Later With Jools Holland – 14th May.

This week’s ‘Jools’ had performances from The National, LCD Soundsystem, Kelis, Crowded House, Tracey Thorn and Pete Molinari. Two bands obviously stand out here (the first two), and the others didn’t make much of an impression, but hey! It’s still music…

Now. The National. I do quite like this bad (like A LOT), so this may be something of a biased review, but – whatever! As much as I’d listened to their music, I’d never actually seen them, and for some reason I imagined the lead singer to be a little scruffy, possibly with long hair and wild eyes. I didn’t expect all of them to wear suits… But luckily this doesn’t turn them into wankers, and their music is OUTSTANDING. They played three songs from their new album (‘High Violet’) – Bloodbuzz Ohio, Anyone’s Ghost and Terrible Love, and despite being something of a dismal baritonal type sound, I love the vocals, and the lyrics are incredible, and how they keep coming out with such good songs is unbelievable. I’m not sure if I’ve heard a song of theirs that I don’t like… Their new album is fantastic. Buy it. And I get to see them at Glasto! Lovely 😀

LCD Soundsystem – Like with The National, they didn’t get to play enough songs, but what they did play was very good indeed. This was another band that I didn’t know much about as a band, only musically. And not really much then, but their new album also sounds good – possibly even to buy, not just Spotify. They had some excellent lighting going on too, and for some reason Mr Murphy reminded me of a cross between Gene Hunt and Morrissey (and had a very strange microphone), but it was good stuff and I’d be up for seeing them live. Good thing I am then!

Crowded House – Too 90s, and not in a good way. I mean the name of them just says ‘I know you know I came from the 90s, but I’m going to make a stab at being indie landfill anyway’. It wasn’t wonderfully impressive, but better than previous aged musicians that Jools has previously had (Ian Hunter, for example). Not much else to say… Listenable too but not exactly exciting.

Tracey Thorn was this week’s ‘bird with the piano’ (Jools tends to be a little formulaic sometimes…), and it was better than in recent weeks (better than, say, Kate Nash). Although the best part of it was the string section I feel. It was pretty but, like most singer-songwriters, not that different from everything that came before them. Not bad music but nothing special. Easy on the ear though.

Kelis – Right. Now, what? The singer who, malevolently, gave us ‘Milkshake’ (a song which lends its name so well to other subjects, not least of all ‘My magic brings Voldemort to the yard, and I’m like, that’s hurting my scar’ – a vast improvement you could say) appears to have turned into some strange Grace Jones-esque character, sporting various parts of animal (horns, tails, what-have-you), with exceptionally odd make up and barnacles for jewellery. So the appearance isn’t great. What about the music? 90s-themed electronic-infused weirdness. This was not what I was expecting. There were some small moments of ‘Oh actually that’s quite good’, but I think I was too vexed by the whole thing to appreciate it. Not that I think I could have really anyway – it was too 90s rave! The whole thing was a little controversial I’d say, and not really the sort of thing I’d listen to… Though it seemed a good performance and one can commend her for that. Bloody weird though.

Last but not least, Pete Molinari. Who? I hear you ask. Well, quite. He sort of gave an 1950s twist to his music, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but like nearly every single other musician that has existed ever, it just wasn’t that inspiring! There was nothing new or innovative about it, and it’s not that music HAS to be new or innovative (I suppose that depends on what you really want from your music), but surely there isn’t much point in just churning out music that has already been done before? (Hence, what the hell is the point in tribute acts?) Luckily, he didn’t have much screen time. His music, like the other singer-songwriters, wasn’t offensive to music as such – perfectly fine for background music – but that has the potential to be the biggest insult ever sometimes. Oh dear…

Next week! Alicia Keys (a dubious ‘hmmm’ springs to mind), Yeasayer (unpronounceable – bad start) and Jeff Beck. The Creole Choir of Cuba look the best option here. Not that I know them, but with a name like that, surely they can’t disappoint!


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