Old Fellas New Music Episode 16 Notes

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Episode 16 – our song list

Small Sins  – I Used to be a Better Man 

Lee Perry – Run Evil Spirit

Chvrches – How Not to Drown  

Edwyn Collins – I Guess We Were Still Young

Squirrel Flower – Flames and Flat Tires

P.P. Arnold – Baby Blue

Yola – Stand for Myself

Tinariwen – Amalouna

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds – Big Lies

I Used to be a Better Man – Small Sins – Album Volume II

This is the first album by Thomas D’Arcy in ten years. He is now mainly a producer (D’Arcy and Drew eventually founded the original Taurus near Cabbagetown. “We had this big huge control room, but I was still just using it for a writer space,” recalls D’Arcy. He quickly began working with friends like July Talk and Sheepdogs side project BROS.)in Toronto, but I think this is a great album, all tracks are pretty strong. One of a few musicians going strong again after a long career.

A few notes on Thomas D’Arcy

Yet, Volume II feels like the most personal work D’Arcy’s produced since, well, Small Sins’ debut. It inevitably fails to live up to it’s counterpart, but that hardly seems to have been the point. D’arcy clearly had some things he wanted to get off his chest that that record’s sound were uniquely suited to conveying.

Exclaim Magazine

Here is an interesting video that he self-produced in 2020 in Hyde Park on Christmas Day, featuring all the lyrics from his most recent album Volume II

Thomas D’Arcy
Filmed on Christmas day, 2020 at High Park in Toronto. This is one continuous shot.
From the Album Small Sins: Volume II, out Feb 12th 2021 via Thomas D’Arcy Music, distributed by Arts and Crafts. 
Self-shot. Directed, edited and titled by Ryan Gullen.

Lee Perry – Run Evil Spirit

Lee Perry is an international Reggae legend as a performer and producer for such artists as Bob Marley, The Clash, The Beastie Boys and dozens and dozens of Jamaican artists. In 2019 in his 83rd year , he produced the lp Rainford from which “Run Evil Spirit” hails. Vinyl Factory offers an excellent primer in Perry’s work.  

If jazz has Sun Ra and funk has George Clinton, then reggae has Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Also worth watching is this excellent documentary

The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry

How Not to Drown – Chvrches

CHVRCHES, Robert Smith – How Not To Drown (Official Video)

This is a great track by the Scottish Indy band Chvrches. I love the vocalist Lauren Mayberry and the video is made all that more interesting by the menacing presence of Robert Smith of the Cure. Here are a few notes about the song, I think from Pitchfork.

Earlier this week, Chvrches and Robert Smith released their collaborative single “How Not to Drown,” from the group’s upcoming album Screen Violence, and have now released a music video for the song directed by Scott Kiernan (who also helmed the band’s earlier “He Said She Said” clip).

“We’ve been working with Scott on all the visual aspects of Screen Violence and this video is the second installment in a connected trilogy,” Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry explains. The video builds off of the surreal, film noir-inspired imagery from “He Said She Said,” now with the addition of the Cure frontman appearing on a television screen.

Screen Violence, which derives its title from one of Chvrches’ original proposed band names, will be released August 27th via Glassnote Records, and was largely recorded remotely between Glasgow and Los Angeles during the pandemic. The album follows the band’s 2018 LP Love Is Dead.

And because Robert Smith is such an iconic figure, Bob suggested we add this video

Robert Smith (The Cure) in episode of South Park where he battles Barbara Streisand

Edwyn Collins – I Guess We Were Still Young

Edwyn Collins is a Scottish Musician.  Born in in 1959 , he became known in the early 80’s as the leader of post punk band Orange Juice.  Here is the “Sound of Young Scotland’ performing on TV in the early 80’s. 

orange juice flesh…

 

In 2005, Collins was hospitalised after 2 cerebral haemorrhages as detailed here. 

Edwyn Collins talks about his two strokes (Channel 4 News, 2.10.14)

I Guess We Were Young  

Squirrel Flower – Flames and Flat Tires Album Planet (i) 2021

I just had to add this pithy quote from the Guardian music page

We’re going to blame the trials of 2020 for Ella Williams – AKA Squirrel Flower – not being ranked up alongside the celestial likes of Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten. The songwriter released her debut album, I Was Born Swimming, at the exact moment everything changed for ever. Talk about timing. Flames and Flat Tires is a grunge-folk intoxicant that comes in at under three minutes but will stick with you for hours.

The Guardian

Squirrel Flower – Flames and Flat Tires [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Pitchfork likes Squirrel Flower (Ella Williams) too. They write about her tendency to write about roads and cars. All to say, it is a pretty fine track for a 24-year old.

On Planet (i), the road is a nexus of nostalgia and intimacy: “Iowa 146” uses a whisper-sing delivery and gorgeous, fingerpicked guitar melody to capture the sweetness of a night spent on top of a car with a love interest. But it’s also a site of disasters that haunt Williams’s imagination: the careening firestorms of “Flames and Flat Tires,” or the Missouri floods that inspired “Deluge in the South,” which has the openhearted, country-speckled quality of a Waxahatchee deep cut. Williams’ vivid songwriting and versatile voice bring both sides to life.

Pitchfork

P.P. Arnold – Baby Blue

Born 1946, Arnold sang backing vocals for Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the fall of 1966 after their tour with the Rolling Stones in the UK. She remained in London to establish a solo career, with the encouragement of Mick Jagger. This interview with PP Arnold gives her amazing story      

PP Arnold -Talks about T.Turner,M.Jagger,B.Gibb,Clapton,A.Franklin & more -Radio Broadcast 14/07/19

She released her first album in 1967 on Immediate records. This is a  promo video with the Small Faces for the single “If You Are Feeling Groovy”

SMALL FACES & P.P. ARNOLD – (If You Think You’re) Groovy RARE BEACH PROMO 1967

It took 51 years to see the release of her second album.  From “The New Adventures of…”, is the song “Baby Blue” 

P.P. Arnold “Baby Blue” Official Song Stream – Album out August 9th, 2019

Yola – Stand for Myself

Yolanda Quartey (born 31 July 1983[1]), known professionally as Yola or Yola Carter, is an English musician, singer and songwriter from Bristol, England. Yola received four nominations at the 62nd Grammy Awards, including the all-genre Best New Artist category.

Again, am going with the Guardian quote, but I don’t get the Banksy reference:

The best thing to come out of Bristol since the rumour that Banksy is actually the scrawny one out of Massive Attack, Yola’s powerhouse vocals will pin you against the wall and make you rethink everything you thought you knew about the modern diva. Stand for Myself is builder’s tea for the soul: strong, warm and a bit of a wake-up call.

The Guardian

Yola – “Stand For Myself” [Official Music Video]

When you read about Yola, it is obvious that this is an artist who has hit here stride. In a recent recording done for a benefit MusiCares and the National Bail Out Collective, she played with Sheryl Crow (piano), Jason Isbell (guitar) and Brandi Carlile (back-up vocals). Pretty good.

The statement she wrote about this song – Hold On is worth repeating here:

“Hold On” is a conversation between me and the next generation of young Black girls. My mother’s advice would always stress caution, that all that glitters isn’t gold, and that my Black female role models on TV are probably having a hard time. She warned me that I should rethink my calling to be a writer and a singer… but to me that was all the more reason I should take up this space. “Hold On” is asking the next gen to take up space, to be visible and to show what it looks to be young, gifted and Black.

So, I had to add a clip from one of here performances of Hold On

Yola performs “Hold On” with Supporting Vocals by The Highwomen for Play On: A Benefit Concert

One final note about Yola, on February 21, 2020, Variety announced that she has been cast to play the role of singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe — dubbed the Godmother of rock and roll — in Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s still untitled drama on the life of Elvis Presley.

I didn’t know who Sister Rosetta Tharpe was, but Bob mentioned a session where she played a great guitar session live. I found one here from 1964. I think might be a great movie!

Sister Rosetta Tharpe- “Didn’t It Rain?” Live 1964 (Reelin’ In The Years Archive)

Tinariwen – Amalouna

Tinariwen  Is a group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. which in the Tamashek language translates as The People of the Deserts or “The Desert Boys.  This rotating roster of musicians have been performing and recording since the eighties.  In 1980, Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi put out a decree inviting all young Tuareg men who were living illegally in Libya to receive full military training. Gaddafi dreamed of forming a Saharan regiment, made up of young Tuareg fighters, to further his territorial ambitions. Ag Alhabib and his bandmates answered the call and received nine months of training. Here, the band met additional Tuareg musicians and formed a loosely-organized collective, now known as Tinariwen, to create songs about the issues facing the Tuareg people. This NPR article explains Tinarwen in a nutshell.   

Mali’s ‘Guitar Gods’ Tinariwen Receive Racist Threats Ahead Of U.S. Tour

A guitar band from Mali called Tinariwen is famous worldwide. The group’s fans and collaborators have included Robert Plant, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Bono of U2 and Nels Cline of Wilco. The band has fought extremism in their home country of Mali, and been victims themselves. But ahead of a September show in Winston-Salem, N.C., social media commenters are leveling violent, racist attacks against the musicians.

A refresher on Tinariwen: This a group of Tuareg musicians from the north of Mali. The members have been hailed as guitar gods, playing rolling melodic lines and loping rhythms that evoke the desert sands of the Sahara — the band’s native home. The band’s name literally means “deserts” in their language, Tamasheq.

NPR

An interesting part of this article talks about The Festival in the Desert. When we broadcast yesterday we talked about the famous concernt and we wondered what had happened to it,.

Again from the NPR article:

The hope for a larger Festival in the Desert was that it could serve as an economic engine and encourage cultural tourism to northern Mali, a region that has often struggled, and to show cultural unity among Mali’s richly diverse peoples, in the years after the country suffered terrible and bloody conflict in the 1990s. To that end, the organizers invited some incredible Malian musicians who weren’t Tuareg to perform — artists like Ali Farka Touré and Oumou Sangare — along with Robert Plant. The 2003 Festival in the Desert became legendary — and it spurred Tinariwen to worldwide success. But the Festival in the Desert didn’t last. The political situation in Mali grew more precarious, and by 2012, Islamist extremists — many of them foreigners — fanned out across northern Mali, in hopes of gaining control. Musicians became a prime target. The Festival in the Desert went into exile, and transformed by necessity into an international touring collective.

NPR 2019
TINARIWEN – TAQKAL TARHA (feat. Micah Nelson)

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds – Big Lies

Yet another musician Bob and I didn’t know about, Alex Little comes from a pretty interesting famil;y line of musicians. This profile is from the local Vancouver Weekly:

Music has always been a big part of Alex Little’s life. Growing up she watched her father drum for bands around Vancouver, playing for bands like The Payola$ and the Bughouse Five. She was raised to be comfortable in a rock’n roll crowd. Looking up to her father, she would eventually become a drummer herself, playing in punk bands around Vancouver for many years. During that time she was writing her own material on the side, but was a bit shy about it.

It wasn’t until she met fellow Vancouver rocker Andy Bishop that she started down the path of becoming a front woman. Bishop has been a mainstay of the Vancouver music scene for some time, having played in bands like Twin Rivers, Red Cedar, and White Ash Falls. He and Little happened to work together at the Wallflower when they met.

“It was just a fun thing that we never necessarily saw a future in,” Little recalls. “He was very helpful in getting me going. We went to Long and McQuade and he helped me pick out a guitar because, as a drummer, I knew nothing about guitars. Then we just jammed for awhile and wrote together.”

Vancouver Weekly

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds – Big Lies (Official Visualizer)

a little more about here from her website

“My best songs are written when I’m having the worst time,” says Alex Little with a wry laugh. “There’s no songs about feeling good. It’s about connecting to that deep dark part of myself, which is the reason why I make music.” This blunt emotional honesty is the driving force behind Vancouver’s Alex Little & the Suspicious Minds, whose scorching garage-pop songs unflinchingly tackle drug addiction, mental health and heartbreak. And yet, despite the heavy subject matter, the group’s soaring choruses and loud guitars mean that the mood is cathartic rather than heavy.

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds

Some of the lyrics that show a bit of that dark side:

Yeah you grew up fast in the city, you were always cool and ready for it all

you can walk real good in stilettos walk around all night til’ you fall

everyone in the place wants to know you

cause you seem like everything they wanna be

if I could take all the lights in the world and shine them in your eyes would you see?

A slight reflection in the glass is worth your time dear

worth your time dear

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