Just a quick post today, since I'm waiting for a couple of reports on South By Southwest to be filed by Uncut writers. In the meantime, I've been listening to some new stuff from the Vancouver family of bands centred around Black Mountain.
I don’t want to give anyone the impression that all I do all day is sit around, browsing through YouTube files and watching fantastic footage of my favourite bands – that’s Steve Sutherland’s job, after all.
There's something a little disingenuous about opening your album with a song called "Do I Disappoint You?". This is how the fifth album by Rufus Wainwright begins: with wave after wave of opulent, complex orchestral flourishes, building and building; with a multitracked Martha Wainwright screaming "CHAOS!" and "DESTRUCTION!"; and with Wainwright himself, coy in the midst of so much melodrama. It's a theatrical set-piece pretending to be an anti-climax. It's both lovely and knowingly ridiculous. And it's also rather good.
It seems a long time ago now, when I thought post-rock was the most exciting music in the world. The thing with those early records by Tortoise and such was that they made anything seem possible. Post-rock was never going to supersede rock, but in the mid-'90s it still felt like a fantastically open-minded scene. The bands weren't hung up on the old signifiers of rock, they had this voracious appetite for so much music: jazz, electronica, Krautrock, endlessly obscure diversions from the well-beaten path. There were no apparent rules, which made it all the more disappointing that it became so formulaic so fast.
The news that Lou Reed is going to be playing his brilliantly grim Berlin song cycle in its entirety at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in June reminds me of when he played what was then known as Hammersmith Odeon, in April 1979, a night that ended in some mayhem, with Lou smacking the proverbial fuck out of David Bowie.
Jermaine Stewart, the 80s soul star whose biggest hit was "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off", dies of AIDS-related liver cancer, aged 39. Initially finding fame as a dancer on the long-running TV show Soul Train, Stewart also sang backing vocals for the likes of The Temptations, Tavares, Shalamar and Culture Club.
I got a message the other day from Erin Palmer, encouraging me to go and see Jandek at South By Southwest. Unfortunately, I've had to cancel my trip to Texas, so if anyone sees the Jandek show, please let us know. Erin, it transpires, is the daughter of Bruce Palmer, the giant bassist who drove down to LA with Neil Young in his hearse and went on to join Buffalo Springfield.
I am risen, Lazarus-like, from a couple of weeks in flu-ravaged purgatory, a desperate condition accompanied by much attendant chest-rattling coughing and colourful spluttering. So apologies for my recent absence here. What passes for normal service will hopefully resume next week, with a return to the daily blogs as advertised at the top of this page.