Wild Mercury Sound

Ackles, Monkeys, Feist and so on

John Mulvey

Thanks for your latest bunch of messages, especially the people who said kind things about my David Ackles blog the other day. Good to see more love for Bill Fay, too: we were playing his first album the other day. "Everyone should love David Ackles - just like everyone shoud love Bill Fay," writes Baptiste. "It takes time for writers like them to get some kind of public acknowledgement. I mean: why? Is Bill Fay's "Be Not So Fearful" such a difficult song? Is "Down River" a 30 minutes white noise jam?

As regular readers will have spotted, I'm certainly not averse to 30-minute noise jams (anyone checked out that Vibracathedral Orchestra record yet, by the way?), but good point. Apologies to R Chapman, who took offence at my "cheap shots" at Elton John and Phil Collins. "Maybe when you get a little older smugness won't seem so enticing," he continues. Well, I'm not sure disliking those musicians counts as smugness, exactly. Maybe you could write back and tell us why we should treat Phil, especially, with a bit more respect?

One other brief bit of housekeeping. Amusing as messages like this one about Bjork are - "LEAK IT OR I'LL PUNCH YOUR MOTHER IN THE NECK!" - I really can't help out with this sort of query (more than my job's worth yada yada, you know the drill). Nice to see Bjork has some of the most aggressive fans on the internet, though.

Anyway, new records. Hopefully, many of you will have heard the Arctic Monkeys album by now. Having heard it plenty now, I'm sticking with most of the hyperbole I came up with after my first listen though, I must admit, it doesn't sound quite as leftfield as I made it out to be. The most interesting mainstream British rock record in ages, though, I'm sure.

Also out this week is "The Reminder" by Feist, which I've been pretty slack at not blogging about up 'til now. Very nice record, this. Feist is part of the extended Broken Social Scene family, and an associate of the mighty Peaches and Canadian hip-hop goon Gonzalez.

The latter contributes quite a lot to "The Reminder" but, happily, you'd never guess. I know people often perceive "classy" to be pejorative, but I really can't think of a better way to describe this lovely album: an elegant and discreet updating of a singer-songwriter tradition that you could probably trace back to Carole King. Ballads like "Honey Honey" and "How My Heart Believes" (featuring Eirik Glambek Boe, the useful one from Kings Of Convenience) are brilliantly executed. But she also has a nice line in, well, mature nightclub music, maybe: the mildly sassy strut of "My Moon My Man" and, best of all, an ecstatic reworking of Nina Simone's "Sea Lion Woman" that I can roughly describe as electro-surf-Afrobeat. Well, I say "roughly", but I probably mean "inaccurately". The whole album seems to be playing at Feist's Myspace, so let me know if I'm making any sense. . .


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