Music Notes January 2010

January 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm (Uncategorized)

At the start of the month, I planned to see the Cribs. However, then I heard Charlotte Gainsbourg was coming.  Alright I thought, let’s do that. I passed on the Cribs and Charlotte cancelled her North American tour. Aargh! Still, Massive Attack has a new release very soon, so a tour ought to be in the offing.

Here’s the month then.

1. The Velvet Underground Under Review

Newish 80 minutes documentary about the Velvets from their origins to Loaded. Some amazing footage from the Factory days. My only complaint would be the people who appeared in it. Of the original band, only Maureen Tucker was on camera. I should note Doug Yule was also interviewed, But neither Lou Reed or John Cale were part of it.

My favourite line is by Clinton Heylin. He noted that when a band releases a record, especially its debut, listeners can usually spot where they came from: hmm, the Sonics + the Stooges + the Byrds= ??? With the Velvets its not like that. The Velvet Underground and Nico springs Athena like into existence. Perhaps a unique event in the history of rock.

2. Hush Arbors – Yankee Reality

American transplant to the UK makes psychedelic country record. not as strange as it seems, and a lot better than it sounds.

Ecstatic Peace

3. The Damned – Damned Damned Damned

The Damned did everything first. First single, first album, first to tour the US, first to break-up and then reform. All at break neck speed. Then they changed direction and made strange beautiful music. But it’s the first one, I keep coming back to. Sanctuary have just re-issued it was a triple set – the original album, plus Peel sessions, B-sides, demos, and two live shows including their first one when they opened for the Sex Pistols. Outstanding.

4. The Slits – Cut

And possible the band who did everything last. But when they did… The magnificent ragged glory of the Slits is captured on their Peel sessions (even the bit where Ari yells, I can’t remember the words). So it was a bit of a surprise when they turned out the polished masterpiece that was Cut. Just re-issued by Island as a double set with 30 bonus tracks. Now, I’m not sure I need to hear four versions of some of the songs, but if you’re a Slits completest, this is for you. Anyone know where I can get the Boring Life bootleg?

4. The Raincoats – The Raincoats

After Palmolive left the slits this was her next project. Like the Slits in that they were totally unlike anything else, the Raincoats were also totally different. They often sounded like a band pulling in four directions, but somehow they created a beautiful chaos. The debut has just been reissued along with Kurt Cobains’ sleeve notes from 93, a bonus track, and some crazy super-8 videos. Get it now.

5. The Cockney Rejects – Greatest Hits volume 1

Now after 78, punk went in a number of directions. There were those who said lets carry on the revolution and not be bound by a new orthodoxy. The two previous entries on this list are examples of that. The Rejects were part of another wing that said, back to basics. I loved both wings. By the fourth album, the Rejects were sliding into a rather dull sludge metal, but this is dumb fun. Full of macho clichés and a romanticized Alf Garnett working classism, it’s still great. Play loud. Reissued with a Peel session.  

6. Juliet Naked

The new book by Nick Hornby. Hornby’s first novel High Fidelity was set in a record shop (the music nerds dream), and he’s also written a book about his favourite songs. This book is the story of a musician who abruptly retires and becomes a recluse. His most popular album Juliet becomes a cult classic for his obsessive fans. Then one day, he releases the demos. Not his best book, and too neat an ending for my liking, but worth a read. See yourself anywhere?

7. The Drums – Lets Go Surfing

Brooklyn based. Irresistably catchy pop. Listen. Love

8. Roky Erickson on PBS

Caught Roky on Austin City Limits recently. If you’ve never seen him, it’s a start. Not a great show (Roky’s voice is wearing thin), but more than watchable. Watch it online here (You can skip the Kings of Leon part though)

9.  Patti Smith – Just Kids

Too bad Christmas is over. I’ll have to think of other reasons to justify buying this one. Her autobiography. Read the New York Times review

10. Passings

Two big ones this month.

Mick Green of the Pirates died of a heart attack on January 10. Green was famous for being able to play lead and rhythm guitar at the same time. Wilko Johnson credits him for his own style.

And then Jay Reatard died on January 13 of as yet undisclosed causes. Saw him last summer, and although i didn’t enjoy the show, I did like the records. You can grab his version of Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer will have her Revenge on Seattle here.



  1. Lunarbone said,

    Though Charlotte Gainsbourg will not tour back to Toronto, her gentle eyes is everywhere on the poster of a new perfume. She really looks like a Bambi.

    • fischerzed said,

      I just got an email from Gainsbourg’s web site – she’s announced four Canadian dates – two in Montreal (sold out), one in Victoria and one in Vancouver. Oh well, still lots to do. Haven’t seen the poster yet.

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