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   Sunday, November 22, 2009  
"For those about to folk, we salute you..."

...the so-called Monsters of Folk didn't say at their show last week at The Troxy in east London. In fact, they hardly said anything at all (and what they did utter was mostly in Spanish!), content to, yes, yes, let the music do the talking across a three-hour set. It seems a tad perverse to complain of too much music (it, after all, being what we've paid for) but this blog at least would happily have traded a couple of the 30-odd numbers for, well, a little more conversation, a little less action.

Specifically, a couple of the Bright Eyes songs, even though some of Conor's compositions on the MoF album - Say please, Ahead of the curve - are as good as anything on there. Even though Oberst is the most high-profile of this gang if any of their number seemed to have been shuffled forward for frontman duties it was Matt Ward. Which is slightly amazing when rr recalls the reticent figure he cut on his first London visit, his honeyed rasp emerging from the shade of a long-peaked baseball cap at the Arts Cafe half a lifetime ago. And its equally amazing, reading some of the show feedback, that there's still apparently plenty of folks around who haven't woken up to Ward's greatness. OK, his songs on the album don't take much spotting, their sheer M.Ward-ness rendering them impervious to his cohorts influence. But if you can stand there alone with an acoustic and deliver a song like Chinese translation so completely winningly, who needs the others?

That said, the show proved that no song ever suffers from having Jim James singing harmony, being nowhere more evident than when Will Johnson - yes, the Will Johnson - stepped out from behind the drumkit to duet his own song Just to know what you've been dreaming. Due to an oppressive security presence on permanent camera patrol you'll just have to imagine how pretty it sounded:

And, blimey, if folks' thought their M. Ward revision was daunting they'd better said aside the whole of 2010 for Johnson's..ooh, dozen albums is it now? He told the local press recently how the Monsters gig came about...

Yep, some folks you can just rely on. Amongst the early rr bankers for next year are matt pond PA's The dark leaves and whatever The Weepies will be calling their fourth collection. This blog has been in Deb & Steve's corner since, well, February 1 2004 to be exact, and the snatches of new material to be heard on this bit of vid suggest the well is far from dry:

[the weepies]

And when The Weepies do get round to flying the nest again for some touring Haley Bonar would be a great fit for the west coast sweep now she's in Portland. reallyrather makes no excuses for pushing Big star yet again (tho' she's three-parts finished the next one - Nettwerk, make that call!). Here's the fourth-best track:

[haley bonar]

Just as 'Christmas' seems to start ever earlier so too the 'Year End' lists season. Last week came the Rough Trade Top 60 for 2009. Fair enough this is a shop list and probably quite a handy marketing tool sales-wise over the next few weeks but from this blog's POV, tho' it does rank The XX release no.1, the total absence of another British band's debut holes its credibility below the water line:

   posted by SMc at 6:24 AM |