Good old Graham Coxon. Not only is he a member of one of the greatest bands of recent times, creator of one of the early contenders for 2009’s album of the year and one of the few musicians willing to contribute honestly and openly to online discussion boards, but he’s pioneering exciting and alternative ways to make money out of music. As huge fans of music, this can only be pleasing news for us, as the more that musicians develop ways to make releasing tunes into the current climate viable, the more great music we’ll continue to be graced with.
Coxon’s new single, ‘Sorrow’s Army’, is available in one format only. An art print. Ok, that art print comes with a download code for that track, but the release itself is something you can’t actually play. The print itself is rather lovely (click to see the image, as uploaded by ‘salmon’ from the Blur forum) and sets you back £4-£5 depending on where you purchase it from. Not bad for an art print and it’s worth remembering that the song on its own would have sold for 79p. Not a bad mark up. Naturally, art prints aren’t suddenly going to become the format du jour, but it’s a great example of an artist adapting to the rapidly changing commercial nature of music selling. Graham’s fans all seem pretty chuffed with the item and it’ll be raking in the cash for his record label. It’s certainly a more appealing alternative format than the USB releases that Keane and Ed Harcourt have attempted of late and, while I’d never have considered buying ‘Sorrow’s Army’ as a single, having already purchased the rather splendid album, ‘The Spinning Top’, my five quid went winging its way to Transgressive Records quicker than, well, much quicker than they actually sent the bloody thing, but we won’t dwell on that.
This seems like a good time to mention just how utterly terrific his new album is. I’m not sure what I was expecting from it – certainly not what I got. The Record Store Day exclusive 10" of ‘In The Morning’ gave a pretty decent indicator, with eight minutes of acoustic splendour, gentle vocals and a delicate touch not normally associated with solo Coxon.
Two immediate highlights are the aforementioned, ‘In The Morning’, and ‘Look Into The Light’. Listen to both below.
See? Now go and buy the album.
What, you need more convincing and a more persuasive pitch?
‘The Spinning Top’ is Graham’s masterpiece, lengthy but enthralling, beautifully sung and exquisitely rendered. There are touches of Nick Drake, particularly on ‘Look Into The Light’, and, as he’s explained in numerous interviews, the music of Davey Graham sent him off in this direction in the first place. Gently affecting, hugely understated and unlikely to immediately strike you as a stone cold classic, ‘The Spinning Top’ slowly abducts each and every heart string until suddenly the one, almighty tug brings you on side and from that point onwards there’s no looking back.
Now go and buy the album.