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   Thursday, May 31, 2007  

Oh blimey...

...hope the Wheat guys have still got the tin hats handy from last time. If Scott & Brendan thought the kicking Per second, per second.. got was bad, 'comeback' record Everyday I said a prayer, etc has been greeted with comments like:

:: 'simply shoddy' - Popmatters

:: 'scrappy' - Village Voice


:: 'a real copout' - Stylus

So it's a right load of crap then, yes? Er...

:: 'a triumph' - LostAtSea

:: 'this rich, eclectic album..Wheat's return is something to embrace and be excited by' - IndieLondon

:: 'no less than a stunning return to form' - CTNow

Well, that's helpful, isn't it; Pitchfork today drops somewhere in the middle. reallyrather's copy has yet to turn up and this blog is slightly relieved to be out of the fray..for now...

Do they like an early night over there in Nth Carolina? Another early finish from Annuals at the 100 Club last week, same as their last headlining show at Water Rats last back end. Probably a reaction to the venue being barely a third full - obviously not enought folks have got to hear Be he me which is far from being the 'ambitious mess' that the latest Uncut describes. In fact, this blog has played it as much as any other so far this year, a hugely likeable, nuanced pleasure almost from start to finish (give or take the odd Dave Matthews-esque wobble). Still, that which we did get at the 100 Club was terrific, full-force screamo-tribal-indie-power-pomp rock..or something. And the triple drummer approach is sorely underused, this blog has always thought. The fast-fingered downhome space trip of Ease my mind was a set peak closely followed, obviously, by Brother. Quite why they never seem to push this monster beyond its recorded 3-minute length is baffling - no-one would mind if you vamped it for about ten, guys, really. Maybe it'll happen at Latitude...

...the festival this blog signed up to for no particular reason but which is becoming increasingly handy/promising. It was certainly helpful last Thursday when a double-booking blunder found this blog wondering how to be simultaneously at the ICA's Swedish pop night and the Rosie Thomas/Denison Witmer Water Rats show. Loney,dear were headlining the former and since: a) their show here in March was surely as good as they could ever be, b) they're also booked for Latitude and c) the sound & atmosphere at ICA always seems to be just so rubbish, meant that after Maia Hirasawa's confident and rather charming opening acoustic pop set there (with cello, electric piano and four-part harmonies..nice!) it was scooters ahoy to Kings Cross... find Denison Witmer holding the attention of a pretty full room at Water Rats. Quite amazing, really, and long overdue. Suffering some kind of heavy-duty cold - just like on his UK debut back in Feb '03 in fact - he was sticking mostly to songs from the cosy triumph that is most recent album Are you a dreamer [see rr year-end list 2005]. Later he would join Rosie Thomas for a total sincerity bath featuring mostly her own (more bittersweet and fractionally less interesting) tunes with Denison backing, but with a few more of his dropped in here and there. They've been gigging together on and off for at least five years and what a completely natural coupling this seems to be. Very compatible musical instincts and voices, same sense of humour, lack of inches and a tendency, frankly, to witter on a bit between songs, they made humbly engaging company. As the show pushed on past 11.30 and despite the increasingly oppressive Turkish bath conditions, no-one seemed in any hurry to leave the room...

Did I ever mention Denison re-recorded his entire oeuvre to celebrate his 30th b'day last year? It's all here and it's all good...

...and Rosie's other help-mate for the These friends of mine album, Sufjan Stevens has recently cranked up the amps and tossed out curveball stonker In the words of the governor [go]

Looks like reallyrather won't be able to make it but singer-songwriter Catriona Irving's EP launch show at Betsy Trotwood June 6 might be worthy of your support. Stitch is out June 4 and features an ace big-beat remix of her song Hindsight. You should hear it. No, really, you should and you can courtesy of her label Neednowater...

Aeons ago this blog fell across the early offerings of breezy West coast folk-pop revivalists Willow Willow aka Miranda Zeiger and Jessica Vohs. Meanwhile, years pass. But what's this?! Finally, finally, with some empathetic friends lending a hand, an album has surfaced. The sun-dappled dreaminess of I feel love did it for reallyrather back then and still sounds Mama Cass-tastic. Follow the spring isn't far behind [hear here] and at least a couple more make this a distinctly tempting proposition, you'll agree...

The art direction on offer below is at least as attractive as Zoe Woodbury-High's guileless rendition of There is a light that never goes out on the ukelele

Up ahead:
June 8 Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Bardens Boudoir
-- check newish song Half awake [mp3]
June 10 My Sad Captains / Windmill Brixton
-- Bad decisions is about their fifth best song (so far) but their first single. It's like riding round on the scooter in the sunshine. If you haven't got a ride, surf this:

..and June 15 Dananananaykroyd / The Fly. Oh yes...

   posted by SMc at 9:13 AM |