Obviously a rather moribund blog, for a variety of reasons. Please do go to http://www.facebook.com/MLKSounds for up-to-date gig and booking info and follow me on Twitter @MLKSoundsDJ http://twitter.com/#!/MLKSoundsDJ Particularly interested in developing wedding and club bookings to add to birthday and outdoor event work. I’m MLKSounds@aol.com

Two of the tracks I’ve downloaded in the past few days are dance remixes of the Italian Maurizio Dami’s version of Dark Side of the Spoon. He performs as Alexander Robotnick.

His website is http://www.robotnick.it/

Back when there was a summer (June) I did a gig for one of my muso mates (he’s a drummer, I’ve been known to thrash a conga and blow a harmonica, and we have on occasion shared a stage in the cause of a soulful, bluesy birthday party/wedding reception/general get-down raucous evening etc).

He has been wondrously swept off his feet at an advanced age and the lovely lady is Brazilian. They’ve been married a year, are living in Brazil, and were doing a grand tour of the old country, so a bunch of us threw, though we say it ourselves, a bloody fine party.

I went into Brazilian club mode (this is not a euphemism) for the latter part of the evening, which I think went nicely with the fireworks by the lake (I kid you not). Anyway, here I am in poseur mode, setting up at the start of proceedings:

Entirely age-appropriate garb for a man old enough to have cried when he heard Jimi Hendrix had died

 

 

 

Well, when I started some time way back I thought I’d blog every week at least. But there’s been a bit of a hiatus, matron.

I’ve not been inactive on the DJing front but rather just busy with that and more generally. Touch wood (hand to head), I don’t intend to die of boredom.

So just to get back in the saddle, something I’ve downloaded this week that I like.

It’s I Won’t Let Go, by Monarchy (which reminds me of the riff in Deadmau5’s Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff), a great piece of pop bop in my view.

A lovely tune even if the video is, how you say, reet weird, and possibly should be reported to the RSPCC (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Cupcakes):

The acclaimed Chicago-born jazz singer Kurt Elling is touring Britain and continental Europe at the moment. He has recently released an excellent covers album, The Gate, and I’m particularly taken by his fantastic treatment of Norwegian Wood, not least since I’m no great fan of the Beatles as performers. (If I were trying to sum up my aversion, I would say I hear far too much metronome and far too little Africa.)

Elling, a four-octave baritone, reworks the tune to combine great vocalising with a delicate poignancy and a splendid arrangement, especially the unexpected edgy guitar break by John McLean, which adds yet another fresh dimension to the original. This is uplifting artistry at its finest. The producer of the album, which is seriously worth exploring, is Don Was.

Enjoy a brilliant new setting of Norwegian Wood in this superb 11-minute NPR interview by Liane Hansen, with Elling in New York and Was in California:

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/20/133876814/kurt-elling-a-jazz-singer-stretches-his-songbook

On the Elling website, older tracks are available to listen to in full:

http://kurtelling.com/kurtradio/


Heavenly on wry: Paul Simon

Posted: March 12, 2011 in General spiel

I’ve been able to listen to The Afterlife, the single from the new Paul Simon album So Beautiful Or So What, several times in the past week. It is a mini-masterpiece, with his vintage trademarks of humorous cynical lyrics and great musical talent in a rarely surpassed amalgam. On this track, the Cameroonian guitarist Vincent Nguini, with whom Simon first collaborated on The Rhythm of the Saints, provides a mesmeric African feel in an exquisitely engineered arrangement.

The imaginative scenario of the song is a guy arriving in Heaven and, instead of a warm embrace, is greeted with the words: “You got to fill out a form first, and then you wait in the line.” I think I visited a church like that once. He is distracted by a girl with “sunshiny hair, like a homecomin’ queen”. That can happen in churches too. Buddha, Moses and the Lord God get name checks, not bad for lyrics that also hinge on that Fifties staple “Bebop-a-lula”.

Enjoy the Soundcloud (or maybe the Cloud 9) for The Afterlife here:





I have done my best to approach the debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding by Liam Gallagher’s new band Beady Eye with an open mind. I have listened to all the songs, I can understand why the track The Roller has been lifted as the single. And sadly, I find myself totally unmoved by the whole enterprise.

Snippets of all the tracks (with the option of purchase) are here (other outlets are available):

http://amzn.to/g4kIJA

I’ve read the reviews of live performances where ardent devotees of the Gallagher cult have gathered in awe and worshipped anew as the latest exemplars of what are perceived by aficionados as pop perfection are unveiled to a waiting world. I still don’t get it.

Whether you get the Oasis-Gallagher schtick is the 1990s successor to the great debate on the Beatles-Stones divide, one of the oldest clichés of rockdom. For the record, I was a Stones boy from the start. While I concede that the Beatles wrote a good tune or three, and have generated the mega-royalties to prove it, the performances by and large never grabbed me. In my view, Oasis were in every way a spin-off of the Beatles phenomenon: not only in the sound but also arguably in the dynamic with two brothers, biologically or psychologically (for Noel and Liam Gallagher read John Lennon and Paul McCartney, or vice versa) colloborating and competing. It is almost totally unsurprising, perhaps inevitable, that on Different Gear, Still Speeding one of the tracks is entitled Beatles and Stones, which notes wishfully: “I just want to rock’n’roll/ I’m gonna stand the test of time/ Like Beatles and Stones”.

For me, the Oasis album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is genuinely outstanding at least as a popular, even populist, milestone in the mid-Nineties of the post-Beatles legacy and it captured the zeitgeist perfectly.

But after that, I had had and heard enough. Continuing sales by Oasis and the wide, dare I say nostalgia-driven, adulation now afforded to Beady Eye suggest I must be in some sort of grumpy misanthropic minority.

For me, the Beady Eye album generally sounds unoriginal, derivative and tired. The Roller exudes essence of Oasis and a vague rehash of the musical ground partly covered, say, in Instant Karma by Lennon. For now, I won’t be joining the Church of Beady Eye. Anyway, in the interests of utter fairness so that you can make up your own mind, let me leave you with The Roller:



OK, the lyrics could seem rather trivial given the real-life tribulations of proper refugees, not least the poor benighted masses trying to get out of Libya at the moment. But this is a great arrangement by a great band able to deliver both in the studio (with agonising attention to detail, verging on perfectionism) and live.

First, the recorded version with a superb mix: marvellous bass line, exquisite organ fills, rock-solid drumming, great rhythm and lead guitars, plaintive lead and backing vocals, and excellent dynamics:

And then a quality live TV performance too:




This video is great, a shivers-and-tingles-up-and-down-the-spine moment: marvellous footage on stage and in the crowd, exceptionally good sound quality for a live outdoor event, Mark Knopfler at his cool understated best, and Eric Clapton, in his pink suit, as an utterly sublime sidesman. The song is a great commentary on the MTV society and is the sort of thing that does make me proud to be English (even we cynics have our patriotic moments):


A couple of listens confirm that the Locomotives have a tuneful, well-produced debut song in Carnival. It tells a story, has solid vocals and harmonies, a good guitar break and even sympathetic drumming (that’s probably mussed up someone’s street cred). All in all, a fine piece of work. Listen to the Soundcloud at  http://locomotivesuk.tumblr.com/Carnival