Drinking to the seldom seen kid: Monday spins

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men. Gang aft a-gley… it seems each time I build up a head of steam on here the train falters just a few miles out of the station.

But let’s persevere, shall we, and slip back in by commencing another week with a summary of those songs that have been getting some love from my ears of late.

Exxasens – Le-Voyage, Pt2: (Back to Space)

There’s a wonderful, rich seam of post-rock in Spain. Bands like Toundra, Astralia, Audiolepsia and, of course Exxasens are regular spinners for me. I particularly love those bands from the Catalonia region – to my ears there’s something more of the melodic bent to their brand of post-rock and Exxasens, from Bareclona, typify this beautifully. Plus, a lot of their releases are space-themed and I do love a bit of the space race. This is from their gorgeous new album Le-Voyage.

M’dou Moctar – Chismiten

Thanks to tuning in to The Rough Guide to Desert Blues – courtesy of 1537’s reminder to do so – songs like this often slip into one of my Spotify play lists and this one really made me sit up and pay attention. M’dou Moctar is a mean Tuareg guitarist and his brand of Saharan rock / desert blues just soars… it blows my mind sometimes how music of this calibre comes from places you might least expect it.

James McMurtry – Canola Fields

Changing gears pretty sharply here… you know when a monarch slips this mortal coil the radio stations here have to change gears too and adopt songs from a more suitable sombre tone, pre-approved play list. The commercial stations also have to do away with adverts – whether this is a requirement or because maybe hearing that prick James Cordon enthusing about their printer’s ink coffee during a period of ‘national mourning’ isn’t the image McDonald’s wants I don’t know.
However, it does mean I both listen more to stations I wouldn’t normally and tend to hear those tunes that wouldn’t get much airplay usually. Driving back from some rave in an aircraft hanger or massive acid bender somewhere during that period I flicked the radio over and caught this one and was hooked. More specifically I caught the lyrics, the moody tone and the guitar work and was hooked. Alt.Country has often throne up some fucking great lyrics (see Bill Mallonnee and the Vigilantes of Love’s ‘Resplendent’) and this is another prime example of how to get across a novel’s worth in a song without over stuffing the sandwich – due diligence later on enjoying the album of the same name revealed the James is the son of writer Larry McMurtry so it’s clear where the story-telling gene comes from.

Cassandra Jenkins – Michelangelo

Speaking of bruising guitar tones…. the combination of Cassandra Jenkins’ vocals and that tone on this one caught my ears on one of those ‘Best of 2021’ comps that I dug out of the door bucket in the car and slipped on whilst drunkenly careening down country lanes after an all-night booze-up. Her album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature is one I’d missed entirely last year but have been enjoying lately – the variety of styles, all underpinned with Jenkins’ voice and great performances – makes for a real enjoyable spin.

The Hold Steady – Denver Haircut

The Hold Steady’s return, and return to form, had kind of been unnoticed by me but I’ve been belatedly really digging their last two efforts – Open Door Policy and Thrashing Thru The Passion – and while the ‘indie’ scene seems to be overrun by sprechgesang of late it’s a timely reminder that Craig Finn had been effortlessly putting lyrically dense narratives against some blistering riffs long before it was the cool thing.

The War On Drugs – Oceans of Darkness

Last year’s I Don’t Live Here Anymore was another slab of perfection from The War On Drugs. Unfortunately they’re signed to a massive label which means that its success warrants a ‘deluxe edition’ re-release less than a year later and, as if to excuse such a step, they’ve included a new tune. Still, that’s what streaming is for. It’s a bloody belter though and shame it wasn’t included first time round.

The Beatles – Taxman (2022 mix)

Paul McCartney once said “I’m not signing that, that’s disgusting. Put it away.” He also, apparently, said no to helping George Harrison with the lyrics for ‘Taxman’ so Lennon – who wasn’t involved with either heroin or Yoko at this point – did. Since spending time with ‘Get Back’ I’ve been enjoying The Beatles more than before and while I’m not about to go out and drop any money on the upcoming massive archival release of Revolver (my favourite Beatles album) I will be enjoying nuggets like this as they pop up on the streamers. 

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11 thoughts on “Drinking to the seldom seen kid: Monday spins

  1. Great post – I like all of your picks. Best of all, except for The Beatles, I had not heard any of these tunes.

    Perhaps the most intriguing artist to me is M’dou Moctar – and you basically said. It’s because I simply hadn’t expected this type of music. Exxasens have a really great sound. Again, I never heard of these Spanish bands you noted.

    I like the James McMurtry and Cassandra Jenkins tunes as well. Her name does ring a distant bell.

    The Hold Steady, especially the vocals, remind me somewhat of Son Volt, a group I only “discovered” last year and dig, based on what I’ve heard.

    Hey, you may not get a chance to post as often as you like, but as far as I’m concerned, you certainly made this one count!

  2. But first, this – Daily Mirror headline – Maggie Thatcher back from dead. Lowers taxes on rich, sends pound plummeting, mortgages skyrocket. Oh, wait. It’s actually Liz Truss.

  3. Much as I want to, given that my son is in a post-rock band, I confess that my appreciation for it is limited. Small doses. That Moctar guy is a flaming wonder, eh? You never know. Is that Cassandra playing guitar? Jesus, that is some nasty tone. I like Hold Steady, indifferent on War On Drugs. And if you can hear the difference between this ‘Taxman’ and any previous one, your ears are much better than mine.

    • That last Pray for Sound album was fantastic, plenty of spin time on that one.
      As for difference… perhaps a tad sharper but my ears aren’t reliable though.
      Not sure re Jenkins – one of the downsides with streaming is lack of liner notes

      • PFS is working on some material. The good news is they have their own studio. But the leader now has two kids, job, etc. So longer time between albums. I believe they’re playing the dunk! festival in Belgium again next year. Like everybody else, Covid fucked up their plans immeasurably

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