The announcement of the T in the Park line-up has been greeted with disappointment from most quarters, with festival head honcho Geoff Ellis accused of playing it safe after last year’s event failed to sell out for the first time in recent memory. On the face of it, it looks a sensible enough move from a strictly business point of view. But does the unimaginative bill actually represent a much bigger risk for the event than the organisers might realise?
40 years into his career, it’s unlikely that there are a whole lot of rock fans out there who don’t have an opinion on Bruce Springsteen. So rather than pretending his new album will be judged as a stand alone piece of work, we decided to come at it from a different angle; what does a new Springsteen album sound like to a Springsteen nut? Resident office Boss boffin Tom Joad stepped up.
High Hopes is unexpected, with The Boss spending the last 18 months on the road touring the Wrecking Ball record and few hints of recording studio time accrued.
But the internet is a wondrously widespread beast and not only allows Backstreets, Greasy Lake and other Springsteen websites to obsessively follow developments, but allows Mr Springsteen to exchange ideas with his producers (Brendan O’Brien and Ron Aniello) and send ideas, bridges and mixes back and forth electronically.
If football is the new rock and roll, which it isn’t, then Luke Haines is Gareth Bale. Oh, you may scoff at the very notion that the former Auteurs man is in any way comparable to the Welsh winger – who last year became the most expensive footballer in history when he moved from Tottenham to Real Madrid – but you would be wrong. How so? Well, In 2013 Gareth Bale won both the Professional Footballer’s Association Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year. Simultaneously. As impressive as that was, Haines was responsible for ELM’s favourite album of 2013 with the alluring/mental Rock and Roll Animals and our favourite re-issue with the sublime Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop. Kinda makes young Gareth’s feat seem less impressive, eh? In your face, Bale; in your face.
Today’s selection is from the latter. It is ‘Leeds United’ possibly the catchiest anti-nostalgia anthem to ever be written about Peter Sutcliffe. Haines plays the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall on Feb 17. Only fools wouldn’t go.
At ELM Towers, rarely have we seen a band divide opinion like Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. Some love their shambolic, elongated take on what a simple rock song should sound like. Others find the looseness too louché, too far towards pretension. Lovable cranks or irritating wanks? It’s never been resolved.
Goldblade/Poly Styrene- City Of Christmas Ghosts (Damaged Goods Records)
There’s a real concerted effort on right now to get this to number one for Xmas.
If you don’t know Goldblade, you’ll certainly recognise frontman John Robb.
Author, broadcaster, motor-mouth and man-in-the-know about anything vaguely punky, his “Punk: An Oral History” is as far as I’m concerned, the definitive story of punk rock.
Black humour is at the heart of so much of what Neko Case does, and it shares songs with romanticism, feminism, a love of nature and a sense
that under the surface of civilisation we’re all beasts. And maybe she’s right.