Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Song of the day

"Time of Your Life", by John Foxx and The Belbury Circle.

Belbury Poly sounds like this:

The Advisory Circle sounds like this:

John Foxx sounds like this:

Put them together and it sounds like this:

You could not have even dared to imagine that this could happen. It happened.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Song of the day

"Echoes of Songs (for Trish Keenan)", by Simian Ghost.

Simian Ghost have pulled on my heartstrings once before. Here, they do it again, with a song inspired by / dedicated to Trish Keenan, the much missed singer with Broadcast (whose loss is felt more keenly by the day, as we continue not to discover where that fine band was going to take us next on what seemed, and still does, a limitless journey through musical space). Life sucks sometimes, but if its suckiness occasionally gives rise to such beautiful things as this song, well, it's not entirely bad.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Song of the day

"Headache", by Terranova (feat. Cath Coffey).

It takes until three minutes into this song for the instantly recognisable bass riff to kick in, meaning that, aside from a vague sense of familiarity, it took three minutes until I realised I was listening to a song I already knew.

"Playing With A Different Sex", by Au Pairs, might not feature in many lists of favourite post-punk albums, but it is a record I have always been partial to, for its cool attitude and thundering bass lines.

Kompakt might well be best known as a techno label. Its best days might be behind it. (This, though, is arguable, and, even if true, its less-than-best days are rarely less than excellent days.) Kompakt also wrong-foots the devoted (and the sceptics) from time to time by throwing surprising, and surprisingly successful, cover versions into the mix: T. Rex's "Hot Love", for example, which appears on the "Kompakt 100" collection; they even enlisted Pet Shop Boys for a take on "I'm In Love With A German Film Star", which is perhaps the only cover version of a personal talisman that I have ever been able to listen to more than once. Add this one to the list.

(Note: the video cuts two minutes from the song; this makes no significant difference, except that bass line kicks in 30 seconds earlier than described above. Just sayin'.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Song of the day

"The River People", by The Walkabouts.

Listening to "Rain", by Jimmy Tait, the subject of yesterday's Song of the Day, put me in mind of The Walkabouts, a band that never really got the credit they deserved (or who, perhaps more accurately, were ten years ahead of the times they were made for). They were a shining light amidst the gloom of the "Sub Pop 200" compilation in 1988, at a time when the bulk of that record's intended audience was only interested in the gloom [sheepishly puts own hand up].

I recently hunted down an album of cover versions they made in 1993, and was surprised to hear a song that sounded remarkably like the second song on Robert Forster's 1990 debut solo album, "Danger In The Past". I'm not good with names, as anybody who knows me will attest, but surprisingly (or not) that extends to song names. What it took me a while to realise, therefore, was that it is actually a cover of that same song (and there I was about to accuse Robert Forster of having ripped somebody else off -- whoops). The song is called "The River People" (as I now know) and, apart from the obvious phrasing/timing at the start of the verses (if we can call them that; it's not exactly a verse-chorus-verse kind of song), The Walkabouts play it very differently from Forster. Yet the particular haunting quality that often comes through in Forster's songs is intact, only deeper. (The other curiosity is that the vocals on the Walkabouts version bear a more than passing resemblance to Grant McLennan.)

"Danger In The Past" was produced by Mick Harvey, who also plays most of the instruments on it, and who hails from Rochester, which, as you know from yesterday, is within spitting distance (depending on wind direction) of the home town of Jimmy Tait. And so here we are, right back where we started.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Song of the day (local content edition)

"Rain", by Jimmy Tait.

Jimmy Tait, it would seem, grew up in northern Victoria, in an area not that far from where I spent quite a bit of time in my youth at my cousin's farm outside of Rochester. (Indeed, the house on the cover of the album this song is from, "Golden", looks not unlike my cousin's parents' house.) The last time I was in that area was on a road trip with the 14-year-old, when we drove across the Murray Valley Highway (so many cows) with a necessary stop-off at the bakery at Strathmerton, which is really just a stone's throw from Jimmy Tait country.

I couldn't profess to pick any connection to the area just from listening to the music, but it does kind of make sense, when you know. "It all comes down to the rain" is so true.

The temptation with a song like this is to go big at the end. And big it does go, but in a gradual, sneaks-up-on-you kind of way, such that the hapless listener doesn't even notice until the storm is all around them. And by then it is too late.

I have been unable to hunt down a linkable version of this song. In the meantime, you can find it here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Song of the day

"Deep Time", by Steve Moore.

I have been accused of liking a song on account of one particular detail, ignoring everything else. It has even been suggested (14-year-olds: they pull no punches) that what I am actually hearing in the song is something entirely different from what I think I am hearing.

Take this song, for example: what I think I am digging is the chord sequence. What I am really digging is the unusual time signature. Maybe the 14-year-old is right. Or maybe he is listening to the same piece of music through his own ears and imagining they are my ears. He has a point, though: the two things rolled together, I now see, are what make the song.

Do people say "digging" in 2014?