Chris Cornell RIP

I wish there was another reason to be updating the blog. RIP Chris.

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At The Drive-In in MOJO and Kerrang! / Thundercat, The Internet and Anderson .Paak, live / ON THE RADIO, OOH WOAH WOAH WOAH

Every time I update I apologise for taking so long to update and promise to update sooner next time around. And every time, dear reader, I let you down. My bad. But here goes.

Those herculean human Pepperamis, with ants in their pants and a fearsome, irresistible punk-rock fidget propelling their bones, At The Drive In are back, with their first album in 17 years – a slab of super-compelling agit-rock pell mell that has no business being as good as it is. I get deep into the maw of their gnarly formation, their ecstatic rise and their tragic demise – along with their life-affirming reunion – in the pages of the current MOJO. You should buy it, because MOJO is what great magazines look like. Also, they have The Beatles on the cover, whose music I’ve never heard but am informed is really rather good.

I also focus on the making of their infernally thrilling new album in*ter a*li*a (the title of which is enough to give career subs fatal conniptions, but so be it) in the latest edition of Kerrang!. It’s a weekly, though, so don’t dawdle, nab a copy now.

It’s not all thrashy be-afroed punk-rock around here, though. I also reviewed a slew of stellar funk for the Guardian (though The Internet turned out to be sizeably less-stellar in the flesh than on vinyl). Thundercat was the finest of a killer bunch – seriously, his latest album Drunk is a masterpiece, and the future-jazz contortions he pulls his tunes into onstage have to be heard to be believed – but Anderson .Paak put on a hell of a show, too.

Most recently, in the company of wonderful regulars Andrew Harrison and Matt Hall and fellow newcomer Rebecca Nicholson, I rambled about Paul Weller, Jane Weaver, House music and, ever so briefly, my beloved Feral Ohms, for the Bigmouth podcast. Give it a listen. It’s very big among dog-walkers, apparently, but really there’s no canine required.

And that’s all she wrote. Give it six months or so, and I’ll manage another update, I reckon. No promises, though.

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Lift To Experience in the new MOJO

Buy the new issue of MOJO! There’s Ray Davies of the Kinks (you knew that already of course) on the cover! And Neil Young! And Suggs! That’s three of my favourite music dudes of all time right there.

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But hey. There’s also six pages on quixotic Texan power-gaze trio Lift To Experience, whose sole album, The Texas/Jerusalem Crossroads, is getting a deluxe reissue soon, complete with a sonic buffing that turns a masterpiece into a masterpiece that’s also a MONSTER.

Anyway, I’m writing this here because I wrote the feature, my fourth long piece of writing on Josh T Pearson and his sonic ouevre so far, by my reckoning. You can read an earlier adventure with Josh here. You really should read this one, though. And buy more magazines, magazines are great.

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2016, almost done

Almost four months since my last update is surely a new record (not that I can quite bring myself to check… the shame of it). It’s all been a blur, of deadlines, of noise, of teaching, of coming up with headlines that are funny but not libelous, of chasing a two-and-a-half-year-old all over the place. But I did some other stuff!

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Most recently, I undertook the horrific task of selecting ten of the finest moments from Public Enemy’s back catalogue. Sadly the comments have now closed so you missed your chance to tell me I am an idiot.

Over the Summer, I got the chance to interview the wonderful Michael Kiwanuka for the wonderful MOJO magazine. It was in the issue with the wonderful Lou Reed on the cover, and you might still be able to find a copy at Soho’s wonderful Vintage Magazine Shop… Oh, no, it’s closed. Get thee to eBay, then.

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While you’re there, see if you can find this Kerrang! cover story, where I interviewed Butch Vig on the experience of producing Nevermind. “I’ll see what I can remember, it was twenty-five years ago,” Butch said, at the beginning of the interview. Turns out he could remember loads, and writing the story helped illuminate an album that was a gateway drug for my generation, from the mainstream to the underground. You might think you know all there is to know about Nevermind, but trust me: Butch still had some secrets left to share.

And finally: Loose Lips Sink Ships, the zine the devastatingly talented Steve Gullick and myself run, is making its way from the internet back onto paper at some point in the new year. If you want in on this – and of course you do – drop us your email address HERE.

I’ll try not to leave it another four months. Have a great Xmas and New Year.

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Fishbone / Betty Davis / Vodun

Hello!

Long weekend ahead – in case you were stuck for something to read…

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I wrote about wonderful, life-affirming, ill-starred ska-funk-punk fusioneers Fishbone and their mercurial stabs at greatness.

Betty Davis

I wrote about obscenely brilliant funk queen Betty Davis, and the sinful, unimpeachable music she made in the mid-70s.

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And I wrote about ecstatic, voodoo-powered thrash trio Vodun, who are one of the most exciting groups of right this minute.

Whatever you do, have a great one.

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Bernie Worrell / Minnie Riperton

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The wonderful genius Bernie Worrell, the Woo himself, left us this weekend. I wrote about his storied career, from taking ParliaFunkadelicMent into the synth-era, to helping Talking Heads find the funk within them, to his fractious period seasioneering for The Pretenders. Farewell, Bernie, and thanks for all that music.

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I also wrote a Ten Of The Best for the glorious, much-missed Minnie Riperton, though it could easily have stretched to a Twenty Of The Best, or a Thirty, and so maybe you should just buy Come To My Garden, Perfect Angel and Adventures In Paradise and be done with it?

Thanks for your time, and let’s keep it European.

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Sassyblack feature in Noisey

Hello!

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THEESatisfaction were one of my favourite new groups of recent years – last year’s EarthEE LP was one of the finest of the year, and the duo have always been great fun to interview. They’ve recently called it a day, but before you get too upset, one half of THEESatisfaction – Cat Harris-White, whose dulcet jazz tones often sent their futurist screeds spinning far OUT, in the best possible way – has released her first album-proper as her alter-ego Sassyblack. No More Lame Dates is a smart, funny, honest take on the dating game from a black queer woman’s perspective, and I talked with Cat about it for Noisey. You can read it here.

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