Tag Archive | "Pernice Brothers"

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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Pernice Brothers – Yours, Mine and Ours

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Pernice Brothers – Yours, Mine and Ours

Posted on 24 February 2014 by Dorian

By the time Joe Pernice’s band of brothers got round to releasing this, their third album, the music community had started to lose interested. Originally mainly promoted by the alt-country press they had made it pretty plain that they weren’t going to sound like his previous band The Scud Mountain Boys. They weren’t even going to have the big string sections that had received such plaudits on their previous outings, I  still remember the dissapointed expression on the face of the person who sold me the CD.

yours mine ours

In fact this album is clearly in just as much thrall to UK 80s indie bands as it is with Teenage Fanclub, country music or any of their other previous influences. Brilliantly written by Joe Pernice, with some career best guitar work by Peyton Pinkerton (more on him later) this may well be the best album the band produced. More than that it might be one of the best guitar pop albums of the 2000s.

The album opens with the fuzzy guitar pop blast of ‘Weakest Shade of Blue’, a proper “should have been a top ten hit” contender, complete with joyous vocal harmonies and sparkling guitar melody. From there on in it is a blast of songs of such consistent quality that the relative obscurity of the band is mystifying on listening today.

The beauty of Pernice’s work is the mismatch of music and lyrics, tonally at least. A generally upbeat sound is a deliberate disguise for the predominantly downbeat lyrics here. That isn’t to say that this is a sad listen, Pernice is too sophisticated a songwriter for that, and he is possessed of enough wit and warmth to carry the sadness.

New Order are an obvious influence on a couple of places on this album, most notably on, arguably the best track here, ‘Sometimes I Remember’. Peyton Pinkerton is a brilliant guitarist, from his early work with New Radiant Storm King through the Pernice Brothers up to his debut solo album he released last year, his playing has been some of the best on record. His work on ‘Sometimes I Remember’ is just perfect, managing to bridge the gap between 21st century American pop music and the Factory Records circa 1983. Almost as good is ‘Number Two’ where the subdued vocals and piano is punctuated with some pretty fierce fret work.

All in all this is one of those records that you can come back to again  and again and it will sound as fresh and as timeless as the first time you played it. The best slice of 1980s UK indie influenced 21st century Americana you’ve never heard, Probably.

By Dorian Rogers

This review was inspired when I revisited Joe Pernice’s back catalogue after seeing The New Mendicants and listening to their debut album. I’d recommend pretty much anything he has recorded, with great songs across his career. Listen to a Spotify playlist of some of his best tracks here.

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The New Mendicants  – Colston Hall 2, Bristol (July 9, 2013)

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The New Mendicants – Colston Hall 2, Bristol (July 9, 2013)

Posted on 11 July 2013 by Joe

Placing myself next to a gentleman, ostensibly of equal age with The New Mendicant’s Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits), I ask him what exactly it was that brought him to tonight’s gig – “Teenage Fanclub,” he replies. His answer is unsurprising and in scanning the predominance of audience members similarly just beyond middle age, I feel it likely that it is nostalgia and a love of Glasgow’s cult indie icons, which has fuelled their motives to attend tonight’s show.

Norman Blake (l), Joe Pernice (r)

Norman Blake (l), Joe Pernice (r)

A friendship newly formed in Toronto, Ontario, Blake and his fellow New Mendicant Joe Pernice (Pernice Brothers, Scud Mountain Boys), step on to the stage beneath soft red and blue lighting and the scene is set for a cosy, non-challenging evening of acoustic versions of songs old and new. The duo immediately banter about forgetting their set lists and this relaxed approach very much provides a flavour of what lay ahead.

New song ‘Follow You Down’ leads the way and it is the first of several songs this evening where Blake provides charmingly simple Glockenspiel lines to complement Pernice’s vocal and acoustic guitar. An early surprise in the set is a cover of ‘A Butcher’s Tale,’ a song from The Zombies’ hidden baroque-pop gem from 1968, ‘Odessey and Oracle.’ The first four tracks are met with polite applause before Teenage Fanclub’s ‘It’s All In The Mind’ induces the first nods of recognition and an appreciatively vocal response at the song’s close.

The duo continue to banter in an easy, unselfconscious way between songs and the mood is so laid-back that it is probably just as well that tonight’s gig is a fully seated affair. After new song ‘Sarasota,’ which bears a passing resemblance to Cat Stevens’ ‘Father & Son,’ Pernice tells the story of how Blake’s original glockenspiel had been reclaimed by Blake’s primary school aged son after it was signed by a member of children’s musical group The Wiggles. Blake then reveals the handy colour-coded keys of his new instrument to the audience and, to a chorus of laughter, he performs a light-hearted impromptu ‘Glock’ solo.

A slightly faltering finish to ‘You Was Me,’ and Pernice’s sarcastic lamentation of a song he sold to an American corporation for advertising purposes further adds to an atmosphere akin to two old pals playing for friends in a large living room; introduced sardonically as “A song about coats,” ‘There Goes The Sun’ features more Glockenspiel from Blake and, in playing incrementally quieter at the track’s coda, there is a charming live attempt at replicating the recorded version’s fade-out.

Despite Blake’s bungled attempt at the song’s solo, ‘I Don’t Want To Control You’ is warmly received and, making it back to back Teenage Fanclub tracks, ‘Did I Say’ follows. Seemingly comfortable on their respective chairs, Pernice mockingly undermines the concept of an encore by stating: “Just pretend we left the stage and you guys cheered for 2 more songs.” They remain seated and Pernice delivers the delicately beautiful ‘Cronulla Breakdown;’ written about his wife when they lived in the New South Wales  town. It proved a highlight of the evening and, being plucked from a 2001 Pernice Brothers’ album no doubt unfamiliar to most of the audience, it is the most pleasant of surprises.

‘Everything Flows’ is the final song of the night and, being one of Teenage Fanclub’s most popular tracks, it serves as an audience pleaser to end proceedings. With their places firmly fixed in the history of cult indie-pop, both Blake and Pernice have nothing to prove and it is with nonchalance that they can approach these sit down shows. Perhaps a few of the old favourites would benefit from a full band set up and it’s true that the lack of challenge in such performances will never inspire anything particularly memorable. However, it with ease that one can enjoy these two new but firm cohorts entertaining their friends in this largest of living rooms.

 by Scott Hammond, Pictures by Conal Dougan

 

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