May 9, 2011

Ghostpoet Live At Rough Trade, 9th May 2011

When Ghostpoet started playing a the back of Rough Trade East it was just me standing there watching. Luckily for him technical difficulties intervened after the first track and they retired for 20 mins to sort them out. By the time they came back on stage the shop was pretty much packed (Such is Bricklane punctuality!). The gig was free to promote his new single ‘Survive It’ and of course his brilliantly titled LP ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’. The set built track by track towards the final performance of the new single which I shot on my iPhone and you can watch it below.

May 9, 2011

Candi Staton Live At The Jazz Cafe, 7th May 2011

For me, the chance to see a soul legend like Candi Staton was too good to miss. Although I’d heard in the past she’d occasionally been average, so I was a just a big ball of hope and excitement when she took the stage. We managed to get right down the front, slap bang in front of the lady herself (Fortunately not so close that we we’re passed the mic to sing along… like the poor sod in front of me!).

Her band was simply stunning, cranking out Soul, Blues and Gospel music with guts. The Bass was funky, the Drums were powerful, the Backing vocals were graceful and Guitar solos were shredded. My disappointment at not having a good view of the impressive Bass Guitar work was off-set by it being obscured by the Eye-Meltingly long legs of one of the backing singers that Candi had employed.

Candi herself delivered a stunning performance with her voice sounding as rich and passionate as ever it has. She launched into classic after classic like ‘Suspicious Minds’, ‘I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart’ (See below), ‘In The Ghetto’ and of course ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ (I’d have loved to of heard ‘He Called Me Baby ‘, maybe next time.  She finished on a beautiful Gospel reading of ‘You Got The Love’ with a bit of the Jamie Principle Bass line woven in.

All the band members did a solo at end which were met with rapturous applause. As she left the stage they went into the Jamie Principle Bass part again and it was only a shame that they didn’t mine this groove for a bit longer. But hey you can’t have everything and we all got allot that night.

Candi’s complete recordings for the Fame label are finally being released on June 7th so click here to pre-order a copy.

May 8, 2011

Cornershop and Bubbley Kaur – United Provinces Of India mp3

‘United Provinces Of India’ by Cornershop featuring Bubbley Kaur is currently rockin’ my musical world so I thought I’d point everyone in the direction of it’s brilliance:

Cornershop and Bubbley Kaur – United Provinces Of India mp3

Here’s the video:

Also here’s the brand new haircuttastic video for ‘Supercomputed’:

Click here to pick up a copy of the new LP Cornershop & The Double ‘O’ Groove Of’.

May 7, 2011

I Need That Record: Foggy Eyed On The Tyne

The day after my thirthieth birthday I decided to make a nostlagic pilgramage to Newcastle to visit some of the old Indie record shops where I spent countless hours as a student (10 years ago).  At the back of my mind I was half expecting they would’ve all caved in to financiar pressures and I was in for a day of disapointments.  How wrong I was…

The first place I sought out was the tiny Boxset stuffed frontage of Reflex Records.  This was by far my favourite haunt as they always offred 3 for 2 deals on CDs so I would usually go in to get a specific album I’d crave and then pick up another two as well.  The other two would consist of a more obsure LP I’d heard was good and other record I’d grab just because the sleeve looked cool. Reflex have a great and varied stock of intersting Punk records you won’t find anywhere else and you can almost be gaureented that anything you pick up off the racking is going to be great.

Today it looks the same as always and is just as good. As before I went for the 2 for 3 deal picking out ‘Big Star’s – #1 Record’, ‘The Best Of Tony Joe White’ and ‘The Flamin Groovies’ Flamingo’.

Big Star – When My Baby’s Beside Me mp3
Tony Joe White – Backwoods Preacher Man mp3
The Flamin’ Groovies – Second Cousin mp3

Next I crossed the street and entered the gorgeous Edwardian tiled promenade that is the Central Arcade, home of J.G. Windows LTD Music & Instrument shop.  It used to stock a good collection of fine psychedelic and progressive records in the basement but oday the music is upstairs alongside the instruments.  I remember spending quite a bit of time staring at the Guitars in the big windows Wayne’s World “Oh yes it will be mine” style.  Today I spent a while drooling over Springsteen’s expensive ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ boxset while the shop assistant tried to help me talk myself in to buying it (Fortunately without success). But I didn’t walk out empty handed, I grabbed a copy the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’ because it has a whole live concert as a bonus.

Nirvana – Molly’s Lips (Live At The Pine Street Theatre) mp3
Bruce Springsteen – Because The Night mp3

After a couple of trips into Forbidden Planet and Travelling Man Comics to hunt down a couple of ellusive volumes of ‘Lone Wolf & Cub’ I headed to RPM Music.  As I got halfway down the alley I was horrorified by the shuttered-up, red-paint-peeling frontage that presented me.  As I looked closer I sighed in relief as I saw the “We have moved” sign. My best memory of RPM was going down there to get a Jon Spencer LP and instead being reccomended an import EP by some then little known band called the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (A top tip I tink you’ll agree).

The new black shop is a little smaller but still has all the same charm as when it was round the corner.  The friendly guy at the counter kept pointing out potential purchases that I’d missed and such is the quality of it’s stock that I actually had to put a few items back before heading for the till as my wallet was protesting at the four I’d already selected.  I got three CDs including ‘Dan Sartain Lives’, ‘The Zombies’ The CBS Years 1967 – 1969′ and I finally got myself a copy of ‘The Dead Weather’s Sea Of Cowards’.  I also picked up a Limited Record-Store-Day exclusive 7″ from The View covering The Tweeds powerpop classic ‘I Need That Record’.  The original is my favourite Geek-Record-Collector song so a new version was irrresistable.  Afterall it does feature lines like…

“You’ve got to live for the music if you wanna stay alive… collecting all the records from 1965!”

The View – I Need That Record mp3
Dan Sartain – Those Thoughts mp3
The Zombies – Conversation Off Floral Street mp3
The Dead Weather – Hustle & Cuss mp3

Unfortunately I didn’t get time to see if the great Steel Wheels (Home of a huge collection of rare Iggy bootlegs) was still there. Maybe I’ve got rose tinted spectacles, but there’s something missing about London record shops compared to Newcastle record shops.  The Geordie staff are smiling, friendly and they love having a chat about the records.  Also the selections are just better, they don’t stock much crappy Pop but they don’t stock much trendy Avant-Garde bollocks either.  They are just little aladdin’s caves, stocked wall to wall with musical adventures waiting to be had.

Shame I couldn’t stick around ’til the evening for a trip to my favourite Newcastle Club ‘World Headquarters’.  They used to have shelves setup behind the DJ booth with all the LPs that the DJ was playing so you could stare at the artwork while you danced all night to Marvin Gaye and Public Enemy.

Here’s a facisinating history of ‘World Headquarters’ from their website.

May 7, 2011

Camden Crawl 2011

This was my first time attending the annual Camden Crawl music festival.  I only went on the Sunday evening due to work commitments so next year I’ll definitely be booking the whole weekend off so I can do the whole thing.

We started off by heading to the plushly decored Annie’s Bar to see Polarbear’s set.  He delivered his songs/poems as spoken word pieces or rapped them backed by his DJ and collaborator Session, as the mood took him.  He was my highlight of the evening and quite possibly the year so far as well.  He rhymed tales of bitter-sweet nostalgia and his spoken word reading of ‘Fade To Black aka Jessica’ got the biggest cheer at the end (Enhanced by the fact that you could’ve heard a pin drop during the tale).  At the end he handed out free 12″ EPs to the front row (Including lucky old me) because his missus is apparently sick of them being piled under their bed!  Here’s a taster of that very EP:

Session & The Bear – Fade To Black mp3

I also filmed him on my iPhone performing ‘Keep It Simple’:

Next up we went over to the backroom of The Dublin Castle to see The Cocknbullkid.  We got there just in time to see a set from an Indie band with the intriguing name of The History Of Apple Pie. The muddy sound in the venue didn’t do them any favours but beneath that I could detect a rich seam of melodic C86 Indie-pop.  I suspected they would be better on record and Indeed they are, but you can judge for yourself:

The History Of Apple Pie – Malory mp3

After a swift pint of Guinness to cleanse my palate The Cocknbullkid waded through the audience and took the stage.  I confess I haven’t listened to one note she’s released since her ace 2008 debut single.  Judging by this set she’s been busy in my absence since song after song sounded like a hit and they all had a big instant soul chorus.  I’m looking forward to her imminent debut LP ‘Adulthood’ with bated breath. Checkout this Soul Pop stomper:

The Cocknbullkid – Hold On To Your Misery mp3

Our next move was to grab some fast food from Macky-D’s (On the way we noted the huge cue for Tinchy Stryder outside the Jazz Cafe) before stepping into the darkened confines of  The Black Cap. Team Ghost were onstage as we walked in playing an enthusiastic Metal take on Krautrock.  The lead singer and guitarist delivered a great histrionic show with his fingers dancing across the fretboard while feeding the guitars back against each other.  Unfortunately at that point I had to get the last tube home for an early start at work in the morning while my fellow crawlers went on to an apparently excellent set from Paris Suit Yourself back at The Dublin Castle.  Oh well, we all have to earn a crust…

Team Ghost – High Hopes mp3
Paris Suit Yourself – Craig Machinsky mp3

May 6, 2011

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle Is Back!

Stewart Lee is back for another series of his brilliant Comedy Vehicle on Wednesday nights on BBC Two (Thursday’s on BBCHD).  On the evidence of the first episode ‘Charity’ it’s gonna be as good as the first series.  He’s dropped most of the sketches and instead intersperses the standup with more mock interviews with Armando Iannucci. Only a comedian of Lee’s calibre can stand in silence for twenty seconds and then get a huge laugh by simply saying “Plain”.

The first episode is available to watch on the BBC website for the next month by clicking here where you’ll also find reams of bonus content.

Click here to grab the first series for just £6.99

May 3, 2011

Delta Swamp Rock: Sounds From The South (Compilation CD)

Yet again Soul Jazz Records have delivered a stunning compilation album.  This time they chronicle the Southern Rock sound that emerged from the studios in Muscle Shoals, Memphis and Nashville in the 60s/70s.  It comes as a beautiful double CD package, complete with a mini book (The word booklet doesn’t do it justice) featuring essays on the scene, histories of the bands and even musical maps of the bands origins.

Standout cuts include Big Star’s wistful ‘Thirteen’ and Tony Joe White’s sexy ‘Polk Salad Annie’ (Famously covered by Elvis). But my highlight has to be hearing the full version of Area Code 615’s ‘Stone Fox Chase’.  Everyone will know the Harmonica intro because it was the theme tune of ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ but at the point that that excerpt faded out, it changes into a straight-up breakbeat classic that I’ve been listening to on a loop all weak.  You’d swear some young Hip-Hop wiz-kid had just released it on a cutting edge Indie label rather than it being a 40-year-old cut.

Big Star – Thirteen mp3

Tony Joe White – Polk Salad Annie mp3

Area Code 615 – Stone Fox Chase mp3

April 30, 2011

The Prestige (Blu-Ray)

I picked up ‘The Prestige’ on Blu-Ray by the great Christopher Nolan in the same offer at HMV that I got ‘An American Werewolf In London’. I’d seen it before but a second viewing was even better for reasons that I shall reveal. Like his recent cerebral blockbuster ‘Inception’ (Such is Nolan’s genius that it’s probably the only film ever released where the words cerebral and blockbuster are both applicable) ‘The Prestige’ is an intricately convoluted puzzle within a locked box in a meandering maze (And that’s its charm). The cast is excellent with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as the leads with Michael Caine, Scarlett Johanssen and even David Bowie in the supporting roles.

It’s a film about the bitter and often wantonly sadistic rivalry between two master Illusionists in Victorian London. The clever Nolan angle is that he deliberately constructs the film’s narrative as a magical illusion in itself. Showing you several things you take for face value, tricking you with Miss-direction, employing non-linear storytelling and finally good old grease paint and mirrors so the big reveal is astoundingly clever at the end. So of course my second viewing was about observing the little ways in which Nolan deceives you as a viewer while simultaneously putting all the facts there for you to solve the puzzle… if only you’ve got a Sherlock Holmes level intellect.

April 30, 2011

An American Werewolf In London (Blu-Ray)

John Landis’ 80’s classic ‘An American Werewolf In London’ was on offer at HMV so I couldn’t resist. I haven’t seen it since it was shown late night once on Channel 4 when I was about 16, and I’d forgotten quite how brilliant it was. It’s one of those films that imprints certain scenes indelibly in your brain. Such as when Jenny agutter is suddenly brutally knifed by a mutant-apealoid-zombie-nazi-stormtrooper from hell (I clearly remember jumping a clear 30ft in the air at that point). Sadly these shock tactics naturally don’t work when viewed a second time but you don’t need scares when a Horror flick has this much slyly observed humour.

The razor-sharp comedic observations of British culture could only have been made by an American genius like Landis. These moments are cleary based on Landis’ own bemused and frustrated experiences of living and working here while making the film.  Such as when the British Union Equity insisted that the whole cast and crew should be exclusively British, despite the title of the film!  After Landis threatened to rename the film ‘An American Werewolf In Paris’, they relented (That title would eventually go to a supposedly dreadful 90s sequel).  The Oscar-winning special effects by Rick Baker genuinely still look astounding today. The word chemistry cannot do justice to the sizzling romance between Agutter’s sexy English nurse and David Noughton’s wise cracking and charming American backpacker.

The hi-def transfer is lovely and sharp and the disc is groaning under a weight of extra content. This includes a commentary, all the usual bits and bobs and best of all, a feature-length documentary about the film itself.

I can here the children of the night calling, it’s so good I might just go and watch it all over again.

April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Day… all ye plebs rejoice!