Late Night Stargazing

For my money, the bulk of great records the Manic Street Preachers have made come from the Richie Edwards years, and then for an album or three afterwards.

Like this one, the opening track from 1998’s This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. OK, it’s not as great as Motorcycle Emptiness – very little is -but it’s not half bad:

Manic Street Preachers – The Everlasting

More soon.

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Late Night Stargazing

The Jayhawks are one of those bands who I know of, but no very little by.

So when I recently stumbled across a copy of their 2018 album Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, I snaffled it up, and it’s blooming wonderful, enough to move them pretty high up on my list of bands I must invest more in.

Here’s a track from said album, and it’s absolutely gorgeous:

The Jayhawks – Carry You to Safety

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Last night I travelled south of the river to see The Flaming Lips play at the Brixton Academy (which officially has mobile phone network in the name, but not in my head, nor anybody else I know who has ever been there).

Needless to say, they were magnificent, and (if I can be bothered) I’ll write a review of it later in the week.

Until then, here’s the song they finished with, as they always do (I think); probably their most-loved song, a glorious philosophical musing on life, death, love, optimism and existentialism:

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize??

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

The thing with having to listen to/reassess all of your music as you re-upload it onto your laptop is this: you suddenly hear songs which you haven’t heard for a long time:

Take tonight’s selection: I really hate the title track from this album, but I understand said song is one of this band’s most loved.

They’re both produced by Brian Eno, though, so I figure tonight’s choice is more in keeping with his ambient heritage; it’s sparse, it’s beautiful and it’s worthy of note.

James – Out to Get You

The opening track to a million break-up mix-tapes.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

At work the other day, somebody mentioned that they were trvelling down to Bristol over the weekend to visit their family.

I happened to mention that Bristol has a terrific nightlife scene, and that when I lived in Cardiff I would often make the short journey to go to the odd gig or two.

In particular, I recalled seeing Idlewild doing an acoustic set at the Trinity Centre, a converted church, and then a little while later going to see Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan at the same venue.

To my surprise, the latter two names drew blank looks.

“You know,” I cajoled, “Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age and…erm…Mark Lanegan fame?”

The same stone faces gazed back at me.

“And Isobel Campbell…used to be in Belle & Sebastian….?”

Nothing. Zip. Nada.

“Commonly described as the modern day Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood ….? No….?”

I despaired.

Here. This. Them:

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Honey Child What Can I Do?

The Hazlewood/Sinatra comparison is justified, and one which they embraced; when I saw them in Bristol and sometime later in Cardiff, they did a cover of this H&S classic:

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood – Sand

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

A couple of years ago, I submitted a question to Only Connect, the stupendously difficult BBC quiz where teams compete to find the connection between four seemingly random clues.

Here are the four things I suggested:

  1. Subtract
  2. Management
  3. Black Jacks
  4. Master Kraft

The answer, of course, is that they are all acts who spell their names by removing all the vowels, changing the occasional consonant for a similar sounding one, and making all of the remaining letters in capitals.

The question didn’t get selected – perhaps I should have suggested it for the missing vowel round instead – and apparently I’m not allowed to tweet Victoria Coren-Mitchell about it, or anything else for that matter, anymore.

So anyway, here’s a tune by the first of those acts, SBTRKT, featuring 2017 Mercury Prize winner Sampha on vocals:

SBTRKT (feat. Sampha) – Hold On

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Tonight, a song which is exactly the same age as me.

Released as a double A-side (with Come Together on the flip) on October 6th 1969, it made it’s first appearance on the iconically-sleeved Abbey Road album, which was released on 26th September 1969.

And like me, it’s a classy vintage.

But seriously, it’s often very easy to over look the contribution which George Harrison made to the canon of great songs by The Beatles. And this is right up there in my book as one of the band’s finest, most beautiful moments:

The Beatles – Something

P.S. Put some shoes on Paul, you’ll be starting all sorts of rumours if you’re not careful.

More soon.