Away Again

A quick turn around and I’m off again, with the family this time, down to the Dordogne in South West France for the next couple of weeks, stopping off in the Loire for three nights on the way back. It’s looking good.

I’ll leave you with a couple of songs to speed us on our way and to keep you happy. Rikki Turner’s new band The Hurt released a cracking song a few months back, the moody and epic Berlin. The new one is a cover of Nico’s One More Chance and is a stately throb.

The new Hardway Bros ep Pleasure Cry is one of my records of the year thus far. This song, Argonaut, was written specifically by Sean Johnston to be played on the boat at Croatia’s Electric Elephant Festival. It starts off like Weatherall’s mix of Come Together and then heads off into the sunset putting its arms around you and doing a little dance.

And just so’s there’s some screaming guitars and drawled vocals here’s J Mascis and The Fog covering Teenage Fanclub’s Everything Flows with Mike Watt on bass. It then diverts into Pavement’s Range Life and The Ruts’ In A Rut. Is it any good? Of course it is. It is seven minutes of good.

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Slow Boy

There’s a whole load of shouting and squally guitars and a blistering guitar solo in this recent collaboration between J Mascis and Kim Gordon (pictured above with Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein), done with or for Converse and free to download. It starts noisy and gets progressively noisier, sounding not unlike both their previous band’s late 80s peaks. But who is the slow boy?

Sometimes I Don’t Thrill You

In 1988 the world’s most dysfunctional rock group released their definitive song, Freak Scene. The song practically invents slackers and grunge. J Mascis’ guitar sound is brilliant- controlled but chaotic, spinning distorted notes off all over the place. His vocals are resigned, almost bored to tears with the whole thing but it’s a love song of sorts too- ‘when I need a friend it’s still you’. Post-indie punk, pre-grunge, with a pop tune. And swearing too. I’ve got its parent album Bug but never really play anything off it except Freak Scene.

Dinosaur Jr were a nightmare to each other by all accounts; passive aggressive, J controlling Murph’s every drum beat when recording, not communicating. Bassist Lou Barlow wrote the lyrics to the final song on Bug, the only one he sings. Over ear splitting noise, aimed solely at J Mascis, he screams ‘why don’t you like me?’

I don’t know what’s going on with my Boxnet bandwidth but either it’s not reset at the end of May or June is already over the limit. I’ll try to sort something out. In the meantime you can watch the video for Freak Scene, filmed in John Robb’s back garden in bohemian West Didsbury. It looks like it cost less than the price of a pint of lager and a bag of chips.

Fade Into You

A dangerously fragile, acoustic guitar-led, somewhat enervated cover of Mazzy Star’s beautiful Fade Into You by J Mascis to start Monday and the first week of autumn. The ghost of Neil Young never far away, memories of Dinosaur Jr beyond reach. Bizarrely, cheapeningly, this cover version was done for a trainer advert, released on limited 7″ single as a sop to the purists.

Fade Into You

Back to work tomorrow- Tuesday’s coming like a jail on wheels, to misquote Mr Strummer.