Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Belle and Sebastian and the subconcious

Listening to 6music the other day and Steve Jones of Sex Pistols fame played an awful cover of The Velvet Underground's 'Femme Fatale'. I hadn't previously thought of it as one of my favourite Velvet Underground songs, but just hearing this cover gave me shivers thinking of the original. In fact I think I appreciate all the songs featuring Nico a lot more than I once did. The strange thing though was that the song had gone from being a song I thought little of to one of my favourites without me actually hearing it.

The most extreme case of this happening to me was with Belle & Sebastian's 'The Fox in The Snow'. I bought the album it features on 'If You're Feeling Sinister', listened to it a few times, thought it was ok, then promptly filed it away and didn't listen to it for years. One day walking home, it suddenly popped into my mind as one of the most beautiful songs I'd ever heard, and when I listened to it when I got home, so it was. The question again is how it happened without me ever hearing it? What's going on in my subconscious that causes this to happen? I suspect every song I've ever heard is on a loop in there somewhere, with my opinions on them changing without me even being aware, apart from the occasional glorious moment of realisation.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Raincoats and completism

The album I've listened to the most over the last 12 months is almost certainly the first, self-titled, Raincoats album. I first bought it as a teenager and massive Nirvana fan after reading it was one of Kurt Cobain's favourite albums, but at the time I didn't get it, it's structure and rhythms were just too far from the indie, punk and grunge that formed the bulk of my musical taste at the time.

Some years later I returned to the album, my musical tastes had changed and I started to appreciate it far more. The fragile vocals, the interplay of instruments, the sense of tearing up rock's 4/4 verse/chorus/verse structures are building something new. Over time it grew to be one of my all time favourite albums.

The strange thing is, I've never felt the need to rush out and buy the other Raincoats albums. As a teenager if I found a new band I loved, I had to rush out and everything they'd ever released. At the heart of it was a sense that I was missing out on something, that was wonderful music out there that I'd not yet heard. I think this is the same thing which drove my endless need to seek out new bands and new types of music.

Now I'm a bit more relaxed about the whole thing. I know that if there's great music out there I haven't discovered yet it's not going anywhere, and I have plenty of life left to find it. There may be far too much for me ever hear it all, but even the music I own now is enough to keep me happy for a lifetime.

The other thing I came to realise is that even if I love an artist it doesn't mean that every part of their back catalogued is packed full of moments of genius. This is especially true of Neil Youngs like me. No one releases 35 studio albums without their being a few stinkers amongst them, so why not be a selective fan rather than a completist? I got very excited when Neil Young released the first 8cd box set of his archives, but then I thought do I really need 8 hours of outtakes and unreleased songs? There might be the odd gem, but the chances of them comparing to his best albums are slim to say the least.

So, while I may get those other Raincoats albums one day, and maybe I'll love them as much as the first one, for now I'm happy with what I've got.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It Begins...

I'd like to begin this blog by writing a little about its' title, and why I feel the need to write it. I used to be the person in my group of friends who knew the most about music, the one who recommended new bands to others and spent endless hours searching for them, who pored over the gig listings looking for bands we could go and see. Now, having turned 30 I began to find I had more responsibilities less time and money to spend on seeking out new music. I began to feel like my love of music, one of the things which I feel defines me, was starting to fade. Essentially I began to worry I was turning into the guy from this Onion story:


Then one day I heard an extract on the radio from William Basinski's "The Disintegration Loops". Simple, beautiful and profoundly moving, it made me realise music means as much to me now as ever, and that there is still so much new music out there for me to discover. Also, that I still want to spread the word about the music I love, and express how I feel about music in general.

I've also started a Tumblr to post music video and audio (which can be found here), but Tumblr isn't really the format for more long form musical writing, hence this blog which I'm very much looking forward to writing whether anyone reads it or not.

You can read a little more about "The Disintegration Loops" here which makes for am interesting read whether you like the music or not.