Up against a wall I heard a sound – it woke me up









Came across this record on Emusic earlier in the week…


Chris Taylor (not a name I knew, I’ll be honest, but presumably you knew he was the bass player with Grizzly Bear), has put out a record of his own under the name CANT.

Now, I come to think of it, I could do with a new Grizzly Bear record – I loved Veckatimest, and they were terrific the couple of times I saw them the summer before last – but I gather they’re on a bit of a sabbatical at the moment, so this ‘ll have to do.

Actually, this’ll do very nicely, because although all the reviews I’ve read make a bit of a thing about it being very different to Veckatimest, it doesn’t sound a million miles away from a Grizzly Bear release to me. True Dreams Come True doesn’t have quite the same fuzzy warmth as his day job – it’s got a sleaker, more technical feel to it – but the same ethereal song writing skills are in evidence and the willingness to play around with new sounds is, if possible, even more to the fore. There’s even a bit of a groove in a good few of the tracks…

Stand-out tracks are Bang and She Found a Way Out, but I can imagine one or two others are going to gently rise to the surface in the next few days.




Very nice record indeed, but will it tide me over until  the next Grizzly Bear offering… ?

And the questions come with armies

Sheesh! A week, you say?

Grizzly Bear

Well, last weekend saw the latest of my line of gig tickets disappear from the notice board and into the pocket of my jeans, as I set off for a return trip to Bristol University’s Anson Rooms to see Brooklyn’s much-vaunted Grizzly Bear.

First on was a lady going by the name of St Vincent, who Martin tells me is one of Sufjan Stevens’ backing singers. She was earnest and made a fair old racket with a single electric guitar and loop pedal, but I have to say I found myself losing interest fairly quickly. The recordings I made are therefore marred by the sound of me chatting boorishly with friends through the set. (I can almost hear me tut-tutting myself…)

A trawl through Youtube yields this, however…

Grizzly Bear came onto a stage they had apparently decorated with jam jars with candles in them. It was rather charming really, and led onto a similarly pleasant and laid back set. They ran through most of the Veckimatest record, although I rather missed Dory my favourite track. The harmonies were beautiful and the arrangements as complex and ambitious as when I saw them in the summer. Unfortunately, although the heating at the Anson Rooms was not quite as ferociously ridiculous as last week, the sound was actually worse; very, very woolly. The whole set sounded like you were actually hearing it from next door (maybe if I’d stayed outside…). It very hard to hear any vocals clearly and pretty much spoilt the evening for me.

I’d like to say that this affected the quality of my recordings and that my stringent quality control procedures meant that none of the recordings were fit for your ears; but the sad fact is that my natural aptitude for the cack-handed rather overtook things. I think I forgot to turn my recorder on…

I know…

We can at least console ourselves that in any case the poor sound meant that there wouldn’t have been much to show for it anyway. Damn Anson Rooms! (If it helps, you can picture me shaking my fist, Homer-style, at this point).

So… no recordings. We could play the blame game, but let’s move on, eh?

You know I feel bad about these things, so here’s a couple of decent things I’ve heard recently, both Bradley’s Almanac bands (and both on Emusic, should you wish to follow them up).

I give you Drug Rug and Choo Choo La Rouge, both of whom do a rather passable sixties thing, both of whom write a decent song too, both of whom I have been meaning to write about for a few weeks now, but you might as well read about them here:

Never Tell – Drug Rug

It’s Gonna Happen Fast – Choo Choo La Rouge

We Were Promised Jetpacks on Wednesday…

Green Man 2 – Good manners cost nothing

So, if Hawkwind were the last and slightly silliest act of Green Man, today I’ve got some recordings for you from a band who were undoubtedly the politest young men of the whole weekend – in fact they were chief exponent of a trend that was a bit of a feature of the whole festival, The Polite American.

Grizzly Bear

As I say, one of the features of Green Man was of Americans playing their hearts out on stage and then thanking us the audience for the privilege of doing so. Grizzly Bear thanked us all in between songs as did Bon Iver and also Beachouse, and I have to say I rather like this. Don’t mention it, fellers.

I’ll admit I waver when it comes to listening to Grizzly Bear, sometimes I love their brittle rather awkward folky sound, and other times I just can’t be arsed with it. But from the moment the four lads came onstage I was very impressed with their ability to play what I think are quite complex songs, without losing anything to the live experience. They didn’t rock out or produce a completely different onstage sound, instead they really went for it. And I loved it; in fact if I’m honest, I had a bit of a “Ah-I-totally-get-this-now” moment. It sounded beautiful, and was by general consensus one of the better sets of the weekend.

I have only two tracks, I’m afraid, but they’re both pretty good.



Two Weeks