Well, it’s that time again…a time to doff your cap and bow to the royal sunshine… a time to lick the back of the Queen’s head and post a donation to the corgi society… a time to polish off your royal mugs and wave your dishcloths above your head and toast the royal couple….. yeah right!
Flashback to June 1977 and The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. That was also the day the Sex Pistols attempted to play from a boat named ‘Queen Elizabeth’ aside Westminster Palace on old father Thames. The performance was halted as the boys were fingered by the long arm of the law.
‘God Save The Queen’ was a massive anti-establishment anthem that certainly got some people hot under the collar… including the BBC, who banned it from the radio. Even so it reach number 2 in the UK charts amidst accusations that there had been some fiddling by the Beeb in order to keep it off the number one slot.
Oh happy days….
…It’s true what Laurence says, but God, how depressing that we now feel a sense of nostalgia for times when there was a voice for change, and an undeniable music force that would not be silenced. We have some great bands today, but most of the truly exceptional talents to have emerged in recent times (Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Deerhunter, Animal Collective etc.) are American, and deal more with personal politics, rather than the big picture. Admittedly, Arcade Fire wrestle with political fallout, but theirs is a grim reporting of alienation in the modern world, seen from the edge of society’s margins. The British bands who do have something to say, (The Supernovas and Krakatoa are among the best) are not big enough to make a national impact…
As for Britain’s bigger acts, we are hardly likely to see Mumford And Sons or Adele extolling the virtues of anarchy, and with reality TV now an accepted part of the British cultural diet, voices of resentment and retaliation are in short supply. Where is this generation’s Sex Pistols, Clash or The Smiths? I don’t just mean retreads of those bands’ sound or imagery, but where are the genuinely disaffected musical heroes, urging their compatriots and generational terrorists forward into battle? You’ve all gone very quiet out there…
‘This is Joe Public speaking: C-O-N, Control!’
THE CLASH, Complete Control, 1977
Boat To Row, is a five piece folk collective who’s new single ‘A Boat To Row, To Row To You’ combines rich harmonies with lilting guitar and banjo and is a brilliantly crafted – dare I say it, Mumfordesque – tune with a pretty dark video to accompany it…
Fronted by Michael King and hailing from the Midlands, Boat To Row will be out and about in the UK in support of this track which gets its digital and 7″ release on May 2nd on istartedthefire records.
For a band still seeking publishing and recording deals, Kites are doing very nicely. The music press have already compared them favourably with New Order, Talking Heads and Patrick Wolf, and tours of South America (this month), the UK and Europe in the summer, and Asia and Australia follow. The live show is intense and something of a spectacle, and has drawn rave reviews, with Vice, i-D and Time Out all waxing lyrical over this nattily dressed four piece.
Their latest EP, as yet untitled and in self-produced demo form, kicks off with the song ‘Art Tastes Better Blind’ which is our track of the day:
Ernest Greene is not the kind of name normally associated with pop glory, so this talented Georgian plies his trade under the more appropriate (actually, perfect for the sounds he creates) Washed Out.
Domino Records subsidiary Weird World will release a new album, Within And Without on July 11th, but the good people at the label haven’t sent us any music yet, no video either…we do, however, have a track listing, to whet your appetite:
1. Eyes Be Closed
3. Amor Fati
5. Far Away
7. You and I
8. Within And Without
9. A Dedication
A European tour immediately follows the release of the new album, with dates just confirmed:
Friday 15th July – Lovebox Weekender, London, UK
Saturday 16th July – Hultsfred Festival, Sweden
Sunday 17th July – Festival De Affaire, Netherlands
Thursday 4th August – Festaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
Sunday 7th August – Nouveau Casino, Paris, France
Saturday 8th August – Deaf Institute, Manchester UK
Tuesday 9th August – Scala, London, UK
Recorded with acclaimed producer Ben Allen, whose production work encompasses Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion, Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere and Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter, Within And Without is a full realisation of the excitement Greene created with his first release, 2009’s Life Of Leisure EP, on the awesome Mexican Summer label.
We go back to that EP for our track of the day, the glorious ‘You’ll See It’. Watch this performance of the track at Pitchfork 2010 here:
You’ve got to go way back to 1989 for this one… a track that really defined an era and confused many folk on the dancefloor I can tell you… as it slooooowwwweeeeeddddd down to a stoppppp….
Lil’ Louis was a popular Chicago house producer during the ’80s who scooped himself a major record deal after the success of this track, which hit the number 2 spot in the UK after being released by FFRR.
Brooklyn’s Bear Hands have pretty much been on the road since the release of their Golden EP in 2007. On this epic journey they have opened for stablemates MGMT as well as Vampire Weekend and The XX to name but a few.
This track ‘Crime Pays’ is taken from their debut album Burning Bush Supper Club, which due to an array of reasons – mental illness, band squabbling and general indecisiveness – took over a year to complete.
For me the sound of Bear Hands is Arcade Fire meets Jake Shears being hit round the head with a shovel in a dirty reverb chamber. Make of that what you will!
Burning Bush Supper Club got it’s U.S release in November 2010.
New England native Merrill Garbus returns, with her first album for two years, ‘Whokill’, the follow up to her highly successful and absolutely original debut, ‘BiRd-BrAiNs’. This single was released a few weeks ago, and it passed us by at the time, but having just received a copy of the new album, which is issued in the UK next Monday, we are starting to warm to this highly innovative act. Scratch that – we LOVE IT.
After a few listens, it’s becoming clear that the addition of bassist Nate Brenner brings a new dimension to the sound, without foregoing the trademark confessional feel of previous recordings. This is a beautifully recorded album, painstakingly created with detailed attention given to each sound, and the results will only serve to grow the fan base of this remarkable talent.
View the video here:
How great are Mozzy Green? It’s quite amazing that after five years of playing the south East England gig circuit, this band are only just now releasing their first record. A highly collectable promo CD of ‘Beware Of Billy’s Ghost’ appeared a couple of years ago, and that track has been made available as a free download this week, at the same time that the aforementioned debut EP is issued.
This EP is not for the casual listener, with MG opting to make their vinyl debut with four songs that pick over the bones of society’s malaise, the subject matter veering from the Stepford wife state of the nation plea that imbues the spirit of opening title track ‘Robots’ to the majestic sorrow of closing track ‘Sharks’. Sandwiched inbetween these two songs are the brooding, Dickensian ‘Dark Clouds Of London’ and ‘House Of Make Believe’ which manages to thrill whilst conveying an air of resignation and acceptance of a dark, unholy world.
The musicianship, vocals, production and passion from all concerned, make this one of the must-buys of this year’s Record Store Day. How great are Mozzy Green? Truly great. Britain’s finest.
Can it really be almost forty years ago, November 8th 1971 to be precise, that Led Zeppelin’s monolithic masterpiece, the legendary untitled fourth record was released? Yes indeed. Has there been an album during the whole of that period that more succinctly defines what we now call classic rock? The Who’s ‘Who’s Next’ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ are also great albums and career high points, and both were also released in 1971, but Led Zeppelin IV has the edge.
Fast forward to May 1975, and Zeppelin’s legendary five night stand at London’s Earl’s court, incredible performances that saw the band at their absolute peak, both artistically and commercially. Three months after the release of their sprawling double album ‘Physical Graffiti’, and the band were back on home soil for the first time in over two years, and more crucially, for the last time for over four years. Each night, the set lasted for three and a half hours, with the exception of the final night, (I WAS THERE!) when the band played a further encore, taking the show to an unprecedented 3:45. From the Earl’s Court residency, here’s their performance of ‘Going To California’, from Zep 4, as rock aficionados called it back then.
The phrase ‘eagerly awaited’ is oft used in the media these days, and is liberally applied in the music press, in particular. However, here is a record that the term was made for. May 9th sees the release of the new album by Wild Beasts. The first single from the album is ‘Albatross’, which Domino Records have already made available as a download. An extremely limited 7” single version will be made available as a record Store Day exclusive on April 16th, and then released as a digital bundle on May 2nd. Here’s the official clip:
The album, Smother, will be released in special formats, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks, and the Kendal quartet will be heading out on a UK tour next month, ably supported by the excellent Summer Camp:
Thu 5th May UK Newcastle Gateshead Old Town Hall SOLD OUT
Fri 6th May UK Glasgow Oran Mor
Saturday 7th May UK Ulverston Coronation Hall
Sun 8th May UK Leeds Brudenell Social Club SOLD OUT + afternoon matinee performance
Mon 9th May UK Leicester Y Theatre
Wed 11th May UK London Wilton’s Music Hall SOLD OUT
Thurs 12th May UK London Wilton’s Music Hall SOLD OUT
Fri 13th May UK Gloucester Guildhall
Sat 14th May UK Sheffield City Hall Grand Ballroom
Sat 4th June Forbidden Fruit Festival Dublin
Sat 11th June Isle of Wight Festival
Sat 6th Aug UK London Victoria Park – Field Day Festival
Fri 2nd September End of the Road Festival