Songs for the apocalypse: Toad the Wet Sprocket “Something’s Always Wrong”

In what feels like another lifetime ago these days, I lived in Sydney for a year after I left school, and one night after coming home from a late shift at the restaurant I worked in (as an appalling waiter) a band called Toad the Wet Sprocket named after a Monty Python sketch appeared on TV and I was spellbound. Thus began a three decades love affair with this Californian act which continued when I returned to the UK thanks to Bob Harris, and they remain one of the few “artists to see before I die” still on my list. Whenever I introduce them to friends (not literally), the track ‘Something’s Always Wrong’ is always the first track I reach for. 23 years on from its original release on the ‘Dulcinea’ album, and with all its magnificent chord changes and the arrangement, this still ranks as one of my favourite songs of all time.

AmericanA to Z – Iris DeMent

When the current vinyl revival started and I switched from CD to once again buying vinyl records, one thing I swore that I wouldn’t do, was to re-purchase my CD collection as titles were inevitably re-issued on vinyl.  But then Iris DeMent’s 1992 debut ‘Infamous Angel’ was re-issued on vinyl and in true country style, promises made, became promises broken. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Iris DeMent”

Another reminder to vote in this year’s Americana UK readers poll!

The votes are still trickling in for our poll of the year and while trickles are normally better than floods, in this instance your favourite artist might not be getting the exposure they deserve because YOU can’t be bothered. OK not you, the person sitting next you. Both of you – Head over to our voting page to make your choices – as always, some of these categories do come down to a handful of votes, so every one really will count. You can vote until December 15th 2019.  Happy votings!

Songs for the apocalypse: Great Lake Swimmers “When It Flows”

Two of my favourite bands in the world are Great Lakes (Ben Crum’s indie-americana project from Georgia) and Great Lake Swimmers, the quintet currently based in a little known village north of Athens called Toronto. I often go to play one and then plump for the other. This happened on the weekend where I reacquainted myself with the Swimmers’ ‘Bodies and Minds’ record from 2005 which was quiet and melancholic, but left me feeling euphoric at times. The track ‘When It Flows’ was a highlight with its reflection that “The roar of an action silences all the words, The cry of an accomplishment Drowns the whimper of ten thousand words”. 

Pick of the Political Pops: Big Star “Don’t Lie To Me”

 

Mirroring the country at large our own election process is in full swing as you know and the position of Editorship is up for grabs. We have had the ballot papers printed – featuring just the one name obviously – and we have been having a fulsome and detailed hustings. Unfortunately The Editor was unable to attend citing reasons of utter apathy but we like to think that we carried the torch in his absence and that our democratic process is going swimmingly. So swimmingly that we have decided to let you, our dear reader, have a vote or votes of your own. You can’t vote for The Editorship but you can let your feelings be known about other stuff that has happened this year by heading over to our Official Best Of Year page. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Big Star “Don’t Lie To Me””

What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?

This week in our occasional series in which we ask the Americana UK staff writers and contributors to give us a handle on the what, whys and wherefores that got them into the genre, Tim Martin goes up before the beak to explain himself to the gathered hoard. Apparently he’s not a punk or a heavy metal drummer (at least not anymore if ever he was). Read on to find out exactly where he does stand… Continue reading “What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?”

AmericanA to Z – Buffalo Springfield

B is for… Could it be The Byrds, Bardo Pond, The Band, Bill Mallonee, The Bible, Bill Fay, Bennett Wilson Poole, Ben Howard, Ben Folds, Beck, Band of Heathens, Band of Horses, Barzin or any of the countless others in my collection beginning with B that could be considered Americana? Well it could but for this article it’s the Buffalo Springfield!  Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Buffalo Springfield”

What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?

More of our popular feature “What Is This…?” now folks. This time US based writer Steven Rafferty spills the beans on his big man’s old console or even his system’s console big man or even his old man’s console system (big). Whatever, we are fairly sure that pedestals are involved and he was a one time bassist. To find out why read on… Continue reading “What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?”

Songs for the apocalypse: Miranda Lee Richards “Tokyo’s Dancing”

Miranda Lee Richards is an LA-based singer-songwriter who was born in San Francisco after the summer of love, growing up in an artistic and bohemian environment that has informed her adult life and work – her parents are well-known underground comic book artists Ted Richards and Terre Richards. By the time her album ‘Echoes of a Dreamtime’ was released in the depths of winter 2016 Richards had been recording for 15 years, but only came to my attention in one of those nights where whiskey seems more appealing than bed. Winter can do that to you.