My name will remain an unclimbable mountain in life

Am I the only one that can’t get into that John Grant CD that everyone else is mad for?

For anyone else, how about Bella Union stablemate Lone Wolf? I’m really enjoying the new  record, The Devil and I. It’s got some beautiful quick-to-stand-out tracks like “This is War” and “Keep Your Eyes on the Road”; a number of slow burners, and a few songs that I feel have more to offer as I get to know them.

If you look up Lone Wolf on YouTube, you’ll find a kinda fun official video for “Keep Your Eyes on the Road”, which is a tribute to the Sledgehammer video from the eighties. (Won’t post it here though – never liked the original).

But increasingly these days I find that some of the unofficial films are more satisfying. Here’s one put together by someone called Victttory which is really charming, combining the photos of Gregory Crewdson with the cheerful bitterness of “15 Letters”.

The sensation was scissors and too much to scream

Apologies, I’ve been away, (in the glued-to-the-World-Cup sense of the word, you understand).

And I’ll be off again soon, grimly urging on three ropey old lions towards their inevitable humiliation.

But in the meantime, here’s something at least one person I know will love:

This is a video shot by a bloke called Vincent Moon who runs a site called La Blogoteque, which really is an essential visit, full of videos he himself has shot in various locations around the world. A really wonderful site…

What once resembled rules sure enough turned into jokes

A great gig at the Guildhall Friday night…

I love the Guildhall! Although I spend quite a lot of my time looking jealously at the wealth of interesting gigs they have going in other bigger (cooler) cities, every now and again the Guildhall pulls off a bit of a coup.

In fact, they’ve been pretty busy recently – the Klaxons, Toploader, Lightning Seeds, none of whom I’ve been terribly interested to see, but I figure it keeps the old place going and able to put on more interesting acts.

…like Field Music

As everyone else seems to know, Field Music are from Sunderland and their heart and core is made up of two brothers, David and Peter Brewis, who are when all’s said and done, two musical clever buggers.

Turn out was pretty disappointing (people saving themselves for Toploader, no doubt) but that all worked in our favour, as it turned out. Tables, chairs and candles were all laid out, and the hall was prepared side-on, as in the old Acoustica (RIP) days, which gave the gig a rather intimate feel. In fact as the evening developed, I found myself feeling rather smug about being here in these close surroundings, everybody else missing out…

I’d tried to do my homework on Field Music, not having been at the races until the gig was announced a couple of months ago, and I’d been partially successful, but as seems to be the case more and more, it took the evening itself to jolt me into an understanding of just how good these fellers are.

Complex, nervy guitar lines, surrounded intelligent fragile harmonies, and as each song moved into the next I felt myself enjoying all the awkward, difficult elements of each tune more and more. I reckon the Brewis’ must have dozens of fragments of musical ideas and lyrics banging around in their collective brain at any point. Every song seemed to have two or three different voices colliding against each other trying to be heard. It was wonderful, grown-up stuff.

Highlights for me were prickly versions of If Only The Moon Were Up; Tell Me Keep Me and Clear Water, but to be honest there wasn’t a wasted moment.

I managed to get my shit together and record the whole evening:

If Only The Moon Were Up

Tell Me Keep Me

Clear Water

Them That Do Nothing

Field Music at the Guildhall, June ’10

Terrific stuff, fellers.

Siki Siki Baba

I’ve been reading Princes Among Men by Garth Cartwwright, thoughtfully bought for me by my friend Tom, about the writer’s trips around the Balkans meeting Roma musicians, and hearing wild Gypsy music.

It’s a great book, opening up a new world of European music to me that is a million miles away from MTV and hip hop.

On top of that there’s a companion record to the book where you get to listen to tracks from many of the musicians, and you have to say it is very funky, very brassy. Really crazy.

Here’s one of the brass bands referred to, Kocani Orcestar from Macedonia:

I have to say I’m not sure if this is actually the right Kocani Orcestar (I think it is) – apparently the band split in Berlin, with one feller taking the name and dumping the rest of them, and releasing a kind of watered down version of their Gypsy stomp. The rest continued under the “Original Kocani Orcestar” banner, which is this lot…

I recognised their most well known song “Siki, Siki Baba” as having been covered by Beirut, and (Michael informs me) turning up on the Borat soundtrack…

Gives me an excuse to post one of our favourite vids, originally on Blogotheque. Another corker…