Tuesday, 30 March 2010


A couple of days late.......sorry JC.........but here is my offering for Paul Haig Day 2.....

As part of the global phenomenon that is PHD2 I offer up this post to you all. I probably first heard Mr Haig on a Josef K track, probably on (where else?) the John Peel Show, but it was when he went solo that I properly tuned into his scottishwhiteboyfunkiness, with the 12 inch of Heaven Sent. After that our paths did not cross for many years until the emergence of the internet. Like many artists PH uses the net to communicate, share his music and maintain a profile. Like many 'consumers' I use the net to listen to lots of music, and then buy some of it.....just like the old days of listening to the radio and taping Peel/the Top 40.

The world of music blogging has made me buy much more music, and certainly more music beyond the usual fare pedalled by mainstream media and major record companies. Thus, like all of us supporting PHD2, I applaud JC's efforts, and thank Paul Haig and his management for taking part.

As the new 'digital economy' bill races through parliament, despite shelving other much more important bills (3 years of work on compulsory sex education for teenagers -out the window), it is more important than ever that we point out that by sharing music we love we are not criminals, but are actually the same 'customers/consumers' that have given thousands of pounds each to record companies for many years.

So....some free music from Mr Haig, bless his funky white boy soul...........

Paul Haig - Trip Out The Rider
Paul Haig - Relive


Another night out in search of inspiring live thrills took me to the O2 Arena on Sunday to catch Peter Gabriel and his 'New Blood' orchestra. Following the recent 'Scratch My Back' covers album the tour features no guitar or drums, just PG, piano and the orchestra (although I would count timpani as drums Peter!). Despite only buying a ticket a few days before the show I had a great seat near the front - how the hell does that happen?

The first half of the show was the new album played in its entirety, and was extremely fine. Opener 'Heroes' set my pulse racing as the sound built up and the visuals began to unfold. PG has always been a very visual artist and the video screens and lighting were deployed to great effect throughout the show. The whole of this section was great but my highlights were 'The Book Of Love' (see below) and the way the orchestra attacked Arcade Fire's 'My Body Is A Cage'.

After a 15 minute break PG returned promptly for part 2, this time with reworked versions of old material. The visuals continued to impress and the arrangements were magnificent, particularly the way the orchestra reworked the tribal drumming of 'Rhythm of the Heat' into something completely new but equally thrilling. I also loved 'Don't Give Up' - always magnificent and hugely moving tonight - both eyes were left moistened! PG missed a trick by not finishing with Biko, but despite this it was a great show, and hugely recommended should you have a chance to catch the next leg in North America.

For such a big venue, the brilliant sound and performances made this feel like a very intimate night. So, three gigs this year now, still on track for my one a month target, and April is looming.......

Sunday, 7 March 2010

My New New Favourite Band 2

This year's gig going has now doubled! Following Hot Chip@Rock City I returned to Nottingham and this time visited the 'intimate' setting of the Bodega to see Danny & The Champions of The World, who were supporting Fionn Regan. I arrived to find the dreaded 'Sold Out' sign and had to use all my begging skills and blokey charm to get in. Let's hear it for kind bar manager Matt!

Anyway, D & CW are led by one of the guys who led the excellent Grand Drive, and continue not only the americana tinged sound of GD, but also the astonishingly great songwriting as well. Despite the tiny stage and short set they played up a storm, and have that effortless cool that bands get when they have been playing together for long enough to be tight, but are not yet bored of each other. D & CW have released a great album this year and I hope to see them again, playing a full set, later in the year.

Headline act Fionn Regan was backed by most of D & CW and although I didn't quite fall for his starey eyed Dylanisms he went down very well with the assembled mass.

Enjoy the track below and invest in one of the best albums of 2010.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

My Cultural Life

Prompted by the thought that my fiend Will may read this tonight I thought I should offer an update. Since the last post I have had a thrillingly cultural time. Saw Avatar in mighty 3d vision-o-rama and was both impressed and entertained, saw The Princess & The Frog in vintagely old-fashioned 2D animation stylee and enjoyed the songs immensely, and finally finished series 1 of True-Blood in TV shaped vampire-vision. I've read a couple of books, including The Northern Clemency, a wonderful saga of family life in 70s - 80s Sheffield, The Rapture - apocalyptic page-turning eco-hokum, and Blindness - more dystopian bleakness but in a more worthy and literary manner (except for the gang rape, murder and defecation bits that is).

Music wise I have at last been to a gig this year, taking in Hot Chip at Nottingham's Rock City. My first visit to Rock City was many moons ago, when I was a mere youth, and saw The Smiths on their first tour. The venue hasn't changed much although it probably passes fire safety regulations these days, and for the first time ever I watched a gig from the balcony. I had a good view of support Casio Kids - basic post-rave kiddy music but if I was in a band today I'd love to make that sort of noise. They look like they will fully enjoy the musical ride they are embarking on.

As for Hot Chip? Well, only one of them looks like he should be on a stage, but looks are of course deceptive and the HC noise is solid enough to detract from the limited visuals and lack of stage presence. They have a relatively simple template, but four albums in have enough tuneful bits to allow them to build a crowd-friendly set, and know a few tricks to get the joint jumping. With a decent frontman they could go much further but part of the appeal lies in the fact that they seem pretty ordinary. I suspect they will have a strong festival season, and I certainly had a good night.

And I managed to write a Hot Chip review without using the word 'boffin'!

Hot Chip - One Life Stand (Dusty Flower mix)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

New Music Post

1 /24th of the year done and dusted and most of us are back in the same old groove, or rut, depending on your personal circumstances. Having a blog means a nagging guilt that it needs updating so a quicky post to do just that.

Mrs Kev has many lovely qualities, assets, skills and habits, and one such is her ability to take a hint when it comes to Birthday gifts. I can't afford to be too subtle so last year I made my hints quite obvious and as a result I received the gift I wanted, membership of the Rough Trade Album club. Each month sees a new album to download, chosen by the good (and presumably cool) young people at RT HQ. It's a good way to keep abreast of stuff I might not have heard about yet and so far the albums have been mighty fine.

November was Local Natives. Never heard of them but it turned out to be tuneful guitarry stuff, fitting nicely into the current vogueish US blogosphere bands.

December saw the arrival of Blackroc and their garage guitar meets hip-hop stuff, alongside a bonus album of instrumentals in case I want to rap along in the privacy of my own home. Not very festive but a welcome change from sleighbells.

January - These New Puritans and their very serious, important sounding record, Hidden. A black sleeve, orchestral flourishes, important sounding words, no smiling allowed. I always worry when young bands don't seem to be enjoying themselves in their art. If anyone reading this knows any New Puritans please remind them life is short and now that they have made the record, go and have some fun. I should add that after a few plays it does seem to be remarkably good and I think it may appear in a few best of 2010 lists in 50 weeks time. it reminds me of Portishead's last record in that it sounds very 'different' at first but gradually you can't imagine life without it.

So a track from each to celebrate the approach of February 13th when my next download will become available.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Hello 2010

Happy New Year everyone/anyone.

Well 2010 has dawned and resolution 1 - update blog every day, has gone out of the window. resolution 2 - go to one gig a month, is off to a reasonable start as i think i'm off to see midlake in a couple of weeks. resolution 3 - swear less, is holding up ok, but as predicted on this week's Contrast Podcast it is very hard not to swear at the radio/tv/newspaper when politicians appear. My ire is usually reserved for tories, but I always save some bile for the others as well. Labour politicians sucking up to the Queen and spending my tax money on next year's jubilee! I suggest mandelson should watch Battleship Potemkin and look at the events of 1917 for a few tips on how to treat a royal family. Still, she does have a lovely smile - when she can be bothered to do so.

Anyway, enough republican vitriol, time to write about smiley stuff. Santa was very generous this year with lots of new CDs and books, and much of december was spent downloading albums and tracks I'd missed, or purchasing others in the sales. I've also been in the attic so there is a huge pile of music to get through at the moment. thanks to my friend Wayne for the Dirty Projectors album, and to mother for a couple of the Kraftwerk reissues - astonishingly beautiful and strangely moving at times.

Tonight a bit of a revelation - at number 34 in my Festive 50 (see below) was John Grant. Tonight I found out that he is the same John Grant once of The Czars, giving me an excuse to post this song. the album is out on Bella Union later this year and will be in my 'essential purchase' file.

I promise to update more often so please come again!

John Grant (feat Midlake) - I Want To Go To Marz

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A Very Festive 50

Friday - last day of term - arrived and with it .....SNOW!! We rarely get much snow here so it was very exciting, and meant the holiday started a day early. The temperature has stayed officially 'bloody freezing' so the snow is still here several days later. This has led to the usual snow related jinks, such as sledging (difficult in the flattest village in England), snowballing and watching Mrs Kev fall over on the way to the shop.

Santa should be loading his sledge by now, and en route he may well be listening to the Festive Fifty from the good people at the Contrast Podcast. So far we have had numbers 50 - 36, but part two should be arriving shortly. I'm worried that Animal Collective may get top spot - still can't see fuss myself - and gutted that my number 1 is unlikely to feature.

So, for the delectation of all, and the derision of a few, here is the 50 I submitted. It has made a great playlist on the ipod. Unlike many bloggers I shall resist the temptation to tease by posting only 10 at a time. Instead, glut and gorge on the full sugary delights in one mighty feast of reading......

  1. Music Is A Princess - Prefab Sprout
  2. Cutting Ice To Snow - Efterklang & The Danish National Chamber Orchestra
  3. Light Of Love - Music Go Music
  4. Earth, The Story So Far - Prefab Sprout
  5. A Matter Of Time - Leisure Society
  6. Let There Be Music - Prefab Sprout
  7. Charlie Darwin - The Low Anthem
  8. She Came Along - Kid Cudi & Patsy Cline
  9. Dominos - The Big Pink
  10. Nina and Her Very Long Hair - The Heart Strings
  11. Too Blue - 7 Worlds Collide
  12. The Last Carnival - Bruce Springsteen
  13. Solitaire - Wilco
  14. Love Vigilantes - Iron & Wine
  15. Sweet Disposition -The Temper Trap
  16. The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid -The Decemberists
  17. This could be the day - James Grant
  18. The Liberty Of Norton Folgate -Madness
  19. The Darkest Place I Know -Leisure Society
  20. Lust For Life - Girls
  21. Love etc. - Pet Shop Boys
  22. Your Love My Girls (Frankie Knuckles Mashup/Remix) -Animal Collective
  23. Hellhole Ratrace -Girls
  24. Jetstream -Doves
  25. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - Florence & The Machine
  26. Wild young Hearts - Noisettes
  27. The '59 Sound The Gaslight Anthem
  28. Crazy In Love (Beyonce Cover) Antony & The Johnsons
  29. Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) Beyonce
  30. Kingdom Of Rust Doves
  31. A Day In The Life Easy Star All-Stars
  32. The Last Of The Melting Snow Leisure Society
  33. Outlaw Pete Bruce Springsteen
  34. I Want To Go To Marz (Demo) John Grant (featuring Midlake)
  35. Intro The XX
  36. Dog Days Are Over Florence & The Machine
  37. Jump In The Pool Friendly Fires
  38. Shiver Me Timbers Southside Johnny With LaBamba's Big Band
  39. 1901 Phoenix
  40. Wilco (The Song) Wilco
  41. Jose Fernandez The Heart Strings
  42. Remedy Little Boots
  43. Young Adult Friction The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
  44. Symmetry Little Boots & Philip Oakey
  45. To Ohio The Low Anthem
  46. This Love Is Fucking Right The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
  47. The way it used to be Pet Shop Boys
  48. Gangsters (live) The Specials
  49. Heart Skipped A Beat The XX
  50. The Hazards Of Love The Decemberists