Saturday, December 03, 2022



It's out! Matthew Ingram's new book The "S" Word: spirituality in alternative music, is ready to order. 

Self-deprecatingly, Matt describes the tome as "very geeky" and "for music geeks only". But in fact anyone who is interested in music's capacity to engender higher states of consciousness and its  association with the devotional, the transcendent, the sacred, enlightenment, mysticism, magic, trance, etc, will find this a fascinating read. 

I was pleased to offer up this morsel of endorsement:  

Intensely researched, latticed with surprising connections and correspondences, these essays expand and deepen our awareness of the links between music and the numinous. The "S" Word is an illuminating book about illumination.” 

Contents-wise, there's several epic essays already aired on Matt's blog but now only to be found within these covers (meditations on Eastern Philosophy and The Cosmic Sound, Psychic Pop Relics, Dub... paeans to Neil Young and Mark E. Smith) plus a previously published profile of Chris Blackwell. But more than half the book consists of new writing: a staggering 18,000-word exploration of New Age music (very expansively understood here), a paean to Prince, a whole chapter dedicated to Roedelius of Cluster / Harmonia renown, and a treatise on Tibetan recordings.  

The "S" Word is available universally as an eBook but residents of the United Kingdom can also purchase it in the gorgeous solid form of a 255-page book copiously illustrated with colour photographs.  Terms, conditions, and prices are be found here at the Woebot site long with more information about the contents.  

Friday, December 02, 2022

Kidding around

Here's Our Kid with a piece for No Bells on corecore. "We're not kidding" the headline offers in a  proleptic parenthesis. Certainly, it does sound like a hoax, or a piss-take: one of those parodying-the-very-idea-of-genre entities that flicker up ephemerally on the internet. But apparently it is real, whatever that means in the increasingly derailed consensus hallucination that is life today:  a "deep internet video genre full of 'meme-poems' with cute cats and fried music choices... a meme equivalent of the many microgenres spawning across SoundCloud." And Kieran convincingly takes it seriously, along the way dropping some neat phrases like "an abyss of vibes."

More grounded in material realities - sweaty bodies rubbing against sweaty bodies,  reclaimed trashy urban spaces and shivery rooftops at dawn - here is Kieran's account of his favorite live shows and DJ experiences of 2022. Fifteen peaks picked out of three times as many expeditions across the nightlifescape of Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Sweet to read about Our Kid having so much fun in the clubs and micro-raves of the city that never sleeps. Glad to know that some of the time he is out there having adventures rather than inside chasing onscreen phantasms. 

Thursday, December 01, 2022

RIP Christine McVie


Off Tusk, "Brown Eyes" is my favorite Christine McVie piece of writing and singing - unusually baleful, wounded in love and wary. And the band are just wonderful. 

Here's another fave

Hearing this on the radio was what re-awakened my interest in Fleetwood Mac, dormant since an early outside-my-lane enrapturing with "Sara".  (That and a feeling that there was some uncanny affinity between Stevie Nicks and Kristin Hersh - Throwing Muses at that exact point being my favorite band). 

I rushed out and bought... well, not everything, but self-titled / Rumours / Tusk / Mirage.  And blagged Tango in the Night off the ever obliging WEA.  

Another good McVie bit of writing and singing. Backing wise, one of those Fleetwood Mac bluesy-chuggers where you realise that underneath they are still the band fronted by Peter Green. 

This meringue is just the sheerest froth next to "Gypsy" on the same album - but a sickly sugary treat that's hard to resist. There's that odd breakdown where the song seems to come to a halt like an old horse running out of puff half way up a hill. And some over-toppy lead guitar from Lyndsey that fair screeches "cocaine!".