Title: I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Label: New West
Tell me more: The donkey work to this album began three years ago, and part of the reason for it taking some time to reach the market is the book of the same name which accompanies it. This is no ‘making of’ doco-style tome, it’s a bona fide novel, featuring the ghost of Hank Williams.
The Lowdown: Copperhead Road (1988) and Revolution Now (2004) are the two Earle works that Porky associates with most, because of the former’s marriage of rock and country, and the development of that sound on the latter, with an added dash of politics and anger. I’ll Never Get Out of This World lacks the rockiness of Revolution Now in favour of a more languid flavour, with dashes of bluegrass and Celtic folk. In saying adios to George Bush Jr (a little late, perhaps) and reflecting the public’s anger over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Earle shows he’s not letting up on issues that matter.
Anything else: Earle has an acting role, playing an actor, in the HBO series Treme.
Label: XL recordings
Tell me more: They’re not small fry. The Horrors were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize two years ago for their second album. Their early garage rock sound has been refined to what has been cruelly termed shoegazing, a mini-scene of the early 90s that was derided for being a vehicle for middle-class students who did the very un-rock’n’roll thing of looking downwards while on stage.
The Lowdown: From looking like a bunch of black-clad goths reading Joseph Conrad all day, the four-piece now remind me of Pink Floyd, circa 1969, and the photographs in the CD have a grainy look born of nice camera techniques and an eye for the oblique. What enters ears is the most pleasant and surprising thing, as Skying is choc-full of lush, ethereal tracks such as You Said, which builds into an enormous monster of a tune with its captivating verses and pounding beats. Endless Blue begins like Velvet Underground, but at 1:44 out come the grinding guitars while Faris Badwan gives it his best rocking frontman impression. Their development from garage rock to post-punk psychedelia is reminiscent of the same path tread two decades ago by The Telescopes, who’s self-titled second album remains one of my personal favourites, with its ability to blend in the emerging indie-dance sound with killer rock noise. Time was not favourable to the Telescopes, so I hope there’s a better outlook for the Southend-on-Sea’s finest talents.
Anything else: Google The Horrors and The Mighty Boosh to see the band playing themselves in the show.
Label: Dramatico/ Skinnyfish
Tell me more: Out of Australia’s barren Northern Territory comes the Saltwater Band, a group who are helping to keep the indigenous population’s culture and music alive. Among their membership is Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, a worldwide phenomenon as a solo star under his second name.
The Lowdown: Gurrumul’s star will keep the headline writers busy, but The Saltwater Band have been going for more than 15 years and it’s a cohesive eight-piece band that’s released Malk. I was in the Northern Territory two years ago, and although my stay was fairly brief, it was clear that the Aboriginal communities are ill-treated and at the bottom of the economic rung. Nevertheless, Aboriginal culture, while still largely exploited, is experiencing a revival, no less so than in music.
I was slightly surprised to hear hints of reggae throughout the album, notably on tracks such as Marwurrumburr, sung entirely in the Yolgnu language, and the sound of other Caribbean islands on Yolgnu Island Dancer, which intersperses their native tongue with snippets of English. It’s not strictly Aboriginal music but a combination of influences which brings a new dimension to this unique culture.
Title: Roadkill Rising … The Bootleg Collection 1977-2009
Label: Shout Factory!
Tell me more: The cover sticker screams ‘Over 4 Hours of Prime Unreleased Iggy’, which is reason alone for thousands to seek out this four-disk compilation, of well, you may have guessed, unreleased material – which is industry speak for live recordings. Microphones were placed at venues such as the Rainbow Theatre in London and the Leysin Festival, in Switzerland, picking up some of the rawest rock’n’roll the world has ever heard.
The Lowdown: Iggy’s been an icon since The Stooges first unleashed their raw power in 1969, and while his albums have been varied over the past 20-plus years, he remains a star of the stage, doing things there, especially in his earlier days, that shocked and teased his audience. Naturally, he’s a popular draw with summer festivals, so a collection of bootleg live material is an appropriate and welcome release.
Recorded at various venues around the world with much of the latter two disks being recorded at festivals, it offers a broad overview of Pop’s career, peppered with covers such as the Batman Theme and Les Feuilles Mortes, a French favourite sung by Yves Montand and Edith Piaf. These are welcome additions to the familiar (I Wanna Be Your Dog, TV Eye, Lust for Life, Nightclubbing etc) and the not so familiar: the album tracks and the singles from the largely barren early 80s period.
The tracks are cut and laid out in an awkward manner, so you want to stay with one concert and skip another but, really, that’s my only real quibble. The quality is generally good, Pop has great interaction with the audience and he puts his heart and soul into Search and Destroy, Raw Power and the fucking rest. He is a natural stage performer and, where most live albums stink to high heaven of money and a lack of vibrancy, Roadkill Rising reveals Pop the animal in his natural domain.