Michael – Lazarus Clamp – The musical almanac: 2011

Michael gu, vo – Lazarus Clamp – The musical almanac: 2011.

Reissues, old stuff etc.
Musically, one clear highlight of the year for me: I burst a few blood vessels with excitement at finally getting to see Bitch Magnet play live [at the Lexington]. Thank you BM, and George Gargan for that. The reissued LPs have been remastered very deftly, too. Review to follow.

I got one of the vinyl re-pressings of The Gun Club’s ‘Lucky Jim’ this year, too, the only JLP record I was missing. It’s a magnificent swansong.with great surges of Pierce’s uniquely lyrical guitar playing.

I also played the Verlaines ‘Juvenilia’ [an old favourite, but I finally got hold of a listenable, new copy] a lot this year. That in turn inspired me to buy The Clean’s splendid ‘Anthology’ – a band I missed first time around.

I bought the Throwing Muses ‘Anthology’ despite already owning everything on it, and saw them in Holmfirth. ‘Hate my way’ and ‘Pearl’ were as great as ever.

I really enjoyed parts of the Micky Newbury ‘American Trilogy’ – particularly the middle LP – and the printing on the disks.

New stuff
Idaho – ‘You were a dick’ – I reviewed this for DOA, because I liked it so much. I still think its one of the LPs of the year.

Richard Buckner – ‘Our blood.’ His best record since, well, ‘Since.’

Bill Orcutt – ‘How the thing sings’ – more of the same, but just as exhilarating as the previous two.

Mekons – Ancient and Modern. Always happy to have a new Mekons LP!

Other memorable live moments: I really enjoyed seeing Azores play in Leeds, and Former Utopia’s whammy bar extravaganza at the Lexington.

EMA – ‘Past life martyred saints’ – I love the Loop-y thump of the closing Red Star.

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings – The Harrow and the Harvest. Not their most consistent LP, but the restraint of ‘The Way It Will Be’ is sublime. Rawlings’ guitar playing as jaw-dropping as ever.

Chris Brokaw – ‘Stories’. As noted by several others, three great new songs, and Hills is especially beautiful.

Peg Simone – ‘Secrets from the storm’ – last year’s, but new to me – just lovely.

David Thomas Broughton – ‘Outbreeding’ –again, last year’s release, but new to me this year. For me, it is ‘intermittently successful’, but I love the skittering ‘Ain’t Got No Sole.’

Laura Veirs – ‘Folk Songs for Children.’ My daughter loves this, and 2011 was given a weird shape in our household because she was quite seriously unwell in the Spring. Finally discharged from the hospital just before Christmas, it’s an extra special pleasure right now to have her laughing along with this in the back of the car.

About Michael
Guitarist and vocalist of Lazarus Clamp and occasionally solo as Michael L. Clamp, lecturer and occasional zine writer. Rather smart. Tumblrs here. Listen to Michael’s damnably special from back in 2008 here.