All well on the music front, and here we go with my second column. I took the chance to go on holiday a couple of week's ago, and Barcelona was the destination. Staying in a nice little youth hostel just off the main touristy street (it's called La Ramblas) I was right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the dynamic city. If you ever go (maybe you've been), check out a little street off the right hand side of La Ramblas while walking from the Placa Catalonyua.

Here I found five or six record shops practically next to each other. The first one was a heavy metal shop, with black walls and tonnes of posters on the walls. I bought an AC/DC album
(well, you've got to haven't you?) and moved on to the second one. A bit more on the general alternative side of things, I was shocked to see the number of British acts CD's on sale. There was the Hefner back catalogue (apparently they do alright in Spain), Super Furry Animals, and almost every other band you could think of. Now I know that in the USA CD's are much
cheaper than in the UK, but in Spain? I didn't have a clue, and chucked my pesetas on the counter hoping it was a reasonable price. Turned out it wasn't, but that's holidays for you. Another shop was all minimalistic and metallic; had to be a dance shop then. Next to names I'd never heard before there was the excellent Warp stuff and some well-known big-beat names, plus tonnes of hip-hop. Basically, a music lover's dream. I got very excited when I saw big posters up for forthcoming Barcelona gigs by the Manics and the Donnas, but it turned out that the only band playing while I was there was Fear Factory. Stayed in the pub instead. In a newsagents I bought a magazine called Rock Deluxe with Nick Cave  on the cover (check out his excellent No More Shall We Part album), and even though it was in Spanish (which I don't
speak unfortunately) it was one of the best music magazines I've seen. Clear, nice design with articles about hundreds of bands (including a huge amount of British and leftfield American stuff) it really is impressive. But the biggest, nicest surprise, was a free CD on the cover with around 20 Wichita, Shifty Disco and Clearspot tunes on it, including Elf Power, Jack Drag and Brave Captain.

Which brings us on to Amsterdam, where I actually went to see Brave Captain mid-European tour. Playing in the Paradiso, about five minutes from the central of Amsterdam, it was an early gig starting at 6pm. Welsh/Devon band Derrero (www.bignoise.co.uk) played first, combining some oldies with really great new songs, and headliner Brave Captain was just superb. If you don't know about Brave Captain, it's Martin Carr, formerly from the Boo Radleys new project. With two superb albums already out on the excellent Wichita label (www.wichita-recordings.com), Fingertip Saint Sessions Volume 1 and 2, he has a wealth of songs to pick from when he plays live, with Derrero playing as his band. New song The Sound of Wichita sounds great, as does his forthcoming Boobytrap single, Corporation Man, an anti-corporation concept single. Sounds weird I know, but really, it is great. (www.boobynet.co.uk for more info). Amsterdam is a great place without a doubt, even though the touristy areas are a bit of a nightmare at times. It just goes to show I suppose, wherever you go in the world, you're guaranteed to find some sort of great music waiting to get in your head.

till next time,
Huw
 



Huw Stephens

You can also hear the Session in Wales every Thursday between 8 and 10pm on 97-99 FM
Radio 1.

Also Check out: