A few weeks ago, I found myself guesting on a music show on Al-Jazeera, talking about, of all things, Calexico. The idea of musical fusion was very prominent in the programme, and the band’s German members talked about the affinities between German oompah and Mexican forms like Mariachi; heightend, if I remember rightly, by German brewmasters relocating to America.
As I mentioned the other day, the “Tips For The New Year” business has become something of a self-perpetuating industry now. But it occurred to me over the weekend that another journalistic phenomenon is on the rise at this time of year: who’s going to reunite in, say, 2009?
It’s just gone 10.27pm, and the guy standing next to me turns to his friend with a big smile breaking across his face and says, “I can go home now.” Wild Beasts have just finished playing “Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants”, their debut single, and possibly the only song I can think of that contains the word “moribund”. In fact, “Clairvoyants” is anything but moribund – it’s a great, joyous conflation of high end Johnny Marr-style melodies (I’m thinking particularly of his playing on Talking Heads’ “Nothing But Flowers”) and the more life-affirming side of Arcade Fire, maybe something like “Wake Up”. It’s a high point, certainly, of what’s proved to be another excellent night at the Borderline.
Just arrived this morning and straight onto the stereo, a new album from Beirut, that seems to consist of half recordings with a 19-piece Mexican funeral band, and half bedroom synthpop. I’m not sure what the synthpop’s going to be like, but it’s started well.
Much as I love the TV On The Radio album, I wonder sometimes if all the hype surrounding David Sitek might be a bit out of hand. For a start, reading some of the stories about “Dear Science”, you’d be forgiven for imagining that he made the entire record single-handed, when in fact virtually all the songwriting was handled by the band’s vocalists and, perhaps, creative heart, Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone.
We now have the entire judges' deliberations over who should win the Uncut Music Award posted here on this blog, so I thought it might be useful to provide links to all the separate posts in one place. I was prompted, in part, by this message from Terry, who did all the recording and transcribing for us.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds began their British tour last night with an occasionally scrappy, but ultimately triumphant 19-song set at the Brighton Centre in Cave’s adopted hometown – a fact he addressed with repeated thanks to “the beautiful people of Brighton”.
I know I wrote something a bit snide about the whole “Tips For 2009” business the other day. But then, when dutifully and only slightly hypocritically compiling my submission to the BBC poll, I found myself – hugely hypocritically, I suppose – tipping one of the doubtless most-tipped tips of 2009, Florence And The Machine.