There aren’t that many benefits to writing a music blog or contributing to independent music websites; it involves quite a lot of work, you end up listening to a lot of stuff you might not choose to and financial recompense is a non-starter. The words labour of love spring to mind. However, there is the great satisfaction of having an outlet for your opinion (and occasionally gaining some respect for it), it’s kinda cool to be a part of the industry in an albeit minuscule way and, most importantly, you get to hear (and sometimes download) new releases before everyone else. When people ask me if I get paid, I always tell them I get paid in music! Anyway, every now and then, the humble music writer might be privileged enough to get to hear about a particularly cool new talent way before the rest of the public, or, be lucky enough to receive the new release of a genuinely iconic band almost a month before it hits the racks. This might explain one of the big spinners on my digital turntables this month – check it out….
Yes folks, the Pixies are back! Friday the 30th will see their sixth studio album ‘Head Carrier’ unleashed on their expectant public, which is sure to provoke stacks of debate in internet land. Having spent the last couple of weeks playing my advance copy on an almost daily basis for my review for Already Heard, I have a few observations. First up, it’s a grower – don’t expect to be blown away on first listen – give it a chance and it’ll eat into your subconscious. Second, it was never going to be the same cutting edge experimental slop of yester year, that was nearly thirty years ago and they just ain’t that hungry anymore, so tone down your expectations. Finally, they always had an ear for a melody, think ‘Here Comes Your Man’, and this record has a bunch more to get your toes a tappin’, as well as the irresistible ‘Um Chagga Lagga’, which is a fucking tune.
Besides Pixies, I have also been listening the shit out of the Black Foxxes record, the brilliantly titled ‘I’m Not Well’. The British three piece offer up a loud chunk of cathartic indie rock with an enviable sense of melody that is nothing short of awesome. It is sure to be among my records of the year – this is a band that deserves to be massive.
Another recent release that I have been slipping into with frequency on early morning and late night journeys, is the beautifully melancholic folk of Lisa Hannigan. It’s lyrically sharp, wonderfully sung and avoids the whimsically bland trappings many singer songwriters so often succumb to, instead she delivers a contemplative mix of quite lovely tracks that is very easy on the ear.