Saturday, May 06, 2006

WL likes...Later With Jools Holland

So, this weekend we've finally passed 40,000 hits, even if it is a weekend during which we've received some slightly more negative attention. The WL team would just like to state the post in question has been removed, simply because the comments were getting completely out of control and becoming rapidly more accusatory and personal, and that's not the point of WL. It's all about your opinion on the music, not what you think of the writer's opinion. Taken from a statement our Fish wrote:

'Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're in a band, you tend to want to play on the good reviews and ignore the not-so-good ones, not flame the bad ones and encourage your fans to do similarly. It's completely understandable that you're an up-and-coming band, and maybe criticism isn't what you want to hear. It's not easy to make it in a band, we appreciate that. But if you're going to react in this fashion over a review from a relatively small-scale music blog, how are you going to get anywhere in the musical world?'

Can I please note Fish wrote that, and not me. Just so we've got our facts straight this time. Thanks. Otherwise...yeah - 40,000 hits. We never expected to get this far, so thanks to all our regular readers. Keep reading, keep commenting, and most importantly - everyone play nice.

*****

New series. New column. New sense of sticking at it? Possibly not, but here are my thoughts on this week's show. Comments (of the non-abusive kind) very welcome.

Pearl Jam
I never 'got' Pearl Jam. I was once told my a friend that if you missed grunge at the height of its fame then you sort of missed the point. To be honest, this lack of interest for Pearl Jam or any of their contemporaries (excluding the odd Nirvana song) meant I didn't really pay much attention and so was a bit guilty of channel flicking onto E4 where I saw The Pipettes dancing about, singing fun pop songs and looking like they were having the time of their lives. Such a dedicated music journalist am I.

Corinne Bailey Rae
Hailed as the new female solo star of 2006 by many, Corinne's album failed to make any sort of impression on me. Her voice is truly gorgeous - there's no doubting that - but the music just doesn't live up to it, often sounding dull and lifeless in comparison. 'Like A Star' was beautiful when she made her TV debut last year with just a voice and an acoustic guitar, but not even her hit single, 'Put Your Records On', managed to live up to that captivating performance.

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
My performance of the night easily belonged to these lovely ladies. Jenny is easily one of my favourite singers of all time, and she proved this last night, with her vocals (along with the beautiful harmonies provided by The Watson Twins) being absolutely flawless. 'Run Devil Run' is one of those a cappella intros that leaves you with a lump in your throat and a feeling of 'wow!' in your head. 'Big Guns', was the first of Jenny's solo material I really fell in love with and was an excellent choice of performance, even if it wasn't quite as good here as on record, due to the lack of percussion - the bit halfway through when the bass drum kicks in is sublime. Still, as Jenny was limited to one performance and no interview time (the least featured artist on the show) we felt a little bit...snubbed. Hopefully, like Corinne last year, this will provide some recognition and hype for her own work. And, for those who watched this performance and loved it, or those who missed it and want to experience the magic for themselves, here is a similar session recording from KCRW.
mp3 - Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - Run Devil Run/Big Guns (Live on KCRW)


Jamie Foxx
Mr Foxx has that intolerably smug near-arrogance that is typical of a few sorts of people when they're interviewed on a British TV show. These people are notably males, americans and R&B stars. Jamie is all three. It rendered his performance completely unappealing to me. Why not have Jenny Lewis at the piano instead? Far more interesting.

The Spinto Band
I was really interested in the Spinto Band because I've heard more about them than I have of the band themselves. I have (and really like) their single 'Direct To Helmet', but unfortunately they didn't opt for this, instead opting for two weaker tracks, the first of which involved kazoos. Now, I'm a big fan of the kazoo. I believe it has its place in music, and can sound good in some select situations. Unfortunately this was not one of these situations. The sound that came out of the band (which had more members than I could count) was surprising limp and minimalist considering their number. They're not living up to the hype for me, I'm afraid.

The Zutons
I really wanted to say The Zutons were fantastic. Well, 'Valerie' was great (and is the band's brilliant next single) and the mesmerising bass playing (as Jools noted, twice) was fascinating to watch and listen to. However, 'Why Won't You Give me Your Love?' showed up even more cracks than its fundamentally flawed chorus by descending into a badly mixed bit (more the soundman than the band's fault, maybe?) featuring odd atonal notes, the rest of the band's backing vocals low in the mix and David McCabe's straining vocals nearly making my throat sore.

Next week features Richard Ashcroft and We Are Scientists.