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(Last updated
Thu, Oct 30, 2003 11:45 am)

The 'Other' Cabernet Grape Takes Root In New York
Part 1: The Basics/Regions
Part 2: New York Wines
Part 3: Loire Wines
Part 4: Conclusions
The November Hitlist
30 Albums 10 Songs
Ten tips for the marathon virgin.Or...How to enjoy an exercise in maoschism.
The Last DJ
Château d'Oupia Minervois 20001
Featured Mix CD:
Mixed Live: 2nd Sessions by Carl Cox
From the Jamming! Archives: The Jam
Interviewed in 1979
The iJamming! Interview: UNDERWORLD
"I got it in my head that I was going to die in a cheesy hotel room covered in cat's piss." NOW WITH LIVE PHOTOS
Coming and Going
Chapter 3: The Palace
The iJamming! Interview
From the Jamming! Archives: Adam Ant
Interviewed in 1978

Available Now!
The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography is here.

A Decade In Dance
10 Years (Apiece)
The October Hitlist
30 Albums 10 Songs
The whole Bloody 1990s cataloge
Last of The Summer Rosês:
Goats Do Roam, Vin Gris de Cigare and Rose of Virginia.
10 Reasons To Fear The Worst
From the Jamming! Archives:
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
New York's rock'n'roll rescuers play Lowlife - loudly
Local legends and international influence come home to party
28 Albums Rocking Our World
The Who at Madison Square Garden
A wash-out
The Movie
The Party
Cedell Davis, Tuatara, and The Minus 5 atthe Knitting Factory
Still 'A Man And A Half'
30 Albums, 5 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies
An obituary by Chris Charlesworth
Back On The (Flying Saucer) Attack
30 Albums, 10 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies.
Eight Days in A Week's Music:
Ed Harcourt, Vines, Candy Butchers, Timo Maas, Ashley Casselle & Adam Freeland, Aerial Love Feed, and enough little club nights to shake several sticks at.
Tony's (lengthy) trip down nostalgia lane from his visit home at the end of April. Stop-offs include Death Disco, old Jamming! Magazines, life-long friendships, road trips to Brighton, Damilola Taylor and political frustration, Morrissey-Marr, Zeitgeist, Oasis, Dexys, Primal Scream, the current British music scene and more.
The iJamming! interview:
"'Acid Trax' by Phuture came out and I was just 'Okay, forget all hip hop and all old school rare groove right here, this is it.'"
hostess 'Lee Patrick' recalls her time as Keith Moon's amour
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
The iJAMMING! interview:
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
The iJAMMING! chat:

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
The iJAMMING! interview:
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
The full iJamming! Contents
What's new in iJAMMING!?

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. . .TONY FLETCHER's Next DJ Appearance Is At TISWAS, for its Seventh Birthday Party, Saturday December 7th, Don Hill's, Spring Street, Manhattan. . .


Well it's always a pleasure when Palace beat Millwall, that I have to say. And it's refreshing to see that musicians can maintain so much love for other people's music that they launch a web site to review their peer group, as Marty Willson-Piper of the Church has done with On the other hand, it's disconcerting (and yes, of course that's an understatement) to realise that we're almost certainly heading towards war and that there seems to be nothing most of us can do to slow the process down. Even those of us who believe that Saddam Hussein's has to go for the sake of international stability (let alone the Iraqi people) get no pleasure in the fact that only military action will actually serve to remove him. (And even that's not guaranteed.) I can argue my case very strongly for fighting Al-Qaeda with every weapon available (including the non-violent ones). I have a harder time articulating my thoughts about Iraq. So when I see someone else raise the right questions without taking political sides, I absorb - and link. Frank Rich is particularly erudite in this column in today's New York Times. (First-time visitors to the Times web site will need to register; it's worth doing so.)



I stuck my head above surface last night to catch up with some friends in Manhattan. For a city in the midst of economic melt-down (and under six inches of snow), it's reassuring to see that nightlife – stubbornly, resolutely, enthusiastically or otherwise - persists.

I've been hearing very good things about a place called Pianos, on Ludlow Street just below Stanton Street, since it opened a few weeks ago. And now I can see why. At the street entrance there's quite a plush bar leading directly into a performance room. This structure is similar to Luna Lounge up the street, which pioneered the very basic idea of presenting live bands for free and making up any supposed financial difference at the bar. By the manner in which Pianos' front bar leads into its performance space, I can't imagine the policy being any different here. Which is good news.

Even better news is the bar upstairs, which combines couches, bar tables, bar stools, and turntables. A little something for everyone – and an unpretentious manner in which to escape the noise downstairs. The occasion last night was a birthday party for Aerial Love Feed's drummer Tracy Thompson, who somehow lined up half the city's indie-pop DJs – in particular, the regulars from Crashin' In and Girls and Boys - and a trio of bands (the Flesh, the North and The Ankles) to help her celebrate. Nothing like being young and popular, is there?

I felt a slight tinge of regret over the conversion of Pianos from, yes, an old piano repair store into yet another Ludlow Street bar. Then again, it's far too late to complain about gentrification on the Lower East Side. And anyway, the good businesses that maintain relevance in the 21st Century will continue to thrive. It's not that people can't afford real pianos any more, it's that they absolutely can't afford the space for one – not at Lower East Side apartment prices. No surprise then that such a specialist store would eventually have to shutter its doors.

Almost opposite Pianos however, I'm thrilled to see that El Sombrero'the Hat' – continues to thrive despite all the neighborhood changes. A simple Mexican restaurant with probably the most potent frozen margaritas in the city, El Sombrero was the very first restaurant I ever ate at in New York, so I have an emotional attachment to its survival. It's also the source of my favorite Norman Cook story – a very un-Fatboy Slim one at that – but you'll have to get a few of those hallucinogenic margaritas down me before I embarrass him by retelling it in public.

Up on Second Avenue there's a bar called Lit which, if you read the style mags, you'll know is regularly populated by members of the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Rapture, Interpol, various young models and actors and any one else whose name merits bold print. If you live outside the city and have read about it, you probably hold the idea that it's a modern Max's Kansas City or Danceteria. Far from it. Lit is a dive. Deliberately so, and that's part of its charm. OF course, in the old days, nobody had to design bars to look like dives – they just were. Still, Lit's likeable for its bare bones ugliness, especially when a DJ like Jason Consoli's on the decks. (Alright, the CD players.)

Punk-Ass Jason Consoli tries to make the art of playing CDs look like actual work. Fortunately, the boy has good taste....
Jason's one of the many old Communion regulars who's landed a day job in the music biz (he's a publicist at TVT) but can't shake his night time fondness for spinning – and then taking the ferry back to Staten Island. In the space of the half hour I hung out last night, Jason played a couple of the best singles of all time – 'Complete Control' by The Clash and 'I'm A Boy' by The Who. He also spun 'To Hell With Poverty' by the Gang of 4, 'The Light Pours Out of Me' by Magazine, and, in a weird moment of synchronicity, put on a James Brown single the very moment my friend Kevin and I got to talking about Bomb Squad productions and what it felt like to hear 'Bring the Noise' for the first time. (After which we got all misty-eyed about the days when hip hop really mattered.) If Jason's choices seem good to you – and how could they not? – you should know he's at Lit every Thursday night. That it's free. And that his playlist is similar to the kind of music I've got lined up for the Tiswas birthday party tomorrow night. See you there?



Those who know my musical tastes know that I'm a sucker for female fronted mid-tempo dance-friendly music. I'm not talking generic house here, I mean working bands with musical chops, a penchant for proper songs and, hopefully, a real live show to close the deal. Too many candidates fall at the last hurdle. Of the many such groups I've loved this past decade – Morcheeba, Mono, Faithless, Kosheen, State of Grace, Olive, Everything But The Girl, Soulstice, to name just a few – those who've lasted the distance are exclusively the ones who worked at and delivered on the live front.

So it was with mild trepidation that I set out Monday night to the Manhattan club Shine to see WEEKEND PLAYERS, an act that has, until very recently, revolved almost entirely around the duo of Rachel Foster and Andy Cato. Foster has long been a singing fixture on the Nottingham club scene, while Cato's role as the taller, trombone-playing half of Groove Armada is all the introduction any one should need. Introduced to each other by a cousin of Cato's, the pair first collaborated on the uptempo club hit, '21st Century,' back in the summer of '01, which they followed this spring with the deeper but equally pulsating 'Into The Sun'.

Then, with the debut album Pursuit of Happiness, recently released in the UK on Multiply Records (it comes out early next year in the US on Essential), Weekend Players opted for a more-laid back, chilled-out approach. As such, it's an album that takes time to settle into, though once it does, it's equally hard to separate from. In a year of disappointing dance releases, Pursuit of Happiness is one of the few long-players that sounds better with every repeated play. Not that it sounds desperately contemporary. The languid 'Jericho' invites inevitable comparisons to Groove Armada's classic 'Into The River', the title track and 'Subway' evoke the now bygone trip-hop era, and when Foster's impressively deep jazz-tinged voice is not recalling Sade on a ballad like 'Angel', it's reminiscent of M People's Heather Small on such songs as the beautifully structured 'Through The Trees.' Impressive reference points they may be, they still offer a sneaking suspicion that Weekend Players have come along with the right album at just the wrong time.

Weekend Players' Rachel Foster: laid back yet outgoing, a vital combination for a showcase in a sparsely filled room.
Modest expectations for the New York debut were hardly helped by a booking snafu: long advertised for Tuesday, the show was abruptly moved 24 hours forward on the eve of Thanksgiving. When the four musicians took the stage Monday night, the dance floor was conspicuously empty. But when Rachel Foster bounded on board a few seconds later, disappointment over audience numbers seemed the last thing on her mind. Just for once, here was a new British buzz artist eager to perform to whomever was prepared to listen. She demonstrated gratitude in her pronouncements, gracefulness in her dance moves, and surprising subtlety in her clear-cut, naturally forceful vocals. It's desperately difficult to be both laid back yet outgoing, but it's a vital combination for a showcase in a sparsely filled room, and Foster pulled it off.

Her recently recruited band, which has benefited from playing some large festivals since release of the album, had the look of what we used to call 'musos', but like Foster, succeeded in being slick without being flash, with some particularly sharp guitar riffs and at least one mesmerizing keyboard solo. Perhaps brought on by their name, I found there to be something very Caister Weekender about them, if you know what I mean. (And if you don't, try this.)

What ultimately distinguished Weekend Players from the tight funk groups of the late seventies and early eighties was the presence of a glowing Mac laptop on stage - and though I'm the last to object to a few sequenced tracks emanating from the hard drive, I have a built in aversion to backing vocals being among them. All the more so in this case as Foster's voice is such an impressive natural instrument. If she doesn’t want to employ live backing singers, she should scrap the taped backing vocals: legions of rock singers have faced this dilemma and chosen the latter route - and at this point in time, the audience is more likely to wince at the invisible but audible harmonies than berate the lack of them.

That's a relatively small quibble for an otherwise highly impressive American debut. Tonight – December 5 – Weekend Players make their west coast debut as part of Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl)'s own traveling Lazy Dog night. It's an ideal pairing – and I imagine that for this one, Weekend Players will have an audience worth their journey.

On the subject of Groove Armada, as we were, Andy Cato and his full-time producing partner Tom Findlay have toughened up yet further from their third album Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub) on the new outing Love Box, which I've been playing almost non-stop since receiving a copy last week. (Released last month in the UK, it's an early '03 release in the USA.) It seems almost unfathomable that this is the same Groove Armada that ambled so quietly onto the club scene a few years back, for Love Box is up-tempo, dub-heavy, ska-friendly Brit dance music with an attitude. Even when it chills out, it does so at volume. In a word, it's fierce. It’s not quite up there with The Streets, but for an album that incorporates every dance genre imaginable and pulls each one off with style, it's close to impeccable.



It doesn't matter if you're in the States, Britain, or probably anywhere else on the planet, you all hate the Postal Service don't you? Time-consuming, expensive, and most of all, unreliable. I have to take pause and give praise. Last Friday afternoon – late afternoon at that – I posted a couple of international packages from the village post office at Hunter, way up in the snow-covered Catskills. One of those packages was quite a large one, for my mother, who has herself moved to a small town in what she tells me is turning out to be the continually rainy and fog-bound Yorkshire. Imagine my surprise when I got up Tuesday to find an e-mail telling me the package had been delivered that morning at 8am. That's a total delivery time from the Catskills to northern England of just three days, two of which were the weekend! Take back all you said about your post offices. (Or maybe consider using village ones instead.)

Of course, the Internet remains a faster means of communication than even Santa's Reindeers when you don't need to send something physical along with your message. Even so, I'm trying to figure out how various people in the wine trade found my feature on CABERNET FRANC before it was officially posted. I know that Google seems particularly fond of iJamming! (while writing my feature I did a search for Sourdais Chinon and found myself at my just-updated Cassius review), but all the same, it's a little frightening when you get e-mails about a story before you've even announced that it's out there. At least this offers further proof positive for me that my wine reviews and features are finding a hungry – make that thirsty – audience. I know that half the iJamming! readership scratches its head at my wine content, but I also know the other half loves it. So anyway, here's the official announcement. . .

Cabernet Franc from the Finger Lakes in upstate New York can be surprisingly impressive - even up against the Loire originals.
A four-page feature on CABERNET FRANC – the 'other' Cabernet – has now been posted in the Wine Section. It details the grape's rapid rise up and down the East Coast of America, most particularly in New York State, with the bulk of the feature reporting on a theme tasting I recently hosted that pitted a handful of New York wines against some Cabernet Francs from the grape's spiritual homeland, the Loire region of France. I find this kind of stuff as fascinating as I do entertaining. I hope you do too. All the wines we tasted should be readily available and at what I would call sensible prices - $15-$25 tops. Though I don't know how easy it is to find the New York wines outside of the States, wines from the Loire are incredibly under-valued and can be found around the globe. Use a search engine if you want to hunt one down – but don't be surprised if it brings you straight back to iJamming! And feel free to comment over at the Forum - even if you think you know nothing about wine.

The Cabernet Franc posting features a newer and cleaner lay-out, for which I need to thank Vince Holleran, who's helped code me up some style sheets so that what I design at home is what you actually get on your browser. Vince runs his own web-site Braquage, which, assuming you appreciate the improved design, you could visit as your own thanks.



Wherever I've been the last few months, it certainly hasn't been studying Radio 1's changing line-up. Only by getting linked from Chris Coco's blog did I come to learn that Chris, the former editor of DJ magazine, and a highly-respected ambient/chill-out producer/DJ, has been co-hosting a national British radio show for that format these past few months. The Blue Room (nicely named after that lengthy Orb track of many years ago) airs on Radio 1 at 5am Saturday mornings, a perfect hour for clubbers looking to come down gently; given that Chris has two young kids and a hectic schedule of his own, I have an inkling that he probably pre-records the show in order to be a fully functional parent the rest of the weekend. As befits the chill-out crowd in general and his own laid-back persona in particular, Chris has been far too modest to alert his friends to his latest success - one which also suggests that Radio 1 isn't completely populated by self-promoting fast-talkers. The show, I see, is archived, so those of us scattered round the world can listen to it as and when we like. Will do.



…Relaxing before a wood-burning stove in a chalet in the Catskills, sipping on a glass of Saintsbury 'Garnet' Pinot Noir 2000, listening to the newly issued John Coltrane Legacy box set, reading my Brooklyn neighbor Nava Renek's impressive first novel Spiritland, barely registering the howling wind and falling snow outside. A perfect way to spend a post-Thanksgiving Saturday night. And the complete opposite of the one I expect next weekend when I DJ the Tiswas birthday party.

Completing the sense of quiet satisfaction was my debut attempt at snowboarding – my first sports outing on a mountain since shattering my left shoulder into many small pieces at the end of an otherwise perfect day's skiing back in January 1996. (Praise be to microscopic surgery, not that I ever recommend anyone going through the horrendous pain and subsequent therapy I endured to find out as much for themselves!) I hadn't stayed away from snow sports these last six years out of any fear or sense of self-preservation; in fact, I often discussed getting on to the slopes for just a day or two with friends, but it remained just talk, increasingly so as weekends were usually spent with city parenting, and summer holidays for the family took priority over winter ones for myself.

But the years have passed, and what was once a baby is now a boy, and so I managed to talk Campbell into a snowboarding lesson this last weekend on the theory that he's the perfect age to learn. He in turn talked me into accompanying him, and we signed up as part of a group lesson for absolute beginners. You may be interested to know that the conventional wisdom appears to be proven in this case: 7-year old Campbell appeared completely incapable of falling over, which is more than I can say for his old man. In fact, the only cry I heard from him all day was when he tripped over the board as he carried it back up the hill, which meant I took double duties from there on in. Choosing a left-leaning (regular) stance was murder on my runner's knee, which is still feeling the effects of the Marathon, and it's fair to say I slept pretty well Saturday night as a result of the exercise, but all told, I expected the sport to be harder on both of us than it was.

Millbrook Cabernet Franc 2000: an all-New York State all-star Wine - and perfect for Thanksgiving. (next year's, too!)
As you might imagine, given a few days R&R, I got through plenty more sipping, reading and listening. The music will show up in the next Hitlist, and I'm going to be posting some notes on some books I've been devouring too. In the meantime, I'm a firm believer in drinking American wine over Thanksgiving, so I took a bottle of a Ravenswood 1995 Sonoma County Zinfandel out to the In-Laws on Thursday ('95 was a great vintage for Zin, and the longer-lasting bottlings have softened sufficiently to show interesting secondary flavors –you can still find examples in good stores for very sensible, sub-$20 prices if you look around). I also brought a bottle of the Millbrook Cabernet Franc 2000 New York State, which was a surprising front-runner in a recent face-off taste test we hosted in Brooklyn pitting New York Cabernet Francs against wines from the grape's spiritual homeland, the Loire region of France. The Millbrook received similar immediate acclaim from in-law family members who don't otherwise pass much comment on what liquid passes their lips, so look out for my substantial feature on Cabernet Franc – the 'other' Cabernet – with complete notes from the tasting, and some interesting conclusions. You may just find yourself with a new favored red grape.

And for those who've followed my fascination with that increasingly popular white grape, Viognier, Robin Garr at the Wine Lover's Page has today posted a short feature on Californian Viognier. Check it out – and then get back to work. You've got about two weeks to complete your year's projects before Christmas kicks in. On that scary note…

FOR NOVEMBER 25-29 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Joe Hurley, Thanksgiving, Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin)
FOR NOVEMBER 16-24 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Longwave, The Pleased, Get Your War On, Powder, Radio 4, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, Ben Neill, Baldwin Brothers, Thievery Corporation)
FOR NOVEMBER 9-15 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes CMJ report including Datsuns, von Bondies and My Favorite, and political Eagles)
FOR NOVEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Halloween, the New York Marathon, and British Cuisine)
FOR OCTOBER 26-NOV 1 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes live reviews of The Streets, Mooney Suzuki, Sahara Hotnights, Flaming Sideburns, Stellastarr*; Jam Master Jay; Halloween)
FOR OCTOBER 19-25 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Underworld live, Atlantic Avenue antics, Girls and Boys night)
FOR OCTOBER 12-18 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Bali Bombing and stupid editorials, the Electro-Clash festival, VHS Or Beta, Ballboy, Mindless Self Indulgence, 2 Many DJs, Tom Petty, The Streets, pointless stop-the-war e-mails)
FOR OCTOBER 5-11 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Steve Earle and John Walker's Blues, Dreaming Of Britney, Girls Against Boys and Radio 4)
FOR SEPTEMBER 28-OCT 4 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes White Stripes live, Morel live, My Generation re-issue)
FOR SEPTEMBER 21-27 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Creation live, Village Voice, Wine not Whine and more)
FOR SEPTEMBER 14-20 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Firefighter Andre Fletcher, Untamed, Uncut, and more September 11 Musings)
FOR SEPTEMBER 7-13 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Sep 11 memorials, Did Bin Laden Win?, Scissor Sisters and Electro-clash)
FOR AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Strokes live, The Rising, Saint Etienne, Team USA, a.i., Tahiti 80, Dot Allison)
FOR AUGUST 17-30 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes holiday musings, wine reviews, Luna at Southpaw, and more)
FOR AUGUST 10-16 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes lengthy Who live review)
FOR JULY 27-AUG 9 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Area 2, 24 Hour Party People Party, Hootenanny Tour, 2 Many DJs and more.
FOR JULY 20-26 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Wilson Pickett, John Entwistle, rebuilding downtown NYC)
FOR JULY 13-19 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Love Parade, Teany, RenewNYC, Femi Kuti, NRA, Londonisation of New York, Britishification of Global Rock)
FOR JULY 6-12 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Mike Meyers as Keith Moon, the RAVE Act, John Entwistle, Michael Jackson, Southpaw, Moby Online, Layo & Bushwacka!,
(accidentally deleted)
FOR JUNE 29-JULY 5 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup Final, John Entwistle's legacy, The Who's decision to carry on, the meaning of July 4)
FOR JUNE 22-28 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Dr. John, Doves, Mermaid Parade, John Entwistle's death, Timothy White's death, Clinic Firewater and Radio 4 live, The Who's decision to carry on)
FOR JUNE 15-21 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Liars live, GiantFingers, the Big Takeover)
FOR JUNE 8 -14 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, StellaStarr*, Jose Padilla, Dee Dee Ramone, suicide bombings)
FOR JUNE 1-7 DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Southpaw, Six Foot Under, Andrew Sullivan)
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