Managed to drag myself out of the bunker yesterday for some culture. Starting with the Coen Brother’s “No Country For Old Men”.It’s not bad but is it a return to “form”?, I’m not sure. It has its moments and one particularly great line. Can’t tell you what the correlation is with the book because I haven’t read it. Javier Barden’s remorseless killing machine could be being set up to take on the winner between the Alien and The Predator. I’d like to see the Coen’s take that on. So yeah, it does have ripples of “Blood Simple” and it’s not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon but I wasn’t convinced that it was the tour de force the meeja is painting it as.
So after that, I had a rake about a couple of bookshops and some dvd racks. The sheer amount of stuff out there is alarming and the way it’s presented is generally soulless, as is the packaging. Saw the Ace book but it was shrink wrapped but the same publisher has another one on Rough Trade which is a very good-looking tome.
So on then to The Pearlfishers at the Classic Grand, first time that I’ve been in this relatively new venue. Good size. Better sightlines than Tuts. This old porno cinema has scrubbed up very well into a very cool room. Openers Finniston were on already and their homogenous folk pop was going down OK but it wasn’t for me. Mr Blake noticed that one of their songs bore a resemblance to Cliff’s “Wired For Sound”. I think we’ll leave it at that.
The Pearlfishers aren’t like anything else. Particularly when they can employ the full strings and horns bhuna as they did last night. In this day and age of the bottom line, quality is often sacrificed but not here. I believe that if this could be presented around the country and beyond like this then it the penny would finally drop. The version of “New Stars” convinces me even more that Teenage Fanclub should record it.
Playing tunes from all stages of their existence, it was a classy affair. There’s only one person on earth that I’d forgive for slipping a Paul McCartney song into a set and that’s Davie Scott. A lot of heart and a similar helping of soul arranged to perfection the way you (almost) never hear it anymore.
So let’s tackle a couple of cd’s that mine something of the same field…
So here’s the paisley overground. A lush, soaring psychedelic psmogasbord that seems to connect Fleetwood Mac with Wooden Shjips. Beautifully packaged, which seems to be a trademark of Trakwerx quality and very tastefully recorded. If there were such a thing as airwaves in the traditional sense then this would or should be all over it. These lysergic folk pop hark back and pull forward at the same time. The result positively shimmers. If they can pull this off live then there are a wealth of REM and Dream Syndicate fans out there that are starved of something substantial. “Beautiful Lie” sounds like something Debbie Harry could use. In fact Meg Maryatt bears quite a striking vocal resemblance throughout.
She also plays accordion which is a big plus point. Heard a feature on the wireless this morning about that instrument being back but it was never away if you knew where to look. (Hi Angel!)
If you want something substantial that has elements of the Radionapper/Brian Jonestown formula then those vibes don’t come much closer than “Just Like Brian Jones”. Being that there’s no consensus anymore, I’m not sure how you get something like this to the people who would go gaga for it. In terms of what I perceive to be broad commercial appeal then this has everything. It doesn’t require hype, it just needs to be heard. It’s one of those things that if you heard it in a record store (remember those?), you’d be up at the counter asking what it was. I don’t believe there’s a higher accolade than that.
“No tambourines were harmed in the making of this album”. Damnit, they’re funny too.
This is a strange concept that initially sounds like a lounge pianists outing with a piece entitled “the morning after the night before last”. This is as far away from “rock” as I’ve been in some time. Drifting way out to sea and I think that the calming effect is something I could use more of.
There’s something quite Roxy Music about it without them sounding anything alike. Kinda abstract Ben Folds territory even. Or Todd Rundgren? It kind of reminds me of The Pearlfishers with a darker streak too.
PWR is a grower. I was sceptical at first but their songs have somehow wheedled themselves under my skin with repeated plays. Look at the influences listed on their myspace as you listen. Go easy on the head scratching though.
If you fancy something atmospheric, fairly relaxing with shades of Julee Cruise then check out Laki Mera for the princely sum of exactly nowt.
And finally for today, I’ve just found out that Redd Kross and Wooden Shjips are paying the upcoming ATP vs Pitchfork. Fingers crossed that both will tack a few more shows on to their respective visits.