March 2020

Diiv – Skin game

I’ve had this on repeat since the Newcastle show. Shoe-gaze at it’s very best; dreamy, full of fuzz, and confidently using subtle but potent lyrics. They gave us wings to fly, but then they took away the sky.

A certain ratio – touch

Shouted out by the Orielles as one to listen to in a recent Q interview; Touch sounds like Bowie circa Let’s Dance hooking up with Talking Heads.

Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry

I’m Digging into the history of Massive Attack when Neneh appears, giving me a nudge to re-listen to raw like sushi. Me, my sister and my mate learnt the words to Buffalo Stance one school holiday by learning a line, rewinding the tape in the deck, and learning the next line. I still know the song by heart….

Madonna – I want you

An old 3d interview makes me stop mid way through and dig this out; it must have been 15 years since I heard it last. Madonna tends to work with the best doesn’t she…

Kid Kapichi

The gig I had no clue about became one of my favouite gigs of the month; they blame our problems on the poor.

Rock is dead – Marilyn Manson

A quick read through of a Cure reissue points me to the ‘now check these out’ albums section. Manson’s Mechanical tops the list, which of course gets me falling in love with his glam stuff all over again.

Johnny Ray – Cry

I knew the name from Dexys, but I didn’t know Eric Burdon sung his songs when he was little, or that Johnny was tone def. Burdon’s recent documentary gets me clambering for old footage – this being my favourite. Looks like a lad I used to go to school with; who was a bell-end.

The Animals – we gotta get out of this place

Embarrisingly it takes the documentrary, and an American, to point out the true mearning behind these local greats. Watch my daddy in bed a-dying. To think I’ve been writing something about The Animals for a year and never made this connection…

Tricky- Suffocated Love

A little fraught I dig out Pre-Millenium Tension, my favoruite Tricky LP. As I listen, and Tricky works his magic, I think about my favourite Tricky moment – I think it’s this… I keep her warm but we never kiss

Element – Deerhunter

Number 46 in that Mojo list which seems to never end… Like Marc Bolan reserected for one final, rather dreamy, vocal.

Suicide – Surrender

I have a bad morning and go in search of some punk inspiration. An old magazine recommends Suicide; who I put on shuffle. Surrender comes on and I remember just how perfect it is. I’m not sure it improves my morning but it takes me, temporarily, to another place and time. That’s all you can ask sometimes.

Tricky – Nicotine Love

I’m always really dissapointed when I revisit one of my favourite artists and realise I’ve missed whole chunks of their output. Listening to a Tricky interview I hear Nicotine Love in the background and can’t believe I never heard this when it was released. What an absolutre belter.

Tricky – Gangster Chronicle

And then once you listen to the album, you realise you’ve missed more than just one banger..

Kilo Ali – Cocaine

A night out in Newcastle has me speachless by how many people look like they’re off their tits. A week later I’m listening to the Rick Rubin podcast and this gem appears.. It’s not just America that has a problem

Bad Bug – Australia

Caught these at the GRL2020 event in Middlesbrough – what a fantastic garage-rock outfit. Part Beach Boys, part Chris Issak, part Shirelles.

Stereophonics – Superman

A gig at the Arena proves just as bad as I thought it would; the big venues are so impersonal, and the seating arrangement and huge space add nothing at all to the environment.

The Phonics do their best, though my favourite fails to take off. I bought a brown leather jacket at the time of this release but always wanted a white shirt as well…

Court of Love – Durand Jones and The indications

Number 42 of the Mojo list that I’ll finish even if it’s the last fucking thing I do…. What a lovely piece of rn’b and soul. I wonder how they made this?

Durand Jones and The Indications

I peaked too early… this is the one I end up with on repeat. This is perfection.

Polaroid – Slowthai

I always thought this was the stand-out on Slowthai’s album but I bumped into this video on YouTube recently. Jesus.

Tonight – Angel Olson

Is it me or is there something incredibly Spiritualized about this?

I like the life that I lead Without you

Chance – Angel Olson

Sounding like the soundtrack to a heart-breaking moment in a David Lynch film, this is 1950’s swoon, Dusty Springfield and Cinema Italiano all at the same time. Superb.

Mavis Staples – Brothers and Sisters

Still doing the old ‘catch up’ with Mojo’s 75, there’s a good chance with the lockdown I should actually be able to tick off more of my goals. Number 39, with this peice being my favourite from a great little soul album.

Prince – Purple Rain Live

Dave R sends me this one and the guitar solo is unbelievable. Better than Hendrix!? Yep. The best ever? In my opinion.

Crush on You – The Jets

Speaking of the Purple one, this one’s as close as you can get to the Masters 80s facade. How did you know, cause I never told?

Slade – Get down and get with it

Still reading up on Chas Chandler and Dave Hill’s book points me in the direction of this belter… Another track I don’t think I’ve ever heard. Music fan you say?

Massive Attack – Protection

Most of the time dedicated to MA this month has been around their 2nd album – i never really liked this video on it’s release but it’s aged pretty well to be fair. You could change the way she feels if you could put your arms around her.

Rufus WainWright – Art Teacher

The Global Health live broadcasts are my first ‘live’ live event for a week. I jump on the chance to watch Rufus play live at his piano and, as expected, he’s perfect.

As I wait to join, and then fan-boy him during the show, I’m desperate for him to play my favourite of his; Art Teacher, a song which seems to capture the spirit of a teenage longiness perfectly.

Rufus Wainwright – I don’t know what it is

Spending the rest of the night in the company of the albums I know by him I decide this is my second favourite of his.

I’ve made a note to get through his post-2007 output in the coming weeks/months/decades indoors.

The Vines – Highly Evolved

My mate and me decide to create a punk band called The Puppet Presidents. The idea carries me off in hundred different directions. I end up deciding we should sound like the opener on The Vines debut. Maybe still the worse live show I’ve ever seen mind…

Hinds – Good Bad Times

Doing the unthinkable in blending the Pet Shop Boys textures with Banarama melodies – the opener on the new Hinds proves an absolute winner.

My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow

As always this month, as most, my ‘go-to’ albums have been Massive Attack’s first three. I nudge into Loveless towards the end of the month, coming full circle in a way from the guitars of DIIV. I’ll whisper it, but this may be my favourite vocal of all time – Blinda’s voice sounding like a blanket you’d like to get wrapped up in for the longest of times.

In the mirror
She’s not there

Velvet Undeground – I found a reason

I’m still not sure I can hear the sample Massive Attack used but I’m certain I can hear where Spiritualized got a lot of their ideas..

The Lemon Twigs – The One

70’s Kitsch, visually striking, and a huge fuck-off FM sound, The One should really be 40 something odd years old. The glorious higher octaves at 1.42 are perfect.

Slade – Far far away

I really enjoy In Flame but hearing this song repurposes its usual context into something really interesting. What a great chorus.

Jennifer Ellison – Baby I don’t care

I presume I wanted nothing to do with this when it came out yet, as a suprise listen, Ellison’s people do a great job of sugaring up one of my favoruite 80s tracks; keeping the guitar, but bringing out an interesting vocal line sweeter than the original. I still prefer the Transvision version but to be fair this is a nice little work of pop production.