Jorge Drexler, Union Chapel, Thurs 19th

londres-junho-2008-078.jpg Jorge Drexler was one of South America’s best-kept secrets until he went an won an oscar in 2004 for the soundtrack to Che Guevara flick “The Motorcycle Diaries”. Although the softly-spoken Uruguayan now lives in Spain his appearance at London’s Union Chapel was his first ever UK performance. Read more

Camper Van Beethoven, Popular Songs of Great Enduring Strength and Beauty

camper_ss500_.jpgSomeone told me the other day that he could never review music because they didn’t have enough references to pick their way through today’s plethora of new songs. Step forward Camper Van Beethoven — godsend for all wordshy journos, musical magpies and something of a soothing panacea for the tired ear of today. Read more

Gnarls Barkley, Bush Hall, Fri 13th

The following review appears in the latest edition of London’s premier music ‘zine, London Tour Dates ltd-27june.JPG

When I was at school odd couples peppered the playground like a rash, everyone remembers their own version of the über-cool dude with the happy-go-lucky sidekick. While happy boy was dressed like a scruff only too pleased to please, cool wore black and stood against the side of the PE block, fag in hand, rings on finger (skull of course) resolutely refusing to speak to anyone. Within a minutes of coming onstage it’s not hard to guess who plays who in Gnarls Barkley. Read more

10 Covers

A good cover version can bring out the best bits in an already great song and, as with One by Johnny Cash, can polish them like diamonds. Or it can make you rediscover a lost classic as happened for me with the Ataris’ version of Boys of Summer. Some covers are so unique that they verge away from mimicry and morph into original versions themselves — prime example I’m Not Like Everybody Else by Jimmy and the Boys, but seek out Rock On by The Smashing Pumpkins for extra weirdness. A bit of novelty always helps I find; bands covering music that is so far removed from their normal repertoire makes for smashing contrasts — step forward Rammstein with their version of Kraftwerk’s Das Modell. But I guess above all, for a cover to be any good the artist should make it his own.

This is an entirely subjective list based only on what’s in my music collection. I’m aware that The Wedding Present covered Steve Harley’s Come Up and See Me and that, according to my mate Steve, it is blinding . . . sadly though I just don’t have the track. Honourable mentions must go to Nazareth’s This Flight Tonight, Morrisey’s That’s Entertainment, The Lemonheads with Mrs Robinson, The Wondermints’ Knowing Me Knowing You and that karaoke classic Live and Let Die by Guns N’ Roses. Also some of you may chastise me for not including Sheryl Crow’s version of Sweet Child O’ Mine . . . I would suggest in this case you seek medical help. Read more