This Is Nottingham

This is another of those unfinished posts, the video clip for Rattle’s new-ish split single with Xylouris White on God Unknown records. It’s their usual telepathic, wonkily melodic drumming goodness. Part of the reason this post never got written is that it appeared the same week as Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ and a stately, largely slo-mo clip of joggers along the banks of the river Trent and love locks on Wilford suspension bridge just didn’t seem to hold the same densely packed cultural fascination. If I had the energy I’d be attempted to tease out a deconstructive reading of its own buried symbolism. The dark whirl of compulsions that fuel the desire to run needlessly, the lock’s need to give symbolic form to emotion, the contrast between Nottingham and Paris, and the bridge itself, an Edwardian aqueduct. There’s something inherently odd about a bridge that carries water across a river don’t you think? Plenty to chew on, not that there’s necessarily any real relation. The location is more likely merely convenient, the thin thread of repeating lyrical phrases “harder they come” and “rolling off the tongue” don’t offer much either. Just as well.

The second reason is I recently saw Rattle play live again, supporting Protomartyr, and I also vaguely considered reviewing that. So here you go – Rattle were as great as ever – hypnotic and surprising. Protomartyr singularly failed to solve the riddle of their existence for me. I quite like them, but I forget about them and from time to time I hear them and think, ‘that’s pretty good’. And so, they were pretty good. Not terrible or hateful but not a revelation that opened the key to their musical charms either. Just there. Stodgy, midwestern, earnest and inoffensive. The singer pulls a successive string of beers from his jacket and mumbles. They think they’re Guided By Voices but they’re really The Hold Steady. I bet they worship The Replacements. Weirdly, even with a stray stage light shining in my damn face their charmlessness failed to annoy me. I still kind of like them. But I’m not going to live forever. I probably don’t have time for this.

here’s a nice shot of the bridge from George Carless photography



Shimmer And Reappear, The Return of PRAM

Rejoice friends! Beloved charity shop cosmonauts Pram return from their interstellar wanderings to bring us some more of their beautiful hand made space music. They’ve got a sweet video diary type clip here for new number ‘Shimmer and Disappear’ and a new album out next month. Ten years or so they’ve been gone and they seem to have lost Rosie along the way. Perhaps they took her back to her home planet. Some will think this a most welcome development, I often preferred their instrumental work myself, but I loved Rosie’s words too. The Moving Frontier is so long ago now I can hardly recall it. Best dig it out and have a go. With Pram at least, we can probably rest assured they won’t be setting out on a 20th anniversary of North Pole Radio Station tour playing the record in full and grinding the wonder and joy of their music to a thin grey paste. This new tune sounds just like they always did, wonderfully so. Unburdened and unselfconciously adrift in their own universe. A quarter century since they looked out into the vastness of space and advised us ‘. . . Stay As You Are’ they seem to have stuck by that. I generally eschew excitement as a shallow, vulgar emotion and merely the harbinger of new and deeper disappointments but, I have to confess, I’m quite excited about this.

Special Interest

The blog limps on across the playing fields, dragging a battered shopping trolley of random relics behind. Their vitality and significance known only to their guardian. . .

That #hearher day on 6music the other day reminded me of a clutch of half made posts. This among them because what do you say about this? A couple sketchy sentences or a phone book thick hallucinated history of the potent cultural currents crossing and rushing through their ragged howl? Special Interest are a raw, female fronted, synth punk noise from New Orleans. The album opens with Nina Simone talking about how she wants to shake her audience and it’s produced by NOLA legend Quintron. It’s brilliant, messy, wide open, furious and smart, and you can dance to it. What else you want? What annoys me about this is the vanishingly slim chance of ever getting to see them play live over here. They’d make for an incredible double bill with ILL.

Time to get ILL

itssssssss – finally out today pop kids. the sound of your summer. ILL’s long awaited debut ‘We are ILL’. A raging tune packed feminist post punk party. Ideal counter eurovision headcleaner. feral goth beast in DIY multicoloured carnival attire. Sing-a-long delights for young and old alike. 9 songs in a full range of flavours. All killer, no filler – which might explain why there’s only 9 tunes (Seriously though, what is it with the nine songs thing? Everyone’s at it, it seems to be a new standard – we’ve abandoned the scourge of CD bloat – “we can put 70mins on there so let’s chuck everything on and drag anything we fancy out for too long” and settled on 9 tracks? By rights an album needs ten songs, 5 a side. Come on people, you’re making me feel unbalanced, Nurse!!) My neuroses aside, get in on this because it’s great. Or ‘well sick’ as the young people probably don’t say anymore.