Soundtrack to January

I got Kristin Hersh’s live album Cats and Mice for Christmas.  Recorded in San Francisco in 2009, it has a generous 19 tracks drawn mostly from Learn to Sing Like a Star and Crooked, and an excellent production.  I gave the Throwing Muses’s 1996 album Limbo an outing, although I have to say this is the one album of their’s that I don’t entirely get.  I also listened to Star (1993) from Tanya Donnelly’s post-throwing Muses band Belly, an indie-pop album that stills sounds really fresh.

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Throwing Muses Live: 08.11.2011

Last night I ticked the “See the Throwing Muses play live” item off my ‘To Do’ list and they were awesome.  I can hardly believe I was standing about ten feet away from Kristin Hersh all night, and I’m not sure the band could believe they’d been put in a position quite so up-close-and-personal with the good people of Cardiff.   Kristin asked at one point if anyone could “smell Dave” (drummer David Narcizo) because apparently the band members were all a little ripe from travelling.  They also seemed a bit overawed by the venue – The Gate in Cardiff, an old church which has been refurbished and turned into a strangely posh community centre.   “It’s so beautiful here” said Kristin, “This isn’t going to go well, we’re not beautiful”.   But it was great and I think they’re all gorgeous.

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Soundtrack to June

Album of the Month

Kristin Hersh, Crooked (2010)

One of my absolute favourite artists releases yet another blistering album, but this time as a book.  You buy the book and then go to the website where you put in your password and get access to a lot of online content: the full album, plus EPs, audio commentary, video content, a forum, all sorts of things.  So far, I’ve only got around to listening to the album and I think it plays to all her strengths; it’s cathartic and has a rawness, but also really melodic with a lovely, layered production.   I can’t pick a favourite song yet, but ‘mississippi kate’, ‘fortune’, ‘crooked’ and ‘krait’ are already sticking in my mind.

Aimee Mann, The Forgotten Arm (2005)

Aimee Mann albums always grow on me and, though I haven’t really made friends with this one yet, it sounds like it has the usual strong song writing and, at some point, I’ll probably be playing it endlessly on repeat.   This one is a sort of concept album telling the story of a couple who’ take a road trip across the US in the 1970s.

David Bowie, The Best of Bowie

I prefer early Bowie, but I’ve mainly been listening to Disc 2 of this collection recently.  I love the campness of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, and the intensity of the ‘Under Pressure’ duet with Queen, both of which take me straight back to dancing round the kitchen during my childhood.  ‘Ashes to Ashes’ is an amazing song, and I liked the later stuff better than I remembered.

Imogen Heap, Speak for Yourself (2005)

I like to listen to this album while cooking and my favourite tracks are ‘Headlock’ and ‘Have you got it in you?’ It’s just a fun album with a good sound.

Little link round-up

Bidisha reviews Kristin Hersh’s autobiography, Paradoxical Undressing, a book I really want to read.

From A Piece of Monologue, a new uncensored edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray . I think I’ve read this book one too many times already, but nice to know.

From Bad Reputation, a good post about advertising

Peter Bradshaw reviews new science fiction comedy film Attack the Block.  I’m looking forward to this one.

From The Mary Sue, the 10 Greatest Vampire Archetypes . Hey, where’s the lesbian vampire?