Tom Ravenscroft's music blog

What to expect when a band you already love release a new album?

This week some old(ish) favourites have returned with either a new album or a new band. It's a nervous time: what if I don't like them? Will it affect the things of theirs I once believed to be great and reduce them to rubbish?

Each piece of music should surely stand on its own. I like it when a band I don't like make a record I do, even be it by accident. I also like it when I find one great track on a terrible album.

This is how one should try and listen to music, I think, and therefore you shouldn't assume you're going to like a new record or try and force yourself when you don't. As a side note, this is why I find it so irritating when new records by famous bands make it on to radio playlists without anyone questioning whether or not they are actually any good. (I'll refrain from making a list.)

So, this week Josh from Shit Horse, who in a recent telephone interview told me to "eat shit and ride", has an album out with his new band Americans in France. Listen to it here.

French Quarter, the work of Steven Steinbrink, who has for many years now been sun-bleaching my heart with Californian love, also has a new album and there is a new EP from Starving Weirdos, a band with a name so great that at some point they surely have to disappoint.

Starving Weirdos LIVE in Tilburg at ZXZW

I have yet to listen to any of these new releases and will try and go in without any preconceptions. But I bet they are all going to be brilliant, perhaps the best thing ever. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and say they are three of my favourite records so far this year.

Tom Ravenscroft's radio show is on BBC 6 Music every Friday at 9pm. He writes a monthly music column for the New Statesman magazine

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Brexit… Leg-sit

A new poem by Jo-Ella Sarich. 

Forgot Brexit. An ostrich just walked into the room. Actually,
forget ostriches too. Armadillos also have legs, and shoulder plates
like a Kardashian.  Then I walked in, the other version of me, the one
with legs like wilding pines, when all of them

are the lumberjacks. Forget forests. Carbon sinks are down
this month; Switzerland is the neutral territory
that carved out an island for itself. My body
is the battleground you sketch. My body is
the greenfield development, and you
are the heavy earthmoving equipment. Forget
the artillery in the hills
and the rooftops opening up like nesting boxes. Forget about

the arms race. Cheekbones are the new upper arms
since Michelle lost out to Melania. My cheekbones
are the Horsehead Nebula and you are the Russians
at warp speed. Race you to the finish. North Korea

will go away if you stop thinking
about it. South Korea will, too. Stop thinking
about my sternum. Stop thinking about
the intricacy of my mitochondria. Thigh gaps
are the new wage gaps, and mine is like
the space between the redwood stand
and the plane headed for the mountains. Look,

I’ve pulled up a presentation
with seven different eschatologies
you might like to try. Forget that my arms
are the yellow tape around the heritage tree. Forget
about my exoskeleton. Forget
that the hermit crab
has no shell of its own. Forget that the crab ever
walked sideways into the room.
Pay attention, people.

Jo-Ella Sarich is a New Zealand-based lawyer and poet. Her poems have appeared in the Galway Review and the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017.

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear