This is one of the freshest tracks I have heard in a while. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are a Chicago-based family brass band (oh, the interesting journeys this blog has taken me on). I love how rich the sound is, also the vocal is strong, wise and wistful.
Josh Rouse – Winter in The Hamptons
Josh Rouse is an old favourite from university. I hadn’t thought about him in ages until I heard this song on the radio over the weekend. It was probably the first song of his that really grabbed me back what is probably 10 years ago by now. How can it be that long?
It is also fairly apt as today must have been the coldest day of the winter so far in London. It was absolutely frigid. I thought my face was going to fall off on my way home this evening!
Betty Wright – Clean up woman
Betty Wright is a hero. She is a favourite mine and I how sassy she is here. Also, what a killer bass line! She came into my mind when I noticed she was playing live on Jools Holland’s show on New Year’s Eve and I have wanted to post this since.
Elvis Costello – Watching the detectives
Short post tonight. I am feeling jaded after staying up to watch the Superbowl last night. What a game!
I found myself listening to a lot of Elvis Costello in the second half of last year. I had somehow forgotten how talented and prolific he is. Here is another illustration of this.
Sigur Rós – Samskeyti
Sigur Rós are Icelandic chill out heroes. As usual, I was striving for something soothing for Sunday night and this did the trick. It is taken from their splendid, if esoterically named () album.
London has been somewhat arctic over the past week and especially the last 24 hours. I walked home last night through the first big snow storm of the winter. Somehow, not having to get up and brave it on my way to work the next morning made it a lot more tolerable.
I have had quite a cultural week, which is more of a rarity for me than I would like. I went to a fabulous exhibit in the Royal Academy yesterday. It was a collection of work by David Hockney and it took my breath away in it’s scale and boldness. A good friend once told me that he felt that doing things which stimulate you intellectually is good for your soul. I couldn’t have agreed with him more last night.
Youth Lagoon are favourites I discovered last year. They make music that sounds languid and somewhat washed out but very enjoyable. Also, the cover of their album (featured as the background for this video) is pretty dope.
Paula Cole* – Where have all the cowboys gone? (GPF)
I have read a lot about Lana Del Rey recently, she seems to be almost ubiquitous. This made me curious about her and so I investigated. Her music was okay but what struck me was how the song I heard reminded me of this, a real blast from the past.
Hearing it brought me back to school days and summers. It is cheesy but impossible to get out of your head.
Where is my lonely ranger? Where have all the cowboys gone?…
Thomas Mapfumo* – Shumba (NAT)
I first came across this guy, who hails from Zimbabwe via Caribou, the mathematician, musician and man of many aliases. He has a side-project called Daphni and he sampled this song on one of those tracks. It has a fresh sound and an insistent air which makes it very compelling.
Van Morrison – Rave on John Donne/Rave on part two (live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast)
I could write extensively about Van Morrison and the impact his music has had upon my taste in music and life, but I will try to spare you the tedium. Long story short, I am something of a fan.
The reason for posting this is that my father is fortunate enough to be going to see Van the man play in Belfast on Friday night. I am fairly jealous.
Van is a remarkable live artist, possessing a rare ability to lead a band. Typically I find myself to be underwhelmed by live albums, feeling unsatisfying when comparing them to studio versions. This is why it is so strange that Van has made 3 live albums that beguile me (It’s too late to stop now, Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast and A night in San Francisco). I can only think of a couple of other live albums that I would even bother to give another listen yet I return to these three over and over. And over.
This is taken from Live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, an LP that takes pride of place in my record collection. It is the best bits of several shows recorded in 1983. This particular song has taken on an almost mythical status in my life. I love the dreamy, meandering opening and then how the song suddenly shifts gears with the intorduction of saxophone (I am a sucker for some horns). From there it builds and builds to a crescendo with Morrison crying, exhorting with a tangible sense of urgency. All the while his band backs him immaculately giving the song a texture that I find irresistible.
Is it real? What you sang about in your song. I said come back baby. Can we talk it over one more time? Tonight…