Chewing my own arm off…

Penny Smith - The Clash London CallingHaving spunked away invested the last of my EMusic credits for this period in loco Peruvian psychedelia, I find myself drumming my fingers on the dashboard of my laptop impatiently waiting for my refresh date.

I’ve apparently not planned this well.

Firstly there’s the new Field Music record already out and no doubt getting good reviews (impossible to imagine them being anything less than gushing…), which I will be compelled to get as soon as that darned Refresh Date rolls around.

Here’s a very fidgety “The Noisy Days Are Over” from the record:

 

(Really enjoying the Blockheads-style sax break…)

I don’t need to say anything about Field Music, they are what they are, and I’d invest all of a hefty lottery win into ensuring they stay that way (I live in fear of them packing it in…)

Also due out… ooh…  any day now, is a second record from Trouble in Mind’s Doug Tuttle, which I’m very much looking forward to hearing. Really, really enjoyed the first one and I’d be very surprised if I didn’t say so loudly on these very pages.

There’s this offering on the TiM site, which is sounding very promising too:

 

 

And then there’s a third record from another of my recent favourites, the increasingly Dylan-esque Kevin Morby, which is due out in April. And again, doesn’t this sound good?:

 

I’m chewing my own arm off, here…

Passing slowly through the town…

IMG_1570The picture on the left is a souvenir from last week’s Kevin Morby gig. I often hang around the merch stall at gigs but by now have learned to curb my natural urge to buy an ill-advised t-shirt or the support band’s murky CD. But I did buy the t-shirt this time, partly because it looks quite cool, but mostly because, now, I have seen this man and by the looks of things last night, I am one of only 25 West Country folk who actually has…

Kevin Morby, The Louisiana

So anyway, I flew solo down to the Louisiana last Monday evening to see ex-Woods member and (ex?) Babies frontman, Kevin Morby, whose two terrific solo records I think I’ve droned on about before. Both of them are great, I reckon, and have been well-received by press and Twitterati alike, so I was pretty surprised at how few people had come out to see him, the Louie being pretty much empty when I arrived (admittedly early). The contrast between this and the previous night’s Sufjan concert couldn’t have been much stronger. He looked a little pissed off himself, although he graciously thanked those who had showed up, mentioning other good shows in Bristol that evening that might have tempted folk away, but I could see that fresh as he (also) was from End of the Road, it must have been a bit disheartening.

No matter. It was actually a very good show indeed. Dipping in and out of Harlem River and Still Life, he led a drums-guitar-lead trio, with Justin Sulivan and Meg Duffy, that switched to drums-bass-lead once he strapped on the electric guitar. The set went up a notch, at this point, to be honest, and he injected a bit of life into his itchy, awkward songs. “Motors Runnin” and “Harlem River” were particularly blunt, both with extended freakouts to close.

And, all a bit soon, it was over. No encore, and by the end it all felt a little perfunctory. I would like to have heard “Arlo Jones” and perhaps something from the Babies’ records, but there you go. I can understand it, a fine set nonetheless, and the recordings are well worth hearing.

Motors Runnin’

Harlem River

Parade

Sucker in the Void

If you come to find out who you are…

kevin-morbyThought I’d drop a few lines about a couple of artists whose records I’m really enjoying these days and whom you may, if you’re lucky, hear drifting from the window of a tiny Nissan Micra scampering around the Gloucestershire countryside this summer. If you’ve got your ear to the ground you’ll no doubt be well acquainted with these fellers, but if not, well, you’re welcome.

Kevin Morby / The Babies

Up until last year or so, Kevin Morby’s dayjob was to play bass in Jeremy Earls’ wonderful, technicolour Woods, another of my very favourite bands. I didn’t realise this at first when I originally picked up on Morby’s sparkling solo records, so when the penny eventually dropped, it made me look at the Woods records he was involved with (four, I think, up until Bend Beyond in 2012) in something of a new way. An embarrassment of riches for sure – think Jimmy Page playing bass with the Yardbirds, or maybe Petr Cech on the bench at Chelsea.

I’ve seen Woods a couple of times, and on both occasions they were superb. Morby had already left by the time Woods took the show at Psychfest last year, but the first time I saw them at End of the Road in 2012, I remember thinking that this was a band bursting with ideas and individuals. I’m rarely that prescient but within a year Morby had made the move across the city to Arsenal (if I’m going to try to maintain the dodgy bassist-as-reserve-goalkeeper metaphor) and was working on his own songs. By the time of End of the Road, he’d already formed the Babies with Cassie Ramone from the Vivian Girls and released a self-titled album, with another, Our House on the Hill, to come out later that year.

There are now two Kevin Morby solo records, Harlem River and Still Life, both of which are really excellent, jam-packed with emotive, unhurried strokes of some genius, and if you include the second Babies record, which sounds a lot more like a Morby record than the first, you’ve got quite a rich seam of music to pick at. All of this came out within two years’ pretty frantic creative activity – (Still Life was apparently completely written whilst touring with the Babies), the very purplest of patches

Here’s a rather fine KEXP session from the Babies:

 

It took me a couple of listens to get used to Morby’s Dylan-ish drawl but actually now I really like it. He has a knack of writing really insistent melodies that impress his ideas upon you. I’m a great one for imposing my own thoughts and issues on other people’s songs, mostly inappropriately and in the most superficial of ways, but I remember, at a time when my daughter was leaving for six months for America, becoming quite fixated with “Wild Side (Oh the places you’ll go)”. I think if you can do that sort of thing to your audience, you’re clearly hitting the mark.

Oh go on.

Here’s some more from one of those rather distinctive Blogothèque Take Away shows…

 

I have a ticket to see Kevin Morby at the Lousiana in Bristol in September, and I’m rather looking forward to it…

Ah now, I’ve gone on too much I feel, I’ll come back to the second of my car-stereo recommendations tomorrow. You know I’m good for it…