Archive | June, 2016

Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart

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Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart

Posted on 29 June 2016 by Joe

At the 2013 Indietracks Festival Martha were the must see band, winning both the most band t-shirts worn contest as well as best stage invasion prize. The four-piece from the wonderfully titled village of Pity Me, near Durham, are not exactly rewriting rock, on either their first album Courting Strong or this their latest release. There have been many, many bands that have already trod this well worn path of presenting shouty, romantic and embattled vocals wrapped up in a three minute, fast paced pop song, complete with guitar solos and rousing sing-a-long choruses.

martha

But, and this is important, it doesn’t matter that they lack innovation.  Martha have a spirit, which many of their contemporaries lack. When they sing about the “toxic culture” of a Catholic education on the track St Paul’s (Westerberg Comprehensive) and its effect on anyone who dares to be different, or heaven forbid gay, they really mean it.

When they sing about romance discovered in the washing powder aisle of a supermarket, as on one of the album’s best tracks Precarious (The Supermarket Song), you can really feel the heartstrings pull.

Its no wonder they appeared at Glastonbury’s Leftfield stage last year at the personal request of Billy Bragg. At Bragg’s Glastonbury set this year, before launching into Greeting From the New Brunette he told budding protest song writers in the audience to make sure they also write about romance. Martha have clearly listened and Bragg even gets a reference on the Coronation Street themed Curly and Raquel, about the TV soap’s odd and ultimately doomed couple.

This album is also a lot of fun, especially on Goldman’s Detective Agency, where Victorian anarchist Emma Goldman is re-imagined as a corruption-tackling private eye, backed by some fine Thin Lizzy style guitar playing.

It’s hard to fault this album across its 11 excellent, upbeat tracks, which made me think, smile, dance as well as want to immediately go and see them live and join them for a stage invading sing-a-long. Who needs originality when you have this much heart?

9/10

by Joe Lepper

Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart  is released by Fortuna Pop on July 8.

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Record Label Focus – El Paraiso

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Record Label Focus – El Paraiso

Posted on 28 June 2016 by John Haylock

As the UK sadly prepares to wave goodbye to Europe it is to other shores we go and specifically Denmark to look at a pair of latest releases from the small but perfectly formed El Paraiso label.

Launched in 2011 by Jonus Munk and Jakob Skøtt it is a direct outlet for their psych rock band Causa Sui as well as acts and projects that “are related in spirit”, according to their website. It is also “all about eco-friendly high quality vinyl”, the website adds.

The label now has a small coterie of diverse and dynamic noisemakers including Papir, Sun River, Brian Ellis Group and Monarch amongst others.

landing

The first of the two latest releases that have impressed us is Third Sight by Landing, from New Haven, Connecticut, who have been creating undulating hypnotic walls of ambient sound for the last two decades.

Third Sight has four relatively long tracks in which they take you on a leisurely stroll through the gardens of your mind. These soundscapes are delicate washes of electronica where gentle rhythmic beats appear slowly out of the mist and languidly morph into solid forms before dissipating back into the electronic ether before you can say ‘Brian Eno, peace be upon him’.

This is never more evident than on the superb opening track Delusion Sound, which over the space of thirteen minutes becomes a transcendent life affirming piece of work, with a gentle riff and barely heard voices. It is one of the best things I’ve heard all year and is almost equalled by the 14 minute Morning Sun. More trippyness than you can shake a stick at.

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While Landing are a gentle breeze, Mythic Sunship, who specialise in melting your brain with instrumental jams that ricochet around your brain like a cranial pinball machine, are a howling gale.

On Mythic Sunship’s latest release Ouroboros there are three huge tracks of  paint stripping guitar heaviness, deeply mesmeric and tremendously exciting. None more so than the suitably titled Behemoth, which clocks in at a head spinning 24 minutes.
Think a more restrained Acid Mothers, a more tuneful Samsara Blues Experiment, and a more contemporary Spacemen 3, mix them all up, add an extra bucketful of fuzz and voila… a deliciously heavy banquet of a debut album.

By John Haylock

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Glastonbury Festival 2016 – Small Stages Highlights

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Glastonbury Festival 2016 – Small Stages Highlights

Posted on 27 June 2016 by Joe

Even festival organiser Michael Eavis, a man well used to the unpredictable Somerset summer weather, says this year was the muddiest Glastonbury ever. He wasn’t wrong. Getting about in ankle deep sludge for most of the weekend was indeed tough going as the weather and Friday’s shock Brexit vote conspired to give this year’s event a distinct vibe.

mud

For the acts the political developments fueled a sense of rage that gave their sets some extra steel. Meanwhile, the mud made audiences seem even more grateful than usual. They’d fought through mud to reach a band and by gum they were going to enjoy themselves once they got there.

Meanwhile, the Leftfield tent became a Mecca for the confused, as young and old alike looked for answers across its line up of politicians, activists and bands.

Here’s our look across some of the highlights on the smaller stages. Were you at any of these gigs? If so let us know what you thought.

Dan Stuart

Dan Stuart

Opening the John Peel stage on Friday a few hundred hardy souls gathered where the mud was less porridge-like to see a rare UK performance from Green on Red’s Dan Stuart. He didn’t disappoint, having flown in from his home in Mexico together with his be-suited and excellent band Twin Tones.

Brexit naturally was mentioned, so too were tracks from Stuart’s  latest album as well as Green on Red standards, all delivered with a wry grin and plenty of passion. Solo track Last Blue Day was dedicated to us poor post-Brexit vote Brits, while Death and Angels more than satisfied those that remember Green on Red’s heyday.

Michelle Stodart

Michelle Stodart

Over at the Acoustic stage the weather was the main protagonist to help along Michelle Stodart’s fine country folk set, accompanied by a backing group that included her brother and fellow Magic Number, Romeo. For artists playing in a tent on a Friday afternoon bad weather is a godsend. Her set was perfectly timed with a month’s worth of rain descending and the crowd soon swelled looking for warmth and comfort. Ain’t No Woman from her forthcoming album as well as Invitation to the Blues were two of many highlights for this packed Acoustic tent.

William’s Green is often our favourite venue at the festival, always showcasing new and innovative bands who know how to please a crowd. Friday afternoon provided two excellent examples of their stellar booking policy with Yak, and then Vant.

Yak

Yak

London based trio Yak are slowly building up a strong reputation for their incendiary live shows, with frontman Oliver Burslem the catalyst, full of Jim Morrison freak outs on their single Use Somebody in particular. If you ever despair of the future of British rock music go and see this band.

Vant

Vant

Vant are more polished, a little Nirvana like in places, but cut from the same indie rock cloth as Yak. Live they are intense. Brexit again gets mentioned, with frontman Mattie Vant ordering any leave voters in ‘his tent’ to do just that. He was genuinely pissed at the vote, summing up what so many young people feel. It was another example of politics fueling a performance with this proving to be one of the best sets I’ve seen at William’s Green. Bigger tents and stages beckon for them.

With the soup of mud threatening to become knee height I waded through to the nearby Leftfield stage to station myself for the night. I wasn’t the only one. Plenty more were there to escape the mud and find some answers to the political malaise, from tonight’s headliner Billy Bragg.

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

I often go to Bragg’s regular Friday night set here but this was by far the best with the aftermath of the electorate’s decision firmly on his mind. The crowd’s roar after hits like Milkman of Human Kindness and Sexuality was “just what I needed”, he said. Even Bragg admitted towards the end that this had been one of his best ever gigs and certainly it was the busiest I’ve ever seen the Leftfield in five years as a regular. There Is A Power In A Union sing-a-long was intense with its added topicality and New England was rousing. Bragg kept urging the crowd to pick up their guitars and get out there and be the protest singers of the future. Over at William’s Green Mattie Vant was doing just that a few hours before.

Man and the Echo

Man and the Echo

Supporting Bragg were Warrington’s Man and the Echo, a curious highly polished indie pop act that somehow emerged straight out of the early 1990s, via the 1960s for a stop over, for our 2016 delectation and delight. Smart, fun and in their own words the favourite band of ten people, ten very wise people that is. Here’s a clip of Vile As You Want, by the band.

Rhoda Dakar

Rhoda Dakar

Also on the Friday night bill was ska legend Rhoda Daka, whose engaging banter with the crowd and with her band, who incidentally were as good as a ska band gets, providing the most fun gig of the weekend. Easy Life and Let’s Do Rock Steady from her Body Snatchers days got the biggest cheer and rightly so.

Sam Lee

Sam Lee

Among Saturday’s small stage highlights was a mesmerising performance from former Mercury Music Prize nominee Sam Lee and his band at the acoustic tent. In recent years Lee has made it his mission to collect and record ancient songs from across Britain, particularly among the traveller communities. This gives Lee’s  gigs an extra dimension as he details the various travellers he has met and sung with, including Freda Black an octogenarian Romany singer from Kent who provided him with the Napoleonic epic Bonny Bunch of Roses. He’s developed a great relationship with those communities he meets and as a modern day Cecil Sharp now provides one of modern music’s most interesting and ancient sets.

William’s Green’s excellent Saturday line up included Boxed In, a band we’d touted before. They didn’t disappoint with their take on keyboard driven pop and the track Mystery proving a particular highlight.

Meilyr Jones

Meilyr Jones

New favourite artist alarms rang immediately during another intense set, this time from former Race Horses singer now solo artist Meilyr Jones. Stage diving can get a little tiresome but I’ll let Jones off as he took the strategy to new lengths with the aid of an extra long mic lead. Somehow during the meander he ended up atop a nearby bar with his mud covered bare feet gleaming by the pumps. Billed as chamber pop, his band rocked far too much to warrant that fey tag. Incredible performance.

John Grant

John Grant

Our final look around the smaller stages was to see John Grant. Poor John had flu but this somehow made his performance at the John Peel stage better, with the crowd urged to sing-along and wave their arms around to keep him going. He has come along way as a performer since I last saw him at Glastonbury two years ago and he is now a proper diva, albeit one in a country and western shirt and a massive beard. Queen of Denmark, Greatest Mother Fucker were highlights but Glacier blew the whole gig apart with its emotional brilliance.

glastclouds

The mud may have meant many gigs were missed, and many were stumbled upon by accident but the weather along with the shock Brexit vote ensured this year’s Glastonbury had an edge that the acts on the smaller stages in particular met head on to put in some career high performances.

By Joe Lepper

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European Referendum Top 10

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European Referendum Top 10

Posted on 22 June 2016 by Dorian

This week will see the British public voting in a referendum to decide whether to remain part of the European Union or not. We are a music site, not a political one,  so we aren’t here to influence whether you vote in or out and we will remain impartial.

However, if you are voting and not sure which way to jump, perhaps our European Referendum Top 10 will help you to decide.

British Sea Power – Waving Flags

Immigration is a hot topic in the European debate. British Sea Power take a more welcoming stance than many “Oh welcome in” they sing.

Bis – Eurodisco

“The party’s at its end” sing Scottish popsters Bis. Is this an unlikey foreshadowing of the end of our relationship with the EU?

Allo Darlington- Europe

A British band with an Australian singer performing a song about Europe in Vienna. If that isn’t an endorsement of freedom of movement I don’t know what is.

The Divine Comedy- Europop

“It’s taken time but I’ll think you’ll find that everything is alright” sings Neil Hannon. Is he singing about the European project? Probably not.

Guided By Voices- The Littlest League Possible

This song is about independence and being a big fish in a small pond. Will the UK be better off as the only fish in a small pond?

Billy Bragg – There Is Power In A Union

Billy isn’t a European Union enthusiast exactly but he is voting remain, so that seems reason enough to see this as an endorsement of a different kind of union than it was originally intended.

The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Stay of go? That is the big question. And this is the laziest song choice on a fairly lazy list.

Phil Ochs – Love Me I’m A Liberal

Liberals get a lot of bad press from both sides in the debate. Phil Ochs had a similarly disparaging view back in 1966.

Gruff Rhys – I Love EU

Gruf Rhys is pretty clear when he sits in the debate and this is his “official” pro-remain anthem. I’m sure that there are Brexit songs out there, but I suspect they aren’t very good.

Roxy Music – A Song For Europe

I have no idea where Bryan Ferry stands on the Europe question, I suspect he is closely monitoring any potential effect on his share portfolio. Former Roxy Music colleagues Brian Eno and Phil Manazanera have both come out in favour of remaining however. Read into that what you will, this is an excellent song whichever way you look at things.

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

 

 

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Top Ten Albums of 2016 So far…

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Top Ten Albums of 2016 So far…

Posted on 20 June 2016 by Joe

With 2016 at the half way mark we thought we’d present our list of the ten albums that have impressed us the most so far. All within our broad focus on indie and alternative music, we’ve some old stagers, new bands and plenty of rage. We’ve also got an act at number one who probably never would have thought they’d be acclaimed as the best indie act of the year in 2016 back. In addition to the ten below we also wanted to mention new albums by Shearwater, Pete Astor, The Wave Pictures, Steven James Adams, Picture Box and Rapid Results College, which are all in contention for a place in our end of year extended best albums list.

10. Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are

Robert-Pollard-Of-Course-You-Are

Incredibly, this is now the 22nd solo album from the hardest working man in music and proves another high point in an illustrious career. Read the full review here.

9. Bob Mould – Patch the Sky

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Third album from the former Sugar and Husker Du man’s most settled line up for years. The key to its success is its ability to tackle the tough issues of life in the most fun way possible, as Mould’s rage and melody once again combine perfectly.  Read the full review here.

8. Dressy Bessy – King Sized

Dressy Bessy Kingsized

Fabulous return from a six-year break for the US act. This works particularly well by merging their beefier pre- hiatus sound with the pop nous that made their early work so infectious. Read the full review here.

7. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

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Like an extended rock jam, taking in science fiction, monsters and, naturally, some awesome guitar riffs this is another stellar release from the Australian psych rockers, with a little help from some robots and a gigantic wasp. Read the full review here.

6. Woodpigeon – TROUBLE

woodpigeon

Heartbreak, loss and a globe trotting meander prove the powerful inspiration for Mark Andrew Hamilton’s latest album. Beautiful and inspiring. Read the full review here.

5. Evans the Death – Vanilla

evans

On album number three London act Evans the Death have upped, shredded, beaten up and garrotted the ante. It’s full of rage, the guitars are heavier than before, the vocals fiercer and the ambition turned to stadium sized proportions, with a brass section and even a funky bass added to the mix. Incendiary album from what very well be Britain’s best rock band. Read the full review here.

4. Papernut Cambridge – Love the Things Your Lover Loves

papernut

Former Death in Vegas man Ian Button and crew have created their very own 1970s pop band. Full of fuzzed up guitar riffs and stomping rhythms there would have been plenty to satisfy the charts back in the day, especially the album’s title song, and its best pop tune, Radio. Read the full review here.

3. Darren Hayman – Thankful Villages – Vol 1

ThankfulWeb

One of Hayman’s best pieces of work and possibly his most important, preserving the oral history of the relatives of those who survived the horrors of the Great War as well as paying tribute to the village life these soldiers left and thankfully returned to. Read the full review here.

2. Emma Pollock – In Search of Harperfield

pollock

Childhood memories and the toils of adulthood mix wonderfully on the former Delgados singer’s latest album. With the track Parks and Recreation she has also created one of the best songs of recent years. Read the full review here.

1. The Monkees – Good Times

The Monkees - Good Times

The comeback to beat all comebacks. Originally planned as merely something to sell on their 50th anniversary tour this album has ended up grabbing the headlines in its own right. With Fountains of Wayne man Adam Schlesinger at the helm, a stack of lost demos to dust off and new tracks from talented Monkees fans such as Andy Partridge and Ben Gibbard, Good Times both pays tribute to their place in 1960s pop history and creates a great, modern day indie and alternative pop album in its own right. A well deserved number one slot. Read our full review here.

Top Ten Albums of 2016 So far was compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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The Monkees – Good Times!

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The Monkees – Good Times!

Posted on 14 June 2016 by Dorian

If I was asked to name the top 5 (or even top 10) musical artists that mean the most to me I would find it incredibly hard to do. I’d spend days agonising over who to include and would want to change it immediately I’d finished. If I was asked to pick one band that would definitely be in the top 10 my first answer would probably be The Monkees.

The Monkees - Good Times

Good Times! has been released to coincide with the band’s 50th anniversary and is their first release since Justus in 1996, and the first since the death of Davy Jones.  These factors do lead to the very real likelihood of this being the last time we’ll get a new Monkees album. The very, very good news is that, if it is to be their last album, it is among the best of their career and one of the best albums released by anyone this year.

In common with their most successful albums of the late 60s, Good Times! features the pre-fab four on all the vocals and mixes them in with a team of top quality session musicians to produce the album. The album was produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, and his love for the band and the sounds of the 60s is evident throughout.

The title track kicks things off in great style and symbolises the album by mixing session work from 1968 with additional instrumentation from the contemporary band. Songwriter Harry Nillsons’ original vocal is mixed as a duet with fresh vocals from Mickey Dolenz (perhaps the most underrated singer of his era) and the scene is set for a fun-filled collection.

The album features a batch of songs written by songwriters from first time around (Nilsson, Neil Diamond Goffin & King, Boyce & Hart) alongside a song apiece from each of the surviving members. In addition to this a crop of contemporary artists provide a healthy handful of tracks for the record (although given that only Zach Rogue is an artist who arrived this century, and his song didn’t make the final album*,’ contemporary’ is a bit of a push).

The least successful of the new songs is by Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller and the knowing title ‘Birth of an Accidental Hipster’ is as clumsy as their attempts at a psychedelic pop mash-up. It isn’t a bad song, and the performances are great, but it doesn’t match the overall song-writing quality here. I also have issues with Noel Gallagher being included as a songwriter on the album, should someone who once derogatorily stated about Blur “People say we’re the Rolling Stones and that Blur are the Beatles. We’re the Stones and the Beatles. They’re the fucking Monkees!” be given the honour of writing for such a wonderful band?

The playing is superb throughout and Tork and/or Nesmith play on most of the tracks here. The session musicians capture the band’s classic sound perfectly, and there is a real magic to the tracks recorded across a 49-year period.

First and foremost this is a Monkees album, and each of the original members delivers great vocal performances here. Dolenz has the bulk of the tracks and sounds like he is enjoying every minute, Tork delivers what may be the definitive version of ‘Wasn’t Born To Follow’ and Nesmith takes the lead on Ben Gibbard’s ‘Me and Magdalena’ (which may well be the best song of the year so far). An updated session of a Davy Jones vocal gives the late-singer a presence on the album. It is a typically sweet tune and sits perfectly in the middle of the album, his distinct voice sounding great with Dolenz and Tork adding harmonies.

It is a wonderful album and one that I know I’ll return to again and again over the coming years. What is pretty unique and special about the record is that it manages to be one of the best albums of 2016, and also sound like one of the best albums of 1968.

10/10

By Dorian Rogers

*The tracks that didn’t make the album include one by Zach Rogue, a second Partridge song, a song written by Peter Tork’s brother and a different version of ‘Me and Magdalena’. These tracks are available variously on the digital release or through a few country specific releases. It would have been good for Rhino to have put a second disc of these tracks for the people who purchased the CD or vinyl on first release.

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Evans the Death – Vanilla

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Evans the Death – Vanilla

Posted on 09 June 2016 by Joe

On album number three London act Evans the Death have upped, shredded, beaten up and garrotted the ante. It’s incendiary and full of rage, like their previous album Expect Delays, but while that focused on the anger of twenty somethings in Tory Britain this latest release is packed full of rage about just about everything.

The guitars are heavier, the vocals more fierce and the ambition turned to stadium sized proportions, with a brass section and even a funky bass added to the mix.

evans

The press release lists a raft of eclectic  influences. I can see some, such as Wilko Johnson’s choppy guitar. But what is not mentioned is the overwhelming sense that this is a long lost post punk album from 1978, dusted off and launched into 2016 like a rocket. There’s a hint of early Siouxsie & the Banshees  on Katherine Whitaker’s vocals, Mission of Burma in the nihilistic punks rhythms and X-Ray Spex and Theatre of Hate with the brass section. There’s even a potential hit single, on Hey Buddy.

The live production feel helps, as does a deliberate move by the band to book very little studio time to make it “full of chaos and restlessness”, according to guitarist and vocalist Dan Moss.

As well as Hey Buddy, other standouts include the pub rock plus No Imitations and Suitcase Jimmy, the chaotic opener Haunted Wheelchair and Hot Sauce, the one with the funky bass. By the end we can’t help but feel excited by the work of what could very well be Britain’s best current rock band.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

Evans the Death – Vanilla is released by Fortuna Pop on 10 June, 2016. More details here.

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Glastonbury 2016 – Best of the Smaller Stages

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Glastonbury 2016 – Best of the Smaller Stages

Posted on 02 June 2016 by Joe

With dozens of venues and hundreds of acts there is certainly more to the Glastonbury Festival than the big names appearing on its Pyramid and Other stages. Outside of these two largest stages there is the festival within a festival of the Park, the John Peel tent and a raft of smaller venues, including William’s Green, BBC Introducing and Leftfield tents.

After scanning through the line up we have selected our Glastonbury 2016 – Best of the Smaller Stages list.

She Drew The Gun

Rabbit Hole – 4pm, Thursday 23 June
John Peel – 11am, Sunday 26 June

She Drew The Gun at the Glastonbury 2016 ETC finals

She Drew The Gun at the Glastonbury 2016 ETC finals (pic by Joe Lepper)

This year’s Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition winners appear twice, bringing their unique blend of dream pop and clever, bittersweet lyrics to the event for the first time. In their track Poem, they have one of the best songs of the year.

Yak

William’s Green – 4pm, Friday 24 June

This excellent venue continues to be one of our favourites on site due to its strong focus on showcasing emerging acts, with Yak from Wolverhampton among the pick of its 2016 line up. This exciting trio have just finished support slots with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard as well as The Last Shadow Puppets and will be promoting their latest album Alas Salvation.

Boxed In

William’s Green – 4pm, Saturday 25 June

Boxed in is the moniker for London based producer Oli Bayston, who has worked with a diverse range of musicians from Steve Mason to Lily Allen. Here he will be showcasing his distinct brand of piano powered alternative pop, with his track Mystery set to be among many highlights.

Michele Stodart

Acoustic Stage – 2:30pm, Friday 24 June

The Magic Numbers bassist has also carved out a fine career as a solo artist, with a penchant for beautiful, low-key country folk. She will be appearing with a full band at the Acoustic Stage. As an aside, for those partial to proper beer its worth noting that the Acoustic Stage’s beer tent is one of the best places to get a drink on site.

This is the Kit

Avalon Stage – 5:15pm, Saturday 25 June
William’s Green – 4pm, Sunday 26 June

Among the best west country bands at the event is Kate Stables and her folk pop band This is the Kit. Appearing twice at the event they count the likes of Lauren Laverne and Mark Radcliffe among their fans and for good reason.

Dan Stuart & Twin Tones

John Peel – 11am, Friday 24 June

The former Green on Red man turned his back on the music industry for more than a decade but has returned in recent years with an excellent solo career. Now teamed up with Mexican act Twin Tones, this icon of the 1980s alternative US music scene has chosen this year’s Glastonbury for a rare UK performance.

Compiled by Joe Lepper

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Public Image Limited – Bearded Theory Festival (May 28, 2016)

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Public Image Limited – Bearded Theory Festival (May 28, 2016)

Posted on 01 June 2016 by John Haylock

Johnny Rotten nee Lydon, love him or loathe him, even after all these years you still can’t ignore him. From the fiery birth of UK punk in 1976 at the helm of the legendary Sex Pistols, to the leader of the many incarnations of Public Image Limited, he’s a force of nature in human form and a snarling, opinionated epitome of rebellion and dissatisfaction.

John Lydon

John Lydon

He’s also a controversial Country Life butter advocate with a number of daft adverts back in the day that prompted much criticism of him selling out.

Be honest, if someone offered you enough money to buy a five-bedroomed villa in Portugal for three minutes work, dressed as a twit, would you do it? He took lots of criticism for appearing in these adverts and many accused him of selling out, but it eventually proved to be a minor distraction. He continued to confound fans and critics alike as PIL forged ahead with their distinctively apocalyptic sound. Good Lord, they have even had hit singles.

I needed to write something about this gig, it was going to be a review of a wonderful festival, but I’ve got home and all I can think about is this performance. It was evil, deliriously dangerous, funny and uplifting. An emotional roller coaster in one hour fifteen minutes, complete with middle ear damage.

Ok, it’s Saturday night and PIL are headlining, they are now a traditional four piece with Bruce Smith (The Pop Group and The Slits) on drums, the hulking presence of Scott Firth on bass and on various guitars and sticks that would make Robert Fripp envious Lu Edmonds, once of The Damned. Edmonds looks like a friend of Worzel Gummidge and at one point John introduces him as Jesus Christ. That, my friends, is one tight band.

Opening with the steamrolling head crushing Double Trouble from their latest album What the World Needs Now, they relentlessly pummel the crowd who respond accordingly, by having a fight in the pit. A total surprise comes three numbers in as they do a really old number, one of their classics This is Not a Love Song, followed by thunderous versions of Warrior, I’m not Satisfied, Corporate and most of their new album.

On a lengthy workout of Religion, John recites the mantra ‘more bass, more bass’. The mixing desk respond by turning everything up to eleven, moles were seen emigrating the site and grown men covered their ears as the volume increased to an almost unbearable level, reminiscent of bands like Einstürzende Neubauten, The Fall and Faust. All at one time or another these acts would have also taken great delight in making things uncomfortable for the listener. It was astonishing and went on for quite a while, apparently the moles didn’t return until Sunday morning.

The nearest thing to a traditional rock tune is Rise; it even has a chorus, and one that we all sing-a-long to. The warm May evening sees a devastating run through of Shroom, which contains some excellent swearing and drives the baying crowd to apoplectic distraction.

Lydon is now 60, he still has things to say, has relevance and can still give you earache. He is an annoying enigma, wrapped in a cocoon of moralistic contradictions, but he still has it, by the bucket load as well. He means it maaaaan.

Words by John Haylock, picture by Arthur Hughes

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