Sunday, 24 January 2016

Karren Ablaze! Underground goddess speaks

I interviewed the excellent Karren Ablaze!, of Ablaze! fanzine fame, back in early December. This was arranged after we met up for the first time in fifteen years at Louder Than Words in November 2015.

Karren was at Louder Than Words talking about Riot Grrrl with Julia Downes. I was struck, at the time, by how young the audience for their discussion was when set against the audiences for the other events I attended during the Louder Than Words weekend. Food for thought.

During the course of our interview, which was conducted via phone because Karren is in Spain and I am in Stockport, we discussed a range of things, including fanzine culture, then and now, austerity and the anti-austerity fight back, music, riot grrrl, the internet, social isolation...

Not everything made it into the written up interview, due to space, but the finished piece is an accurate representation of our conversation and, once again, The F-Word team have done me proud with their ace editing and layout skills.

A good writing start to 2016.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue #14

We begin this morning with the genius of Euros Childs in the days of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and their lovely single 'Diamond Dew', which has a lovely summery vibe totally in contrast with January 2016.

The summer theme continues with White Blush and their track 'Summer', which came out in late 2014 or thereabouts. It's fairly new to me, so, once again, I'm stretching the boundaries of 'new' for the purposes of this post. Carol Rhyu is a prolific composer, and I would definitely recommend checking out the rest of her tracks on Soundcloud.

Autumn leaves in December, Offerton
The first self titled White Blush E.P included a masterpiece of moody electro called 'Jolene'. It wasn't a cover of the Dolly Parton song, but this song by Strawberry Switchblade is.

Strawberry Switchblade emerged out of the early 1980s post punk scene, as, in a very different way, did New Order. Years and years ago listeners to Piccadilly Key 103 voted 'Blue Monday' the best single of all time. A key moment of Mancunian sentimentality or the truth? You decide.

Image of Autumn leaves in December by Cazz Blase. Copyright Cazz Blase, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue #13

Red berried tree, Offerton
 Dolly Parton's 'The Seeker' soundtracks the opening scene and credits to a brilliant Canadian film from a few years back, The Year Dolly Parton was my mom. In the film, the young heroine, during a particularly intense personal crisis, develops the fantasy that her real mother is Dolly Parton, and embarks on a journey to be reunited with her. I reviewed the film for The F-Word a couple of years back, and would recommend it to anyone who is seeking a female coming of age film that is intelligent, with fully rounded complex characters, and not patronising or simplistic. 

The Staves have had a good year, with a second album, If I Was, and a support slot on the Florence + The Machine tour. 'Teeth White' was a particularly strong single, with a good strong sing along chorus that only added to its likeability and charm.

The Cornshed Sister's take on Le Cox Sportif's 'Dresden' is an impeccable combination of folk and nihilism that has truly anthemic qualities to it. It's been a couple of years now since their self titled debut came out, and it would be good to have another album.

We end with a moment of classic country with qualities of torch: Neko Case's 'Bought And Sold'
which was a standout track on a standout album, namely, Furnace Room Lullaby from 2000.

Image of Red berried tree, Offerton, by Cazz Blase. Copyright Cazz Blase, all rights reserved.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue #12

 Child's abandoned welly, Stockport
Kirsty MacColl's 'Free World' seems a good tune and good attitude to approach 2016 with. It has a grittiness and barely contained anger to it that feels apt at the moment, and like a lot of Kirsty's songs, it is timeless.

There's a restlessness to Georgia's 'Kombine' as well, and an almost pent up anger that sits well with the glitchy, stop start, sample-y music. I really hope she does well in 2016.

Santigold's 'The Keepers' is probably not the only song to borrow the distinctive drum patterns from Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' (indeed, Florence + The Machine's 'Spectrum' also features drums that sound as though they owe a slight debt to 'Running Up That Hill') but, as with 'Oh Superman', the source material is utterly transformed, leading to one of the strongest singles from Master Of My Make Believe. New album soon please.

We end today with Zohara and 'Lost', a song I took a lot of comfort from post General Election in May. 

Image of child's abandoned welly, Stockport, by Cazz Blase. Copyright Cazz Blase, all rights reserved.