Archive | December, 2010

Top 20 Albums of 2010

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Top 20 Albums of 2010

Posted on 20 December 2010 by Joe

We usually compile a top ten albums of the year list, but in recognition  of 2010 being one of the best years in recent memory for indie/alternative releases we’ve decided to double the size.

The year started well with ambitious albums by the likes of Field Music, Los Campesinos! and Owen Pallett and got better with stellar releases from the likes of The National, the welcome return of Belle and Sebastian and some surprises from the likes of Janelle Monae. Some familiar names return to our end of year countdown on a list that features some excellent new UK music. Sit back, get your emails to Santa ready and enjoy Neon Filler’s Top 20 Albums of 2010.

1. Field Music Measure

Measure, a double album no less, sees the band move on yet another level. There are aspects of the sweeping, mazy songs on their eponymous debut as well as the jerky, more structured pop of second album Tones of Town, but a whole lot more has been added. Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, even ELO, XTC, The Move and 10cc are thrown into the mix. This album came out at the beginning of the year but its breadth and ambition continues to astound as the year comes to an end.  Read our full review here.

2. The Miserable Rich – Of Flight and Fury

Of Flight and Fury is the second album from Brighton’s The Miserable Rich and it picks up from where their excellent debut left off. Part of Brighton’s Willkommen Collective they are the most compact and focused of the bunch. One of our top ten bands to watch out for in 2011, we are expecting big things from this band. Read our full review here.

3. Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern – Essex Arms

The album is the second part in a trilogy about Hayman’s native Essex and continues with a warts and all nostalgic look at working class England. Like its predecessor Pram Town (which topped our Top Ten Albums of 2009 list) Essex Arms is wonderfully evocative of a place and time, without descending into sneering or cloying sentiment. Surely Hayman has earned national treasure status by now.  Read our full review here.

Essex Arms

Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern - Essex Arms

4. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

Deerhunter have named their fourth album Halcyon Digest for good reason, as once again the US band serves up an unusual and effective mix of music that takes a range of influences from the golden years of rock n roll to the 1990s shoegazers. Halcyon Digest is lush, layered and timeless. Deerhunter’s most focused and accessible album yet. Read our full review here.

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

5. Janelle Monae

The debut album from former stage school kid and Outkast collaborator Janelle Monáe could well be the most eclectic album of the year so far. Mixing orchestral pieces, hip hop, soul, pop, psychedelic rock, folk and even a collaboration with Of Montreal into 18 tracks. It is ambitious and mesmerising as it effortless travels between genres. Read our full review here.

6. Belle and Sebastian – Write About Love

It’s been a long wait for such adoring fans, but the band are now firmly back after a four year hiatus touring and with a sparkly new album, Write About Love, a concept album of sorts about, well, love. So where does Write About Love sit in its catalogue?  For us its one of their best yet. Welcome back Belle and Sebastian. Read our full review here.

Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love

7. The Walkmen – Lisbon

With Lisbon US band The Walkmen have delivered a perfect follow up to their last album You and Me, which topped our Top Ten Albums list for 2008. Retaining You and Me’s stripped back, timeless production with nods to the 50s and 60s, Lisbon has plenty more goose bump moments and once again offers a perfect showcase for lead singer Hamilton Leithhauser’s stunning rock vocals and the band’s love of vintage instruments. Read our full review here.

8. Owen Pallett – Heartland

With the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara involved, Heartland is at times pure Brian Wilson  as it effortlessly takes in aspects of classical music, electronica, pop and indie-cool. Read our full review here.

Owen Pallett

9. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

As debuts go Astro Coast is already a modern indie classic. Full of  a marvellous mix of riffs, indie rock influences such as  Sonic Youth and Pavement, passionate singing and some neat tricks as well. It is all that is good about the best of modern US indie rock. Read our full review here.

10. The National  – High Violet

How can a band this good, this radio friendly, this professional not be bigger? Why is it that the likes of Muse, Radiohead and Coldplay play in front of multi-zillion seater stadiums and headline major festivals and not The National? After the release of High Violet The National are well on their way to similar success. Read our full review here.

11. Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago.

When the end of the world comes, as pollution lays waste to the Earth, Shearwater’s leader singer Jonathan Meiburg will be on a nuclear  ravaged tropical island somewhere screaming bloody murder in his haunting baritone at the corporations and politicians. This indie/folk/rock album is powerful stuff. Read our full review here.

12. Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson, who takes to the stage under the name Tallest Man On Earth, must be bored to tears with being compared with early Bob Dylan, especially when in many respects he is actually better than the great man at the same stage in his career. Read our full review here.

13. Broken Bells – Broken Bells

Opening track and lead single ‘The High Road’ kicks things off beautifully on this debut album from Shins frontman James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse and is a sign of the good things to come. By the time you’ve listened to ‘Vaporise’ and Mercer’s surprisingly good falsetto on ‘The Ghost Inside’ you know that the duo have produced something worthy of an end of year best of list. Read our full review here.

14. Beach House  – Teen Dream

The slicker production and attention to detail  on Teen Dream  compared to previous releases unsurprisingly coincides with a move to the label Sub Pop, which has a strong track record of getting the best out of its eclectic mix of artists ranging from The Fleet Foxes to Postal Service. Read our full review here.

15. Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring

Los Campesinos! are among the most divisive of bands. A bunch of shouty students, spouting immature teen angst to some, one of the most innovative British bands around for others. Their 2010 release Romance is Boring is a pretty good case for the latter’s cause. Read our full review here.

16. New Pornographers – Together

When we first heard the song ‘Your Hands (Together)’, from the fifth album by The New Pornographers, we were disappointed. So much so that we avoided the album and didn’t review it on this site. But after hearing another track from the album, the brilliant ‘Crash Years’ (one of our songs of the year) we realised we were missing out. Building on the more subtle styles of 2007’s Challengers with a return to the more bombastic power chords of their earlier albums this is classic pop music at its best.

The New Pornographers - Together

17. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

After the first 30 seconds of opening track ‘Like The Ocean Like The Innocent’ we were sceptical. We’ve heard enough meandering drone rock to last a lifetime, but nine minutes later at the end of the track we were converted. This is music with genuine substance and power. Read our full review here.

18. Allo Darlin’

Allo Darlin’s self titled debut is a near perfect slice of British “twee” pop played by associates of Amelia Fletcher and Darren Hayman. Melodic, sweet and sensitive it has possible singles from start to finish. The more jaded listener might find songs like ‘Heartbeat Chili’ a little hard to stomach, but if you keep your mind open there is much to love here. One of the discoveries of 2010, and very much a band to watch in 2011.

Allo Darlin

19. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse – Dark Night of the Soul

Second appearance for Danger Mouse in our top 20, this time his long awaited collaboration with the late Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse. Unreleased for some time due to contractual wrangles it was originally intended to accompany a book of visuals by David Lynch. The book was published, but the album itself was shelved and emerged some months later during 2010. It features contributions from a number of singers and musicians including the Flaming lips, Suzanne Vega, Iggy Pop, can be a difficult listen in places but as you would expect from Linkous and Danger Mouse, stunning in others. Read our full review here.

20. Fang Island  – Fang Island

Imagine if you will Bill and Ted’s band Wyld Stallyons, but better, speeded up and backed by members of Primus, Faith No More and The Descendents. It’s a heady mix of humour, power chords and squealing solos that Fang Island pull off with aplomb. Read our full review here.

To hear more by the bands above (and some other great acts from the year) listen to our best of 2010 Spotify playlist.

See Also – Top Ten Albums of 2008, Top Ten Albums of 2009

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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Maximalism!: Concorde 2, Brighton, 15 Dec 2010

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Maximalism!: Concorde 2, Brighton, 15 Dec 2010

Posted on 17 December 2010 by Dorian

Maximalism! is the brain child of Thomas White, singer/guitarist/drummer/keyboard player with Electric Soft Parade, Brakes, The Pure Conjecture and a solo act as well. Despite being one of the busiest people in music he found the time to organise this fundraiser for the Martlets Hospice at the Concorde 2 in Brighton.

First up was The Pure Conjecture, an 11 piece band featuring members of Electric Soft Parade and British Sea Power and fronted by Matt Eaton from Actress Hands. The band play a weird form of soul music, somewhere between Dexy’s Midnight Runners mark 1 and the E-Street Band if they had come from Newhaven rather than New Jersey. They sound pretty good and it is a very enjoyable set. Eaton isn’t the most natural of front men, but he pulls this off pretty well.

The Pure Conjecture

The Pure Conjecture

Up second, somewhat earlier than expected, is the brilliant Field Music, the band who released Neon Filler’s top album of 2010. Playing as a five piece, with the addition of a dedicated drummer, they rip through a short but pitch perfect set of songs largely drawn from their Measure album. Freed up from drum duties (although a second smaller set of drums gets used intermittently by the Brewis brothers) we get the addition of an acoustic guitar on some of the songs. this adds some additional texture to the songs and they sound great. There really isn’t a less than excellent song in the set, but special mention should go to ‘The Rest Is Noise’, a great performance of one of the songs of the year.

Field Music

Field Music

I never paid a lot of attention to Electric Soft Parade one they first arrived on the scene, close to a decade ago. On the strength of tonight’s performance I’ve been missing out. They play a confident and and upbeat set of quality pop music and really seem to enjoy playing as Electric Soft Parade after a bit of a hiatus. Their one hit ‘Silent to the Dark’ sounds great and a partisan crowd gives them an enthusiastic homecoming. They are joined on stage by Guy from The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster (who had to pull out of playing the event) for the final few songs and it is a very entertaining set.

British Sea Power

British Sea Power

British Sea Power prove to be a bit of a conundrum tonight and play a not entirely successful set. The good songs are great, ‘Waving Flags’ is one of the best songs of the last few years, but the weaker songs sound pretty weak tonight and it is C- set at best. It seems churlish to criticise though as all the bands have given their time up for free to support the charity and by that point in the evening I was starting to tire and might not have been giving the band my full attention.

Weariness meant I didn’t stay to see The Chap (although others have given them good reports) and the DJ sets that went on till 2am. I’d had a great night of music though and it was well worth the ticket price even without the charity contribution.

Good bands, a great atmosphere and a charitable cause it has to get a 10/10.

By Dorian Rogers

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David Lowery and Johnny Hickman: The Albert, Brighton, 12 Dec 2010

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David Lowery and Johnny Hickman: The Albert, Brighton, 12 Dec 2010

Posted on 17 December 2010 by Dorian

Camper Van Beethoven have long been one of my favourite bands (see my Bands Who Changed Our Lives feature), and Cracker are another staple on my MP3 player so the chance to see singer and songwriter David Lowery in a low key pub setting was pretty special. Accompanied by his Cracker sidekick, guitarist Johnny Hickman, Lowery played an excellent set of favourite songs by both of his bands.

David Lowery and Johnny Hickman

David Lowery and Johnny Hickman

The gig was an afternoon affair, which is unusual but made a refreshing change, and the pub room was a very different environment from the concert hall where I first saw Camper Van Beethoven play. Lowery and Hickman were warm, friendly hosts and funny stories broke up the songs through the afternoon. An accident falling out of the car on route to the gig had left Lowery with an injured hand, and some songs were left out of the set (if bar chords were required). With such a large amount of songs to pick from the back catalogue this didn’t prove to be a problem.

The set was Cracker heavy with songs from their recent albums sounding great in the duo format, and early “hits” ‘Low’ and ‘Teen Angst’ having the warm familiarity of a well loved old friend. Only the lack of (my personal favourite) ‘Big Dipper’ disappointed. The set also featured a song from Lowery’s solo album due for release next year.

The Camper Van Beethoven songs were a real treat and a real favourites selection. ‘Good Guys and Bad Guys’, ‘All Her Favourite Fruit’ and ‘Take The Skinheads Bowling’ showed the amazing depth of Lowery’s songwriting through his career. The highlight for me was a beautiful rendition of ‘Sweethearts’ a clever, subtle and timeless tune that may well be Lowery’s crowning achievement.

David Lowery

David Lowery

Johnny Hickman is a fantastic guitarist, possibly the best I’ve had the pleasure to see play live. Even in the subdued afternoon pub setting his solos and tricks worked wonderfully. His skill is such that when he played the Camper Van Beethoven songs it was like he had been playing them since the beginning.

Lowery and Hickman are very different figures and it was pointed out to me how everything about Hickman is clean and neat (voice, clothes, hair, guitar playing) and everything about Lowery is slightly ragged. It is this combination that makes their music so magical and unique. A really fantastic afternoon of music with two unheralded heroes of the business.

9/10

Words by Dorian Rogers, pictures by Nic Newman

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Belle and Sebastian: Colston Hall, Bristol, 16 Dec 2010

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Belle and Sebastian: Colston Hall, Bristol, 16 Dec 2010

Posted on 17 December 2010 by Joe

Belle and Sebastian’s gig in Bristol last night came at a busy time for the band, in the middle of a world tour and sandwiched between their own curated ATP Festival at Minehead last weekend and a streamed ‘holiday spectacular’ gig in their native Glasgow next week.

There’s a lot on their mind but  last night the focus was entirely on providing a two hour showcase of the best of “the Belle and Sebastian songbook,” as frontman Stuart Murdoch refers to it.

I’d last seen Belle and Sebastian seven years ago during the Dear Catastrophe Waitress tour and it was the tracks from that album that really stood out.

‘Piazza New York Catcher’ was the one that gets a fine cheer from those that found the band through the Juno soundtrack and live ‘Step Into My Office Baby’ gets a new lease of life. Free from Trevor Horn’s slightly soulless production it is spectacular live. Even ‘Lord Anthony’, a track about transvestism that I have in the past too readily skipped was transformed live into a piece of performance art. Murdoch invited a women in the crowd onto stage to apply mascara at the required moment in the song. As she kept trying to apply it too soon Murdoch coyly ducked and weaved around stage, relenting in the end.

Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love

The Belle and Sebastian charm is that they write stories within songs, looking at life in a skewed way, about the strays of the world, a woman on the bus, the bullied, the scared and the love sick. It seemed more than appropriate that they had invited comedian Daniel Kitson to read his short story about unrequited love backed by the Billy Bragg-esque talents of singer songwriter Gavin Osborn as support act.

But remember these are just characters and the band themselves are far sillier. Banter between themselves, in particular Murdoch and guitarist Steve Jackson, as well as the crowd is now a vital part of their show. Jackson performed a fine impersonation of Elvis Costello covering ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ and there was  genuine joy from the band when towards the end a member of the audience shouted out “please don’t go.”

After such an exchange Murdoch said, “right, back into character” and another melancholy story began.

Among other highlights in a long , warm and friendly set were classics like ‘Stars of Track and Field’ and ‘Boy with the Arab Strap’ as well as a sprinkling of new tracks from latest album Write About Love. This is the difference between Belle and Sebastian and far too many other bands that have been together for 15 plus years – they can do a greatest hits set but have some good new stuff to include in that as well.

An encore including ‘Me and the Major’ and ‘Judy and the Dream of Horses’ backed by a group of dancing girls selected from the crowd ended proceedings during a gig where Murdoch was happy to take requests from the “youngsters at the front and people my age at the back,” although calls for ‘Fox in the Snow’, were politely refused. “We’ve got to head back to Glasgow tonight,” said Murdoch mindful of the snow storms forecast for the night, “and I’m too superstitious.”

9.5/10

by Joe Lepper

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Field Music Take Year Off Touring To Focus on Recording

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Field Music Take Year Off Touring To Focus on Recording

Posted on 16 December 2010 by Joe

Field Music are to take a year’s break from touring to concentrate on recording in their new studio, which are they are near to completing.

The band, whose album Measure topped our Top 20 Albums of 2010 list and is fronted by brothers Peter and David Brewis, have revealed that 2011 will be a quiet year while they focus on recording in the new studio being built in their native Sunderland.

Speaking at the Maximalism charity gig  in Brighton, UK, this week, the brothers told Neon Filler that the studio should be ready in the new year and confirmed that they will be taking a break from touring to spend time recording.

In an interview with the Newcastle Chronicle last week Peter had already revealed the band’s plans for 2011. He told the paper: “We’re going to be concentrating on building a recording studio in Sunderland, so I can’t see us doing another gig for at least a year.”

This is the second break the band have taken. They took a break after the release of Tones Of Town to focus on solo projects.

The Maximalism gig as well as an appearance at Belle and Sebastian’s All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival on December 11 were among their last for some time.

Field Music

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Top Ten Songs About Parenthood

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Top Ten Songs About Parenthood

Posted on 14 December 2010 by Joe

As rock stars get older the angst fades and they often look towards home  and their  kids for inspiration. While for some it is the sheer joy of parenthood that is  inspiring, for others being a parent carries some serious emotional baggage that needs airing. We’ve got some tracks by some great folk artists, angry punks, the chameleon in chief of modern music and XTC – practically our house band at Neon Filler. Sit back, pull up a fairy cake and enjoy Neon Filler’s Top Ten Songs About Being A Parent.

1. Animal Collective – My Girls

We’ve gone for one of the most recent songs about parenting for our number one slot. Here Animal Collective’s Panda Bear sings about the most basic of parenting emotions of  providing a safe and loving home for his family.

The My Girls in question are wife Fernanda Pereira and daughter Nadja. “I just want four walls and adobe slats (red roofing tiles in Portugal where he lives) for my girls,” he sings. Panda Bear’s girls have since been joined by a son, who was born in June 2010, who now also enjoys the family’s four walls and tiles.

My Girls features on Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009) read our review here.

2. XTC – Holly Up on Poppy

As our Top Ten Bands that Changed our Lives feature explains XTC are the kind of band you can grow up with. From their teenage roots as new wavers in Swindon to becoming family men XTC’s chief song writers Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding always come up trumps when singing about the every day important issues of life. Parenting is a theme that crops up in many of their songs but Partridge’s song about his daughter Holly riding on her rocking horse perfectly sums up the joy a parent has watching their child play.

Quoted on the excellent Chalkhills XTC web site Partridge explains that the song’s beauty is its simplicity. “Originally the song was titled ‘Holly High on Poppy’ but people thought it was about drugs. Even now someone’s said it’s about dying of cancer and taking drugs to ease the pain. But it’s really about my daughter and her rocking horse.”

Holly Up On Poppy features on Nonsuch (1990)

3. Squeeze – Up the Junction

Up the Junction is a classic for so many reasons. It’s a weepie about a foolish alcoholic man looking back at his regrets. It’s a rare hit that has no chorus. But for me it is the few lines about the protagonist’s joy of becoming a parent that make this a classic about parenthood. “This morning at 4:50 I took her rather nifty, Down to an incubator, Where thirty minutes later, She gave birth to a daughter, Within a year a walker. She looked just like her mother, if there could be another.” Wonderful stuff.

Up The Junction features on Cool For Cats (1979)

4. Ben Folds – Gracie

Ben Folds has written for both his son and daughter but it is this tribute to his daughter Gracie that really caught our attention. Folds perfectly captures the special bond between parent and child, as he sings that “you will always have a part of me nobody else is ever going to see.”

The innocence of being a kid is also wonderfully summed up, with Folds showing genuine emotion describing the everyday events of a child’s life as he sings to Gracie, “with your cards to your chest walking on your toes, What you got in the box only Gracie knows.” Ahhh.

Gracie features on Songs For Silverman (2005)

5. David Bowie – Kooks

Kooks is a great tribute to a newborn. Written just after his son Zowie Bowie was born it shows Bowie imagining life as a parent, hoping he does a good job. Among the many splendid lines is this beauty about his son’s school life to come. “Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads, Cause I’m not much cop at punching other people’s Dads. And if the homework brings you down, Then we’ll throw it on the fire,And take the car downtown.”

This shows a wonderful warmth that was sadly not replicated in Bowie’s odd choice of name for his son. With a name like that there’s no need to pick a fight with a cad, they’ll come flocking. Thankfully Zowie is now Duncan Jones and a fine director to boot.

Kooks features on Hunky Dory (1971)

6. Guided By Voices – My Son Cool.

Having a cool dad is par for the course being a rock star’s son or daughter and they don’t come much cooler than Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard. An indie music stalwart, prolific song writer, influencer of many and a former college sports star as well. Pollard is cool as you get. It is with a certain knowing air that he shuns his own coolness and says to his son Bryan, no, it is you that is cool. Now off you go son and do you own thing.

As Pollard said in 2005 about parenthood. “I’ve at least allowed my children to pursue their own interests without too much interference, and I think they both turned out pretty good.” A proud dad indeed.

My Son Cool features on Alien Lanes (1995)

7. John Martyn – My Baby Girl

Sometimes songs need little explanation; the lyrics and title say it all. That’s the case here with My Baby Girl, written by the late John Martyn in the mid 1970s. Its sugary, its syrupy and there’s nothing wrong with that. This line in particular shows how much Martyn and his daughter need and inspire each other. “Daddy will you sing for me, Daddy try to swing for me, Daddy play your strings for me, Daddy don’t you cry for me, Daddy will you fly for me, Daddy will you try for me.”

My Baby Girl features on  Sunday’s Child (1975)

8. Joni Mitchell – Little Green.

Mitchell gave her daughter up for adoption in 1965, explaining some years later that , “I was dirt poor. An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child. It was difficult parting with the child, but I had to let her go.” Writing about this tragic part of her life is no mean feat, but in 1967 after a number of rejigs she finally managed to deliver Little Green, about the toddler she never knew. While Little Green is one of the saddest tracks on our list, the real life story has a happy ending of sorts, with Mitchell being reunited with her daughter Kilauren Gibb in 1997.

Little Green features on Blue (1971)

9. Wilco and Billy Bragg – Hoodoo Voodoo

Being a kid is silly, being a parent can be silly. Sometimes there are big issues to sing about, but sometimes as on this Woody Guthrie track re-imagined by Wilco and Billy Bragg, there is a lot of fun to be had. Here Guthrie’s odd nonsense rhyme for his kids is given the music it deserves. How can you not like a song with the lyrics “Hoodoo voodoo, Chooka chooky choochoo; True blue, how true; Kissle me now.”

Hoodoo Voodoo features on Mermaid Avenue Vol 1. (1998)

10. Hamell on Trial – Inquiring Minds

I’d never heard of Ed Hamell until I put out a request on Facebook for ideas for songs about parenting. Turns out I’ve been missing out on not only one of the best songwriters around but one of the best songwriters about being parent. Hamell sings whole albums about being a parent. It is this excellent track Inquiring Minds that was recommended to us, where Hamell expertly bluffs his way through some of the embarrassing questions more investigative kids might pose.

Inquiring Minds features on Parents Who Enjoy Drugs (2006)

compiled by Joe Lepper (with help from Neon Filler’s  friends on Facebook and inspired by his sons Dylan and Charlie)

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Jim Morrison Pardoned For Indecent  Exposure Conviction

Jim Morrison Pardoned For Indecent Exposure Conviction

Posted on 10 December 2010 by Joe

Jim Morrison has been  posthumously pardoned for his conviction in 1969 in Florida for lewd behaviour and indecent exposure.

The state’s governor Charlie Crist has secured enough votes from members of Florida’s Board of Executive Clemency to approve the pardon. The process started three years ago following a campaign by fans.

He was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $500 for his behaviour at the concert in Miami. But those close to the singer say that the conviction was an injustice and the verdict should be overturned rather than lead to a pardon.

A statement on Crist’s website reads: ” Governor Charlie Crist today during a meeting of the Florida Board of Executive Clemency requested a pardon for James Douglas “Jim” Morrison. The pardon was approved unanimously by the clemency board, which consists of the Governor and the Florida Cabinet. Governor Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson all voted for the measure.”

In his speech to the board Crist added: “Much controversy surrounds this conviction, and not only because many witnesses testified they did not see Mr. Morrison expose himself.

“Controversy also exists because Mr. Morrison was not arrested until four days after the concert. A case was brought against him only after newspaper articles recounted the alleged events at the concert, based on a complaint filed by an employee of the state attorney’s office who attended the concert.”

But Morrison’s widow Patricia is reported by UK newspaper Metro, as saying the pardon is a cheap political act and keyboard player RayManzarek is among those to maintain that Morrison never exposed himself at the gig.

Instead Morrison was attempting “mass hypnosis” on the crowd. “He was just doing a mind trip,” the Metro reports Manzarek as saying.

When Morrison died in 1971 he was in the process of appealing the case. Crist added: “If his appeal had been heard, a reviewing court could have resolved the controversies surrounding his conviction.”

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Kathryn Calder – Castor and Pollux

Posted on 08 December 2010 by Dorian

Any excuse for a song by the wonderful Kathryn Calder. This video made for her by Evan Tyler.

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Liam Gallagher’s New Band Reveals Debut Album Details

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Liam Gallagher’s New Band Reveals Debut Album Details

Posted on 08 December 2010 by Joe

Liam Gallagher’s new band Beady Eye has revealed details of their debut album, which is due to be released ion Feb 28, 2011.

The band, which consists of all Oasis members at the time of their acrimonious split except for Noel Gallagher, have called their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding.

Here’s a track listing and a picture of the album cover.

  1. Four Letter Word
  2. Millionaire
  3. The Roller
  4. Beatles And Stones
  5. Wind Up Dream
  6. Bring The Light
  7. For Anyone
  8. Kill For A Dream
  9. Standing On The Edge Of The Noise
  10. Wigwam
  11. Three Ring Circus
  12. The Beat Goes On
  13. The Morning Son
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The Miserable Rich – Covers EP

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The Miserable Rich – Covers EP

Posted on 06 December 2010 by Joe

We love good cover versions and adore Brighton band The Miserable Rich, who we recently touted as a One to Watch in 2011. So when we heard that their covers EP was getting a welcome European release this month we slapped our wrists for missing last year’s UK release and decided to belatedly delve in and see what they made of some well known ’80s tracks by among others The Stranglers and  The Eurythmics.

The Stranglers’ ‘Golden Brown’ kicks off the four track EP and the band’s string section take to it well, creating something that retains its oddball new wave charm and makes it sound somehow more Eastern European.

It’s next track ‘Gigantic’, originally by The Pixies that really grabbed me though. The trick to a good cover is make it your own and respect the original. With ‘Gigantic’ retaining Kim Deal and co’s goosebump inducing moments is key. I’ve seen grown men weep at a Pixies performance of Gigantic in the early 1990s and believe The Miserable Rich can easily do the same with their take, as lead singer James de Malplaquet’s stunning vocals grab at your heartstrings and pluck them for dear life. Remarkable stuff.

Third track ‘Shades’ is less effective for me. Mainly because I’m less familiar by this Iggy Pop number. Final track ‘Sweet Dreams’ really impresses though. It’s a tricky song to cover as it is remarkably simple musically. Apart from the austere early 80s bleakness of The Eurythmics original there’s little to play with outside of its simple synth riff. The Miserable Rich are hard workers though and find nuances in the melody that the original didn’t know it had. They also take that 80s bleakness and make it warmer through their use of more traditional instruments. They actually make it a better song – the Holy Grail of the cover version and a feat that very few can manage.

For more excellent cover versions visit our Top Ten Cover Versions feature here.  For some less good ones visit our  Top Ten Terrible Cover Versions feature here.

8/10

by Joe Lepper

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