Another episode of Hugs and Kisses, a weekly Sound of the City column from Everett True, author of Nirvana: The Biography (da Capo Press) and publisher of Plan B Magazine. Last week, he didn’t write about The Raincoats. This week, he examines the contents of his desk. Find out how you can add to the pile by clicking email@example.com.
This woman is not on Everett True’s desktop. However, her crumpled, shiny CD sleeve is.
THIS WEEK: A (partial) examination of the contents of Everett True’s desktop
ITEM ONE: An already crumpled, shiny CD sleeve bearing the name ‘Cerys Matthews’. I have a soft spot for item one. Mid-Nineties, Britpop happened. Not one person among them could sing, not one. Then along came Cerys Matthews – and she could drink, too. Now she’s made an album, sung entirely in Welsh – which is approximately 17 times more captivating and swoon-inducing than yr bog-standard English, especially if you can’t understand a single word – and it’s my preferred late night companion of choice (my wife having long departed to bed). You see, it’s all soft whispers and saccharine strings, like I always imagine MOR AOR from the Seventies to be, except I’m damn sure it isn’t really. This is much preferred to my other companion, who weirdly (and please don’t let this get out, certainly not back to the good folk at my magazine) seems to be Van Morrison beating his chest and wishing he was in a soul band. I’m not even borderline sympathetic to the people who like Mr Morrison – Mr Rowland aside. Yet he’s alarmingly reluctant to budge from my stereo system.
ITEM TWO: A shiny pink DVD cover, bearing the legend Ramones: It’s Alive 1974-1996. Point one: why pink? Point two: people, we’re dealing with the most aesthetically pleasing group in the history of rock’n’roll – why no photograph? Point three: the blurb states that it’s the ‘ultimate double live DVD’ (leaving the field open for all those seminal single live DVDs). I see no real reason to doubt this, and yet the package remains unopened. Why would anyone want to watch Ramones on a TV screen?
ITEM THREE: A carbon fibre cleaner. It was a gift, I believe, from a long-past girlfriend. I rarely play records anymore, only when I DJ. And then I always forget to bring along my doubtless otherwise exemplary carbon fibre cleaner. Last time I DJ-ed I was complimented – on a number of occasions – for my choice of music: Monster Bobby, Liliput , Herman Düne, Daniel Johnston, Effi Briest, Taken By Trees, Karen Dalton, Thee Headcoatees (‘Davy Crockett’, of course), Madder Rose (‘Swim’ – and man, it still sounds so wonderful), Detroit Cobras, (UK anti-folk rapper) Stuart James, Jenny Hoyston, Wet Dog, Adrian Orange & Her Band…of all those, Effi Briest was the one I got complimented for most.
ITEM FOUR: A press release detailing news of the new solo album from the front man of The Validators, MJ Hibbett, A Million Ukeleles. I’m fond of Mr Hibbett for several reasons: he shouts but not boorishly, he’s articulate, he’s witty, he claims that his song ‘Hey Hey 16K’ was downloaded by over four million people, he writes songs about being caught unawares at Gay Pride, he contributed to an album called 50,000 Elves Fans Can’t Be Wrong, he wears his considerable heart on a considerable sleeve, his music sounds like an untrammelled, unapologetic cross between early Wedding Present and (let’s get obscure here for a second) Yeah Yeah Noh, he’s like that one bloke in the pub you always figured would be great for a conversation but never quite manage to find…and he’s not James Morrison, the ‘popular’ ‘soul/rock/alternative’ singer. (I know that last fact can be said for everyone in the world, minus one person, but it’s still a plus.) Mr Hibbett’s new album is painstakingly handmade, opens up like a flower in bloom, features tabs to all the songs (of course) and a former June Bride (the group, not the demographic). One day he will have children and these children will be awkward.
ITEM FIVE: A promotional Domino Records CD. It features two songs from Leeds (England)-based rock quartet, Wild Beasts: ‘Assembly’ b/w ‘Sylvia, A Melodrama’. I cannot even begin to tell you how very, very happy this music makes me – perhaps not quite as happy as my two-year-old son Isaac singing (former Ian Dury UK Number One) ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’, but close. Trust me. It’s close. It’s so wrong somehow, so giddy – Hayden sings like a cross between Patrick Wolf, Antony Hegarty minus the angelic, Fifties heartthrob Johnny Ray, Sixties crazy man Tiny Tim and dashingly erudite Associates singer Billy McKenzie, with a touch of your gin-addled great aunt warbling to herself in the bath. (Hayden is the singer.)
ITEM SIX: The new CD album from Wild Billy Childish And The Musicians Of The British Empire. Yes. I’m still listening to him.
HUGS AND KISSES TOP 5
The music Everett True likes
1. Acolytes Action Squad, “Music For Perspex” (from the Early Winter Recordings album Winkle Time). As good as Ništa Nije Ništa (or Effi Briest, for all you Manhattan-ites) – and that’s some good, I’m telling you.
2. Dial, “Soda Wars” (from the Cede album 168K). It’s Jacqui Ham from NYC’s Finest Ever Noise Ensemble Official! (UT) with an album full of worrying, tremulous low-end noise and cathartic, searing no wave guitar. As you’d expect. Features an ex-God and an ex-Furious Pig and is currently ruling the roost.
3. Wild Billy Childish And The Musicians Of The British Empire, “Christmas 1979” (Damaged Goods single). Yes, I still like it.
4. Pants Yell!, “The Royal We” (from the Soft Abuse album Alison Statton). It’s über-twee, it’s trying to sound like Herman Düne via (archetypal post-C86 band) The Field Mice, it’s a song named after my favourite transient Glaswegian band from an album named after my favourite early Eighties lo-fi pop crush, bar none. So you tell me: how am I not going to like this?
5. Root Manuva, “Movements” (from the Big Dada compilation album Well Deep: Ten Years Of Big Dada Recordings). This autumn’s essential hip hop release…kinda goes without saying, right?