Monday, 26 April 2010


This month’s listening has included some fantastic new stuff. The Weller LP will as ever divide opinion (especially if you’ve seen his dreadful television performances) but after a gap of about 20 years I’m firmly back in the pro camp. If Roky Erickson’s doesn’t move you, nothing will. Fill your boots.

1. Little Jerry – “There Ain’t Enough Love” (1960)
I’ve lugged this rolling piano and horns single around in my DJ box for years yet hardly ever get to play it. I find out today that Little Jerry was Little Jerry Williams who was later became Swamp Dogg. You’re fascinated, I can tell.

2. The Four Tops – “Baby I Need Your Loving” (1964)
When people get married to the strains of Levi Stubbs and co, you know everything is gonna be alright. Mark and Melanie Wilkinson, this is for you.

3. Philamore Lincoln – The North Wind Blew South LP (1969)
Just when you think you’ve discovered every 60s album worth having, something like this lush, breezy, gently psychedelic masterpiece turns up and knocks your paisley socks off clean into next Tuesday. I only discovered it through Bill Luther and his Anorak Thing blog. To see what originally piqued my interest – and to continue our tradition of sharing stuff going back to our fanzine days - see here.

4. Lightnin’ Hopkins – “Let Me Play With Your Poodle” (1969)
If I had poodle there’s no way I’d let Hopkins anywhere near it.

5. The Last Poets – “True Blues” (1971)
If you’re a rapper (unlikely) and you haven’t studied The Last Poets you haven’t done your homework, boiy. Percussion, chanting, and a blistering torrent of street savvy militant poetry. Right on.

6. 20 Dollar Whore – “Big Black Lover” (2001)
Now, let’s see. The band are 20 Dollar Whore. Their record is “Teenage Fuckin’ Boredom E.P.” It has the Black Panthers on the sleeve. One side is “Side Asshole”, the other “Side Bitch”. They come from Kouvola, Eastern Finland. I’m guessing it ain’t a lot of fun there.

7. Serena Maneesh – “Blow Yr Brains Out In The Mourning Rain” (2010)
The album S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor sails too close to the shoegazing wind to be endorsed or encouraged but a couple of tracks stand out including this well titled racket.

8. Johnny Cash – “Ain’t No Grave” (2010)
I hope you didn’t send him any flowers, cos it seems old Johnny ain’t dead yet. “Ain’t no grave, can hold my body down” he wheezes. From the grave. Again.

9. Paul Weller – Wake Up The Nation LP (2010)
Like 22 Dreams, Wake Up The Nation works best when listened to as a whole. As such its difficult picking out individual tracks but the further out there he goes, the better it gets. And he goes pretty far out: “7&3 Is The Striker’s Name” is the most extravagantly outlandish single of his career; he audaciously sings falsetto on “Aim High”; he invites Bruce Foxton back into the fold and gets him to play on the gibberish off-kilter lunacy of “Fast Car/Slow Traffic” as a punishment for “London Traffic” 32 years ago; and he throws in a mini rock opera, “Trees”, that has him singing as a woman “When I walk down any street, men would stop and stare/ Boys would whistle and their eyes would shine/ My skirt would swish to show my long strong legs so fine”. Sup up your beer and collect your fags, Weller – you’ve pulled.

10. Roky Erickson with Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil LP (2010)
Fragile, tender, graceful and deeply moving, the countrified True Love Cast Out All Evil is an album of unexpected, unsettling, redemptive beauty. After all Roky has been through – the acid, the madness, the home for the criminally insane, the electroshock therapy, the Thorazine, the poverty, the zombies and two-headed dogs - it’s an emotional listen: you want to wrap your arms around it as it slowly breaks your heart before delicately papering over the cracks. Album of the month and a marker for album of the year.

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