The weekly round up of records of the week comes at ya. Nonstop.
RECORDING OF THE WEEK
By the Time I Get To Phoenix (Live at The Troubadour)
Glen Campbell's show at Hollywood's The Troubadour in 2008 would be his last ever filmed performance.
The show coincided with his return to the spotlight with an album ('Meet Glen Campell') of some, ahem, intriguing contemporary covers (Travis, Foo Fighters, Green Day...). By the time he got to perform live though, it was the outstanding songs written for him by Jimmy Webb that would sparkle the most.
'By the Time I Get to Phoenix' may be their finest collaboration (yes, yes, I am aware of 'Witchita Linesman' and 'Galveston'!). It's the way that Campbell interprets the anguish, the doubts and the sadness as the tale unfolds that makes it such an enthralling listen. And, on this version, just after a goofy joke with the crowd, deliver a note that is so spellbinding, it will stop you in your tracks.
The full album of the 'Live at The Troubadour' show is released on 25 July. --Jay Lewis
Why Can't I Be You?
Berlin Banter's sumptuous rendition of one of The Cure's poppier moments is a slow-burning delight.
Like their last single, (a cover of Depeche Mode's 'Dangerous') the band have removed layers of sound to reveal a startlingly different song to the one that we thought we knew.
The alluring vocals on 'Why Can't I Be You?' are delivered by Cassis B Staudt, the Berlin (obviously), dwelling composer and musician whose CV includes work with Swans, Herbie Flowers, Tom Waits, and Iggy Pop. I cannot wait to hear what 80s classic she'll reinterpret next. --Jay Lewis
ANJIMILE, ESTHER ROSE
Is there something up with my hearing this week? Nothing sounds good. I don’t mean the performers aren’t doing great things. Anjimile's interpretation here is breathless perfection... Yet, it’s all projected onto me like brittle soundless spit. Or birdshit that gets discovered dry on a favorite jacket. It’s been there a while. You’re the last to discover it. And that doesn’t feel good. Coyote Creek was a great few minutes on Esther Rose’s fab How Many Times LP that came out a little while ago and now a restless (re)interpretation with Anjimile… Look you guys, you pay your money and you take your choice. I loved the original so much. When everything was in the right place. --Lee Paul
No One Quite Like You
(In My Room)
Trentemøller with Tricky has all of the submerged atmospheric undercurrents I love. No pace. Noisy mics, laboring piano. Tricky. Strings pulling me asunder, pulling me under. Today it has me going down for sure. The desired effect? I am wondering whether hypnotherapy can motivate me to survive? Discuss. --Ancient Champion
MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD
A Good Day For A Good Day
(Boo Boo Wax)
Y’all know how many great records Michael Franti has made so every time I see his name pop out of a press release I’m excited. I remember my excitement when I met someone who felt the same way. We were so excited we nearly fell through a Long Beach roof skylight. That’s where this ends. --Lee Paul
SWINDLE - LOYLE CARNER, KOJEY RADICAL & JNR WILLIAMS
When Loyle Carner, Kojey Radical and Jnr Williams get together, what could possibly go wrong? --Lee Paul
THE BAY BROS., SHORTY-G, SURB, SQUEEZE
Ain’t It Funny
There are many reasons to administer a beating. Maybe for not eating your veg? Maybe for respecting the pigs. Wait, I gotta play that back, did I hear that… This is gorgeously mellow, the jellies got delivered and the sun came out and we found somewhere that stocked garden furniture good. That’s it. That good depending on your perspective. --Lee Paul
Rico Nasty rates amongst the top ten artists surely that have to be skipped over on the school run in the car. You know why. -AC- is a prude. Yet here, Rico Nasty's Magic is remarkably mature. Not consensual committee approved beats mature. But something. A stab at a summer hit for sure. --Lee Paul
Magic and now Magical. We wouldn’t mention this, Laura Mvula, Birmingham’s finest, if it wasn’t for the exceptional Syreeta hat, I can see the similarities, and Laura’s great and it seems not so sudden devotion to 80s synths. This is such an almost perfect assimilation of Yacht Rock, you know it’s been loved all along. I blame the parents. I blame Hall and Oates. --Lee Paul
Games People Play
And so, I am going to put my pen down and go up to the Loft and totally rip off Lady Wray’s Games People Play. I am gonna work on nothing else next week. Let’s see how that turns out. At last! A reason to live. Like few can, Lady Wray and her musicians have bottled that sound of soul, then drizzled it all over this epicurean lovely, epically lush, lyrically spiked, musically arresting… sinewy summer tearjerker. Ride cymbal in the right place... And... Oh the voice, of course. Of course the voice. Nicole Wray has worked with Missy Elliott, Lee Fields notably, but it just seems to me there is a wide-open world for a voice as big as this. And it's been way too long since her 2016 belter Queen Alone, I feel like I've been waiting around since 1816 waiting for another LP. Oh! Big Crown puts out the greatest, most affecting records and this is a great pop record, no mean feat. Lady Wray, I think I love you. --Ancient Champion
COMMON / PJ
At some moments, it makes great sense to just reach for Common. I think we all know that now. I play that August Greene LP all the time and Like Water For Chocolate still - is the 6th Sense an all-time great or what, so... Imagine with PJ feels like, oh one time I was out in the pool at the Oasis Water Park in Palm Springs, it’s called something else now, and I don’t swim and the fuckers switched on the wave machine and for a while I was drowning and the idiot lifeguard approached and wouldn’t help because he thought my actual struggle to live was a struggle to get my friends’ bikini top off. Then I reached the side on my own. That’s what Common sounds like, the sound someone hears when they knew they were drowning and instead are saved. For what? --Ancient Champion
VULPES; MAZ O'CONNOR
(Restless Head Records)
After releasing her third folk-infused album 'Chosen Daughter' in 2019, singer-songwriter Maz O'Connor needed to find something new to inspire her. Pre-pandemic she busked anonymously around London and then, throughout the lockdown(s), wandered around South London, gradually a new idea, a new identity came to her...and it's excellent.
'Soho' is the first release from her new project, Vulpes (inspired by the foxes that took to the capital's streets during lockdown), The acoustic instruments are still there but they're weaved around a delicate electronic soundscape, textured pianos, and gentle percussion (courtesy of composer and arranger Will Gardner). It's a perfect setting for O' Connor's pure vocals and her lament for the slow eroding of all that was quirky, lovable, and independent of one of London's most celebrated corners.
'Soho' is the start of a new chapter for O'Connor. The debut album is scheduled for early 2022. --Jay Lewis
(Oat Gang Records)
Porij they are, stodge it isn’t, Ego is from their debut EP 'Baby Face', following and including the single Nobody Scared which made the A-list on 6Music. Ego is stop-start new-wave indie, not a million miles from the sort of thing Metronomy once did. It’s danceable and thoughtful with the song adding layers of meaning as well as sound as it progresses, the vocal casting light on both sides of a messy breakup, which I’m sure there’s time to get over, as the video shows them all to be detestably fresh-faced young students. Their earlier single 'Dirty Love' is pretty groovy too. -- John Robinson
EFB DEEJAYS AND DEPECHE MODE WITH CHRIS ISAAK
Aren't mashups a bit last decade?
And even then weren't they a novelty? A joke that went on for far too long? Well, the EFB gang clearly don't think so. Tragically.
So here are Depeche Mode's magnificent 'Enjoy the Silence' and Chris Isaak's smouldering 'Wicked Game', crudely snipped up and glued together with the help of a banal electro dance track. Oh and has Dave Gahan's vocal been, ever so slightly, slowed down? Have either artist signed off on this?
If it all of that sounds utterly ghastly, that's because it is. Avoid. --Kath Pargeter
THE TROJAN STORY
(Sanctuary Records Group)
This is glorious! It's the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking compilation 'The Trojan Story', and this a story that you think that you may know, but probably don't.
'The Trojan Story' was the first-ever compilation of Jamaican music. This magnificently presented reissue feels like a labour of love. The book alone, with an extensive essay by Trojan boss Rob Bell who had the initial idea to put the triple album out, is a revelation. Then the marvelous notes and archive images on each of the fifty tracks is outstanding.
Have I not mentioned the actual music yet? If you thought that the Trojan catalogue was just made up of ska numbers that The Specials et al would eventually cover, think again. Take the sweet rhumba of 'Tell Me Darling' by Wilfred Jackie Edwards (1960) and the Caribs or the crooning of Kentrick Patrick on 'Man to Man' (1963).
Then there are joyous early ska discoveries such as 'One-Eyed Giant' and 'King Size' (both 1965), by Baba Brooks and his Band that are guaranteed to get the dancefloor swaying (one day).
'The Trojan Story' is essential. --Kath Pargeter
TYLER, THE CREATOR
CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
Tyler The Creator is one of the few artists whose work has managed to consistently improve with each release and ‘CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST’ is a further example. Tyler has transformed from the juvenile 17-year-old who ate a live bug for shock value in the ‘Yonkers’ music video to delivering a complex and engaging album that presents a heavily interconnected narrative about Tyler’s life. It’s told through the perspective of his latest character Baudelaire who deals with love, capitalism, and race and is delivered over a mixture of erratic, jazz-inspired synths that defined his album ‘IGOR’ (2019) and the harsh, gritty vocals of earlier albums.-- Erin
The fantastic Flowertown from San Francisco brings a great, epic, shambling shoe-gazing LP to the party the lazy man said. Because it is so much more of E-V-E-R-T-H-I-N-G. Let those guys talk you through it instead. Read the track by track by Karina Gill and Michael Ramos from the band, right here --Ancient Champion
Main Image: Katherine Priddy, record of the week