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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, January 13, 2007
    The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
    One of the most-anticipated days of the year arrives: the day that the latest Rough Trade Shops Counter Culture cd set hits the doormat. It usually comes in the second week of January and it sets me up for the months to come, a prompt for many more journeys of discovery in the collections of the previously-unknown but wondrous artists revelead within. This year an extra treat to mark the shops' 30th birthday comes with it - Counter Culture 1976: and what a fine year that was too.

    So - an evening sat listening to some of the finest alternative sounds around whilst reading the briliant epigrams of William Blake from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. On my settee Blake's words seem to connect with the CC06 songs. I couldn't help joining them together...

    'Exuberance is Beauty' - Metronomy: You Could Easily Have Me (fantastically quirky pop riff-fest guaranteed to make you twitch uncontrollably)

    'The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom' - Gossip: Standing in the Way of Control ("Standing in the way of control we live our lives", Gossip celebrate)

    'Without contraries, there is no progress' - Wolf Eyes: Lake of Roaches (and if you want contrary, breathe deeply and enter the tortured, tortuous noise-world of Wolf Eyes)

    'The nakedness of woman is the work of God' - Lily Allen: LDN (in 2006 no-one was more frankly naked - or nakedly frank - than Lily)

    'Energy is eternal delight' - Ripchord: Lock Up Your Daughters (pure, unrestrained and lovely power pop)

    'Everything that lives is holy' - Burial: Night Bus (cracked soundtrack to an unknown urban future, an eerie beauty soaring up the streets)

    'The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction' - The Disco Students: The Rough Trade Song ("Never been on no Rough Trade compilation", these old punks angrily sing; last track on this Rough Trade compilation)