Music Notes June 2010

June 30, 2010 at 8:24 pm (Uncategorized)

June music notes.

1. Karen Elson – The Ghost that Walks

Apparently when she was a kid, Karen Elson was so skinny and pale that the other kids called her the ghost that walks. Now here’s the former model’s debut album. I’m a firm believer that people shouldn’t be compartmentalized. I.e., if you’re a writer, you can also do other things too. So have no fear in  approaching Karen Elson’s debut. A marvellous moody country folk album packed with great songs. Elson has a memorable voice and the songs really grow through repeated listens. (There,  and I didn’t even mention her husband).

2. TV21 – Snakes and Ladders

Love Orange Juice, Altered Images, Josef K and other wave? Try this.  From the should have been bigger corner of the universe comes this lovely slice of early eighties music. Named for a comic book I read when I was a kid, TV21 are a little like Easterhouse (who came later), but also like a lot of indie pop that came in the first half of the eighties, while being oh so original.  The track listing on the sleeve is mixed up, but don’t let that distract you. Run, don’t walk.

3. Iggy and the Stooges –Raw Power

I bought this on vinyl in 1979, and now I’m urging you to shell out for the deluxe edition. It’s worth it. There’s the legacy edition with the restored Bowie mix (replacing Iggy’s 1997 blast), and a live CD. The deluxe edition has those, a disc of outtakes, a DVD, a book, and some postcards. All very fine.

4. The Velvet Underground – Live at Max’s Kansas City

Double CD version released on Rhino a few years back. The band was down to two original Velvets (Lou and Sterling), and the CD has a so-so sound quality punctuated by Jim Carrol’s comments, but Live at Max’s is still worth having. Not just for the most beautiful version of “I’ll be your Mirror” you’ve ever heard, but so you can imagine what a Velvets show was like. Maybe it’s just for the fans, but it’s worth it.

5. Dave Thompson – Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell

Dave Thompson is the author of many fine books on music, including a great account of TV Smith’s career. Subtitled “the dangerous glitter of David Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, this one looks at the aforementioned three in that crucial 70s period, along with side glances at Marc Bolan and Mott the Hoople. The mark of a good biography is its readability, and Thompson writes well. In addition, he’s done his research. Obscure stories, legends and new stuff to me. Worth a read.

6.  George Berger – The Story of Crass

And when you’ve finished reading Dave Thompson’s book, you might hunt down this one, . The story of Crass. I’ve just started it, and will write a full review later, but it’s worth mentioning that the author interviews all of the band, not just Seve and Penny. I was a big Crass fan when I was a teenager, and I retain a certain soft spot for them now. From PM Press.

7. The Stranglers – Live (X-Cert)

The Stranglers were the first band I got into in a big way, and my first real concert. This album was released in 1979 between Black and White and The Raven. Nothing essential, but worth having for Hugh Cornwell’s banter with the audience. 

8. Mojo – Tom Waits’ Edition July 2010 

A little plug for the new issue of Mojo. Guest edited by Tom Waits and containing a great free blues CD. I know a lot of people don’t like Waits, and I’m not a huge fan, but the issue is credible.  

9. Portishead – Follow the Tear

Wow, Portishead continue to go their go way. This one might even be called lively! Watch out for that ending though.  

10. And lastly, spare a moment for Pete Quaife, the bass player for the Kinks who passed away June 26 aged 66.


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