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The Singing Saw at Christmastime

Could hardly be more plain. I can’t imagine we haven’t posted this up in previous years but here it is again, Julian Koster plays festive favourites on a singing saw. Odd and beautiful. Julian is probably best known and certainly best loved for his multi-instrumentalising behind Jeff Mangum in Neutral Milk Hotel but also for dressing like one of santa’s elves all year round. For those of you not feeling the seasonal vibe right now here’s a wonderful clip of the two of them a few years back doing the title track off In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. If the crowd singing the brass parts doesn’t make your shrivelled heart soar well then I just don’t know friends, I really don’t.

“where did everybody go? where did they go?”

because of course, it’s that time. It’s the god damned Burt Howells Singers doing a nice spot of caroling. Would you really have thought 30 odd years back that this bunch of acid damaged clowns would still hold such a powerful sway in the underground? Probably have got some pretty long odds on them all being still here, never mind thinkin’ about a new record next year. In a recent Rolling Stone thing they were surprisingly lucid and sanguine about the chances of it being all that good of a record at this late stage. It’s nice to see they’re stumbling into this burning building with their eyes open but really they ought to be the drunk guy watching tv in his pants IN the burning building. So we’ll see. Has anyone called them ‘Elder Statemen’ yet? That’s always a nail in the coffin, maybe we can be first. Although it doesn’t ring true. The Elder Statesmen of Misrule. Looks like another one for the worryingly long list of fictional bands . . .

Looking at this great old pic here it weirdly seems time has taken less of a toll on Gibby than the others, maybe he really is watched over by angels or somethin’. Look at lil’ fresh faced J there. Right then, where’s the Bourbon?

Christmas At The Zoo

Into the home stretch now and this is not just one of my favourite Christmas records but one of my favourite Flaming Lips records too. ‘Clouds Taste Metallic’ is probably our most loved and played of their records, at the perfect midpoint of their scrappy early days and later grandeur and even amidst such impressive company this sweet little song shines, it’s a gem. I saw the Lips again this year and I have to say – they still put on a damn good show for all that they seem stuck in a rut. ‘Do You Realise?’ still made me cry, Drozd got behind the drum kit a couple of times and ‘Are You A Hypnotist?’ was incredible as a result. Didn’t play more than a couple of songs released in the past ten years which helped the show but also underlined the problem. Perhaps it’s the pint of (festive and medicinal) whiskey I had for lunch or the general goodwill to all men in the air but I still wouldn’t bet against them having one last good record in there somewhere.


Riding On A Bison Sleigh

Double helping of Shonen Knife Christmas joy today because even bitter, cynical, black-hearted old curmudgeons such as we can’t help but smile at these tunes. And they’re coming back over to tour in the new year. Squeeee! as I believe the young interwebs folks are given to say. As a little bonus, a great little pic of the Knife with Thurston Moore.

Low Christmas


Just about unbeatable really. ‘Just Like Christmas’ now turns up, slightly unexpectedly, playing over the p.a. in high street retail outlets from late November but it hasn’t dimmed its beauty. I particularly like that bandcamp lists track 4 as ‘If You Were Born Today (Song For Little Babby Jesus) as if Low were from Birmingham.