Jim Moray’s Skulk was one of my favourite album’s of last year. A total peach. Trad folk is really strong atm. For years the fRoots winners poll was dominated by African bands but over the last 3 / 4 years British folk has reasserted itself as the go to “roots music” genre.
Let’s, as they say, talk about folk music. Not something I do very often on here very often really so bear with me if you couldn’t give two hoots to the genre.
Following the beeb’s heinous decision to axe Mike Harding’s folk show I’ve officially unsubscribed from “The Mike Harding Folk Show” podcast (now renamed ”The Mark Radcliffe Folk Show”) and have subscribed instead to this page via RSS instead - Mikes independently broadcast folk show. Was going to write “nothing against Mark” but in reality I’m very disappointed in his accepting the job & effectively stabbing in the back a far, far better folk music dj. Talk about Judas Iscariot eh? He can’t need the money & must know that Mike Harding’s aways going to record a better folk music show than himself. Frankly I’ve only got time in my week for one folk music show & I’m gonna make it the best yeah? Logical really.
Woodpecker Wooliams again - excuse me for posting another version of Sparrow but it’s just such an amazingly rad song it deserves it. So there. It’s a live session this, an itdrewitself Music Rooms session to be precise. First heard it just before Xmas but am only just posting cuz, you know, celebrating shit got in he way.
Electronicky, folky, haunting & a tiny bit wack, it’s probably unlike anything you’ve heard by any other artist. It’s also up on Soundcloud (see below), b2b’d with Gull.
You should probably consider giving up if you don’t like either to these tracks cuz they’re fecking boss.
BrGot a new iPhone on yesterday. Took it to the Woodpecker Wooliams gig at The Grain Barge last night. It was a polite, everyone seated affair from start to finish. So I recorded the duo playing possibly their most well known song Sparrow. Here it (above). Can’t really do that at many gigs a go too. Y’know, with the spin kicking n all (see this).
I also audioboo’d a couple of minutes of a track by the first artist of the night, Spiderbelly, playing a song with Rachaed Dadd (who was having a night out with Ichi & the wee Ichi Daddi bairn). Was lovely. The song. The bairn was all swaddled like so couldn’t see but I’d be very, very surprised if it went lovely too.
This post first appeared here as a “private” jobby. I sent it to le olo de worms to have le squizz of it before publicating-ting-ting it n they sent me a loooooooooong (it wasn’t that long really - knock off a couple ‘o’s’ at least) list of factual fuckups for amendification. I amendificated them,…
The default behaviour when you change a post from “Private” to published should be to bump it to the top of everyone’s dashboard. This is the next best thing I guess.
Well gorgeous in creepy, psch-folk kinda way. Spot the Simon & Garfunkel influence? Yeah, I know, kinda makes you wonder if you really like it or not. After much discussion amongst myself (& a couple of fly-bys) have decided that yuuup, I quite dig.
Went to see Trembling Bells & Bonnie Prince Billie on Thurs. Wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy it that much, seemed like a weird combination but y’know what? It really worked. Live anyway, still not totally convinced it works on record mind.
There was never any question of doubt who was the focus of attention on stage. Bonnie Prince Billie was the focus of attention on stage. He had a fine jacket on that, whenever he rose his hands up showed off his belly button quite impressively. Everyone was all agog. When they weren’t copying his hand movements like fucking children & giggling between themselves about it rather than listening to the frigging music.
So, the audience were a bunch of dicks. Old dicks. So weird being at a gig surrounded by people way older than myself. All pretty drunk, shouting out totally unfunny comments & asking Will to have their babies. One woman even fucking blew him kisses at every opportunity. Jeez. This is why I try to avoid any gig at a venue with a capacity over 200.
Music was great anyway. The two voices worked well together & despite the fact that Trembling Bells are from Scotland the whole came over as old school classic Americana folk brought up to date.
Ever year there seem to be more people covering Joy Division. Here’s two of last years more diverse examples.
June Tabor & Oysterband’s album Ragged Kingdom was one of last years stand out album’s, it literally won shed loads of awards but probably passed you by as traditional folk probably ain’t on your radar. Stand out track on it (for me anyway, probs not for the beardy sandal wearing brigade) was this cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart:
Secondly, South African Rap / Afrobeat artist Spoek Mathambo’s album Mshini Wam, also released last year included this upbeat version of Control.
Most of the adjectives used to describe Earth are ones that most people would deem if not ‘offensive’ then at least ‘not complementary’. I’m thinking of adjectives such as ‘drone’ ‘doom’ ‘sludge’ & (inevitably as they originated in Seattle around the same time as Nirvana & head Earth man Dylan was bezzie mates with Kurt) ‘grunge’. Granted, Earth do conform to these describey works to a certain extent but the thing is that they play around with the sounds associated with these adjectives in such a way as to actually produce something totally moving & even, at times, euphoric.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the worlds biggest fan of the recorded Earth sound (& hence decided to just grab a pic of the band to embed here instead of a video) but live they seriously come into their own, something that’s the case with most bands of their type. The usual rule of trying to recreate a live experience in your own home by playing music by the band really loud in a pitch black room, (you don’t do this? Never? Well well well…) doesn’t really work with Earth as you’ll miss out on the effect that their masterful mucking about with reverb has on you when in a proper ‘live’ situation. (Expect I’ll probably get into trouble with the Wire reading masses for suggesting their recorded sound doesn’t excite me anywhere near as much as their live sound but hey, I really don’t mind & am happy to accept that as a flaw in me not the music).
Live, Earth crank up the volume & produce huge swelling elemental vista’s of rolling wonder (he says, in a desperate & obvious attempt to get back in with the Wire reading masses - I find dropping the word ‘vista’ into one’s writing usually does THAT trick). The individual elements; guitar, cello, drums & one of the most astonishing sounding examples of bass playing (& bass reverb) I’ve heard for a while roll into each other repetitively & irresistibly & speak to that tribal part of one’s soul. Possibly.
This was another classic example of a Bristol audience just hanging around watching the band with no real outward show of emotion at all. I can’t believe that at least some of them weren’t being moved by it as much as me. Quite the contrast to the previous weeks Fastcore fest. I’ll never understand how people can just stand still & stare at this sort of music, or, indeed, any music. I swear I was the only member of what looked to be a near sold out Arnolfini who was visibly getting into the music in any way.
At least the audience gave good ‘whup’ (actually, more like deep voiced & very manly “yeah“‘s rather than ‘whup”s) at the end of each song so obviously they were enjoying it even if they were too cool to show such was the case during the songs.
The band were supported by two kind of ‘droney folk’ artists. Mount Eerie (whose previous album, the twin peaks sampling ‘Wind’s Poem’ was great) & Ô Paon. Mount Eerie has two albums due out this year & so was strictly playing unheard music, never a great idea. Both supports were ok but Earth were in a different league really.
Anyway, here’s a video ofÔ Paon for no other reason than that you may be curious as to what ‘droney folk’ sounds like: