Hullo. Another poor showing for views last week. Perhaps you were all out enjoying the clement weather, or engrossed in Wimbledon, or on Holiday, or attending a festival? Who knows? I’m not entirely surprised however, It’s no coincidence that this whole enterprise is called “Nobody’s Listening” as I truly didn’t expect anyone to take notice. Thanks to those of you who do. Whatever the reason for last weeks small figures, I’ll carry on regardless, providing ten tracks you didn’t even know you needed in your life. Last one for a few weeks as I take my summer break, so make the most of it!
Paul is here every week, that’s for sure. This week, my very good friend, bandmate and head judge for the annual West Yorkshire all-comers shove ha’penny championship has selected an act I’m looking forward to seeing for the second time next weekend.
Ok then, Let’s stick together…
Track 1. Summers End by Scrabbel.
Gideon Coe’s Six music show (Mon-Thurs 21:00-00:00) has been a firm favourite of mine for some years now. He always seems to find the right balance for an evening show, flitting from noise and cacophony to gentleness in the blink of an eye. This was a brand new track he played last week and it made me sit up and take notice. A double a side with the equally jangly ‘All Night’, this is the slower track of the two and evokes images of falling leaves and soft sunlight. A bit premature perhaps but I couldn’t wait until Autumn to share its soft loveliness.
Track 2. What Good Am I Without You by Darrow Fletcher.
This weeks music book of choice is Stuart Cosgrove’s ‘Young Soul Rebels- A Personal History Of Northern Soul’, a fascinating insight into one of the greatest underground movements of the seventies. It prompted me to reach for the fantastic soundtrack to the slightly disappointing film from a few years back which was unimaginatively titled ‘Northern Soul’. The music is unsurprisingly amazing and includes this sixties dancer which enhanced a long winded trudge north on the M1 last week.
Track 3. Love, Love, Love by Pugh Rogefeldt.
Famously sampled on DJ Shadow’s ‘Mutual Slump’ from the peerless ‘Endtroducing’, this track is taken from the Swede’s 1969 LP ‘Ja, Dä ä Dä’. Scandi-prog-psych-funk-folk with a wonderfully frantic beginning featuring the drum-break and guitar lick that Shadow lifted, it also has nods to early Barrett fronted Floyd in its manic vocal.
Track 4. Too Much On My Mind by The Kinks.
Staying in the sixties for our next selection and an often overlooked gem from this weeks cover stars. ‘Face To Face’, the album which this track comes from was the first to consist entirely of Ray Davies penned songs and sign-posted a transition from their earlier raunchy sound to more thoughtful compositions. It marked the beginning of The Kinks’ “Golden Age” which would last through to ’71 and confirm their position as one of the most important bands of the era. Here we find Ray contemplating on his nervous breakdown which he suffered just prior to the recording of the LP. With a gentle Harpsichord backing and a more acoustic feel than their previous output, there is also a distinct Byrdsian feel to proceedings here.
Track 5. The Tortoise by Ibibio Sound Machine.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Led by London-born, Lagos-raised singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine are an eight-piece band whose music draws on Nigerian highlife as much as new wave, South African jazz as much as techno, Cameroonian makossa as much as disco. I caught this outfit at the Deershed festival in North Yorkshire a couple of years back and they were a more than pleasant surprise. Good time party vibes which are impossible to stay still to, although the organisers missed a trick by placing them in the early afternoon slot rather than the evening stage time they are made for. They are due to return to the festival for a second time next week, here’s hoping they get the higher billing they deserve and I demand!
Track 6. Nothing Left To Lose by The Wipers.
Cited as an influence on Nirvana, The Melvins, Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr this Portland, Oregon punk band formed in 1977 and, judging by the names mentioned above, are wholly responsible for the early nineties behemoth ‘Grunge’. They have a cleaner sound than you would expect, particularly on this cut from their fourth album, 1986’s ‘Land Of The Lost’, a record which remains highly sought after and collectable.
Track 7. La Bataille De Neige by Domenique Dumont.
You would be forgiven if you mistook this next selection as a forty-plus year old discovery from some ancient vault. It is, however, only two years old and comes from the debut release of Latvian based musician Domenique Dumont. Here, he takes a conventional dub rhythm and pretty melody, smothering it in tape hiss and Gallic touches resulting in a truly unique sound. The release from which this is lifted, 2015’s ‘Comme ça’ is quickly becoming this years summer soundtrack for me, and I’m immensely thankful its exotic stylings are currently able to enliven my monotonous daily commute from Datchet to Waterloo.
Track 8. Bluish by Animal Collective.
An act that’s no stranger to NL, Animal Collective find their way onto this weeks playlist by way of my ‘Long Goodbye To Leeds’ feature. This week we’re in 2009, the year they released their, to date, still most accessible LP ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’. I’d been a fan for a good few years up to this point and had previously caught the band at my beloved Brudenell Social club where, to be fair, they weren’t exactly at their best due to muddy sound mixing and an unusually unresponsive audience. Unbowed, I quickly bought tickets to their next Leeds show at the Woodhouse Liberal Club and thankfully they were a different proposition altogether. It was a delightfully warm early spring evening and the band were on top form as they played a set made up mostly of their new record which includes this relatively, for them anyway, straight forward love song.
Track 9. The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys by Traffic.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to grab a late, half price ticket to see the legendary Steve Winwood at Hammersmith Apollo. He was on absolutely stunning form and played a set which stretched from The Spencer Davis Group to his most recent output. This was the highlight however. The title track from Traffic’s 1971 LP, the performance was bolstered by his superb backing band (not least saxophonist Paul Booth, who was a busy man indeed, peeling off fluent solos on soprano, alto and tenor throughout the set). It made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I whole-heartedly recommend you catch him as soon as you can as he really is presently in remarkable form.
Track 10. Dry Your Eyes by Brenda And The Tabulations.
Our soul slowie closer this week is courtesy of Brenda & the Tabulations, an American R&B group formed in 1966 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which was originally composed of Brenda Payton, Eddie L. Jackson, Maurice Coates and Jerry Jones. With an almost doo-wop delivery, this string drenched 1967 heartbreaker proved to be their biggest hit, reaching #19 on the U.S R&B chart.
And there it is, there it was, and there it shall ever be.
As I stated up the top there, I’m about to take my summer break so don’t be surprised if your weekly dose doesn’t appear for the next few weeks or so. Panic not, I’ll be back soon enough as I’m determined to get this whole sorry mess to 100 playlists, and then we’ll see where we go from there.
Until then, I’ll see you in my dreams.