Archive | July, 2014

Alternative Top 40 – Summer 2014

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Alternative Top 40 – Summer 2014

Posted on 31 July 2014 by Universal Horse

The Alternative Top 40 is a regular music chart shared across multiple music blogs, and a great way of discovering music you might not have heard elsewhere. We are delighted to be among those blogs involved in sharing this list, which is created from nominations from you and compiled by the website Universal Horse.

To contribute to the next #AltTop40 all you have to do is suggest your favourite tracks of the moment to Universal Horse via their online form – or email them at alternativetop40@gmail.com by Saturday 4th October. Here’s this month’s edition:

1. Jack Adaptor – Get It Right First Time

Get-it-Right-First-Time-packshot

2. Noura Mint Seymali – Tzenni

3. Hazel Winter – YDFLM

4. Swans – She Loves Us

5. Lana del Rey – West Coast

6. Parquet Courts – Bodies Made Of

7. Rabit – Red Candles

Boxed Vol. 2 by Rabit

8. Jemima Surrender – My Little Brother

9. St Vincent – Your Lips Are Red

10. Kogumaza – NB / Kолокол / Ursids

L&S025 Kолокол LP by Kogumaza

11. Patrick Duff – Thought Birds / +
12. SJ Esau – Frustrating / +
13. Fingersnap – Blackbirds / +
14. Tune-Yards – Gangsta / +
15. Alicia Catling – Mighty Fine / +
16. Laurel Halo – Supersymmetry / +
17. Sia – Chandelier / +
18. Julie Fowlis – Ged a Sheol Mi Air M’aineol / +
19. Bob Mould – The War / +
20. Marilyn Manson – Disposable Teens / +
21. Happyness – Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same / +
22. Daisy Victoria – Macbeth to my Lady / +
23. Tape Waves – Looking at the Sun / +
24. Roddy Frame – Postcard / +
25. Steve Mason – All Come Down/ +
26. Robert Plant – Little Maggie / +
27. SJ Esau – Soul II Skull / +
28. Carla Bozulich – Lazy Crossbones / +
29. FKA Twigs – Two Weeks / +
30. Jemima Surrender – Anathema / +
31. Michael O’Neill – Cheetham Hill Speed Scene / +
32. Melt Yourself Down – Fix My Life / +
33. Mankind – Blood Sugar / +
34. Shacklock Meth Party – Johnny B Goode/ +
35. Manic Street Preachers – Europa Geht Durch Mich / +
36. Patrick Duff – Maria / +
37. Tune-Yards – Left Behind / +
38. Path – Apocalyptica feat. Sandra Nasic / +
39. Camper van Beethoven – It Was Like That When We Got Here / +
40. Archie Bronson Outfit – In White Relief / +

Compiled by Universal Horse.

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Happyness – Weird Little Birthday

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Happyness – Weird Little Birthday

Posted on 24 July 2014 by Dorian

Weird Little Birthday is the debut album from London based trio Happyness, and it is quickly establishing itself as my favourite debut of the year so far, and possibly my favourite album this year full-stop. I had previously heard the Pavement indebted  ‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same’ on 6 Music and knew that this was a band I could easily get behind.

Weird Little Birthday

What this isn’t is a band that sees being wildly original as one of their core selling points. When I listen to this album I hear Pavement, I hear Beulah and I hear Sparklehorse, I hear the essence of 1990’s US alt-rock. What you think about Happyness will be heavily framed by your thoughts on those bands and that era of music. My personal response is that I love those bands, and they aren’t going to be releasing any new records, so why not embrace it?

Yes it is true that the opening track ‘Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy)’ is so close to Sparklehorse that it veers dangerously towards pastiche, but it just avoids that and is a great track in its own right.

Happyness are wise with their song selection and track ordering on this album, varying the sound enough to keep the album exciting but consistent enough to develop an identity. Given the clear influences on show this is no mean feat and it bodes very well for the band on any future releases.

It takes confidence on a debut album to stick a quiet nine minute nearly-instrumental track (‘Weird Little Birthday Girl’) in the middle of an album, and follow it up with a classic three minute pop single (‘It’s in You’). And an album that quotes prefab Sprout’s ‘Cars and Girls’ is a winner with me any day of the week.

This is a feel good album, despite some pretty downbeat tracks, and one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve heard in a long time.

9/10

By Dorian Rogers

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Camper Van Beethoven – El Camino Real

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Camper Van Beethoven – El Camino Real

Posted on 24 July 2014 by Dorian

Last year Camper Van Beethoven came back from a 9 year recording hiatus to release La Costa Perdida. It was a decent return and it is good news for fans of the band that they have taken only a year and a half to release the follow-up, El Camino Real.

El Camino Real

This album acts as a counter-part to its predecessor, focusing on Southern, rather than Northern,  California as the inspiration for the songs and music. The band seem to have more affection for the Northern parts of the state as this album is less nostalgic and affectionate with a more downbeat feel.

Musically it kicks off with a track, ‘The Ultimate Solution’, that sounds so quintessentially Camper Van Beethoveny that it almost disappoints. The band are clearly not looking for the wild invention of their comeback record, New Roman Times, they just want to play a set of classic songs.

The second track, ‘It Was Like That When We Got Here’, is great but sounds like it would be more comfortable on a Cracker record. Things kick-off in earnest with the brilliant ‘Classy Dames and Abel Gents’, a song that would have fitted in perfectly on either of the albums the band recorded for Virgin in the late 80s.

‘Camp Pendleton’ is possibly my favourite song on the album, all the elements  working together perfectly, and some of the more interesting lyrics in a lyrically strong set. The playing is subtle and sophisticated with each member of the band playing a part in making the track a little bit special.

Less subtle, but no less enjoyable, is ‘I Live in LA’ which is a great example of one of Lowrey’s more sardonic character studies. It is slightly repetitive but one suspects that is part of the point.

Camper Van Beethoven may not be as exciting as they were in their first phase, or as adventurous as on their first time back, but they still know how to produce a very satisfying set of songs. This album couldn’t be by any other band and it is a very welcome addition to their discography.

8/10

By Dorian Rogers

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John Howard – Songs For Someone

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John Howard – Songs For Someone

Posted on 23 July 2014 by Joe

Darren Hayman, Alex Highton, Ralegh Long, Robert Rotifer and Ian Button are five lucky fellas to have their songs covered by rebooted 1970s singer songwriter John Howard.

Since his comeback more than a decade ago, following a 20 year or so hiatus, Howard has made up for lost time with a raft of original material and the occasional covers collections.

John Howard at the Servant Jazz Quarters, London, 2013.

John Howard at the Servant Jazz Quarters, London, 2013.

But whereas previous covers have mostly paid tribute to those that influenced his early career, such as Laura Nyro and Paul McCartney, here he passes a musical nod to the emerging and more established independent UK artists he has collaborated with in recent years.

For Long, whose track The Gift from his 2012 EP of the same name is covered here, getting the Howard treatment must be an especially pleasing honour. When Long sent us The Gift to review he cited Howard as a major influence. We helped match them up via email and since then their friendship has blossomed, they perform together and help promote each others releases and ventures, including Gare Du Nord Records, the label set up by Long, Button and Rotifer.

Howard’s version of The Gift shows Howard to be a musician who takes his time, who really listens to a song he is covering to ensure he can give it his own take and bring out a particular theme. His version of The Gift sounds likes the perfect thank you to a young musician he clearly admires.

A good cover should offer a new interpretation as well as pay tribute to the source material. Howard achieves that on all the tracks here, especially Song For Someone,  from Alex Highton’s 2012 album Wooditton Wives Club.

After hearing Woodditton Wives Club, about Highton’s move from London to the Oxfordshire countryside with his family, Howard was clearly smitten, as we were when we reviewed it. It’s a wonderfully honest collection of acoustic guitar folk about family life and location. It’s also an album about looking back, learning from the past and moving on, common themes in Howard’s post comeback work.

Song for Someone is a track that I liked a lot but for me was overshadowed by others on the album such as You’ve Got The Trees. Howard though clearly homed in on it straight away and reinvents it as a great big old romantic piano ballad while achieving the neat trick of retaining the intimacy of Highton’s understated vocals. The pair’s mutual back slapping continues later this year when Howard appears on Highton’s forthcoming album.

Howard clearly likes covering Rotifer’s tracks. He did a great job turning Rotifer’s Creosote Summer, from 2012’s The Hosting Couple album, into a pop Waltz on a recently released Gare Du Nord sampler. He does another fine job on So Silly Now, a track about the relationship between a music fan and his collection from Rotifer’s 2013 album the Cavalry Never Showed Up. Howard brings to the table those extra few years of experience in the music business as if he really knows some of the famous names mentioned in the lyrics. He even finds time to unleash his Brian Wilsonoator (disclaimer: actual equipment may not exist)  from his home studio in Spain. I never even thought of Pet Sounds hearing the original, now I can’t separate the two.

Ian Button gives such a summery, psychedelic pop shine to his music under his Papernut Cambridge moniker. Here Howard sounds strips away the psychedelia and gets to the heart of the song to really draw out its melody and lyrics. Rather than the lush twinkle of Button’s production, here Howard has focused on cellos, which ensure a 1960s feel is retained as well as serving to give the song an extra sadness.

As with Button and Rotifer, who provided two thirds of his backing band when he played at the Servant Jazz Quarters in London last year, Darren Hayman is another musical collaborator. Back in 2007 Howard was invited by Hayman to play on his first album as Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern. The original is jolly folk pop but on Howard’s version the tone is sadder, the pace is slower and of all five the transformation is the most remarkable. I like the original but I adore this version.

Howard is enjoying a good streak in his ongoing comeback, especially with the release of his most recent album Storeys last year. Has the influence of Hayman, Rotifer, Long, Highton and Button been a factor in this recent fine run of creative form? Listening to his tender take on their tracks here that seems likely.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

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Comet Gain – Paperback Ghosts

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Comet Gain – Paperback Ghosts

Posted on 22 July 2014 by Joe

UK indie music veterans Comet Gain keep coming back for more. After 20 years and now seven albums this band of revolving musicians based around the songwriting of David Feck, remain one of music’s unknown treasures.

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Set up among the centre parted hair and guitar twang of 1990s alternative acts like the The Blue Aeroplanes, Feck has continued where others have stopped or settled into the retro trail. He’s also still full of enthusiasm for Comet Gain and on their previous album Howl of the Lonely Crowd Feck even got to work with one of the alternative pop legends that influenced his work, Edwyn Collins, who produced much of it.

On their latest album the results are once again superb but once again will go largely unnoticed, which is a shame as it is full of wonderful indie pop, especially on openers ‘Long After Tonite’s Candles Are Blown’ and ‘Sad Love and Other Short Stories’. Wait ‘til December is another highlight, offering a lovely musical autumnal stroll in the park, for those like me who in the early 1990s listened to Teenage Fanclub’s December on their Sony Walkman while the brown, dry leaves of autumn rustled underfoot.

But there are flaws. Among Paperback Ghost’s assembled band is Rachel Evans, whose vocals provide the C86 Tulullah Gosh influence but sadly bring down the quality. Comet Gain’s big attraction is Feck, his lyrics and vocal delivery. By handing out lead vocal duties to others like Evans  the quality is diluted.  Her lead tracks such as Far From the Pavilion are weaker and could be the product of almost any other aspiring indie band.

Nevertheless this communal approach  is part of Comet Gain’s sound with Feck’s desire to share the limelight suggesting a welcome lack of ego, that while commercially suicidal indicates he’s probably a nice guy to be around.

7/10

by Joe Lepper

 

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The New Pornographers – War on the East Coast

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The New Pornographers – War on the East Coast

Posted on 16 July 2014 by Dorian

On August 25th The New Pornographers release their new album Brill Bruisers on Matador records.

Brill Bruisers

To promote the release the band have made a video available for the song ‘War On The East Coast’ available on YouTube and you can watch the clip below.

The song is sung by Dan Bejar, also of Destroyer, and described by A.C Newman as being influenced by “mid-nineties second-tier Britpop attitude”.

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Top 10 Albums – Here’s Mine, What Are Yours?

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Top 10 Albums – Here’s Mine, What Are Yours?

Posted on 10 July 2014 by Joe

We’ve covered our Top 100 alternative and independent albums, Top 10 debut albums and also compiled lists of our favourite folk and psychedelic albums. But I thought for a change I’d take away the restrictions of time and genre and present a list of my top ten albums as a way of finding out what your Top 10 Albums are. It’s a trickier task than you may think. I have constant nagging doubts that I should have included Lou Reed’s Transformer or Blondie’s Parallel Lines. You will face similar dilemmas. Feel free to tell us your Top 10 albums of all time in the comment box below.

10. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)

pauls_boutique

Following their huge debut album Licensed to Ill the Beastie Boys second album went in a more experimental direction under producers The Dust Brothers and became one of the best ever examples of sampling. From Public Enemy to The Beatles through to Curtis Mayfield and film soundtracks there are hundreds of snippets that make up each track. The end product is a tribute to music and modern culture and an outstanding album from start to finish. To find out more about the songs and riffs featured on the album click here.

9. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Gorilla (1967)

Gorilla-bonzo-dog-doo-dah-band-15383680-500-500

As a child, back when there were record players and cassettes and MP3s were the stuff of a mad man’s dreams, this was one of a handful of albums I used to beg my parents to play. This debut by art college psychedelic 1920s jazz mash up specialists is fun thanks to the humour of songwriter and vocalists Vivian Stanshall. But above all its got great tunes thanks to the involvement of Neil Inness, who went on to form the Rutles and has an outstanding ear for a good pop song. With tracks such as Cool Britannia, the Intro and the Outro and I’m Bored regularly used in advertising, TV and film this obscurity from a silly age will be surprisingly familiar.

8. The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree (2005)

mountaingoatstree

There are autobiographical albums and then there’s The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats and its frontman and songwriter John Darnielle. Here he lays bare an adolescence in the shadow of domestic abuse where he escapes into music, romance, drink and drugs. Its an album about survival and must have taken a huge amount of courage to write. Final track Pale Green Things, recalls the death of his step father and is so emotional and personal he can’t even play it live anymore. It is an impressive piece of work that shows the courage of young people and led me to become a fan of Darnielle and his band ever since. For more about The Mountain Goats read our Top Ten Bands That Changed Our Lives article here.

7. Fairport Convention- Liege and Lief (1969)

fairportconvention-liegeandlief_LRG

A running theme of the albums I’ve selected is an admiration of the effort that has gone into their writing and production. Fairport Convention Liege and Lief’s was written and recorded following a tragic motorway accident in which their drummer Martin Lamble died and guitarist Richard Thompson’s girlfriend Jeannie Franklin also lost her life. What emerged was one of the most influential folk albums of all time as their mourning, painstaking research into traditional English folk and rock roots came together to create an outstanding set of songs. From Tam Lin to Crazy Man Michael this album is to this day one of the most exciting of any genre.

6. Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Highway+61+Revisited+Bob+Dylan++Highway+61+Revisite

I came late to Bob Dylan. It was something about the voice, the Christianity and whole 1980s rock star image that put me off. Then I saw Martin Scorcese’s documentary centred around his mid 1960s albums and the time he went electric. From Bringing It All Back Home to Highway 61 revisited to Blonde on Blonde it remains my favourite period of Dylan’s music. Of the three Highway stands tallest, just. Like a Rolling Stone is its most well known track but the power of Ballad of a Thin Man and Desolation Row are among those that keep me coming back to this album time and again.

5. The B-52s – The B-52s (1977)

b52s

When Rock Lobster, one of the singles from this debut from the Athens based band, was re released in the mid 1980s, I had no idea just how talented they were. I loved Rock Lobster but after getting this debut album I was awestruck. Ricky Wilson’s guitar playing is unique and in they were also blessed with three incredible vocalists, with Ricky’s sister Cindy particularly standing out. Her emotion on Dance This Mess Around and Hero Worship alone are worth the cover price alone. For more about The B-52s read our Top Ten Artists That Changed Our Lives feature here.

4. XTC – English Settlement (1982)

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On a monthly basis I kick myself for not including this in our Top 100 Indie and Alternative Albums list. Our XTC album of choice was the excellent Drums and Wires. But as the years have gone by it is English Settlement that I now believe was the Swindon band’s masterpiece. Sure it has the singles Sense Working Overtime and Ball and Chain, but it’s the lesser known tracks such as No Thugs in Our House and English Roundabout that really shine here. It was to have opened the door to fame and fortune, but sadly coincided with a chronic bout of stage fright for song writer Andy Partridge who was unable to tour following its release or indeed since. For more about XTC read our Top Ten Bands That Changed Our Lives article here.

3. The Clash – London Calling (1979)

london

Of all The Clash albums none are so perfectly executed as their third London Calling. Steeped in Caribbean and US influences this manages to expertly show The Clash for what they were a London punk band with a global outlook. This topped our Top 100 Indie and Alternative Albums list and remains one of my favourite albums thanks to superb lyrics on tacks like Lost in the Supermarket and instant pop appeal of tracks such as Train in Vain. Listening again it barely ages and remains a timeless classic. Read our full review of London Calling here.

2.  David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971)

Dory

Last year I detailed my surprise discovery that David Bowie wasn’t just a silly man dancing in his pyjamas wth Mick Jagger. He was in fact the coolest man in music as albums such as Low, Heroes and this pre-Ziggy album clearly show. Of all his albums that I’ve recently discovered this is my favourite due to its sheer quantity of classic, inventive pop songs. Any album that has the tracks Changes and All You Pretty Things is deserving of a place on this list. But to add in Life on Mars, Queen Bitch and Quicksand as well makes this album one of the best pop albums of all time..

1. The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

beatles-revolver

Hey what about Sgt Peppers, Joe? Well, what about it? This seventh UK studio album from the Fab Four is by miles and miles of old George Martin infused studio tape the best Beatles album and in my view the best album of all time. You want pop? It’s got it in Taxman and Dr Robert. You want stunning orchestral melodies? Well, why not check out Eleanor Rigby. Or maybe awesome rock rifts are your thing, in that case She Said She Said will appeal. It’s even got the children’s classic Yellow Submarine, and on Tomorrow Never Knows a track that quite rightly is used to herald the start of counter culture. And then there’s the production with Martin’s backwards loops redefining music. Sgt Peppers is good, but this was the real game changer for modern music.

by Joe Lepper

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The Proper Ornaments – Wooden Head

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The Proper Ornaments – Wooden Head

Posted on 08 July 2014 by Joe

When he’s not playing guitar and singing for indie band Veronica Falls, James Hoare hangs out with his friend the Argentinian song writer Max Claps to make 1960s influenced music under the name The Proper Ornaments.

Wooden-Head

This first album by the pair is indeed full of 1960s influences but definitely via the 1990s. As a result it is less Syd Barratt and The Byrds and more like Ride, Teenage Fanclub and even The Stone Roses. The Teenage Fanclub sound is perhaps clearest on openers Gone and Sun.

Third track Ruby introduces a more acoustic folk feel that showcases the best and worst of this release. In terms of atmosphere Ruby  is wonderful, reminiscent of the 1960s the pair are plundering with a lovely lose-yourself quality. But it also shows a lack of focus on melody, something that any worthy plunderer of the 1960s needs as well. It was a time of awesome pop after all but Ruby feels like the build up to a catchy chorus that never materialises.

This frustration continues on Now I Understand, which has a nice riff but never reaches the punch of a good chorus. Don’t You Want To Know (What You’re Going To Be) sounds a little too much like an early Stone Roses song, discarded on the studio floor by their producer John Leckie for not being good enough for the Manchester band’s stunning debut.

And so the album progresses with Step into the Cold and You Shouldn’t Have Gone sounding a bit like Ride and What Am I To Do sounding a little like Dear Prudence, but without the trippy chorus.

I want to love this album, it sounds like so much of my favourite music. The pair are clearly reverential of their musical influences too, which is great to hear. But the problem is there are many others doing this kind of retro musical mining far better. Gare Du Nord band Papernut Cambridge’s melodic 1960s indie sound is more accomplished. Fever Dream perform psychedelic garage rock with more emotion and Temples and Tame Impala plunder the 1960s with far more commercial appeal.

6/10

by Joe Lepper

Wooden Head is released on Slumberland and Fortuna Pop!

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The Groove Warriors – The Bull’s Head, Barnes, London (July 4, 2014)

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The Groove Warriors – The Bull’s Head, Barnes, London (July 4, 2014)

Posted on 07 July 2014 by Joe

Soul funk specialists The Groove Warriors celebrated American Independence Day by bringing a US-influenced playlist to the iconic South West London venue, the Bull’s Head.

The seven-strong collective, formed by saxophonist Mark Buckingham and guitarist Steve Haworth three years ago, opened their set with a beautiful instrumental by the American jazz legend, John Handy.

20140704 GW full band

Like many of the other musicians the Groove Warriors cover, John Handy came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, unless you were very familiar with the early jazz and soul scene, there’s no way you would realise that the Groove Warriors are a cover band.

‘We chose obscure tracks to open people’s eyes to a different side of music,’ Haworth told me after the gig. Other musicians covered in the band’s first set included John Coltrane, War and The Commodores. ‘That’s the old Commodores though, back when Lionel Richie was the keyboard player,’ Haworth points out quite sternly.

Learning about the band’s choice of tracks and their influences is like taking a mini-degree in the formation of modern music.

The second set, played at the stunning riverside venue included a fascinating funk track called Dusic by Brick, discovered by their saxophonist when he was fishing around for material to play with his other band, The Jammers.

It was at this later stage in the night the Groove Warriors also started to introduce material that the audience would more easily recognise, including Daft Punk’s recent pop hit, Get Lucky. Haworth explained that it sampled the American producer/musician Nile Rogers on guitar. This musician is the lead guitarist and co-founding member of the 1970s band Chic. His guitar sample used by Daft Punk exactly mirrors Haworth’s uplifting funky style, and I can see why he’s selected this tune for the band.

As you would expect for any group that gets a gig at the world famous Bull’s Head, this one comprises entirely of professional musicians with their velvet-voiced singer Vic Bynoe, currently absent, due to a tour with the Drifters. Warrior members write music for TV and film and between them they’ve played with and produced Dave Stewart, Simply Red, U2, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney, Elton John, George Michel and so many others, I don’t have space on this page to mention. But they couldn’t possibly be any more down to earth and clearly have fun while on stage, grinning and laughing with each other, despite tackling some technically challenging tracks and adapting them, taking it in turn to delve into lengthy solos.

The band come together to play as The Groove Warriors primarily to have fun, Haworth explained. This means the lucky residents of South West London can listen to a vastly-experienced band in a small unpretentious venue at little cost when they’re on.

This was the second gig in two months for the Warriors at the Barnes jazz and blues venue. And with a further booking for August, it looks like the Warriors could be set to become a regular feature here.

The Bull’s Head opened in 1959 at the same time as Ronnie Scotts and was at that time referred to as its suburban equivalent. In the 1980s, its jazz-centric music policy was broadened out to include blues, rock and soul, attracting a broader, but no less specialist audience.

The Bull’s Head was featured in Martin Scorsese’s documentary film series about the Blues in 2003. Controversially, the venue was taken over by new management last year. However, the quality of bookings here remains as good as ever, bringing known and unknown gems to its recently refurbished intimate performance room. Including The Groove Warriors, a charming, talented, witty cover band with a difference.

by Sarah Robertson

The Groove Warriors will be at The Bull’s Head in Barnes again on Friday 8 August. For more information click here.

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Late Night Tales – After Dark Nightshift

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Late Night Tales – After Dark Nightshift

Posted on 03 July 2014 by Joe

There’s something not quite right about this second After Dark addition to the usually excellent Late Night Tales series, in which well known acts dazzle us with 20 or so laid back obscurities from across the decades.

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Among the very best are those that help us to understand their influences, are eclectic and bring some new tracks to our attention. For example, Bonobo’s recent curation of the series did this well with the inclusion of Nina Simone’s Baltimore and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s Flipside.

But here we have merely a bland collection of laid back dance music, collected once again by the first After Dark release’s curator Bill Brewster.

To be fair to Late Night Tales they have tagged this After Dark collection as a “tangent” to the series, and offering a “DJ led club focused” sound.

Brewster goes further though and has confidently said of After Dark that it is “dance music for people who know how to make love.”

Sadly though on this evidence it’s an offshoot to the Late Night Tales brand that is perhaps more suited to people who know how to make bland, uneventful sex that is best forgotten. I can’t see too many genuine super studs rushing out to buy this.

The Salsoul Invention’s Soul Machine is about as interesting and sexy as this collection gets. While the  Neurotic Drum Band’s supposedly sexy Neurotic Erotic Adventure is surely some kind of joke song so bad is its wooing ability.

I always imagine Late Night Tales best played as the title suggests, late at night and among a group of friends, chatting and enjoying the music. By attempting some kind of crude sexual “do you want to come back to my place while I play something boring” angle it sadly soils the good name of Late Night Tales.

Too often the tracks here sound like sad background music for people with nothing to say. If it is to lead to sex it’s likely to be reluctant and in a bid to avoid the tedium of most of this collection. Take Mugwump’s  Boutade (Miseri Dub). The beat and riff go on, on and them on some more. It just wills you to press fast forward, fall asleep, have forgetful sex or at the very least search out a non-misery version.

Despite this stain on the brand’s name we remain firm fans of the Late Night Tales series and the usual love of music it conveys. Roll on the next better release.

2/10

By Joe Lepper

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