Tag Archive | "Jonny"

Co-pilgrim – Plumes

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Co-pilgrim – Plumes

Posted on 16 October 2014 by Joe

Hiding in Winchester is Mike Gale, one of the UK’s brightest song writing talents.  Recording under the name Co-Pilgrim, Plumes is  the act’s  third album of beautiful alt-country and is once again packed full of Beach Boys harmonies and Pernice Brothers/ Teenage Fanclub melodies. It’s a gem, as was his last album A Fairer Sea, which sat on a pile of CDs at Neonfiller.com towers shamefully way past its 2013 release date and reviewing opportunities. Apologies Mike, we loved it.

The experience of A Fairer Sea with us, a small music blog made up of volunteers, shows how difficult it is for those like Gale to get attention. If we couldn’t find time how are the big boys in the music press going to? A Fairer Sea was arguably one of the albums of the year but barely anyone heard it and despite knocking around social media for years Co-Pilgrim can barely muster 1,000 followers across Facebook and Twitter.

So when I say hiding in Winchester, he’s not hiding at all. He’s doing his best to get attention, has a PR firm and crucially is producing great stuff. It’s more the music listening public is hiding from him.

So what is everyone missing? Plumes follows on perfectly from  A Fairer Sea, which featured Ride’s Mark Gardener on producing and backing vocals duty, in retaining Gale’s neat trick of taking melancholy and turning it into something joyous.

Opener Grew Into Something New sets the scene wonderful, slide guitar and harmonies swiftly taking the listener from pessimism through to optimism.  I Know Love and Pushover pack a pop-punch full of west coast shine, while Come out Alive provides a thoughtful slow twinkle to proceedings. Other highlights include Shame On You with its English take on Americana.

Will Plumes help him find a bigger UK audience? I hope so but its confusing release schedule suggests Gale is once again struggling to get the audience he deserves. The album was in fact released with little fanfare in the UK in May but an album launch party venue couldn’t be found until July. A third attempt at UK publicity is now taking place this month to coincide with a US and Europe release.

It is clearly tough for Gale to push his head above the parapet, but he has what so many others don’t have on the UK music scene – genuine talent. Fingers crossed.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

For more information about Mike Gale and Co-Pilgrim visit here.

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The New Mendicants – Into the Lime

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The New Mendicants – Into the Lime

Posted on 24 January 2014 by Dorian

The New Mendicants are a harmony-pop supergroup of sorts formed in Toronto by Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub/Jonny), Joe Pernice (Scud Mountain Boys/Pernice Brothers) and drummer Mike Belitsky (The Sadies). It will be no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of any of their bands to hear that Into the Lime is a string of melodic pop gems with beautifully sung vocal harmonies.

The New Mendicants - Into the Lime

Most of the songs are soft, tuneful and filled with sparkling guitars and bitter-sweet lyrics. A couple of the tracks were submitted (and rejected) for a film version of Nick Hornby’s ‘A Long Way Down’ so suicide (specifically by jumping) is a recurring theme. It is hard to pick out the best of these tracks as the quality is so high throughout the 10 song 30 minute run, but ‘Follow You Down’ and ‘Out of the Lime’ would be my playlist picks after my first few listens. These are such pleasurable, soft and subtle songs, the kind of thing that leaves you sad and smiling at the same time, that you want to play them again as soon as they finish.

It isn’t an entirely subdued affair, ‘Shouting Match’ is a more fuzzed up effort and the albums closer ‘Lifelike Hair’ (sung I assume by Belitsky) has a raucous 60’s garage sound that is like nothing else on the album. It is a slightly odd choice, but coming at the end it doesn’t disturb the flow of the album and adds a different texture.

Fans of Norman Blake coming to this album may be initially dissapointed as Pernice handles the bulk of the lead vocals on the album (and I suspect wrote more of the songs here). However, Blake’s sound is all over the record. His harmony work is wonderful, the playing and arrangements have his stamp and it truly sounds like a partnership. His lead vocal, on a beautiful version of Sandy Denny’s ‘By the Time it Gets Dark’, is one of the highlights of the album.

The New Mendicants

I was lucky enough to see the band play live last night in Camden’s Dingwalls and feel the need to incorporate a short live write-up into this album review. The live incarnation is a slightly different proposition to the album, with just Blake and Pernice on stage and only acoustic guitars (plus some glockenspiel) being played.

The set is a mixture of album tracks, covers and songs by the duo’s various bands being played to a small but attentive crowd. Lead vocals switch between the two and songwriting is tossed back and forth throughout the set. It is as relaxed and proficient a performance as you’ll be likely to see this year with even the mistakes (a fumbled glockenspiel solo) handled like it is all part of the show. The banter is engaging also, with Norman’s noisy tapping foot and Joe’s professed unfamiliarity with Norman’s work being recurrent jokes through the night.

The new songs sound great live and the chance to hear The Scud Mountain Boy’s ‘Grudge Fuck’ and Teenage Fanclub classic ‘Everything Flows’ played by the duo is pretty magical stuff.

They still have a couple of UK dates left to play, so if you are in Dublin tonight or Glasgow tomorrow I urge you to see them play, and why not pick up a copy of the album while you’re there?

9/10 (10/10 for the live performance)

By Dorian Rogers

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Euros Childs – Situation Comedy

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Euros Childs – Situation Comedy

Posted on 11 October 2013 by Joe

Tirelessly inventive west Welsh weirdo Euros Childs gives another comic turn with half an hour’s primetime S4C entertainment. Now on his sixth solo album, Childs, the former driving force of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, always provides a combination of pleasingly tuneful ditties combined with wig-out base insanity (for the uninitiated, Childs is a bilingual Ben Folds on magic mushrooms).

EurosChilds_SituationComedy_Albumcover_V2

Situation Comedy is much closer to the poppy upbeat work of last year’s Summer Special than his earlier, darker solo efforts. Gorky’s fanboys (like myself) should think Patio Song, rather than Blood Chant. I’ve never been all that fussed about Childs’ solo work, but Situation Comedy has converted me – and I’ve been ploughing through his back-catalogue as a result.

Opener Tete a Tete is the standout tune and it has a lovely, self-deprecatingly insane Sledgehammer-ish video, which will give you a flavour of the man.

Good Time Baby (Talk To Me) is a Roxy Music-ish tune – all parping saxophones and 70s guitars – and Euros Childs channels the spirit of Brian Ferry, oozing sexiness. Tina Said, is a perfect piece of Belle and Sebastian-like jangle-pop, but the ironic mawkishness of country track, Daddy’s Girl, falls flat.

Avon Lady, Ooh La Oona and Second Home Blues are the most obviously influenced by situation comedies – all character-driven stories in the vein of Miss Trudy (albeit a little less mental). In fact, this album might better be titled Sketch Show.

But if Situation Comedy were an actual situation comedy it would be the tenth series of one for which I used to feel great fondness, but with some of the favourite characters gone. Next time, I’d like more songs in Welsh. More hard edge. More weirdness. There are hints of hippyish nonsense here, but not enough to make it an outstanding piece of work.

Despite that, I feel this is Childs’ best solo album yet. And if you’re umm-ing and ah-ing about whether to commit, Child’s National Elf label is offering the album on a “pay-what-you can” download option.

7/10

by Rob Finch

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The New Mendicants Plan UK and Ireland Tour

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The New Mendicants Plan UK and Ireland Tour

Posted on 24 June 2013 by Joe

Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake is back to his collaborative tricks again, this time teaming up with Joe Pernice, of The Pernice Brothers, and Mike Belisky, The Sadies’ drummer. This newly created trio is called The New Mendicants and formed in Toronto, where Norman Blake moved to last year.

Joe Pernice (l), Norman Blake (r)

Joe Pernice (l), Norman Blake (r)

This month they are touring the UK and Ireland with dates at:

7th           Dublin, Whelans

8th           Cambridge, Cambridge Portland Arms

9th           Bristol, Colston Hall 2

10th         London, The Lexington

11th         Nottingham, The Glee

12th         Birmingham, The Glee

13th         Manchester, Deaf Institute

14th         Hebden Bridge, Trades Club

15th         Glasgow, Mono

Also released this month is their debut EP Australia 2013, which contains an INXS cover as well as versions of Teenage Fanclub’s ‘I Don’t Want Control Of You’ and The Pernice Brothers ‘Amazing Glow’. An album is pencilled in for a 2014 release..

This latest collaboration for Blake follows his  2011 partnership with Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci’s Euros Childs, under the name Jonny.

Watch out in early July for our review of their Bristol performance.

by Joe Lepper

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