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The Last Days Of Rock & Roll : The Snakes

13 Apr
The Last Days Of Rock & Roll

The Last Days Of Rock & Roll

Soon come: The Snakes on Bucketfull Of Brains Records (BoB 131)

AmericanaUK’s ‘new heroes of British country rock’ are back, with a new drummer, former Mega City Four sticksman Chris Jones, to celebrate the release of a much anticipated third album: The Last Days Of Rock & Roll.

The eclectic new album sees the band expanding on their established alt-country repertoire from Stonesesque country swagger through soulful Celtic folk to the dirty rock & roll of Mott The Hoople and Mink Deville, sharing a bottle of bourbon with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan along the way.

The Last Days Of Rock & Roll is also the first Snakes album to feature a cover version, with enigmatic ‘The French Girl’, a long lost gem discovered via Gene Clark, and also revisited by Bob Dylan on the Basement Tapes.

The Last Days Of Rock & Roll is not a lament, but a declaration of defiance in an age of intangible downloads and disposable talent shows. It expands on its critically acclaimed predecessor Sometime Soon, with the added instrumentation of violin, sitar, saxophone and pedal steel, plus a special guest appearance from Redlands Palomino’s singer Hannah Elton-Wall on the dynamic country rock opener ‘Too Hard’.

‘The Band Played On’, a song originating from a wild jam session, accelerates from coiled potential energy to a frenzied rock & roll crescendo. Lyrically prescient, it foretold of the subsequent line up change…”I should have known there was something wrong, when the drummer stopped and the band played on”.

The freewheeling rock & roll stomp of ‘Here We Go Again’ written by guitarist Richard, sees the band revelling in booze and blues a la The Faces and Stones, in a perennial tale of tavern banter.

‘Three Little Wishes’ is a heartfelt promise of love from father to child, wistfully delivered by Simon to his daughter, while the hauntingly poignant ‘Jerry’s Chair’, with an intro shrouded in Celtic mist, mourns the loss of Johnny’s father, as seen through the eyes of his drinking buddies.

‘Look What We Could Have Been’, is The Snakes with the dial set to ‘epic’; Simon’s tailor-made classic, stitched with vintage cloth left over from the making of Ian Hunter’s flares.

The title track ‘The Last Days Of Rock & Roll’, featuring a guest ‘choir’, is a song of two halves : three minutes of enticingly crafted lyrics and chords, followed by three minutes of one single chord in a glorious extravaganza, that builds like a tower of power, in an unstoppable homage to the golden age of rock & roll, turning the vibes up to eleven!

Over the last ten years, The Snakes have become known as the bad boys of alt-Country, with their guitar-fuelled rock & roll, Uncut Magazine dubbed them as ‘Muswell Hill’s own Whiskeytown’ following their appearance on Clubhouse Records’ compilation CD, Divided By A Common Language – A Collection Of UK Americana.

Their debut album, Songs From The Satellites (2006), brought them to the attention of legendary BBC Radio 2 broadcasters Bob Harris and Mark Lamarr, who both declared themselves fans of the band, with Mark Lamarr inviting them into the studio for a live session, having been particularly impressed by the dark, twang laden delights of ‘I’ll Be Around’.

The second album, Sometime Soon…(2010), brought further rave reviews including four stars in Uncut Magazine, along with repeated weekly airplay on Mark Lamaar’s BBC Radio 2 show, as well as other national and international airplay, notably on Ireland’s RTE1.

Furthering their International reputation the band were included alongside the likes of Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Kevin Costner, on a double CD compilation album released in Germany entitled Country Rock Heads Vol.1 (2011)

With a reputation on the rise, the songs to back it up and a Chinese calendar to hand, one thing is certain; 2013 will not be The Last Days Of Rock & Roll for The Snakes!

And the band played on…

L-R: Chris, Johnny, Simon & Richard

L-R: Chris, Johnny, Simon & Richard

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Red-letter Jack Day

14 Jan

The First Ten: BoB123

Today’s the day. Jack Day’s The First Ten now available.

AmericanaUK, Beat Surrender, and Fatea like it, and Q Magazine says it’s the Roots Album of The Month

Q Review

Visit Jack’s website

Jack Day set to launch long-awaited debut album The First Ten on Bucketfull Of Brains on Tues 27th November

3 Nov

The First Ten is the long awaited debut album from much-loved London songwriter Jack Day. Set for release on Bucketfull Of Brains on January 14th, the album contains ten self-penned songs beautifully written and performed by the young singer-songwriter who has been become a ‘must see’ on the thriving London scene.

The First Ten is a solo record – raw and intense. As Day says, “It’s also formative, the first record I’ve made about some of the first things I’ve learnt and some of the first things I’ve said goodbye to. There’s a lot of love in there, a bit of London and a bit of hurt. The songs are delivered straight, recorded by beautiful old mics by veteran engineer Brian O’Shaughnessy (Primal Scream, Beth Orton, Denim, lots of 80s dub and more) at Bark Studios in Blackhorse Road, North-East London. There was a gorgeous old Fender valve amp for the telecaster and upright piano sweet with age; you can hear the foot pedals on the recording. It’s that type of deal. At the front end of recording I was listening to blues and country, from Son House to Townes and all of those; at the back end I was on Otis Redding and Springsteen”

There is an underlining passion and integrity that permeates these songs giving them a truly up-front and personal feel. The opening ‘I Often Think Of You,’ driven along by heavy fast fingerpicking and hand clapping, reflects Day’s early years on the road whilst ‘Birdsong’ offers an altogether different sonic template, a driving telecaster the background to a now trademark blistered voice. The folk-esque ‘Snow and Sleet’ falls in the storytelling acoustic tradition of the likes of Rambling Jack Elliott (a major influence on the young North Londoner) whilst the truly stunning piano-led ‘No One Moves Like You’ just underlines what an incredible songwriter Day has become imbuing within its powerful verses self-reflection, hope, and the trials and tribulations of being an artist. There is even a sublime acoustic gospel vibe on the glorious ‘I Have Been Conveyed’, a track that echoes Dylan in his more religious periods.  The album features Bryony Afferson, Pepe Belmonte and Graham Knight.

Jack Day grew up in Hornsey, North London, yet began his musical career whilst living in Brighton. Inspired by likes of the afore mentioned Elliott and Woody Guthrie he began appearing around the capital’s ‘folk’ clubs like Easycome and the famous Lantern Society, then run by Trevor Moss And Hannah-Lou. In 2011, with fellow London troubadour Benjamin Folke Thomas, Day took over running the club that has always been a bedrock to London’s emerging singer-songwriters.  Day has toured Europe and the UK and is lining up a tour to support the release of The First Ten.

Prior to the UK release The Greatest Records have a vinyl-only release of The First Ten available from 29th November. Jack tours Europe from 14th November.

Jack plays a UK launch show for The First Ten at The Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston on Tues 27th November where a limited quantity of pre-release CDs will be available.

John Murry UK Tour: January 2013

26 Oct

We are very pleased to announce John Murry’s debut solo tour of the UK in January 2013; tickets are now on sale for all shows.

Wed Jan 23:   Celtic Connections at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
Appearing as special guest of The Cowboy Junkies
Info & tickets

Thurs Jan 24: The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
Info & tickets

Sat Jan 26: Open House at The Green Room at The Black Box, Belfast (3.00pm show)
Info & tickets

Sun Jan 27: Whelans,  Dublin
Info & tickets

Tues Jan 29: The Borderline, London
Info & tickets

Wed Jan 30: The Railway, Winchester
Info & tickets

Thurs Jan 31:  The Bullingdon,  Oxford
Info & tickets

Photo by Amoreena Berg

Edward Rogers plays The Half Moon, Putney next Monday 27th Oct

23 Oct

BoB’s own Edward Rogers whose Porcelain album we released in Europe earlier in the year is playing at the Half Moon in Putney next Monday evening. He’s opening up for The Kennedys at their London album release show. Ed will be joined by Pete Kennedy and James Mastro; the latter last spotted in the capital last Friday night in Ian Hunter’s band at the spectacular Shepherds Bush Empire show.


The Kennedys’ new album is Closer Than You Know

“In a career that now spans two decades, New York duo Maura and Pete Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape, surveying power pop, acoustic songwriting, organic rock rooted in their early days in Austin, and a Byrds-inspired jangle that drew the attention of McGuinn, Steve Earle, and most notably Nanci Griffith. The duo co-produced Nanci’s latest CD, and are currently touring the US and the British Isles with the Texas songstress. Alan Harrison of Made in Newcastle said “Opening act, the Kennedys, had a nice line in Country-folk with a quaintly English edge to it and songs like When I go and The Midnight Ghost, won them plenty of new fans, as was witnessed by the long queue buying up their CD’s at the intermission.

On their new release, Closer Than You Know, out on August 21, 2012 via Burnside Distribution in the United States, and October 15, 2012 via Proper Distribution in the UK, The Kennedys strike out into new territory, this time inspired by a sojourn in Paris, where they immersed themselves in the turn of another century, the time when Debussy and Ravel were inventing the sonic palette of modern music. No strangers to reinvention, Pete and Maura came up with a cappuccino-fueled concept at a small café in Montmartre: music inspired by the Impressionist composers, married to the rock and pop sounds for which the duo have long been known. In the spirit of Paris-trained composer Burt Bacharach and his lyricist partner Hal David, Pete took on the task of creating musical landscapes that would cushion Maura’s lyrics and bell-like harmonies. The songs have a quality, inherent in Maura’s voice, that is both soothing and urgent. As writers and producers, the Kennedys continue to mature, from their early style-conscious pop to today’s burnished sheen. Always tuned to their own muse, Pete and Maura have once again come up with a unique sound that is as uplifting as it is unclassifiable.”

John Murry reviewed: online notices

6 Aug

John Murry‘s The Graceless Age has been gleaning a lot of very good notices online too. Here’s a selection:

From Electric Ghost

 

An interview with AmericanaUK

“My name is John Murry. I do as little as possible and make as much noise as is allowed by my family, neighbours, and law enforcement officials. Sometimes I record it”

Read it here

 

A review in Blabber’n’Smoke

“A dark cousin to Brian Wilsons’ California dreaming perhaps, with the dense and elaborate Southern Sky a contender for song of the year as it pounds and insinuates its way into the listener’s brain.”

Read it all here

 

A review in Flyin’ Shoes

“Astonishingly complex sounds woven together here that will take a long time to reveal all the secrets of their making.”

Read it all here

John Murry reviewed: The printed word

6 Aug

John Murry‘s The Graceless Age has been gleaning a lot of very good notices over the last few weeks so here’s a go at getting a taste of it all in one place:

From Uncut

There’s also a couple of nice mentions in Uncut editor Allan Jones’ blog posts on Bob Dylan’s Tempest and Tim Mooney.

STOP PRESS: just added to Uncut’s blog is the full interview from which the Q & A was taken.

From Q

From The Sun

From The Daily Mirror

From The Independent On Sunday

Read it here

John Murry’s The Graceless Age is released today

2 Jul

It’s 2nd July, John Murry’s The Graceless Age is released today, and people have already made some telling comments about it:

“A dark and festering masterpiece”.
Allen Jones: Uncut

As brown as the Mississippi and as fraught with undercurrents.”
Nick Coleman: Independent On Sunday

“A mind-numbingly, indescribable, life-altering, bone rattle of an album. First listen left me dumbstruck, and every listen since has had me pretty much questioning the genius of any album I’ve ever considered to be so.”
Lonesome Drifter: Sussex DJ, promoter, agent.

Dark and with its roots deep in country music, but it may be necessary to come up with a new genre for this highly original artist!
American Roots Music

Also read this splendid review from John Davy on Flyin’ Shoes

Distributed by Proper

Buy at Amazon, Rough Trade and all good record shops

Visit John Murry’s website, his blog, and follow him on Twitter

Life in the young dogs yet

5 Jun

Amused to discover reviews of Ben and Trent stashed away at the bottom of Rumbles for May on the Terrascope website. Curious as to why they didn’t identify their record label.

“The self-titled EP offering by Benjamin Folke Thomas is a collection of six songs that for some reason reminded me of Van Morrison – perhaps the style of the singing, though Thomas’ voice is not much like Van The Man’s. ‘Rhythm & Blues’ is a great little song, with a tune, a great arrangement and much zest; presented in the ‘seventies it would have been a big hit. ‘Can’t Live That Way’ is slower and more confessional, while ‘Nothing Next To You’ is an impassioned call, with nice mandolin strumming in the background, giving it a hint of REM perhaps. ‘Hole In My Heart Blues’ brings in the lap steel guitar and is melancholy, while EP closer ‘Paradise Lost (Heaven Found)’ is essentially the man and his guitar. An enjoyable listen, this EP, with depth, great songs and top performances.”

“Label mates Trent Miller & The Skeleton Jive bring Thomas in on a couple of tracks for their album ‘Welcome To Inferno Valley,’ wherein Trent Miller sings in world-weary, gritty tones – one of those voices ruined by decades of smoking and bad luck, although judging by the CD front cover the man himself is young. Opener ‘Inferno Valley’ tells a tale of despair and no redemption, the backing band essentially acoustic guitars, violin and a few patters of percussion. ‘Last Chance Motel’ is uptempo and Americana, with a strong tune carried by that distinctive voice. ‘Nowhere Road’ is a ‘lonesome trail’ song, ‘Whispers Of A Fool,’ covers the fairer sex, ‘Fear Of Flying’ is in similar territory (“one too many drinks”) but adds backing vocals for a fuller effect, while ‘Come Down To Murder Love’ is a terrific vocal performance of dark material. The brief ‘Witch Trials’ is deceptively jaunty, while ‘Hunters In The Twilight’ is a slow, mournful track where Miller’s voice is as whiskey-ravaged and throaty as it is possible to be. Lovers of tale-telling Americana will enjoy this one.”

‘John made a record’: Chuck Prophet on John Murry

14 May


It’s come to my attention that you’d like some words from me on my buddy John Murry. I suppose I could come up with a blurb or two or twelve. God knows I’ve written a few – and more than a couple for myself.

John made a record. And it’s great. You know that, of course. Maybe we all do. When he was making it we got together and we talked about it. We had deep conversations on the merits of being certifiably insane. And we came to the conclusion that it beats dressing like you’re homeless. Beyond that, I don’t know what to add. I could dress it up in purple but, like I was saying, we decided insanity beats dressing like you’re homeless. So we’re fairly well attired these days.

John made a record. What’s amazing is that he did it somehow in spite of himself. In spite of the fact that he claims he can’t play the guitar. And that he’s lazy. And that he’s totally unwilling to buy ‘gay ass Serge Gainsbourg records’ and sit in bars in the Mission listening to some dude ‘spin records’ from the 80’s for the sake of irony. Aside from all that John is a seriously complicated dude. For one, he can spend money like nobody’s business and doesn’t seem worried about making much of it. He taught me that money is some magical shit. As you can imagine, that got my attention. So we went out for ice cream (I was buying). John told me more secrets. We do that sort of thing; ‘Ladies (who are men – we believe) who lunch’.

I like the fact that there’s a picture somewhere of John – a picture of Barry Hannah holding him (and a drink) when he was just a baby. Hannah was friends with his (John’s) dad. Hannah fairly recently lived with John’s little brother or something, before he went to meet his maker (who makes Barry Hannah?). The first day he was there he demanded the kid “go get some pussy” and he bought them both .357’s. I don’t know where those .357’s are now. But Hannah is gone daddy gone. Of course, we’ll never stop reading him.

Anyway, John made this record and it’s pretty cool. He went up the mountain and talked to the elephant, as we used to say. I don’t pretend to know what was moving through his veins when he made it (do we need to?). All I know for sure is that I enjoy eating ice cream with John. So, in an effort to get to the heart of what this record means, I asked him what drove him to make it. He promised me he had a manifesto and he’d share it with me when he was ready. And though it wasn’t clear just what it was – he said he could come up with them (manifestos) all day long. That’s true. And that he’s happy to run his mouth, and the shit that comes out will always run golden, that is, too. Opinions really are like assholes. Of course assholes are truly great, absolutely necessary, and interesting parts of the human body. Which is really my way of saying that John made a cool record and that you might want to seek it out. It’s worth the seeking. It’s never a bad idea to keep an eye on John. Not because he’s dangerous, but because you’ll miss something. An idiotic musician renting space at the studio once found out John was addicted to heroin. In a ridiculous move to endear himself to the ‘better’ of us there (what a fool!), he expressed concern over John’s presence – as if he and his shit were in danger. I’ll tell you what I told him: “Don’t ever underestimate John Murry. Don’t ever presume to know.” I was wary of that drummer after that. Never have been of John. Not when he was high as a kite with no string, or crazy as a loon with no meds, or sane as a professor with too many books. John Murry is John Murry. That’s kinda that. What John wanted more than drums or money wasn’t never what they thought. He gave it all away, anyhow. It still isn’t. He fears absolution and embraces condemnation. He loves the hated and hates the loved. And I think we all oughta pay attention now. He never needed Bob The opposite was true. Down at the studio we all knew it. John is just now – maybe, hopefully – figuring that one out. If he does – if he has – then there’s more to come. I’m waiting. We all should.

Onwards,

Chuck Prophet