It seems an age since being seduced by the incredibly soulful voice of John Newman on Feel the Love a number one debut single for London band Rudimental. A steady flow of releases from the album Home have followed, all sounding good enough for me to be among the many eagerly anticipating their debut album.
It doesn’t disappoint. Featuring the singles Feel the Love, Not Giving In, Hell Could Freeze (free mp3) and the most recent stonking number one hit Waiting All Night featuring the wonderful voice of Ella Eyre.
Rudimental are a four piece collective based in London who have built a strong reputation on the live circuit as well as winning critical acclaim for the unique music they are producing. A kind of latter day Massive Attack the band appear to have no problem at all in attracting some top voices.
John Newman, Ella Eyre and Angel Haze are all new names to me but each has left a mark on me through their tracks on Home. Despite the trademark clashing live instruments and rapid beats, the soulful vocals from the various artists on Home invariably evoke an almost charming old school flavour.
It is hard to pick out stand out tracks as after a couple of listens the whole thing just flows like a personal playlist, but if pushed I would say Hell Could Freeze featuring New York rapper Angel Haze, a fantastic bitter sweet street record, and surprisingly, as I didn’t like it on first hearing Spoons featuring MNEK and Syron.
Just put it on and party!
Home is the debut album from Rudimental and is available in all formats now.
2. Feel The Love ft. John Newman
3. Right Here ft. Foxes
4. Hell Could Freeze ft. Angel Haze
5. Spoons ft. MNEK & Syron
6. Hide ft. Sinead Harnett
8. More Than Anything ft. Emeli Sandé
9. Not Giving In ft. John Newman & Alex Clare
10. Baby ft. MNEK & Sinead Harnett
11. Waiting All Night ft. Ella Eyre
12. Free ft. Emeli Sandé
Additional tracks on deluxe version
13. Give You Up (ft Alex Clare)
14. Alien Bashment
15. Solo (ft Ella Eyre & Mark Crown)
16. Feel The Love Rudimental VIP (ft John Newman)
Piers Aggett, Amir Amor, Kesi Dryden and Leon Rolle.
Following a recent sold out UK tour Rudimental will be appearing at T in the Park, Global Gathering,Bestival and Glastonbury festivals, with more to be announced soon.
There’s been a lot of talk about polarisation over the past week or so. Commentators across the media discussing a period during the 80’s and 90’s when it was impossible to remain neutral. A time before today’s perceived beigeness when the choices presented to you were so dichotomous and absolute that there was no choice but to align with one side or the other.
But enough of politics. During the 80’s the same stark choices were laid out in pop music. Before Itunes, downloading and the information superhighway, music was scarce. Nowadays it seems you can be equally into Lady Gaga, Fela Kuti, The Parma Violets and Burial. But the scarcity of music back then seemed to concentrate its importance. You loved your favourite bands passionately. The music that you hated represented all that was soulless and evil.
During the reign of Thatcher, Creation Records and bands like the House Of Love represented one side of this divide. You were either My Bloody Valentine or Johnny Hates Jazz; Felt or Annie Lennox; House Of Love or U2.
Before Britpop and the de-indiefication of indie the House Of Love threatened to brook this divide. Their debut album, stuffed with soaring tunes, and the burning intensity of their live shows raised expectations that they would be Creation’s first true breakthrough act. However their narrative arc followed that of so many other bands; from music press darlings to a record label bidding war to collapse under the weight of drugs, ego and mental illness. Apparently lead guitarist Terry Bicker’s departure/ejection from the band was preceded by him singing Sham 69 lyrics over the bands songs at a gig in Wales and then being thrown out the band’s tour bus at a service station on the M4 – I find it difficult to believe that anyone actually knows a gig’s worth of Sham 69 lyrics but it’s a good story. The one-two punch of acid house and grunge finally put pay to the band’s crystalline anthems and that was the end of that.
……until a few years ago when original members songwriter Guy Chadwick, guitarist Terry Bickers and drummer Pete Evans reformed and released an album ‘Days Run Away’ to dreaded ‘critical acclaim’ but not much else. So what to expect from a run of reformation gigs a few years on from the reformation?
The Scala in Kings Cross is packed to the rafters with a combination of indie-genarians and the young and curious. The band arrive to a rapturous reception and it’s just like 1988 all over again.
Songs from the new album ‘She Paints Words in Red’ are a lot mellower than than the average middle aged House of Love fan might be expecting – the excellent ‘Lost In The Blues’ even giving a nod to Curtis Mayfield. But ‘A Baby Got Back On Its Feet’ sees the band cut loose and even ‘rock out’ a bit.
Guy Chadwick’s voice, always much more soulful than your run of the mill indie whiner is as violent and warm as ever but the night really belongs to Terry Bickers. Looking exactly the same as he did 25 years ago – if there was ever a advert for living a roll n roll lifestyle it’s him – he plays like the angelic offspring of Jimmy Page and Will Sargeant and acts like a 14 year old boy who’s won a competition to play on stage with his favourite band. He looks like he’s having an absolute ball.
The atmosphere in the crowd is warm and joyous – it’s like one of those friends and family gigs – and even during the more subdued moments of the set such as The Beatles and The Stones, there’s no exodus to the bar as people remain rapt throughout. The audience ignites during songs like I Don’t Know Why I Love You, Christine and Road and the band seem genuinely amazed at the reaction they get.
Apparently some of the tension that led to Bickers original departure was due to Guy Chambers’ resentment of all the attention given to his guitarist. Well Terry Bickers is still the band’s live focal point. He is electric, magnetic, mesmeric. Hopefully the passing of time has mellowed Chambers frustration as they’re truly compelling performers and it would be a genuine shame if we never got the chance to see the House Of Love live again.
To coincide with six UK shows, this month Cooking Vinyl has released a live album by Counting Crows.
Echoes Of The Outlaw Roadshow was recorded across several dates on their 2012 North American tour and is a true representation of the power and energy of their live shows.
Counting Crows have built a live reputation for powerful live performances and a loyal following that has been built up over the past two decades. Singer and band spokesman, Adam Duritz is pleased to have documented last year’s concerts with this latest album.
“After having one of the best and most adventurous touring years of our career, it’s really satisfying to collect some of the best moments and document them for everyone to hear. I’m glad we didn’t just let the moment pass us by.” Says frontman Adam Duritz.
Counting Crows’ line-up for both the live album and April tour features Adam Duritz (vocals), David Bryson (guitar), Charlie Gillingham (keyboards), Dan Vickrey (guitar), Jim Bogios (drums), David Immergluck (guitar) and Millard Powers (bass).
Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow was recorded and mixed by Shawn Dealey, who worked with the band on their latest studio release Underwater Sunshine.
Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow by Counting Crows track listing:
01 – Girl From the North Country
02 – Round Here
03 – Untitled (Love Song)
04 – Four Days
05 – Hospital
06 – Carriage
07 – Start Again
08 – I Wish I Was A Girl
09 – Sundays
10 – Mercury
11 – Friend of the Devil
12 – Rain King
13 – Le Ballet d’Or
14 – Up All Night (Frankie Miller Goes To Hollywood)
15 – You Ain’t Goin Nowhere
Counting Crows have sold over 20 million albums, including 5 hit albums studio albums both in the UK & US. The music is a smooth blend of influences R.E.M., The Band and Bob Dylan; and at their most rocking, a hint of Nirvana.
Counting Crows UK Tour 2013 dates:
Birmingham O2 Academy
Bristol Colston Hall
London Hammersmith Apollo
London Hammersmith Apollo
Manchester O2 Apollo
Glasgow O2 Academy
Tickets are £33.50 adv Reg / £36.50 Bristol / £37.50 London (all subject to booking fee). Lucy Rose is supporting.
Spectral Dusk is a beautifully haunting album that documents the painful loss of the death of Jonas Bonnetta’s father. Blending alternative folk pop, minimal soundscapes and atmospheric field recordings with Jonas Bonnetta’s sullen voice, Spectral Dusk includes 12 heartbreaking tracks, that will resonate with fans of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, The Wilderness of Manitoba, Josh T. Pearson and Bon Iver.
Recorded in a log cabin in Northern Ontario, Spectral Dusk, like with debut ‘Spirit Guides’, was recorded out of the studio with the intention of bringing with it human reference. The warm and ambient tone of the record is often set by the crackling of fires and the popping of ice in bourbon.
Beginning in mono with gentle whirring electronics, Jonas Bonnetta transports the listener into his world of sorrow and grieving.
‘Family Tree’ explores the notion of severing ties with relatives and the restraints of traditional family structures that echoes Josh T Pearson’s ‘Country Dumb’.
The gentle, sad but soothing strings of ‘Irving Lake Access Road‘ create a solemn soundscape reminiscent to Sigur Ros at their most minimalist. The title refers to a place that Bonetta & his father frequently visited during their lives together. This is followed by ‘Song To Sleep to‘ with the sad lamented lyrics “Here’s a song for dad to sleep to. Rest your weary legs and fall asleep.”
At the point of reflecting on your own morality, the album finishes with ‘Spectral Dusk’ a poignant letter penned to his father that contains another field recording from ‘The Burn’.
Evening Hymns is centred around Jonas Bonnetta and a rotating collective of musicians which includes members of Ohbijou, The Wooden Sky, The Burning Hell, The D’Urbervilles and Forest City Lovers.
Bonnetta himself says he wanted to create “spaces for reflection, rather than bombarding the listener simply with eleven crisp songs. This is an important element of listening to music, which is now missing on most boards much. I often miss the opportunity of a mental escape.”
Evening Hymns new album ‘Spectral Dusk‘ shows an artist with his heart and soul cut deep and open. There is pain, sadness, but most of all a deep love for what is a truly beautifully moving account of one man’s love and grief for another.
Evening Hymns UK Tour Dates
20.05.13 Coventry, Taylor John’s House
21.05.13 Glasgow, Pivo Pivo
22.05.13 Durham, Old Cinema
23.05.13 London, The Slaughtered Lamb
Evening Hymns new album ‘Spectral Dusk‘ was released on 8th April 2013 on Tin Angel Records.
A timely reissue of Billy MacKenzie’s first solo album ‘Outernational‘ plus bonus tracks. William MacArthur “Billy” MacKenzie first came to musical prominence through his involvement in the much loved band The Associates in the early 1980’s. This was his first album release after the split with fellow Associate, Alan Rankine.
The album was originally released in 1992 on Circa Records and contains the two singles ‘Baby‘ and ‘Colours Will Come‘.
This digitally remastered ‘extended edition’ CD features the ten tracks of the original album release and four bonus tracks including mixes/remixes of ‘Colours Will Come – US 60659 Mix‘ by Larry Heard, ‘Feels Like The Richtergroove‘ by Mike Koglin, ‘Look What You’ve Done – Marital Mix‘ and the beautiful ‘Because You Love‘.
The CD booklet features an expanded version of the original artwork and includes a detailed UK discography and sleeve notes.
Speaking of the ‘Outernational‘ album to Record Collector magazine in 1994 MacKenzie gave his impression of the album “I think it has a glacial beauty. It doesn’t always have to be demonstrative. Fire can burn, but so can ice. And that would direct the attention to the lyrical content as well. Some of it had a lot of religious connotations, like “Colours Will Come”. I think that it’s an emotionally detached album in some ways, but it also has a strong message. Maybe it appeared like I wasn’t trying or expressing, or that there was a block. But it wasn’t. There was a calmness and a lot of beauty in that album.
Billy MacKenzie committed suicide following the death of his mother aged just 39 on 22nd January 1997, leaving behind a lasting musical legacy.
The expanded edition of ‘Outernational‘ by Billy Mackenzie is released on Cherry Red Records.
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