Saturday, 16 June 2018

A bit of a flurry

I've had a bit of a flurry of reviews to work on recently, all for The F-Word.

The most recent was the excellent Tami Neilson and her album Sassafrass, which you can read about here.

It's a lovingly created homage to the stylistic codes of the 1950s: Rock'n'roll, country, soul and blues... all delivered impeccably and with a very modern twist. It is well worth a listen.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Florence + The Machine and Kelsey Lu perform 100 Years on Later......

Counting down the days till High As Hope comes out. This is an amazing performance, just utterly transcendent and otherworldly. Brilliant.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Penny Pepper: Post punk singer/songwriter, activist, author... heroine!

Recently I reviewed the excellent memoir by Penny Pepper, a post punk singer/songwriter who used to perform under the name Kata Kolbert back in the 1980s.

Her memoir is called First in the world somewhere, and I liked it for it's matter of factness. It's an extraordinary story told in a very down to earth way, and it's not one of those memoirs that falls into the misery memoir bracket. On the other hand though, it's not one of the equally trying breed of memoirs where everything goes right and a rags to riches narrative ensues.

I was initially attracted to the book because of the punk connection, but I quickly realised that this was not going to be a straightforward punk/post punk memoir, mainly because Pepper's experiences of punk, and of the post punk music world in London, have been unwillingly filtered through a mesh imposed by perceptions of her disability.

Those of you aware of the social model of disability (as opposed to the medical model of disability) will  probably be able to guess what I'm getting at but, to spell it out: Imagine having to interact with punk as a teenager who can't easily get to punk gigs because they are not wheelchair accessible. Imagine trying to launch a career as a singer/songwriter when record companies seem unable to look past your wheelchair and listen to the songs.

I actually found it quite hard to review the book, not because I didn't enjoy reading it, but because I found myself slightly hamstrung by stereotypes around disability coupled with a desire to explain that it wasn't going to be one of those kind of books. Ie, a misery memoir, with a 'determined but always struggling' heroine. I didn't think that kind of framing device did the book, or it's author, justice.

I'm really pleased that I got to read the book, and to review it, but I'm aware that my review hasn't quite done the book justice as I would have liked. To which all I can add is: Go read it, it's ace.

Photo of Penny Pepper taken at Edinburgh Book Festival by Edinburgh Elite Media. Provided by Penny Pepper's PR Laura Horton.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Zola Jesus - Exhumed (Official Music Video)

Gothic Friday!

Nika Danilova on magnificent form with this opening salvo from last years excellent album Okovi.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Art Feynman "Slow Down"

This proved to be a bit of a grower when it was released last summer. It seemed too strange and trance like/trippy to grasp immediately, and listening to it again now I can hear a certain echo of late 1980s/early 1990's indie/dance crossover artists, like the Shaman. Which I don't remember noticing initially, but still... Great tune.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Town: On the anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing

Given the role Tony Walsh's 'This is the place' played at the vigil on 23rd May 2017, it feels very apt that HOME would commission a series of spoken word pieces to mark the anniversary of the Arena bombing. HOME worked with Monkeywood Theatre last year to, in their words: 
Commission 19 astounding Mancunian writers to write 19 tiny but titanic new pieces that explore our city and its people.  
Eve Steele was one of those people. This is her ode to the city centre. 
One year on. We won’t forget. Our city stands strong. #McrTogether