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My Heart Will Be Blessed . . .

Inevitably then Laibach have now developed their performance of songs from The Sound Of Music on their extraordinary trip to North Korea into a full album. While they returned for the premiere of the film about that concert ‘Liberation Day’ and despite the recent pantomime of Kim Jong Un and Trump getting along and allegedly warmer relations between the North and South it still seems something that’s unlikely to be repeated any time soon. This album very likely putting paid to even the faintest glimmer of a possibility. They are joined again by vocalists Boris Benko (Silence) and Marina MÃ¥rtensson but don’t fret, Milan is in there too. I like the way the woman directing Pyongyang traffic weirdly echoes Julie Andrews spinning on a mountainside in the film. Laibach present their version of popular favourites from the movie including, wonderfully, their reading of ‘Maria’ – “How do You Solve A Problem like Korea?”. Of course there’s also some great cover art seamlessly blending imagery from the movie with totalitarian kitsch, it’s perfect. the album promises to be a metatextual delight and will, if nothing else, serve to stand in this year until they finally cave in and make the greatest Christmas record of all time.

8.8.88

The rose tinted warning flag is out. Likelihood of sentimental nostalgic outbursts. This extraordinary, swooning, shuddering, soul-shaking beast of a record came out 30 years ago today. My Bloody Valentine suddenly stood way out ahead of their contemporaries, transformed from their earlier self. You Made Me Realise was disorienting, a delirious tumble that knocked the air out of your lungs. I’m sure it was weeks before I noticed the girl had a knife as well as a bunch of flowers clutched to her chest as perfect an image for the music as you could wish for.

as a wee McGee bonus here’s a sweet old clip of a bunch of other creation bands talking about their favourite band on the label – no points for guessing

Pram launch Across The Meridian

After twelve years away Pram washed up back in Birmingham to reveal their new album in a cosy Digbeth warehouse artspace. It was just about everything you might want it to be, intimate and beguiling. Ed Dowie opened with a short set of his charming songs and even more charming and eccentric between song chat. Should he take his jumper off? Should he take a sip of his drink?

Pram still sound reassuringly like they used to, perhaps a little more sturdy, perhaps a little more jazz in there but basically, despite the loss of Rosie along the way, the same band we all remember. It’s lovely to have them back and you can tell we’re amongst family because although they’ve been gone more than a decade several people just can’t shut their mouths for even ten minutes to listen. Even here it seems, deep in hardcore DIY music nerd-ville, random thoughts cannot go past without immediate expression. The band themselves do not say much, perhaps concentrating hard on recreating their gorgeous somnambulant new music. Having not heard it before I’m guessing they played the new record in pretty much it’s entirety, possibly even in order. I don’t recall any older material in the set but the new stuff is just grand. That they have not been welcomed back with greater fanfare is a source of some sadness to me. The musical world seems in many ways to have turned more towards them in the intervening years but so it goes . . .