Here are some of the things I've been meaning to mention recently:
Common Reaction is the new CD by Uh Huh Her and has helpfully been reviewed by XOLondon. I first heard about them from Vinyl District, and it's a doozy. Check out the website here and the MySpace page here. Spinner has some live video and a podcast interview as well.
One artist I've fallen in like with is Charlotte Sometimes. When I first saw the CD cover in my local Best Buy, I pegged it as some alt-rock-screamo-metal hybrid college band with a healthy Cure fixation. Still, the Cure single was a classic, back in the day - October 13, 1981 to be exact. Thanks to some idle time and my Rhapsody account, I discovered that a) Charlotte Sometimes is in fact a New York based singer-songwriter b) the name is a reference to a 1968 children's book by Penelope Farmer that I had not heard of before but was also the inspiration behind the Cure song and c) Her debut single "I Could Just Kill A Man" is freakin' sweet, to use my best Peter Griffin expression. I definitely recommend checking out her website and the obligatory MySpace page.
On the subject of Cure songs, one of the reasons I have been embedding a Kate York widget on the corner of my blog is because I love her cover of "Boys Don't Cry". Thanks to Noisetrade you can download her album for whatever price you want, and there are plenty of good tracks on there. I also recommend "Will I Always Love You" and "Wished For Song". The album is also available on Rhapsody, which reminds me to mention that my $14.99 monthly subscription continues to be the best money I spend every month.
I was in a Billy Bragg mood over the weekend. Something that's been 'brewing up' for a while (get it?) - there was the video I posted the other week, then I got to listen to this instrumental version of "Greetings To The New Brunette" which I could not get out of my head for days. I had no idea Johnny Marr and Kirsty MacColl were both involved in that single. And let's not forget one of the best couplets of the 80's here:
Sometimes when we're as close as thisOn Saturday, as I went out and about, I kept hearing the song in my head and had this thought: if someone came up to me and said "hey, have you heard Greetings To The New Brunette - Johnny Marr played on that, you know" I would probably wet myself. Fortunately, given where I live, the circles I move in and my overall nerd-ness, I think my trousers are in acceptable bounds of safety. So I trawled around and discovered two comprehensive box-sets of material - it's worth mentioning that all of Billy's albums have been remastered and reissued with an extra disc of bonus tracks - and dug in.
It's like we're in a dream
How can you lie there and think of England
When you don't even know who's in the team?
I remember when I first saw Billy doing "Between The Wars" on TOTP - it was certainly very different to anything else in the top twenty in 1985. Hearing it again, it sounds so much like one of the hymns we used to sing in public school - perhaps, in a few year's time, it might rank alongside "Jerusalem":
Call up the craftsmanNow that's poetry.
Bring me the draughtsman
Build me a path from cradle to grave
And I'll give my consent
To any government
That does not deny a man a living wage