Tag Archives: music

ola stranger

5 Jul

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to Secret Screenings – the new(ish) arm of the incredibly popular ‘Secret Cinema’.

For the uninitiated (if there is anyone left out there that hasn’t heard of this great concept), at Secret Cinema you buy a ticket to a film but you don’t know what it is. There’s always a big interactive element to the experience, but you don’t know what it’s going to be and the only thing you know is that it’s going to be pretty special.

The screening last night was of ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ – a documentary about a musical legend from Detroit you’ve never heard of.

With a voice and sound that’s reminiscent of Bob Dylan fused with Nick Drake, yet completely individual, Rodriguez recorded two albums in the late sixties / early seventies which, although a critical success, sold barely any copies. Rodriguez was subsequently dropped by the label and he disappeared.

Yet somehow his albums made it to apartheid era South Africa, where the songs, protest themes and lyrics connected with those that opposed the regime. Unbeknownst to Rodriguez his records sold hundreds of thousands of copies, he inspired a generation of musicians and was literally more famous than the Rolling Stones (he never received a penny for any record sales).

The crazy thing about his huge fame was that no one knew anything about him and legend had it that he committed suicide on stage. This amazing documentary follows two South African fans searching for the Sugar Man and the unbelievable discoveries they made.

All I’ll say is that after we had the pleasure of watching this great film, we were treated to a very very special performance which practically blew everyone in the audience’s mind.

This is one of my favourite songs from Rodriguez – as they say in the doc, one of the saddest, most beautiful songs you’ll ever hear.

Sign up to @secretscreening and @futurecinema on twitter for future events.. And also make sure you go see this doc when it’s released.

hallelujah for the weekend…

25 May

It’s been a glorious week here in London town and thankfully it looks like it’s going to be an amazing weekend too.. the BBQs will be out, the parks will be packed and no doubt there’ll be a few beverages consumed too..

One of the vital elements for any weekend sunshine soiree (in my opinion anyway) is the musical accompaniment.. setting the right tempo, feel and tone to the gathering and time of day..

Here are a few of my personal choices for the weekend that may well complement a weekend outside..

First and foremost, if it’s sunny and you’re rocking one of London’s many green spaces this is a surefire hit..

This is a lovely laid back mix that’s perfect for playing at a BBQ – it’s an hour long so you don’t have to worry about changing tunes, plus the opening track by Bobby McFerrin is something really special.

Once the sun has gone down, this is a great segue from day to evening.. upping the tempo a little.. and will maybe even bring a little Balearic vibe to the city..

And finally for Sunday morning when it’s still sunny and you’re sitting back with a coffee and life is good, praise the lord with this euphoric soul gospel number!

Have a great weekend everyone..

a song for friday lovers…

27 Apr

A beautiful cover of The Flamingos “I only have eyes for you” by Beck…

You’ll probably recognise part of the melody as The Fugees sampled it on “Zealots” from their album The Score.. happy Friday everyone.

heading south to northside

23 Apr

I am in Melbourne for a couple of weeks and there are a few little haunts that I just can’t miss when I’m in town. One of them is Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, which is home to a clutch of great little shops, restaurants and Northside Records – the “best record store in the world” (The Next Men’s words, not mine).

Ollie’s post on Friday about Record Store Day spurred me on to see how the celebrations went down at Northside. Run by one of Melbourne’s favourite DJs, DJ Chris Gill, Northside is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

To celebrate Record Store Day, Northside had amazing instore appearances from Kurtis Blow, Maseo from De La Soul, The Putbacks and The Psyde Projects. DJs were also playing all day. Chris was having so much fun he was late for a family wedding – so late that he had to divebomb into a pew just as the bride started walking up the aisle. You can imagine how that went down.

Judging by the tunes blaring out of Northside today, it seems Chris doesn’t really need Record Store Day as an excuse to have a good time, but to celebrate a decade of supporting soul – new, old and reinvented – Chris assures me there will be non stop parties all year long.

With previous instores by The Bamboos, The Congos, Eddie Palmieri and loads of Melburnian up-and-comers, I think record lovers can be confident he will be true to his word.

Northside Records – 236 Gertrude Street  Fitzroy, +61 3 9417 7557

your record store needs you!

20 Apr

Having spent the majority of my youth (and, let’s be frank, a lot of my adult life)  in record shops, and working in radio, I am unashamedly biased in my support for the annual Record Store Day which, if you’re not aware, is tomorrow.

Now you don’t have to be massive vinyl nerd queuing up at ungodly hours on a Saturday morning to buy ltd 7″ pressings to enjoy the event. With in-store performances by loads of amazing acts at the majority of the 230+ stores participating, it’s worth using this great little search function on the Record Store Day site to see what’s going on in a record store near you.

We’re going to be heading down to our friends at Phonica in Soho to see a bevy of brilliant acts (including Mo Kolours & Ashley Beedle) and to possibly buy a few shed load of records too.

If you can’t get down to any events, we thoroughly recommend you try and watch “Sound It Out”, a documentary (yes another!?) about the last remaining record store in Teeside. What’s great about the film is that regardless of the genres the geeks customers in the shop like, the passion they have for their music is endearing and something any music fan can relate to.

And finally, without record shops and their staff, the track below wouldn’t have landed in my life. This brilliant tune (for a Friday) from the late 70s was recommended to me yesterday by a friendly record store clerk (they do exist!), which makes me a happy nerd.

war dance and dangerous territories

18 Apr

So it’s with a little trepidation that I’m going to write this post as, to be frank, the intention of the His and Hers was never to wade into geopolitics or issues of a  contentious nature but to write about stuff that’s interesting and (hopefully) informative.

Now having been laid up for the last few days with a rather weird ear infection which made leaving a prone position seem like I had been instantly transported back to Friday night, I thought I might as well use the opportunity to binge view old DVDs.

If you haven’t heard of the #Kony2012 campaign and the associated repercussions in the last month or so, it’s likely you haven’t logged on to Twitter or Facebook for a while, and probably don’t know any teenagers.

Through the whole Kony /Invisible Children media furore I was surprised that the documentary War Dance wasn’t widely referenced.

Released in 2007 and nominated for an Oscar, it tells the stories of Dominic, Nancy and Rose, three children of the Acholi tribe in Northern Uganda, which is one of the worst areas affected by the Civil War / LRA.

Disarmingly beautiful, but covering some absolutely harrowing stories that are impossible not to be moved by, re-watching War Dance in light of recent events made me feel as though I should share this other perspective of recent history in Uganda.

Being a bit of a music nerd, the joy and cathartic benefits that music and dance brought these children and their wider community was pretty powerful. I’m not going to question the “awareness” or “education” benefits of students in the West buying Stop Kony packs and arranging rallies, but witnessing the difference that owning a simple xylophone made to Dominic, I couldn’t help question the focus of those efforts.

Frustratingly, War Dance is practically impossible to get hold of in the UK. I have, however, found a YouTube channel which has uploaded it in ten parts, the first of which is below (if you click on their channel you’ll see the others). If you have chance, please take the time to watch it.

rum diaries – the 223 club and aloosh

15 Apr

We’d like to apologise for the lack of posts over the weekend, but in a desperate move to absolve any personal responsibility, it really wasn’t our fault.

Please lay all blame on the unfeasible amount of fun we had on Friday night at the new 223 club in Waterloo (and possibly the strongest rum punch anywhere outside of the Caribbean).

We were there to see Aloosh – a band you should really check out (have a listen to “Time” below).

I’m not going to try and describe their sound, as it’s pretty hard to pigeon hole them into one specific category (without sounding like a bit of a prat). But as each member of the band are all accomplished musicians in their own right, their sound is a really refreshing mix individual influences (and as an inconsequential side note to the music, lead singer Jodie has possibly the best hair ever).

With the super cool Dave Okumu (guitarist of The Invisible and producer of Jessie Ware – reviewed here), following the band and playing a really fun set of tunes that got the whole crowd dancing in the archway space, it was more akin to a great house party than a club..

And with everyone being ridiculously friendly (possibly due to rum punch good vibes), it all added up to make the opening of the 223 a pretty special night in our opinion..

All photos: Courtesy of the 223 club

Check out the club site for upcoming listings… we know we will be… we may just go easier on the rum punch next time..

Aloosh music http://www.myspace.com/alooshmusic

223 club – 137-39 Lower Marsh Street, Waterloo