I’m a nice girl, me

Musical Revelations Of The Week:
Hamfatter What Part Of Hamfatter Do You Not Understand? I’ve been hugely fond of this record for the last two months since it dropped onto the doormat. The artwork promises little and they’ve not got the best band name I’ve ever heard, but they’ve got the tunes. A whole album full, to be precise. I’ve been playing this rather a lot today for vaguely professional reasons and I’m still discovering new bits I love about it. I won’t say too much now, as it’s not out till mid-July, but around release time I’ll deploy hyperbole like you wouldn’t believe.
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names#3 This one that I have to thank Radcliffe and Maconie for. ‘Loop Duplicate My Heart‘ was an early single of the week on their new Radio 2 show and their name lodged at the back of my mind as a result of its shining brilliance. I was tootling around town on Friday evening, in the mood to pick up a few bits and bobs and this popped back into my mind. Glad it did. Very Magnetic Fields-y with some superb summery sounds.
Songs : OhiaThe Lioness I’ve been working my way through Jason Molina‘s back catalogue over the last couple of years, and this was the last album for me to pick up. The blessed Norman Records got a second hand copy of this in on vinyl last week so I figured it was time to get hold of it. Once again, it’s a beautiful, fragile album that creates an atmosphere and commands your attention. I’m conscious of the fact that his albums need a bit of time to be absorbed and that I flit about far too quickly to truly appreciate them. Thus, I have mentioned it here so that it might actually remind me to spend more time with the Molina cannon in the near future.

Non-musical Revelations Of The Week:
Alex James – ‘Bit Of A Blur‘ Yes, I know, it’s a book primarily about music, but when you bear in mind that I spend as much of my free time obsessing over music as possible it’s hard for anything else to creep in. Anyway, it’s as good as I had hoped. I’ve even forgiven him for selling his soul to the Mail on Sunday and letting them print extracts in the run up to its release. It’s honest, breezy and chirpy. It doesn’t get bogged down in the first sixteen years of his life like so many biographies that end up boring the arse off you before you get to the good stuff. I’m just over a hundred pages in and he’s already up to the recording of ‘Parklife‘. Suits me just fine.
Another quick mention for Blurcast.tv (full details below) at this point. Currently watching/listening to the ‘13 Live‘ show that was on BBC2 to promote said album, back in 1999. Excellent stuff.
Big Brother – Apparently they have a moral conscience after all. Did they need to show the clip though? Was it really essential viewing? In a sense I do agree that it had to be aired once in context in order for it to be put to bed, but at the same time Channel 4 can’t really claim to have been acting with anything other than ratings in mind, as with the Diana show. If nothing else it confirmed my opinion that Emily wasn’t even half as clever as she thought she was. The flimsy attempt at an explanation in the diary room was disturbingly confident, almost as if she didn’t really believe anything would happen. Yes, I’m still watching it, four days after the point at which I normally storm off in a huff complaining about how annoying they all are. I still think that, only I seem to be more tired in the evenings and less willing to get off the sofa.
New Zealand rugby team – Is there any point having the World Cup later this year? Watching the destruction of France at the hands of the All Blacks, who themselves were not at their best, made it quite clear that nothing much is up for grabs this autumn. However, for some insane reason, New Zealand will be playing a warm up game against Canada next weekend. Canada? Even my beloved Welsh team managed to put a bucketload of points past them last year, so what sort of challenge will they present for the world’s best rugby team?


Musical Revelations Of The Week:

Girl Groups Sounds – One Kiss Can Lead To Another‘ Boxset – A quite brilliant box from Rhino, up to the high standards of the Nuggets sets. It contains four CDs of 60s pop with a female origin. In amongst the tried and testeds lurk some truly wonderful neglected gems. If that wasn’t enough, it comes in a mini-hat box with each CD in a digipack styled like a make-up compact. Splendid. Shown here.
The Beta BandBest Of DVD – Finally picked up the 2DVD set this week as it was less than a tenner. Much to love about the Betas, although it was the case that perhaps not enough people realised this at the time. Well worth getting for the ‘Let It Beta‘ documentary on Disc 2 that follows the band for the entire process of creating ‘Heroes To Zeros‘, their final album. Absolutely warts’n’all, and full of hissy fits and seriously pissed off musicians, it’s compelling viewing.
John PhillipsJohn Phillips (John The Wolfking of LA) – Reissued last year, this country-rock wonder is well worth investigating. Released at the start of the seventies, it’s a wonderfully produced album, with the warmth of sound one associates with that period. Hard to describe adequately, so it might well be worth seeking out some audio clips.

Non-musical Revelations Of The Week:

The Apprentice – It dawned on me this week that all of the remaining contestants are a bit rubbish. Would you have faith in any of them if real money depended on it? Alan (come on, it might catch on) made the point that it wasn’t about being TV presenters, and yet these channels depend entirely on good presenting in order to flog some of the utter arse they wish to peddle to the public. All round excellent media chappie, Andrew Collins, points out on his blog that Katie will be made to suffer in next week’s episode. I can hardly wait.
Big Brother – Only my computer’s frequent inability to perform basic tasks (the key one being – working as a computer) annoys me more than some of the new housemates. Every year I start watching, and every year I get a week in and storm out the room declaring it the biggest waste of time imaginable. Same situation this year. So few of them are even likeable, although presumably that’s the point. So oddly involved with it was I on launch night that I even watched Chris Moyles hosting ‘Big Brother’s Big Mouth‘. When will TV executives realise that he can’t do telly. It just doesn’t suit him. He can be occasionally amusing on the radio, but put a camera in front of him and he becomes the playground bully. If you laugh at his crass generalisations then all will be fine, but if you dare to slip up then he will target you with a personal slight as quickly as the thought can get to his lips. It was horrific viewing and it almost made me want to see more footage of the twins talking instead. Almost.
The Sindy‘s new look – One big paper, one big magazine, one pound. Yeah, this week maybe, but no doubt it’ll be £2.50, or something similarly ridiculous once the hyping stops. I’ve been an Indie reader for the last eight years, and I’ve stuck with it through thick and thin (apart from a brief strike as a result of that awful ‘Sleeping Around’ column), despite its occasionally obsessive environmental front pages and its love of price hikes and all in all I’m happy with what I get. Looking at the relaunched Independent On Sunday this morning was like looking at website content that had been put into the paper. It now has the equivalent of hyperlinks telling you where to go next and the stories can be read in more detail via their website. Not entirely convinced about what they’re trying to achieve, but it all looks quite pretty. Simon Kelner, the editor of The Indie, frequently makes the point that papers are too cheap when you take into account the sheer volume of writing you get in them. While he has a point, you have to wonder how much it’s possible to stretch the definition of value for money. I don’t buy a paper everyday anymore, as a result of the increasing costs. The Indie‘s website is my homepage and I flit about each day, whether I’ve bought a physical copy or not. But constantly hiking the price requires an audience that are resolutely tied into your product. If Indie readers are the sort of people who like the idea of hyperlinks in their newspaper articles, what’s to stop them simply reading the paper on the web instead?