Sunday, 31 May 2009

Later…with Jools Holland (Series 34, Show 7 - Friday 22nd May 2009)

Ok so time for a review of Friday’s (full) show featuring Kasabian, The Pretenders, Regina Spektor and Paul Jones. Sadly Jones and Spektor only perform once and that just repeats Tuesday. News flash: Golden Silvers are still crap. Last of the series. Boo.

Friday line-up

Kasabian - Fire
The Pretenders - Don’t Cut Your Hair
Baaba Maal - International
Chrissie Hynde (Chat with JH)
Golden Silvers - Magic Touch
Regina Spektor - Blue Lips
The Pretenders - The Nothing Maker
Kasabian - Fast Fuse
Paul Jones (Chat with JH)
Baaba Maal - Tindo
Paul Jones - Philosopher’s Stone
The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - War
Golden Silvers - Another Universe
The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket
Kasabian - Underdog

In a preview of the new (and third) album, Kasabian has definitely gone a bit low-fi and downbeat with the new songs. Fire is growing on me but the ‘live’ arrangement is a real mess. It is more a problem with the over-enthusiastic backing vocalists than the band itself. Fast Fuse has much more energy but a more shouty vocal - some great guitar work becomes a bit predictable. At least this shows that the band still has passion and drive. Some neat vocal interplay between Serge and Tom give a lift. Much better. A good advert for the album. They close with Underdog

The Pretenders kick off their set with the unbelievably bad Don’t Cut Your Hair. Second song The Nothing Maker is wonderful - a celebration of ‘lack of ambition’. A brilliant vocal from Hynde and a slight Pearl Jam vibe from the band. Great example of why the band are still relevant. And then they treat us to the classic Brass In Pocket. Still great.

Jools chats with Chrissie Hynde (why don’t we ever hear from the rest of the band? She seems to be The Pretenders these days). Jools asks about the Break Up The Concrete album and she suggests that it encourages people to destroy motorways. After the debacle with the ‘firebombing’ incident, she should probably be more careful with her words. She has had a country epiphany and says she is nothing without her band. Nice sentiment but I don’t believe it for a minute. She is always a good interviewee and Jools drops in a ‘what do you look for in a man?’. Warm and breathing apparently. Easily pleased.

Baaba Maal is an interesting character and the brass enhanced (courtesy of The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - more on them later) International, while not much of a song, was compelling in a chaotic kind of way. Not sure about his voice though. Tindo is a light acoustic number, strangely dark and thoughtful. He shares vocal duty with his female ‘companion’. The Pulaar vocals are haunting and beautiful.

Golden Silvers are doing nothing for me. Magic Touch is a weird blend of Richard Hawley (a bad impersonation) and MGMT. The result is horrible. I don’t deny for a minute they have talent for writing great songs and the guitarist is ok…but the execution is truly awful. Another Universe starts really well, then Gwilym Gold starts singing and all falls flat. Is this just a bad performance or does it always sound like this? Honestly his voice is terrible.

Regina Spektor shone again with Blue Lips. She is a wonderful performer. So WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY???!???? does she only get one bloody song!!!????!!! At the expense of Golden Silvers? This could have been a great show if it wasn’t for them.

Paul Jones is basically on to plug his new solo album but talks about Leadbelly and getting into blues music. He is still a really great character and is fiercely dedicated to music. The footage is in black and white which shows his age. He hints that he isn’t comfortable with the direction that Manfred Mann took, when they broke America, and went pop. He describes it as being motivated by the need to eat, in other words it paid the bills and then some. Her eventually treats us to Philosopher’s Stone, predictably with Jools tinkling along in the background. It works but Jools has to show off, before Jones wades in with a harmonica and it becomes a musical duel. Good stuff.

This week, the special guest is The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, a bunch of guys who look like they should break into hip-hop at any minute, but instead have trumpets, trombones and horns. And in one case a tuba. They also have a drummer. War is strange and wonderful, which is exactly the point. I think an entire album of this would quickly get very annoying. But you have to admire their approach - and talent.

A ghastly end to a lacklustre series. Kasabian and The Pretenders held it together and a good turn from Paul Jones and Baaba Maal. Regina Spektor was not heard enough at the expense of the woeful Golden Silvers. Please someone tell me, why they were on the show and what is their appeal? Maybe it’s a Hot Chip thing.

Come on Jools...get it together for the Autumn...please...

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Ivor Novello Awards 2009

From the Ivor Novello website.

Congratulations to Elbow, The Ting Tings (I told you all that We Started Nothing was a great album!) and Duffy.


David Ferguson


Song: Grounds For Divorce
Writer/s: Guy Garvey / Richard Jupp / Craig Potter / Mark Potter / Peter Turner
Performed By: Elbow
UK Publisher/s: Salvation Music / Warner/Chappell Music


Album: We Started Nothing
Writer/s: Julian De Martino / Katie White
Performed By: The Ting Tings
UK Publisher/s: Playwrite Music (administered by Warner/Chappell Music) / Sony/ATV Music Publishing


Broadcast: Wallace and Gromit (A Matter of Loaf and Death)
Composer: Julian Nott
UK Publisher/s:Imagem Music


Vince Clarke


James MacMillan


Song: Viva La Vida
Writer/s: Guy Berryman / Jonny Buckland / Will Champion / Chris Martin
Performed By: Coldplay
UK Publisher/s: Universal Music Publishing


Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall


Song: One Day Like This
Writer/s: Guy Garvey / Richard Jupp / Craig Potter / Mark Potter / Peter Turner
Performed By: Elbow
UK Publisher/s: Salvation Music / Warner/Chappell Music


Film: There Will Be Blood
Composer: Jonny Greenwood
UK Publisher/s: Faber Music / Warner/Chappell Artemis Music


Edwyn Collins


Song: Mercy
Writer/s: Steve Booker / Duffy
Performed By: Duffy
UK Publisher/s: Universal Music Publishing / EMI Music Publishing


Eg White


Smokey Robinson


Don Black

Camden Crawl (Little Boots, Kasabian, Suggs)

Some great YouTube from BBC 6music.

Little Boots (The Barfly is a "right of passage' for artists)

Kasabian (big fans of BRMC, 808 State over The Fall)

Suggs (memories of Dublin Castle and Madness "stunts")

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Riceboy Sleeps (Jónsi from Sigur Rós)

From the Sigur Rós website.

"jónsi and alex have completed their first album together, entitled ‘riceboy sleeps’. the 68 minute album has 9 tracks and will be released july 20th on parlophone records. the instrumental album was recorded in iceland and played solely on acoustic instruments, with appearances by amiina and the kópavogsdætur choir. more info on the album can be read in the full press release."


1. happiness
2. atlas song
3. indian summer
4. stokkseyri
5. boy 1904
6. all the big trees
7. daníell in the sea
8. howl
9. sleeping giant

The preview (daníell in the sea) on the website sounds beautiful. Strange video.

New Eels album (MySpace preview)

Hombre Lobo - 12 Songs Of Desire by Eels is released on June 2nd.

Not sure about the new single Fresh Blood - it's all a bit weird and shouty.

The album can be streamed on MySpace, probably for a limited time. So I decided to take advantage and tune in for a listen... and write up a quick preview.

Here's a preview:

Prizefighter - a bit shouty like Fresh Blood with a stomping blues melody. Sounds like E is singing through a facemask.

The Look You Gave That Guy - slower and more reflective love song.

Lilac Breeze - Pacey bitter-sweet guitar pop.

In My Dreams - Another slower song with E crooning along to simple guitar. Great melody.

Tremendous Dynamite - More Black Keys style garage blues with distorted vocals. Has that unique Eels charm.

The Longing - Back to slow and dark. Very minimalist.

Fresh Blood - spooky and bluesy with lot of howling. Some great electronica.

What's A Fella Gotta Do - Rocky shakey pop with more vocal distortion. Great chorus - a bit like Fountains Of Wayne.

My Timing Is Off - Gorgeous guitars. E on top melodic form.

All The Beautiful Things - More of the 'likable' 'lovable' E on vocals with another wonderful love song.

Beginner's Luck - Another slice of weird Eels pop - upbeat yet odd. Lovely. Swathes of guitar and bouncy bass.

Ordinary Guy - Slow one to end...More self-loathing from E and simple guitars.

So a bit more like Souljacker than Blinking Lights & Other Revelations. A bit ragged round the edges and under-produced. Nothing captures the brilliant melancholy of Beautiful Freak or Shootenanny! but it's not bad. Will need a few listens.

Dave Gahan update

From the Depeche Mode website news.

Gahan has had surgery to remove a tumour. Get well soon Dave.

Lunic - Lovethief Album Review (2009)

Lunic makes the kind of free-spirited music most new indie bands can only dream about. Taking clear influences from the bands they aspire to contest, while creating a whole new unique sound, Lunic fuse female voiced guitar-based goth-emo and add in folky violins and haunting arrangements. From New York, this six piece lead by Kaitee Page has attracted Ted Jensen who has worked with Muse, Paramore and Evanescence (the latter drawing the most obvious parallels). Lovethief is the band’s second album.

Opener, The Dark House quickly gets past the stuttering start and develops as a bass-driven tale of sorrow and lost love, with sinister overtones. Page’s soft sweet vocals glide over the surface, underpinned with a wordless backing, slightly overused but adding depth. It plays out like a PG horror movie, creepy and spooky not blood and gore, concluding with the delicious “I wanna go where heaven flows like silver liquid in my hands. The magnet touch of purest love can save a man…”. From here, Masquerade is faster, more urgent and a messy mix of guitars and piercing violins - like a folk song played at thrice the speed. The final third blends with a torrent of vocals and ends just as it’s pulling everything together into a coherent ensemble.

Him is a great slice of solid pop - the two part chorus is the highlight over the muddy guitars and drums. But it is Love Me that brings back the subtlety. Lunic are at their best when a well realised idea is put into action, without over thinking and without other ideas getting in the way. And this is the perfect example. A wonderful story of self-deprivation and loathing, yet the hope to get through it and over the discretions, the narrative unfolds as a juxtaposition of melodic chorus and melancholy strings. The song is a cry for help with genuine emotion.

Sadly Lovethief starts to lose it’s way slightly, from such great beginnings. Thieves is a melting pot that boils over with Page introducing the ’soaring’ chorus with a spirited, yet misplaced “Hey we go”. On the plus side, a great vocal interlude complete with heartbeat is used to introduce the last minutes. Likewise The Little Room has aspirations to be great but after the chorus, it falls flat lifted only in the last minute by another great vocal arrangement. Mirage is way too theatrical and dramatic and lacks real substance.

As the album develops, Lovethief becomes more diverse and starts to throw off some shackles. Revenge Of The Lot Lizard is another great story, with Page recalling the life of a sultry temptress, opening with a raw more aggressive vocal and the opening line: “She wears her hair up high. Stockings up to her thighs. You know she wanna go down. You know she's been around”. This time the violins add a subtle darkness and the song ends with some bizarre sampling.

Sober threatens to be a mess with an odd bluesy country arrangement and sharp blast of brass opening but the song holds together. The last minute and a half is a brilliant move. Lunic become the Polyphonic Spree with a rousing choral vocal and huge instrumentation. A tale of the folly of drug abuse that has the open honesty of: “When will you change your crazy ways. Find better ways to spend your days. A big fat spliff between your lips. I'm sick of all the same old shit”, ends with “Why can't we be happy like we were when we were young?”.

But it is the closer Hypnotized that is the biggest surprise. A combination of the best vocals on the album, delicate music and a simple arrangement turn Lunic into Zero 7. Heavy strings and guitars arrive like a dark storm into the second half but the sun breaks through for a controlled, if slightly trippy, finale. It all ends with an abrupt door slam. Magical.

The special edition of the album features an extra track. The Elliot Tribal Remix of The Dark House is an interesting diversion, with swathes of electronic majesty giving the already great song even more depth and production.

At the heart of Lunic is the mind and voice of Kaitee Page. That is not to say that the band don’t pull their weight - they do, especially Kari Bethke and father/son combo of Peter and Elliot Denenberg. But Page’s vocals are a constant and consistent revelation. Comparisons have been made to Dido which is utter nonsense. Page is powerful and commanding without being an overbearing and annoying presence. And the twists and turns of metaphor, dream-like imagery and just a little bit of ‘weird’, turn her into an interesting focal point.

Lovethief’s slight discretions can be overlooked in favour of some truly great work. Lunic’s music shows more than just the promise of a band on the verge of greatness. With enough focus and energy, channelled in the right directions, and with the ‘difficult’ second album overcome, greatness is theirs for the taking.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Later…with Jools Holland (Series 34, Show 7 - Tuesday 19th May 2009)

With a strange set-up for the last two shows of the series, with the Friday show delayed (for some reason) until a week on Friday, I thought I would put up two posts starting with the live Tuesday preview.

Two bands I was really looking forward to: Kasabian showing off new material, and a turn from The Pretenders. Only Regina Spektor caught the rest of my interest which is no bad thing as I like being introduced to new bands I have never heard before. Unfortunately this brought mixed results from Golden Silvers and Baaba Maal.

Tuesday (live)

Kasabian - Fire
The Pretenders - Don’t Cut Your Hair
Golden Silvers - True No. 9 Blues (True Romance)
Paul Jones (Chat with JH)
Baaba Maal - Dakar Moon
Regina Spektor - Blue Lips
The Pretenders - Don’t Lose Faith In Me
Kasabian - Underdog

First up this week, band I was really looking forward to: Kasabian. I really don’t like the new single Fire and was hoping the band would inject some live energy into the song for the show. It is a horrible mess of laboured uninteresting vocals, static guitars, truly awful backing singers and disjointed arrangement. What the hell has happened to this great band. Such early promise has now disintegrated. Even the last vocal segment fails to give things a lift. At least the show closer Underdog has the usual confident swagger, even though musically the song really needs some sharper edges and big keyboards. It is all going-through-the-motions even with some great guitar work at the end.

Last year something happened to The Pretenders. Never one of my favourite bands, they have one incredible asset: Chrissie Hynde. She is a revelation but who knows what she was thinking when she wrote Don’t Cut Your Hair. Last year’s country influenced Break Up The Concrete album was well received but this single is horrible. Given the classics that the band has produced over the years, this isn’t even in the same league. And Hynde is a fantastic song writer. But not this time. Don’t Lose Faith In Me is much better - a slower bluesy number with a trademark soaring chorus and Hynde much more comfortable. No big ending though.

Regina Spektor is a bit of Martha Wainwright and a bit of Laura Veirs. Blue Lips is engaging with Spektor singing at the piano, followed by a string quartet. Simple yet powerful, this is easily the highlight of the week. The song is a typical singer-songwriter ramble with loose structure and lots of starts and stops. But it is wonderfully performed and arranged. Very reminiscent of Annie Lennox last week.

New band Golden Silvers sound and look like an 80s tribute act performing at a bad wedding. Singer Gwilym Gold has such an apathetic vocal, it constantly distracts from the great music - a combination of guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. The three piece all share vocal duty and True No. 9 Blues (True Romance) has a wonderful charm but it’s all a bit flat and listless.

Jools chatted with Paul Jones - first time this series that a guest is on to plug a new album but doesn’t have a performance slot on the live show. We can forgive Jones this digression as he performs a brief preview of what to expect from the Friday show, and is always good value

Baaba Maal - Senegal’s answer to James Brown - only seems to be able to sing in one pitch: high and whiny. Dakar Moon is decent enough and full of pleasant chord changes and great moments. But again the vocals are a distraction.

So no big performance from Kasabian, no classic from The Pretenders, only one song from Regina Spektor and something new from Golden Silvers. Not a great live show but I’ve seen worse. This series has not been the best…

The Friday show post will be up in a week.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Glastonbury 2009 Line-up

The full line-up for this years Glastonbury festival has been announced.

In a year which brings The Specials, Blur, Crosby Stills & Nash and Madness to the main stages with alternatives including Lily Allen, Tom Jones and Bruce Springsteen...only Nick Cave could draw me to the mudbath this year.

Highlights for me are:

Pyramid Stage

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Sunday)
Neil Young (Friday)
Fleet Foxes (Friday)
Bruce Springsteen (Saturday)
Kasabian (Saturday)

Other Stage

Ting Tings, White Lies (Friday)
Glasvegas, Bon Iver, Bat For Lashes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Sunday)

John Peel Stage

White Lies, Jarvis Cocker (Saturday)
Doves, Little Boots (Friday)


Lisa Hannigan (Saturday)
Imelda May (Sunday)


British Sea Power (Friday)
Eliza Carthy, Badly Drawn Boy, The King Blues (Saturday)
Seth Lakeman, Will Young (?). Teddy Thompson, The Mummers (Sunday)

So if you don't like ageing rockers and/or reformed groups from ages ago it's a good year to go off the beaten track and see some great artists in more intimate performances.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Later…with Jools Holland (Series 34, Show 6 - 12th May and 15th May 2009)

A much more interesting line-up this week with a second show for Little Boots, Lisa Hannigan and Annie Lennox - a very female oriented show (never a bad thing). Sadly no Morrissey who has been ordered to rest by doctors (Get well soon Mozza!). He would have been the highlight of the male performers in a week which really needed a man to step up and challenge the women. The return of the New York Dolls failed to impress and both Daniel Merriweather and Asher Roth were hopeless. The only descent male performer gets one song on Friday - Jon Allen.

Tuesday (live)
  • New York Dolls - ‘Cause I Sez So
  • Daniel Merriweather - Change
  • Little Boots - New In Town
  • Annie Lennox (Chat with JH)
  • Asher Roth - La Di Di
  • Annie Lennox - Little Bird
  • Lisa Hannigan - I Don’t Know
  • New York Dolls - Personality Crisis
  • New York Dolls - ‘Cause I Sez So
  • Daniel Merriweather - Stop Me
  • Little Boots - New In Town
  • Annie Lennox (Chat with JH)
  • Lisa Hannigan - Ocean And A Rock
  • Asher Roth - La Di Di
  • Annie Lennox - Here Comes The Rain Again
  • New York Dolls (Chat with JH)
  • Daniel Merriweather - Cigarettes
  • New York Dolls - My World
  • Jon Allen - In Your Light
  • Little Boots - Remedy
  • Lisa Hannigan - Sea Song
  • Daniel Merriweather - Change
  • New York Dolls - Trash
This week’s legends are the seminal punks New York Dolls who in 2009 release their fourth album in 33 years. Yes 33 years. That has to be some sort of record and puts Kate Bush to shame. Johansen, Sylvain, and Kane were brought back together in 2004 by Morrissey - who in a cruel twist of fate cannot appear on Later this week (do the NYD appear instead?), and five years later release ‘Cause I Sez So, the band’s second of the ‘reformed group’ releases, produced by Todd Rundgren. The band now are less punk and more Rolling Stones with David Johansen looking and sounding more like Mick Jagger at each passing year. The band kick off each show with the title track in some style. They still have it…just. Unfortunately Tuesday closer Personality Crisis is a horrible mess and My World is an attempt at melody and harmonies. Friday’s closer Trash is also a racket. Jools chats with Johansen and Sylvain, after being introduced in typically shambolic style, about how the band formed and what shapes their music - kind of a an anti-stadium rock guitar music. The archive is the band in full ‘big hair’ 70s flow - playing live and sounding a mess. Sylvain talks about the 2004 reforming and having more fun than they thought.

One of the highlights of last year, Little Boots has now become Allison Goldfrapp, rather than the fragile intriguing solo performer at the piano (Meddle) she is now dolled up like Lauren Laverne’s cute sister (never a bad thing) swishing a tambourine and trying desperately to hold a note through New In Town. The song manages to hold together and the slightly convoluted chorus is a masterpiece. Remedy is another good pop tune but still lacks the subtle charms of Meddle. A great preview of the new album but only two songs?

Daniel Merriweather is one of those solo artists you either love or hate. Change is an ok song but the live performance, including some awful whistling, is whiny incompressible rubbish, inspired lamely by irony and the current American politic revolution. Merriweather’s attempt at modern soul is a lesson in how not to do it. The Mark Ronson arranged Stop Me was given a more subtle stripped down treatment but it still doesn’t work mainly down to Merriweather’s mumbling voice. Maybe he replaced Morrissey on the show. Cigarettes is a slow depressing drawl that transforms into more over-the-top screechy crooning. This is the sort of thing Ray LaMontagne can do in his sleep.

Also letting the testosterone-filled side down badly was the wonder that is Asher Roth. The title of La Di Di is a good example of what to expect from the supreme song writing. Like an Eminem for chavs, he spouted complete bollocks for three minutes, while managing to sustain no melody, structure or coherence whatsoever. He tries to get the crowd involved on Friday. When rap is good, it’s great - hard hitting and brutal. This is just weak and pointless. Thankfully he just gets one turn.

Annie Lennox is an interesting character these days - on the show to plug a new collection of old songs. On Tuesday she looked fired up on something as Jools introduced her, before she took over and proclaimed that everyone there is real and is performing live. She has been on the show before right? She now thinks that her voice is better now than it has ever been but I don’t think so. It is deeper for sure but that has reduced her range. Her performance of Little Bird however is gutsy, determined and just a bit mad - harking back to the Eurythmics days. She is a wonderful character and a real national treasure. The arrangement, featuring just a piano and her voice filling in the ’musical’ bits, and the performance is inhumanly good. Such a shame then that the archive footage of her on TOTP saw her miming badly…Not a great choice. The Friday interview was more focused on her new CD and her music tastes but repeated the clip. She is clearly still passionate about life and music - the medium with which to express oneself and to perform. Friday provides the slow arrangement of Here Comes The Rain Again, again with just Lennox on the piano. It is deeply melancholy and she is clearly lost in the song which loses its way terribly half way through and descends into pain and despair. An odd but impressive slice of theatre.

Highlight of the week is not one of the headliners. Lisa Hannigan showcased the best of her new album Sea Sew. A very inconsistent album that loses its way terribly, it has some really great well crafted pop-folk songs. I Don’t Know is one of them, brilliantly performed. First song on Friday was the gorgeous metaphor-filled Ocean And A Rock. Hannigan adds her own ‘distant’ backing vocals and keyboard accordion. Superb stuff. Sea Song is much more dark and dramatic but the weaker of the three songs.

Also great is Jon Allen. In Your Light is simple and effective and Allen has the best voice of the night, after Lennox and Hannigan. Sadly (how many times do I have to say this?) he is pushed aside for the likes of Merriweather and Asher Roth. The BBC need to sort out the talent. Please.

So in the absence of the unwell Morrissey, the show is dominated by great female musicians doing what they do best. Annie Lennox is solid and as interesting as ever, Little Boots is great and Lisa Hannigan steals the top prize. Daniel Merriweather and Asher Roth were truly forgettable and New York Dolls did little to prove that their new music is worth bothering with. So a typically messed up collection with the girls winning the battle of the sexes. And definitely worth watching both shows as there is a lot of different material.

Next week the return of Kasabian…

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Eurovision 2009

I won't lie to you...I love The Eurovision Song Contest.

It represents all that is good and bad about music and for that reason I shall attempt a 'live' blog of the 2009 event - this year from Moscow with no Terry Wogan and changed voting. It seems a shame that Wogan decided to give up on the event just as the organisers changed the way countries get to vote. He may have had more of an effect than he realised.

Anyway, this year...

"Citizens of each country vote by telephone or SMS, and professional juries in all 42 participating countries judge the songs. The country's 10 favourites are awarded 12, 10, then 8 through 1 points based on votes. Juries and televoters will each have a 50% say in the outcome of every country's points. All 42 countries present their awarded points, the country with the highest amount of points wins the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest."

I think that the public vote favouring the eastern block countries will sway the votes (there are too many - not that I have anything against Balkan states etc but I think Eurovision should be more 'old' Europe; lose the semis and include countries like Ireland, Belgium and Austria by default) but it should be fairer and more 'about the songs'. I don't care as long as it's entertaining :)

The finalists:
  • Lithuania - Love by Sasha Son
  • Israel - There Must Be Another Way by Noa & Mira Awad
  • France - Et S'il Fallait Le Faire by Patricia Kaas
  • Sweden - La Voix by Malena Emman
  • Croatia - Ljepa Tena by Igor Cukov & Andrea
  • Portugal - Todas As Ruas Do Amor by Flor-de-lis
  • Iceland - Is It True? by Yohanna
  • Greece - This Is Our Night by Sakis Rouvas
  • Armenia - Jan Jan by Inga & Anush
  • Russia - Mamo by Anastasia Prikhodko
  • Azerbaijan - Always by AySel & Arash
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina - Bistra Voda by Regina
  • Moldova - Hora Din Moldova by Nelly Ciobanu
  • Malta - What If We by Chiara
  • Estonia - Randajad bu Urban Symphony
  • Denmark - Believe Again by Brinck
  • Germany - Miss Kiss Kiss Bang by Alex Swings Oscar Sings!
  • Turkey - Dum Tek Tek by Halise
  • Albania - Carry Me In Your Dreams by Kejsi Tola
  • Norway - Fairytale by Alexander Rybak
  • Ukraine - Be My Valentine (Anti-Crisis Girl) by Svetlana Loboda
  • Romania - The Balkan Girls by Elena
  • United Kingdom - It's My Time by Jade Ewen
  • Finland - Lose Control by Waldo's People
  • Spain - La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me) by Soraya
Some interesting songs in prospect. When I first heard the Andrew Lloyd Webber composition for Jade Ewen I hated it. But I've heard it a few times since and if she performs well it should be emotional enough to get some votes.


Ok so the serious camp intro is in full swing, complete with dodgy special effects and some good work from Cirque De Soleil. Last years winner (from Russia strangely enough) is performing. Not a bad song but wasn't the best.


Our hosts are on stage. Graham Norton is a good mix of serious information and Wogan-eque wit and sarcasm. What he needs to do is be himself and not try to imitate. He talks all over the hosts who are just spouting the usual rubbish.

Each song is introduced with a living postcard featuring the current Miss World. Nice...


Lithuania - Love by Sasha Son

One man and a piano and backing singers in a different timezone. Bit of a dull opening. Now he's away from the piano and trying to put a bit of emotion into it. It's boring but subtle and he's got a decent voice.



Israel - There Must Be Another Way by Noa & Mira Awad

Hmmm. Interesting. A bit of politics this early in the competition - can only be Israel. One jew and one Arab showing solidarity. Spirited and gusty but a terrible song. The percussion is provided by some olive oil tins (and not biscuit tins)...


France - Et S'il Fallait Le Faire by Patricia Kaas


I always enjoy the French entry (as it were). Kaas is a striking figure and in the spirit of Edith Piaff, this is deeply emotional and slightly depressing. Last year's artist from France, Mr. Tellier was brilliant. My word, she might be about to explode. Steady love.


Sweden - La Voix by Malena Emman


Looking to Sweden to inject some much needed europop into the night. Good lord...this is fantastic. Looks a bit like a scary personal trainer of questionable gender but a lovely mix of opera and Pet Shop Boys produced camp. This is what Eurovision is all about...


Croatia - Ljepa Tena by Igor Cukov & Andrea


Back to the...erm...male performers, the Croatian entry is another rambling ballad with an Eastern feel. Oooo wailing harmonies as a woman in white turns up. This must be the aforementioned Andrea. A bit like Katherine Jenkins. Seriously guys, turn the wind machine down. People could start taking off...


Portugal - Todas As Ruas Do Amor by Flor-de-lis

Whoa..nice set. Band in traditional dress with guitars and accordions. This must be new wave Portuguese folk! It's quite a jolly piece but not as good as it could be. Shame. Looks like they are all having fun though and that set is bloody amazing.

43 years and never a winner. Maybe this year? Not sure on this.


Iceland - Is It True? by Yohanna

Lol at Grahan Norton. Very entertaining so far. As is Jonathan Ross (@wossy) on Twitter. Wogan who?

Oh dear it's 80s power ballad time from Iceland. Nice vocal melody but a bit dull and safe. They seem to have run out of song and started again after a chord change. Singer is looking good but the song is a bit flat.



Greece - This Is Our Night by Sakis Rouvas

Always interesting with Greece. Here goes...

Wow this is more like it! A proper pop song. They seem to have a magic wall for this one and they blew the whole budget on fireworks. Shame they couldn't get Mr. Rouvas a new shirt.



Armenia - Jan Jan by Inga & Anush

Ouch this is looking mad. Sisters Inga and Anush look like extras in the latest Zhang Yimou movie (House Of Flying Daggers etc). The song is awful but strangly compelling. Horrible vocals and that crappy turkish-like backing.



Russia - Mamo by Anastasia Prikhodko

Here comes the host artist. Can Russia make it bacl to back wins? Not the evidence of these vocals. She looks like she's about to burst into tears. Apparently her face on the big screen is digitally aging throughout the song. Not sure the point of it. It's starting to freak me out. It's definitely a lot more serious this year...


Azerbaijan - Always by AySel & Arash

Another star in the Balkan states, Arash is the male side of the Azerbaijan duo. AySel is basically eye-candy but has a better voice, strangely. To be honest it's a close run thing who has the worst voice. Somewhere in here is a decent song trying to get free. Not a bad effort but decends into overused arrangement, a bizzarre instrumental break featuring a tiny guitar and way too much wind machine. Catchy...but not great.


Bosnia & Herzegovina - Bistra Voda by Regina

Another well known band from the area, Regina seem to have borrowed their wardrobe from the latest Coldplay tour - and then bleached everything white. Another stirring ballad this time with a militaristic twist. And they seem to have nicked Gwen Steffani! And I think that might be Stuart MacConie on the drums...


Ah Russian irony. Leaves a sour taste give what has happened in Moscow over the last few days. This is a film with loads of 'normal' people singing, starting with two police men. Hmm...


An hour gone and its....

Moldova - Hora Din Moldova by Nelly Ciobanu

The only song title to feature the country of origin. I like the singer's dress. Other than that...I have nothing good to say. Plenty of determination but very little actual talent...or tune.


Malta - What If We by Chiara

I always look forward to Malta. Normally a big fat guy prancing around. This year they give us a woman. A bit unfair from Norton to suggest that she has never met a Malteser she didn't like. Ok so she's a bit on the large side but a great voice. It's all a bit dramatic and Celine Dion but hits the right buttons. If this came on the radio I wouldn't turn it off. Nice segment just before the chord change.

One of the best so far...



Estonia - Randajad bu Urban Symphony

Ok this is strangely haunting and beautiful. Not sure about the vocals but the string work is second to none. And a nice rolling melody is dark and brooding. Seems to be a serious theme this year. Now she's playing the violin for the instrumental break. And then back to the wailing...but surprisingly good.


Denmark - Believe Again by Brinck

So a song written by Ronan Keating. This should be fun. Problem is the singer thinks he is Ronan Keating. Was Gary Barlow unavailable? Not a great song and pretty ropey performance. And a really bad impression.



Germany - Miss Kiss Kiss Bang by Alex Swings Oscar Sings!

Never quite know what to expect from Germany. But didn't quite expect this. A very dodgy title and a kind of 1930s swing meets Ricky Martin. Damn those silver trousers are bright...

In a blatant attempt to win some votes, they bring in a pin-up model in black underwear. This is a family show right?


Turkey - Dum Tek Tek by Halise

Well it's predictable. It sounds Turkish and the singer looks like she has come right from a belly dancing convention. Kinda catchy and with a rhythm - but sounds horribly outdated. Now a guy in huge green pants - or is that dress? - has just run onto the stage. It's ok it's part of the act.

Modern Eurovision done quite well.



Albania - Carry Me In Your Dreams by Kejsi Tola

Nice build up from Norton. Be prepared. The song is unfolding quickly like a freaky cabaret show. Slightly off vocals but the singer is just 17. The guy at the back looks like a reject from the Blue Man Group vegas show. Not bad but not great either.


Norway - Fairytale by Alexander Rybak

This is a grower apparently. Unfortunately the vocal delivery and awful violin distract from what should be a good song. The best thing Norway has produced for ages in Eurovision. I can see why this has captured people's affections but it doesn't quite do it for me. The singer is charming and that will probably get the votes.



A brief interlude in which our hosts show us the numbers to phone. Norton is actually very good - a bit of Wogan but mostly himself.

Ukraine - Be My Valentine (Anti-Crisis Girl) by Svetlana Loboda

Back to the music - Ukraine is another wonderful slice of euro-pop nonsense. Roman centurions, hamster wheels and the singer playing the drums. Sounds like the music is being played backwards. Fantastic.



Romania - The Balkan Girls by Elena

Looks good. Sounds terrible. It's got to that stage were you just have to fill the stage with five extremely cute women in tight dresses. It works for me. But back to the song. It's ok but dull and tedious.


United Kingdom - It's My Time by Jade Ewen

Right this is it. Based on what I've heard so far...the UK has a shot this year at a decent placing. ALW, who wrote the song, is playing piano. Here we go...

Good vocals so far...a bit rushed maybe. Hold it together girl.

Loving the stage..nice and simple and elegant. Like something out of Phantom Of The....oh hold on.

Oh dear the voice is starting to waver a bit. The big finish was a shaky one but given the occasion... Well done.



Finland - Lose Control by Waldo's People

What we need now is a bit of humour. Thankfully Finland are up next. The country that brought us Lordi now give us Waldo's People. Like four solo artists performing four slightly different variations of the same song together, with a rapper and some guys throwing fire around. Excellent. A glorious euro-mess.



Spain - La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me) by Soraya

Last song. As the late great Humph said, love those words.

Spain are another unpredictable bunch. But this time they stole Turkey's backing track. The singer is a bit like Sarah from Girl's Aloud mixed with Pink. The song is a bit dull and flat, like most tonight.



And now the voting...

For me it's between Malta, Estonia and Greece. But it could be any from:

  • Greece
  • Malta
  • Estonia
  • Sweden
  • Portugal
  • Iceland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Norway
But I wouldn't be surprised if Bosnia & Herzegovina steal it. Or even Denmark. But I have a feeling about Norway...


The phone lines have been two cosmonauts live from space. Extraordinary.


Phone voting over.

Now we are subjected to the interlude act in which huge undulating swimming pools are lowered over the crowd in the stadium. Health & Safety anyone?


Interview with Lloyd Webber declaring that 'a star is born' with Jade. And he agrees with me about
Estonia!!! Great song.

LOL - UK was top of votes for all of 3 seconds. Then Norway got 12 points above us. It won't be Nil Points then...


Norway are running away with this. But UK are second! Malta and Estonia are doing really badly. Shame as they provided the best vocals. Greece is nowhere.


The block voting of Balkan states is still alive and well. Estonia are doing better but Iceland are beating the UK to second place. Predictably Andorra voted 12 points to Spain. Not just the Balkans then...


Estonia are about to overtake the UK into fifth place. Apparently the UK's favourite song (voted by the public) was from Turkey, who are making ground...Then again Germany got 7 points.


Norway, Turkey, then Iceland.

Greece and Estonia are now up there but Malta hopelessly ignored. UK is currently fifth.


UK up to fourth! Azerbaijan now doing well. The Norway song is now officially the most popular song in Eurovision history. Now 319 points. Looking for Ireland for some votes and the UK gets 10. No votes for the Ronan Keating song. Oh dear...


Iceland pipping Azerbaijan to second in the last round of voting. Norway runaway winners and Turkey beating the UK to fourth in the final votes. UK in top five again for the first time in years.

Well done Jade.

Good night.

The winning song:

Friday, 15 May 2009

Manics Album sold with 'plain' cover by Supermarkets

The title of this entry says it all really.

The new Manic Street Preachers album Journal For Plague Lovers which features the artwork of Jenny Saville has been 'banned' by supermarkets. So they are selling it with a plain cover instead.

The cover pictures an androgenous young face that appears to be blood splattered. This is deemed offensive by supermarkets. Problem is the band has come out in defence quoting lines like 'it's the brush strokes' and 'the style' of painting etc. Come on people, it is what it is. Art.

There are worse things on magazine shelves and DVD covers in every shop in the country.

BBC Link 6Music

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Dave Gahan in hospital

Depeche Mode has rescheduled a gig in Athens, Greece because singer Gahan has gastroenteritis.

He was looking great; enthusiastic and full of energy in last week's Later with Jools performances.

Get well soon Dave.

BBC story

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Sony Radio Awards

I know it's not always about music but a quick note about the 2009 Sony Radio Awards.

The Nominations and The Winners.

Big congratulations to Chris Evans for two awards ion what has been a challenging 12 months for BBC Radio 2.

Also well done 5Live Breakfast and Mayo and Kermode!!!

In the comedy category, can someone please explain to me how Adam & Joe (6Music), Danny Baker's 606 (5Live) and The Now Show (Radio 4) lost out to the nonsense that is Count Arthur Strong? I rate this along side Kings Of Leon anfd Family Guy as things I do not get.

And why was the UK Station of The Year contested between Radio 1, Classic FM and Radio 3??? No Radio 2? Or am I missing something here?

Sorry to end on a downer but it's a shame that music based shows are constantly losing out to 'talk' radio. I have nothing against this as BBC 5live is one of my favourite stations but we need more great music radio! Come on 6music!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Later…with Jools Holland (Series 34, Show 5 - 5th May and 8th May 2009)

A strange show in prospect this week with no one compelling me to tune in. A big comeback from Manic Street Preachers with new material resurrecting the lyrics of Ritchie has hit me with mixed feelings. I have my views on this and I’m not sure if it makes good new music. The appearance of the legendary Booker T. is the only real draw this week but I was interested in hearing Taylor Swift live - hopefully without swathes of vocal production to show us that she really can sing. Sadly it turns out that she can’t.

Tuesday (live)

Manic Street Preachers - Jackie Collins Existential Question Time
Taylor Swift - Love Story
Booker T. (Chat with JH)
Paolo Nutini - Candy
Booker T. - Green Onions
Gurrumul - Bapa
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
Manic Street Preachers - Me And Stephen Hawking


Manic Street Preachers - Jackie Collins Existential Question Time
Paolo Nutini - Candy
Taylor Swift - Love Story
Booker T. (Chat with JH)
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
Manic Street Preachers - Peeled Apples
Booker T. - Hey Ya
Paolo Nutini - Coming Up Easy
Taylor Swift (chat with JH)
Gurrumul - Djarimirri
Taylor Swift - Fifteen
Nicky Wire (chat with JH)
Grizzly Bear - While You Wait For The Others
Paolo Nutini - 10/10
Manic Street Preachers - Me And Stephen Hawking

There is no doubt that Manic Street Preachers are great musicians and as a three-piece they make great music. But the laboured wordy nonsense of Jackie Collins Existential Question Time, opening each show, introduced us to the new song writing - that is the decision to use ex-Manic Ritchie’s ‘shelved’ lyrics. James Dean Bradfield is becoming more and more incomprehensible and the guitar work is very slack - maybe the band are going for a more free-flowing punk approach that used to be a trademark of the bands music. Me And Stephen Hawking was also far from the band’s best work. Fast then slow then fast again, it was more verbal diarrhoea. Second track on Friday was Peeled Apples, a more gritty funky piece - with just a little too much vocal melody nicked from 80s classic Temptation. Excellent ‘metal’ guitars though. Jools chatted with Nicky Wire, which is always entertaining, to talk about Journal For Plague Lovers and Ritchie’s words. Wire has a real love for the much missed lyricist and the band’s motives are purely honourable for their lost one. The archive footage this week is You Love Us from the Generation Terrorists days - reminding us all of the glory days. Wire says they started off wanting to be The Clash. The Clash they ain’t.

Taylor Swift kicked off her set with big MTV single Love Story. Looking like the gorgeous self-confident brat she is, her vocals were far from impressive. Unable to hold a tune and lacking power, it took all the edge of the decent song. I thought it may just be the ‘live’ pressure of Tuesday but the Friday effort was just as bad, especially on the verses. I hope she listens back or someone tells her about it. Jools honoured her with an interview and plugs her new huge selling US album Fearless - London is all about Top Shop apparently. Sadly she has been conditioned - like most young American artists - to have no personality. Second track on Friday is Fifteen, delivered with the same wavering girlish vocals. At least this time the chorus has some depth and emotion and she managed to hold the power. But the song is all adolescent poetry in the sickly sweet singer-songwriter style that has been done and overdone many times before. Michelle Branch she ain’t.

I have never really paid much attention to the music of Paolo Nutini - and on this week‘s evidence it is for good reason. He is a bit like Jack Johnson in that respect. Candy (bumped to second song on Friday) is a bit wishy washy and he sounds and looks in pain when performing, with the posture of Albert Steptoe. Eventually it gets going and the result is a lot of messy shouting. Coming Up Easy was a bit more laid back but soon descends into incomprehensible drudgery. And he loses his voice for the big finish. Maybe all his songs have this same formula. And the least said about the reggae influenced 10/10 the better. Ray LaMontagne he ain’t.

Jools chatted to Booker T. about growing up in Memphis and then resorted to his usual line of questioning and asked him what advice he could give new musicians starting out today. Practice is the key apparently. Do your scales. Take note Ms. Swift. They then talk about Green Onions. Then they play Green Onions - at the wrong tempo. The key to that last statement is the word ‘they’. Yes Jools plays piano in what ends up as a fairly average ‘cover’ of one of the best pieces of music ever written. Such a shame. It does get better, with T. on fantastic form providing the organ but the rendition is far from brilliant. Well at least it looks like they had fun. The Friday chat focused on the Hammond Organ (star of the performance). Jools plugs his new record Potato Hole (a double meaning referencing the days of slavery) and T. praises Neil Young. If anything the brief Friday burst of Green Onions did it far more justice. New song Hey Ya - yes the OutKast cover - is a bizarre take. The arrangement is a mess of guitars, piano, bass and organ. Strangely it all works.

History was made on Tuesday with Gurrumul, the first Aboriginal musician to appear on Later. He performed the haunting Bapa accompanied by guitar and double bass. Not the best voice in the world, but full of emotion and strangely compelling. Second effort Djarimirri is carried with a wonderful melody but starts to get annoying after a while. Again it is always the unknown artists that make the most interesting guests.

Speaking of unknowns, Grizzly Bear are a strange bunch. A kind of minimalist harmonies based indie-band without all the charm of Fleet Foxes. Two Weeks just drifted along pleasantly and compared the rest, it was actually very good. While You Wait For The Others is beautifully arranged and brilliantly performed. Shame bands like this only get two songs to perform.

All in all, the worst show of the series so far. Not inspired by anything and unimpressed with Paolo Nutini and Taylor Swift. The Manics are great but I’m unconvinced with their new songs. Booker T. added some much needed fun, and Gurrumul’s music was strangely beautiful, but it was inclusion of Grizzly Bear that saved the day. One of the terrible things about this weeks show was Jools himself. He was all over the place. The Tuesday live show really needs a decent script and he needs to bloody well learn it. It is his show and he looks clueless and alienated by the whole thing.

Looking for much from Jools and better music on next weeks show. Morrissey and Annie Lennox…and Little Boots is back!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Later…with Jools Holland (Series 34, Show 4 - 28th April and 1st May 2009)

Interesting line-up this week - talent level could go either way. Really looking forward to the return of Depeche Mode and Lily Allen is always charming and funny. Of the rest, only Sonic Youth caught my interest in what was to become a real mixed bag - and a very subdued low-key step back in time.

Tuesday (live)
  • Depeche Mode - Wrong
  • Lily Allen - Not Fair
  • Raphael Saadiq - Sure Hope You Mean It
  • Depeche Mode (Chat with JH)
  • Sonic Youth - What We Know
  • Lily Allen (Chat with JH)
  • Taj Mahal - Checkin’ Up On My Baby
  • Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus
  • Depeche Mode - Wrong
  • Lily Allen - Not Fair
  • Sonic Youth - Sacred Trickster
  • Depeche Mode (Chat with JH)
  • Raphael Saadiq - Sure Hope You Mean It
  • Depeche Mode - Come Back
  • Taj Mahal - Slow Drag
  • Lily Allen - 22
  • Taj Mahal (Chat with JH)
  • Priscilla Ahn - Find My Way Back Home
  • Sonic Youth - Antenna
  • Lily Allen (Chat with JH)
  • Raphael Saadiq - Keep Marchin’
  • Lily Allen - The Fear
  • Sonic Youth - Teen Age Riot
  • Depeche Mode - Walking In My Shoes
80’s snyth-goth legends Depeche Mode (yes they made some of their best music in the 90s but it was still 80s music…) kicked off both shows with new single Wrong in glorious demonic style. Not sure about the song - it hasn’t really grabbed me yet. Neither has the album so in a way I’m hoping for something that I constantly object to - that it was all new material (the set wasn’t all new songs - actually a good thing as the old stuff was better). Singer Gahan was determined enough but the rest of the band looked bored. They closed Tuesday with a great version of Personal Jesus, easily one of the band’s finest moments. It starts simple, just vocals and guitar, then the electronics and drums come in. The autobiographical Come Back (Gahan describes this song as “coming back to himself“) is dark and menacing, devoid of much of the hope that it professes which is a shame. Friday closed with the dramatic Walking In My Shoes from Songs Of Faith And Devotion, another highlight from the back catalogue. It was a great arrangement, excellently performed. With all these 80s bands coming back, I hope Spandau Ballet don’t make an appearance. Please, no…

The big interview on Tuesday was with DM - shaking off the pointlessness of last series when Jools had a tendency to chat with people just on to plug shows or books or greatest hits without actually performing etc. Martin Gore seems to have become Lilly Savage and not changed his black eyeliner since 1985. In contrast Gahan is looking well and relaxed. The both agree that that the 80s was not the best time of their lives. It was the late 70s or 90s (when they had more fun). There was some ridiculous footage from 1981 and not much else. Friday’s chat was better, talking about the band’s early years and more footage of how they changed so much in the space of a year. Playing live is still Gahan’s passion.

The wonderful Lily Allen showcased her new (ish) album It’s Not Me It’s You with the country vibes of Not Fair. Like her or loathe her (and many do the latter), she is a charming presence on the stage, fusing honestly explicit lyrics with her adolescent voice perfectly. Long gone are the days of chav-pop and Allen is now using her voice with amazing variety. The single is not bad if a little nursery rhyme-esque. 22 is more mature but a bit dull, even if the momentum builds towards the end, but then descends into wordless vocals. In the third interview of the Friday, Allen talks about writing a song about her brother and not realising at the time that loads of people would hear it. Hmm, not the smartest tool in the box. She says it’s better to write about past loves as you don’t know what will happen with a new love. And she wants someone who is interested in her. I think behind the laughter is a broken heart that only manifests in her music. The classic schizophrenic artist. Her third song on Friday previous single The Fear is excellent - complete with expletives to give it extra ‘punch’. Not gratuitous, just brilliantly conceived attention-grabbing grown-up song writing. A song for our times.

In a bizarre moment on Tuesday - and there are many on Later, Jools went briefly to talk to Andrew Marr of all people, who declared that Allen is a ‘family favourite’. He had to go and interview the Russian Present instead of seeing her live - something Jools couldn’t quite get his head around. No Jools, Putin wasn’t president then, it was Medvedev. Jools’ second ‘interview’ on the Tuesday was much more entertaining - Lily Allen saying that she is not into Putin because one of her gigs in St. Petersburg was cancelled for security reasons. Apparently the president (as he was then) went to see a fight instead.

Sonic Youth proved that for ‘old timers’ they can still rock with the best of them. Vocally What We Know isn’t the best, especially the chorus, but the band make the most amazing guitar noise. New album The Eternal follows Rather Ripped - which captured my attention for a while, more than I expected it would. The trio of Moore, Gordon and Ranaldo are still a driving force and even though I don’t like to see and hear fallen stars peddling out tired tunes, SY still has it, Just. First song on Friday Sacred Trickster is more like SY of old with Gordon on vocal duty - bouncing around and in her element. Great (but short) stuff. Antenna - completing the trio of different vocalists, this time Thurston Moore was a SY ballad - a real shoegazing master class; all intricate guitar work and pounding drums. It was like being transformed back to 1990. Teen Age Riot (from 1988), again with TM on vocals - is a great example of the band’s legacy. Brilliantly perfomed with furious energy and control.

Not sure about Raphael Saadiq. His vibe was great, but Sure Hope You Mean it sounded like a collection of recycled Motown lyrics and a bit of improv. The shorter of the two, and oddly androgynous, backing singers provided the energy but the whole thing was a bit dated. Sounds like it’s not my thing - on the contrary - I love soul when it’s interesting. The same dance routine and approach to backing vocals are adopted on Keep Marchin’, a much better song with the same cool Motown vibes. It all gets a bit too repetitive which is a shame. And then Saadiq and his ’band’ just jump around a bit.

Taj Mahal provided the R&B (the proper stuff) this week with Jools tinkling along on his piano. Checkin’ Up On My Baby is typical fare with attitude thrown in for good measure. Taj (as I’m sure he is known to his closest friends) may be wonderful but I though it was nothing special. The banjo driven Slow Drag is more of a slow blues number, again with Jools stomping all over the delicate arrangement. Mahal’s excellent vocals hold everything together and a sweet banjo solo to finish is one of the show‘s highlights. He finds time to chat with Jools but more than two songs would have been nice. But the interview was a revealing incite into a man who loves his music - he describes the blues as a roadmap for everything that can happen in your life.

The running theme of this series of Later seems to be to introduce the world to a new musician. This week was the turn of Priscilla Ahn who was utterly captivating from start to finish during Find My Way Back Home. Twee is a good word to describe it, which is no bad thing. Her voice was pitch perfect.

A strange show - very downbeat and retro in a good way. Depeche Mode did their best, as did Sonic Youth, and Lily Allen provided the modern touch. Lots of chat, but none of it cutting edge interviewing or revealing. More from Taj Mahal and a chat with Sonic Youth would have been nice.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

2009 Music Chart - April

As the music year starts to shift into higher gear, some more great new albums out. Bat For Lashes lead the way with the sublime Two Suns and Doves are back with Kingdom Of Rust. Neil Young shows a lot of legendary spirit with the LincVolt influenced Fork In The Road. Disappointing efforts from Lisa Hannigan and Dananananaykroyd make up the new releases for April.
  1. To Lose My Life - White Lies
  2. Two Suns - Bat For Lashes
  3. Scream - Chris Cornell
  4. Dark Was The Night - Various
  5. Alpinisms - The School Of Seven Bells
  6. Kingdom Of Rust - Doves
  7. Fork In The Road - Neil Young
  8. Not Without A Fight - New Found Glory
  9. Fortress 'Round My Heart - Ida Maria
  10. Nonsense In The Dark - Filthy Dukes
  11. Sea Sew - Lisa Hannigan
  12. Hey Everyone - Dananananaykroyd
  13. The Airborne Toxic Event - The Airborne Toxic Event
  14. Rockwell - Anni Rossi