Shellac of North America Tonight

I’m off to see Shellac of North America tonight at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. I saw them ages ago at an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in a year I can’t at the moment quite recall. I can’t quite recall the gig either so I’m looking forward to this one. That I’m going also gives me the excuse to draw your attention to Douglas Cowie’s summation of Shellac’s greatness that has stayed with me since I read it a few years ago because it is, I feel, spot on.

Going For A Song: ‘I Need You’

Nick Cave & The Bad Seed – ‘I Need You’

After reading a review this week about the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds gig at the O2 Arena in London I was reminded I hadn’t chosen, on its release last year, a song off Skeleton Tree for Going For A Song, though I had meant to at the time.

The song ‘I Need You’ might serve as a good indicator of Skeleton Tree as an album: lyrics are uncluttered, direct (evidenced by ‘I Need You’ as a title), sung by Cave in a voice that for the first time admits age and fragility into its timbre. Sounds of synths and parred back instrumentation – a tender wash of sound – are put in motion by Thomas Wydler’s drums; the Bad Seeds’ vocals provide additional support, together holding up and urging the song and singer forward to the main admission.

A year on from when I first heard them song and album have lost none of their emotional force. They are quite an achievement.

Going For A Song – ‘Terrible Love’

The National – Terrible Love

I saw The National on Wednesday at the Hammersmith Apollo. It was a show that sometimes lost a little momentum due to the very nature of the songs The National write. However, this was noticeable only because of those occasions when the band strung together a selection of songs and got the pacing of the show completely right.

Off the new album songs ‘Bound to Beg’ and ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’ stood out, but I’m choosing ‘Terrible Love’ which they finished with.

Going For A Song: ‘Rewind’

Jim Causley – Rewind

I’ve written about Jim Causley before, but it was this summer I listened to his album, Forgotten Kingdom, a lot; album and season weaving together in my mind. So to mark Friday’s equinox and the beginning of autumn I’ve chosen a song from that album that celebrates summer and its passing.

So come and roll me in the hay / Make a perfect end to a perfect day / For life is joy and life is gay / for only here and now