Wild Mercury Sound

Robert Plant, Boredoms, Flower Travellin' Band and Wild Beasts!

John Mulvey

Some interesting things turned up from you this week, not least a couple of impassioned defences of the Robert Plant & Alison Krauss album, which seemed to be getting a rough ride from some unreconstructed old Led Zep fans.

The second link goes to a message from a visitor called Steve Shaw, whose pleasure at "Raising Sand" and simultaneous excitement about the Led Zep reunion pretty much echoes my own.

"Plant's opinion of the O2 gig seems to have changed markedly since last month's Uncut," Steve reports. "He's now hoping he enjoys it and saying how much the rush for tickets has humbled him. If I were a betting man, my money would be on us all getting the oportunity to see LZ before the end of next year. As long as O2 goes well. Will he really want to be seen as the man that denied the world it's LZ reunion tour?"

Maybe Plant could take Krauss along with them, if only to do "Battle Of Evermore"?

Over at the blog on Mog, someone called Grooveminded has filed a rant about the Plant/Krauss hook-up which I don't agree with, but which certainly makes a change from the whingeing Zep fans: "Robert Plant is lucky that such a Talent as Alison Krauss would even look his way…...I mean c’mon, the last 4 Plant Albums have sold , what, 15 copies each?.....And the last 4 Krauss Albums have sold what, like 40 million?......So, the reality check is, Alison has been very gracious in allowing Robert any of her esteemable time, coz her time is FINE whereas Robert's time is history......this is how it is….. and i’m certainly glad to see that Robert is now lauding the praises of Alison and this CD in his interviews, as before it was released he was reticent, non committed, and lacking in serious enthusiasm, but he has learned, along with John Waite, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and many others, that whatever Alison favors with her angelic vocals, incredible violin playing, and immense talent = turns to gold….....Ditto this “Plant” album….."

More good stuff on the Boredoms blog, which suggests that the band were every bit as astonishing in Aberdeen as they were in London. And after this blog about Japrocksampler, I've now got hold and am working my way through the impressive back catalogue of the Flower Travellin' Band - that's the nude bikers seen on the cover of Julian Cope's book, if you didn't know. Like Cope, I can totally recommend the imperial ur-metal of "Satori", which Mark in the Uncut office likened to a band with Darth Vader on guitar. The guitarist is amazing, actually: regal, effectless, with a style that somehow incorporates grand Eastern elements into his highly-disciplined freak-outs. Check out the extraordinary epic that is "Louisiana Blues" on their "Anywhere" debut, too, if you can.

One more thing today. I'm a bit wary of those end-of-year things where music hacks tip a bunch of new bands whose CDs they've just been sent by crafty PRs (who will be the Mika of 2008? Do you care, folks?). Nevertheless, I'd love Wild Beasts to break through next year. I've written about their last single here and their live show at Latitude here (links galore today, it seems).

Anyway, the new single is called "Assembly", is on the estimable Domino label, and has been produced by Tore Johanson who I think did Franz Ferdinand, if memory serves. It's hardly glossy, mind. As I wrote before, Wild Beasts have this phenomenally lopsided gait, a circuitous way with a melody which totally recalls Orange Juice, a singer whose hiccuping meanders suggest Billy Mackenzie in the throes of an excruciating puberty, and - as "Assembly" proves - a general quicksilver excellence which means that, out of so many vacilllating and collapsible elements, their songs stagger out in quite amazingly memorable fashion. Here's their MySpace: they're from "Leeds via Kendal", apparently


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