Late Night Stargazing

I don’t post enough songs by the drop-dead wonderful PJ Harvey.

Time to rectify that, I think:

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PJ Harvey – Horses in My Dreams

More soon.

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Late Night Stargazing

A confession.

I really like Embrace’s first album, “The Good Will Out”.

Actually, I quite like a couple of singles off the album after that too.

But there’s always been issues with Embrace.

Firstly, they featured two brothers. Not necessarily an issue, but “The Good Will Out” was released in 1998, when two other brothers, also in a band, were well on their way to stardom. It was on this basis that the music press drew comparisons, which were for the most part unfounded. Lazy journalism, if you ask me. Or perhaps catering for an idiot readership who needed similarities between acts to be spelled out to them. “Look, here’s Oasis, they’ve got Liam and Noel Gallagher! And now, look over here, here’s Embrace, they’ve got Danny and Richard McNamara [Yes, I did have to check]! And they’re all from The North! They must be the same!”

You may as well say that The Proclaimers are the same as The Jesus & Mary Chain, because they’re both from Scotland, have two brothers in the band, and they’re all called Reid. (As an aside: remember when two different acts used to record a double ‘A’ single, one act on each side, covering one of the other’s songs? Wouldn’t it be great to here those two covering each other? Just imagine The Mary Chain doing “Let’s Get Married”, or The Proclaimers strumming “You Trip Me Up”. I demand this happens. Now.)

Secondly, they got Chris Martin to write their comeback single, “Gravity” in 2004. If they hadn’t already lost me by that point, then that would have been the final nail in the coffin for me and Embrace.

And appropriately, thirdly, there’s their cover version of De La Soul’s “The Magic Number”, which I wrote about here (I’ve re-upped the links, cos I’m nice like that).

But for all that, they did have some really nice songs back in the beginning. Not great, not beautiful, just nice.

This is one of them, and since it’s now November 5th, I can justify posting it (Not that I need to justify anything to you people. Nobody forces you to come here):

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Embrace – Fireworks

More soon. Maybe better, maybe not.

Late Night Stargazing

I’m writing this in advance of me setting off to see them, but if the reviews I’ve read of the other gigs they’ve played so far in the UK are anything to go by, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds tonight at the O2 is going to be amazing.

I’ve posted this before, a long time ago, but it’s so beautiful it deserves a further outing here.

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Into My Arms

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: has there been a better opening line than “Now I don’t believe in an interventionist God”…?

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Back to 1988 tonight, and to a wonderful album named after the church in which it was recorded.

“The Trinity Sessions” by Cowboy Junkies is a thing of beauty; recorded with the band circled around a single microphone, it features a mix of original material, cover versions, and, in the case of tonight’s tune, a combination of the two.

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Cowboy Junkies – Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)

Dedicated to my old mate A.R.H., a dyed-in-the-wool Man City fan, who turned forty last week, as he seems to do most years.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Sometimes when I’m trying to decide what to post on some of these long-running series, I rule one out on the grounds that I must have posted it before.

Such is the case with tonight’s choice.

I read recently that it’s the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s “Automatic For The People” album this year. When I read that, I stopped for a moment. That can’t be right, can it?

So I thought back to where I was when I first heard “Drive”, the opening track and lead single from the album, and sure enough they’re not wrong. 1992 it was.

So I figured I’d post something from that album, but immediately decided against tonight’s choice on the aforementioned grounds: I simply must have posted it here before.

But a quick sweep of previous posts revealed that not only has tonight’s song not featured in this series, it’s never featured on the blog at all.

Often, when I post a song by R.E.M. a conversation about what their finest record is. Consensus seems to be that it’s “Country Feedback”, and I’m certainly not going to argue with that, but I reckon this delicate song of passion and beauty must be a very close second:

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R.E.M. – Nightswimming

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

There are some artists that I’m often baffled are not better known, and tonight’s selection falls firmly into that category.

The Shortwave Set made records which they described as “Victorian Funk”, and, to give you some idea of their sound and the type of admirers they had, supported the likes of Goldfrapp, Rilo Kiley, Spiritualized and Gnarls Barkely, whilst their second album was produced by Danger Mouse.

This, though, comes from their rather wonderful debut album “The Debt Collection” and it is, well, rather wonderful:

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The Shortwave Set – Is It Any Wonder

More soon.