Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cat Power, live @ Fuzz Club (Athens, November 21, 2014)

The long overdue comeback of Cat Power to Athens, Greece, for a live show has finally happened (she had first played here in a tiny bar at the beginning of the '00s). 14 years later and with several more excellent albums to her name (the most recent of which, 2012's "Sun", was Album of the Year for this blog), the 5-months pregnant Chan Marshall was back in town, sipping tea and facing solo a much larger audience, this time on the stage of the nearly full Fuzz Club.

With only her guitar and later a piano, Chan Marshall performed more than thirty of her own songs as well as several cover versions, including "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Paths of Victory", "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and "Sea of Love", in a two hour, 45 minutes performance that was warmly received by her audience.

It is well known that performing in front of a crowd has always been a challenge for Cat Power, who had to deal with severe stage fright at her early career. You might expect that the wide recognition of her unique songwriting talent and the relative commercial success of her music ("Sun" reached the Billboard's Top 10 in the US, making it the first record in the twenty-something history of Matador Records to achieve such success) would give her a greater level of confidence, but it was obvious from the many times she felt the need to apologize for something during her performance that she remains a loveable mess when it comes to live gigs.

However, and despite her final apologies at the end of the marathon set for feeling she had not connected enough with the audience and for lacking in energy, the rapturous applause of the fans must have shown her that her heartfelt and sincere performance had resonated with them and, sometimes, a song performance that might be lacking in acoustic perfection is more than welcome when it comes from the heart. And there was never any doubt where Cat Power's music comes from.

Chan Marshall with her bouquet of roses, apologizing(!) after a great, heartfelt performance
Another plus to this out of the ordinary night, was the solo performance of local artist Nalyssa Green, who presented her noir pop melodies with the help of synthesizers, theremin and guitar. She also included a few cover versions to her set, most notable of which was a faithful rendition of PJ Harvey's "Rid Of Me", a brave selection indeed.

Nalyssa Green, live @ Fuzz Club
It's hard to name all the songs in Cat Power's set, but I noticed that the record with the most entries in the set list was 2003's "You Are Free" (perhaps her favorite?), from where we got "I Don't Blame You", "Good Woman", "Werewolf", "Fool", "Names" and "Maybe Not", which you can watch below along with the Dylan cover "Paths of Victory" (from her latest album, only "3,6,9" made the cut - I would expect at least "Ruin", but I guess you can't have it all...).

Cat Power - Paths of Victory / Maybe Not (live @ Fuzz Club, Athens)

Check out also here my review for with many more photos from the show.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Public Service Broadcasting, live @ Six D.O.G.S (Athens, November 15, 2014)

Public Service Broadcasting are gearing up for "The Race For Space" (their second album, scheduled for February 2015), but before their space program begins, the eccentric London electrorock duo of J Willgoose Esq. and Wriggleswort brought to Athens for the very first time their very informative and certainly entertaining show.

The 60-minute broadcast, which was preceded by the electronic beats of local duo ice_eyes, began with images of Second World War London as the band started their set with "London Can Take It" off "The War Room", their 2012 EP that first brought them to our attention.

More educative war stories from the same EP came later on in the show with storming renditions of "If War Should Come" and my personal favorite PSB track, "Spitfire", which also appeared on their debut full-length "Inform - Educate - Entertain", the album with which the band made its mission statement known (and landed in our Top 20 list of 2013).

Most of this album's tracks were present in the duo's set list with the krautrockin' "Signal 30", "The Now Generation", "Theme From PSB", "ROYGBIV" and the excellent set-closer "Everest" being among the highlights of the show.

No tracks from the new album were revealed as it seems PSB are guarding closely the secrets that can win them the coming space race. We did get a song in Dutch, though, about ice skating, their Record Store Day single "Elfstendentocht, Part 2". I guess we'll have to wait until their next visit for some space age edutainment. Looking forward to it!

Check out below "Spitfire" from Public Service Broadcasting's first ever Athens gig:

 Public Service Broadcasting - Spitfire (live in Athens)

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Jams Run Free: The first 100

After almost three years of publicly declaring our love for certain songs on This Is My Jam, picking one favorite track (old or new, but mostly new) each week, we have finally reached the milestone of 100 jams! The first selection, back in December of 2011, was "Nate Will Not Return" from The Fall's latest LP at the time, "Ersatz GB", while the 100th is "Waterfall", one of the standout tracks from the album "Rips", the excellent debut LP by Mary Timony's new band Ex Hex.

 To celebrate the occasion, we have compiled for you a Spotify playlist with 50 of these special jams, containing one song per artist/band and focusing on new music selections. To check out the complete list of all our 100 jams, you can visit our page on This Is My Jam here.

Let the jams run free:

The title of this playlist is, of course, borrowed from this Sonic Youth track (which I should be jamming in the near future):

Sonic Youth - Jams Run Free

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