High on My Headphones (November 2010)

It’s a cold, cold, November and I need something warm and lubricious on my headphones, so what better than new vocal sensation Rumer, with her decidely autumnal Seasons of My Soul. (The YouTube playlist for this post is here) Don’t know much about her, except that she is Anglo-Pakistani, has worked with Bacharach and that intelligent lounge sensibility oozes out of the album. Perfect aural mollycoddlying for when you come in from the cold and want to be warmed through, or early on a lazy Sunday morning. Aretha;  

So what else can we follow her ruminations on Aretha with but than with the first Lady of Soul Aretha Franklin herself? You might like this week’s Motown podcast from the Guardian, even though Aretha was Atlantic Records. Written by Don Covay you have to give big respect to her vocal chords, the short twangesque guitar intro before we are walloped into that echoingly loud and big mid-sixties Southern small studio soul feel. Chain, Chain, Chain of Fools;

And the twang remains the thang with the remarkable Imelda May, kind of like the Stray Cats of the Brian Setzer Orchestra meeting Eddie Cochran in a session run by Duane Eddy explaining how the old Western Swing bands work. Great styling by the sound stylist and the video director; East of Eden Denim meets Lita Roza in Kansas City. Is that a Zoot Suit Riot or just Mayhem

Was I ever in Led Zeppelin? Robert Plant Esquire of Stourbridge Art College declines the requests with “I’m in the Band of Joy, me.” With his conceptual follow up to Raising Sand Planty raises dust on the nefarious activities of his younger days and amps up the Valves all the way to 3.14, producing a lovely muddy post-Lanois sound to this album. If Rumer leaves you reclining in a mellow chill-out Plant peaks real interest with his earthy singing sitting on top of beautiful ensemble playing, in fact, that is his real hallmark as an artist. He can make Angel’s Dance

More famous for Dancing With The Devil the Rolling Stones released the fabulously remastered Exile on Main Street in 2010, their masterpiece. Scoring an unprecedented 100 on Metacritic this is their ensemble playing at its finest. All the swampy 70s Riviera classics from Chateau Nellcote and several bonus tracks including Good Time Woman an early version of Tumbling Dice which sounds nothing like it. Brian Jones shook up the early Thames Delta sound of the Stones but, as evidenced here, Mick Taylor always polished up those albums he played on. Since he left Mick and Keef have just been downright lazy. Whatever Marty Scorsese says (Shine A Light) the best track on the album for me has always been right here on the sleazily glorious Soul Survivor

I really wanted to play Afro-Tropical Soundz next, their remix of Lila Barrientos Cumbia en do Menor is a wicked Latin dance track, but no sign of them on YouTube. The original is available on YouTube however but not in great sound quality. Oops I am wrong! I have finally found a version. Fantastically bonkers with the kind of big-blowing brass sound which tells you they have absolute belief in what they play, however outdated it is; brilliant. Listen and dance to Cumbia en Menor;

Next a track to complement Cumbia en Menor, and picked for Holland on World Cup of Music, the massive global hit of 2010 We Speak No Amerciano by Yolanda Be Cool. Play them back to back and tell me that the hit is better than the original Cumbia, both magnificent dance stuff. This has a madly witty mashup video which plays much better than the radio edit; a mad mash & dance right here right now, We Speak No Americano;

How to follow all this bonkers dancing then? Well from next week you can watch Chico & Rita the Afro-Cuban Jazz cartoon scored by Bebo Valdes. Or listen to the great Lila Downs who, despite the urging of friends, I didn’t get until she released a live album this year with La Misteriosa. Not too far from Calexico in some ways, but way more exuberant and Lila Downs’ singing is multi-layered and more forceful live. I love Arenita Azul but this official video samples three tracks before letting us finally hear the classic Arenita Azul; 

The big World Music release of 2010 has been Afro-Cubism, which Elias Ochoa surprisingly seems to steal. This is how the Buena Vista Music Club was originally supposed to be, a fusion mix of Malian and Cuban musicians, but the West African musicians didn’t get their visas so Ruben Gonzalez had to take the sessions by the rough of his keyboard and make it the best-selling World Music album of all time. This is not a classic like Buena Vista, but still great, and as Afro-Cubism have already racked up some live gigs here they are live with Nima Diyala

Afro-Celt Sound System have been one of the great World Music Bands for me, the first time I heard a kora solo over the studio-based rhythm tracks they generate I knew they were for me. I finally saw them live last week at the Barbican, touring to promote their compilation album Capture; fantastic, a real blowing band; they can make you dance, sing, or anything. I love Release and Rise, but they are promoting the album with Persistence of Memory

The next two albums came out earlier this year and I didn’t really get how good they are. The Coral are wiggy musos from the Wirral right across from Liverpool who love Captain Beefheart, but seem to love making music even more. This is ageless and sounds a bit more like Mancunians The Hollies, or Moby Grape, or even CSN (with a touch of Y). I love Fleet Foxes but let’s celebrate our own work masters harmonies, The Coral soaring on 1000 Years;

Despite rightly celebrating Field Music I sadly overlooked Foals whose album Total Life Forever is a real grower. Inspired by Ray Kurtzweil’s rubbish Technological Singularity theory (Oxford boys hey?) the album sports a brilliant website and was a Mercury Music Award nominee. The new video for Blue Blood is cute (it’s the intro) but the song isn’t as good as the title track. As you’ve probably guessed I prefer a good live version to the official album video and here are Foals cutting a rug for Lauren Laverne’s home team Radio 6 on Total Life Forever

Another artist poorly served by YouTube is Richard Thompson whose new album Dream Attic is quite brilliant, especially The Money Shuffle. You can get a marvellous double CD with both live band versions and acoustic demos of every song, sometimes the acoustic version is better than the electricity of the live band, but they are all good. However the best recent video I can find is a Later… version, featuring the great Danny Thompson on double bass, of the Sweet Warrior track I’ll Never Give it Up

One of my all time favourite chill-out albums is In The Heart of The Moon by Toumani Diabete and the late great Ali Farka Toure, which unfailingly puts me to sleep! Ali & Toumani is a kind of follow up put out following Ali’s death so probably a number of out-takes included, but it is a beautifully peaceful album and comes all the way from Bamako to make our lives slightly more tranquil; which it does. Here they are then, Ali & Toumani on Kala Djula;

Keeping it chill is Hindi Zahra whose new album Handmade is another 2010 grower. I keep expecting her to be Natascha Atlas but she is more like Nouvelle Vague’s grown up intelligent sister. (Listen to This is Not A Love Song) Using their mellow acoustic guitar sound but allied to her own reflections on the world. The current video is great, subtle, Latin and Moorish. This is insidious sweet, sweet music Beautiful Tango

Another track overlooked by me is Bebel Gilberto’s Segredo (Secret) off her last album All In One, which wasn’t so great and this is tucked away as the last track. It is great moody stuff, in line with her breakthrough Tanto Tempo album which was produced in part, but mostly inspired, by Suba, who’s Sao Paulo Confessions is one of the great lost dance albums. Check his Segredo version from 1999. Here Bebel channels Suba’s dance-cool to come up with a moving chill-out cling-on dance track; just our secret then? Oh deleted. Here she is with Preciso dizer que te amo;

More sublime but slightly less cool dance from the surpise hit of the first Radio YouTube post the Bulgarian Kottarashky. Everything he masters is really good, a great Balkan mix and mash or as Tim Cumming puts it a ‘dislocated dream ride through the pungent soundscape of night-time Sofia’. Here is the latest late-nite cool, cool video I Want You To Sleep;

Now get your skates on! The London Jazz Festival has started and I have already seen Jah Wobble’s awesome Dub tribute to Electric Miles, but my favourite jazz album this year is Radio Silence from the Neil Crowley Trio. I reckon they are as good as e.s.t. but they are English so we dont celebrate them as the great piano trio they are. This is a handmade unofficial video to what my iTunes tell me is my most played jazz track this year, Vice Skating

There has been some great folkesque stuff this year  and the tradition has been celebrated (see Electric Eden). Bellowhead are as good a live roots band as there is in the UK at the present, even tho Mumford and Sons know how to work festival crowds. Hedonists too, as their album titles tell us, here they are live for the Grauniad explaining the inspirations behind their Pogueification of the polka on New York Girls and then blowing up a Bellowhead of a dancing storm belying their musicological roots; New York Girls;

I love the writing of Laura Barton (who thoughtfully gives popular music history it’s due in Long Live Rock n Roll) in the Guardian and this week they turned me on to Local Natives, sometimes known as the Grizzly Vampire FireFox, who do modern naughties alt.pop with intelligence and wit. Here they are at live at SXSW with Sun Hands;

So mostly new stuff this month, with a respectful nod to Aretha, discovered mostly by going back over my 2010 downloads and actually listening to them. Vampire Weekend remains my favourite album this year, with Rumer the best new album, but Afro-Cubism is growing on me as are Foals, Hindi Zahra, Lost Natives and all of the above of course. Wonder what Imelda May really is like live?

The YouTube Playlist for this post is available so you can listen to the tracks whilst you read. If you liked this post you might like the most popular post Abaco; Video/Food matching in Marseille

Guilty Pleasure is I Blame Coco, perhaps to atone for Richard Thompson’s Hear Comes Geordie. Could become Human League’s Night People, however I love the Deep End inspired video (South London Victorian Swimming Pool). Deep End has just been named one of 50 Great Lost Movies by this months Uncut. Good to hear her stingingly husky tones on Self Machine

Bonus Track; as recommended by Sir Kevin of Scouse-a-lot is Dirty Shame by The Cubical, very Dilbert name lads. Great uplifting tune with a joyful video (is that right Kev) and clearly with ambitions to be less complex than The Coral; but having fun is never a Dirty Shame;


10 Responses to “Rumer”

  1. Ah, how I love this blog… welcome respite from marking 😉
    How about putting together Spotify playlists for each post?

  2. There is a YouTube Playlist with bonus tracks which I will add to the post;

  3. Cheers Fred (realised when i’d posted that, of course, it’s a RADIO YOUTUBE blog)…

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Helen Keegan, Fred Garnett. Fred Garnett said: November Edition of Radio YouTube , Rumer, now available for your listening pleasure w/ Rumer, Imelda May, Lost Natives […]

  5. good choices !
    Some of them I will have to explore more. Thanks for sharing

    I bought Aretha Franklin rare and unreleased recordings last week good stuff too 😉

  6. Thanks Cristina. I didnt think I could choose Aretha by Rumer without picking an Aretha Franklin track as well. Didnt know you were a fan tho! You might like my Northern Soul (Stax) story (Chapter 26)

    Segredo is in (Brasilian) Portuguese and it has a rare groove 🙂

  7. oh yeah – love her… have never seen her live though. Have you
    will read the story soon.
    Thank you so much 😉

  8. Thanks, Fred. Hope you might add these ace new scouse dancers and band…

  9. […] Radio YouTube Fred's monthly musical musings « Rumer […]

  10. Noticias tecnologia,revista online,Novedades…

    […]Rumer « Radio YouTube[…]…

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