This is an amazing exploration of the colonial legacy of Berlin, in Daniel’s own words “In this video I´m trying to show how deep racism is rooted in Germany´s public consciousness. These streets that I show are named after questionable colonial figures since the late 19th century and though it has become known what these guys have committed, these street names are still around.”
Echoes here of the recent controversy around Oxford Univeristy’s statue of Cecil Rhodes, or the question of whether Bristol’s Colston Hall ought to be renamed.
Rename the Streets was released on 22nd January. An album, African Fabrics, follows on February 26th
It’s fair to say the KV podcast has been a sporadically issued affair. Episode 11 came out in July 2013 and then nothing. Until today that is. I’m happy to say Episode 12 is now live, featuring some choice new songs and a couple of reissues. You can stream it below or directly download it here . And, of course, you can subscribe on itunes.
It’s a Melbourne rock ‘n’ roll residency as Courtney Barnett brings her local pals Big Scary with her. Kicking off the first of two nights at London’s Forum.
Definitely worth arriving early for, Big Scary are fitting opener for this sell out show. Officially they’re a duo comprised of Tom Isanek and singing-drummer Jo Symes, but their touring band also consists keyboards, bass and a saxophonist. Their sound conjures a vibe that I would best describe as a moody party. It is droney funk with infectious choruses. Recent single Organism is a blend of dirty bass and sax and smoky vocals that recalls Morphine and Jimi Tenor.
Another song sounds a bit like the Rapture, and they put one shouty audience member in their place after they inanely request ‘something happier. “What’s happier than a disco song?” quips Jo Symes in reply. What indeed, defiantly, they follow up with a moodier, piano number to end their set.
Courtney Barnett and her band emerge a short while later, playing a grungey set, largely comprised of her excellent debut album Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just Sit. The band generate a glorious racket for just three people, but there are times when the distortion obscures Barnett’s vocals, which is a shame as her lyrics are razor sharp and deserve to ring out loud and clear. When they can be heard though, they resonate deeply within me, particularly on the telling Are You Looking After Yourself“Have you got some money saved up for those rainy days? / You should start some sort of trust fund, just incase you fail” she sings, wistfully.
She is a shy performer, not engaging much with the crowd, but when your songs are stories, perhaps it’s enough to let them do the talking. Barnett is a real shredder too, a passionate guitarist, tearing up the stage with riffs and solos in amped up renditions of Dead Fox, Nobody Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party, Elevator Operator, Pedestrian At Best while psyched-out animations provide a suitably trippy backdrop behind her.
There are quieter moments too, she tries to hush a boisterous shouting contingent with “I’m going to play a quiet song called Depreston”, which is a more polite shushing than they deserve. The real standout for me is Kim’s Caravan, the band are bathed in half light, perfectly framed in a David Lynch haze as the guitar drone takes hold of me and carries me away for a while.
Playing larger venues is clearly something that she is taking time in getting used to, and she may have to navigate some even bigger stages yet. But, I’m glad I’m watching her at this stage, on the rise but not yet fully swallowed whole by mainstream rock.
The encore is buoyant cover of Know Your Product by The Saints, joined by Big Scary and she ends on the song that got me into her, the pun-loving Avant Gardener. And with that, she waves and wanders off, in the same unassuming manner in which she arrived.
It is something of a dream for many music enthusiasts to discover something special and unknown, and to be able to bring it to a new audience. Last Friday saw the release on Earth Recordings, co-ordinated by Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld, of the first compilation of Mikael Tariverdiev’s film scores available in the west. Coates was apparently sheltering from the cold in a Moscow and became intrigued about the music that was playing. On asking a waitress, he learned it was ‘something from the old times’. The journey that followed led to the release of this 3CD or 3LP retrospective, curated with the assistance of Tariverdiev’s widow, Vera.
Working in the Soviet Union from the 1960s, Tariverdiev scored over 130 films in his lifetime. His was an eclectic style, incorporating classical, folk, pop and jazz elements as well as found sounds and own gruff vocals, somewhere between Tom Waits and Serge Gainsbourg, but in Russian. This is an evocative record, and although the full tow hour plus experience of playing all three discs end to end is quite overwhelming, it does give you the great feeling of having a soundtrack to your day. There is such a wide array of styles here that comparisons are difficult, perhaps some of the piano and accordion music could be compared to Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack work, some of the poppier moments to the 1960s pop of Gainsbourg and Leonard Cohen. This is a fabulous collection, meticulously assembled, and very deserving of investigation.
Ray Charles performs ‘I Believe to my Soul’ at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival
On the 27th November, History of Soul Records release an 8CD compilation exploring the transition from the 1920s onwards from sacred music to the soul music of the late 50s and 60s. Kid Vinyl had the chance to listen to a 28-track sampler of the album, taking in predominantly 50s and 60s tracks. Sam Cooke, before he started to make secular music, is represented by 1955’s Be With Me Jesus and The Staple Singers by 1954’s Since He Lightened My Heavy Load. Early transitions into secular subjects are heard in the gospel themes of Ray Charles’s 1959 track I Believe to My Soul, and legends such as Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown and Sister Rosetta Tharpe are represented. The real treasure here though are songs by artists who have largely faded from wider consciousness. 1949’s Heaven Bound Train by the Jackson Gospel Singers is a compelling gospel number that features an onomatopoeic vocal style such as later used by the backing singers on Sam Cooke’s early secular hit Chain Gang. 1962’s No Headstone on My Grave by Esther Phillips, a rerecording of a Charlie Rich number, is lyrically reminiscent of blues, but delivered in a gospel style with honky tonk piano and horns; and Little Miss Cornshucks’s (1951) version of Try A Little Tenderness is both powerful and beautiful. Overall, this is an important exploration of a musical archive and a trajectory that lead to some of the most important music of the twentieth century.
My Sunday morning listening – a beautiful track from Moroccan-French singer Hindi Zahra, from the new album Homeland. Hindi plays the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall in London on the 8th November as part of the Nour Festival of Arts.
Melbourne Duo Big Scary release their debut single Organism on One Little Indian, on 27th November.
The pair will bringing their twisted pop and (hopefully) interesting dance moves to the UK this Autumn. They will be supporting Courtney Barnett ontour, and have just announced two headline shows in London.
17th July 1995 was a special day in my young life, not only would it be my first ever gig, but it would be to see my favourite band, Blur.
The build up was quite unlike any other I’ve experienced, even though they would go on to do much bigger gigs, this felt very special, era defining. The support line-up was teased out in the pages of the Melody Maker and NME in the months leading up to the show and it was to be their biggest headline outdoor show to date at the 27,000 capacity venue.
Blur were at the peak of their popularity, having won four awards at the Brits earlier in the year. I had bought tickets as soon as they went on sale, having convinced my parents that my friend’s older sister and her boyfriend would look after us both. The countdown was on: six months, which is teen years might as well be six years. Important planning with other more gig-experienced friends was afoot during school breaks “have you planned what you’re going to wear?” “Addidas or Puma?…yeah I think Damon wears Puma.”
Finally, the day of the gig rolled around. In typical fashion, after a beautiful run of sunshine, the rain came, but we were not to be deterred. It had been a dramatic week, Natalie’s sister was recovering from having her appendix out recently and my Mum called me from hospital where she was also recovering from surgery to tell me to be careful. Dad sent me off with two bacon rolls and banana in my rucksack. I rationed the banana, a mistake I would discover about mid way through Blur’s set, gross!
The band were guest editors of the NME that week, such was the significance of this show. I bought it on the way to the gig, immediately scrawling the date and where I’d bought it across the top corner (WHSmith, Liverpool St Station, 12:15pm) ok so perhaps not the time, but this copy became known as my ‘sacred NME’ for a good many years after.
A lot of valuable lessons were learned that day, including, in no particular order:
1. It’s not cool to wear the t shirt of the band you’re seeing the day you see them (especially if it’s a crappy knock-off from Camden Market that is too big for you, dweeb)
2. Portaloos are gross at any time of day
3. People can be rude dicks (Specifically men in sheepskin coats who loudly bang on about how sad people in raincoats are)
4. Bananas are not good gig snacks
After standing through drizzly but great sets by Sparks, The Boo Radleys and Dodgy, the crowd was soggy but wild for the main event and the rain even let up as the intro music (The theme tune to The Great Escape, appropriately).
The elaborate stage set included a big platform for the brass section and huge colourful burgers suspended from the ceiling. I was 14, surrounded by a huge number of similarly excitable teens. Listening back to the Radio 1 coverage, the screams from the crowd were off the scale, it was Britpop’s answer to Beatlemania, Damon even told people to be careful between songs.
They tore through songs like Tracy Jacks, Girls & Boys and Popscene and it was the first time the crowd had heard Country House , two months before the infamous (though now rather daft) chart battle with Oasis. Blur had apparently offered money to local residents so they could go out for the day and escape the noise, but one of the most beautiful sights of the night was people watching from their windows as dusk fell over the east end. We sang until our throats hurt and our feet blistered, but This is a Low was the perfect closer.
20 years on, and two days before I see them at Hyde Park (for the 3rd time) I still get a shiver down my spine during For Tomorrow. They have had their ups and downs, but I will always have Mile End.