I was accused recently of “liking my Americana”. Guilty as charged, m’lud. Like it I do. Particularly if it’s twisted, dark, punkish or even blues soaked, full of reverb and smacking of shoegaze. Oh, and especially- especially! – if there is a drum thing going on.
Which is why I am very excited to be going to see the Low Anthem next week. Their album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin was in my top ten for 2009 with the opening track at number 2 in my list of favourite choons for the year. Play it loud and in the dark, with a glass of your favourite tipple to hand and I guarantee it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Over and over again can I play this album and not tire of it. And their first effort wasn’t half bad either. So in honour of all things Americana go find yourself a little Low Anthem this weekend. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s always good to share a topnotch brand new band. White Noise Sound are Welsh and I have to thank my favourite music blog, Mad Mackerel, for discovering them. I’m maybe not quite as fulsome as he is – they’ll have to go some to match the Warlocks in my book. And there are too many introspective tracks on their MySpace page but Sunset is an absolute stand out. Go visit MM, download it for free (he only does authorised tracks) and crank up the volume.
And if that doesn’t satisfy your ears, check out the Retreat festival happening in Edinburgh this weekend – it’s a “micro fest celebrating Edinburgh’s contribution to the international pop underground”. Some bands like eagleowl, Meursault and Collecting Animal Sound have definitely broken through. But just as interesting, to me anyhow, will be the as yet unheard and untried like The Douglas Firs, Milk, and the Leg. Oh, and did I mention that it’s an absolute bargain at £12 for both days? GO!
I never tire of reading Martin Luther King Jr’s speeches and materials. They are an endless source of life affirming values and inspiration. And whenever I can I shamelessly borrow and use quotes of his. So, after a fortnight during which the terrible floods in Pakistan continue to spread and devastate lives, and the failure of the international community to make an appropriate financial response sickens me to the core; when we witnessed a bold attempt by Climate Change campaigners to stick it to the RBS man and draw our attention to the havoc being wreaked on the sustainability of our planet with our money; and when Tony Blair created a media storm by donating the profits from his forthcoming memoirs to help the soldiers his decisions have maimed and scarred for life, how about this one:
“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”
Which doesn’t excuse you from giving. Just remember to do something too.
At last, we get to fitba. It’s hard to approach the start of a new season with hope when the last one finished with a last day survival mission. And this year’s squad of 26 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, when at least 10 of them need permission from their mammies to play every Saturday.
And yet, and yet…. Rangers just edged the opening game. Losing to Motherwell by a single goal isn’t too shabby either. It could be worse…. we could be the Accies. I could be an Arab. Instead, I’ll just be happy to be a Killie boy/burd and hope against hope that a white knight with millions to invest will appear, that Mixu doesn’t turn out to be an “aasi”, and that a new Boyd or Naysmith will rise from the youth ranks to delight and save us from the fear of the drop for yet another year. Here’s to a first Killie win of the season tomorrow at Aberdeen. The higher they are, the further they have to fall….