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T In The Park(life)

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Even during my teenage kicks years I was never a natural festival goer. Maybe it’s down the fact that pitching a tent that doesn’t collapse within hours seems to be beyond my capabilities or maybe it’s down to me possessing the kind of pale skin that the average Goth fantasizes about. Certainly being someone who suffers badly from hay fever doesn’t help but mostly I think it’s down to the plain fact that music just sounds better in an enclosed space, preferably smallish, with decent soundcheck beforehand. It does, doesn’t it?

I could list a number of things that I dislike about the average music festival although I wouldn’t quite go along with Edwyn Collins’ ‘Yes, yes, yes, it’s the summer festival, the truly detestable summer festival’ lyric and I even once spent over a week at Stonehenge – a very interesting time albeit I’d struggle to name a single band that I actually enjoyed. I even trooped back the following year and by then – this was 1983 – I’d learned a valuable lesson, which was that a combination of scrumpy cider with magic mushroom tea is best avoided. In fact, it probably makes the Buckfast Challenge seem a sensible idea.

Despite having the reputation of being a hippy dippy festival where everyone wore tie-dyed clothing and discussed ley lines and chakras, Stonehenge was by this point attracting an element that were more Hate and War than Peace and Love. More and more hard drugs were being sold at the festival site and tooled up Hell’s Angels occasionally took great delight in attacking punks – although I never witnessed any aggro myself.

Even with some badass bikers on the rampage, compared to the Loch Lomond Festival of 1980, Stonehenge could probably appear as reasonably harmonious.

Taking place in the Cameron Bear Park, the first Loch Lomond Festival apparently proved pretty successful although I was living dahn south and couldn’t attend. The line-up was impressive and included The Skids, The Stranglers, Dr Feelgood, Buzzcocks and The Boomtown Rats, who opened their set by airing their new single, I Don’t Like Mondays, live for the first time in Britain.

The following year’s festival, which I did attend, will probably be remembered more for the violence that took place on the Saturday rather than for the music, which is a pity because The Only Ones, Stiff Little Fingers and The Jam were all top notch.

Loch Lomond 1980

Throughout the day different factions fought running battles with each other. The Punks fought with the Skins, and the Mods fought with the Punks and the Mods fought with the Skins too, although I forget the exact sequence of the fisticuffs.

Before all that, in an attempt to skip in, my pal climbed a massive wire fence (described the year before in Sounds as ‘impregnable’) only to discover once he’d started his descent down the other side that there were a number of brown bears on the that side of the fence.

It was called Cameron Bear Park for a reason.

He decided to pay in.

Anyway, the atrociously named T in the Park celebrates its 21st birthday over the weekend – the first headliners back in 1994 being Rage Against the Machine and Blur, whose Parklife had only recently been knocked off the top of the British albums chart.

You’ve likely guessed that I won’t be there this time around but there are though a number of acts I would rather fancy seeing; primarily Pixies, Paul Weller, Wilko Johnson, John Cooper Clarke, Call to Mind, Vigo Thieves, Franz Ferdinand, The Stranglers and a couple of bands I’ve recently featured in this here blog, The Moon Kids and The Human League.

Fresh from playing a string of dates across Europe supporting Jack White, this bunch are also playing and will be taking to the BBC Introducing Stage at 8pm on Saturday. This is The Amazing Snakeheads live at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club a few months ago with I’m A Vampire.

Remember folks, anger is an energy.

 
For more on T in the Park click here.

Indie Cindy, Stroh 80 & San Francisco (The Best of 2013)

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On the last day of the year and in no particular order, thirty of my favourite new tracks released during 2013, at least I think they’re all from 2013, along with ten of the very best compilations, reissues, live albums or soundtracks and five books.

Singles

My Bloody Valentine: Nothing Is
Arcade Fire: Reflektor
David Bowie: Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix)
Tess Parks: Somedays
The Sexual Objects: Feels With Me
Primal Scream: 2013
Vic Godard & Subway Sect: Caught in Midstream
Jagwar Ma: Come Save Me
Dot Dash: Hands of Time
Pixies: Indie Cindy

 
Steve Mason: Fight Them Back
Daft Punk: Giorgio Moroder
Cat Power: Bully
The Pastels: Kicking Leaves
Boards of Canada: Reach For The Dead
PiL: This PiL
Iggy and The Stooges: The Departed
Lloyd Cole: Women’s Studies
Edwyn Collins: Forsooth
Casual Sex: Stroh 80

 
Franz Ferdinand: Love Illumination
The Fall: Loadstones
Brazos: How The Ranks Was Won
Prefab Sprout: The Best Jewel Thief In The World
Paul Haig: Daemon
Low: Just Make It Stop
Anna Calvi: Eliza
Book Group: Victory Lap
James King and The Lonewolves: Pretty Blue Eyes
Foxygen: San Francisco


 Compilations

The Clash: Sound System
Simple Minds: Celebrate
VA – Punk 45. Kill the Hippies! Kill Yourself!
Belle and Sebastian: The Third Eye Centre
The Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat – 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition
XTC: Nonsuch
The Boys: Alternative Chartbusters
Jazzateers: Rough 46
TV Smith: Acoustic Sessions, Volume 1
Jon Hopkins/VA: How I Live Now (OST)

The Written Word

Morrissey: Autobiography
Alan McGee: Creation Stories
Nina Antonia: 13 Knots
Sheila Rock: Punk +
Harry Papadopoulos: What Presence!

 

Gigantic x 2

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Tonight sees the final date of a sold-out European tour by Pixies at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. During the tour they’ve slotted in some new songs such as recent single Bagboy (and a cover of The Fall’s New Big Prinz) into sets still dominated by the sort of back catalogue that ensures that selling out venues like Hammersmith and the Barrowlands in minutes is a formality.

Talking last week in NME, Black Francis revealed that he would like what he terms ‘Phase 2’ of the band – with new bassist Kim Shattuck – to experience the same highs as when they first met with success in Britain and parts of Europe in the 1980s: ‘People were throwing themselves at the stage. It was like a religious revival or something. I don’t know if I’ll ever experience something like that again but I always hope that can happen again.’

I can’t claim that my own reaction to the band was quite that intense when I first saw them myself in the spring of 1989 at Glasgow Uni’s Queen Margaret Union although I did pogo around to Another Girl, Another Planet by The Only Ones before they took to the stage – well I had been on a bit of a Byres Road pub crawl beforehand – and did go just a little wild the moment Pixies appeared from the wings.

This was a definite highlight that night:

 
And now for another Gigantic, one that features in the latest edition of the Late Night Tales series of compilation CDs, which this time round is selected and sequenced by British musician, DJ and producer Simon Green, aka Bonobo.

This Gigantic, written and performed by Eddi Front, is sparse and solemn, an ethereal piano accompanying Eddi’s sweet but just a little husky vocals. I like the fact that the song is slightly eerie but also somehow soothing.

 
The track first appeared last year on her self-titled debut EP on Best Fit
Recordings, which helped her carve out something of a name for herself and led to her being compared with everyone from Lana Del Rey to Lucinda Williams.

I see her as being located somewhere between Cat Power and Julee Cruise myself, although for the latter’s influence you should seek out Texas, another of her songs from her EP.

An album should be out early in the New Year.

For more on Eddi Front:

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