Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Happy Xmas etc.

so i'll finish '09 with one of my favourite tunes of the year. Everyone says that The Gaslight Anthem sound like Bruce (good) or the Killers (very bad) but for me this particular song sounds like The Replacements, and frankly you don't get much better than that. See you in '10.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Here's the first of ace young writer Richard Milward's music pieces for the Guardian, which by the looks of it are going to be well worth following. It also reminded me of a few years ago, when my better half did the publicity for Richard's first novel, Apples, and to say thanks he got her a goodie bag that consisted of a miniature bottle of bubbles, a ten pack of Marlboro Lights, a packet of crisps and a chocolate bar!

Friday, 18 December 2009

It's snowing...

i walked home through the swirling snow late last night (after our xmas party) listening to this. It was totally lovely.

(and watching Vashti Bunyan here reminded me of the recent passing of, the genius, Robert Kirby. RIP.)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A Christmas Story

if you're looking for a xmas book to buy, then look no further, Auggie Wren's Christmas Story by Paul Auster has just come out with lovely illustrations by ISOL. There's a great extract/sample online at the Guardian.

And, as you may remember, this was the same story that featured at the end of the Auster/Wayne Wang movie, Smoke, memorably soundtracked by Tom Waits' glorious 'Innocent When You Dream'

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Lost Magazine

have run Peter Patnaik's excellent pre-war female murder ballads list from the pages of Hang the DJ, check it out here, Lost Magazine, it's a nice site.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Some more thoughts on AA Bondy

- I wasn't sure that When the Devil's Loose was quite as good as his debut American Hearts, but now i think it might be

- My friend saw him play last week in Toronto and said he was great, and that he and the whole audience, pretty much, got drunk together

- I really wish i went to see him and The Felice Bros in Shepherd's Bush in November

- I might have to track down the Verbena records (his old band, who supposedly recorded their last album with Dave Grohl producing)

- The track 'On the Moon' off the new record sounds very like Josh Rouse's 'The Whole Night Through' and is equally gorgeous

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

(Don't) Keep it Hid

i've never quite got into The Black Keys, but you have to check out frontman Dan Auerbach's solo record, a warm mix of blues, folk, soul and Creedence-style rock. I only got it at the w'end - thanks Graeme! - so it didn't make my 10 for 09 list, but it would have. Here's not one but two tracks. Now go buy it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Pictures of You

I love this song, and have recently been followed around by it. First it popped up in monday night's One Tree Hill and then there it was this morning in the pages of my current novel Nick's Trip by George Pelecanos.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

10 for '09

Lots of records I thought might, haven’t made this list (Richard Hawley, The Gaslight Anthem, Steve Earle, Monsters of Folk, Dylan, The Lemonheads, Drive-by Truckers, Iron & Wine, The XX, Wilco, Lisa Hannigan), so although the industry’s f***ed, by all accounts, it’s been a good year for music in my book…

1. Richmond Fontaine - We Used to think the Freeway Sounded Like a River
They just get better, and the songs here sounded phenomenal live, at the Garage in September (best record sleeve of the year too).

2. The Duke & The King - Nothing Gold Can Stay
Brilliant debut, sounds like a '70s country-soul classic, but with lyrics about growing up in the 80s. Also very good live.

3. Mariachi El Bronx
Hardcore white LA punks do straight mariachi album, shouldn't work but does, discovery of the year (although worst record sleeve of this list, by a long way). Turn it up!

4. The Low Anthem - Oh my God, Charlie Darwin
Came late to this, warily, but it's fantastic and a real grower, a superb one-sitting-listen kind of album.

5. Vetiver - Tight Knit
You need to play this loud on a good stereo to get it's full effect - gorgeous songs, fantastic band, still haven't seen them live.

6. AA Bondy - When the Devil's Loose
Maybe not quite as great as his debut, but still a brilliant winter record. Again, one to listen to in a single sitting, probably late at night

7. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
Rock and soul, recorded at FAME studios no less, and a step-up from his first post-DBT record.

8. The Felice Brothers - Yonder is the ClockStrangest of their albums yet, moodier and more diverse than the previous two, but still with its barnstorming moments. missed them live in October sadly (with support from AA Bondy).

9. M. Ward - Hold TimeAlways great - has the cover of the year on it, his version of 'Rave On', and some nice duets with Zooey Deschanel (sigh) and Lucinda Williams.

10. Backspacer - Pearl Jam
First album i've bought of theirs since Vitalogy – won’t claim it’s a classic, but it’s really pretty good and it sent me back to those first three albums.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

'Who's that a-writing?'

well done to Peter Murphy, Hot Press journo and author of the very fine John the Revelator, just shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award

John the Revelator

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Roll up, roll up

Not only is it nearly the end of the year, but it's nearly the end of the decade too. Perfect for a list or seven, so coming up over the next few weeks will be some top tens, from me, and maybe some friends/special guests too... watch this space (i know the world won't be short of lists over the next month or so, but hey this is a list based blog and i guarantee any posted here will be better than anything in, say, the OMM).

In the meantime, i can't find any footage of Bettye Swann to post (no matter how many times i look on youtube), but if you fancy a piece of genius heartbreak soul, check out her song '(My Heart is) Closed for the Season'

Bettye Swann

Friday, 20 November 2009

radiohead... with guitars

and this is a great version...

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Drive-By Truckers

nice article at AD, from a couple of days ago, on the DBTs The Dirty South. It leads onto a bit of a debate as to what their best album is. Well, for my money it's a tough call between this and Decoration Day, and i think last year's (Jason Isbell-less) A Ghost to Most is a flat out classic too... so that doesn't answer that question.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Goin' to Acapulco

Been listening to lots of Jim James recently, old My Morning Jacket and the Monsters of Folk record, and it reminded me of this great cover of Dylan's song which he first did with Calexico for the 'I'm Not There' s'track. Here's a great live version of it.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

King Solomon and The Blind Boys...

if you don't own 'Don't Give Up On Me' Solomon Burke's 2002 'comeback' album, that also came out on Fat Possum, go buy it immediately...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Record for the Winter?

I loved AA Bondy's debut American Hearts, which came out in 2008, so i've been looking forward its follow up, and the good news is it's sounding just as great. There's a slightly fuller band - with various Felice Brothers helping out at times - but again it's the strength of the songs and the overall feel of it that marks it out. I've seen next to no reviews for this (apart from an ok one in today's Guardian), and being on Fat Possum i don't see any Fleet Foxes style marketing attack happening on it, but honestly if you like things like Bon Iver or Elliott Smith, then check this out, it's another lovely record, and kind of perfect for this time of year...


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

In EAR FARM we trust

Great feature just up:
'an incredibly fun read' full of 'musical nerditude' (apparently)

Check out their choice of the 'Top Ten Lists from Hang the DJ', and a fine choice it is too.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Back down South...

well, Pacific North West to be accurate, here's the final video of this US related series - a great song from Laura Veirs, and i kind of love this old school animation too...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

She's Canadian, i know...

but sometimes you've got to bend the rules a little...

Monday, 26 October 2009


recorded at Calexico's Wavelab studios this is a great instrumental from Richmond Fontaine's last record but one (Thirteen Cities). Not only do the band feature in the book, but there's a list from frontman Willy Vlautin too, 'Riding with Lowell George...'

Friday, 23 October 2009

Next up...

is the Felice Brothers, Simone and all, who Rick Moody writes brilliantly about in the book. 'Roll on Arte, roll on...'

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

'This land is...'

To mark our stateside publication, I'm going to run some songs/clips here over the next week or so from my favourite contemporary US bands or singers, all of whom feature in the book at some point. I guess you'll just have to buy it to find out where...

So who's first up?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Drum roll...

here's Soft skull's great new cover for their pbk edition. More on its forthcoming US publication very soon...

Hang the DJ

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Classic My Morning Jacket

i've lost touch with them recently, but those first three records with the old line-up are superb, here they are in all their hirsute glory (great video too)!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Check My Brain

'Down in a Hole', 'Rooster', 'No Excuses', 'Angry Chair'... Alice in Chains are back with a new album. If you think it sounds dodgy though, new singer and all, click through to their site and listen to the forthcoming single, which sounds massive!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Great covers EP from Pete Molinari

the first release since his great second album (A Virtual Landslide) last year, this EP was recorded in Nashville and features The Jordanaires on mighty fine backing vocals. 'A Satisfied Mind' is maybe the standout track, but the other three are fast catching up, 'Today, Tomorrow, and Forever', 'Guilty' and 'Tennessee Waltz'

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Phone you're lawyer...

my brother in law reckons the opening track, 'gonna see my friend', from the new Pearl Jam album sounds just like his old band, Bowlrider (great band name, i'll give them that!).
I asked which song of theirs he meant, in particular:
"all of them" he said...

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


sorry if anyone sat through that... Mika was bad, but Shakira was really bad, they clearly decided to keep the best back for friday's extended edition!
Still, Gladys Knight was super cool.
In the meantime there's an extra track from The Duke & the King, 'If You Ever Get Famous' at the Later website.


Tuesday, 29 September 2009


The Duke & the King and The xx both make their debuts on Later tonight (will just have to make it through Mika first)...


Monday, 28 September 2009


it was my b'day last week and i got a very nice crop of cds...

my folks got me three of the lovely Beatles re-issues, my three favourite albums(probably):
A Hard Day's Night
Abbey Road
Also a mate got me The xx album, which sounds pretty good to me, a bit cure/mary chain/spiritualized like
The new Pearl Jam album, Backspacer, from one of my sisters - old school
And from another Truelove's Gutter, from the ever great Richard Hawley, who's sounding a little blue it has to be said, probably not your ideal monday morning record!
My third sister didn't get me anything at all...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Like Mariachi...

Well i thought Richmond Fontaine were amazing the other night: the stuff of the new record sounded great, particularly 'Lonnie', and the title track 'We Used the Think the Freeway Sounded like a River'. Other highlights were 'Lost in This World', great to hear live for the first time, with Ralph Huntley on piano, and the awesome instrumental 'El Tiradito'. They finished with fierce versions of 'Song for Dead Moon' and 'Four Walls' at what was their biggest London show to date, i think, over 500 people.
Only two complaints: I've still not heard the band play 'The Water Wars' live and the new Garage was nice as a venue, but way too much noise from the bar that runs all the way across the back. Great night though, and i was lucky enough to catch The Duke and the King at the same venue on friday night, short, early set, but great nonetheless.

Here are my four top tunes to check out, i'm guessing they're all on itunes to take a listen, but i recommend buying the albums they're from (all mentioned here once or twice over the past few months)...

'Lonnie' Richmond Fontaine
'Waterspider' The Duke and the King
'Goode's Field (Alternate Version)' Drive-by Truckers
'A Satisfied Mind' - Pete Molinari

Thursday, 17 September 2009

'Your Dad's a smart guy...'

great session from Richmond Fontaine on the Marc Riley show last night - you can listen again at the 6Music site, they come on about 18 mins in.
And looking forward to their show at the Garage tonight!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

The curse struck again...

sorry Lisa. Well done to Speech and big dada records though (go Will Ashon!)

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Mercury tonight...

at the risk of damning her, as i did Laura Marling last year, my vote's for Lisa Hannigan. To be fair it's the only album on the list i own, but i've heard enough of Florence, La Roux, Kasabian and Bat for Lashes to know they ain't doing it for me. Plus, any album that's got a song called 'Splishy Spalshy' on it gets my vote, and Annie's! Go Lisa...

Here are the full odds (not a bad bet at 7/1):

11/4 Florence and the Machine

5/1 Bat for Lashes

5/1 Speech Debelle

6/1 The Horrors

7/1 Lisa Hannigan

15/2 Friendly Fires

9/1 La Roux

14/1 Kasabian

14/1 Glasvegas

25/1 Sweet Billy Pilgrim

33/1 The Invisible

33/1 Led Bib

Monday, 7 September 2009

Holiday playlist?

Well it was mainly oldies (but all of them goodies) this year:


Hollywood Town Hall - The Jayhawks
Carried to Dust - Calexico
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road - Lucinda Williams
Townes - Steve Earle (which i really got into, having initially thought it was a bit of a mis-step)
And a compilation i made which worked out pretty well, with some Southern soul and blues thrown into the mix... I'll post that tracklisting up very soon.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Mariachi el Bronx


LA hardcore/punk band, The Bronx, record a mariachi styled album (but sung in english) and everyone has lots to argue about. Me? I say it's a pretty cool record (but then i am a big Calexico fan). Check it out for yourself...

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

RIP Jim Dickinson

producer and session man for the Stones, Big Star, the Replacements (below), and Primal Scream, among others, and all round man of good...

“As a producer, it really is all about taste. I’m not the greatest piano player in the world, but I’ve got damn good taste. I’ll sit down and go taste with anybody.”

The Replacements

Monday, 17 August 2009

Thursday, 13 August 2009

John Doe

recently cropped up as Peyton's father in One Tree Hill (well, we all have our vices), which sent me back to his 'Country Music Club' album (mainly covers) with the (ever brilliant) Sadies from earlier this year. I wasn't totally won over by it initially, but have been listening to it a lot over the last couple of weeks or so on my headphones, and it's pretty cool. Here's (more in-studio footage) of the album's great opening track...

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Watch Out

Richmond Fontaine's superb new album 'We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River' is out on monday. In the meantime you can follow the links via their website Richmond Fontaine for another short behind-the-scenes video, which trails the (largely) instrumental track 'Watch Out'

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Keep On Keeping On

(and check out the suit...)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

i heard this new radiohead track on the radio this morning and, fittingly, it's a really beautiful piece of music. You can download it here, and all proceeds go to the British Legion.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Some KEXP love for 'Hang the DJ'

that's right, Hang the DJ is coming out in the US this autumn, on super cool indie Soft Skull's autumn list, see a great plug here on KEXPs blog, and spread the word!

Friday, 31 July 2009

Midnight at the Movies


I've been listening to this a lot on my recent travels. It's a fine second album from Steve Earle's son and, yes, you can hear his old man's influence (and voice) at times, but there's a wider set of influences too - the Pogues, the Replacements (there's a great mandolin-led cover of 'Can't Hardly Wait') and Ryan Adams (of Jacksonville City Nights-era). The title track is superb, but it perhaps lacks a couple more songs as strong as this, and the cover mentioned above, to make it a great album. Good though, nicely played and sung throughout, strong lyrics and a nice old-time feel to it.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

If you go down to the woods...

here's the video to the aforementioned Richmond Fontaine single, 'You can Move Back Here'

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Blimey... not what you'd call a vintage year

MERCURY shortlist, plus current odds:

Florence and the Machine – Lungs 5/1
Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum 5/1
Bat for Lashes – Two Suns 6/1
La Roux – La Roux 6/1
Glasvegas – Glasvegas 6/1
Speech Debelle – Speech Therapy 8/1
Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires 8/11
The Horrors – Primary Colours 8/1
Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew 8/1
The Invisible – The Invisible 10/1
Led Bib – Sensible Shoes 10/1
Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men 10/1

Sunday, 19 July 2009

You Can Move Back Here

Ahead of the September release of their superb new album 'We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded like a River', Richmond Fontaine have teamed up with Trash Aestehtics for a great limited ed. 7" single, you can buy it here


Friday, 10 July 2009

Tarantino's Jukebox!


A two part radio 4 documentary starts tomorrow at 10.30am. QT and his use of music was definitely one of the inspirations for Hang the DJ, so i'll be tuning in for sure.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Best Festival in the world!

I'm off to see The Duke & the King at the Borderline tonight, and i just noticed that they've been added to the bill for this year's End of the Road Festival, at Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset. I went two years ago, and trust me when i say it's the most brilliant and beautifully run festival you can imagine - 5000 people capacity, gorgeous surroundings, great bands and no corporate sponsorship. And it's almost a dream line up this year, including Steve Earle, Richmond Fontaine, Vetiver, Neko Case, Fleet Foxes and others, see the official website for more
(If i hadn't just had a baby girl i'd be there this year too!)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Wilco (the response)

there's a great, strident, response to the album over at Aquarium Drunkard here that's well worth a read

While I may not be quite as glowing, yet, i'm enjoying the album (after a couple of shrugged shoulder listens). Unlike most reviewers though i find Nels Cline a problem, and it's particularly striking on this album, coming in late and over-filling songs with his j**z-like guitar (and he often sounds like Mike Oldfield for god's sake!). That said, there are some great songs on here, 'I'll Fight', 'You & I' (with Feist), 'Solitaire' and 'Sonny Feeling' (the latter two of which would have comfortably fit on Summerteeth - their most underrated album)

Anyway, Tweedy's voice and melodies are, as ever, great and it's a marked step-up lyrically from Sky Blue Sky, so definitely recommended.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Nick & Norah's Infinite playlist

This got a pretty hard time, but hell, i liked it


other indie/music based films that get a hard time (but i like):

Reality Bites
Dazed & Confused
School of Rock
All the Real Girls
Garden State
Death Proof

Monday, 29 June 2009

Hey, Hey, My, My...

fantastic gig indeed (and i dodged the rain) - by far the best i've seen him live (once before with Crazy Horse, once with Booker T), with a great band and Ben Keith, in particular, starring on second guitar and pedal steel.
It was also a near perfect set list for me, with 'Are you Ready for the Country', 'Unknown Legend', 'Old Man', Everbody Knows...' alongside the classic rockers 'Down by the River', 'Mansion on the Hill' and 'Cinnamon Girl'.
And yes, Macca did come out to join him for the encore of 'A Day in the Life'. Superb!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

My,My, Hey, Hey

off to see Neil Young tonight... can't wait.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Muscle Shoals

crops up more than once in the pages of Hang the DJ - as it should in any self-respecting book on good music! Here's ex Drive-By Trucker and local man Jason Isbell in today's Guardian with a very fine selection of classics recorded there at FAME studios - ten greats

And Jason played a great gig at the Luminaire here on tuesday night. Accompanied by the excellent guitar player from his new band, the 400 Unit, he played a fine set, inlcuding great versions of 'Outfit', 'Goddamn Lonely Love' and 'Dress Blues', in particular.

Check out their new record Jason Isbell

Monday, 8 June 2009

J, Lou and Murph

are back, again. And after 2007's Beyond, I'm pretty excited!


Also out in June is the Lemonheads new album, a collection of covers called (cleverly) Varshons, so it's a bit of dream month for me. And coming soon to a blog like this will be my list of favourite covers, as performed by Evan Dando and the Lemonheads...

Friday, 29 May 2009

All Hail... the Duke & the King!

fantastic gig at Bush Hall on tuesday night, check out Allan Jones/Uncut's (spot on) review of a fascinating night here
And look out for their album in July, Nothing Gold Can Stay, see the loose website for more info

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Really sad news about Jay Bennett (ex-Wilco)

who died unexpectedly yesterday. Here's a clip of him with Jeff Tweedy, that i made reference to in a post just a couple of weeks ago...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

If you ever get famous...

Simone Felice, on leave from the brilliant Felice Brothers, is soon to release the debut album of his new project The Duke & The King (spot the Mark Twain reference, not his first!), Nothing Gold Can Stay. I've just got a early copy of the album, and it's an utter delight, a collection of sad but hopeful songs that sounds a world away from much of the Felice Brothers output, but also makes perfect sense - a different kind of American soul music if you like. Here's the lead song from the album, and they're premiering the album here at Bush Hall on May 26th, that's next tuesday!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I haven't seen what the release date is here yet, but bump this up to full screen when you watch!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Black Cab Sessions

here's a plug for the great Black Cab Sessions site, which i highly recommend...

(pure coincidence that it happens to be when Dawn Landes pops up in the back seat, honest)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009



I've been listening to Wilco since the release of their second album Being There, and while they continue to be critical darlings and release quite good records, i'm surely not the only fan out there who yearns for the days when they were a great band. With Jay Bennett still a member they truly hit their stride with the run of albums that followed Being There, Summerteeth, Mermaid Avenue (their Woody Guthrie collaboration with Billy Bragg) and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

The acclaimed film that charts the breakdown of Tweedy and Bannett's relationship - I am trying to break your heart - is a fascinating if sad movie, and a weird thing to watch as a fan. I re-watched it recently and it just makes you realise what the band lost when he left, even if he was argumentative. The two disc version of the film includes some gorgeous extra footage of the two of them playing songs, just guitar and piano/organ, that sound amazing and are genuinely moving. Tweedy of course has form in this regard though - having similarly fallen out with his Uncle Tupelo partner Jay Farrar prior to Wilco - and I guess the just reported lawsuit for unpaid royalties, being filed by Bennett, makes my daydreams of a re-union more than a little unlikely...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Martha & the Vandellas

i love everything about this song and video, here's to bank holiday mondays...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Heavy Pecking

I'm loving Yonder is the Clock, and worth a further mention is the fact that it contains not one, but two chicken songs. Any readers of Hang the DJ will know it contains a great list by RTEs John Kelly (The Pecking Order) about classic country and R&B tunes of that flavour. Well of the two new ones by The Felice Brothers - 'Chicken Wire' and 'Run, Chicken, Run' - it's the latter that already sounds like a classic, a stomping sing-a-long that will, i imagine, become something of a live favourite.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Current listening...

You' ll be relieved to hear i tracked down the Felice Brothers new album (i'm sure!), and very fine it sounds too, particularly the lovely Waits-like 'Sailor Song'. The beauty of anything by the Felice Brothers, on the previous two records at least, is their slow-burn appeal, so looking forward to delving deeper into this one.

I also tracked down a second hand copy of James Iha's (ex Smashing Pumpkins) only solo album, Let it come Down, on CD. I first bought this on cassette before travelling to the West Coast of America in 1998, and so maybe my judgement is skewed, but for me this is an amazing lost record, a surprising and lovely country-soul gem.


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Yonder is the Clock... somewhere

i still haven't managed to get a copy of the new Felice Brothers album - not sure if they've had distribution problems or if it's just that the shops are so bad at ordering things thes days. In the meantime though, here's a fine impromptu performance by one of my favourite bands (as written about by Rick Moody in the book!)

Thursday, 16 April 2009



Twenty-two years after first falling for them, I saw AC/DC on Tuesday night, and they didn’t disappoint. Brilliant and funny, they put on an amazing show, and while they did play a few songs off the new album, Black Ice, it was mainly an impeccable greatest hits set (although I would have included ‘What’s next to the Moon’, and ‘Rock and Roll ain’t noise pollution’). The surprisingly camp Brian Johnson worked the crowd, Malcolm, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd kept it tight, not missing a beat or note all night, and Angus was just pure sweaty genius, a genuinely amazing thing to see in the flesh – a cross between Chuck Berry and James Brown!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Looking forward to...

the new Booker T. Jones album, out here on April 20th. Backed by the ever great Drive-By Truckers, and featuring a certain Neil Young playing lead guitar on one track, it includes covers of Tom Waits' 'Get Behind the Mule', the Truckers' 'Space City' and Outkast's 'Hey Ya'.

Booker T. Jones

(nice retro artwork too!)

Friday, 20 March 2009

'It's the way you move them around that makes it work' New Dylan...

Jonathan Lethem wrote about Dylan's dirty side in Hang the DJ, but Bob himself is now talking about the more romantic side to his new album, out in April...

New album

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Young Folks (in the sun)

i've posted about Dawn Landes here before, but her great cover of this Peter, Bjorn & John tune seems a good song for the current weather!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009



I've been reading Slash's biog. recently - appallingly written it may be (!) but it's also highly entertaining stuff. It reminded me of three key things about the band:

1. How great their music was, up to and including Use Your Illusion I and II
2. What an integral part of the band Izzy Stradlin was, and
3. How insane Axl was, seriously

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

R.I.P. Selectadisc

Nottingham's great indie, Selectadisc, is set to close by the end of this month, further sign of how dire the UK highstreet is these days. Along with Derby's Way Ahead, of the early/mid 90s, this was my favourite record store as a teen (where i first bought Dinosaur Jr, the Lemonheads, Nirvana, Neil Young, Sebadoh etc - happy days)

Monday, 9 March 2009

The Late, great...

here's the man himself, from the superb documentary, 'Heartworn Highway' (which towards the end features a brief appearance by a very young Steve Earle)

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Earle does Townes

Steve Earle, long time Townes Van Zandt evangelist, has cut an album of covers - jusdging by his version of 'Lungs' (complete with guitar from ex-RATM man Tom Morello!) which you can hear at PITCHFORK it's going to be quite a tribute.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Lowside of the Road

Barney Hoskyns' mighty tome on Tom Waits is just out and quite rightly receiving enormous acclaim. For an interview with Barney see Faber website and click here to Buy

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

'Fell into the ocean...'

more on Tom Waits tomorrow, but in the meantime here's one of his greatest songs of this decade (and a very 'Waits' interview after), enjoy!

Monday, 2 March 2009

More of... Vetiver

Tight Knit

I didn't see much mentioned in the new year previews to get excited about, but now hot on the heels of M Ward's album there's a new one from Vetiver, 'Tight Knit' is out on Bella Union on March 9th, for more info check out the band's website

Saturday, 28 February 2009

'Love will find you in the end'

Matt Ward and band were on fine form at the Borderline on wednesday night, playing much of the new album (particular shouts for 'Rave on' and 'Fisher of Men') and dipping into his now considerable back list (an opening duo of 'Lullaby & Exile' and 'Fuel for Fire', performed solo, were particularly lovely). His new single 'Never had Nobody Like You' seems to be getting some great airplay on 6Music, but it's long puzzled me why he's not bigger than he is. Oh well, some things are best kept at a level, and he seemed to be enjoying himself a great deal the other night (along with the multi-instrumentalist and fine whistler Mike Coykendall, sporting a cool old Richmond Fontaine t-shirt - respect).
Here's an interview by Laura Barton in yesterday's Guardian, M Ward - A few of my favourite things

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fleet or Flat?

I saw the first of Fleet Foxes’ three nights at the Roundhouse on Sunday and was very pleasantly surprised. While I enjoyed their album, and EP, of last year, there was a suspicion that there was something a little too austere or clinical about them, particularly with the album. But on Sunday they lit up the venue, as the songs seemed to take on a new life. The five piece band were all exceptional and looked genuinely excited and proud to be starting a run of shows at the venue, and the singer, Robin Pecknold’s, warm and open interaction with the crowd put many more taciturn stars to shame. It was a genuinely lovely gig, with stand outs ranging from his totally unmiced cover of ‘Katie Cruel’ (and impromptu snatched verse/chorus of ‘It ain’t me babe’) to the band’s gleeful takes on ‘Mykonos’ and ‘Your Protector’. I went into this gig thinking they might be a bit of a let down, after all the hype of last year, but came away thoroughly won over. Here’s to M Ward on Wednesday, which will certainly be my last live gig for quite sometime…

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Sunday Soul

It's been a bit of a chaos weekend, so here's something lovely: from her approriately titled 2006 album, The Greatest, it's Cat Power and
'Lived in Bars'

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Hold Time

Having been on my sick-bed for the last couple of days, i haven't been able to pick up M Ward's new album, Hold Time, yet, but I can't wait. One of my favourite artists, by a country mile, this new album includes contributions from Lucinda Williams (hooray), Zooey Deschanel (She - hooray) and Jason Lyttle (Grandaddy - hooray) and promises many treasures, not least covers of Don Gibson's 'Oh Lonsome Me' and Buddy Holly's 'Rave On'. Anyone who may have heard his earlier covers, such as Bowie's 'Let's Dance' and Louis Armstrong's 'Sweethearts on Parade' will know that here's a man who knows how to take on a great song.
For a preview of the album and some cool videos (check out the very cool animation in 'Chinese Translation') see mwardmusic
And if you're going, see you at his Borderline show next week...

Monday, 9 February 2009

Amazing Grace

here's Willie, for my friends Paddy and Alice, who got married on Saturday...

Friday, 6 February 2009

On the turntable...

'What was there?' i asked Peter Murphy as he wrote and thought about his fine debut novel. Here's what he said:

'My top 10 Records Used as Inspirational Laxative During the Writing of John the Revelator'

The Soul of a Man - Blind Willie Johnson
Deserter's Songs - Mercury Rev
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP - Godspeed You Black Emperor
Anthology of American Folk Music - Various Artists
'Tunic (Song for Karen)' - Sonic Youth
'Lake Of Fire' - Meat Puppets
'A Thing Called Love' - Johnny Cash
Funeral - Arcade Fire
Dead Man Soundtrack - Neil Young
Passio - Arvo Part

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

'Who's that a-writing?'

This is a cool promo/reading from Peter Murphy (the Hot Press journo's) debut novel, John the Revelator. Already acclaimed in the early Irish reviews as a modern day masterpiece, it's officially out tomorrow. All i'm saying is that the novel is every bit as great as the song...

Friday, 30 January 2009

Paul Newman Saves the Night - free 'Northline' downloads

I wrote here at xmas about the gorgeous soundtrack that was included with the first edition of Willy Vlautin's brilliant second novel Northline . The lovely new pbk edition doesn't include the soundtrack, sadly, but i do have two of the songs here to download:

Northline, Theme

Paul Newman Saves the Night


Monday, 26 January 2009

Amanda Petrusich Playlist

I asked Amanda, author of the aforementioned It Still Moves,
what she'd been listening to most recently...

Here are 10 tracks I've been listening to over and over again this winter:
Blood Bank - Bon Iver
My Girls - Animal Collective
Dead City/Waste Wilderness - Abe Vigoda
Sin City - the Flying Burrito Brothers
The Best We Ever Had - Andre Ethier
The Shrew - Beirut
Shake and Fingerpop - Junior Walker
Old Hat - Ben Kweller
Sinking in the Lonesome Sea - the Carter Family
Most everything off "The Art of Field Recording, Volume II

Sunday, 25 January 2009


is usually soul day here, but i read somewhere this week that Ryan Adams and the Cardinals were no more, for a while at least as he publishes his book of poetry Infinity Blues. Now while i might never have been the biggest fan of the Cardinals, they definitely had their moments (Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights in particular are great records), and so here's a really nice version of a stunning track off Easy Tiger.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

American Beauty

there's a great review of Amanda's book in today's Guardian by Joe (White Bicycles) Boyd, a man who knows a thing or two about music himself.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Book Club...

If you like your Americana (which I kind of hope you do if you’re reading this blog) then check out IT STILL MOVES Amanda Petrusich’s full length debut, out today in the UK. Already acclaimed in The Wire and The Times, it’s a brilliant journey through the varied landscape of American music, from Robert Johnson to Iron & Wine - via Elvis, Sun Studios, and an awful lot of food...


Thursday, 22 January 2009

Dawn / Twilight

i recommended Dawn Landes' great album, Fireproof, from last year a little while ago. Here's a taster, and a cool video too...

Monday, 19 January 2009



After the success of Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago last year it’s going to be interesting to see how this (old-school) EP does. It’s heartening (to me) that it’s being kept as an EP in its own right, and hasn’t been tagged on to the album (as seems to be the trend for many labels these days with cash-in deluxe editions).

So what’s it like? Well I’m pleased to say that it’s largely very good. Side A (I got the fine 12inch version) in particular is excellent – opening with the title track, it looks lyrically toward the more hopeful and redemptive side of For Emma, and couples it with a bigger, more fleshed out band sound. This expansive step is then countered by ‘Beach Baby’ which is a lovely, quiet, acoustic track, reminiscent of Elliott Smith, with a gorgeous, minimalist guitar solo.

Side B is more complicated – the opening ‘Baby’s’ sounds worryingly like a Coldplay track, as the bigger, band sound comes over as bombastic and un-original, with none of the feel and atmosphere of the title track. This is hopefully a mis-step and not an (arena) avenue he and the band will be pursuing. The closing track is the a-capella ‘Into the Woods’, a four line poem repeated in harmony that made a stunning opening to their gig but here suffers slightly by the use of vocoder, something I’ve always hated. That said, it remains a fascinating piece of music - reminiscent of some of the stranger tracks from David Crosby’s glorious If I Could Only Remember My Name – which ends this EP on a high note. Recommended.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Curzon Soho Quiz

All went well last night at the Ten Rounds With De Niro - Music in Movies special (although i did keep saying 'nice', which is a bit J*zz)
The next quiz is their Romance Special on Wednesday 11th February, so make a date in your diary.

And sample question from last night for all you pop-pickers - Which 1980s pop icon has his fishing trip disturbed by a corpse in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Curzon Soho

tomorrow night (Wed 14th Jan) i'll be co-hosting the Curzon Soho's Ten Rounds With De Niro January film Quiz, being their 'Music in Movies' special.
It's a 7pm start and entry is £10 per team (max. 6 people per team), so come along and test your knowledge...

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Sunday Soul

i was failing to fall asleep late last night as i listened to my neighbours horrible trance music, i wasn't pleased. Here's a quality antidote though, a little Smokey Motown...

Thursday, 8 January 2009

And my own Book of '08?


Well you could do worse than to check out George Pelecanos' masterful, The Turnaround. Set in the modern day, but going back to the events of one summer night in Washington DC, 1973, it's his most mature (but in a good way) novel to date, and sees him stepping ever further away from the notion that he's a 'crime' writer. As ever, the period music is impeccably used and referenced throughout - largely of the classic soul variety but this one will also make you track down or dig out Blue Oyster Cult's 'Then Came the Last Days of May', I promise.

Perceptive readers may have noticed that my day job has something to do with books, so here's a warning that upcoming posts may feature a number of books, both novels and non-fiction (but only with a musical link).

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Secretly (Not) Canadian

So here's Mr Peter Morey's Canadian top 10 for 2008. I was going to point out that there was no mention of the Acorns rather fine debut, Hope Glory Mountain, but of course that came out Autumn '07 in Canada. Some good things to check out here though by the sounds of it...

1. Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue
This is an amazing album. Psychedelic and catchy. Check this band out if you have not heard them.

2. Andre Ethier - Born On Blue Fog
This is Andres 4th solo record - he has an great voice, is really prolific and is a fantastic painter as well. People compare him to Dylan, but that's such a lazy comparison...

3. Valery Gore - Avalance to Wandering Bear
Blissful Piano pop.

4.Chad Vangaalen - Soft Airplane
The daddy of the Calgary scene. Listen to the song willow tree.

5. Justice - Just Is
My fav hip hop album of the year. It's got wicked old samples.

6. Bicycles - Oh no it's Love
The only band around writing 2min smart pop songs.

7.Black Mountain - In the The future
Get stoned. Rock out.

8. Hayden - In Field and Town
What can I say, I love Hayden's voice.

9. The Lost fingers - Lost in the 80's
Django style gypsy Jazz covers of 80's song. It's done so well!

10. Land of Talk - Some are Lakes
Three piece sonic youth ish Stuff from Montreal. Lizzie Powell is a super cool front women.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Happy New Year to everyone

After an extended break things are back up and running here, so what have i been listening to over the festive period i hear you ask? Well the Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan EP is superb, better i think than their second album, and other than that Santa seemed to be Canadian this year, delivering Neil Young's Sugar Mountain and Kathleen Edwards' third album, Asking For Flowers. I recommend both, but as you've probably heard of the former and not the latter, here's a link to her WEBSITE.

Now she won't be making the cover of NME or OMM anytime soon, but she's a vintage style rocker, with a great sound and voice, and some bite to her lyrics. I think her first album, Failer, is still my favourite, but fans of Tom Petty, My Morning Jacket, Lucinda Willams etc. would do well to check any of her three out.

And talking of Canada, my best man Pete (a pale Englishman working at CBC) has sent me his top ten Canadian releases for '08, which i'll post here tomorrow...