Archive | May, 2014

Free Swim – Well Done Everyone

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Free Swim – Well Done Everyone

Posted on 30 May 2014 by Dorian

I had worried that Free Swim would cease to be an active recording act. When Paul Coltofeanu (for Free Swim is him) left these shores, ending up in Prague, I was unsure what would become of his musical aliases. So it is with great relief, and no little pleasure, that I’m able to review the latest Free Swim EP.

Free Swim Well Done Everyone

I wouldn’t say that this EP was a return to form, the previous release was excellent, but it is a return to full-on Free Swimminess. She Dreams In Lights was a dreamy psych-pop affair that sat closer to Coltofeanu‘s other identity, The Android Angel, in terms of sound. Well Done Everyone sounds like a direct follow-up to the previous EP Dennis!, and is the perfect addition to the Free Swim catalogue.

The story is about a man who stops going out in order to save the money he needs to emigrate. During this time he immerses himeself in US TV shows, cultivates a deep respect for the actor Ian McShane and falls in love with countless female lead characters along the way.

How this story is served upo to the listener is five full-throttle guitar pop tunes. The sound of which will be imnstantly familiar to any Free Swim fan, and it is a sound that couldn’t be mistaken for any other band.

Each song is pretty great, and tells a chapter of the story sumamrised above. ‘Meal for One’ must be the only song on record that references Ian McShane in so much detail, and even includes a short biography.

‘Roaring Loudly Whilst Driving On A Good Stretch of Road’ is the best named track on the EP and certainly features the best musicianship, including a proper rock guitar solo. I don’t know how much radio play Free Swim will get gthis time around, but 6 Music really needs to get this one on their playlist.

The EP ends with ‘Fine Women’, essentially a list of women’s names (plus a few random men, Andi Peters for example) read to a typical guitar pop backing. Oddly it manages to be one of the most enjoyable songs on the EP and has much more repeat listen appeal than you’d expect. It is educational as well, if you consider finding out that Caroline Quentin is from Reigate counts as an education.

It is a real pleasure to have Free Swim back, and I hope that we’ll get the opportunity to see them play in the UK some time soon. Well done everyone indeed.

9/10

By Dorian Rogers

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The Flaming Lips and Young Knives – Rock City, Nottingham (May 29, 2014)

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The Flaming Lips and Young Knives – Rock City, Nottingham (May 29, 2014)

Posted on 30 May 2014 by Joe

Do you realize…that The Flaming Lips are the greatest live band this side of the lesser Magellenic cloud and that The Young Knives are the best support band since Pink Floyd supported George Formby at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1754. It’s true I tell you, I have the migraine to prove it.

Goddammit, pre-gig I was messing about on the internet and found the date for The Flaming Lips first Rock City appearance, it was 1995, that was mad crazy, tonight was positively deranged (I should know, I was there in 95 as well).

Young Knives

Young Knives

I will leave you in suspense whilst I digress and write about Young Knives, a trio from the wilds of Leicestershire. I don’t know if they’ve been ingesting copious amounts of genetically modified crops but something’s been making them decidedly unhinged.

They’re a perfect foil for the Lips, they have their own bargain bin psychedelic stage show to accompany their fiery and at times really vicious set, playing  material predominantly from Sick Octave, a Neonfiller Top 20 Album of 2013. They wrestle the songs to the ground, help them up and then kick ‘em back down again.

Frontman Henry Dartnell in particular is a focal point, summoning up the spirits of Joe Strummer, The Gang of four and even elements of free jazz and an early Mothers of Invention cacophony. To his left, dressed in Guantanamo orange boiler suit and paper mache Frank Sidebottom type head, is his brother Thomas, who lays down some dirty bass and keyboards. On Barbi-sized drum kit, Oliver Askew holds it all together (well almost). Their set is a head brew of chaotic, psychotic punk rock with just a hint of an invasive melodic chorus. They went down really well with everyone, apart from the miserable tall teenager with his immobile father in front of me. Losers.

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

That was the two veg and now here is the meat, literally as The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne saunters on in a muscle onesie, looking from a distance like a bearded Greek god with his skin flayed off, he wraps himself in 500 miles of tinsel and is greeted like Jesus at teatime. The love, you could feel the love, it was a night of love, the band assemble around him and prepare for take off.

There was a bloke dressed as a gorilla standing next to me and a man with a giant mushroom on his head nearby as a ticker tape snowstorm started the dry ice enveloped the stage and strobes strafed the crowd. It was like The Blitz on acid.

Festivities begin with a blast from the past, ‘The abandoned hospital ship’ from Clouds Taste Metallic then the place went ballistic as ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ is turned into a huge singalong…as is Yoshimi, then we got some mind meltingly crunchy instrumental workouts, ‘In the Morning of the Magicians’ and ‘Watching the Planets. ‘

‘Feeling Yourself Disintegrate’ was prefaced by Coyne telling us it’s a sad song, but don’t get upset, just feel the love. It was incredible and the mood lifted 47 notches skyward for the anthemic ‘Race for the Prize’, from Soft Bulletin.

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

‘Look the Sun is Rising’, ‘The Wand’ and ‘Try to Explain’ were one part emotionally draining, nine parts falling into a black hole at the speed of light with your arse on fire, oh my God !… it’s full of love to paraphrase someone in 2001 a space odyssey.

During the rendition of ‘Waiting for Superman’ Coyne fought back tears, he knows the power of this music, he knows how much we love him, its almost tangible.

The encore ? Well it had to be their signature tune ‘Do you Realize’. It sums everything up about this band, it’s a simple song with the most poignant and let’s face it depressing lyric dressed up in a pretty skirt and shoes. But it resonates, it speaks of frailty and finality and it never fails to make me cry and go apeshit. I’m sorry but i can’t remain objective, this band mean the world to me, I lost my best friend Steve last year, he was a huge Flaming Lips fan, when Coyne sang….

‘And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round’

….. i thought of my friend and was reduced to a puddle on the floor.

They love doing cover versions, I’ve heard them do Pink Floyd ‘See Emily Play’, and ‘Breathe’ and  ‘War Pigs by Black Sabbath but you will not believe what they ended on, only Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles, ten minutes of absolute heart rending majestic freakoutness.

Rock City has witnessed some amazing moments down the years, this took the biscuit, the tin the pantry, the kitchen, the sink, a more joyous extravagant over the top total sensory overload i have never experienced.

Bang! It’s all over, the lights come on the place looks like a pyschedelic rubbish heap, complete strangers hug and exchange e-mail addresses, people look stunned or stare wildly at the now empty stage, I look round for my brain, can’t find it and leave it behind. The transcendent power of music, some of you won’t understand, hopefully some of you do, I miss you like fuck Steve.

Set list

The Abandoned Hospital Ship

She Don’t Use Jelly

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1

In the Morning of the Magicians

Watching the Planets

Feeling Yourself Disintegrate

Race for the Prize

Look…The Sun Is Rising

The W.A.N.D.

Try to Explain

Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast

Silver Trembling Hands

Waitin’ for a Superman

A Spoonful Weighs a Ton

Encore:

Do You Realize??

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

By John Haylock

 

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Graham Parker & The Rumour, Glenn Tilbrook – Rock City, Nottingham (May 28, 2014)

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Graham Parker & The Rumour, Glenn Tilbrook – Rock City, Nottingham (May 28, 2014)

Posted on 30 May 2014 by John Haylock

It’s a grim wet Wednesday in Nottingham. People hurry between pubs with out of control umbrellas, girls meet boys in shop doorways, trams crawl along like luminous centipedes and at the imposing and prestigious Theatre Royal, there is a performance of Sister Act by the bleedin’ Carlton Operatic Society. Fortunately for us just across the road on this overcast sullen evening a little bit of pop sunshine broke through the clouds of mediocrity and neon lit drizzle.

Not one but two, veritable legends of songwriting, both from the school of late seventies new wave post punk, both erudite and passionate performers with back catalogues to die for.

Glenn Tilbrook

Glenn Tilbrook

Up first is Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook, he takes to the stage, slightly out of breath, he explains he didn’t realize it was an early show! He should have been on at seven but was fifteen minutes late, anyway armed initially with his acoustic guitar he took us on a brief whirlwind romance, opening with ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ featuring some very dextrous guitar work, and the evergreen ‘Up The Junction’, onto the deeply personal ‘Persephone’ a song he wrote with his sidekicks The Fluffers.

Then with minimal fuss  he picks up his black stratocaster and gives us a short sharp slap of ‘Still’, proving yet again what a great guitar technique he has, finally playing out with a bouyant ‘Slap and Tickle’, which is so fantastic it would even put a smile on a depressed Lib Dem who’s just lost his seat.

Graham Parker

Graham Parker

The place suddenly becomes full of people, a very small, well-dressed Graham Parker takes to the stage, (I think he’s shrunk since 1977) complete with the tightest funkiest band you ever heard, namely Brinsley Schwarz on guitar, Bob Andrews keys, the huge towering figure that is Martin Belmont on second guitar, Andrew Bodnar on bass and Stephen Goulding, drums.

They race through a huge set of his classic tunes, at times you thought they might spontaneously combust, such is the ferocity of their playing. Parker possesses one of the greatest white soul voices this land has ever produced. He sang his heart out on ‘White Honey’, a blistering ‘Coat Hangers’ from the new album, but then going back to his roots with ‘Hotel Chambermaid’, ‘Howlin’ Wind’ and ‘Discovering Japan’.

Parker  even previewed a brand new number, ‘Wall of Grace,’ which he announced was being ‘played for the very first time in Nottingham!’ It was a stonker ! Icounted 22 numbers in total andhe finished in triumph with ‘Hey Lord, Don’t ask me questions’ and ‘Soul Shoes’. Beat that Carlton Operatic Society!

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes

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The War on Drugs – Koko, London (May 27, 2014)

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The War on Drugs – Koko, London (May 27, 2014)

Posted on 29 May 2014 by Patricia Turk

Alex Turner caused quite a bit of controversy earlier this year with his cocky comments at the Brits about ‘that rock’n’roll, eh?’ ‘It just won’t go away’, he said.

And much maligned he was too at the time, but his point, I think, was that the appeal of the proper guitar band never really dies. It just simmers away, perhaps a bit apart from what’s popular or what’s trending, to sneak up on you when you’re at the point of despair for the state of mainstream music and remind you, again, that sometimes that it’s nice to deviate from the synthy, bleepy and achingly quirky electronica, or sincere, worthy and heartfelt folkishness, to instead to just properly give over to a band that is unashamedly rock’n’roll.

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This is how I feel about The War on Drugs. And Tuesday night’s gig at Koko in Camden was a joy because it did just that – six guys on stage playing without pretence or preening, led by long-haired leading man Adam Granduciel, who looks and sounds just how a rock’n’roll man should.

TWOD have been steadily gaining traction since the release of their 2011 album, Slave Ambient, which caught the critics’ collective eye. It was also the band’s last collaboration with Kurt Vile, who has since departed to pursue his new band Kurt Vile and the Violators, leaving Granduciel at the helm. His steady hands have steered the Philadelphia-based band towards a magnificent third album in Lost in the Dream, which I’ve read took two years to make, owing to Granduciel’s painstaking efforts to get it right.

It was worth the wait – Lost in the Dream is a lush, rollicking album, fast becoming one of my favourites of the year, and nothing was lost live. They straddle something somewhere between Dylan and Springsteen (the inevitable and enduring comparisons), but with a psychedelic twist. They invoke Kerouac-like visions of freewheeling US of A, all blue jeans and denim jackets, car window rolled down, hair streaming.

Last night they played stellar tracks from Slave Ambient – ‘I was there’, ‘Your love is calling my name’ and the awesome ‘Baby Missiles’ (which never fails to fill me with something close to elation) among others, all punctuated with their trademark ‘Woo!’ – always repeated by an enthusiastic audience that was always just a touch too late.

There was loads from Lost in the Dream as well, including ‘Under the Pressure’, the awesome ‘Red Eyes’ (Woo!) and the title track, too. There was some proper emotion in ‘Eyes to the Wind’, and quieter moments too, such as ‘Suffering’ which sounds deeply personal and was a chance for Granduciel to spend some quality time with his guitar. The yearning, nostalgic feels permeates throughout.

My only criticism – the gig was a bit long. They played for a solid two hours, stretching out intervals between songs with long-lingering feedback interludes, which are part of what makes Lost in the Dream great, but perhaps dragged a bit last night, most notably because I found myself starting to look about the room. So it could’ve been tighter, pacier.

But that’s the worst I can say. A three-song encore included a cover of John Lennon’s Mind Games, which was totally brilliant. I’ll be seeing them again at Green Man festival in August, and I already can’t wait. And it’s safe to say that Lost in the Dream will remain on repeat in my headphones for a while longer yet.

by Patricia Turk

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Mutual Benefit – Union Chapel, London (May 23, 2014)

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Mutual Benefit – Union Chapel, London (May 23, 2014)

Posted on 28 May 2014 by Patricia Turk

Mutual Benefit first came to my notice when I heard single Advanced Falconry on the radio early this year. It was one of those down-your-tools, headphones moments – it stopped me in my tracks and commanded my attention. It also got me on to listening to their LP of last year, Love’s Crushing Diamond, which is a real beauty, ideal for rainy afternoons, or post-break-up lovelorn lamentation.

And then there was the chance to see all this beauty and feeling played out live at the Union Chapel. It was my first visit to the much-loved north London venue, which providing a suitably stunning setting. If you’ve never paid a visit to Union Chapel, do yourself a favour and book something soon. The fully operational church makes the most of its manifold assets, all stained glass and dark-wood panelling, by hosting many live music acts, and it is a real treat. You can even get a nice cup of tea in a proper mug to enjoy during the performance (and I did – times have changed).

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Mutual Benefit has been described as both a one-man band, and sprawling collective. It’s mostly the work of the transient American Jordan Lee, the only permanent member of the band, but he’s joined by contributing and changing regulars, which on Friday night included three other band members, on guitar, violin and percussion.

They played largely from Love’s Crushing Diamond, the lush songs of love and loss resonating around the cavernous church hall. It was all intensely felt and very moving. They’re sentimental songs, but beautifully done, with heartfelt emotion, harmonies and the occasional bit of electronica, all rolled into one.  It’s music to fall in love to, and there were certainly a lot of loved-up couples in crowd looking to capitalise on the cuddly mood.

Songs moved seamlessly between each other, a tinkling of chimes and subtle percussion leading from one to the other, a gentle merging of intricate, delicate music, blurring boundaries inducing an almost trance-like state, at times, comfortably overwhelming.

It’s all sweetness and light with a bit of water-based imagery, and it was easy to be swept along the currents of beautiful instrumentation, the plaintive, wistful sounding violin echoing lyrics about travelling, transience and tormented love.

The band’s shadows playing long and large against the church walls added to the ceremonial feel with an almost reverential respect from the audience. In fact, a mention should go to whoever did the lighting because it really did add something special.

They performed an encore to a standing ovation, Lee swigging from a bottle of wine and commenting that this was their second London gig – both in churches. But I can’t imagine a better venue. It is the sort of music to sit down, quietly, and just listen and appreciate. At times, it was so quiet, everyone hanging on every note.

The only thing missing was perhaps the female vocals that the LP boasts, but that’s a small criticism for a night of lovely, lovely music that got my long weekend off to a great start.

by Patricia Turk

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Bearded Theory Festival, Catton Hall, Derbyshire (May 22-25, 2014)

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Bearded Theory Festival, Catton Hall, Derbyshire (May 22-25, 2014)

Posted on 27 May 2014 by John Haylock

What a way to start the festival season. Welcome to this year’s Bearded Theory festival, on a new site with new improved camping facilities, hot and cold running vegan mudslides, a disco shed and a fire-juggling field for the kids.

Dreadzone

Dreadzone

It’s a place where men are sometimes men dress up as Dame Hilda Brackett and women wear poorly glued on beards. Tattoos are popular, Spiderman costumes are this year’s fashion statement and Jaffa cakes are £2.20 a packet, but you can pick up a Betty Boo album for fifty pence. This year the beer flowed like mud and mud flowed like beer, with occasionally the two getting mixed up. This is where cider consumption is an Olympic sport and dreadlocks on white blokes are back in like it was 1995. Yes, it’s like Woodstock on cider, the freak flags are blowin’ in the wind, and the Rizla man is making enough money to buy his own yacht.

"Dad, are we there yet?"

“Dad, are we there yet?”

Above all though it was mud, mud, bastard mud that took centre stage at this year’s event. After days of rain the site became a small scale Somme battlefield, where feral children fell into deep holes, never to be seen again. Meanwhile middle aged men in threadbare Neds Atomic Dustbin T-shirts were seen scrabbling about looking for their wallets as stressed out not very yummy mummies toiled through thickly congealed goo, pulling fully laden trolleys containing large families of mud splattered kids and what seems their entire worldly goods from one side of the stage to the other for no discernible reason.

To add to the brown wet scene was a fairground big wheel creaking round on its merry way and a Slade  lookalike band resplendent in glitter and 14 foot high glam rock boots nonchalantly sauntering around.

Duke Special

Duke Special

There was music too. Duke Special did a version of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart as their piano fell to bits and the still mighty Dreadzone caused man-made climate change and actually managed to make the sun come out. The legendary Wilko Johnson was absent due to his ongoing medical treatment but was ably replaced by Reverend and the Makers.

A trip to the Tornado Town stage proved the best move especially as we discovered The Autonomads, who were on the bill. They’re young (ish), noisy, punky and fucking angry. There’s no sitting on the fence with these bods, they don’t like fascists (or anything really), imagine Steve Albini meets The Selector. We danced, we whooped, we stuck to the floor and had to be prized out of the mud with an industrial digger, all good fun though.

Autonomads

Autonomads

The Stranglers strangled it, Peter Hook shone the light, Fishbone got stuck in the throat (but in a good way), Mark Chadwick from The Levellers made an appearance, as did the sun for about 2.4 minutes on the Sunday.

Rare sightings of Carter the USM, Shane Macgowan and Pop Will Eat Itself, all made for a bit of a retro fest, but new blood ably resupplied from Ferocious Dog and Merry Hell made for a triumphant weekend, despite repeated attempts by the weather gods to rain on our parade.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes

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Guided By Voices – Cool Planet

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Guided By Voices – Cool Planet

Posted on 24 May 2014 by Dorian

With the dizzying regularity of Guided By Voices releases I struggle to think of ways to make reviewing them interesting. In the interest of variety I’m basically going to side-step the issue by reviewing the album launch party held at the Lexington in London.

Stewart Lee

The evening was compered by Stewart Lee, the stand-up comic is a big music fan and has made no secret of his love of the work of Robert Pollard. Disappointingly he declined to offer up any comedy during the evening, choosing instead to run a very tricky GBV trivia quiz between bands. He was a genial and enthusiastic host, giving the bands some positive support and even taking part on the mosh-pit (albeit briefly). He was accompanied in the audience by Kevin Eldon, who stayed clear of the flayling arms and legs of the enthusiastic crowd.

Band of Pricks

First up on stage was the GBV tribute act band of Pricks. In the absence of the real band, who seem less and less likely to ever play in the UK, this is nthe closest you’ll get to seeing Bob and the boys play live. They sounded great, and the choice of songs was pretty perfect with a mixture of favourites, EP tracks and oddities delighting the partisan crowd. They were joined by super-fan paddy Considine (more of him later) for a few tracks, and he had all the moves down perfectly. The singing drummer was a bit of a star and they definitely could have played for longer judging by the chants from the crowd when they finished.

Fawn Spots

Next up was Fawn Spots, a much noisier and more abrasive proposition. Just two guitars and drums (bass players increasingly out of fashion) they tore through a set largely made up of their own tunes. Technical hitches aside they sounded pretty good, but it was the Guided By Voices covers they also added that went down best with the crowd.

Riding the Low

Headlining the night was Paddy Considine’s band Riding the Low. The actor takes his music very seriously, and he is a pretty impressive front-man. He has clearly studied the moves of Robert Pollard, as well as the granddaddy of it all Roger Daltrey, and he wasn’t shy about striking a pose during the set. The band played very well, the musicianship probably the best of the night, and the songs were decent. I don’t have any urge to buy their album, but it was an enjoyable way to spend an evening. In keeping with the theme of the night they closed proceedings with a handful of Guided By Voices tracks including a note perfect rendition of ‘The Girls of Wild Strawberries’.

So, I guess I can’t write a review of the Cool Planet album and not mention it at all. The summary is that it is another good Guided By Voices album, with a mixture of tracks varying in quality – nothing surprising here. Tobin Sprout is on great form, offering his best set of songs for a while,  and ‘Psychotic Crush’ is one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album.

It isn’t quite as enjoyable a set as Motivational Jumpsuit and Robert Pollard’s writing is a little bit uneven, even by his own typically uneven standards. Given that he manages to deliver a large handful of top quality rockers. ‘Bad Love Is Easy To Do’ is just perfect and any album that opens with a song as strong as ‘Authoritarian Zoo’ is worth 30 minutes of your time.

8/10

By Dorian Rogers

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Cousin Marnie – The Waiting Room, London (May 19, 2014)

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Cousin Marnie – The Waiting Room, London (May 19, 2014)

Posted on 21 May 2014 by Patricia Turk

‘One to watch’ isn’t a term I use often, but my second time seeing Cousin Marnie, at Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room last night, has cemented her as someone to keep an eye on as I think she’s got something a bit special.

I first saw her support for Woman’s Hour in April, and while the main attraction was as hauntingly lovely live as expected, it was Cousin Marnie who blew me away with her ‘gothic Taylor Swift’ act – her girlish white-skater-dress-and- tennis-shoes look at odds with her dark, synthy, and moodily mysterious tunes.

cousinmarnie

Hackney local Cousin Marnie is fresh off the back of a stint at SXSW as part of Steve Lamacq’s BBC Introducing stage and starting to headline her own shows, with last night’s gig following a previous headline spot at the Sebright Arms in March. Festival wise, she’ll be playing at Dot to Dot and Bestival in coming months.

Her sound and style bring to mind a bit of early Bat for Lashes. In fact, she’s worked with Bat for Lashes producer David Kosten on latest EP ‘Cain’, so that goes some way towards explaining that. She is also astonishingly pretty, but don’t let that distract you from her clever way of making old songs news through Cousin Marnie eyes. The songs merge all the storytelling of country music with electronic edginess and hip-hop beats. And she cites influences as far apart as Loretta Lynn and Kanye West, if you can imagine that. It’s hard to classify but very compelling.

Last night’s eight-song set was played on a stage adorned with luminous plastic bunnies, furthering that little girl innocent meets goth priestess juxtaposition that’s part of her appeal.

The song that lingers longest is an old Carter Family cover, You’ve Been Fooling Me Baby, re-worked and revamped to a form that’s far from its bluegrass roots. I’ve since read that her debut EP ‘Is Sleeping’ covers four Carter Family tracks, but if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t recognise them.

Other standout tracks were Til Death Do Us Part, which has an abandoned fairground, broken-Wurlitzer feel and slightly sinister lyrics; and Cain, from the new EP, which tells a biblical tale over big beats. It’s crying out for use on some sort of film noir soundtrack.

The whole set was delivered with dramatic intensity and, in my opinion, she really has a sound that’s unlike any other at the moment. I’d go so far as to say I’m now a fan and I’m really looking forward to seeing what else she produces in future.

by Patricia Turk

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Luke Haines – New York in the ‘70s

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Luke Haines – New York in the ‘70s

Posted on 20 May 2014 by Joe

I can never fully decide whether Luke Haines is an underrated, national treasure or an overrated failure lurching through middle age from one vanity concept album to another.

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At times he can be witty and brilliant, such as on 2011’s 9½ Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and early ’80s, which brought to life the bygone era of TV wresting and its characters. This was the first part of a ‘psychedelic trilogy’ that also featured 2013’s Rock and Roll Animals and concludes with this look at New York in the 1970s.

Unfortunately though this last offering in the trilogy just feels too much like a vanity project with no sense of quality control. The result, sadly, is lacklustre and humourless.

There’s a basic conceit somewhere about comparing the drugged up club and art scene of New York with rubbish English towns and life. This could have worked as the basis for a song but it is not an interesting enough concept to be able to carry a 12 track album.

Lyrically even Haines seems bored by the concept, at times just reciting lists of New York celebrities and British seaside towns, or whispering through efforts such as “’Oh Lou Reed, Lou Reed, rock and roll is Om, like the Doo Ron Ron.” It just all seems a little lame for a man of Haines’s talent with the written word, particularly his Brit Pop memoirs Bad Vibes and Post Everything.

Musically, New York in the ‘70s fares little better as the tracks move between synth pop and guitar rock, with hints of US rock solos and excess all played by someone who thought he had a good idea but has discovered it wasn’t before it was too late to call a halt to the studio time he’d booked.

This is not Haines at his best and unlike his far better recent albums left me thinking that if Haines can’t be arsed anymore why should I be arsed to listen to his latest albums? Of course I’ll be back for more. He’s a witty and talented guy, even if he doesn’t show it on this album.

3/10

By Joe Lepper

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The Rutles – The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (May 18, 2014)

The Rutles – The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (May 18, 2014)

Posted on 19 May 2014 by Arthur Hughes

To people of a certain demographic Neil Innes is a great British Institution. As a founding member of 1960s act The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band he went on to work with the Monty Python team and was a regular on British TV in the 1970s through shows such as The Innes Book of Records and the 1980s through children’s TV.

Neil Innes

Neil Innes

He was also the man behind The Rutles, a Beatles pastiche act that ended up creating songs as good as, and at times better than the fab four themselves. Created for the 1970s TV show Rutland Weekend Television the pre-fab four ended up stars of their own mockumentary, All You Need Is Cash , which had the full backing of George Harrison and cast Innes as the John Lennon like lead singer Ron Nasty. They became and remain a cult sensation, with Innes’s wonderful ear for a tune and close affinity with The Beatles ensuring their songs live long.

For this latest outing, billed as the Tragical History Tour, Innes was joined by a couple of original members and delivered a fantastic, crowd pleasing display of Rutles classics such as With a Girl Like You, I Must Be In Luv and Major Happy’s Up and Coming Once Upon a Good Time Band’.

Their Hamburger years, in reference to the Beatles early days in the clubs of Hamburg, were also revisited through the excellently tongue in cheek Goose Step Mama.

The crowd were clearly enraptured, holding up mobile phones instead of lighters, dancing in the aisles and repeatedly shouting for the psychedelic classic Cheese and Onions.

The Rutles also donned pig masks whilst playing ‘Piggy in the Middle’ another Beatles classic……ooops, sorry I mean, The Rutles classic. Innes also put on his Lennon pink shades and ‘ban the bomb’ pendant as the Rutles psychedelic era continued, as they crowd sang along to lyrics such as “Revolution’s in the Air, I’m dancing in my underwear.”

For the encore there was a genuinely touching cover of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Innes and Harrison were great friends, sharing the same humour, as shown by the former Beatle appearing in a cameo in the film.

The Rutles finished off with ‘Back in 64’ , a play on words from The Beatles song ‘When I’m 64.’ It is 50 years since the Beatles first emerged but their legacy clearly has a good few decades left in it yet judging by the continued affection this crowd has for the band that lampooned them so well.

Words and pictures by Arthur Hughes

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