Monday, 28 July 2014

Lovesong: WOMAD 2014

WOMAD 2014 was great.
Di got there Friday and tells me that the pick of the day were Chicha Libra's Cumbian surf guitar riffs and moogs and the New Orleans swampy jazz funk of Trombone Shorty.
I arrived on Saturday and met up with Kathryn Williams who played a great set. Youssou N'Dour was reliably excellent as were Snarky Puppy, jazz/funkbutnotshite. Fat Freddy's Drop were workmanlike but fun, Alice Russel (cabaret soul but fantastic raspy voice!) Dakha Brakha were unclassifiable, Ukrain 'ethno chaos' with a little bit of Sigor Ros' icy beauty thrown in… Also I really liked Francois and the Atlas Mountains who are a bit fey on record but were stunning live. Nitin Sawney was at his usual humorless brilliant best. A Sunday highspot was Fatoumata Diawara and Buena Vista's Roberto Fonesca (Mali meets Cuba) which had all of the vibrancy of Africa with some subtle jazz shadings that allowed Fatoumata's voice flight and fancy.
We ran for the carpark as soon as we saw Sinead O'Connor but it was a grand weekend; food was fabulous, people chilled, children kept to a minimum… Di danced her ass off whilst I did that pointy fingered 'I've got some chewing gum stuck on my foot' strut that awaits all doomed middle aged men. And all of this after sleeping rough in an 'L' shape in a Mini in the car park. If anyone tells you that they are 'like a Tardis on the inside' they are either a liar or double jointed. Di won the battle of the blanket!
The only real disappointment (apart from the untimely tragic death of planned Sunday headliner Bobby Womack) was that I overlooked seeing a current favorite of mine Vinicio Capossela whose Tom Waits' collection must be as big as mine.
Here's a taste of what we missed…

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Lovesong: Bruce Springsteen: Hunter of the Invisible Game

I remember during that 3 year gap between 1975's 'Born to Run' and the release in 1978 of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' that a few high profile Directors were courting Bruce. He was going to be the new Pacino. Thank God that he resisted. Bowie and Sting proved that it's best to stick at what you're best at… the public are pretty unforgiving when it comes to mediocrity.
See also Eric Cantona...
But this short film/promo for 'Hunter of the Invisible Game' is excellent; it shows Bruce in the unflinching light of character actor.
No 'vanity project' this.
Bruce looks knackered!
The best song on 'High Hopes' (by a mile) now has some haunting visuals.
I'm not sure what it's all about but it sure is beguiling...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: Vapour Trails

" It is like being privy to an intimate confession."

Here is a fantastic review of 'To the Bone' from Irish writer Seamus Duggan on his fine site; Vapour Trails.
Seamus is a perceptive and fearless writer who inevitably gets... right to the heart of the matter.
Excuse the platitude but it seems apt here.
His is a sanguine world view; worldly and (yes, hallelujah!) wordy; once you have visited his knocking shop, you'll surely return.
Enter the Vapour Trails site here:

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

To the Bone: Reviews: R2 Magazine

This 5***** review just in from R2 Magazine (Issue 46/July & August).
Many thanks to Jeremy Searle.


To The Bone
(MEME RECORDS)           

Has there ever been a more gorgeous introduction to an album than that which starts ‘Phil the Hat’ on Trevor Jones’ latest outing? If there has this reviewer hasn’t heard it, and the rest of the music never slips from that peak. Jones is of course one half of perfect popsters Miracle Mile and his musical compadre Marcus Cliffe is all over this album, making it nearer to Miracle Mile’s sound than his previous solo outings.

It’s a masterpiece of subtlety and delicacy - songs to immerse yourself in; late night listening with a glass of something decent. Every couplet makes you think, every chorus makes you soar. The sound is richly layered but never over-polished, the vocals just so, the words exactly right. Writing a review of an album as good as this feels superfluous, mere gilding of the lily. It doesn’t need ‘articulating’ or ‘explaining’, its power and beauty is sufficient in itself. All that needs to be said is that you won’t hear a better album this year.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Toronto Tim Says: Brooooce!

Here's where I hand my page over to my Canadian mucker Tim Patrick. I'm actually just copying in his latest email (hope that's ok Tim) but he's always an engaging writer...
Here comes TT

Musically, I'm currently on a "Bruce binge" - having finally picked up the Peter Ames Carlin bio... leading me to re-watch the DVD's of the making of ''Born To Run' / 'Darkness'. Always fascinating. I'm 2/3 way though the book's 500 pages, and thus far I don't hate Bruce. He was a wildly eccentric character in his early years. Brilliant, tempermental, humble, stubborn as a mule. His pursuit of his musical vision tireless & relentless. And there's no doubt that he is "The Boss". Some wonderful stories about how down-to-earth/miserly he was. My fave - Even just before 'Born In The USA' came out he was still touring in an old van, renting used cars, and living in a very modest rented house in Jersey with harldly any furniture other than a pinball machine and a bed. So Bruce and his girlfriend would drive around the neighborhod on trash-night, and pick up old furniture left at the curb. Love it!
However, 2/3 in, I'm at the the part where suddenly beef-cake Bruce is on MTV "Dancing in the Dark" with Courteney Cox, and the "compromises" begin, I'm afraid. So much for the "I'll never play stadiums / I'll never intentionally write a "single" for a record / I'll never make a video / I'll never mix politics & music, blah, blah, blah..." This is the place where I mutinied on BS temporarily back in 1984. We'll see what happens as I progress with the read... I'm pretty sure I'll be able to forgive him in the end, unlike some musician bio's I've read... Clapton / Van / Macca / Mozza / Eagles / Marvin Gaye, even Sir Cliff - narcissistic, self-destructive egomaniacs all. OK, Cliff's not self-destructive, but unbelievably vain & self-righteous. I've yet to read Mr. Sting's autobiography. 
Oh, we've come full circle!
Anyway, the Bruce binge has me revisiting glory days... Memories of a 1978 concert at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, indelible... even on my increasingly forgetful noggin. The 10 minute epic performance of "Prove It All Night" stands out as the most electrifying live performance I've ever witnessed. (I know you've seen this one before) but - It was exactly like this: