Fontaines D.C. – Big
I nearly overthought this. I heard ‘Big’ and my initial reaction was with gut, heart and limbs. Then my mistake – searching for information, seeing photos; the initial reaction became, as I listened to the album Dogrel, an inability to appreciate it for what it is. And what is it? A debut album by a group of young men: a mish-mash of styles, of bravado and openness, intelligent lyrics to songs that belong on a debut.
But I’d been here before. Bands have come and gone, unable to fulfil what I hope for them – it is wisdom, and it’s not wisdom, it’s something negative, whatever that might be. But, with persistence, listening, not fretting about what I think I know, I came to a halfway state: gut, heart and limbs in play, tempered slightly, but not too much as I claim Dogrel as the perfect debut album.
The Crystals – Da Doo Ron Ron
It pleases me that the man who made hearts stand still and could cause, just by his very presence, an exclamation of ‘my oh my’ was named Bill.
NOFX – Perfect Government
And who the fuck are you, anyway? / Who the fuck are they? / Who the fuck am I to say? / What the fuck is really going on?
Poetry. As mentioned recently, I appreciate the use of a well-placed “fuck”.
Iron & Wine – Passing Afternoon (Demo)
In the Quietus, Luke Turner wrote that seeing Suede recently wasn’t an exercise in nostalgia but ‘everything they did for me a quarter of a century ago’. I mention this because I recently bought the 15 anniversary vinyl edition of Iron & Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days and, to paraphrase Turner, listening to it hasn’t been an exercise in nostalgia; the record is everything it was to me when I first heard it fourteen, maybe fifteen years ago.
Mammoth Penguins – Closure
It’s thanks to the Norman Records’ weekly playlist I heard Mammoth Penguins this week. ‘Closure’ is the first song on their new album, There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win. I listened to it (the album – sub 45 minutes, the perfect length for an album of alt indie pop rock – their classification, not mine) a little worried, concerned the rest of the album wouldn’t match up to that opening. But it does. The album is melodic, noisy, recorded fantastically, with intelligent lyrics (and if you’re wondering what I mean by “intelligent”, I mean ‘I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, fuck it all, fuck it all, fuck it all’). They’re playing London in June. I’m there.
Magnolia Electric Co. – Song For Willie
I recently finished reading Erin Osmon’s book Jason Molina: Riding With the Ghost. There’s a lot to recommend it: details such as Jason’s teenage bands having reassuringly teenage band names (Chronic Insanity anyone?), my hope fulfilled the book would look at the Midwest music scene (subject for Osmon’s next book maybe please?), and the excellent analysis of Jason’s music throughout.
Silver Jews – Slow Education
When God was young / He made the wind and the sun / And since then it’s been a slow education / And you’ve got that one idea again / The one about dying
I loved the Silver Jews. ‘Slow Education’ is the first song on the first album – Bright Flight (2001) – I ever heard of theirs. So enamoured of the band was I, I stuck a review of the album, which I had cut out of a music magazine, onto my bedroom wall like a soldier, posted overseas, would do to a photo of his sweetheart back home.