“I am guilty,” says Roy Harper, “of taking you on some strange journeys, I have to admit.” We are two songs into a solo Harper show to mark the release of his first new album in 13 years, taking place in a record shop (Rough Trade East) and being streamed live on the internet; a confluence of events that clearly amuses the singer on some essential and bemused level.
I’ve just noticed it’s Jarvis Cocker’s 50th birthday, and used it as an excuse to dig this out: my NME interview with a pre-fame Pulp in June 1992. Had a look for the one I did with them just before the (at the time) last gig a decade later and couldn’t find it, annoyingly…
I’m not, as a rule, the sort of person who reveres and memorises reviews from the notional golden age of rock journalism. But the other day, I was pondering something Nick Kent wrote in his original NME review of Television’s “Marquee Moon”. I found it online this morning, specifically this passage:
Jams, folks. Please take ten minutes to watch the excellent clips below from Natural Child and Chris Forsyth. The image above is the cover of Forsyth’s tremendous forthcoming album, which I’ll try my damnedest to write about in the next day or two.
In the next edition of Uncut, out on September 25 in the UK, Alastair McKay recounts a recent trip to Mike Scott’s flat in Dublin. McKay is there to interview Scott for a piece on the making of The Waterboys’ “Fisherman’s Blues”, a wonderful album which, imminently, will be memorialised by a 7CD compilation of its epic sessions, “Fisherman’s Box”.
Can’t hang around today as deadline hassle mounts, but lots to listen to here: an Atoms For Peace mix, something from Nicolas Jaar’s fine new Darkside project, a precious and ancient demo from Roddy Frame, a remix from The Avalanches, and my favourite track from Light In The Attic’s New Age comp, among other things.
Jaan Uhelszki, as you may have seen in the current issue of Uncut, recently spent some time with Bill Callahan at his home in Austin. One of Jaan’s great skills is her ability to conduct a forensic sweep of any environment she finds herself in, and on Callahan’s bookshelves, she notes, are “Bass Playing For Dummies… a King Tubby DVD… Learning Spanish by Michael Thomas, ‘The Language Teacher To The Stars’… a Stephen Crane reader.”
Of all the guitarists associated with the Takoma School, it’s hard to think of one who imbued folk music with quite as much mystical portent as Robbie Basho. 1978’s “Visions Of The Country”, his tenth album, is a fantastic case in point: “I would paint for you a portrait of North America as a beautiful woman,” he wrote in the original sleevenotes, “when she was young and untamed.”
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a big backlog of music to work through here. And while I try and offer some fractionally different recommendations away from the usual media pile-ons (Oh look, Haim etc), this Janelle Monáe album is terrific and I totally recommend having a listen on The Guardian’s stream: very much in the zone of “The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill” (especially “Victory”).
I guess there are probably worse jobs to return to after a fortnight’s holiday. I arrived back in the Uncut office yesterday to be greeted by a big pile of new releases, which I’m still picking my way through. Currently playing: Track Two of Damon’s reissued “Song Of A Gypsy” – “Generally regarded,” it says here in the press release, “as one of the finest privately-pressed psychedelic rock records” of the late ‘60s. We shall see.
Such has been the drooling media focus on Kate Bush this week, it might be tough to imagine British music journalists listening to anything else these past few days. I'm not, in fairness, exempt from the hysteria: here's...