GRASSCUT – Live at Diagonal Loft Club, Forlì, Italy 11th November 2015
In Grasscut’s short nine-song set, the Brighton-based duo play the whole of one of the year’s best releases : Everyone Was A Bird. The odd one out is – Reservoir – from 2012’s Unearth.
In my review of this album for Whisperin’ & Hollerin’, I highlighted the subtlety and intimacy of this record. Perhaps inevitably, these qualities are hard to replicate in a live setting, particularly one where many punters are out for a drink and a chat rather than to listen to music.
Nevertheless, it is great to put a face to the songs and to personally thank Andrew Phillips and Marcus O’Dair for the music after the show. This studious looking pair are joined on stage by drummer Aram Zarikian.
The black and white homemade movies playing on a screen behind them is a nice touch in that it emphasizes how Phillips’ primary subject is the British countryside near his current home or from his childhood. Both in words and images, these are no dewy-eyed odes to nature. We see bleak yet beautiful Autumnal or Wintry landscapes peppered with electrical pylons and the ominous presence of a nuclear power station.
The absence of string instruments is quite a loss and the sampled voices, including the voice of poet Siegfried Sassoon, cannot be heard clearly but they still manage to convey the rugged charm of the melodies and richness of the language.
With Christmas coming, I wrote a seasonal poem to get you in the shopping mood entitled:
BILL POSTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED
ADS ARE NOT INNOCENT
we are the lads
with all the fads
we make your day
we make you pay
we want your soul
hand over fist
flatter and flirt
pretty and pert
we preen and pout
swagger and shout
to pressure peers
or trigger fears
we plant the seed
we plea for greed
in sales you trust
till fit to bust
In this year’s BBC 6 John Peel lecture, Brian Eno’s chosen topic was ‘The Ecology of Culture’, although his fascinating talk could equally have been entitled ‘The Economy of Culture’.
In it he attempted to set himself the task of answering two questions:
1. Is Art a luxury?
2. What are the conditions in which the Arts can flourish? Continue reading
LIKE A ROLLING STONE – BOB DYLAN AT THE CROSSROADS by Greil Marcus (Faber & Faber, 2006)
Greil Marcus is a man of many words. His verbosity is not to everyone’s taste. Many readers have, with just cause, accused him of being deliberately obtuse and willfully pretentious.
At the same time, his scholarly writings on music and cultural history are well worth the effort since they are frequently illuminating and consistently insightful.
Bob Dylan, the man and his music, is a subject he comes back to time and time again; taking fresh aims at a moving target he knows will never be fully defined.
It is the very elusiveness of Dylan that makes him so intriguing.
In this book, Marcus tells the story of ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, charting the song’s origins and impact. He rightly identifies this as being more than just another rock song but, rather, a unique work of art more akin to an event. It may not have changed the world but it certainly set a new benchmark for what could be achieved in popular music. Continue reading
“Put me on a pedestal, I’ll only disappoint you” – Aussie, Courtney Barnett may look cute but …….
Courtney Barnett’s ‘Pedestrian At Best’ might just might be my song of the year.
It’s certainly one of the most savagely funny.
Watch the video and check out these lyrics and I dare you to disagree: Continue reading