Florence ex Machina

It's good to see that eccentricity and quirkiness are not dead in Britain. London indie rock band Florence and the Machine (as in Florence Welch and Isabella "Machine" Summers) formed in London in 2007. The powerful vocals of Florence Welch are backed by Isabella Summers on keyboards. Robert Ackroyd plays lead guitar.Chris Hayden's drums and Mark Saunders' bass pound out the strong rhythms that hold the band's distinctive sound together.The harp of Tom Monger and other collaborating artists add another layer of goodness. The band have enjoyed considerable commercial and critical success and are currently touring Australia, although, if you don't already have a ticket, you're screwed. 

This performance at the Royal Albert Hall certainly isn't the band's usual style but the marriage of Florence and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is so sublime I just had to share it; enjoy!

Addendum: All you vocalists I've told off time and again about your total lack of mic technique for the last thirty years look at a professional  doing it properly. And learn. Please. 

Speaking of quirky, Bat For Lashes (stage name of Natasha Khan) also recently performed in Australia and I was fortunate enough to see her in Sydney. Natasha has produced some achingly beautiful songs; mostly deep, dark and haunting (like Natasha). Sleep Alone is one of my favorites.

William Crampton


What's up with Gerry?

I've never quite comprehended the phenomenon of the One Hit Wonder. Well, perhaps the nauseating ones. How kind of the Mccartney/Wonder duet not to inflict another Ebony and Ivory on us. Isn't it fortunate the Joe Dolce was crushed by a fan stampede before he could pen another Shaddup You Face. What is hard to understand is how an artist can produce something amazing and then fade back into obscurity. Like a shooting star, everything they had manifested in a single flash of glory; and then it was gone. 

The Netflix show Sense 8 recently resurrected one of the great One Hit Wonders; 4 Non Blondes' What's Up. I won't inflict the Sense 8 karaoke version on you but it is worth revisiting Linda Perry's incredibly characterful voice on the original, despite her fondness for silly hats that persisted for the duration of the band. Thankfully, that was only about ten minutes. 

What's Up must also be one of the most covered/butchered songs in  history. While I have yet to hear a better version than the Linda Perry original, this attempt by São Paulo band Almanac makes up for in passion what it lacks in refinement.  

I will end this post with one of my favorite OHW's. Well, ok, technically more than one but the Best Of CD I own never gets pat the first track: Baker Street. Gerry Rafferty not only created a haunting, thought provoking masterpiece but also provided a palette for the guitar of Hugh Burns and that incredible, iconic sax solo of the late Raphael Ravenscroft. Ravenscroft himself was haunted by the fact that his solo (regarded as the most easily recognisable sax solo of all time) was played on a sax that was out of tune; a perfectionist indeed but if one listens carefully.... Gerry Rafferty's own life was a tragic spiral into alcoholism and early death. I first heard this song during a particularly difficult part of my childhood and it really had a big impact on me; so much so that I couldn't listen to it for many decades. Now, it is once again one of my favorite songs.

William Crampton