Run (March 2010)

We mostly work to live until

…the music breaks our smiles wide open. This is my current favourite track, Run, from my current favourite album, Contra, from the tardy, cold but smartly photo-snapping Vampire Weekend. I reckon Contra easily out performs the first album. This is live in the studio and not quite as dynamic as the album version but it looks better. Ok, let it Run;

So that now replace’s Monster’s Waltz by The Invisible as my current favourite track. Great track but boring video  (no monsters and no waltzes), so check out The Invisible live as well. I love the allusive brilliance of the lines in this, like “his honesty was concentric” and “he was complicit in his own sentencing”;

Paul Simon really likes the literate Vampire boys, and some of their tracks on Contra seemed to be inspired by his best album Rhythm of the Saints, or a least borrow a lot from it. They are following his move for inspiration from Africa to Brasil. Here is Hurricane Eye played live on the recent Surprise tour, which is certainly his best album since the wonderfully mellow acuity of Saints. 

The current best world music album, ok my current favourite, is the Chieftains wonderful Mexican collaboration with Ry Cooder, San Patricio, which sounds to me like the real follow-up to his own best album, Chavez Ravine. This is a terrific collaboration which captures the essence of Irish-Mexican integration (!). Sounds loads more fun than being soaked in the damp green river that is Boston. The Virgin of Guadelope features the eponymous Linda Ronstadt (who knew?), along with tin whistles and a nifty shuffle-beat. Not even the best track on the album, but easily the best available on YouTube, so let it whistle around you;

Well I mentioned the classic Chavez Ravine, so here is a really interesting Mexican video capturing the forties spirit of key song Los Chucos Suaves, along with some of the backstory to Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers won and the Latinos lost. NO! it is Chinito Chinito as record companies continue their onslaught on mashup culture and take done more videos. Anyone at EMI LOVE music? Still here’s a nod to the musicianship of the man who walked out on Captain Beefheart; Ry Cooder.

Did I mention Captain Beefheart? Wrote some insane albums and treated his side men so badly you had to be insane to stay, hey Drumbo? Ry walked. Here is a studio outtake of Safe As Milk, featuring Cooder I think, if not he is definitely on Electricity. Langdon Winner got him on the cover of Rolling Stone. Lester Bangs called Beefheart “greater than the Beatles” and Almost Famous is almost about Lester so he must be write!;

Wow, I am rambling! I was starting Radio YouTube to celebrate the release, finally, of Laura Marling‘s second album, I Speak Because I Can on Monday, but I don’t have a favourite from that yet, check next month’s show.  So here is my favourite track off her first album, Alas I Cannot Swim. I had the same aquatic problems as a teenager but now I type because I can. I discovered Laura Marling in the wierdest way; James Nesbitt picked a track of hers for his Desert Island Discs before I had even heard of her! Well it was his daughter’s choice, but the man has ears, and Laura has a voice. So, with a decent video, this is Ghosts;

Another great female talent is the awesome Newsom, earth angel Joanna Newsom, also with a new CD, a triple, just released and already recognised by Wire as worthy of in-depth analysis and discussion. The new album sounds to have been influenced musically by the still much under-rated Joni Mitchell, but here is a short track that reflects the style of last album Ys (I wonder if Alan Stivell knows what he started?) more than most of the other new epic tracks on the triple dose of genius that is Have One On Me (sic); 81, beautiful

Much nerdier Hot Chip are back with an almost as new album, the wittily entitled One Life Stand, which is probably an anti-aspirational title for the immediate generation. Great album that is good to dance to, but well naff to watch, I think nerds need the lights off don’t they? Are you listening Parlophone? This is the official video! Still it is in HD so sort out your outputs or get a long lead on your headphones, dance on and become your own One Life Stand;

Very similar aspirational dancefloor stuff from Yeasayer and the new One. Great dance track, but overall their second album is a bit disappointing, so far. They seemed to be ahead of the alt.Brooklyn game in 2008 but now the new album is, for me, too diffuse and unfocused both as an album and also in its musical direction. It feels a bit of a let down after the awesome Sunrise, great live version on Later; but who knows what to expect from New Yorkers? Still One definitely makes the cut;

Singlewise Alison Goldfrapp beats both these two Head First or perhaps just on Rocket (surely influenced by Kaiser Chiefs rather than Van Halen?) as the album isnt too orginal. Probably more influenced by her own Supernature, Madge’s favourite album at the time. I saw her live on that tour and, with the possible exception of Cassandra Wilson, it was the best live performance by a female artist I have ever seen, but sadly this is a bit of a One Trick Pony. I loved Seventh Tree too but Goldfrapp is a performance artist, kind of a Tracey Emin with a super-populist touch, and she’s always pulling tricks out of her pocket. This time it’s the mischievously ambivalent sleaze of Rocket, picked by Liverpool FC to fire up the lads before beating Benfica 4-1, Rocket;

The first video I saw that made me think that you could use YouTube as a delivery mechanism for entertainment in clubs was the Junkie XL remix of Talk. Actually let me clarify that! It was Tony M’s dub video edit of Junkie XL’s remix of Talk by Coldplay who had ripped off Krafwerk’s deathless Computer Love (my all time favourite synthesiser track) to make their own monstrous waltz. Got that? Anyway Tony M and Junkie XL mix Talk right back into Kraftwerk territory and out of the stadium in this Dubsby Berkeley extravaganza. And my brother likes it; hi Dave! It’s long (8.21) so play it from 0.55 in. You won’t want to fade it tho, so lets Talk;

Half way through and no African music yet, what is this!? However I don’t think I can discuss the sound of the world (music) without paying tribute to Charlie Gillett who sadly died on March 17th. Charlie was a great advocate of roots music, kind of John Peel to the world, with a terrific website and he always championed new groups coming through who could play live. Read his Sound of the City, a great book on how the Blues begat modern music. This is a terrific Romany track by the Bulgarian Gypsy (?) Kottarashky from Charlie’s very last album of the month, Opa Hey! Best I have heard since Electric Gypsyland and leading in the poll below I notice! Here, with a great video, is the ferocious Chetiri

So to Africa at last, and Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabete (the “Jimi Hendrix of the Kora“) with their 2010 follow-up to the great In the Heart of The Moon. Moon was my favourite album of 2005 and I played it after lights out every night for months. It reminds me of the World Music shop by the clock tower in Essaouira in Morocco, who played it even more frequently than I did.  Tourists would inevitably walk in and buy it though! The magic on Ali and Toumani comes from Ali Farke Toure sublimating his own forceful style to respond to Toumani’s mesmeric cascade of tinkling notes. Eh, voila, Kala Djula;

Ali Farka Toure also died recently (we do cheer this up later!) but never sublimated himself to his sons desire to be a musician. Vieux Farka Toure was forbidden to be  musician for a long time, and so ran away from home. In the end he turned out to be his father’s natural heir (griots hey?); updating Ali’s natural Malian desert blues with a more modern sound and dance remix sensibility (check UFOs over Bamako). However here is a live performance by Vieux Farka Toure proving how much of a natural heir to his father he really is at heart. This is Ai Du; the original is from the utterly bewitching Talking Timbuktu and was used in the film Unfaithful. This is a long slow blues commemorating his dead father. Sadly, forcefully, great blues Ai Du;

So for a bit more blues, this time from the deep dark heart of Soho. Jeff Beck from the recent live set at Ronnies, starting off with Mingus, then rolling along in a Blues with Tal Wilkenfield on bass, Jason Rebello on keyboards (who played at John & Terri’s wedding) and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Aren’t the last two from Stings band? Got this CD last month but not really convinced yet, but this track sounds just great on its own. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Blow With The Blues;

Stings best album is the live All This Time which was recorded on 9/11 in Italy, and so got overlooked. This is the title track with Manu Katche on drums; must be as Sting calls over to him! Ah, Colaiuta played on the Grammy award-winning Brand New Day. All This Time is Stings tribute to his Dad and to his home town Newcastle. Like several tracks on the album he improves on the recorded versions, but then Sting was always better live, perhaps even after All This Time;

Okay, we have sneaked around the jazz part of the programme so let us meet it head on now, or perhaps as obliquely as Brad Mehldau does on his new album Highway Rider. No decent videos from that yet but it is supposed to be a follow-up to the under-rated Largo where he gave up the elegiac cycling and limpid Radiohead covers of most of his work and contemporised rather than extemporised. Mind you Everything in The Right Place is just magnificently pianissimo. Highway Rider shares a producer with Largo, Jon Brion, and he seems to push Mehldau to experiment a little more. I wanted Dropjes, but here with a delicious dragging beat, like drum and bass in reverse, is When It Rains;

Talking of Drum N’Bass Massive Attack have come back quietly (?!) with Heligoland. A Sonicfest as usual with some of their signature collaborators in place, like reggae-great Horace Andy and the exquisite Martina Topley-Bird, with whom they are touring America; sure it will prove a grower. One of Robbie Robertson‘s current faves too. Paradise Circus seems to follow on naturally from Mehldau, with a similar dragging beat, but blessed with a delicious vocal like a rubbing flame by Hope Sandoval. Who knows whereof she thinks, but she sings of Paradise Circus;

Not visited trip-hop central, Bristol, recently as I have been working with Drew and others (like the Manchester Creative Collective) in Manchester, on a project to develop an Ambient Learning City, with which you might interact with iPhone apps, or similar. Anyway what a great city for record shops! Loads of Vinyl too. Dropped into Piccadilly Records to mooch and muse and browse in a physical way, but spotted the staff picks for 2009 (from a great year for music) and saw Bibio of whom I had not heard, and Ambivalence Avenue.  After some discussion in which we established that Bibio (Stephen Wilkinson) was a kind of British Air,  I bought it unheard. A real record shop without the snobbery of High Fidelity, so cool! This is the track that stimulates Lovers Cravings; 

Not believing that Ellie Goulding was worth promoting as much as Florence through this pernicious new industry way of identifying the sound of 2010, last year, I asked the man at Piccadilly Records if the short-listed Delphic were being sneered at in London just because they were Mancs. Without missing a beat he pointed to the corner of the shop and said that Delphic were playing live in that corner just the previous week. Even better! Guest live sessions by stars in the making, in the corner behind the counter! And they celebrated with mugs of tea!! True!!! So here is Delphic to cheer you up, and also proving that they are more the successors of New Order than Bad Lieutenant are, with their a-e-i-o-u intro of Doubt;

These videos are available as a non-stop playlist on YouTube

Bonus Track

Just heard that the exceedingly nice Chris Singleton will release his new, second, album Lady Gasoline in June 2010, preview here. I will do a special webcast then as Chris has been using Web 2.0 a lot to develop his career (is it working Chris?) In the meantime download his wonderful first album Twisted City for free (!); there’s something for Guy Hands to choke on (he is the guy who wants to sell Abbey Road Studios for the property value because he does not know how to run EMI). The only video I can find of Chris singing is live on Balcony TV in Dublin with Twisted City;

If you enjoyed this you might like my 2009 MashUp

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One Response to “Run (March 2010)”

  1. […] Run (March 2010) March 2010 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)#1 Page and Top 3 Posts In 2009 […]

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