Seven Records I’m Proud to Have Bought in 2011

Here’s to Taking It Easy – Phosphorescent

Pride saw arch finger-pointer Matthew Hauk and pals sound a bit Bon Iver-y, which was OK but 2010’s follow up was a much more ballsy, countrified affair, with brass, slide guitars and riffs all over the shop –terrific value. I think I’ve already posted a video of my favourite track ( “God damn, Amanda, God damn it all”), so here’s the opener – Bah bah badda ba badda bah!

 

 

Swinging Addis – Ethiopiques Series

Or to be honest, any of the Ethiopiques series of which I bought, I think, eleven volumes during the course of the year. Amazing stuff which I’ve gone on about before. The video here is of Tlahoun “The Voice” Gessesse, and I love it…

 

 

Last Days of Summer – White Denim

I say bought …

It seems incredible now but for a good while this record was being chucked away free at the band’s web site, before being given an “official” release this year. It’s probably not quite as strong and self confident as D, but still full of bristle and brawn, and with trademark catchiness all over. Lots of play in the car…

 

 

I Often Dream of Trains – Robyn Hitchcock

Listened to quite a lot of Hitchcock this year, partly because of an ongoing Soft Boys thing but also as preparation for seeing him at Green Man, where he was great and did a surprise extra set comprised only of insect songs. Title track is a highpoint, but the version of “Great When You’re Dead” on Later is a treat. Have grown to love this record with something like devotion.

 

 

Mighty Baby – Mighty Baby

A charming record that I was tipped off about as a result of the LPGroup 1967 session. I’d be banging on about Rolled Gold, and was told to get hold of this record, Might Baby being the band the Action melded into towards the end of the sixties. Hugely embarrassed to have missed this for so long – it’s a belter! No real footage, I’m afraid…

 

 

Pigeons – Here We Go Magic

Really eclectic, interesting and above all smart collection of pop songs on Secretly Canadian. Bought it at the same time as I was grimly trying to get into Merriweather Post Pavilion and consequently is bound up with that record in my mind. The acceptable face being “clever”…

 

 

Jun Ray Song Chang – Asa Chang & Jun Ray

I love Twitter! One of my virtual chums mentioned this in passing and reacquainted me with a record I’d loved when it came out but had ab-so-lutely forgotten about. The whole record is a challenging but rewarding listen. Beautiful, compelling, contrary…

 


Take your brain, it’s time to go…

Reg King, lead singer and songwriter for sixties icons The Action has died.

As well as having a cult following as an original Mod band of the sixties, the Action managed the transition from mod into psychedelia well and actually recorded a real classic in 1967’s Rolled Gold, one of my favourite sixties album. I’m not sure it was actually released at the time; if it was, it bombed. And that was that…

One of the thing’s that’s really sad about his death is that it happened over a month ago and I’ve only just heard. Now, either that means I’ve been living the life of a monk, shunning all contact with the outside world, or nobody much cared…

Here’s the Guardian’s obituary (a month late).

Listen to “Brain” from Rolled Gold, it’s wonderful.

Remember me…