So ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ didn’t win the Mercury Music Prize of 2008 that saw the then 18-year-old Laura Marling gain attention and recognition for her well before her year’s debut.
The undertones of loss, optimism, love and sadness bare the same skin as the pervious long player. The unbelievably private feel of the lyrical content In song’s such as ‘Blackberry Stone’; which paints a picture of a character in a relationship not being able to leave an uncertain partnership with their loved one. The album isn’t all darkness and sorrow with the uplifting changes in songs such as ‘What He Wrote’ and ‘Goodbye England’. ‘Devil Spoke’ couldn’t be more fitting for the opening track – it’s fast/slow ‘ol England feel and the abrupt change into ‘Made By Maid’ reminisce that of the last few cuts from ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’. Towards the end of that album it felt that Laura was veering towards more of a melancholic, darker and questioning songwriter.
‘I Speak…’ depicts a more established artist concentrating in getting more out of her field than with previous tries. The move from ex-boyfriend producer to someone with Kings Of Leon and Rufus Wainwright on their CV shows professionalism included in the continued personal feel to the album. Marling herself has developed leaps and bounds since the 2008 album.
Listening to the two albums back-to-back shows a woman in a transition. This maybe thought of as a cliché but it can’t be ignored. It can be said for many folk singers that write an album in their late teens and recorded their follow-up in young adulthood.
Tinkering on the edge of something more than just a young folk singer – Laura’s voice could remind some to the German folk-singer Sibylle Baier. Her playing and feel to writing and song making has a new self-assurance to it. The mind wonders how a woman of such a young age creates these tales; her maturity has only gotten’ even older.
Today’s MP3 of the day is the band Biffy Clyro wanted to be when they first started out; Sunny Day Real Estate are the shit, they are signed to Sub Pop and are playing a show over here in London in April.
The Early November, Brand New, Sparrows, At The Drive-In, Weezer, Suny Day Real Estate, Glassjaw, the entire early Big Scary Monsters label roster and pretty much every other emo band around all have Cap’n Jazz to thank.
Creating a sound that has defined many a year for young adults, Chicago’s Cap’n Jazz were one of the first (and best) emo bands. They only record one full length (that is fucking hard to find at a reasonable price on vinyl) back in 1995 titled ‘Burritos, Inspiration Point, Fork Balloon Sports, Cards In The Spokes, Automatic Biographies, Kites, Kung Fu, Trophies, Banana Peels We’ve Slipped On and Egg Shells We’ve Tippy Toed Over‘ along with a handful of 7″ and appearances on comps. They split up soon after the release of their first record.
Quite simply one of the most influential bands of the past 25 years.
They reformed this month to play a little low key show that wasn’t even billed as a Cap’n Jazz show. Please play here this year. What they went onto after this short lived band is fucking great too.
Kingston Upon Themes: a quaint suburban London town west of the centre of the city. Not much happens there, you’ve got the University, the college and a respectable town centre. Why then would band of the moment Vampire Weekend even consider coming down to play the Hippadrome, a quasar looking club just off the centre of this student based settlement? Reasons being to play the well respected New Slang club night put on by the local record store Banquet Records.
A show originally billed as a headline show for now support act and local boys Good Shoes, somehow the club night got the guys to play during a busy week of press and special one-off shows which ended in the band playing Rough Trade East on the Friday night.
Word had been spreading around the club that the band wouldn’t be on till 11 o’clock… various pieces of press to do, a show outside playing to bewildered ice skaters and a radio session all in one day. A show that could easily have been sold out ten-times over finally had their men at just shy of 11:45PM to a fanfare of DJ Kool’s ‘Let me Clear My Throat’ that led to the sombre tones of ‘White Sky’s’ subtle keyboard nature. By this time security had started standing on various bars and the merchandise desk with the stances of President Obama’s henchmen to see if the rowdy crowd were on their best behaviour.
A high-spirited Ezra and co seemed to be enjoying the special club show – surely these guys hadn’t played a venue the size of the Hippadrome since the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled album back in 2008? Conversing in an incredibly self confident way, “It’s been a very busy week for us, we have a new record out, here’s a new one… if you now it sing along… if you don’t then keep doing what your doing” to the never ending sea of heads colliding together with arms stretched to the point where you can’t bring them down. Strolling into the never ending bass-line of recent come-back single ‘Cousins’ to a cheer not far from the one the one we would hear soon after when the band played their ever TV montage loving ‘A-Punk’. When the first note of that riff was hit, intoxicated strangers linked arm-in-arm and bellowed out at the top of their lungs the next notes via the medium of drunken chanting. In a way it was quite cringe worthy, the song has passed its credibility and become another song to add to the list of drunken riff chant’s (see ‘Take Me out’ and ‘Don’t look back into the sun’ to name a few).
With a few surprises on the way, the inclusion of mid track listed debut cuts ‘I stand corrected’ and ‘Campus’, there was very little from new album ‘Contra’. Closing on the up-lifting piano heavy ‘Walcott’, it had been a compelling night – I doubt it was that much of a change in the set list to other night’s, but just seeing a band of their size in such an odd and undersized venue was really the appeal.
Now, one of – if the best thing about the iPhone is the abundance of apps you can download to your little rectangle hand held miniature comp – that rings people. We’ve all got facebook, twitter apps and the greatest game ever Paper Toss, but there are apps that actually really help you out a fucking load. Like the tube map of London and the train times one (I don’t have it… it costs £4 or something).
Who remembers the ‘ol Vice Guide To Travel dvd? (You can pick it up from Urban Outfitters in their sale at the mo). It’s a pretty sick DVD that tells you about some of the coolest and also most fucked up cities and countries around the world. Vice have a pretty good knowledge when it comes to travel guides, so they’ve joined forces with the big cheeses over at Nike to create the new app True City. It’s a FREE (oh yes) guide to six European city’s, including London telling you places to go from people who know where to go. The app “unlocks access to city insiders’ views of sport, life and culture in six of Europe’s most innovative cities”. So if your pub closes at 11 and you wanna keep drinking, open the app and it will tell you where your nearest late-night watering hole is. If your feeling in a bit of an arty mood and you wanna go to an exhibition, it’ll tell you where to go… pretty sick really, I’ve got it… 😉
The cities are: London, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam and Barcelona.
You can download the app now. Head over to the Truce City site to see a video of how it works and some more info.
Today a track that was released over 50 years ago.
Written by the crazed but genius producer Phil Spector and preformed with his first vocal group The Teddy Bears, this version of To Know Her Is To Love Her is off of The Beatles Live At The BBC record. With George on lead vocals, the lad’s put together a beautiful take on the late 50’s heart-achingly hit.
Here is the original To Know Him Is To Love Him with vocalist of the Teddy Bears Annette Kleinbard on lead.
As the years went on and both Spector and The Beatles became archetypal in their fields, it would be John who would befriend Spector with the producer working on a number of his solo efforts after working together on The Beatles Let It Be Album.