Black Midi introduce us math rock this week as we play a track from their current and only studio to date LP Schlagenheim. With its roots in prog and indie rock, math rock certainly has its early influences in King Crimson, Steve Reich et al. Black Midi use many of its characteristic staples in the track Western such as complex and atypical rhythmic structures, counterpoint and angular melodies. Black Midi also have something of a krautrock sound about them. Further to this, we learn that Tobin had the pleasure of seeing Black Midi perform live recently as they supported Brittany Howard. Lucky him.
Esther Phillips – bookend, cover shot & Record Box classic
Kicking off the show is the fantastic cover of now legendary track Home Is Where The Hatred Is. Originally penned by the sage Gil Scott Heron way back in 1971, this cover by Esther Phillips was laid down the same year. Leaving this mortal coil at the tender age of 48, Esther Phillips‘ liver and kidneys finally gave up the ghost. Her life long battle with substance abuse, mainly heroin, finally caught up with her. Kids, drugs are bad. Don’t do drugs! That’s an official FTBOTRB order.
In My Father’s House Are Many Mansions.John 14:2
Sadly Esther Phillips was laid to rest in an unmarked paupers grave in Compton, LA. Fortunately, one year after her death she was reinterred at Forest Lawns Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, where a bronze statue marks her musical achievements.
- Home Is Where The Hatred Is Esther Phillips
- Can’t Go Back Now The Weepies
- I Don’t Like Mondays Tori Amos
- Happy Bdrmm
- Imajghane (The Tuareg People) Bombino
- Western Black Midi
- Use Me Esther Phillips
Black Midi aren’t alone on the show this week
Joining us and Black Midi this week we also have a short and sweet track from The Weepies. Husband and wife folk pop outfit from Pasadena, California do little to impress Tobin. However, with 5 studio albums under their wing and a string of tours over a 12 year period we’re pretty certain they’re not too bothered. Also licensing many tracks for films such as Sex and the City, Adam and Prom probably means they’re immune tom Tobin’s opinion. Oh yeah, and then there’s the TV shows … Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother blah blah blah. You get the picture. Sadly, Tobin missed it.
A trio of Cover Shots grace us this week. Two from the aforementioned Esther Phillips with Tori Amos rounding it all off. A classic rendition of The Boomtown Rats‘ arguably best known song. It’s intimate, fragile and brilliantly delivered.
Brenda Spencer wrote to me saying ‘she was glad she’d done it because I’d made her famous,’ which is not a good thing to live with.Bob Geldof
Let’s talk more about Black Midi
Four piece math rock outfit Black Midi hail out of BRIT School, London. They were formed in 2017 by friends Geordie Greep (vocals, guitar), Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin (vocals, guitar), Cameron Picton (vocals, bass, synths) and Morgan Simpson (drums). Despite their sound being grounded in math rock, Black Midi take their name from the Japanese musical genre of the same name.
As anyone who’s been lucky enough to catch Black Midi live over recent months will testify, Black Midi’s songs are slippery creatures.
Black Midi’s best year was without doubt 2018. The year saw their debut single Bmbmbm recorded on the eloquently titled label Speedy Wunderground. A few months later came a cassette featuring five live tracks recorded earlier that year. Closing off 2018 Black Midi performed at the Iceland Airwaves music festival in Reykjavic. Playing tracks off of their then untitled Schlagenheim, Black Midi achieved notoriety for their eccentric performance. Widely praised online, YouTube was certainly a launching platform for Black Midi. Further proof, if it was ever needed, that the rise of the internet has been a game changer for musicians. Well, that and From the Bottom of the Record Box.