Category Archives: Music

Dennis Wilson – River Song (1977)

I’ve been listening to this album a lot in 2011. Dennis Wilson’s voice is considerably different to earlier recordings he did with the Beach Boys, mainly because he spent most of the time between 1968 and 1977 drinking, smoking and doing drugs. This album, Pacific Ocean Blue, is soulful and rhythmic and doesn’t sound much like anything else that I know. River Song is the opening track.



Oh, and here’s a bonus track: Mexico

Charlie Parker – Temptation

We listened to this track a lot during our August holiday in Menorca. Its mainstream big band sound is highly atypical of Bird but somehow that doesn’t matter. While Temptation was used in several films Charlie Parker’s version, I believe, never has been. This was recorded in a 1952 session.


L’Orchestre Antillais and Biguine

Various Artists – Vintage Caribbean Music

L’Orchestra Antillais – Serpent Maigre

[Both links require Spotify. feel free to comment with a better way of sharing music, as I’ll be doing that a bit from now on]

I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz recently. Particularly pre-1950s. And as part of this, I’ve stumbled upon biguine, a type of jazz that originated in Martinique. It influenced Now Orleans jazz and sounds somewhat similar though with a lot more eerie fiddle. Listen to Serpent Maigre (link above) and look for Quand Meme on the VA album too. Great stuff.

Radio FIP rules

One of the best things about the modern holiday is disconnection. Many of us spend our work days and nights tethered one way or another. So the holiday provides us with an old-fashioned life: we cook with gas, we suffer the small refrigerator (we still waste food, weirdly), we get our news from the papers or the radio, like in olden days.

This summer we spent a week in Brittany in July and a fortnight in Menorca in August. Neither house has television or internet.

The area around Josselin in Brittany is perfect for lazy cycling: the Nantes-Brest canal has lovely towpaths: I saw an otter on one bike ride, and only about two metres away too. We stayed in a village in the middle of nowhere, without street lights or other light pollution sources. We had two cloudless nights and had as good a view of the Milky Way as we’d had in ages. Loads of shooting stars too.

The three of us sat in the car bound for La Rochelle, but still in Brittany. Our car has a cassette deck for which we have a flimsy shop-bought device that also plugs into an iPod. Said device (the 4th we’ve bought) failed as soon as we departed. What this meant is that we discovered FIP radio. A radio station that plays Bach, then Gillespie, then JAE, then some country, then some funky shit, then tons more jazz. It took me hours back home to work out what station we’d been listening to.

FIP was a revelation. It still is. I know that tons of other people knew about it (particularly in Brighton) and this might seem like saying “I’ve discovered that I like air!”. Like it ought to, FIP provides good archives of its playlist. Which is mostly great. I’m working on having the station play permanently on this site. I think it’s only fair that I inflict this on as many people as possible.

In Menorca, we connected an Android phone to some speakers we bought and listened to FIP online. I listened to the World Service as I read my le Carré. We also listened to some Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. I like jazz, but don’t really know enough about it. I always love Coltrane, Davis, Bird, Ornette, and I adore the old-timey stuff you can find on Spotify.

We also listened to a fair bit of Magnetic Fields, tons of Talking Heads, and the odd Stones or Royal Trux song when in need of rock.

Primavera Sound 2011 Lineup

Primavera Sound, my favourite festival in the world, takes place between the 25th and the 29th of May this year. We’ll be there, with our Ray Bans and our camera. See you on the grassy bit?

Lineup 2011 (my picks in bold):

Aias (SPA)

Ainara LeGardon (SPA)

Animal Collective (US)

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti (US)

Arto Lindsay (US)

Autolux (US)

Avi Buffalo (US)

Baths (US)

Battles (US)

Belle & Sebastian (UK)

Berlinetta (SPA)

Big Boi (US)

Blank Dogs (US)

BMX Bandits (UK)

Caribou (CAN)

Carte Blanche (FRA)

Caspa (UK)

Cloud Nothings (US)

Comet Gain (UK)

Connan Mockasin (NZL)

Cults (US)

Cuzo + Damo Suzuki (SPA/JAP)

Dan Melchior und Das Menace (UK)

Darkstar (UK)

Das Racist (US)

Deakin (US)

Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500 (NZL)

Del Rey (US)

DJ Shadow (US)

DM Stith (US)

Ducktails (US)

Dúo Cobra (SPA)

Echo & The Bunnymen performing Heaven Up Here & Crocodiles (UK)

Einstürzende Neubauten (GER)

El Guincho (SPA)

El Mató A Un Policía Motorizado (ARG)

Emeralds (US)

Explosions In the Sky (US)

Factory Floor (UK)

Field Music (UK)

Fleet Foxes (US)

Ford & Lopatin (US)

Gang Gang Dance (US)

Girl Talk (US)

Glasser (US)

Glenn Branca Ensemble (US)

Gold Panda (UK)

Gonjasufi (US)

Grinderman (UK)

Half Japanese (US)

Holy Ghost! (US)

Incarnations (US)

Interpol (US)

Islet (UK)

James Blake (UK)

Jamie XX (UK)

John Cale & Band + BCN216 perform PARIS 1919 (UK)

John Talabot (SPA)

Julia Kent (CAN)

Julian Lynch (US)

Kode9 And The Space Ape + Kode9 Burial Set (UK)

Kokoshca (SPA)

Kurt Vile & The Violators (US)

La Célula Durmiente (SPA)

Las Robertas (CRC)

Les Aus (SPA)

Lichens (US)

Lindstrom (NOR)

Low (US)

Lüger (SPA)

M. Ward (US)

Male Bonding (UK)

Matthew Dear Live (US)

Me And The Bees (SPA)

Mercury Rev perform Deserter’s Songs (US)

Mogwai (UK)

Money Mark (US)

My Teenage Stride (US)

Nisennenmondai (JAP)

Nosoträsh “Popemas” (SPA)

Odd Future (US)

Of Montreal (US)

Oneohtrix Point Never (US)

Ornamento Y Delito (SPA)

P.I.L. (Public Image Limited) (UK)

Papas Fritas (US)

Pere Ubu plays “The Annotated Modern Dance” (US)

Perfume Genius (US)

Phosphorescent (US)

Pissed Jeans (US)

PJ Harvey (UK)

Pulp (UK)

Rubik (FIN)

Salem (US)

Seefeel (UK)

Shellac (US)

Simian Mobile Disco (UK)

Sonny & The Sunsets (US)

Sufjan Stevens (US)

Suicide (US)

Suuns (CAN)

Swans (US)

Tennis (US)

The Album Leaf (US)

The Annuals (US)

The Black Angels (US)

The Fiery Furnaces (US)

The Flaming Lips (US)

The Fresh & Onlys (US)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (US)

The Monochrome Set (UK)

The National (US)

The Soft Moon (US)

The Suicide Of Western Culture (SPA)

The Tallest Man On Earth (SWE)

The Vaccines (UK)

The Walkmen (US)

Thelematicos (SPA)

Toundra (SPA)

Triángulo De Amor Bizarro (SPA)

tUnE-yArDs (US)

Twin Shadow (US)

Ty Segall (US)

Warpaint (US)

Wolf People (UK)

Yuck (UK)

3 Albums from 2010 that I’ve really enjoyed

MGMT – Congratulations

Following their hit debut, Oracular Spectacular, was always going to be difficult. And lots of people seemed to find Congratulations a let down. True, it’s lighter on obvious hits than the last disc. But this album makes up for that by being an unabashed bit of hero worship. Every song is packed with musical and lyrical references to MGMT’s influences, sometimes making it seem more like a covers album than anything else. But the more subdued songwriting and an over all more melancholy sound (notwithstanding some outstanding chorus explosions) led me to love Congratulations even more than Oracular Spectacular. And live, it was even better.

Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)

Janelle Monáe is really cool. Originally given the nod by Sean Combs because her MySpace videos showed no flesh, and because she ‘sounded different’, her music is a combination of soul, funk and hip-hop and it’s 100% pop. She might be the new David Bowie. The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) is effectively two EPs on one album, both smoothly combined as single compostions and packing an incredible number of great tunes, inventive rhythms and intriguing android-themed lyrics. The album is produced by Big Boi and there is definitely a pretty clear Outkast influence on its sound… with is always a good thing. She’s playing live in Barcelona next February.

Wavves – King of the Beach

I don’t know much about these guys but I gather they’ve divided opinion among their target hipster audience. King of the Beach is just a great collection of surf rock songs played in a psychedelic mode. The album is essentially about being a lazy bum who smokes weed at the beach all summer. If that sounds obnoxious and sad, you won’t like this album. If, on the other hand, you think it reminds you of good times, and you like the idea of Beach Boys riffs played at quadruple speed with a ton of fuzz, you will like this album. The band is constantly shedding members (they had a disastrous on-stage meltdown in Barcelona in 2009), so I’ve no idea what they sound like currently. Either way, the record is cool. I might sneak a few tracks onto the New Year’s Eve playlist.

Some Saturday Blues For Youse

I’ve been listening to a fair bit of Leadbelly and some other blues root stuff recently. I love rock and roll music and, given that much of it is simply reworked from the delta classics, I love this stuff too. Midnight Special in particular seems startlingly ahead of its time.


Rock Island Line contains some striking rhythmic devices, as well as including many themes later found in rock and roll.


For guitar, I’m learning that Mississippi John Hurt is basically all you need to hear


From a different genre, Rebirth Jazz Band of New Orleans provide the music that opens the TV show Treme’s first episode. I Feel Like Funkin’ It Up should get anyone dancing


Friday night music





I make no apologies for the quality of the videos. It’s about the songs, innit.