Sunday, 9 December 2007

House Of Love - Shine On

A bit of visual loveliness for you today, with (gasp) a music video instead of the usual MP3. I just thought it would make a nice change. Back to MP3s for the next one, probably.

Here, then (care of YouTube), is one of my all-time favourite tracks by one of my all-time favourite bands, the criminally-underrated House Of Love. The track, their finest hour, is "Shine On", a classic single from the golden age of jangly indie kids. They just don't make 'em like this anymore...

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Love Music Hate Racism

No MP3s today kiddiwinks... just this advert which fell into my Inbox today. Free gig in the afternoon, cheap gig on the evening. Course, it helps if you live in Hull. But I do, so that's a result, eh?

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Folk n stuff

I promised after the last post that the next one (that's this one, yes?) would be a bumper post. And, since it's been an eternity since I last posted, so it shall be. Three tracks up today, not exactly linked as such, but I'm in a folky mood so here are some folky songs.

First up, is Odetta (pictured) with her sublime reading of "Gallows Pole". It always amazes me that when talk turns to the origins of modern folk, Odetta never makes it into the same paragraphs as the likes of Dylan and Pete Seeger. Her part in the genesis of US folk is undeniable, yet eternally underplayed. Listen to this track, and you'll see exactly what I mean.

Download: Odetta - Gallows Pole

Whilst we're on a folk trip, the second of the three tracks I'm posting today, is perhaps by an unlikely outfit. The name Chumbawamba usually conjures a painful grimace and memories of THAT song but their recent rebirth as Chumbawamba Acoustic has seen them garner critical acclaim as a slimmed-down four piece folk band. I've seen them live twice in the last couple of years, and they are far, far better than you might imagine. Their last studio album, 2006's "A Singsong And A Scrap", is a veritable masterpiece, and our second track today is taken from that. It's best explained by the introduction the band themselves gave it when I saw them in 2006 - "It's a bit like Onward Christian Soldiers, but with irony!".

Download: Chumbawamba - Walking Into Battle With The Lord

Last, but certainly not least, we're carrying on the a capella theme started with the Chumbawamba track. Here's a piece of brilliance from the mighty Billy Bragg, who I'm seeing live next month as well, so it's nicely appropriate. This is "Tender Comrade" from his superlative "Workers Playtime" album. For no real reason other than I think it's ace.

Download: Billy Bragg - Tender Comrade

As always... enjoy.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Record Of The Year - Ian Brown

Sadly this is only going to be a fairly short post, and given the gap since the last one, that's really a bit slack of me - but next time it'll be a bumper one... scout's honour...

Anyhoo, there may not be much in the way of sparkling editorial on this one, but I've made up for it with the music - here, in all its glory, is nothing less than the best record to be released this year, bar none.

It's Ian Brown's "Illegal Attacks", a not-at-all-veiled assault on UK and US foreign policy. Unusual lyrical territory for the Monkey Man perhaps, but you wouldn't think so. He doesn't hold back, and in this - possibly his finest hour since going solo - he's absolutely nailed a brilliant, fiery, orchestral hip-hop blast. Sinead O'Connor makes a guest appearance on backing vocals, which is never a bad thing.

Just listen to it, then listen to it again. You'll need to turn it up loud.

If you like the track - buy the single from Amazon UK or from HMV or anywhere else you fancy.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Carry Me Ohio

Sometimes you just want to switch on the stereo, stick a good tune on, and lay back and enjoy it. One of my absolute favourite tracks at the moment is the one I'm posting here, "Carry Me Ohio" by Sun Kil Moon. I heard this a while back and I'm still playing it regularly - there's something about it, I don't what it is... but what a song. Sun Kil Moon is the brainchild of Mark Kozelek, formerly head of The Red House Painters. "Carry Me Ohio" comes from the Ghosts Of The Great Highway album, a masterpiece of Americana, an eclectic affair which touches on, lo-fi rock, straight ahead riffage, and God-knows-what-else in between (it's even got a song called "Glen Tipton", about the Judas Priest guitarist of the same name - and I didn't make that up). "Carry Me Ohio" is the highlight of the album however, and by some way too. This is not a criticism of the rest of the album - merely an affirmation of just how good this track is.

All this talk of Ohio has only served to remind me of another great song, Neil Young's legendary track of the same name. So, what the hell, I've posted that too. This is the recently released version from the Live At Massey Hall album, originally recorded in 1971. Call it a bonus track if you like.

Download: Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio
Download: Neil Young - Ohio (Live At Massey Hall, 1971)

Monday, 24 September 2007

Covering The Clash

Two covers for you here, both with much in common. Both, for a start, are songs written by The Clash. And both sound nothing like the original versions, but this is no bad thing in either case.
First up is bloggers' favourite Jesse Malin, and his superb version of London Calling's "Death Or Glory". Malin transforms the song into a heartbreaking piano ballad, surely far-removed from what Messrs Strummer and Jones had in mind when they wrote the song nigh-on twenty years ago. Still, you can't help feeling that they would approve of this excellent interpretation.
The second track is from British singer/songwriter Adam Masterson (pictured). Currently residing in New York, and apparently without a record deal since 2003, this track popped up a couple of years back on a free CD I got with a music magazine. It was one of those hidden gems you always seem to find on freebie CDs. The guy's got talent, clearly, and his acoustic(ish) reading of "Gates Of The West" (originally from 1979's The Cost Of Living EP) is something of a firecracker.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Spencer Bohren - Southern Slidin' Blues

Spencer Bohren is a blues/folk guitarist and singer from New Orleans, USA. I saw him live at Beverley Folk Festival in 2006, and though it seems like ages ago (primarily because it was), I can remember the gig clearly. Bohren is a master of the lap steel guitar, and in an intimate venue (such as it was), to see someone play this quaint ol' instrument with such virtuosity, is awe-inspiring.

Bohren has a hefty back catalogue, which made it all the harder to decide which one of his CDs to purchase from the merchandise guy after the gig. On being told, "this one's got loads of slide guitar", I plumped for 2004's "Southern Cross", released on the German label Valve Records

Although the quality of the recording is not always what it could be (a peril of recording for minor German record labels perhaps?), the music is impeccable. Most of the tracks are cover versions, though the few originals are equal in quality to tracks by the likes of Hank Williams (represented twice, with "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and album closer "Lost Highway") and Curtis Mayfield.

It's impossible to describe in words just how good this guy is, so here are a couple of tracks for your listening pleasure, which should illustrate my point rather well. First up is Bohren's take on the Curtis Mayfield classic, "People Get Ready", transformed from soul masterpiece to slide-driven Americana - a beautiful reinterpretation of a legendary track. Secondly, we've got the age-old gospel song, "Workin' On A Building", which is just great, even to a Godless heathen like me. Enjoy.

Spencer Bohren - People Get Ready

Spencer Bohren - Workin' On A Building

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Back with The Pogues

Firstly, my apologies for the lack of posts lately. I've been on holiday and whatnot, primarily, and also been busy decorating (am I boring you yet?), so I have EXCUSES, see - proper ones and everything.

Anyways, I'm back.

Whilst I've been away, my favourite ever band The Pogues have announced that they will indeed be doing another Xmas tour this year - despite saying earlier this year that they wouldn't be doing it this time. Hurrah! They changed their minds!

As something of a Pogues obsessive (I'm really not exaggerating), this comes as sound news to me. I've been to the last three Xmas gigs at Manchester MEN Arena and loved them all, so the opportunity to see them again is quite simply too tempting to resist. That said, I did initially think, "I won't go this year... this is getting out of hand". But then I discovered that the support act for Manchester (only) is none other than the maestro himself - Billy Bragg!!! So hey, what the hell, looks like I'll have to go again. Tough life, eh.

Which leads me to the download for this post. This is a rare-as-rocking-horse-shit recording of The Pogues, live in Japan in 1988, performing a cover of "Japan" by jazz looney Pharaoh Sanders. This was the only tour on which they EVER played this song, and no studio version exists, not even as a bootleg (I have had this confirmed by Phil Chevron from the band - the track was only rehearsed on the afternoon of the gig, and then played "blind" that night).

Here it is in all its glory - it was broadcast on Japanese TV, along with the rest of the gig, so the sound quality is damn good, as you would expect. Check out Shane's vocal - priceless!

The Pogues - Japan (Live in Tokyo, October 1988)

There you go... how's that for a return to form? Enjoy.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Squeeze: East Side Story

I bought this record today for the princely sum of 50 pence, from a charity shop in a small Lancashire village by the name of Ramsbottom (don't ask...) - I picked up a few other records too, but we might get to those another day...

But anyhoo, 50p for a fine album such as this one is the bargain of the day by my reckoning.

"East Side Story" was released in 1981 (and co-produced by a certain Elvis Costello, no less) and as Squeeze albums go, it's one of the best. Opening track "In Quintessence" is a corker, and the quality remains high throughout - 14 tracks, all excellent - this is what pop music should sound like.

Here's one of the album's highlights for your listening pleasure:

Squeeze - Is That Love

Buy the CD (cheap!) from Amazon UK

Monday, 9 July 2007

David Rovics

I've been telling everyone I meet about this guy for ages. David Rovics is a singer/songwriter currently residing in Massachusetts, USA. His songs are in the tradition of the great protest singers - though to write him off as merely a "political" performer would be to do him something of a disservice. That said, he is a tireless political campaigner, and this does shine through in a large part of his substantial back catalogue. In particular, he does often focus on the Israel-Palestine situation, and, not surprisingly, the evils of the George W Bush regime.

Most refreshing about Rovics is his attitude to marketing his music. No need to worry about distributing his music on the Internet - he's done it for you. His entire back catalogue can be downloaded for free, via the Soundclick website (link below) - though, I would urge you to pay your money and buy the records, if you can (available from the artist's own website, or via Amazon or wherever else you usually buy your CDs). If this guy is prepared to give his music away, we should be prepared to pay for it. After all, this isn't Metallica we're talking about here...

I had the privilege of interviewing David Rovics earlier this year (by phone), and I'd like to add, not only is he a supremely talented musician, he's a genuinely nice, friendly guy.

Regardless of anything else, the music is brilliant, and deserves to be heard.

I recommend these tracks for starters:

David Rovics - Halliburton Boardroom Massacre
David Rovics - Waiting For The Fall
David Rovics - Falluja
David Rovics - Operation Iraqi Liberation
David Rovics - Moron
David Rovics - Palestine
David Rovics - Reichstag Fire
David Rovics - Saint Patrick Battalion

God I was getting carried away there...!

Anyway, here's the link to the Soundclick pages with the rest of the songs on (there are three pages of them... and not one song less than fabulous)...

David Rovics on Soundclick

If you like what you hear, PLEASE go and buy the CDs!

Oh, and check out David's official website (and remember to click the "Buy Stuff" button! Got that?)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Pauline Scanlon

I saw Pauline Scanlon at Glastonbury 2007 (twice, actually). First time was in the Acoustic Tent, the second in the rather more intimate Small Worlds Stage up in the Green Fields. Both performances were superb and I must admit, I'd never heard of this girl before - but she's in possession of a beautiful, enchanting voice and surely, great things must beckon for her.

Her new album, "Hush" is out now on Compass Records and can be purchased from our chums at Amazon, amongst other places (link below).

Here are a few tracks from Pauline's first album "Red Colour Sun" - listen to them all, this instant. Then go out and support Pauline by buying her albums. Please.

Pauline Scanlon - Sally, Free And Easy - Download
Pauline Scanlon - What Put The Blood - Download
Pauline Scanlon - And I Love You So - Download

Buy "Hush" from Amazon

Welcome aboard

Howdy folks.

Welcome one and all to this new music blog - Musicus Eclecticus. I've been a huge fan of MP3 blogs for quite some time, and I've discovered an absolute shedload of music I might otherwise never have heard. I've been thinking for a while that I should jump on the bandwagon and share some cool music with all you blog readers out there. So here it is - Musicus Eclecticus.

Posting may not be as frequent as other blogs - I'm a busy man, kids - but I'll aim for quality rather than quantity. There'll be MP3's, bootleg stuff, obscure rarities, wacky cover versions (I've a thing for covers), and allsorts of musical magic. The policy, as you may have guessed from the title of the blog, is... "flexible", shall we say? Expect folk, indie, blues, obscure old stuff... anything alternative and worth hearing, basically. The playlists may/will be influenced by my current listening habits, but I figure that's pretty much unavoidable.

Besides, I have impeccable taste so there should be no complaints, heh heh heh.

The Usual Note To Artists & Their Rep's: If you would like me to remove anything from this site, please ask politely and your request will be met as soon as possible.

More of the same: If you like the music publicised on this site, go out and buy the records, please!

First proper post coming up soon...