Get me out of here
Buy books
  • Saint Dominic's Flashback: Van Morrison's Classic Album, Forty Years On
    Saint Dominic's Flashback: Van Morrison's Classic Album, Forty Years On
Previous Journal Entries
« Gum: in case you missed the earlier plugs | Main | ...and another thing: Laura Marling »

The week after Record Store Day

Getting people into record shops has to be a good idea and there's still fun and great music to be had from RSD, if you can dodge the worst of the queues and ignore the profiteering (yes, you, Grateful Dead and Daniel Lanois - amongst other over-pricers).

How do this year's purchases stack up in the cold light of a week's listening?

First, an unequivocal recommendation for Golden Gunn's self-titled album. A collaborative effort centred on Hiss Golden Messenger mainman MC Taylor and guitarist/singer/songwriter Steve Gunn, of whom I confess I had not previously heard. I bought it solely on the basis of my continuing HGM obsession and in anticipation of seeing them live on Friday...

It's a relaxed, mellow and largely instrumental collection - but with rather more focus and edge than 'jam session' might suggest. Mixing southern soul with psychedelia and much else besides, it's always engaging and sometimes frankly gorgeous. Imagine an afterhours session at Muscle Shoals with some stimulants circulating.

Anyway, a subsequent bit of research quickly unearthed a splendid Steve Gunn solo album, Boerum Palace, which I'm now listening to. And the information that he is currently part of Kurt Vile's band. Now, it's funny how one thing leads to another...

I'd always assumed I wouldn't like Kurt Vile - simple prejudice based on a crap stage name - I envisioned him as a tediously pretentious and angular postpunk poseur, so never sought out his music, even when my daughter interviewed him. So can I just say mea culpa - mea maxima culpa? His latest album, Wakin' On A Pretty Daze, is lovely: strong songs, well-struck guitars, Lou Reed-ish phrasing - what's not to like?

And that little serendipitous musical journey seems to me to be what Record Store Day should be all about.

In other parts of the forest, the Lisa Hannigan/Leluc 7" from the Way To Blue: Songs Of Nick Drake live album is a beautiful reminder of a lovely concert. But why is there no sign of the whole record coming out on vinyl? Or, indeed, Lisa's fine Passenger solo album?

The Bob Dylan 7" has, without knocking me out, done its intended job and whetted my appetite for a Bootleg Series release focusing on Self Portrait. The demo of 'Wigwam' is very clearly recorded and sounds great in its stripped-down form, without adding anything particularly revelatory to the established legend; the B-side 'Thirsty Boots' is a not-particularly-amazing Eric Anderson song - it's good to hear the Bob of 40-odd years ago singing something new, but the performance isn't spectacular.

And finally, the Thurston Moore/Loren Connors collaboration The Only Way To Go Is Straight Through was a bit of a disappointment. I love the title and like a bit of noise now and then, but this improvised set hasn't really grabbed me so far - certainly not to the same extent as Moore's last couple of song-based solo albums. But I'll keep trying.

An overall B, then, for RSD 2013, I'd say. I'll be back next year.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>