I am so damn busy. I mean, stupid busy, like every waking hour seems to be taken up with work or work related activities, which is no bad thing – but as a result my listening habits have been a bit, well, weird, I guess. Obviously there’s the stuff I’ve had to review, which has been OK to excellent, but there’s also been massive amounts of classical. Yes, classical, specifically Beethoven and Rachmaninoff, as it helps me concentrate when I’m translating. All my language functions get taken up by the work so I can’t possibly listen to anything with lyrics as my brain would stall, so it tends to be classical or ambient, classical’s winning that battle right now – getting old I guess! Nevertheless, my writing commitments have had me listening to some rather interesting new(ish) stuff that I find myself migrating back to on my day to day journeying around this fair city. So, here’s what’s been piping intermittently through my barely functioning headphones with the dodgy connection.
I’ve been working on a preview piece for http://www.alreadyheard.com on the upcoming Rebellion festival. It’s a largely punk affair and includes all sorts of acts with weird and wonderful names like Spunk and the Volcanic Eruptions and The Pukes, besides classic acts like Stiff Little Fingers and Buzzcocks. Anyway, excitingly, the great Dead Kennedys front man, political activist, Jello Biafra and his band The Guantanamo School of Medicine are set to hit the UK, so I have been checking out their 2013 album ‘White People and the Damage Done’. To put it bluntly, it’s fucking awesome and I keep going back for more. It’s like listening to the DKs only freshened up for this century – it’s as visceral a slice of politically charged punky hard core as you’re likely to find and Biafra’s distinct voice is as great as ever. Badass.
The debut album from Puddle Splasher, ‘Separate States’ has slowly grown on me. It has a real nineties feel to it, with a kind of Britpop grunginess not far removed from Stereophonics, only with more muscular guitars, better pop sensibilities and…ok they are way fucking better and a damn site cooler than Kelly Jones and co. Interestingly, they seem able to switch between the catchiest of pop melodies and the dirtiest of grunge, which all makes for an enjoyable listen – well worth checking out.
I’ve already talked about Evarose in the pages of Hard Pressed, but I’m finding the catchy grunge pop of these girls from Oxford unputdownable. Basically, every damn song on their album appeals on some level and the amount of earworms burrowing my brain is insane – talk about infectious. Check out their cover of Tatu‘s All the Things She Said.
In my explorations into classical music there is the stunningly beautiful ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ composed by Arvo Pärt, which is of such sublimely compelling beauty that it never fails to move me.