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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Moan, moan, moan ...

It's been noted that my postings on this humble little blog do sometimes have a slightly, er, less-than-positive cast. Grumbles do appear. OK, I complain, kvetch and bellyache about stuff, including even the music (which I tend to disparage more than praise).

Hmm. Fair cop? Kind of. But I figure there's already a sickening surfeit of sites and PR-led music journalism massaging the egos of the mediocre. When I like things it's generally fairly clear I do (even if it's usually in the context of comparing a decent thing to something I reckon is hyped and overrated).

Enough with the self-justification, though. Let's get on with the show!

As I was saying in my first-ever post (my best gigs of 2010 run-down) there's a superabundance of great music being made, played and talked about. I might moan about the PR, about shoddy journalism, or about the door policy and audience behaviour at gigs (OK, I do do this ...), but hey, I'm still digging it man. So here's a quick half-term report, ie 10 things I've enjoyed so far in 2011:

1: Let's Wrestle - apparently newly-invigorated with a different bass player. They're kickin' out the Mascis-style jams very effectively.


2: Netlabels Mutant Bass, Kill Mommy Records, and Sociopath Recordings. High-quality output from these great sites. Netlabels: surely the future.

3: Programming at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama next to the Barbican in London. On ongoing mix of interesting performances (eg Schumann, modern electronic music), sometimes with a member of staff giving you some potted history.

4: JD Smith's gigs this year at the Windmill in Brixton (and elsewhere), including his "The Real JD Sessions”. I like the ghost blues/rock/country mix at these gigs - though not many other people seem to, judging by the tiny audiences.

JD Smith
5: Eleven volumes of music that inspired the Cramps. Have been listening to this little blood-soaked treasure-trove of rockabilly, R'n'B, 50/60s exotica and other Lux & Ivy-approved stuff for the last few weeks.

6: These five good gigs (among many others): (1) Talk Normal at Death By Audio in Brooklyn on 5 March; (2) Way Through at the Old Blue Last in east London on 16 June; (3) Gout at the same venue on 15 January; (4) Calories (again same venue) on 24 February; (5) The Love Triangle at the Firefly in Worcester on 25 February.

7: Some Hindi music (is it?) on cassette that I picked up from a charity shop. Very lively!



8: The Guardian's week-long series of profiles of music genres. Highly tendentious (yes I complained - ! - about "Indie" in particular), but a good read nevertheless.

9: Hearing a bloke at the next table to me in Shoreditch one lunchtime say to his eating companion: "He keeps on dropping moody dubstep and it ain't working".

10: DJ Brother Jimmy The Truth’s The Garage Sale show on University of Virginia radio. I'm continuing to enjoy the music selection and the laid-back style, but why doesn’t he upload the podcasts more frequently?

Ten good things and it’s only July. I’m being positively Panglossian. 2011, a vintage year already. Make mine a shandy.  

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