From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for October 2011

November 1st Mixtape Guest Blog from Bob Winckworth

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I am truly racking them up now. Both Dan Thompson and Thom Vincent have contributed their mixtapes, now it’s the turn of Bob Winckworth. I love looking through people’s record collections, this is a cyber way of doing just that! I geek out to find bands I’ve never heard of one second to then be surprised at certain songs people profess a love for. He’s opted for a mixture of relatively new and old and you can read about his choices below. I particularly love Bobs inclusion of the Bee Gees and his use of the phrase “good-looking swine” and shall endeavour to use it as much as possible.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play Bob’s mixtape.

1. Fairport Convention – Matty Groves (A favourite Fairport Convention song of mine. I love the foot tapping beat besides the tale of adultery and love).

2. I Like Trains – Terra Nova  (Sometimes I forget about I Like Trains. Their first EP and album feature songs based on historical events. Terra Nova recalls Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic. Other topics have included the murder of Spencer Percival, Dr. Beeching and witch trials. Usually epic and brooding, this remains my favourite of theirs. Very good band, should be playing bigger places than the Horse & Groom).

3. Caitlin Rose – Sinful Wishing Well (I could write a whole blog post about how much I love Caitlin Rose. First came to my attention when Marc Riley played ‘For The Rabbits’ on his show. Since then I’ve seen her at every London date. This is from her first full album, ‘Own Side Now’. There’s a fragility and sadness in her voice which I find rather charming. She’s really good live, terribly modest and very very funny).

4. The Waterboys – White Birds (From ‘An Appointment with Mr. Yeats’, their adaptation of a Yeats’ poem. Wonderful arrangements. There’s a risk of coming across as pretentious when one adapts poetry to music, but Mike Scott has past experience and is smart enough to ensure it sounds anything but).

5.  The Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep (I have no idea when I started listening to The Smithereens. Maybe after I watched the Bogey film ‘In A Lonely Place’, which, coincidentally is another Smithereens title. Anyway, I just really love this groove).

6. The Triffids – Born Sandy Devotional (There are three different recorded versions of this song. A truncated version on the original pressing of ‘In The Pines’, this version appears on the remastered edition of that album. Another take with a harder, bigger sound appears on the album ‘Born Sandy Devotional’. Such an understated band, particularly when compared with fellow Australians The Go Betweens. David McComb was a very good writer and a good-looking swine. Such a tragedy that he is no longer with us).

7. When Saints Go Machine – Church and Law (Very dreamy. This is from their second album, ‘Konkylie’ which apparently means ‘conch shell’ in Danish and isn’t about scamming an antipodean sex midget. That’s not Anthony Hegarty singing, though doesn’t it sound like him? A lovely, relaxing album).

8. Jimmy Walker – Where Do We Go From Here?  (From the OST to ‘Vanishing Point’, the cult classic film from 1971. Such a brilliant album, and this is a stonking track. The title is in keeping with the existential crisis that appears to trouble the lead character, Kowalski. Purely by chance I’m sure).

9. Bee Gees – Odessa (City On The Black Sea (This is the title track from their 1969 double album, which is just mind-blowing good. A musical hotspot tinged with lavish arrangements, wonderful harmonies, and occasional hat tips to country music. I love the Bee Gees).

10. The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Macken – The Parting Glass (I think this is solely Liam Clancy singing. I was fortunate enough to see him before he passed away a couple of years ago. This arrangement makes me want to weep).

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Written by Anon PA

October 31, 2011 at 10:31 am

They Gotta Be Adored

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First gig in a few weeks where I was there solely to drink cider and let the music infect me instead of keeping one eye open for reviewing purposes and I end up blogging about it. Addicted to writing!

When The Stone Roses announced their resurrection (see what I did there? Toss me in the Thames please) I was instantly thrown into a pit of despair over why I wasn’t excited. I should have been. I still maintain Sally Cinnamon is the most romantic love story told in a song, I listen to Waterfall every time I feel like life is shit. I shed a tear when I found Elephant Stone on vinyl in a bric-a-brac shop off Holloway Rd for 50p, Standing Here makes me fall in love with everyone around me no matter how vile those people may be. But that stopped heartbeat, the moment you can’t breathe just didn’t come.

I am reminded of why. Its bands like Wu Lyf that make you sit up and listen, make you live for that exact moment. Make you stop looking to the nineties for your answers, anthems and inspirations.

I am not proclaiming Wu Lyf are the new Stone Roses but last night they created something close to a religious experience. Now that they are giving interviews (but still shunning Twitter), recently in the NME Ellery Roberts was described as being “near-phobic of becoming some run-of-the-mill, clichéd rock star”. Clichéd he is not but he may need to get used to being elevated onto a pedestal and viewed as a star. On two occasions he launched himself into the crowd. The first he managed to keep hold of the mic and continued singing in that raw, fractured, beautiful voice of his. The second occasion saw his t-shirt clawed off him from under his jacket and a calm walk through the crowd where people just wanted to touch him, his head slightly bowed in reverence. It is no exaggeration to say that witnessing this felt like the manic, fevered adoration usually reserved for Morrissey.

The crowd, throughout the entire set, went (to coin my favourite phrase) bat shit over their every move, every song, every pause. Their cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game was a stroke of genius, and I suspect the smattering of girls in the audience left Shepherds Bush Empire part heart-broken, part horny. They are carving out and creating a unique manifesto and I am utterly committed to their cause, wherever it leads us.

Written by Anon PA

October 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

A Tribute To John Peel

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I recently made a plea for people to keep their ears open, how as a music lover I think it is essential to keep discovering new music. I want my life to be a constant soundtrack, ever-changing, ever-growing, sometimes heartbreaking sad, sometimes joyous and ecstatic, sometimes a precious secret, sometimes shouted from the rooftops. I hope it constantly evolves, taking me to places and down paths and through emotions like a trusted old friend.

John Peel will always be an inspiration to me. His faith in his music choices, his ear for picking out the next big thing at times years before they reached critical acclaim is a talent that I suspect cannot be taught but one I will always strive for. There are DJ’s working hard at keeping that legacy of supporting new music alive. Namely Steve Lamacq and John Peel’s son Tom Ravenscroft, who he must be immensely proud of.

I am sure many of you will be flicking through your well-worn copies of Margrave Of The Marshes this week, some of you may be catching John Peel’s Shed at Jackson Lane like lucky me. I guarantee all of you will be playing music he championed, maybe without even realising it. From PJ Harvey to Pulp via The Undertones and Nirvana.

As an oh-so painfully awkward teenager it was music I felt most connected to, spoke to me when I felt misunderstood, alone, gangly, spotty. John Peel brought me a lot of the music that saw me outgrow my acne, get a much fatter bum and find my confidence, my footing in the world.

So to him. Thank you.

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Image from Future Radio

Written by Anon PA

October 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

October 24th Mixtape

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The plan was to have a rest from blogging my Mixtapes this weekend and instead bring you the wonder of The Minotaur exhibition under The Old Vic Arches. However, I idiotically deleted the most beautiful photography Lolita & I have ever created together and spent yesterday in a fit of EMO rage over it. Once the tantrum (at myself, which is a very tragic and unfulfilling type of tantrum) subsided he convinced me we should go back and start again. So, that review will happen eventually.

For now you just have to stick the headphones on and listen to a few songs instead. If I had to choose just one of the tracks worthy of your time and attention from the list below I’d urge you to play Sissy & The Blisters. I reviewed them for Flush The Fashion last week and was instantly in love.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape and if you’re a YouTube purist click here to play the videos.

1. The Stone Roses – Sally Cinnamon (I thought I’d feel something deep in the pit of my stomach this week when the reunion was announced. I guess this is the curse of the media age, there are no surprises anymore. By the time the press conference was announced it was common knowledge. I was 10 when this song came out, I still maintain it to be the most perfect love story ever told in a song, the twist at the end… perfect).

2. Driver Drive Faster – They May Talk  (I spoke to the lead singer quickly last week, he’s from Torquay. His first sentence when I told him that’s where I went to school was “Have you seen the Metronomy video?”. Its how strangers from The English Riviera greet one another now).

3. War On Drugs – Baby Missiles (Hadn’t really paid attention to this band until I heard this track so I’ll have a nosey around their material now, this could be the track that leads me into them).

4. Wild Beasts – Reach A Little Bit Further (I haven’t met anyone who has a bad word to say about Smother. This track really stands out for me personally).

5.  Van Morrison – Moondance (Vintage Van. If you’ve never given him the time of day this should change your mind).

6. Disco Zombies – Drums Over London (I played this on the way home from the Bull & Gate on Thursday. I was on a bit of a music high and ended up walking about with the foxes for a bit before going home. Literally. Every street I wandered down foxes appeared from the shadows).

7. The Jim Jones Revue – Princess & The Frog (This was the first song I reached for this morning when I was having trouble waking up properly and feeling a Monday grump).

8. Sissy & The Blisters – You Girl  (Dirty, moody, sneering. My new favourite band).

9. Friends – I’m His Girl (I am obsessed with this track at the moment, every time I hear it I want to put on hi-tops and trash gold. I own neither thankfully as I’d look utterly ridiculous).

10. La Shark – A Weapon (Firstly I’m a sucker for French electro pop so their name alone made my ears prick up, I still daydream of Le Tigre. This bunch are from SE London though, they don’t sound like they are. They sound French. I’m adding them to my daydreams).

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Written by Anon PA

October 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

October 17th Mixtape

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This weeks mixtape is making me feel like I have multiple personalities, swinging from Indie to Pop to Reggae. I had the pleasure of speaking to Steve Lamacq a week ago today on his 6 Music show on an item called Good Day/Bad Day. He summed up my two choices (Yeah Yeah Yeahs Date With The night and R.E.M’s Nightswimming) as “wild abandon or melancholy meditation”. Dear friend Ms Mangetout, owner of the worlds coolest slow cooker, said that summed me up perfectly. Strange how your music tastes sub-consciously reflect elements of your personality.

I spent this weekend at our family home in Devon. My parents moved into the house when I came along (I’m the youngest in the photo below) and 33 years later its still a true haven for me. I took long walks along cliffs, beaches and through fields. I stuffed myself with so many vegetables at Riverford Farm that I am still full up two days later. I picked Sloes with my Mum in preparation to make barrels of gin whilst getting caught in brambles and stung on the bum by nettles. But what struck me the most this weekend is how my parents still teach and introduce me to new things, namely Therese Raquin, Bert Weedon and Knitting on this occasion. Their seemingly never-ending knowledge on almost every subject you can think of is something I’m very grateful for. That and the fact that they swear so I don’t have to mind my language!

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape and if you’re a YouTube purist click here to play the videos.

1. Shout Out Louds – The Comeback (When I first heard this band I thought they hailed from New York, they have that sound reminiscent of cool NY art students lurking around lofts. I still can’t get over they’re from Stockholm. This was always my favourite track of theirs).

2. Garbage – I’m Only Happy When It Rains (Shirley Manson is on my list of girls who look  untouchable hot as red heads, she’d have been at the top until Karen Gillan came in to my life. Whenever I’m wandering down Britpop lane Garbage will be one of the first bands that get played).

3. This Many Boyfriends – Young Lovers Go Pop (Every now and again a song comes along that you know you’re going to love simply from the title alone. This is THAT track).

4. The Smiths – Girlfriend In A Coma (My sister & boyfriend have been together a huge amount of time, they have cited their reason for tying the knot based on the following. If one of them ever falls into a coma they want the other to have the right to turn the machine off. They are both Morrissey fans. It’s a very Morrissey reason. This song is for my sister).

5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Over & Over Again (This track reminds me of living in Kentish Town, my beloved little corner of London, calling in sick after midweek gigs, bacon sandwiches at Mario’s Cafe, parties at The Pineapple. Like Talking Heads have chilled the fuck out).

6. Desmond Dekker – You Can Get It If You Really Want (Stupidly bright and sunny in Devon this weekend, I sat watching people swim down Breakwater beach, resisting the urge to hide their clothes. I listened to old hip hop and reggae tracks as I sat there, this sums up what I’m trying to tell myself constantly).

7. Devo – Whip It (From reggae to some classic 80’s. When watching the video for this last week I claimed that they wouldn’t be able to make videos like this anymore, in hindsight how ridiculous is it that I think that way when pop videos are so overtly sexual now?).

8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Hysteric (I have to restrain myself from putting a YYY track on my mixtape posts every week. Possibly my most consistently listened to band over the past few years. Karen O once described herself as always knowing she was “a volcano, waiting to erupt”. This track is a love song, the surprise of someone suddenly completing you, its stunning).

9. Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out (I have played this over three times a day the past week, everything about it screams & shouts to me at the moment for reasons too personal and EMO to bore you all with. From a purely musical perspective it’s so well produced. Lungs was brilliant but I suspect too many producers spoiled the broth so to speak. Collaborating solely with Paul Epworth on Ceremonials will no doubt have created something magical and more complete).

10. Lana Del Rey – Video Games (I’d heard this on the radio a dozen times but it was her performance on Jools Holland that connected me to it. Now I understand the hype, funny how sometimes I have to see a live performance to “get it”. Massive girl crush).

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Thanks to Dear Photograph for the inspiration behind taking the photo

October 10th Mixtape – Dedicated To Great Men

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Had someone told the 11-year-old me that as an adult I would not have to spend ninety minutes putting together a mixtape, that I could drag MP3 files onto a tiny machine in mere seconds and not be restrained by the length of a TDK90 I would have, quite frankly, thought someone was spinning me a sci-fi yarn. I would have paused a moment to look at just how deranged their eyes were and then gone back to puzzling if I could fit one more track on to Side A, hand hovering over play + record. Gone back to cutting out a new inlay for the cassette box to write the tracklist on, tearing pages from an exercise book. Gone back to sneaking around the house, borrowing from my families music collection.

I have a first generation iPod, I have been plugged into it and in love with it since I purchased it in 2001. It has never broken or ran out of battery half way through a long train journey. I still marvel that I am carrying  the majority of my music collection around with me. Steve Jobs, you helped make a little girls sci-fi dreams come true.

As for music, those first records I used to listen to. All those artists were inspired by Bert Jansch. Johnny Marr, Neil Young, Jimmy Page, Graham Coxon and Paul Simon all sit on my iPod. These talented men looked to quiet, unassuming Bert, wanted to emanate him, be at his level. He not only led the British folk revival in the 60’s with Pentangle, he was an inspiration to ground-breaking guitarists.

Both men will be sadly missed in this world.

My choices this week as usual reflect what I’ve been listening to most. The songs I’ve discovered, songs that have come on shuffle at just the right moment, songs that have been brought to me by friends, songs that came on the jukebox and made me sing a long in pubs, songs I think everyone should listen to.

The tracks have not been chosen as a tribute as such, my words above hopefully  serve that purpose.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape.

1. Foals – This Orient (This album was hands down my album of 2010 and it remains close to my heart this year. I was dragging my feet walking along this week when I unexpectedly found myself suddenly on a canal path, this came on shuffle. I smiled to myself the whole way through).

2. Theme Park – A Mountain We Love (I like the messiness of this track, so many noises happening behind the vocals “tell me nothings wrong, tell me nothings right”. It’s like a bloody great headache. Play it loud, roll up your sleeves and pretend you’re on a dance floor).

3. Zulu Winter – Let’s Move Back To Front  (I am lucky enough to have a very cool friend who is equally obsessed with music as I am. She is called Priyam, I miss her as she’s buggered off to Australia. Across oceans she gave me this song this week. Cowbells unite us across the miles).

4. Metronomy – Corinne (Regular readers of this blog are probably shouting “we get it, you love Metronomy”. Yet I still persist on adding their tracks every few weeks. The sped up live version is an epically brilliant challenge for your feet. Ten months in to 2011 and this is still firmly my favourite album this year).

5. Yeasayer – O.N.E (Love how such an upbeat song can have such sad lyrics. Yeasayer are, in my eyes, the indie girls version of a boy band).

6. Lucy Rose – Scar (Talented, pretty Lucy Rose. I think she’ll be one to keep an eye out for. This song is really close to my heart at the moment, the lovely Lolita sent it to me. It makes me well up every time I hear it, but in a lovely sad way.. yes, there’s such a thing).

7. Lanterns on the Lake – If I’ve been unkind (This album came to me thanks to Rough Trade alerting me to it. I played it three times in a row as soon as I heard it and booked tickets to see them immediately. Sometimes an album just grabs you, sends shivers and sighs through your body. I lay on my bed with headphones on, I felt like it was my soundtrack. It’s just stunning).

8. Joni Mitchell – This Flight Tonight (With this weeks passing of Bert Jansch its no surprise I’ve been revisiting a lot of folk albums I loved as a teenager. Blue is such a stunning piece of work, it stirs up the teenage poet in me).

9. Bert Jansch – October Song  (For a great man who inspired so many people. When Lauren Laverne played this on 6 Music this week I cried at my desk and let the tears plop onto my keyboard).

10. Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind (This is one of the most heart breaking songs ever penned, I can’t listen to it without welling up. It’s just beautifully sad. It felt fitting to end on this).

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Written by Anon PA

October 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm

October 3rd Mixtape

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How can I follow in the footsteps of Dan Thompson’s guest mixtape last week? I can but give it my best shot and bat the pressure away like the summer seems to be ignoring its October. The leaves are metal browns and rusting on the floor and I’m stepping over conkers when I leave my flat. Strange days but I shall plod on with all the Autumnal excitement I have planned. Jarvis Cocker releases his first book this month which I’m dizzily excited about, more live reviews for Flush The Fashion lined up (TBR), chilly walks along the Thames, Wu Lyf at Shepherds Bush Empire and as soon as the weather pipes down I can dust off the knitwear and read graphic novels in Soho coffee shops.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape.

1. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Heatwave (my parents swanned off to Ibiza last week. It’s raining there. It’s roasting here. My mum will have tons of books to read, I think my Dad would have packed Shredded Wheat. This is for them).

2. Belafonte – Jump In The Line (most of you will know this track from Beetlejuice, at least those of you around my age. They played this song in The Good Ship, Kilburn, in the early hours of Sunday morning. I was just beginning to flag but this got the boy and I back up dancing…probably quite badly. I vaguely remember us bumping hips a lot).

3. The Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong (I worshipped Chrissie Hynde when I was a kid. This song was on the first ever album I owned, the compilation Hits 5! It’s a song I always turn to when I need to pick myself up, lift my spirits. The lyric “I might be great tomorrow, but hopeless yesterday” always makes me grin from ear to ear.).

4. CSS – Red Alert (Have been slow to play their new album, I’m always a little fearful that nothing will live up to their first single, Let’s make love and listen to death from above. This has sort of jammed in my brain quite nicely though, and Lovefoxxx is a sexy musical ball of energy).

5. Moloko – The Time Is Now (another track that always makes me think anything is possible, destiny/fate/hard work and slogging it out will get me where I need to be. I once heard someone describe Roisin Murphy’s vocals as “a voice you’d want to f**k”, I don’t have the words to better that & I’m not sure what it says about me that I understand what they’re saying perfectly).

6. The Go! Team – Grip Like A Vice (Sunday afternoon at Glastonbury I was in a sorry state. Actually that doesn’t quite cover it. I felt like weeping, my head felt like someone had emptied month old bin bags into it, nothing tasted right. I was laying on the floor when The Go! Team came on and I jumped to my feet. They gave me my second wind when I most needed it).

7. The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry (I point-blank refuse to belive there’s anyone out there that doesn’t love this song. It’s a love song for boys and that makes it the most romantic song in the world to me. Chaps if you ever need to pull a massive apology out of the bag to win back someone you love this will win).

8. The Housemartins – Happy Hour (I know members of The Housemartins went on to achieve great success with their musical projects after they disbanded, but even if you put all of that material together, times it by a million, it still does not beat this track. In all my years on sticky indie dancefloors I’ve never heard it played enough so I have to copy their dancing in my bedroom).

9. Kate Bush – The Big Sky (My favourite female artist. I always remember a drunken night with my best friend and a boy named Jodie who had ended up crashing at my old flat in Holloway. We stayed up all night listening to her whole back catalogue on vinyl. No such thing as a Kate Bush overdose).

10. Michael Kiwanuka – I’m Getting Ready (Feels a bit disjointed to be ending an upbeat mixtape on this track but its stuck to me like a limpet this week, 6 music have been giving this a lot of air play which could explain why. It’s just such a beautiful track and the tone of his voice feels like a heartfelt sigh. Stunning).

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Written by Anon PA

October 3, 2011 at 9:38 am