As the coronavirus social isolation torpor sets in among the populace we need to be supporting our favourite recording artists in any way we can since concerts and international touring may well now be a thing of the past.
Here are a few new tunes that I really dig at the moment.
STEVEN WILSON: PERSONAL SHOPPER
Steven Wilson is hardly a household name, he is often described as the most influential musician you have never heard of, yet his workaholic nature and genre-hopping back catalogue have garnered him a global following.
Best known for his work in progressive rock outfit Porcupine Tree, Wilson is one of the most prolific artists on the planet, one fan website estimates that he has written, performed or produced upwards of 800 pieces of music.
The latest of his solo releases Personal Shopper is a bouncy techno trip holding up a mirror to 21st-century consumerism, Wilson invites us to dance along as we shop ourselves senseless.
This track is one of Steven Wilson’s more deliberately commercial efforts, in a recent interview he stated that even though his oeuvre is littered with fifteen-minute jazz blowouts and epic guitar anthems he has a deep love of pop music having grown up in the 1970s with his parents ABBA records playing in the house.
If you have any spare dosh at the moment invest in this track, or one of Steven Wilson’s previous albums, rather than buying the type of shit described in the song.
THEN COMES SILENCE: WE LOSE THE NIGHT
There has been something of a gothic and post-punk revival in Europe over the past decade or so, which is great, even though I’m so old I am still driving about listening to Bauhaus, Sisters Of Mercy and Christian Death.
Swedish psychedelic gloom mongers Then Comes Silence have been around since 2012, their latest album Machine hit the streaming services last month and I have got to say I love it.
Machine is heavier than a lot of the band’s recent releases, a lot more diverse too if I’m honest, yet the single We Lose The Night is bound to please old school fans with it’s pulsating synths and squalling guitars.
While the first cut from the album is something of a safe choice there are some pumping, Fields Of The Nephilim style tracks on offer here, I can imagine all the cutie Euro’ Goth girls whirling about the dance floor to these tunes.
I used to know a few black-clad post-punk characters back in the mid ’80s who would sit around at the pub, off their nuts on speed, droning on about how they weren’t Goths and anyone who would admit to Gothdom was a poser.
Boring bastards they were but the new breed seem to have embraced the whole tribe, ancestors and all and the result is better music, smarter fashion and hopefully new attitudes.
DROPKICK MURPHYS: MICK JONES NICKED MY PUDDING
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Boston’s finest street punk fraternity have used the cover of the current unpleasantness to sneak out a little ditty concerning a Punk hero and a sweet treat.
Dropkick Murphys, like all groups lately, have been live-streaming, in this instance a two-hour pandemic special in which they premiered three new songs, social distancing must be hell for extroverted performers.
I have to admit the Murphys YouTube gig is a step up from sitting through John Fogerty and his incredibly unenthusiastic family strumming out the old Creedence hits from the front room of their mansion, or sitting through half an hour of Ritchie Blackmore getting drunk and playing the lute while his wife Candace tries to figure out how to use social media.
Stealing pudding sounds about right for Mick Jones, you could see a sketchy old bin chicken like him tucking into the Dropkick Murphys rider while they were on stage, rifling through their road cases and sniffing their hat brims.
Being a Marxist Jones, if called out, would likely claim his dessert larceny to be some form of wealth redistribution.
The B-side of the single is a hymn to another socialist, the Irish republican James Connolly, no mention is made of his attitude toward purloined snack treats but being a portly fellow it is assumed that nobody dared leave their sweets undefended while banqueting with the man.