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.