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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Songlines - Top of the World 82 Compilation

As always a quality compilation of the best out there in the World of world music. The highlights are as follows;

La Bottine Souriante – ‘Mon Pere’
Quirky French action which sounds a little like the weird offspring of the Flying Pickets and Camille. No really.

The Other Europeans – ‘Lauter Clarinet Suite #1’
Great clarinet tooting in a gypsy folk style.

Martyn Bennett – Swallowtail
I’m starting to really love the work of the late Martyn Bennett. This is a funky little Celtic jig ideal for all occasions.

Spiro – ‘Yellow Noise’
String based instrumental that sounds like the soundtrack to a gritty film, ideal for mowing the lawn to.

Emily Portman – ‘Stick Stock’
Selected by guest picker and ancient comedian Mike Harding. Hopefully she’s not Natalie’s sister but one of the strongest tracks on the CD. Love the way she pronounces every word, but especially ‘stone’ and possibly recorded in fairy tale land.

A great selection as usual and on this showing Mike Harding is a way better DJ that Diggers and Sasha put together. 6 Music sign him up now!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Amy Macdonald – This is the Life

In a similar way to Ojos de Brujo, this is an extension to last year's review of a previous experience of the artiste’s work. ‘A Curious Thing’ was so similar in terms of my reaction that we hardly need another review. I didn’t fancy listening to it and when I eventually got round to it, Amy won me over with her honesty, talent and lack of pretention. It’s a great album if you like this kind of thing.

But apart from me, who does? It’s not hardened folk, it’s not pop music, it’s neither throwaway or particularly deep. Amy has a distinct audience problem since the demise of Pebble Mill at One. Who else in the whole world actually likes Amy Macdonald? Maybe it’s a Scottish thing. Who cares? Because I doubt Amy does.

This is her debut album and if anything it’s stronger than the follow up. Every track is a winner, but my favourites are the global single ‘This is the Life’, the quirky, upbeat ‘Poison Prince’ and the Western soundtrack-a-like of ‘Let’s Start a Band’, which definitely had the best ending of any song I’ve heard this year. The absolute classic however, is the jaunty but deceptively dark ‘A Wish for Something More.’ It’s reason enough to buy the album on its own and tells you everything you need to know about Amy Macdonald in a three minute nutshell.

 She’s globally well known and obscure at the same time. She’s up there with Caitlin Rose and Eliza Carthy as Into the Valley’s golden Girl and I’m now looking forward to giving the new album a listen at some point this year. Loving your work Amy!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Beth Jeans Houghton - Sweet Tooth Bird

Pick of the Week 29 – Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny

For some strange reason I love this song. It’s quirky folk muisc that sounds like it comes from another reality. Her voice somehow resonates with me, the lyrics are original and it possesses a lack of commercial appeal in the same league as PJ Harvey and Regina Spektor.

The video meanwhile is something else entirely. What the hell is going on in this post apocalyptic world? Surely they should be out searching for food rather than coloured plastic trinkets? On the plus side, gas masks, slow motion sick and those orange plastic buoyancy rings are always a good thing in most circumstances. High marks for effort, but a maximum score for quirkiness. Definitely someone to watch in the future.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Evlkeith's Freebies - Ambient

So here's the next instalment in my free downloads trawl and it's the ambient section that I've been investigating. Not the easiest of genres, especially when I was previewing the tracks. Thirty seconds of a swirly pad slowly rising told me pretty much nothing about the track. A hint to people putting ambient stuff on put something interesting at the start of it. Singing's always good, but if you really want my attention give a piccolo a toot.

The tracks took a while to get into, but I've selected five fairly choice offering that, given a chance, should delight your eardrums. The condensed milk of the crop is 'Delorian'. The Portishead style singing did it for me. Shame about the lack of a piccolo.

1. Delorian - The Atomica Project - Metropolitan

2. Secret Society - Logical Disorder - Violent Playground

3. Monocrom - Monoceros - Imaginary_EP

4. XHD - Aydio - Deltitnu EP

5. Syntax Data - Abfahrt Hinwil - Links Berge Rechts Seen

Next time we will be delving into the genre commonly known as 'blues'. Mmm... not that enamoured with that but I'll give it a go.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter

Another year, another Fall album and this time it’s 2010’s non too shabby offering ‘Your Future Our Clutter.’ Don’t worry, there’s nearly thirty to go at and I’m not even at half way.

This is the Fall in straightforward rock mode. It appeals to the Fall fan’s lowest common denominator and harks back to the simpler pleasures of the late eighties. Mark E Smith is his usual ranty self with some lovely lyrical touches thrown in for good measure and surely he must be immortal? He must have found the fountain of youth, or at least middle age, as he seems to be stuck in a  perpetual half life somewhere between teenage attitude and old aged pensioner bodywork.

The pick of the tracks are the pounding opener of ‘O.F.Y.C. Showcase’, the twangy insistence of ‘Cowboy George’ and the jolly singalong of ‘Funnel of Love’. Best of all is the two part rock out of ‘Bury’ which has got to be part of the all time Fall top ten. It’s the perfect example of clashing guitars meeting ambiguous northern lyrics and delivery.

If you didn’t have a sneaky admiration for the Fall before, this is not going to change your mind. But if you used to enjoy a bit of Mark E Smith and lost the habit, then this is as good a place to jump back on the horse as any.