A curator, if you will

I’m not even sure what radio show it was, back in the day, one of the stations I listened to used to do a music press review on a Wednesday. Actually, it might have been in the early days of 6music when Andrew Collins‘ afternoon show (RIP) was still called ‘Teatime‘. Anyway, I used to love hearing the cherry-picked highlights and treated it as a buyer’s guide. Sadly, there isn’t enough music press to make that particularly worthy these days, but, on this occasion, indulge me.

There are two things I’ve been meaning to share with you. The first is the rather excellent list of ‘Things heard at the Latitude festival‘ in this month’s Uncut.

Some of my favourites:

  • “Pimm’s me up to the power of two!”
  • Heard over a walkie-talkie: “Child control to the Poetry Arena!”
  • “Seriously, I thought it was called Ricky Pedia. I assumed it was a bloke with a really popular MySpace page.”
  • Woman on phone telling her friends where to meet her: “I’m directly below the cloud that looks a bit like Cyprus.”

Splendid stuff.

The second item of note is in today’s NME. Now, I know that every few months I keep saying almost nice things about this magazine but it really has shown signs of improvement recently. For a start, the woefully pretentious letter from the editor – and his picture, for that matter – has disappeared from the third page and the writing just seems sharper and funnier. Mark Beaumont having a weekly column can only be a good thing. Anyway, this week, the main feature is a huge interview with Noel Gallagher. Say what you like about Oasis, and most people do, Noel is fantastically good value when it comes to interviews. Never one to disappoint, this time around it’s regarding Jay-Z.

“I never dissed that guy. But there’s no point going on about it or you end up sounding like Heather Mills.”

Fair point, well made. It’s worth £2.20 to read the whole thing.

And finally, today’s new music mutterings:

They describe themselves as ‘ambient/electronica/pop’, which’ll do for me. That said, one track, ‘Handcuffs‘ is pure indie joy from start to finish. If you’ve already visited the VJ myspace then that’s the track that blares out at you when the page loads. Good, innit? They’re good Welsh boys, are Man Without Country. That’s who I’m on about, by the way. There are delightful moments in the aforementioned track where you’re left in no doubt about the band’s country of origin and I can’t deny that I love it all the more because of that. The other tracks that you can hear on their Myspace and iSound pages have a little more of that ambient feel to them, but if you love innovative, energetic songs then you should give them a few minutes of your time.

Taking all the credit

Having been banging on about physical media and the demise of the record shop only yesterday, I found myself purchasing a download-only album mere hours after publishing said blog entry. My main excuses are that a) it was only a fiver b) it isn’t available by any other means. I’m not especially fond of downloads, mainly because I rarely form an attachment with music I acquire in that manner, but on this occasion I’ll make an exception. The album I download was ‘I, Yeah!‘ by up-and-coming (get me!) Bristol band, Glow.

Regular readers may remember me droning on about the sheer majesty of Northampton’s finest, Maps, last year. The album, ‘We Can Create’, just edged ‘The Good, The Bad & The Queen’ as my album of 2007. It’s slightly squelchy, delightfully indie, intelligently-crafted electronic music. And that, my music-loving-internet-browsing chums, is also how I would describe ‘I, Yeah!‘ Seriously, it’s that good. It hasn’t been with me long enough for me to make insanely hyperbolic statements about how it’s as good as the Maps album, but I can forsee a long and beautiful relationship. It won’t be quite as beautiful as could be though, because it’s a CD-R. Still, mustn’t grumble. This appears to be a clear argument for the increasing reliance on digital releases. My guess would be that this album would have been a financial nightmare to get off the ground if it had to be pressed up and packaged as a full CD release, but as a download that you can pay for with Paypal, it’s a (relative) piece of piss.

I should just confess at this point that I shambled upon this rather wonderful album as a result of the tireless work of one Adam Walton. I’ve mentioned him before for one reason or another, but for those not up to speed he’s the host of a late-night new music show on BBC Radio Wales. I became hooked on the show in an earlier format during my later teenage years living in South Wales and I’ve kept listening from time to time ever since. A few months back he played the Glow album in its entirety. As it happens, I missed that show, but while following the time-extinguishing Google/Wiki trail of Adam Walton I happened upon a post on their site about him doing that. So, I had a listen and the rest, as they say, is history. For those counting cliches in this post, I think that’s four.

Adam’s great, by the way, and sadly not as revered as he should be. There are two remaining, essential new music shows for me these days – one is, as you may be aware by now, Gideon Coe on 6music and the other is Adam’s. He plays some truly bizarre stuff from time to time, but his show is essentially a latter-day John Peel show with the emphasis on Welsh music. Last night I heard a hip-hop group called Mudmowth – great, although the Myspace page appears to have been written by an Alan Partridge version of Westwood – a delightful female artist by the name of Georgia Ruth Williams, the folksy delights of The Toy Band and a truly brilliant indie band called Man Without Country. Click on the respective names to find out more and/or have a listen to last night’s show via the BBC iPlayer. He’s on every Sunday from 10pm.

Oh, and if you didn’t click on the link above, go and buy the Glow album here.