Most people wilfully misremember the 1980’s – they selectively associate the decade with musical excesses with 12” extended mixes of new romantic and electro-pop music. Parallel to this were a myriad of other things, one of them was College Rock and this record reminds me of those times (the college rock bit, not big hair and slap bass – now I’m doing it). There are few songs that I hear echoes of bands like Big Dipper: Stanley has been around for a long time (in the Lowest of the Low) so this is more like post-grad rock. Continue reading “The Stephen Stanley Band “Jimmy & The Moon” (Wolfe Island Records, 2017)”
Robyn Hitchcock releases his twenty first studio album, his first since 2014’s ‘The Man Upstairs’, and has chosen after all these years an eponymous title. “It’s ‘Introducing Robyn Hitchcock” he has said, working on the principle that the album will serve as a good entry point for those new to his music. Like it and you’ll find plenty similar throughout his career and if you don’t, well there’s no point in investigating any further. It’s not difficult to envisage many who will be prepared to seek out further work by this surrealist music icon after listening to this as it is a triumphant return. Hitchcock relocated to Nashville in 2014 and the seeds of this album were sown when he was tempted into the studio by producer Brendan Benson who urged him to make a record like the Soft Boys and Hitchcock has responded by delivering a piece of work that ranks alongside anything he has done. Continue reading “Robyn Hitchcock “Robyn Hitchcock” (Yep Roc 2017)”
I normally advise Americana-loving friends who enquire about sxsw simply to visit Austin at any time of the year and check out venues like the Broken Spoke or the Saxon Pub to get the authentic Austin feel. You’ll be sure to see the likes of Jon Dee Graham, William Harries Graham, Bob Schneider, Darden Smith, James McMurtry and other such stalwarts of the scene. But there are certain sxsw American events that are unique to that week and are not to be missed.
The Yard Dog Gallery on South Congress has a yard at the back which is covered by a gazebo during sxsw and it is really worth spending a whole afternoon there, because the music is invariably top notch and the audience respectful and very much “up for it”. A common characteristic of all the places I shall describe is the superhuman amount of alcohol consumed. I’m by no means teetotal but I tell you, the amount these guys put away is mind-boggling. Nursing a three dollar local IPA, I was hugely entertained by a highly-wired Austin Lucas (whose Alone In Memphis always brings a lump to the throat), who also duetted with Mara Connor. Continue reading “South By Southwest Festival 2017. Austin, Texas”