Happy New Year!

I’m going to start the new year in fairly typical fashion in that I’m going to post a couple of things I meant to do a few days ago…

Am already regretting my slightly churlish decision not to present a list of 2007’s best releases. Having thought about it there were enough good new releases to make quite a comprehensive list after all – albums by Gruff Rhys, The Besnard Lakes, Deerhunter and, yes, Burial all spring easily to mind, now. But anyway the moment’s gone.

I did want to mention, though, a few new tracks and developments from some of the bands I’ve blithered on about this year.

Firstly I have a track from the new Poq release that was sent to me just before Christmas. It’s actually available on Emusic (God bless ‘em). It’s a remix of the “Disko” track which has been around for a while, but I rather like this new version.

Disko (Lifting Gear Engineer Remix) – Poq

There are also a couple of new tracks available from Birmingham’s Hoden Lane available on their Myspace page, and news of a demo cd which I am assured I’ll be getting a copy of. I’ll post one track, and you can flutter over to their Myspace to pick up the other

Prince Charming – Hoden Lane

Then there’s a couple of compelling, though a little crackly, songs from the great David Thomas Broughton, recorded live with fellow Green Man veterans 7 Hertz (also worth seeing if you get the chance). You can get the other track here.

So Much Sin to Forgive – David Thomas Broughton & 7 Hertz

Broughton has recently released an interesting single with a Swedish electronica producer called Chris Casati, which are pretty good too, and available here (or on iTunes, if you have to…).

Then finally, there’s one extra track available from the sulphurous lair of Michael J Sheehy. He’s also been recording this year, and performing with his brother’s band. See the videos here.

Flyin’ Shoes – Michael J Sheehy

And that’s cleared up all of that. Happy New Year!

Raise Your Hand to the Company Man

A list of words or phrases I really should try to avoid when describing Michael J Sheehy:

Dark
Gothic
Tom Waits
Tortured
Demons
Faustian

There will also not be any references to hellhounds on anybody’s trail or going down to any crossroads whatsoever, ok?

Michael J Sheehy

So, I went to see Michael J Sheehy of (brief) Dream City Film Club fame at the Guildhall last week, for this month’s Acoustica evening. In an uncharacteristic attempt to do some homework for the event I downloaded his new album from Emusic beforehand; but in more characteristic fashion didn’t really get round to listening to much of it before going. As it turned out, though, I’m kinda glad I didn’t get round to it, because the album’s fine, but considerably less edgy and compelling than watching the man himself.

I’m not sure if it was because a friend who knew him mentioned that Sheehy was a bit of a dangerous character or whether it was just the fact that he launched into his set with none of the niceties of the previous acts, but there was definitely a whiff of sulphur in the air, as soon as he started. I like a bit of an edge to a performer and I’m not that fussed about chitchat with the audience, actually – as far as I’m concerned no banter is definitely better than lame banter – so I was quite happy to see Sheehy and his band launch into their first few songs with no introduction.

Great songs they were too, drawing you in with his unrelentingly despondent and tormented outlook on life, which harked back to some of the great Country & Western songs and singers of the past. He also used a lot of church and biblical imagery too which again reminded me of the classic sinner-or-saint struggles of the early rockers.

He was backed by a really tight band, who (rather wonderfully) went by the name of the Hired Mourners and who drove Sheehy on with a well rehearsed but clunky rhythm. They included one man on acoustic bass, a really cool drummer and (brilliantly) one blessed individual who alternated between banjo, pedal-steel and wah-wah guitar and looked suspiciously like a brother. He was great. Sheehy’s gravelly voice was also well complimented by a woman, singing backing vocals, but whose name I’m afraid I didn’t catch. Apologies to her, she really added something to the performance.

All in all, it was a really great set, the best I’ve seen for a while, my favourite part being one of the last songs, “So Long Sorrow Town”, which mutated effortlessly into a rather spiteful version of “The Passenger”.

Really if you get a chance to see him (and he seems to be touring at the moment), I would, it’d be well worth your money. I’m posting a few tracks which I think I bagged from the Myspace page but which no longer appear to be there, and as I said his current album and the previous ones are available here on Emusic.

Michael Jnr

Donkey Ride straight to Hell

Love me

There, not a mention of Tom Waits to be seen (apart from the one at the start)…

Well, and this one obviously…