My listening habits for the first couple of weeks of this new decade are, frankly, more 1975 than 2010, but never mind. Here’s what I’ve been listening to recently.
1. Townes Van Zandt, Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas LP. Van Zandt may have been, in his doctor’s words, “an acute manic-depressive who has made minimal adjustments to life”, but it’s the conventionality of his music that I love rather than its idiosyncrasy. On the face of it, he’s an orthodox singer-songwriter in the country-folk mould. But his records have a wonderful mixture of gravity and humour. Wildly unappreciated, but I think this recording of a live set from 1977 is his very best record, and worth treasuring.
2. Big Star, ‘The India Song’. As an Andy Hummel contribution, this is probably one of the least lauded Big Star numbers, but I think it’s beautiful – Big Star were ace.
2. Gillian Welch, ‘Elvis Presley Blues’ (from her Time (The Revelator) LP). This is the song that launched me on this week’s retro direction – a lovely, idiosyncratic bit of Americana I first heard on Jarvis Cocker’s new 6 Music show.
4. Bobbie Gentry, Touch ‘Em With Love LP. I was inspired to dig back to this late 70s country/soul hybrid courtesy of the lovely Beth Jeans Houghton, whose inspired folk reminds me much more of this than anything made in the 2000s.
5. Mary Hampton, ‘Honey’ (from her My Mother’s Children LP). Creepy, quiet, Brighton folk. I saw Mary live a couple of months ago and she played a song to the percussive sound of the audience rattling their housekeys. Awesome.
6. The Dream Syndicate, The Days of Wine and Roses LP . Apparently this lot were part of LA’s ‘Paisley Underground’ in the early 80s. That sounds awful, but the song is lovely, prefiguring the notion that one day Robyn Hitchcock and Peter Buck would hitch up and work together.
7. The Mantles, The Mantles LP – this is great stuff, just really simple, reverb-drenched indie, garage-formed psych. Good stuff.
8. Pérotin, Beata Viscera – caught a snippet of this amazing Gregorian choral music in Terence Davies’ marvellous ‘Of Time and The City‘ and had to seek it out. Beguiling stuff.
9. Lucinda Williams, ‘Maria’ (from the Happy Woman Blues LP). I know, more country-rock. But listen to it; it’s gorgeous – “damn the pain and damn those restless days”.
10. Younghusband, ‘Younghusband Says Relax’. Still can’t stop listening to this wonderful, post Lemonheads/Teenage Fanclub indie. My favourite single from 2009, by miles. A real slacker anthem, too – “Don’t feel sad / I do / and I’m guilty of an anxiety relax”.
OK, and I’m going to try to do Spotify playlists when I do this in future. Here we go then. Click to open:
Spotify playlist for my current listening, Jan 15th 2010.
I promise next week I’ll listen to some hip hop or something.