Thursday, 28 February 2013

Robyn Hitchcock's nearly-60th birthday gig tonight!

Listening to choice songs off each of the Robyn Hitchcock albums that I own, in anticipation of tonight's special gig. He'll be playing a song off every album he's released (not sure if that'll include Soft Boys or not). It's Robyn Hitchcock's pre-60th birthday celebrations.

Really, really hope for opener of The Man Who Invented Himself - seems apt! I am still yet to complete my collection (which is fine by me and really nice actually, as I still have stuff to look forward to), but out of what I do own, I would hope for a setlist including:

The Man Who Invented Himseelf
Sounds Great When You're
Dead Balloon Man
Linctus House (or Queen Elvis)
So You Think You're in Love
Full Moon in My Soul
Adventure Rocket Ship (or NY Doll)
Falling (or Saturday Groovers, with its 'I heard you cleaned your act up, you old trout' lyric)
August in Hammersmith (or Light Blue Afternoon)

It would be so excellent if I got to hear So You Think You're in Lovelive, finally, as it works best live, as this brilliant old American TV clip will demonstrate....

I would also hope for a throwing in of I Saw Nick Drake, as it is so tender - or the most lyrically superb achievement of his career to me - 1974, though I'm incredulous to realise that they both were outtakes and not on an official album, I forgot that. And now I am reminded that I still have even more Robyn Hitchcock material to discover and buy, even though I have so much. I hope there's a record stall at the gig.
Shall pack a few copies of the fanzine, with my in depth Robyn Hitchcock interview and articles in, in case I come across anyone who wants to buy one. Edit: ah but I just reremembered the songs won't be played in year or album order - shall be a very interesting evening!

Monday, 25 February 2013

The All Thrills No Frills Music Bill paper music fanzine - issue two now ready to buy!

Issue #2 of The All Thrills No Frills independent music fanzine is now published! It is to be found for sale over at Etsy, else you can get in touch and Paypal me the £2.50 including postage to the UK, or get in touch if overseas. There is a slight increase in cost due to extortionate photocopying costs now, and due to the cover being coloured paper.

Featured in this issue:

* Interview with Amelia Fletcher and her band Tender Trap with in depth article on Marine Research/Tender Trap. Also, new Tender Trap album Ten Songs about Girls.
**The return of Tilly and The Wall.
***The seven inch singles of Pullover
****Brian Jonestown Massacre live
*****Records recently bought: Altered Images, This Mortal Coil, John Foxx, and Teenagers in Tokyo.
******The Chameleons live at Camden Palace VHS tape review
*******Edwyn Collins's TV show, West Heath Yard
********Female exclusion/abuse within music (including getting attacked at gigs)
*********1990s compilation tapes and 1990s music culture
**********Anti anti-pop consortium!
***********Loads of silly anecdotes/satire about bands/singers
************Recent favourite record shops
*************Mix CD listings


****************Luke Haines's cat !

All written with heart and passion, not like freely available mainstream music magazines - and much more easy to access/portable than blogs and books if you're travelling!

Soon to be available in various independent music shops and other likely places, when I get round to it.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Issue #2 of The All Thrills No Frills Music Bill + Luke Haines's cat

The second issue of the paper music fanzine The All Thrills No Frills Music Bill shall be launched this Saturday 23rd Feburary! Featuring an exclusive interview with Tender Trap, and lots more that I shan't detail here yet!

You may already know of the spectacular How Does it Feel to Be Loved indiepop/60s/girl soul night in London. They are hosting their first record fair in Brixton, at the Canterbury Arms Pub, from 12noon till 5pm, on Saturday 23rd Feburary (this coming Saturday!).

All Thrills No Frills 'zine will have a stall, and we'll be selling music fanzines old and new - ours and other people's wonderful creations.

I am donating profits from my own creations to the cause of Luke Haines's cat! More info here.

Full details of the event in general + MAP are here.

Come and buy records or fanzines, maybe both - support independent sellers, and independent creative types, and Colin the Cat, too!! Oh, and there are DJs too, and I think HDIF are still seeking the odd DJ or two.

Working on the new fanzine + discovering old tapes + This Mortal Coil

Just written an article about the early '90s compilation tapes I bought for 19p each from a music shop, which were so nicely crafted, and so personal. That'll appear in #2 of the print fanzine. But for now, I just want to write how much I am taken by a band I found on those tapes - This Mortal Coil. More of a collective than a band - led by the founder of the amazing 4AD Records, with various collaborative guests from the label.

The song that bowled me over so much was Sixteen Days their first single. I'm no Cocteau Twins fan, but Liz Fraser is on vocals and the bass-fantastic, moody music combining with it, it is all just a pure dream. The sparse keys-only intro leading into guitar and what sounds like a cat meowing, and dark, gothic sound, all circling round and building up to a song I've been hooked on. It's been nice to rewind it and replay it, a rare action when everything's digital. I can listen to one or two songs maximum on the stereo before I hotfoot it to work (depressingly, it's not enough to make me feel happy to start the day), and this has been on repeat in recent wintry months. The production is also great, and the way about 5 minutes in - for this song is 9 minutes long - the song changes musical tack completely. It's just perfect. Gliding along, chorus pedals, and sinewy female vocals...

I was surprised to come across a reissue of a This Mortal Coil album in a record shop in Bristol recently, and despite the high price just had to buy it - to get my hands on some of their stuff, and to support the independent record shop in question (Rise Records, which I have never been to).

Sixteen Days is not on any album, though, nor did I come across anything by them at any of the record stalls on markets I have so rarely but enjoyed findign recently - so I just gave in, and have bought it on 12 inch on eBay from someone in Ireland.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Record shopping joy / Robyn Hitchcock heaven again

I'm on a post-record shop high. I've come back with original 80s vinyl albums, a recent-ish vinyl single, and a live CD album, plus various flyers and free music magazine publications that I otherwise would not come across - plus importantly, I feel much cheered up.

In the current times, I was half-wary that I might walk up London Road to find Collectors Records shutdown, but thank god it was still there. Some good chat with Keith the owner as usual. When he consults his Record Collector book to assert facts, it's kind of humbling and wonderful - because young people would just whip out their mobile phones and hit on the Wikipedia website. It's sad to think that actions like that might not live on many more years. But you cannot beat in-person knowledge that you also get in record shops, and the click of like-minds.

I'm afraid I can't boast an eclectic roster of purchases to dazzle you with, as the allure of the H section of vinyl led to surprise finds of original Robyn Hitchcock albums, and I was hooked as usual. It's funny that for a stretch of a couple of years I could not track any of his albums down, even on CD, but in the last year they seem to be like psychedelic painted buses. I hadn't intended to spend as much as I did, but I know that had I turned my back, they would be gone by my next visit. I'm well aware that all these songs were re-released digitally via his site, and I even own a run of three or four songs from the first of the tracks here - but damn, the vinyl sound, all the tracks I don't know (for it is a compilation and not a standard album), the splendid artwork, and the mad liner notes which I will later get a certain person to read out to me perfectly later....

The album cover in its vinyl-size glory bowled me over to prove irresistible too. Robyn Hitchcock offering me a bunch of radishes, how can I refuse? AKA, they don't make overwhelmingly imaginative pop stars like this no more:

I also took up Groovy Decoy, a revised version of (plus bonus tracks) Groovy Decay, the latter being one which I had been thinking about needing recently. The album art for Groovy Decoy isn't nearly as marvellous as the original Groovy Decay, and I need to hear it as it orignally was, so that shall have to be bought up at some point too, despite how its seen by author, and others.

Listening to the above now. Getting giddy about the next Robyn Hitchcock gig again - his 60th brithday celebrations.

There are countless ingenius song titles from Hitchcock. Favourite tonight is: Point it at Gran.

The other records I bought were Nighthawks at the Diner, a live album by by Tom Waits, which is jazzy, mellow but amusing so far. And I took a risk on a new release seven inch single, because I needed change for the train machine! Not a convincing excuse, but... I always try to buy even just a little something when I am near Banquet Records in Kingston, a fanzine, a single... This was by Teenagers in Tokyo, which sounds so Cure-like with its sweet pop keyboards and perfect bass, I love it, the b-side of Long Walk Home, mainly.

Robyn Hitchcock is yelling: Kevin! Supper's ready! now, so I've got to go....

New record / The Chameleons

Came back from being away recently to this as a present, as bought from the local record fair:
Good to hear it on vinyl rather than CD as I have done for many years. The cover is creepily wonderful somehow. I do like Chameleons artwork.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Old mix CDs

Going through lots of old mix CDs from 8 or 9 years ago. I sure liked Felt, Bark Psychosis, and Ride a lot. KC Accidental by Broken Social Scene makes it onto multiple mixes too, a song I'd forgotten about. Compilation tapes and CDs really are made of aspic, transport me back to such definite points in time, such feelings. They are really important to me, like diaries.

I'm hoping to find spare moments in which to do all these old CDs justice and give them proper track listings. So saying, some of them are so battered from not having sleeves, as to contain unplayable songs, which just breaks my heart! Maybe I can rescue a few songs and burn them onto the hard drive.

Found ones from friends of the time too, and will try to get them into order too. Songs that you remember but just cannot name or place break my heart a bit too. Could start some sort of club - name that tune...

Currently listening to: Shallow by Heavenly, and realising once again how it is one of the best songs ever made.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Love From London

I absolutely love the image Robyn Hitchcock has painted for his new album, Love From London:

I like the joy of my perceived meanings behind it, and of course the skill of the artwork alone. On a personal level, it resonates/represents something to me as well. The t-shirt too:

In times when download vouchers are given to me as birthday presents, or I overhear people justifying their 'still' buying CDs as if it is absurd unheard-of behaviour, it's a fine feeling to fall in love with album artwork. I've written before about the wonder of bands like Joy Formidable who use the art of physical music artefacts to their advantage in selling records - selling one-off hand-painted/numbered Christmas singles, or specially wrapped live albums that come with one-off band t-shirts, or the absolute: selling a new release in limited quantities with broken bits of the singer Ritzy's smashed-up-on-stage guitar! And British Sea Power are the epitome of/experts in releases/design/merchandise, and it really adds to the feeling of uniqueness/romance about the band.

Needless to say, I have fervently rushed to order both albums by Hitchcock and BSP couple of months before release date - the latter direct from the band; former from the noble Yeproc Records. It's very rare that I take excited interest in the very release date of a new album nowadays, but this feels very much like an event, combined with Robyn's 60th birthday shindig gig set for the end of the month - as does the upcoming British Sea Power tour and album. It was luxury and reward to be able to spend the first bit of my wages on some things as wonderful and life-affirming as these. If I could, I'd travel the country a fair bit following both tours.

I love the many songs that Robyn Hitchcock has written about London, and how in recent years the timing and locations have had such poignancy to me, and make the very streets I tread reverberate with meaning, poetry, definition. I suppose spotting him about, or hearing of his frequenting/enjoying certain corners adds to enjoyment and love of these areas that perhaps haven't been celebrated so much, particularly by recent songwriters.

The new songs from Robyn have come right up and hugged me. A recent session on an American radio show was just perfect, and I'm looking forward to catching up on the Daytrotter stuff he did last Friday too.

And again and again and again, if I could be in a band with anyone of any mindset, it would be someone like Robyn Hitchcock - only there is no one like him.