Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Euros Childs - Surf Rage

Taken from his recent solo album called Chops, this is here because of his and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's sterling effort to keep the freaky in folk, building a wonderful body of work (just avoid Gorky5) all indebted to folk music whether it's in the subject matter, instrumentation (have I said I want more recorders in pop lately?) or presentation.
Check out Gorky's The Blue Trees for Gorky's most consistant folky beauty (the rest are great, but sound like mushrooms were involved in their production).

Listen: Euros Childs - Surf Rage

The hype agency bumf you'll see in all the other solicited press straight from the press officers mouth

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Feathers' self titled LP (from Vermont 2005CE, although it fits right in with any of the early 70's compilations I've been listening to lately) is a thing of luminescent beauty, at times threateningly claustrophic and just plain weird. It is undoubtedly head music and over the course of it's 8 tracks there's more of than a hint of a krautrock obsessive (or at least someone whose seen the wickerman more than is healthy) in one or more of it's number - listen to the end of Van Bal and feed your head, I'd love to know if Julian Cope has heard this group.

Listen: Feathers - Old Black Hal With a Dandelion
Listen: Feathers - Van Bal

Feathers website
Cargo (UK) releasede the album (hard to find on amazon)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ann Briggs

Steering dangerously close to the traditional folk idiom I said I'd try to avoid, Anne Briggs is included in my folk foray due to her natural treatment of the folk vocal mannerisms and embellishments that some singers make a pig's ear of. Thankfully Anne Briggs never forgets that the melody is more interesting than the styling. It sounds to me like her natural singing voice, it is difficult to imagine her bellowing out a blues/pub rock number a few songs later (although for all I know that's a possibility).

Her records contain a lot of traditional solo vocal numbers, but I'm putting a couple of tunes with instrumental backing simply because I find unaccompanied music to require considerably more attention than I imagine are the environments most people are in when listening to mp3blog music.

Listen: Anne Briggs - Blackwater Side
Listen: Anne Briggs - Willie O'Winsbury

A better piece than I could write about why she is so good
Topic Records' Collection compilation

Dolly at 60 - BBC radio documentary

Mel comes up trumps and points out this rather fab BBC - Radio2 - Documentary.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Guillemots - if the world ends

Guillemots have a love of strange noises that would suggest that making music isn't a career move for them. Their website has quite a few mp3s that demonstrate this along with some of the best new music I've heard in ages. I posted this one as it reminded me of the Ella Guru tack I posted an age ago (have I really been posting that long?)

Listen: Guillemots - if the world ends

Official site: Guillemots, warning - the most annoying use of mixed caps.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Judee Sill Demos and Unreleased Recordings

From the ridiculous to the sublime...whilst poking around looking for some music to assuage the guilt of the previous post (still like that guitar though...) here is a link to an extensive set of Judee Sill Demos and Unreleased Recordings made available by a guy called Bob Claster.

With only a limited amount of releases, this is another file under cult singer-songwriter. This time in a Carly Simon/Joni Mitchell/West coast in the 70's style. Some of it comes over so Fleetwood Mac it's hard to believe that she was on smack rather than coke.

Here is the studio version of donor:

Julee Sill - The Donor

Observer piece

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gretchen Wilson

This is truly the pop side of country, cleverly aligning itself with the rebels (check the Merle shout, the redneck tag, I think Kid Rock was on the previous album). In a lot of ways it demonstrates the parallels between country and gangster rap - they're both selling a lifestyle, only here it's Budweiser, Skoal, trucks and other country singers. The number of product placements on this album is quite amazing, although not up to 50p's standards. This is what happens if you come from a different 'hood I suppose.

Still respect if you can carry a guitar off like this:

Sadly this isn't a redneck version of the Beach Boys classic, but a slickly polished ode to womanhood and all it's curves.

Listen: Gretchen Wilson - california girls

Gretchen Wilson

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Shelagh McDonald

Time Out claimed that folk is the new jazz, but things have been pretty folky around here for some time. So I'm going to cut the Americana with some English folk that will at no point involve Arran Jumpers or fingers in the ear.

She was beautiful, played a fantastic guitar in the 'informed by Davey Graham' school of fingerpicking like everyone else from Jansch to Drake (a lot of the solo stuff sounds like better played versions of Nick Drake's home recordings - except they're not standards!) and there's a few pieces that show what can be done with a 12 string guitar in alternative tuning playing folk rather than blues that are astounding.

Two albums - Album and Stargazer are all she left behind before a bad trip and her mysterious disappearance in 1972. Castle records released this compilation last year, with much better sound quality than my poorly tape to taped copy (and it contains all Stargazer)

I'd recommend getting the compilation first, but that's just me and it didn't stop me getting the albums separately later.

Listen: Shelagh McDonald - Peacock Lady
Listen: Shelagh McDonald - Rod's Song (demo)

The invaluable piece on Black Velvet

Bob Stanley's piece in the Times, seemingly based heavily on the one above (like this one).