heard on the wire

Sound unheard

bragg-and-henry

During a conversation at a recent work night out, I suggested that there are some records you’ll buy “sight unseen”, or should that be “sound unheard”.

These are the records from artists you implicitly trust no to squander their talent on sprawling, coke-fuelled triple albums. It’s a trust earnt over many years, bought with a succession of LPs and singles that never once truly disappointed.

My list includes Half Man Half Biscuit, New Order, The Fall, The Wedding Present and David Gedge’s occasional dalliances with Cinerama, Laura Cantrell, Billy Bragg and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Thus, recent releases from the last two on this list found their way into my vinyl collection without a moment’s hesitation on my part. And true to form, neither disappoints.

The new Billy Bragg record is a collaboration with Joe Henry, the American Americana artist who produced Bragg’s previous LP, Tooth and Nail. I’m not sure Henry adds much, save for some softening backing vocals, but the effect on this cover of a Jean Ritchie tune is sublime.

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry // The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore

Nick Cave’s latest is his most challenging to date. Recorded after the death of his son, the record has a bleak beauty that repays several listenings.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds // Girl in Amber

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.

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All the music on this site is posted to encourage listeners to enjoy it and then rush out and buy as many songs by the artist as they possibly can. Any artist, record label boss, publisher or other rightsholder who doesn't want their works featured here only needs to get in touch and the offending file(s) will be removed at the earliest opportunity.