, do get a little extra blogging for their loyalty, so I’ve routed through YouTube for some live footage (there’s lots of good stuff there) and come up with this. It’s by no means the best filming, but it comes pretty close to the Colston Hall show in flavour and atmosphere (I too spent a fair chunk of the evening gazing up at the backdrop, feeling the songs wheel and soar around me).

(Thanks to Teresa Domingues

Nothing in hand do I bring

A great time was had Sunday night and Monday morning in Bristol with Josie. Met up with some old friends before going onto Colston Hall to see a quite remarkable Antony & the Johnsons performance.

I’ll save my gushing praise for a couple of days, however, firstly because my nemesis has already posted his articulate and well thought out review of the evening (no doubt while I lay abed, soaking up all the luxury Premier Inns could toss my way). But also because, although I managed to make some rather fine recordings of the evenings, I’m currently having some problems wrestling said bootlegs from my battered old iRiver. I’ll sort it.

Anyway, in the meantime…

Christian Kiefer and Tom Carter

Have been enjoying immensely a new recording from Christian Kiefer. I originally wrote about Christian about 18 months ago here, going all gooey about the album he had released with Jefferson Pitcher. He got in touch with me after that and sent me some tracks from an album he’d done with Tom Carter of Charalambides. To be honest, it was a bit of a tough listen at times, and it gradually faded from my radar. But anyway, he’s now released another record with Carter, and it’s a bit of a belter, I’ll tell you.

It’s called From the American Songbook and is a series of… er… reinterpretations of classic American bluegrass songs such as “Will the Circle be Unbroken”, “Pretty Polly” and “Coo Coo Bird”. In many cases the originals are pretty much unrecognisable but still manage to retain their original spirit. The best tracks actually sound old

No free downloads that I can find, however, so you’re just gonna have to go with me on this one. Get it here. C’mon, it’s me, have I ever?

There is this, by Christian Kiefer, however, in the same sort of spirit:

Rock of Ages – Christian Kiefer

This track comes from a collection called which is available from Splice Today, a rather fine website which gathers together all sorts of titbits for the modern surfer. Actually the collection is pretty good and features one or two other artists I shall try to further acquaint myself with.

Oh and while, I’m at it, there’s this intriguing clip from YouTube about a film Kiefer seems to have taken part in which involved a group of men growing beards for six months.

I perhaps could have phrased that better, it doesn’t exactly sound like must-see TV, does it?

More later (including, I hope, that Colston Hall recording).

This is how we walk on the moon!

I have been out of the game (as McNulty might say) of recent, not really looking for or finding new music, and generally getting on with … stuff.
It’s half term now, and in the coming months there are a plethora (yes, a plethora) of gigs coming my way in the next few weeks, the first of which is tomorrow at Colston Hall. So I’m envisaging a fresh onslaught in the coming days.

In the meantime, I have come across these tracks by maverick New York disco artist cum cellist. I haven’t quite got a handle on exactly where he fits, if you understand what I mean, he’s got some John Martyn in him for sure, but lots of quirky Latin American beats and the like too.

Anyway, watch this and read about him here.

(Thanks to Nick Leonard)

Now go and buy his compellingly ragged World of Echo record and go figure…

The ones you left behind are still with you…

My increasingly-cool son directed his increasingly out-of-touch old man to a useful website I shall be keeping my eye on in future. Lost At E Minor is one of those sites whose mission is to keep you abreast of all decent new stuff as it surfaces, some of it music and some of it other arty things. I quite like it on first glance and even if I never go there again, it has at least led me to this lot.

The Papercuts

The Parpercuts are from San Francisco and are mostly the vehicle of one Jason Quever. They write a pretty dense sort of a pop song and seem to be resolute in their determination to play real instruments – the various interviews and pieces I’ve read about them each seem to refer to Quever’s dislike of computer-y effects and electronic noodling. I like a bit of electronic jiggery-pokery if truth be told but let’s face it it’s generally window-dressing; if you can actually write songs why bother, eh?

There’s an album out at the moment, You Can Have What You Want, (available at your favourite download store – not that one, stupid…), their second, following 2004’s Mockingbird. This one has generally received good reviews, including an 8.3 from Pitchfork, (Joshua Klein making a laboured and ill-conceived analogy between the band and, you know, actual paper cuts…), and certainly seems to be full of enough Stephen Stills-y sharp songs to keep this hopelessly set-in-his-ways reviewer happy. I’m enjoying it, so far. They’re also on tour with Vetiver at the moment.

There’s a rather jolly, enthusiastic interview with Quever on Salad Days Music, here, where he talks about influences such as Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield and the White Album. You can also pick up a couple of mp3s there, one of which I’ll repost, the Prunes-ish 227th Exit, and you can pick up the other for yourself over there. (Actually do, it’s a terrific track off their first album called John Brown)

The other track I’m posting here is from their new record, and is also rather fine.

227th Exit – Papercuts

Future Primitive – Papercuts