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Previous Journal Entries

"The cords of all link back...strandentwining cable...

"Hello...put me on to Edenville... aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one"


Um... now March has gone somewhere similar

And I'm still waiting to be knocked out by some new music in 2014.

Beck's Morning Phase is decent enough, with a lovely, lush sound. But it's one-paced and the songs blend into one another without any of them grabbing me suffciently firmly by the malleus, incus or, indeed, stapes...

Del Barber's Prairieography is rather more hit and miss: some strong songs and good playing mixed in with some more clichéd 'make a country noise now' moments.

My hopes have currently shifted to The Hold Steady's Teeth Dreams, which is gathering encouraging reviews and should be in my hot hands shortly.

Meanwhile, the year's best vinyl moment has been picking up a copy of Black Sabbath's first album, complete with a Vertigo swirl label, at last week's Brighton record fair. (An Italian pressing and not too extravagant...) They were a remarkable band in those days, pretty much untrammelled by any commercial expectations. I love Paranoid too, but that was the start of a rather more conventional writing style and sonic palette.

At least I have now been to a gig this year: a really enjoyable celebration of the music of Nick Pynn at the Dome last Sunday, featuring the great man himself playing with a host of musical and comedic chums. A personal highpoint was Mike Heron leading the assembled crowd through the opening section of 'A Very Cellular Song'. Gorgeous.


So where did February go?

I've had a splendid couple of (non-music-related) weeks away in Australia and Korea, which is part of an excuse for some thin pickings here.

Since coming back I've been ploughing through the 33 1/3 series' exacting submission requirements. It can sometimes be helpful to wake up jet-lagged at four in the morning – you can get a lot of writing done undisturbed. Anyway, the pitch is in now. If they have any sense, they'll soon be snapping up my proposal for a book about Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding. And if they haven't, you'll be seeing more about it here...

I'm stilling waiting to hear my first killer record of 2014, though I have reasonable hopes for both Del Barber's Prairieography and Beck's Morning Phase, once I can get my hands on the full albums.

And I still haven't been to a gig yet this year. A celebration of Nick Pynn's music at the Dome on 23 March should make a fine start. I then have tickets for Dan Stuart, Michael Chapman and Emmylou Harris in the next couple of months.

In other (and excellent) news, I gather Wussy's Attica is now due to be released in May. Which is a good reason for posting a nice picture of Lisa Walker.

Onward and upward.


New from Two Wings

I'm delighted to hear that Two Wings are swinging back into action, having laid somewhat low after releasing the excellent Love's Spring and playing one of my gigs of the year in 2012.

You can hear a new song 'Peace-Fear' here, accompanied by an endearingly odd video. It's a powerful group performance with some lovely guitar and vocals, and subtly effective keyboards dropping in. Bodes well for their second album A Wake, which is due in April.

How about a gig in Brighton this time?

It has been a slightly slow start to my musical 2014, with no gigs so far and not much in the way of new record purchases. Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes is, of course worthy of your attention, but don't go in with them too high... There are some lovely songs, notably 'Harry's Place' and '41 Shots', but also some stuff that (by The Boss's standards) is more like filler. Plus I still don't really get Tom Morello, much as he seems to energise his compadre.

Anyway, nice to have some more releases to look forward to. Now, if Wussy could get round to finishing the album they said they were recording last summer, things would really be looking up.


Peter and Jenny Lee

Del Barber's beautifully-pitched song of true love amongst motel staff was a real highlight of his live performances last year - and accompanied by a hilarious story of how he came to write it...

It's nice to see that 'Peter And Jenny Lee' is included on his new album, all of which is currently streaming here. A great song, in what appears to be strong company. Give it a go.


An unexpected treat

Those with a long memory may recall that seeing Western swing heroes The Time Jumpers at the Station Inn in Nashville was one of my very best moments in 2010.

Out of the blue, I've just had a friend request on the No Depression website from a band called The Amigos. Doing a little research on YouTube I find this splendid collaboration between them and Time Jumpers star Ranger Doug, yodelling in fine style.

Great shirts and a very classy video, chaps. Thanks for getting in touch.

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