Tuesday, 29 June 2010

2 for the price of 1 - The Red Guitars mark2

Yesterdays post was a track by Red Guitars and I mentioned that the band changed singer and in between their 2 lps and that as a result they sounded like different bands. I thought I'd take the chance today to do a contrast and compare with the yesterday's post

Red Guitars formed in Hull and early singles as well as lp "Slow to Fade" all did well in the indie charts as well as getting a lot of night time radio play. In 1985 singer Jeremy Kidd left and was replaced by Robert Holmes. The second lp released in 1985 "Tales of the Expected" had a much more polished, mainstream sound. The fact it is so different is still surprising as the guitarist responsible for some of the african style playing from the first lp was still there.

The band split after the second lp. With Lewis going on to form The Plant Wilson and Holmes releasing on solo lp "The Age of Swing" which was a pretty good lp.

I've posted the lead off single from the 2nd lp to compare with yesterday's post. I love the sparkly guitar although I think it was an odd choice for a single. It reminds me a bit of Prefab Sprout not in terms of style and definitely in terms of the vocals but it does meander along and take in some interesting diversions It also is one of those songs where there is a mumbled outro and not matter how hard I listen I've no idea what he sings

National Avenue - The Red Guitars

You can find the band's website here which seems to have wiped the second lp form history which is a shame as it has some great songs on

The 2nd lp is a nightmare to get hold of , however you can get the first here (it has the early singles on as extra tracks including yesterday's post "Good Technology"

Monday, 28 June 2010

Monday Moments - Good Technology

The Red Guitars released 2 lps but with a change in singer and main songwriter, the lps they released sounded like they were by different bands. In the early days the band married indie guitars with sparkling African style playing and rhythms at a time when it was pretty revolutionary and way before Paul Simon recruited South African musicians for Graceland.

This week's monday moment however comes from an early pre debut lp single and is a straight forward bit of European guitar music. It was one of those songs that I heard on Annie Nightingale's sunday request show and immediately stopped whatever I was doing to turn the volume up

My monday moment is after about 10 secs when the first spike of guitar happens. It is one of my favourite lyrics bu the last verse really does it for me as relevant now as it ever was except maybe it would now be "There is a box set that I've got to see"

We've got photographs of men on the moon
We've got water that is good for us
We've got coffee that's instantaneous
We've got buildings that are very tall
We've got cigarettes that are low in tar
We've got policemen can tell us who we are
We can reproduce a work of art
We've got missiles can tear the world apart
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology

We've got trains that run underground
Aeroplanes that fly very fast
We've got music that is popular
We've got machines that sound like orchestras
We've got ability to transplant a heart
We've got freezers full of body parts
We've got computers that can find us friends
We know roughly when the world will end
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology

We've got animals with transistors in
We've got pills that can make you slim
We've got factories turning frozen chickens out
We've got ovens that cook in seconds flat
We've got plastics that are indestructible
We've got deodorants that make us smell of flowers
We've got detergents to clean up the sea
We've got sounds can turn you inside out

Sometimes I wonder what it is all about
There's lots of leisure time to sit and work it out
There's a TV show I've got to see
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology
Good technology

Good Technology - The Red Guitars

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Lazy Sunday - The Dream Academy

I first heard this on the Tube. They used to do a feature on new bands where the tube would fund a video and this song was one of the ones featured. At the time it didn't really sound like anything else. I love the atmosphere, the wind and the girls screaming when the Beatles are mentioned. It is also good enough not to be ruined when sampled in awful euro pop dance record

Friday, 25 June 2010

a Year in Books 2010 - When Will There Be Good News

When is a detective novel not a detective novel? When it is written by Kate Atkinson. "When Will There Be Good News" is the third novel by Kate Atkinson to feature ex detective and now ex private detective Jackson Brodie. All the ingredients for a detective novel are there. In these 3 books there are various crimes, murder, a detective with a troubled past and a mystery to explain. However these aren't who dunnits or even why dunnits and the big reveal is often more of a quick flash. What these novels deal with is the power of coincidence and consequence linked to the fact that good things and bad things happen to people all the time.

This book follows the same pattern as the other two, a series of seemingly random events are gradually revealed to be linked, to form a pattern of cause and effect with often the smallest thing setting the most dominoes toppling.

The book starts with a young girl witnessing the random murder of her mother and younger brother and sister, and thirty years later the man responsible is about to be released from jail.

At the same time an old before her time girl of 16 begins to suspect that there is something more to the disappearance of her employer than a visit to an ill aunt.

Jackson Brodie the only character that links all 3 books realises he is on a train heading the wrong way just before his life is turned upside down. Meanwhile a policewoman from the previous book (One Good Turn) is also looking for missing person, only this one had tried to gun down his family at his daughter's birthday party.

Slowly but surely these characters and events start to converge showing both major and minor links. As i mentioned the fun is not in the solving of the crime , but in watching the puzzle gradually fall into place, whilst taking you on a journey that quietly subverts the genre expectations.

It is not all about plot. Atkinson creates great characters and gives them moments of gentle humour, subtle insights that help them rise above both the mundane and the tragic

Whether you like detectives or not this is well worth a read

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Feeling Grown Up - Tracey Thorn

For those of you that have kind of missed the downbeat acoustic music of Everything but the Girl when they discovered dance music, then you should really rush out and get Tracey Thorn's new solo lp "Love and Its Opposite". This really is an adult orientated lp and I don't mean in the sense of mainstream american rock, but in the themes that it addresses.

It looks at all the traumas and worries that middle age brings, from dealing with a hormonal teenager, to watching friends marriages disintegrate around you. The music is subtle without ever falling into the dreaded dinner party backing trackswith acoustic and electronic backing blending so well. The lp contains 2 covers , one fits perfectly to the extent that I had to check the credits as the lyrics are so in line with what Tracey Thorn writes on the rest of the lp. Only a cover of Lee Hazelwood's "Come on Home to Me" grates a bit but mainly because it feels like it has come from another lp

She shows again that she has one of the best female voices in music and is one of this county's undervalued songwriters with lyrics that show humour, nostalgia and regret.

If you go to her website here you can download 2 tracks from the lp including the best one "Oh Divorces". In fact the website is well worth a visit as it is jam packed with stuff including a monthly spotify mix tape that she pulls together.

The honeymoon, the wedding ring
The afternoon handovers by the swings

You can buy Love and Its Opposite here and this hmv version has a bonus disc of demos on it

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

How it all started

I'm always suspicious of people who when you do the first single/lp bought question come up with something ground breakingly cool. My falling in love with music started in 3 places. My first single was Mull of Kintyre, how i loved those waistcoats and pipers on top of the pops. I listened to it again in prep for this post and I'm afraid can't find any redeeming features.

My first lp however, well that is a different matter. ELO were the first band I became obsessed with. I spent pocket money on all their lps and even bought the ELO story by drummer Bev Bevan (with a name like that he could only be the drummer), although I was a bit confused by the chapter on groupies

I think my love all things pop/orchestra stemmed from the semi novelty "Mr Blue Sky" and "Wild West Hero", both tailor made for a 10 year old who had had enough of Stewpot's family favourites. What a first lp to get not only was it a double , not only was it on bright blue vinyl (you can't do that with an mp3), but you got a cardboard model of the elo spaceship to build (what age were the record company people aiming for??) !!!

I fell out of love with elo as later lps just couldn't compete with the bright shiny pop music or the angular electronics that appeared in 79 - 82. However putting my music on the pc got me listening again. Out of the Blue is ridiculous, totally over the top but a classic.

I've posted the first track which is just an adrenaline rush. For those who may scoff give a listen to the second track and you can't deny Jeff Lynne knew his was around a pop song

"and you and your sweet desire

you took me higher and higher baby"

The third place is the fact that my mum and dad only had 4 lps. A copy of Abbey Road that they had borrowed from my aunt but apparently I had scratched so they had replaced it and kept the skipping jumping one. A Spinners lp (their version of Sloop John B knocks the Beach Boys into touch) and most importantly the soundtracks to Oliver and Jesus Christ Superstar (resulting in a long lasting more than healthy like of musicals and many a drunken argument claiming that Rice/Lloyd Webber maybe posh tories but also musical geniuses)

Monday, 21 June 2010

Monday Moments - Trick of the Light

Monday moments this week is from my second favourite Australian band and another who only had a fraction of the sales they deserved. This was the first track I heard by them and was the lead off single for the lp "Calenture" probably best known for featuring a song that was used in a Neighbours wedding (Harold and Marge?).

Listening to Trick of the Light again I still can't quite understand how it wasn't a summer hit. My monday moment is right at the start when the repeated guitar notes strike up and continue to weave in and out of the rest of the song. Although pushing a close second is when David McComb sings "Now you remind me very much of someone that I used to know" and you can hear the ache in his voice.

Looking back on what I've written it does strike me that both moments for this track are a bit weak - or at least not as strong as some of my previous posts. However I love the song. I think this time maybe the moments are tied up with being triggers for memories of summer 1987 in Leeds rather than shiver down spine moments in themselves. Even id the whole beats the sum of its parts it is still a top tune

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Lazy Sunday - Human League

Lazy sunday and top of the shuffle pile this week is the second single form Human League's troubled "Hysteria". They were always going to struggle to follow up Dare but rumours of endless rerecording and delays didn't help.
I really like it as an lp as overall it has a nice down beat feel , typified by this as choice for a single. It remains one of my favourites by the band from the synthesised guitar line to the melody of the verses

Friday, 18 June 2010

Caterpillar to Butterfly - Talk Talk

A couple of weeks ago Monday Moments featured a track by Talk Talk and I wrote how they had transformed from clinging onto the new romantic coat tails to soundscapes and experimental music that stretched the definition of song to its limit. Lot's of bands change style but Talk Talk felt much more like a gradual evolution with each lp moving slightly further away from the pop structure towards something much more challenging

The first track is the almost break through single from the first lp "The Party's Over" and even in these early days the tone was downbeat and you just knew you weren't going to see them in a video filmed on a yacht

The second track come 9 yrs later from the final lp "Laughing Stock" and is about as different from the first on as you can get. Over 9 minutes of music that puts mood above melody

I have time for both but in between the 2 extremes they made one timeless classic lp "The Colour of Spring" which is one of the best produced lps I've heard.

You can buy Talk Talk's lps here , avoid the countless compilations which almost match the record companies stripping of the Smiths carcass and go for the main releases

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A Year in Books 2010 - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is the third part of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. It is a well worn phrase but this really has been a publishing sensation with the Swede's book selling all over the world.
You are probably all aware of the back story. Stieg Larsson was a well respected journalist in Sweden who specialised in racist and right wing extremist exposures. He delivered the manuscript of all 3 books at once to his publisher who didn't' even know he was working on a piece of fiction. He died of natural causes soon after submitting the manuscript and didn't live to see any of it published. As a result the manuscript was published as it stood without the usual editing process and writing of subsequent drafts.
I read the first book "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" when it first came out and got immediately sucked into the lives of the 2 main characters, the out of shape, womanising, crusading journalist Blonkvist and in Salander , the most astounding and compelling female lead in modern fiction. That book is unlike the first 2 in that ,although setting the seen for what was to follow ,it can be read as a stand alone story.
"Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest" starts about 30 mins after the shocking edge of the seat ending of the second book "The Girl who Played with Fire". The consequences of Salander's actions in the second book result in the the drawing of sides. One side, lead by Blomkvist, try to ensure Salander remains free and cleared of all accused crimes and the other ,lead by a small, secret cabal at the heart of the Swedish intelligence agency who, in protecting their inters ts and hiding their actions, want to see Salander committed to an institution with the key thrown away.
The actions kicks off straight away and never lets up, all leading to a dramatic court case where all the various threads are pulled together in an immensely satisfying end.
The whole trilogy is fantastic and the end novel doesn't let the other two down. As ever the characters are well drawn and even the minor ones manage to hold their own against Salander who could have drowned them all out.
What I really like about the series is the familiarity of the thriller style combined with a unfamiliar setting and an almost a crash course in Swedish modern history (it made me want to read more on Olaf Palme who all I knew about was that he was assassinated and has a Jazz Butcher song named after him)
The only slight flaw is that everything builds to the trial which is so well written that when it finishes , well what comes next although needed to tie up loose ends seems bolted on and feels more of a throw back to the second novel and as a result a bit out of sync with the third one.
Very rarely do things match the hype but if you have been resisting fearing all the publicity is a bit DaVinci Code, then give in now and get all three books.
Whilst you are at it the Swedish film of the first book is also well worth seeing.... quickly before the planned Hollywood version sanitises and glamorises the whole thing

You can buy the trilogy here

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Happy Talking Happy Talk - Justin Currie

Lps like buses , well a load have come along that I've bought so over the next couple of weeks I'll share what I've spend my ill begotten gains on.

I was a big Del Amitri fan , well except when they let their neil young obsession take over and loved Justin Currie's first solo lp "What is Love" which his own myspace page describes as "eleven thunderously dreary dirges" . There wasn't a lot of joy in them and they included one of the best musical rants going in "No Surrender".

Well things have lightened a tad on "The Great War", there are even a couple of tracks that at a push could be described as breezy pop songs especially "I can't let go of her now". As ever though even these hide lyrics of self loathing and despair. The centre piece track is another 8 + minute state of the nation address with the cheery chorus of

"I hate the world they gave me"

Whilst not as good as "No Surrender" it is a bit of a sister song to this track although this time the bile is addressed internally rather than to the world as a whole

"My body's a riot, my minds the police
I feed myself lies to enforce some peace
Tell people I love them, shake idiot's hands
And sometimes I hug them as custom demands

However it is the ballads where the lp comes alive , helped by the fact that Justin Currie's vocals are better than ever.

I can't imagine this lp will get him any new fans which is a shame because the rather than 11 dreary dirges ,there are 11 examples of classic songwriting

You can here a couple of the tracks at his myspace page here
You can buy "The Great War" here

On a separate note I've got to quote his biog from his myspace site , which really made me laugh

Justin Currie was born in a van near Paisley in 1964 in a hailstorm so vicious that it took a team of panel beaters a month to separate his forehead from the roof. Later on, perhaps in the nineteen eighties he started to sing in a strange breathless way, cramming too many words into odd amounts of bars and found himself, with his group of twee schoolboy punks, Del Amitri, getting firmly up the collective nose of the Glasgow white-soul cognoscenti. Much more loathed than loved, and revelling in their outsider status, Del Amitri attracted a dense little coterie of followers in the United States of America who duly set up a nationwide tour funded by busking, badge selling and the refrigerators of those fans' generous parents. Driven half-mental by their experiences the group came home, ditched their indie twiddling and embarked upon a course of songwriting so sickeningly mainstream and Americanised that it led to a long career being spoilt stupid by the radio and recording industries of the English speaking world. Limos to the pub, ponds full of chips, week-long parties in Bognor, that sort of thing.

By 2002 the thing had run it's cliched course; the group's fortunes were dwindling and, dropped by a record firm grown weary of their whining, the two chief writers put the band into cryogenic suspension and set about writing two LPs; a Justin Currie Alone affair and an entirely co-written electronic pop masterpiece. Justin's solo record is called "What Is Love For?" and features eleven thunderously dreary dirges many of which he is currently airing live to pained looking crowds of people in dingy Glasgow basements. When forced by penury, politeness or acute fear he can sometimes also be heard to trawl out tired versions of his withered hits.

Justin is unmarried and lives a quiet life of standing up and sitting down in Scotland with his two pet television sets.

To end a reminder of when the jangle in Justin's life was king

The King is Poor - Del Amitri

Monday, 14 June 2010

Monday Moments - Lamas Fayre

I think it is always amazing that autobiographical , immensely personal songs can resonate so strongly with my own past. When that happens you can't but help to get a shiver. I don't know if it is a shiver of recognition, or some vague sense of loss of what cannot hoped to be recaptured but is filed away in the subconscious library only to be drawn out when pulled out by a trigger of an old photo, song, smell ,etc.

This week's monday moment comes from a track form Chris Difford's first solo lp. I was never a massive Squeeze fan , like the singles , had the greatest hits lp but that was about it. I bought the lp after seeing Chris Difford play live on a joint bill with Boo Hewerdine. It soon became my favourite lp of that year (apart from the fantastic songwriting the production is spot on and was a tad surprised to learn produced by an ex member of It Bites!)

Lamas Fayre is a track all about childhood and the family holidays that Chris Difford took with his parents and brothers. The music sways like the tide of the sea and my monday moment always comes with the realisation that although the location , memories and details are different ,the lyrics and sentiment pull my own memories of long car journeys and beach holidays with mum, dad and sister. No matter how many times I hear this song this realisation emotionally hits me afresh every time.

My father my mother my bothers and me

So young and simple in my memory

On a different note Chris Difford is trying something a bit different.

He is releasing his new lp in 10 weekly installments via a saturday morning music club. Each week for 10 weeks there will be available for download an a and b side as well as lyrics and notes from Chris on the song. I think its a great idea (a bit like the digital version of when Wedding Present released a single a month for a year)

I'm not sure of the cost but I'm going to sign up

You can sign up here

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Lazy Sunday - The Gobetweens

Lazy Sunday and top of the shuffle pile is a track from phase 2 of the Gobetweens. This is the closing track from the "Bright Yellow Bright Orange" lp. It is one of those bittersweet melodies that Grant McLennan seemed to be able to bash out two a penny. What I like about it is its simplicity and the fact that at 2 mins it leaves you wanting more

Unfinished Business - The Gobetweens

You can buy the lp here

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Singular Sounds U - Underworld

I am a prawn sandwich kind of fan of dance music. I tend to only like all the obvious tracks and here is a case in point. I'm sure Underworld have produced stuff a lot better than this but predictably this is the only thing I own by them. Like the rest of the plastic fans I heard it first as part of the Trainspotting soundtrack (I'm sure if I ever went to one of their gigs the real fans would be wearing whatever the dance music equivalent of green and yellow scarves are)

There was a period when if you went to a party it wouldn't be long before this would come on, there are only so many rooms full of people worse for wear yelling "lager lager shoutin" before the attraction wears off.

Anyway, despite this I still love the synth sound at the beginning

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Life of Live - Icicle Works

This was the last time I got to see the Icicle Works play and they were as good as ever. They were touring to promote the Blind lp which as usual hadn't really troubled the higher reaches of the chart.

It is probably one of the most schizophrenic lps I own with tracks ranging from a gospel feel to a Led Zeppelin type thrash and a track that sounds like it was written for Prince. However it did contain 2 of their best tracks that they had been playing live for a while, "Little Girl Lost" and "Starry Blue Eyed Wonder" which I did read was about Mike Scott (although listening to the lyrics I think this was over imaginative journalism.

Reading Ian Mcnabb's fantastic autobiography (Mersybeast) I was surprised to learn that he couldn't really stand the bass player. Everytime I saw them play they came across as a tight gang , I didn't pick up Mcnabb's annoyance at every bass flourish or Bruce foxton type leap!

One new track that went down a storm live was "High Time" one of those catchy guitar songs that they did so well. I've posted a different version , slowed down and acoustic. It gives the whole thing a darker , bitter more reflective mood.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Here Comes the Summer - The Candle Thieves

I think I've found my soundtrack for summer (well at least until the Stornoway debut lp arrives). I bought this lp on the basis of a track that was on one of Word magazines monthly free cds.

"Sunshine and other misfortunes" is the debut lp of duo the Candle Thieves. The songs are pure pop but with the added twist of a casio keyboard and glockenspiel. Having grown up in the fens I can safely say that the band is one of the best things to come out of Peterborough (okay so there isn't much competition)

It is not all sweetness and light, as the sweet and sugary pop tunes hide some darker lyrics.

If anything they remind me a bit of a cross between Eels and the Lightening Seeds

The lp is full of the catchiest tunes that are just the right side of quirky. Be warned though they do tend to stick in your head like glue (and they are to be avoided if the 'rock n rawl' posturing of the likes of Kasabian is your thing!)

Go to their myspace site here and you can hear 3 tracks from the lp as well as getting a free download

You know we can't stay young forever

But we can stay young for the rest of our days

Monday, 7 June 2010

Monday Moments - Talk Talk

Talk Talk were one of those real caterpillar to butterfly bands. They started as an angst ridden new romantic group, one of many that followed in the slip stream of Duran Duran and ended up making experimental mood music to which the term songs could only provide the loosest definition. Actually I'm being a bit harsh as I like both ends of their spectrum

However, in between they made one stunning lp "The Colour of Spring" where they got the balance exactly right. I could have plumped for the drum sound on "Life's What you Make it", instead I've gone for the final track.

I do like a long song and this one is an 8+ minute one. My Monday moment comes at about 5 1/2 minutes when what can only be described as a mass recorder solo kicks off . It shouldn't but somehow it really works

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Lazy Sunday - Peter Murphy

Lazy Sunday and top of the shuffle pile this week is something from Mr. Cheekbones Peter Murphy. I was never a big fan of Bauhaus apart from the obvious ones Bela Lugosi's Dead etc. However I really liked some of his solo stuff. I assume this was a single as it was on the compilation "Wild Birds 1985-95"

What do I like about it, well it chugs along nicely and his vocal is a bit more restrained than usual and the better for it

All Night Long - Peter Murphy

Saturday, 5 June 2010

A bit of Ambition - Sufjan Stevens

Sujan Stevens had already released an lp Greetings from Michigan, with all the songs inspired by the geography and history of the great lakes state, when the lp Illinoise came out. At the time he made a throw away comment in the press that he was going to release an lp for each of the US states. Now that is the kind of ambition in pop music that I like. Unfortunately we are still waiting for the 3rd state inspired lp and in fact the comment was the singer having a bit of fun with the press, It's a shame, as I love totally outrageous projects like that and would have ended up buying all the lps.

Both lps feature beautifully crafted songs almost a kind of chamber folk, with the soft sweet vocals hiding some dark lyrics. One such song is the one I've posted, based on serial killer John Wayne Gacy

His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne's T-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things
Rotting fast in their sleep of the dead
Twenty-seven people, even more
They were boys with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God

Are you one of them?

He dressed up like a clown for them
With his face paint white and red
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed he kissed them all
He'd kill ten thousand people
With a sleight of his hand
Running far, running fast to the dead
He took of all their clothes for them
He put a cloth on their lips
Quiet hands, quiet kiss
On the mouth

And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid

On a different note I'm experimenting with moving form mediafire to the box so hopefully the link will run smoothly - leave a comment if you have any problems

John Wayne Gacy - Sufjan Stevens

You can buy Illinoise here

Friday, 4 June 2010

A Year in Books 2010 - Skippy Dies

Shallow as I am I bought this because it looked so dam good. It looked so good that I ignored the fact that I'd started the author's debut novel and had to give up on it after about 100 pages (it was a comic novel that I didn't find funny and with a main character who annoyed the socks off me).

I'll admit I'm a bit of a sucker for books broken down into smaller novels and put together in a slip case, even if deep down I know I'm being suckered into paying a lot more than for the same thing in one volume.

By calling the book "Skippy Dies" and having that death occur in the first few pages Paul Murray has removed the risk of "spoilers". Set in a privileged Dublin boarding school, the novel starts with the untimely death of pupil Daniel (nicknamed Skippy because when he speaks he sounds a bit like the famous kangaroo) in a doughnut eating competition, with his best friend and child genius Ruprecht. The rest of the novel deals firstly with the build up to the death and then the aftermath. The first book/part "Hopeland" is a comic delight as it focuses on a a group of friends and captures the absurdity of school life for boys in their early teens to perfection (almost a strange relation to Inbetweeners). This is balanced by a focus on some of the teachers/priest at the school , mainly History teacher Howard who is going through his own relationship crisis

In the second book/part, "Heartland" various strands bound off in all kinds of directions, bringing in true love, alternative dimensions, the role of the Irish infantry in the first world war, the place of religion in modern education, a blossoming career in drug dealing, and the perils of playing Frisbee on your own. It is a mark of Murray's storytelling skill that he keeps things just about under control and balances the emerging dark heart with outrageous set pieces and dialogue that is really funny.

It is only in the third book/part "Ghostland" where despair takes over that you feel he loses his way a bit. There is little to light this third part despite a major finale and a slight sense of redemption for one character at the end. I found the gloom a bit too bleak with the actions of some characters so extreme , they just didn't seem to add up based on what had gone before

Still despite this what comes before makes it worth a go, it is a big novel with big ideas, and there is a real interest in discovering how the hell it will all fit together in the end.

You can buy Skippy Dies by Paul Murray here (this is the all in one volume version)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Life of Live Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

As I mentioned before I saw the Daintees probably 2/3 times a year when I was at college. this tour was to help promote the Salutation Road lp. The highlight of the concert was definitely in the encore when Martin would lead a massive musical conga through the audience with the band and an accompanying brass section (including a tuba), leading a mass sing along. the whole thing reflected the rootsier feel of the lp.

I also remember they had a backing singer and my she had a mighty set of pipes on her. she along with the brass section gave a lot of the older songs an interesting twist. I do think though that this tour and the relative failure of the lp the give him the break through , persuaded him to strip it all back down again.

I thought I'd post something a bit different this time in that support came from short lived Lovetrain. They released one lp "Human feelings Return" it is a bit of a patchy affair (and I remember when I got it being a tad disappointed as they sounded really good live) but does contain one great love gone wrong song.

You never cross my mind

Except around this time of year

When trees are bare and autumn rain falls down like tears

In posting this I relistened to the lp and it is a lot better than I remember. It is a bit early Deacon Blue and has some great songs on