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Wreckless Eric and Rosco (and Amy and Barry) on tour

14 Nov

Eric Sterling

Eric Goulden aka Wreckless Eric is in Europe for a bunch of shows kicking off next week in Cologne and finishing up in the UK in December. His band comprises Amy Rigby, Barry Payne, and Sterling Roswell. Sterling’s going to be opening the shows solo.

Fire Records are continuing their reissue programme on Eric and the latest, out on 1st December, is The Hitsville House Band’s 12 o’clock Stereo. This combo with drummer Denis Baudrillart and bassist Fabrice Lombardo was originally formed to back up the legendary guitarist and bibliophile Martin Stone but outgrew the project, and thus in 1996 12 o’clock Stereo appeared, while Martin went on to release Les Homewreckers with Laurence Barma.

It’s a cracking album and it’s great to have it back. No introduction’s needed for opener ‘Kilburn Lane’ a live staple; then there’s classic country tune ‘Friends On The Floor’, and the rockabilly shuffle ‘The Guitar Shaped Swimming Pool’ (check it out below). Dire warnings of the perils of country living inhabit ‘The Marginal’ and ‘The Twilight Home’, while ‘Miriam’ and her interplanetary romance and Eric’s passion for ‘The Girl With The Wandering Eye’ skirt the borders of teenage perversity; so yes that good.

Touring from Friday next week:

21 Nov: King Georg, Cologne, Germany
22 Nov: Merleyn, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
23 Nov: Le Guess Who, Utrecht, The Netherlands
25 Nov: Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
26 Nov: Crystal Club, Berlin, Germany
28 Nov: Blau, Mannheim, Germany
29 Nov: Atomic Café, Munich, Germany
01 Dec: El Lokal, Zurich, Switzerland
02 Dec: La Popartiserie, Strasbourg, France
05 Dec: Purple Weekend Festival, Leon, Spain (The Len Bright Combo)
06 Dec: Purple Weekend Festival, Leon, Spain (Wreckless Eric solo set)
10 Dec New Adelphi, Hull, UK
11 Dec: Broadcast, Glasgow, UK
13 Dec: 100 Club, London, UK
14 Dec: The Prince Albert, Brighton, UK

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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

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

Bill Fay releases new album Life Is People on August 21st

31 May

Fascinating news breaks today that Bill Fay has a new album coming out in August on Dead Oceans. Seem to remember seeing him performing briefly at the Tapestry Club a few years back.

From Dead Oceans:

“Bill Fay is one of English music’s best kept secrets – a genuine national treasure. Back at the dawn of the 1970s, he was a one-man song factory, with a piano that spilled liquid gold and a voice every bit the equal of Ray Davies, John Lennon, early Bowie, or Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker. He made two solo albums but his contract wasn’t renewed, leaving his LPs and his reputation to become cult items, later name-dropped by the likes of Nick Cave, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Jim O’Rourke. But he never stopped writing, and the music kept on coming. Now, in his late sixties, he has produced Life Is People, a brand new studio album that shows his profoundly humanist vision is as strong as it ever was.

Bill Fay was born in North London, where he still lives. His debut on the underground Decca Nova label, Bill Fay (1970), included spacious big band jazz arrangements by Mike Gibbs, but it was the follow-up, Time Of The Last Persecution (1971), that cemented his reputation – a harrowing, philosophical and painfully honest diagnosis of an unhealthy society and a messed-up planet, that featured the cream of London’s fieriest jazz session players such as guitarist Ray Russell. Unable to make ends meet as a musician, Fay wandered through a succession of jobs for years, writing songs privately. His albums were reissued in 1998 after being deleted for 27 years, and when the likes of Jeff Tweedy and David Tibet (Current 93) began singing his praises in the early 2000s, Bill began to come back into view. A third album, recorded piecemeal in the late 70s, was released in 2005 as Tomorrow Tomorrow And Tomorrow, by The Bill Fay Group. And Wilco even convinced the shy singer to join them onstage in London in 2007.

A CD of Bill’s early demos and home recordings has also since emerged, but Life Is People is his first properly crafted studio album since 1971. He was motivated by American producer Joshua Henry, a fan who had grown up listening to the Bill Fay albums in his Dad’s record collection. Spooling through Bill’s home demos, Joshua discovered an incredible trove of material and decided to do something about it. Guitarist Matt Deighton (Oasis, Paul Weller, Mother Earth) assembled a cast of backup musicians to bring out the songs’ full potential, Tim Weller (who’s played drums for everyone from Will Young to Noel Gallagher and Goldfrapp), and keyboardist Mikey Rowe (High Flying Birds, Stevie Nicks, etc). In addition, Bill is reunited on several tracks with Ray Russell and drummer Alan Rushton, who played on Time Of The Last Persecution.

And it’s a stunning return to form. The lush and expansive effect is completed by a cello, string quartet and a gospel choir, electric organs and pianos and a rich weave of acoustic and electric guitars. Ranging from intimate to cosmic, epic but never grandiose, Bill’s deeply committed music reminds you of important, eternal truths, and the lessons to be drawn from the natural world, when the materiality and greed threaten to engulf everything.

From the Eden-like hope for a better world in the opening ‘There Is A Valley’ to the street sweeper gazing past the neon lights to the heavens in ‘City Of Dreams’; from the grand historical sweep of ‘Big Painter’ to the compassionate hopefulness of ‘The Healing Day’; Bill’s perceptive songs strike at the heart of the big issues facing us all today. But they’re humble and down to earth too, full of striking images: witness the panoramic ‘Cosmic Concerto (Life Is People)’, with its windblown seeds and grandmas blowing kisses into prams: as rapturous and soul-stirring as any music you’ll hear this year.

It’s time to recognise one of the great English voices. After nearly 50 years, Bill Fay has finally delivered his masterpiece. ”

Life Is People Track Listing
There Is A Valley
Big Painter
The Never Ending Happening
This World
The Healing Day
City of Dreams
Be At Peace With Yourself
Jesus, Etc.
Empires
Thank You Lord
Cosmic Concerto (Life is People)
The Coast No Man Can Tell

PRAISE FOR BILL FAY

“I can’t think of anyone whose records have meant more in my life.” -Jeff Tweedy

“Each one of the records Bill Fay has put out in four decades is different, and each is indispensable. His graceful melodies, elegantly plain lyrics, and mystical tenderness towards all life move me like little else does. He is rock music’s conscience.” -Will Sheff

‘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

Hymns – a new Cardinal album after 18 years

5 Nov

18 years after the release of their landmark self-titled debut, Cardinal – the recording collaboration between Richard Davies and Eric Matthews – Cardinal are preparing to unveil their sophomore album.  The new record, entitled Hymns, picks up where their debut left off – well-crafted, layered orchestral pop, with Matthews’ multi-instrumental talents enhancing Davies’ sublime songwriting gems.

Hymns comprises ten new originals, another milestone in the band’s quest to provide the missing link in chamber pop history, following the Beatles and Bee Gees and before Belle & Sebastian, and a worthy follow up to their self-titled debut, a record lauded then, and now, as one of the most important albums of the 90s.

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Let’s Go Eat The Factory – A new Guided By Voices album for 2012

4 Nov

Guided By Voices classic lineup to release Let’s Go Eat The Factory, first album of new material in fifteen years.

After a fifteen year hiatus, the ‘classic line up’ of Guided By Voices (Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos, and Kevin Fennell) finishes off its year-long reunion tour by releasing an album of 21 new songs, deliberately choosing to return to what bandleader Robert Pollard calls the ‘semi-collegial’ approach of iconic GBV albums like Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. Let’s Go Eat The Factory is much more than a mere return, however: sprawling, variegated, heavy, melodic, and yet still recognizably and coherently Guided By Voices in both its literal and mythic senses.

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Girl Singer – Tell Her What She’s Won

6 Sep

Girl SingerCast your mind back to 1995 and Glitterhouse released an album Bees To The Honey recorded in Seattle by Carolyn Wennblom. She’s backed up by a whole host of the city’s best musicians: Walkabouts Terri Moeller, Carla Torgerson and Michael Wells along with Terry Lee Hale, John Ramberg and a bunch of others. An interesting collection of songs including an otherwise unheard Chris Eckman composition ‘Morningstar’ and a rare cover of Jimmy Silva‘s ‘Tell It To The Raven’.

16 years on and Carolyn has a new record under the moniker Girl Singer. Terri Moeller’s involved again as are Chris Eckman, Paul Austin, Chris Brokaw (now based in Seattle himself) and various others. You can listen to the whole record at Bandcamp, and then you can buy it.