Forming in 1976, one of the products of the counter cultural big bang that gave us British Punk in all its varied forms and mutations, Wire are still pushing boundaries with their 13th studio album, and their DRILL festivals (details of which can be found at the end of the post). In typically eclectic and brilliant fashion the band's Matthew Simms has put together this amazing 'Quiet Life' playlist for us. Listen below and read on for a few words from Matthew about his selections.
01. Kevin Ayers - Whatevershebringswesing
I adore every note of Kevin's music, from early soft machine through to his last solo record, it is all worth investigating. To me it's the perfect mix of beautiful and deranged, clever and simple, funny and sincere and always fantastically unique.
02. Bill Fay - The Healing Day
I first discovered Bill tracing it back through Jim O'rourke releasing a great cover of the song Pictures of Adolf Again in 2003 and also Wilco playing Be Not So Fearful. I'm pleased to say I was in the audience when Wilco somehow encouraged him to make his only live performance in forever in London a few years back. Last year I was asked to play some guitar on his upcoming album Who Is The Sender?, out in April 2015. It's a real honour to be involved as since discovering his music it quickly became to be some of my favourite. This track is a highlight from his return in 2012. Life Is People, which is a startling group of songs and is produced really beautifully. Clearly a lot of care and attention and also great expertise goes both into the songwriting and the recording process and the result is a treat to the ears!
03. Lewis - I Thought The World Of You
I was totally floored when I heard this for the first time, it to me sounds like he wrote and recorded this record asleep, while somehow retaining his full attention to detail, recorded in 1983 and self released into obscurity, it's a delicate, heart breaking dream like album that has a back story so unbelievable it in truth leaves me sceptical but as always it's the music that matters most and this reissue was one of my favourites of 2014.
04. Sun Ra Arkestra - Springtime Again
The Arkestra is to me the kind of religious experience I can get behind! The history of the band is incredibly rich, their DIY actions and output way ahead of its time and above all else the music is otherworldly, hugely varied and not rivalled by any other band... Now under the direction of Marshall Allen, 91 years young, and more spirited than nearly all twenty-something musicians I see. They are a record collectors dream, (or perhaps nightmare, as I'm sure it's impossible to amass a complete collection) this is the first track to my favourite Sun Ra LP - Sleeping Beauty.
05. NRBQ - Scraps
The hit band that never had a hit, perhaps only because they are just too hard to pin down for long enough for success to find them. While styles vary wildly the results remain equally fantastic. The band leader Terry Adams plays Clavinet like the best guitarist in the world and piano somewhat like Thelonious Monk joining the Beatles. This is the title track of my favourite 'Q LP.
06. Julian Lynch - Carios Kelleyi I
Julian lynch makes these incredible, one Man band, home recorded psych records! Releasing 4 albums since 2009 that deserve far more attention, touching on frank Zappa, terry Riley, the Beatles and a touch of tortoise, sometimes all in the same song. Highly recommended!
07. Grouper - Heavy Water / I'd Rather Be Sleeping
A song from one of the best records ever! I've not heard anything by her I don't like. It's a beautiful mix of ambient drones and delicate songs. I always like the recording style too, it sounds unusual... Somewhat distant, but in a way that I think draws the listener in and then invites you to stay a while. Get all her records, essential listening!
08. Vestals - Of Ripples
I was really happy to be able to ask Vestals to open for Wire in Seattle a year or so back. She released a fantastic LP of hazy guitar music in 2012, which to me really stood out amongst the deluge of shoegazey bands that forget to write interesting songs to bury underneath the noise. This track is a bit more sprawling than others on her LP. The set she played before Wire was mainly new songs, slightly more electronic, I'm hoping that we might see a new record sometime soon.
See Wire live in the UK this April, including their five night DRILL residency at The Lexington, in London:
April 12-13, BRIGHTON - Prince Albert
April 14, LONDON - DRILL : LEXINGTON w/ Karen Gwyer
April 15, LONDON - DRILL : LEXINGTON w/ Tomaga
April 16, LONDON - DRILL : LEXINGTON w/ Boothroyd
April 17, LONDON - DRILL : LEXINGTON w/ Orlando
April 18, LONDON - DRILL : LEXINGTON w/ Xaviers
April 20, SOUTHAMPTON – Engine Rooms
April 21, RAMSGATE – Music Hall
April 22, NOTTINGHAM – Rescue Rooms
April 23, LIVERPOOL – Kazimer
April 24, HEBDEN BRIDGE – Trades Club
April 26, ABERDEEN – Lemon Tree
April 27, GLASGOW – King Tuts
April 28, LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club
April 29, MANCHESTER – Club Academy
April 30, BRISTOL – Fleece
The new self-titled album from Wire is out 13th April. Check out the superb track ‘Split your Ends' below:
Find out more at www.pinkflag.com
Photo: Owen Richards