Hearing the very best
Here's what's been happening just lately. I've been listening to a brand new record over and over. And it's so brand new that it's not even out yet. The band sent it to me. They trusted me with it. And that means a lot. I take that sort of thing pretty seriously - especially when it's a band like this. And then even more so when it's an album like this! Man, this thing is a reminder of why I do this - why I sit up late at night, after my child's gone to sleep, after my wife's gone to sleep. I sit up and sometimes I slug back some whisky and other times I sip at some tea and sometimes it's just water. Or nothing. Often it's just me hitting at the keys - and sometimes that's all it is. Nothing either side of it. Just filling in a space, hitting a deadline. Another day so another blog post...
Sometimes you're tapped, you've got nothing. But you still have to front up. Other days you have a topic, or an idea for something - you wonder how it will go...
You never actually know. I didn't expect to get 200 comments talking about ticket scalping. I don't care how many comments I get each or any day. But I'm almost always baffled by the ones that really stick. There's fish to shoot sometimes, and a barrel arrives. And I put them in and go about it. Sure. But still, I never quite know what's going to happen.
So here let me tell you almost nothing about this band and this album - but let me tell you that when it is released, later this year - late in the year - it should be hailed their masterpiece. It should be considered the finest thing they've done; a classic - too. For although it's lazy and shonky and possibly horrid to call a brand new thing a classic I really believe this brand new thing by this (great) band is a classic. Or will be. I'll throw that out there right now. (Trust me, loads of - other - hacks will be throwing it out there then).
I'm listening to this album daily - I have got the biggest head start, on you, on everyone, and each day that I hear it there's something new, it feels new to me each time. Brand new. That's one way to know it's great. Another is to sit down with this album. Just sit down with it. Just it and you. I've been doing that. When I can. I pick my moments - first thing, as the day is just starting. Or late-late at night, when the day is over. I pick my moments, but almost always this album chooses me. There are other things, on my phone, on my iPod, in my record collection, in the small - but changing - pile of review CDs...
But always it's this. There are guitars and drums and strings. There are moods and modes and there is movement. Beautiful - hypnotic - movement. The drums are huge and gorgeous. The bass is always a proud - big - nod, whether circling the drums or guitar (or both).
Do I wish you could hear what I was hearing now? Sure. Of course. Always. Do I hope you have the exact same experience as me? Not always, no - in this case, well, I'd love this band to be as big as they can - to not have to work, outside of what they do when they put together music like this. But that's not up to me.
I do love it when I hear the very best - or see the very best, or experience the very best. I got into writing about music and movies and books and art because I want to saviour - and try to sell, in some way - the magic. But part of doing that is telling you about the bad experiences too.
Later this year I'll be able to gush and rave about the album I'm listening to right now. By then, maybe, some of you will have heard it too. I wonder what you'll think...I wonder if you can guess, now, what I'm talking about?
Also - in mentioning the rebranding of the San Fran yesterday I neglected to mention that this Thursday and Friday Sam Hunt will be performing there, the opening act for both shows is Riki Gooch; they're also doing a Saturday night at Masterton's King Street Live venue. A must-see I reckon. I've been lucky enough to open shows for Sam Hunt, to perform with him, for him, to interview him too, and as a fan I've followed him around the country, stolen a moment or two with him backstage or in the bar or outside the bar. One time, memorably, he had just quoted a line from Lou Reed and 17-year-old me told him, as I thrust a copy of his poems at him to sign, that I loved Lou Reed. He wrote "Simon - Sam, to one Lou Reed man from another". I can still read it in his voice. I hear that voice every time I open that book. Or any by one of our nationaltreasures. One of our greats.
It's that same 17-year-old me, wide-eyed, so open to anything/everything that's hearing this album. That's telling you you're about to also hear something wonderful. You just have to wait. And since you don't yet know what it actually is - and how good (therefore) it is I know you can wait. I'll be back to shout their name from the rafters of this blog. I will. And you know that.
Postscript: Maybe that same 17-year-old me will front up at the Sam Hunt gig this week and get a signature.
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts