If it’s not for ever, just know I love you now

In a futile (and I suspect, unsuccessful) attempt to convince the outside world that I do indeed have my finger resolutely on the pulse of modern music, I do try to keep up with a few choice labels. To be honest, it would probably be fairer to say that one or two labels do stick with sending me emails, in the hope that every now and again I might be stirred into action.

One of these labels is Loose Music, who have quite an impressive roster these days but maintain an appealingly homemade feel to their operation. Over Christmas I bought the well-regarded The Duke & The Spirit album Nothing Gold Can Say, but I have to say it hasn’t really worked for me, and has drifted to the pile of albums that I really should give another listen (never a good sign).

Danny & the Champions of the World

Not to be deterred, however, I’ve just today bought the new Danny & the Champions of the World record, Streets of our Time, and am enjoying a much lighter country sound which works very nicely.

Danny is apparently the former front man of Grand Drive, and so has some considerable pedigree already. I don’t really know a whole lot about Grand Drive but I probably need to investigate their catalogue further.

I’m not keen on defining a band’s sound by referring to another band (very lazy) but it’s hard not to talk about this record without thinking Springsteen, the Byrds, Neil Young or Dylan. To be fair, however, the influences go back a lot further too, sounding very old-timey, with banjo to the fore (I do love a banjo, me).

Anyway, I was scratching around YouTube looking for a video to play, but the only video up that refers to the new album was this one. It’s not an official video and not really a video at all, just a series of photographs, by a bloke called Tony-Ray Jones. Now, I’m not going to claim I knew who Tony-Ray Jones was, (a trip here soon sorted that out) but the photographs chosen by YouTuber Victoory (who seems to have a rather a nice line in this sort of video) are gorgeous and fit the feel of the title track from the album very nicely.

Loose Music and Danny and the Champions of the World don’t seem to have much up in the way of freebies or even videos to watch but what they do have is this Spotify playlist which is made up of tracks that obviously inspired the record (sure enough, we have Dylan, Neil Young, the Byrds etc).

The younger, cooler member of the family has been telling me to take advantage of Spotify playlists for a while now, and I am reluctantly forced to agree with the young hopper…

I’d go blind to save you…

Despite my best intentions, I am beginning to get a little animated by the prospect of going to Green Man again this year. If you remember, I’d pretty much sworn off buying a ticket ever again after two successive wash outs, until my friend and fellow Kingsholm crony Martin had come up with a late ticket last summer. The rest is history, as they say…

This year, Green Man have already ensnared me with the news that the magnificent Beirut have been persuaded to come over. Now, this was also announced a couple of years ago, mind, only for Zach Condon to pull out at a fairly late stage; so I’m still a little wary at this stage… (Even so, Alastair Roberts is also appearing…)

Cate le Bon

It became something of a standing joke last year that everywhere we turned we seemed to come across Cate le Bon on stage – coming on for a guest spot with Richard James here, performing a few songs for Will Hodgkinson there. I don’t think we even caught here actual set. (I’m sure she performed with Gruff Rhys a previous year as well…)

Anyway, there is now an album from Cate le Bon, Me Oh My, which came out at the end of last year, but which I have only just picked up from Emusic. It’s really rather a charming record that I’m enjoying greatly at the moment. She has a dark, beautiful voice and a slightly melodramatic delivery that gives her songs something of a jarring edge.

And now, it seems that those clever buggers at Green Man have sent her out with her bewitching ways as a sort of advanced guard, heading a mini Green Man tour that will be snagging further unsuspecting and weak-willed punters around the country.

Be on your guard, people!

You must leave here and not come here again, for my husband has made his return

“Gothic” is a funny word, isn’t it?

This being a music Blog (of a fashion), the word will be inextricably mired in a Batcave / Alien Sex Fiend sort of a morass. Visions of lip-stick smeared ninnies singing in grotesquely deep voices spring to mind.

A queasy thought, you’ll agree.

If, however, this was one of the myriad of Victorian literature Blogs that clutter up the Internet, a completely different state of affairs would start to unfold. Cruel and sadistic masters, mad women in attics, improbably murky monasteries, providing shelter to defenceless travellers, perhaps. Hardly pleasant, but much more interesting…

So in the unfortunate event of my using the word “gothic” in the course of the next few lines, well, you’ll know where I’m coming from.

The Phantom Carriage

(Actually, quite how I’m supposed to write about a band taking their name from a seminal Swedish horror film, without using the G-word is a little further than my threadbare skills will take me.)

Phantom Carriage is the gloomy vehicle of two blokes calling themselves Mike Seed and Empire State Human, producing dark experimental pieces. I like a bit of eeriness every now and again and this is certainly scary music. Ghostly folk tunes are swamped in tape effects and crackly distortions, producing genuinely creepy music.

Truth be told, I’m still giving their newest album, Skull Exposed To March Rain, (now there’s Gothica for you) its early listens and there are some elements of the record I’m still not really sure about. But right now, right here, I fancy a bit of a chill wind…

The record has been released by Spoilt Victorian Child records, and is completely free to download, here, at SVC or here at the Phantom Carriage’s own site. There’s even a second previous record available, again free, again at both sites. Such startling generosity is only to be applauded I feel.

Here’s a couple of tracks to whet your appetite…

Hawthorn Tree

A Brackish Spirit

Now pick up your lamp and tiptoe downstairs, I’m sure I heard something…

Did you stay down wind? Yes, sir!

(I’ll save you the bleating on about having no time, yada, yada, yada..)

No new music at the moment, just some old stuff I missed at the time…