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...