Later With Jools Holland.. 20th May.


Now this was quite a varied episode. there were some outstanding points that made me smile and reassured me in the future of music, and some that bored me almost to tears. So let us start off with the latter as it’s easier to talk about things you dislike.

Obviously, The Strokes. Seriously. Why are people still liking this hideous sound that screams LANDFILL INDIE? The Strokes seem to fall into the same category of groups like Razorlight and Kings Of Leon, although I think I despise these two more than The Strokes. The lead singer needs to learn to enunciate – do his lyrics mean nothing to him? What’s the point in having words if you don’t let anyone hear them? Also, they all need haircuts and they dress like twats. Their music bores me, it sounds like background filler. The first song was kind of catchy but it didn’t inspire me to listen to anything else by them. 5/10 at best. Probably more 4.

Now. Someone a little more interesting maybe.. Staff Benda Bilili. These chaps were rather interesting. I believe they were all polio sufferers from the Congo (I’m resisting using the phrase “Congo cripples” – I’m assuming it’s fantastically un-PC but the alliteration was too good to waste), and they churned out some pretty groovy tunes. I would like to see it in its original context as I don’t know if it seemed quite right in a BBC studio, but I did enjoy it. Apparently they’re a “street group” who play primarily rumba but they also range into trad rhythm and blues and reggae. That might give you an idea of what they sounded like. They had some strange instruments that I didn’t recognise that made outstanding sounds. These guys were pretty good. 6/10?

Charlie Haden Quartet West – Oh dreary dreary couldn’t give a toss about this jazz. Even free jazz is more exciting than this. Although that is the worst form of jazz ever. This jazz was so laid back that it might fall asleep had it not been plugged in. If indeed it was that. It would not be out-of-place in an early Richard Curtis film.. The most nauseating part of this was the lyrics – they were so obvious I was able to guess the next line. Gershwin, big band or crooner jazz – that’s what jazz should be about.4/10, possibly 3.

Wild Beasts – These chaps were better than when I saw them at Glastonbury – I suspect the heat and the John Peel Stage were something to do with the enjoyment – but they still aren’t amazing as some people I know think they are. They are better than The Strokes, of that I am sure. I think their first song was best, it had that sort of odd dreamy distant quality that would be perfect for the penultimate scene of a film where the main protagonist is belting down the motorway in order to reclaim whatever he’s lost during the course of the film (usually a female). The second song was weaker – it should have crescendo-ed into something – and the third I already knew. 6/10 methinks. Yes there is a little more to it than the usual “indie”, but only a little.

Seasick Steve – Yes, definitely, end of. Everyone else loves him too. Probably because he’s something completely different but not terrible. Usually people try to be different but so different they go completely off the scale and look retarded. Like contemporary dancers. This chap has style and originality, and clearly doesn’t care that much about what he looks like (like The Strokes do). Steve seemed to be playing something that looked like a homemade banjo. And he was playing it slide.. This just improves in ten-fold. It appeared to be three oldish rockers having a jam and churning out better material than people who try to be amazing and new and, worst of all, cool. Seasick Steve is way cooler than.. (I don’t want to use The Strokes as an example again, but they are quite easy to stereotype etc). 8/10 I think.

The Burns Unit – This initially sounds like a horrible name, but it turns out that it’s Robert Burns, not the third-degree type. This ensemble met on a song-writing course called Burns Song I think, as a result there’s a lot of traditional in it. I think it’s classed as folk, although this is an exceptionally vague title. They came across, in music and appearance, as a slightly (only slightly) modernised version of the people dad used to see in folk clubs in the 70s in Chichester. I absolutely loved the first song, called ‘Send Them Kids To War’, and thought the second was slightly weaker but still pretty good. Am definitely going to listen to the album 9/10 I think, especially their first number.

Also, The Monkees (or what’s left of them) were featured, in interview and mini-jam form, and were outstanding. They were funny, still very good at performing, and completely insane. Easily the best and most entertaining oldies on the show so far. Next week, I believe Blondie have been mentioned, amongst others, so god knows what’s going to happen. It could be interesting.

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