Category Archives: evan dando

S&B Spotify Playlist: February 2010

From here on in, I’m going to put a playlist on my blog each month which everyone can listen to for free. For this month (and probably next month) it will be on Spotify. After that, I will put it up in the form of mp3s. I am moving to South Korea shortly. They don’t have Spotify there, but they do have 100meg broadband.

It’s not got a lot of new music on it, but stuff I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Some of it, I’m surprised by! For example, since hearing The Winter Of Mixed Drinks a couple of months back, I’ve gone back to listening to Sing The Greys quite a lot. I really like Frightened Rabbit’s new album but don’t necessarily think it’s a logical successor to Midnight Organ Fight. I think there’s as much of their debut set in there as MOF. Anyway, three amazing albums and Music Now is a great track.

Over the past six months I’ve been rifling through Jason Molina’s creative catalogue. I think the guy is a genius. His work as Songs: Ohia is his best and The Electric Magnolia Co is his best album. So understated, effortless and simple. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy comparisons may have been slightly more apt on, say, Ghost Tropic, but with this album he steps out of that shadow and slips comfortably into his own skin. Funny how I’m only picking up on this seven years after the album’s release.

There are quite a few Scottish acts on there… inevitably I guess. Since leaving Edinburgh I’ve trying my best to keep up with what’s been going on. The Withered Hand album, Good News, from last year is one of the best I’ve heard in a long, long time. I’m sorry I’ve never had a chance to see the guy live. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to getting around to his debut. Ardentjohn have a new album out which has been received positively, which I’m happy about.

The Drever, McCusker, Woomble album is one I got my hands on last year, but it’s only been this year that I’ve given it sufficient attention. It really is something else. December saw Idlewild’s 100 Broken Windows voted The Skinny’s Scottish Album of the Decade, but it’s amazing how he has diversified himself over the past few years. Before The Ruin is simply gorgeous. Stripped back, rootsy folk songs, beautifully song, lovingly written and played.

The other tracks are gathered from memories, people and places I’ve loved over the past month or two.

Enjoy (those with Spotify!) Scrawls & Bawls Feb 2010

1. Mason Jennings – Memphis, Tennessee
2. Evan Dando – Hard Drive (Live)
3. The Delgados – Is This All That I Came For?
4. Ardentjohn – Where All Paths Lead
5. The Replacements – Unsatisfied
6. Frightened Rabbit – Music Now
7. Songs: Ohia – Just Be Simple
8. Midlake – Rulers, Ruling All Things
9. Townes Van Zandt – Tecumeseh Valley (Live)
10. Deer Tick – Diamond Rings 2007
11. Drever, McCusker, Woomble – All Along The Way
12. Belle and Sebastian – Sleep The Clock Around
13. Withered Hand – Love In The Time Of Ecstasy
14. Drever, McCusker, Woomble – Hope To See
15. Phosphorescent – Wolves
16. Songs: Ohia – Farewell Transmission
17. Sebastien Tellier – La Ritournielle
18. The Chameleons – Second Skin

Diary of a Great Escape – Day One

UK festival promoters have spent recent years trying to come up with a British counterpart to Austin’s SxSW, but have strangely failed to hit the nail on the head. Camden Crawl, Sauchiehall Crawl, Hinterland, Stag and Dagger et al have all made ripples on the festival calendar, but haven’t quite made the impact you might expect, given Britain’s already thriving pub culture.

The Great Escape’s organisers have gone for an almost wholesale SxSW setup. 300 bands, 34 venues, 3 days, one wristband. So goes the marketing spiel. To complement that, they’ve put on a conference, with speakers ranging through such figures as Colin Greenwood, Peter Jenner and Alexis Petridis scheduled to discuss the future of the music industry.

Frankly, it’s a subject matter I’ve grown tired of. If the future of music is really in doubt, then best make haste and enjoy it while we can, right? Which is what this weekend is going to be about. A line-up that draws a steady, if not spectacular line between fledglings and luminaries should see to that.

Brighton isn’t a big place – about half the size of Edinburgh by my crude estimation, and so getting from venue to venue isn’t a problem. What is an issue, is deciding which bands to see. Things kicked off last night, but the main festivities are left until Friday and Saturday. That said, the first dilemma of the weekend didn’t take too long to emerge.

Evan Dando, he of Lemonheads fame, or The Handsome Family? After taking the time spent queuing for accreditation as an opportunity to thrash out the arguments for and against each, the latter won. For the legendary status Evan Dando and The Lemonheads have acquired in indie circles, I’m still not convinced he’s all that good. Pretty simple then, really.

The Handsome Family were playing on the Mojo Stage in Hove’s Old Market, so you’ll forgive me for being disappointed at the dearth of beards and denim. Not a Saxondale in sight. Phil Alexander was, however, looming large. The Mojo Editor will be compering the stage all weekend and was a little bit pissed.

Snowbird had the duty of warming up the crowd, which they did pretty well. If there’s such thing as a quasi-indie-superduo, then Snowbird is it. They’re made up of The Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde (also the chap behind the marvellous Bella Union Records) and Wisconsin songstress Stephanie Dosen. A Fleet Foxes cover sits nicely in a serene, piano led set.

The Handsome Family completely vindicate my decision to ditch Evan Dando. They bridge the until now undiscovered gap between Brian Blessed and the Silver Jews. And that’s more of a compliment than you might think.

Having trekked all the way out to Hove for the ‘Family, it’s pretty late by the time I make it back into Brighton. The Acorn played Brighton Pavilion Theatre and were a nice way to round off day number one.

The sun is out today and the sizeable Scottish contingent will be on show.

Stay tuned for some feedback…

Pictures to follow…

Written for The Skinny, published periodically through the festival