This isn’t really a blog, more of a link to Bill Drummond’s hilarious new work ‘Another Side of Bob Dylan – Part Two’, courtesy of the ever-wonderful Caught By The River website. I don’t want to spoil a word, but it involves a former Timelord explaining why he has been waiting for Bob Dylan for thirty-five years, with the proposition that “he should quit his Great American Song Book shit that he has been doing, and hit the road with me, and that we should – over a period of time – go to all the places in the British Isles where nine different languages were spoken 200 years ago, and find a song from each of those places, and then he should record them and I will produce it.” It’s pure genius and has enlivened what should have been a dull three hour stop-over in Joburg airport. Follow the link and enjoy!
It’s probably not reasonable to review a thirty year old classic album, but nevertheless I have a few things to say about Neil Young’s eponymous solo debut. Like so many other record purchases over the years I bought it because of the beautiful cover. But inside is a record of rare brilliance and it’s not even one of Neil Young’s best. Somehow, despite being a fan for over thirty years, I’ve never heard it before. Not a single track. As the needle hits the groove again there’s no question what I’m doing for the rest of the night…
Every Valley, Public Service Broadcasting’s third album, is a cleverly crafted concept album about the rise and fall of Welsh coal mining. That is going to sound quite niche, but trust me, Every Valley is worth forty-five minutes of any music-lover’s time. Moreover, not least because like it says on the tin, the band take inspiration for their songs from public service broadcasting, the album is even better seen performed live. Markontour had this pleasure in Leicester last week and was completely riveted by the combination of film and music.
Following a cracking gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last Friday, with some time off this week I’ve been rediscovering The Wonder Stuff via Miles Hunt’s engaging ‘Diaries 86-89′, accompanied by a trip through my vinyl back catalogue, and the Stuffies’ sparking, hard-edged indie-pop.
Another great gig from Middle Kids this week makes me thinks these Aussie newcomers are going to be special. On Wednesday night sixty or so privileged punters squeezed into The Waiting Room, a nicely refurbished box of a venue below the Three Crowns in Stoke Newington. Limited space meant bassist, Tim Fitz, was curtailed in his usual stage prowling, but the band showed no such constraint in delivering a powerful collection of indie-pop songs.
Austin lives up to its own billing as the live music capital of the world. Admittedly, markontour was visiting during the legendary South By South West (SXSW) tech/film/music festival, but you can only make judgements based on available data. On this basis Sixth Street is a gig-goers dream, where every bar and almost every restaurant has constant live bands from 4pm until past the midnight hour. If the evidence that I am alive wasn’t so overwhelming, a few nights in Austin might have convinced me that I had died and gone to heaven (putting to one side the anthropocene nightmare that is urban American traffic).
I’ve seen a LOT of brilliant British Sea Power gigs, but last at Koko was one of the very best. Amidst the anthemic tunes, hymns to libraries and protest, odes to nature, and celebration of bicycles, there was also a birthday cake launched into the crowd, and two bears dancing in the middle of the most-pit, along with the usual foliage adorned stage. The night ended with the band variously stage diving and leading the moves to Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’. Heaven.