Monday, 27 December 2010

Braindead Collective - The Whites Of Our Eyes

Normally improvisation leaves me cold, but there is something quite wonderful about this. It is the first collaboration between Oxford / London kraut-jazz-drone experimentalists Braindead Collective (featuring members of Guillemots, The Epstein, Keyboard Choir and others), and the Scotland-via-Lancashire purveyor of lo-fi creaks and drones, Rob St. John and was recorded on the coldest day of a freezing British winter in Oxford’s oldest church – St.Michael’s on Cornmarket St – by microphones strategically strewn from pews and rafters. You can listen to it via the player below, and pick up a download in exchange for a donation to Shelter.

Matt Longo - Alexandria

After the downbeat tone of the last post, here comes something else to restore my faith. Not only that, Matt Longo gives singer songwriters a good name, a difficult thing when acoustic troubadors are ten a penny and worth even less nowadays. Wonderfully angelic vocals that leap hither and thither, some sweet melodies and an uplifting air all contribute to make this splendid mini album something special. You can listen to it on the player below. Click on the player to find all the links your heart desires and to download the album for free.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Wonderflu - Lota Schwager EP

This is the first in a series of brief year end recommendations, in an effort to catch up the backlog that has been created by my current disenchantment with reviewing. With personal time ever decreasing, I simply don't want to spend it listening to an ever increasing number of distinctly average bands. Some things however are worth bringing to wider attention, such as this, the latest EP by Pavement-esque Parisien band Wonderflu. Normal service will be resumed sometime soon...have a listen to this below in the meantime.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Edwyn Collins – Oxford Academy 05/11/10

Much has been made of Edwyn’s miraculous recovery from two cerebral haemorrhages and a bout of MSRA, and it is true that the fact he is even here to play the show tonight is amazing. Leaving that to one side for a moment, this is a brilliant show by anyone’s standards. Tonight we get a rich and varied selection of tunes from the beginning of Orange Juice, through seven solo albums up to the freshly released Losing Sleep. Edwyn makes his own way on stage after the band take up residence, and they give him a funky backing track to arrive to. And what a band. Paul Cook of the Pistols on drums, long time Morrissey band member Boz Boorer on keys and sax and Andy Hackett of the Rockingbirds on guitar for starters. Pick of the band is lead guitarist Tom Edwards who plays some wicked licks, but in a wonderfully understated way. It’s some achievement to stand out in this line up, as Boorer delivers some delightful teasing sax interludes and Cook looks like he’s having the time of life on drums, and having much more fun than any Pistols reunions.

Edwyn has a book to prompt him of the lyrics, but it’s an entirely natural delivery and the band adds a little beef to some of the more twee OJ numbers. The quality of the songs and show are such that I forget all about A Girl Like You until it kicks in pre-encore. For the start of the encore there is an acoustic interlude which is divine, then the band return with Frankie from the Heartstrings (who were excellent in support earlier) for a storming In Your Eyes from the new album before they deliver my favourite OJ song, Blue Boy, which sounds fantastic. Before the gig I was biased towards Edwyn’s talents and hoping it would go really well for him, while at the same time worried it would all go wrong. I needn’t have fretted; Edwyn has overcome another big challenge and then some.

Originally published in Nightshift