'Sufjan Stevens' new album almost made me cast aside my crutches and shout: "I can walk!"'
Here he recommends some music to brighten your day and he heals his broken leg…
‘Buy Nothing Day’ by The Go! Team
March 2nd is etched in my memory as I broke my leg representing Truck FC in the Abingdon 5-aside Tuesday Bundesliga. A very high level of competition, and a painful collapse onto the astroturf, followed by nearly 2 weeks in a hospital ward, morphined up to the eyeballs and eating regurgitated hospital slop. It would all have been too much without some sounds to cheer me up, and none more so than ‘Buy Nothing Day’ by The Go! Team. I still have no idea what it’s about but the sounds, chords, melodies, bells, tambourines and so on contained within it’s brief few minutes should be prescribed on the NHS for those with the hospital blues. Of course, The Go! Team play Truck Festival on Sunday 24th July.
‘A Hard Hand To Hold’ by Willy Mason
On Tuesdays I’ve been teaching a songwriting class at Ruskin College, and last week Willy Mason, our Wood headliner, called in and the class looked at the lyrics of ‘A Hard Hand to Hold’. It certainly beats any classes I had at school! Willy’s a great songwriter. He let on that ‘Oxygen’ was also written from an idea for music class, so maybe some of my students will be writing hits any day now. My brother Joe and I accompanied Willy for a rapturously received set at Truck Store on Saturday, where we even played a great song that was written by his parents, so the talent clearly runs in the Mason family. We even knocked out some Merle Haggard (no relation). Willy Mason plays Wood Festival on Saturday 23rd May. I haven’t worked out how I’m going to get around the site yet, no golf buggies allowed. I’ll just have to sit at the bar…
‘How Does It Feel?’ by Zeus
Since meeting Broken Social Scene at a rain-soaked country-rock festival in the mountains of Germany, I’ve keenly followed releases on their Arts & Crafts label, and I particularly like ‘Say Us’ by Zeus. It’s a cohort of powerpop gems with few claims to modernity, being more in thrall to Badfinger and Big Star than Aphex Twin, but a genuine claim to being the most tuneful album of the year. I like to put it on as I crutch home from the bus stop late at night. They also do a wacky line in videos:
Marching Through Your Head by Zeus
Zeus play Wood Festival on Sunday 22nd May. Also, my wife’s about to give birth to our second – timing! The first arrived the day before Truck 2007 so I suspect the same may happen again, so it’s debatable whether I’ll make it to Wood at all!
‘The Age Of Adz’ by Sufjan Stevens
I was awaiting Sufjan’s new album as much as anyone and his 75-minute epic, ‘The Age Of Adz’, didn’t disappoint me, the strangeness of which had been hinted at by the preceding ‘All Delighted People’ EP. When our friend Cat Martino said she’d be in the live band, doing backing vocals and ‘dance moves’, I was intrigued! Clips of the show starting appearing on the internet from the US dates and I finally got to see it in person last week – it was even more mind-melting than expected. Cat and her colleague had at least seven costume changes. It felt a lot more euphoric, in a much more musical way than any number of so-called nu-rave bands could ever hope to manage, and spanned everything from choreography to vocoders, neon face paint to balloons, and even a lecture on outsider artist Royal Robertson. I nearly cast aside my crutches and shouted: “I can walk!” It doesn’t really come across on video above but it gives you a taste:
Sufjan Stevens is not playing at Truck, or any UK festivals, unfortunately!
TRUCK Festival 2011 will take place at Hill Farm, Oxfordshire from 22- 24 July with Gruff Rhys, Bellowhead, Graham Coxon and more playing.
Tickets are on sale now priced at £99.
Wood Festival 2011 will take place in Braziers Park, Oxfordshire from 20-22 May with Eliza Carthy Band, Willy Mason and Thea Gilmore among the acts playing.
Weekend tickets are on sale now priced at £95.
Click here to buy Wood Festival tickets.