Mention of The Jesus & Mary Chain in the post yesterday, drew me to their much maligned 1993 almost-acoustic album “Stoned & Dethroned”.
It’s an album that I’ve always really liked, and have never really understood those who sneer or turn their nose up at it. Granted, it’s no “Psychocandy”, in fact it’s no “Darklands” either. But it definitely has its moments.
Like this, for example:
The Jesus & Mary Chain – Everybody I Know
This Mortal Coil were a collective of artists primarily attached to the 4AD label, brought together by label head honcho Ivo Watts-Russell was boss and president at the time.
This, from the 4AD website:
“This Mortal Coil was not a band, but a unique collaboration of musicians recording in various permutations, the brainchild of 4AD kingpin Ivo Watts-Russell. The idea was to allow artists the creative freedom to record material outside of the realm of what was expected of them; it also created the opportunity for innovative cover versions of songs personal to Ivo.”
Nowhere was this freedom more apparent than this, from 1991’s “Blood” album, featuring the gorgeous tones of Tanya Donnelly and Kim Deal, both of whom I always thought were criminally under-used as lead vocalists in Throwing Muses and Pixies respectively:
This Mortal Coil – You and Your Sister
If it’s late night stargazing, contemplation, or just plain relaxing that you’re after, with maybe the opportunity to tap your toes and occasionally go full on mental to, whichever – to just immerse yourself in sound, then you can’t go far wrong with a bit of Orbital.
Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll hail from Sevenoaks in Kent, and released their first record, the absolute, stone cold classic “Chime” in 1989. Since then there’s been break-ups, make-ups and reformations (the duo have just announced they’re back together again for what I think is the third time), with the occasional life affirming headline set at Glastonbury thrown into the mix for good measure.
One of my favourite tracks by them is “Halcyon”, but this extended version, from their Orbital II album is just simply majestically glacial.
Enjoy all nine and a half minutes, why don’t you?
Orbital – Halcyon + On + On
I seem to have featured Isobel Campbell in her Belle & Sebastian and The Gentle Waves incarnations here recently, so I may as well go for the hat-trick and feature a track from something from what is arguably her most successful phase: her union with gravel-voiced croaker, former Screaming Tree and Queen of the Stone Age, Mark Lanegan.
I has the great pleasure in seeing the duo play twice, once at the gorgeous Colston Hall in Bristol, once at Cardiff’s now sadly defunct and, I hear, derelict ‘The Point’, a converted church which became a staple venue for me around 2003; I saw not only Campbell & Lanegan there, but also Los Campesinos! and, of course, Super Furry Animals (and probably loads more that will come to me after I’ve finished writing this).
This is the opening track from “Ballad of the Broken Seas”, their first album of three, together. In my book, it’s by far the best of the three, earning the pair comparisons with Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood (Campbell & Lanegan used to so a version of “Summer Wine” live, which doubtless added fuel to the fire):
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Deus Ibi Est
There will be some more soon, but you knew that already, right?
So, I got a ticket to see Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in September. A seat up in the Gods, but nevertheless, a seat. I’m excited already.
I can’t justify posting two consecutive Nick Cave songs on this thread (actually, I could if I really put my mind to it), so instead, here’s a song I mentioned in passing a couple of weeks ago, which Mr Cave covered, along with the gentleman singing it here:
The Pogues – Rainy Night in Soho
I would imagine there’s quite a few of you out there who, like me, were quite excited to hear that Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds will be touring the UK in September. Even better, they’re playing their one London date on the weekend of my birthday.
As with many acts that I now love, I came to Cave fairly late; I wrote about it here when posting the gorgeous “Into My Arms” (mp3 link updated).
Tonight’s song comes from their most recent album, the beautifully gloomy “Skeleton Tree”. The gloominess is fully justified (as it is with any Bad Seeds record, but this time, more so) since in the middle of recording, Cave’s 15 year old son Arthur tragically died when he fell off a cliff.
Cave rewrote many of the lyrics in the wake of this; I have no idea whether tonight’s choice is one of them, but bloody hell it’s immense:
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Girl in Amber
Although she’s arguably better known these days for the three albums she released with former Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age singer Mark Lanegan, Isobel Campbell first crossed the collective radar as a member of Scottish indie-popsters Belle & Sebastian.
For my money, Belle & Sebastian, whilst still occasionally wonderful, just haven’t been as consistently great since Isobel left.
I always thought she was criminally underused when she was in Belle & Sebastian; she didn’t sing lead vocals on a track until their Brit Awards busting third album, the “The Boy with the Arab Strap”, and then once more on the follow up, “Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant”, which is probably my favourite album by them.
There’s something about both songs – and that something is undeniably Isobel’s frail, winsome, folky voice – which makes them stand out from the rest of the tracks on those two albums.
It’s the song that she sings on “Fold Your Hands…” that we’re visiting for our weekly dose of late night loveliness tonight:
Belle & Sebastian – Family Tree