The Bonus Track: Siouxsie's open letter, Samantha Crain, and new tracks from Arcade Fire

A sideways look at the world of music

Writing wrongs

No one can be quite sure of who exactly declared this open season for the “open letter”, but now that the floodgates have burst there is no stemming the flow. First up, as you might have read elsewhere, came Sinead vs Miley. Then Sufjan Stevens got in on the act with a light-hearted pop at the very same pop princess, this time for her lack of grammatical awareness (see sufjan.com). And now there is this: from the “first lady of punk”, Siouxsie Sioux, to the chief executive of Fortnum & Mason on the subject of foie gras. Video killed the radio star? More a case of the internet hammering the final blow into the art of writing the protest song.

 

New talent alert!

There is not much that is more irritating than music writers banging on about stuff coming up that the general public can’t listen to yet, but let’s just say that Bonus Track is rather excited about Kid Face, the upcoming album by Samantha Crain, a new signing to Full Time Hobby and one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “ must see acts” at this year’s SXSW. The album is not out until next year (so we’ll say nothing til then except: think a dark Gillian Welch), but you can download “For the Miner” here.

Peak position

If someone were to compile a list of “songs you think you don’t know but have heard a gazillion times”, the 1969 track “Long Red” by Mountain would be right up there (no pun intended). Sampled by Jay-Z, Common, Kanye and Lana Del Rey, even more extraordinary is the fact that the song’s co-writer, Leslie West, is still releasing rocking records in spite of losing a leg to diabetes in 2011. His new album Still Climbing is out now. Listen to “Long Red” here.

 

Next week’s biggie …

Kevin Harley reviews Arcade Fire’s Reflektor. Watch a cameo-studded three-song video here

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