The aural equivalent to being spat on, support act The Hunter Gracchus subject a bemused audience to 15 minutes of improvised white noise. This consists of electric guitar and violin feedback, a dying saxophone and the old clichÃ©, a wailing woman; if you’re planning on butchering your family with a pick axe and want some appropriate music to do it to, this band is for you.
I know, I know, who needs another look back at the musical year that will forever be remembered as 2009? Well, I for one need to jot down a few notes about the year’s music, if only for myself to look back on in my dotage. If anybody else is interested by what I write here too, then that’s a bonus. I’ll try and make that the only clichÃ©d sentence though..!
DAY 1 – GRIZZLY BEAR & ST VINCENT @ LEEDS MET STUDENTS UNION
Drowned in Sound absolutely adore St Vincent, and having seen a clip of her in soundcheck on said website a few weeks ago I was intrigued to learn that her support slot on the Grizzly Bear tour was solo. Apart from supplementary guitar on one song by Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, it was just Annie Clark, a looping pedal, and some sequenced backing. I must say I was surprised by how diverse she could be within those limitations. As Sam commented to me after The Strangers, she somehow managed to go seamlessly from 40s jazz guitar to an onslaught reminiscent of Joe Satriani in just 30 seconds. Songs such as Save Me From What I Want worked really well with her looping backing vocals along with herself, and during the more frenetic passages of Marrow she had the appearance of a manikin suffering a seizure. Her cover of The Beatles’ Dig A Pony was a pleasant surprise too. I was very impressed, and would like to know how these songs come across with a full band.
Journalists seem determined to make lists about everything these days.Â It’s a simple and really rather lazy way to fill column inches whilst kicking off a debate amongst readers and self-appointed authorities on everything down theÂ pub.Â There’s even a bloody magazine now which is based on what’s the best this that and the other.Â Writers used to write and leave the countdown to Fluff Freeman.
In many ways, music is the most important art form there is.Â It’s more accessible to the punter than any other means of expression, and our reactions to it are arbitrary, reactive and formed largely without the need for learned or knowing discourse on the form.Â The award of Best This That And The Other is, therefore, a meaningless – if occasionally entertaining – distraction.
So, to wade onto these pages and declare that Richard’s Hawley’s new single – the first to be taken from the Truelove’s Gutter album – is the record of the year is effectively an opinionated and personal objective opinion without actual true bearing.Â But it very probably is.Â Fact. Continue reading