Ever Decreasing Circles

Do you remember other people? I know they could be dickheads but I do miss them. Squeezing in between them on the bus, avoiding eye contact on the train, rubbing shoulders at a concert, sharing a long table at a restaurant, talking drunken bollocks with them in a bar.

The borders of my life are currently reduced to being at home with my wife and two kids and I feel a little like we’re the family in A Quiet Place, a self-contained unit keeping to ourselves for the sake of our survival. I don’t know how I would have dealt with this if I was on my own, probably gone a little potty though it might have been like being a teenager again: spending too much time on my own, listening to music, and a lot of wanking.

Even before all this happened there was a drift toward people doing everything online, even basic things like buying groceries, and I hope that when this is over people might start to appreciate human contact again instead of interacting with the world through a screen. Not putting my house on it though.

Download: These Streets Will Never Look The Same (Ruth Radelet Version) – Chromatics (mp3)


Lean On Bill

The 70s were a golden age for soul music with giants like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Curtis Mayfield pushing the frontiers of what soul could sound like and be about. By contrast, the late and very great Bill Withers‘ appeal was more honest and blue-collar. He was the guy from the factory who just happen to be able to write incredible, heartfelt songs about the trials of everyday life with a minimalist, conversational simplicity.

Being able to do simple things brilliantly meant that he was probably a little underrated — especially given his competition at the time — but his catalogue is rich with classics, like this sumptuous ballad from his 1975 album Making Music.

Download: Hello Like Before – Bill Withers (mp3)

Things Fall Apart

This bloody virus has claimed the life of the great Cristina Monet, the avant-garde disco chanteuse who put out records on the Ze label at the start of the 80s.

A key part of the whole Mutant Disco sound, her two albums are quirky treats as is her amazing cover of “Is That All There Is?” and the Xmas classic “Things Fall Apart”. There’s also this brilliantly iconoclastic take on the old Fabs’ chestnut from 1980. I’m not trying to be controversial when I say I prefer this to the original.

Download: Baby You Can Drive My Car (Remix Version) – Cristina (mp3)

While I was writing this I heard that the virus had also taken Adam Schlesinger, the phenomenally-talented songwriter with Fountains of Wayne who also wrote a string of great songs for movies and the brilliant TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Schlesinger was so good he was in two great bands at the same time, the other being the wonderful Ivy who were one of the best sophisticated jangle-pop bands of the 90s.

Fuck this shit.

Download: The Best Thing – Ivy (mp3)