Friday, September 26, 2008

Lunch News

Coq-au-Vin at the all new and improved Alpino on Chapel Market. Literally, delicious and only a fiver. The Italian couple who run the place appear to be two of the happiest people in the known world. Bless them...

New Music Friday

M9: Paintbrush (Dark Matter Records, 2008)
The first time I heard this track - about an hour ago - I thought, "Jesus, this is a bit good" then played it again. Then again. Then I played the rest of the album and, oh Jesus, that's really good too. I was finding it hard to decide between this and two other tracks (Soldierz and Dark Matter), but decided to go for this as, I feel, the humble paintbrush has seen no love whatsoever from hip hop to date and, frankly, it's time for a change. Anyway, M9 is from Shepherd's Bush and he has clearly spent a lot of time chewing on the end of a pencil waiting for inspiration to strike and not a moment has been wasted as his lyrical skillz - excuse me, near 40-year-old coming through - are quite startling. As are those of Cyrus Malachi and Masikah who also appear here. Nice Wu-ish beats too... *orders another Lady Grey*

He also performs well as a public speaker...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This Old Record Is Quite Nice

Henry Mancini: Return To Paradise (RCA, 1957)
I've been playing this album every single morning for about three weeks now. Rain, grey or bright sunshine it sets the day up perfectly being, in turns, a bit odd and discretely adventurous, but never less than dizzingly melodic. This track in particular is gently amazing in ways that it's just not possible to be anymore. How can you make music that suggests the silky push and pull of waves on a half-dreamed of exotic shoreline in an age where, should the mood take you, you can just pull it up on Google Earth (or flickr) to see if it's really that nice?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ickworth House

Landcroft House is just back from a long weekend away to celebrate my 'special' birthday.

Ickworth House is one of those family friendly hotels and it really lived up to its promise. It's the East wing of a stately home so the building itself is fabulous as are the grounds. There are bikes, games, trampolines, a spa, an amazing swimming pool in a stable, early tea for kids and listening service and smart dinner for grown ups.

We could have spent the week in Portugal for the same sum and Scrap's manners let us down at the breakfast table once he'd got his hands on the 'bowful of fun' that are Cocoa Pops but what a lovely weekend!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My New Prawn Brooch

I got this for my birthday.
It came from here.
I am going to wear it every day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Something Else I Found In The Basement

Michael Brook: Diffusing (4AD, 1994)
One of the greatest gigs I have ever seen was Brooksie* playing at London Zoo's aquarium to help launch his album, Cobalt Blue. In fact, the gig was so good it was later released on CD in its own right. Happy times, eh? Can you imagine a record label releasing a live CD of a guy playing his own launch party now? No, me neither. This track isn't from that (I lent it to someone about 8 years ago and never got it back, oh dear), it's taken from a 4AD promo called All Virgos Are Mad which featured a load of tracks recorded at the label's 13th birthday shows in LA. I used to have a nice t-shirt of said event which I wore every third or fourth day for about six years. But I've no idea where it is now - perhaps that's in the basement too?

*No one calls him "Brooksie", not even me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Things You Find In The Basement While You're Looking For Something Else: 1

Studio Pressure: Relics (Natural Mystic mix) (Certificate 18, 1996)
I went down to the basement looking for a book and found a pile of CDs in a small, rather dusty looking box. There were some horrible old mix CDs in there and a pile of risible magazines (some of which I used to work for), but this caught my eye. Studio Pressure is Photek by another name. When I was still working in the record shop, Photek got signed to Virgin for, we were led to believe, £800,000. I wonder how that's working out for him... Anyway, this is a properly wonderful slice of mid-90s "intelligent" drum and bass that just happened to be on my friend Paul's label. Hope you're well, Mr A.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

French Catalan Tuesday

Pascal Comelade: Stranger In Paradigm (Because Music, 2008)
He's quite a chap, our Pascal. He formed his first band in 1974 and has, ever since, been ploughing along making music equally influenced by toy instruments and what electronic music was called before it was called electronica (and other stuff). Anyway, Stranger In Paradigm (he gives very good title, does Pascal, another track on the album - a poem in fact - is called The Lonely Skinhead) sounds a bit like The Shadows might do after a full-on nuclear strike. Something to look forward to there. There is also a toy xylophone cover of Sunny Afternoon on the forthcoming Best Of album (The No Dancing - it doesn't exist on the internet yet, out November 17) that is properly lovely.

Literally, hurray.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Most Alien Place On Earth...

... is, apparently, Socotra in the Indian Ocean. I stole the picture from here where, if you feel the urge, you'll find a great article about the island (I want to go now).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Professional Gig Review: Bon Iver

Bon Iver played a concert in London last night. They (Bon Iver are a band now, donchaknow) were, literally, quite good. In fact, I'd go so far to say that they were, y'know, better than that. They played all the songs very well, including, to my mind, the best one. I enjoyed the nice bit where everyone* sang along and shouted a bit. They covered Talk Talk's Spirit Of Eden - great moment - and they played a new song which was so full of wall-shakingly anthemic Coldplayisms that, were I their A&R person I would be ordering the king shrimp and cocktails now and waiting for the money to come rolling in. Because it will. People love this band in a quite remarkable way.

*Everyone apart from me. I have my hack pride. Hence standing at the very back sipping mineral water and tapping the side of my "glass" instead of actually clapping (despite thinking it was all rather good). Btw, I am available for all photography jobs...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This New Record Is Literally Quite Good

HMS Ginafore & King Creosote: Quarter Inch (Fence, 2008)
And still the great Fence records keep coming. HMS Ginafore is Jennifer Gordon, assistant curator of the Anstruther Fisheries Museum which, to these ears, sounds like one of the all-time great jobs of all time. Anyway, this record is very brief - less than two minutes, stopwatch owners - and very, very lovely. If you can make out what HMS G is singing then, please, let me know. I get, "There is not one quarter inch of you I would not wish to charm..." then it all gets a bit misty. But that's OK - I kind of like misty. Anyway - this wonderful album is out in November. It doesn't exist on the intersquizz yet, but check here for "news"...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Momentarily Diverting Polish Movie Posters From, Largely, The 1980s

This one is for War Games. This one is vastly more interesting and intriguing than the movie it set out to advertise, while this one is as odd and unsettling as the film.

Lots more here...

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Best Restaurant in London

According to Gary Rhodes, for Indian food it's The Painted Heron. In fact he likes it so much, he takes his wife and kids there every other Saturday night! 
Anyone been?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Is This The Worst Comic Strip Ever?

Well, these people think it is and I, for one, am in no mood to argue. I've read every single one of these I can get my hands (eyes) on and have yet to feel even the tiniest flicker of electrical pleasure crossing my eager synapses. This, in a perverse kind of way, makes me like them more. You reach a sort of Zen relaxation point after your fourth or fifth strip where not much seems to matter anymore and the sun scoots almost imperceptibly across the sky. Sometimes it's really good to engage with stuff that demands nothing of you whatsoever, don't you think ("Yes," say all regular LH "readers")?