Blood has a bad rep, but it’s honestly a good thing; there’s blood all over Shall We Live Forever? Blood and darkness. The hot blood of life and passion; the welcoming dark of all-night celebration and vodka-induced blindness… I’m pretty certain the answer to the question posed in the title is ‘no, so what are we waiting for?’ This is communal gypsy folk, with equal parts groove and lyricism (and great playing), a life-affirming panegyric to the sacred pain and hedonism of life. Some tunes are also on the earlier Budmo!, but get it anyway. It’s impossible not to like.
Tag: gloom pop
Review Of The Year 2012, Part 1: 12 Albums
It’s that time of year again, the nights drawing in, the pointless over-consumption going into overdrive, and the music bloggers arranging releases into spurious hierarchies of how hip they think they make them look. Well, let me issue the same caveats I always do: I don’t claim that these are the best albums of the year, simply that they are the ones I like the most out of the ones I happen to have heard. There are lots of famous records I happen not to have heard, some of which I might think were fantastic if I did hear them, but quite honestly I haven’t had time in the past year to hear any more music than I have, and I consider it infinitely preferable to stumble across music organically than to be guided to it just because it’s famous …
Chris T-T, She Makes War, Paul Goodwin and Sophie Jamieson at The Portland Arms, Cambridge
I should come clean at the outset: I knew about this gig because She Makes War, of whose music I’ve been a fan for some time, put it on her website, and as it’s in my old stamping ground, it seemed an ideal opportunity to finally find out what she does live. It was only the day before the gig that I discovered Chris T-T was headlining, and I would guess that he’s just slightly too famous for me to have heard of him, with my warped and inverted approach to cultural discovery… I had no idea there was anyone else on the bill until I got there, but as it turned out, all four acts were well worth hearing.
Various Artists – Album Roundup
The Trappers were kind enough to send me a CD, which usually results in a full length standalone write up, since I appreciate the expense of promoting a band, and also enjoy extending my collection. The fact that they’re in a roundup instead is no reflection on the quality of the release, but more on the kinds of things I tend to talk about when I review a recording. Although I will expand on it somewhat, basically all I can think of to say is ‘it’s roots rock, they do it very well, and I like it a lot’. That should certainly not be taken to say that there is no more content to it than ‘it’s root rock’ can tell you …
Various Artists – Singles and EPs
It’s a hard lesson to learn, when you realise you’re not likely to hit the big time with your art, and you’ve already invested so much, with so little to show for it in material terms… it certainly can make you feel like an underachiever. Ben Black seems to conflate his focus on his work (rather than work) with a persistent immaturity, and looks wistfully around him at the homes, wives and cars of his friends. ‘How can I look my children in the eye/ and tell them Daddy didn’t make it because Daddy didn’t try?’ he asks, though, which more or less answers his own questions.
She Makes War – Little Battles (gloom-pop)
I’ve been waiting with some considerable bating of breath for this album to come along. The first She Makes War full-length was a real revelation for me: accessible, guitar-based music, founded on traditional songwriting virtues, that hits the sweet spot aspired to by writers of prose fiction, and articulates characters whose experiences chime with the listener’s (or my own at least) memory and understanding. Artistic truth, in other words, and in art, truth is beauty. Laura Kidd, whose project SMW is, has thought through the requirements of promoting her own music with a great deal of clarity, and so her work is beautifully packaged …
She Makes War – Disarm (gloom-pop/ singer-songwriter)
War isn’t the first thing that springs to mind: there’s a lot of female performers out there with a far more aggressive image, but there’s certainly a strength and a sense of resistance in the persona that Laura Kidd articulates through her music as She Makes War. This is dark music, in its way: not gothic, horror tinged dark, nor emotionally indulgent, angsty dark. It’s the darkness in the dusty corners of imperfect relationship…