Regular readers of this 'ere blog ( and bless you for it! ) have probably noticed that the usual, glacially-slow rate of posts has slowed down even further lately. Apart from boring "real" world stuff taking up too much of my time, we've also had PC problems of the dreaded blue-screen variety. Consequently, I'm writing this on Sophie's netbook, trying to get used to a keyboard seemingly designed for a doll's fingers.
So what's been going down in Groove Town?
I've been buying quite a lot of music lately, mostly from charity shops, antique shops (!) etc. Anywhere cheap, basically. Bowie's Station To Station is top of the list, a fantastic album with such great songs as Golden Years, Word On A Wing and the epic title-track, all serving as a bridge ( or train journey, even ) between his "Plastic Soul" period and the experimentalism of the "Berlin Trilogy". A compelling mixture of funk, rock and a European, motorik, feel - not bad for a Thin White Duke who was out of his head on coke at the time...
After falling for The Horrors' superlative Skying ( album of the year, definitely ) I went back to discover their previous LP, Primary Colours, a more abrasive, punkier set of songs, mixing Goth with Psychedelia and some deep vocals from Faris Badwan. All good fun... in an intense and meaningful kind of way, maaan. And it contains Sea Within A Sea, an absolute classic.
One of my fave bands of the '90s were the criminally-underrated Carter USM, Jim Bob and Fruit Bat. Often reviled at the time by the cool kids ( damn those cool kids! ), Carter were - for me, anyway - one of the best live bands of their time, and were responsible for some powerful, passionate songs with unfashionable, pun-filled, socially-conscious lyrics. Sarah and I saw them play live 3 times and each time they were an exciting, involving electro-Punk riot. All the great, angry, energetic singles are here: Sheriff Fatman, Only Living Boy In New Cross, Glam Rock Cops and, as they say, many more...
For a total change of pace, here's the exotic, erotic Kelis, with Tasty. ( I could make some crude comment about that title, but obviously it's beneath a blogger of my refined sensibilities. Yeah, right... ) Over top of a hard-edged, robo-funk production by The Neptunes, Kelis' vocals are an arrogant, sensual come-on from a lady who patently takes no prisoners. Away from all-conquering pop blasts Milkshake and Trick Me, the album drifts at times, but it's well worth a listen.
I've meant to buy Macy Gray's debut album, On How Life Is, for years and now I've finally got round to it. And what a classic it is! A clever mix of retro soul sounds and modern r 'n' b grooves, topped with Macy's unique Tina Turner - meets - Nina Simone - meets - Eartha Kitt vocals, and shot through with an earthy, husky sexuality, it's a slinky, sultry delight. I always think that Macy would be a star of Rihanna / Beyonce proportions nowadays if she had more "conventional" looks, instead of being a self-proclaimed Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak. Luckily, she remains an idiosyncratic, imaginative artist and not just some MTV puppet.
Away from music I've been catching up with a few decent TV shows, which I may have to mention in more detail later: Philip Glenister's labyrinthine conspiracy thriller Hidden; the very creepy and apocalyptic BBC3 horror series The Fades ( got to be one of the shows of the year ); David Attenborough's astonishing Frozen Planet; series 2 of The Walking Dead which is picking up after a slow start; and I've just watched the first ep of American Horror Story which is as mad as a bag of weasels, but is very promising.
On the book front, I've just read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 ( both for the SFX Book Club ) and have now started Philip Reeve's Fever Crumb, a Young Adult steampunk novel, set in his Mortal Engines world of post-apocalypse London.
And, back on the subject of music, I'm going to see The Damned tomorrow night in Bristol. Yay!
That'll have to do for now. Night all...