Monday 30 April 2012

Review: Royal Southern Brotherhood

Royal Southern Brotherhood – S/T (Ruf)
Collaborative projects between independently well-known artists (or ‘Supergroups’ as they are sometimes optimistically referred to) can be a hit and miss proposition, but they never lack interest. Presumably the ‘Royal’ tag as applied here is a (hopefully tongue-in-cheek) reference to the presence of Devon Allman and Cyril Neville, members of two of the most esteemed families in Southern American rock and roll; but the inclusion of rhythm section Charlie Wooten (bass, ex-Woods Brothers) and Yonrico Scott (drums, Derek Trucks Band, Greg Allman Band) and guitarist/singer Mike Zito does little to detract from the overall gravitas. With three established vocalists and two top notch guitarists there’s plenty to build on around here, and although there’s no discernible effort to break new musical ground all play to their respective and collective strengths.

As the singers go, Neville sounds unsurprisingly more soulful, Allman rockier and Zito slightly edgier, but all have strong, rounded voices, which bring out the best in their own material and work well in combination. The playing throughout is robust blues-rock in the main, enlivened by flashes of funk, but always solid and committed, and rarely clich├ęd or predictable. The best songs are generally penned by Allman Jr., ‘Left My Heart in Memphis’ and the emphatic ‘Gotta Keep Rockin’’ being particular stand-outs; but Zito/Neville co-writes ‘Moonlight Over the Mississippi’ and the plaintive ‘Ways About You’ work well too. ‘Fire on the Mountain’ is a nice surprise – a song which didn’t work over-well for the Grateful Dead given a deserved second life in the band’s sympathetic re-reading, while instrumental finale ‘Brotherhood’ signs off with a gentle flourish. Overall, a decent debut from an interesting project that should impress further as it finds its feet.
Neil B.


Review: Rotzkotz

Rotzkotz - Much Funny (Sireena Records)
For those that were there, German punk band Rotzkotz’s six week residency in the spring of 1978 at Nuneaton’s notorious ’77 Club remains the stuff of legend. They quickly established themselves as the most provocative support act of their day, inciting eager audiences who had turned out early for local luminaries The Crones, The Seamen and Bulkington’s roots reggae royalty, Mr Whippy. In turn, Rotzkotz spawned a tribe of their own, providing black pudding suppers at free gigs on Thursday nights and Sunday lunchtimes; and three weeks in, the blank generation were flocking from as far afield as Old Arley and Barnacle for a taste of their exotic fruit.

Inevitably, and in tune with the times, every high was matched with a deeper low. In the end it wasn’t the spilt blood or the structural damage that saw their tenure revoked and their persons given a police escort to the ferry, but the women. While Camp Hill’s Karen Deeming and Blackatree’s Sandra McTragic fought like cats on the dance floor for the attention of the blond haired blue eyed lead singer, the tandem ministrations of Stockingford identical twins Shelley and Marsha Grubb interfered with the drummer’s rhythm to disastrous effect. The deterioration of artistic quality might have escaped unnoticed, but the spectacular mid-encore arrival of Mrs Valerie Pugh, mother of the thirteen year-old Joan, with two older brothers, the priest, and the local bobby in attendance, did not. Ironically it would be the twelve song main set the band completed on that fatal final night that went on to form the basis of their sole vinyl LP, cut in 48 hours at a studio in Lower Saxony a full year later, once the band members’ respective debts to society had been paid in full.

It could have been so different. If all this were true, Rotzkotz would live forever in our collective cultural memory of the Punk Wars (not to mention the chiselled features of Mrs Pugh’s great-grandson, Helmut) growing more illustrious with passing time, regardless of merit. Instead, (to the best of my knowledge) they never made it to the UK at all. They never supported The Crones or The Seamen, and the Queens Road, Nuneaton (where the’77 Club would go on to host The Lurkers, The Rezillos and U2 for its sins) never became their Reeperbahn.

‘Much Funny’ was indeed cut in Lower Saxony in 1979, and contains twelve tracks of authentic, angry, lo-fi punk which has dated no better and no worse than much of the local label stuff of the period which is still surfacing from lofts and garages and being transferred to digital for re-issue as we speak. It stakes a claim to being the first self-produced German punk record and a precursor to the Hanover rock scene, and who can argue; but sadly, without the myths and legends that still endure for many of our own also-ran new-wavers, there isn’t much of a hook for UK listeners to hang their hats on. Perhaps though, if we all agree to stand by the tall story above, and if we wish really hard, we can create enough of a fable to enshrine Rotzkotz, even at this late hour, as our favourite German D.I.Y. punk band of all time.
Neil B.


The Archers: 29/04/2012


Carl pays a surprise visit. Meanwhile Alice is keen to help.

Alan senses that Usha is preoccupied, and assumes it's something at work. Before Usha can say anything, Amy bounces in to tell them Carl will be round later.

Carl arrives with gifts for Usha and Alan. He's remembered that Alan likes Rioja. Usha comments that a good memory must be very useful – in his work. Carl freely talks about seeing Usha last week.

Alan invites Carl round for a meal but Carl can't make it this week as he's away on business. Alan really likes Carl.

Usha rings Ruth to see if she's free for lunch tomorrow.

There's no change with Adam. Alice plays a CD, in the hope that he can hear it. Jennifer just wishes Debbie could be there.

When Ian arrives, Peggy and Lilian are chatting to Adam about Darrel and Elona. Ian thinks it's good for Adam to hear something new. He agrees with Alice that everyone's got their own special relationship with Adam.

Ian and Jennifer tell Adam how much they love him and how everyone needs him back.

Episode written by Mary Cutler

Saturday 28 April 2012

The Archers: 27/04/2012


The family waits anxiously. Meanwhile Ian is in need of support.

Usha's pleased to see Alan, but he's concerned that she seems distracted. She's just about to tell him about the night she bumped into Carl when they're interrupted by a call from Ruth, giving them the news about Adam. Ruth's worried about David; it's echoes of Nigel. Usha asks if it could really be that serious for Adam. Ruth says it's hard to tell until he wakes up - if he wakes up.

The police have interviewed David, and he tells Ruth he's identified the men who were in the van.

Ian's talking to unconscious Adam in the hope that it'll help. He and Jennifer share a moment. She's been through something similar with Brian in the past. Ian says they've told him Adam doesn't need surgery, so surely he'll wake up soon.

Brian's kicking himself for not having been at the farm yesterday. Ian consoles him. He couldn't have done anything to stop it. Ian confides to Alan that if Adam doesn't wake up he doesn't know what he's going to do. Alan volunteers to sit with Adam while Ian gets some rest. Ian poignantly tells Adam that it's time he started waking up. When Ian gets back, he wants Adam awake and being as grumpy as ever.

Episode written by Mary Cutler

Friday 27 April 2012

The Proclaimers: album and tour...

The Proclaimers, Craig & Charlie Reid, celebrate their 25th Anniversary with the new CD 'Like Comedy'
Cooking Vinyl, released May 7, 2012.
First single, Spinning Around In The Air, April 30, 2012
UK festivals this summer; UK tour in the autumn

Since coming off the road in the summer 2010 after a 15 month world tour, Craig and Charlie Reid spent a year writing, subsequently recording their ninth studio album, Like Comedy, in September 2011 in Bath with producer Steve Evans at the helm.  

The Proclaimers will have a busy summer in the UK and Europe, including headlining the Hebridean and Big Tent festivals in Scotland, the Cambridge Folk Festival and main-stage appearances at the V Festivals.  October and November will see a 28 date UK tour.

As well as writing the script, Matt Lucas has made his director's debut on the video for the single  'Spinning Around In The Air' (UK release 30th April).

16 Oct              Kings Lynn, Corn Exchange                          
17 Oct              St Albans, Alban Arena                                 
18 Oct              Shrewsbury, Theatre Severn                          
20 Oct              Preston, Charter Theatre                                
21 Oct              Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall                     
22 Oct              York, Grand Opera House                             
24 Oct              Bristol, 02 Academy                                     
25 Oct              London, 02 Shepherd's Bush Empire            
26 Oct              Salisbury, City Hall                                        
28 Oct              Guildford, G Live                                        
29 Oct              Salford, The Lowry                                       
30 Oct              Leicester, De Montfort Hall     
1 Nov              Oxford, 02 Academy                                      
2 Nov              Canterbury, The Marlowe Theatre                 
3 Nov              Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre                      
5 Nov              Ipswich, Corn Exchange                                  
6 Nov              Birmingham, Town Hall                                  
7 Nov              Chesterfield, Winding Wheel                         
9 Nov              Newcastle, City Hall                                    
10 Nov            Bradford, St Georges Hall                             
11 Nov            Carlisle, The Sands Centre                            
14 Nov            Glasgow, Academy                                    
15 Nov            Glasgow, Academy                                     
17 Nov            Aberdeen, Exhibition Centre                          
19 Nov            Inverness, Eden Court Theatre                           
20 No              Perth, Concert Hall                                   
22 Nov            Edinburgh, Playhouse                                      
23 Nov            Edinburgh, Playhouse             


Review: Ty Segall and White Fence

Ty Segall and White Fence – Hair (Drag City)
Ty Segall had served time in various underground San Franciscan bands before going solo in 2008, and White Fence (aka Tim Presley) are named after Los Angeles’ oldest street gang, and spawned from the city’s punk and hardcore scenes. For “Hair” the two bring together their collective indie / punk experiences and add a dose of ‘60s garage rock and druggy counter cultural ethic into the mix. Their corrosive brand of stoner DIY psych could be suitably placed alongside notable ‘90s bands, such as Nikki Sudden and the French Revolution and early Flaming Lips.

Seemingly it’s an LP of two halves. The first part is led with Liverpudlian psych inflected vocal styling (striking a Beatles or Real People bell) with “Time” setting out the stall with its acoustic strumming and hazy-lazy vocals before “I am Not a Game” locks into a twisted groove. Midway through “The Black Glove / Rag” there’s a change of tone and the pitch is muddied with a “fuck everything” nihilism and aggression, “Crybaby” rocks with a “Ramblin’ Rose” riff and the noisier freak-outs of “Scissor People” and “Tongues” draw the happening to a close.


The Archers: 26/04/2012


Adam takes matters into his own hands and Usha tries to find out more.

Usha probes Amy about Carl and their weekend plans. She comments that Carl spends a lot of time with his nan. Amy asserts that it's one of the things she likes about him. He's a real family man. When Amy notices Usha's not her usual cheery self, Usha just says she'll be glad to see Alan tomorrow.

Jeff's spotted a truck and low loader by the polytunnels. Adam arranges to meet David there. When David arrives, the truck nearly mows him down as it speeds past. Concerned he can't see Adam, he leaves him a message. But then he spots him unconscious on the ground. He calls an ambulance. When it arrives, the paramedic says David's done well with emergency first aid.

Brian and Jennifer are out for a celebratory meal following his vote of thanks at the board meeting. They're interrupted by a call from David, who fills them in on what he knows. Jennifer's beside herself when they reach the hospital. The doctor updates them with the news. As Adam is still unconscious he'll need a brain scan to check for serious injury. Jennifer's horrified, but Brian tries to calm her down. They'll just have to hope for the best.

Episode written by Mary Cutler

Thursday 26 April 2012

Jack White to write and perform Lone Ranger film score...

Jack White will write, produce and perform the film score for the upcoming Lone Ranger movie starring Johnny Depp.

The movie is due out in May 2012 and it will be the first time the former White Stripes front man has written a complete film score.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer told Variety he was excited to have White on board and said Johnny Depp was "thrilled" at the news.

White's solo album, Blunderbuss, was released on Monday.

"Jack's an amazing songwriter with a unique style. We're thrilled to hear his fresh take on the William Tell Overture," said Jerry Bruckheimer.

The film stars Johnny Depp as Tonto, the native American sidekick of the Wild West crime fighter.
The Lone Ranger himself is played by Armie Hammer, who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network.

Jack White does have previous experience of working on films.

He wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace with Alicia Keys.

The 36-year-old played his first UK solo show in London on 23 April and also has gigs lined up for June, including a performance at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend.

Source: BBC


'Lost' Beatles concert to be screened in America...

Rare footage of a Beatles concert lost for 48 years is to be given a limited screening in the United States.

The half-hour set - filmed at the Washington Coliseum in 1964 - was the band's first full US gig.

The concert, featuring performances of She Loves You and Twist And Shout, forms part of a 92-minute documentary entitled The Beatles: The Lost Concert.

The film, which includes an interview with Chuck Berry, premieres in New York's Ziegfield Theater on 6 May.

It will then be screened in theatres across America on 17 and 22 May.

The first part of the film focuses on the rise of Beatlemania in the United States and contains commentary from Berry, Mark Ronson, Aerosmith pair Steven Tyler and Joe Perry and Albert Hammond Jr and Nick Valensi from The Strokes.

It is followed by the 12-song set, which was originally broadcast to two million cinema-goers across America in March 1964, a month after it was recorded.

The footage then disappeared, but Screenvision, who are behind the new movie, say the original master tapes have been restored and remastered.

Source: BBC


The Archers: 25/04/2012


Usha makes an unfortunate discovery. Meanwhile Chris is kicking himself.

Ebullient Jennifer rings Alice to tell her the dairy plans have got the go-ahead, but Alice is downbeat; Chris's van's been broken into. They only took a few tools, but Chris is having to rearrange work while the van's fixed. And he's worried the insurance won't pay out. Jennifer wants to help, but Alice wishes she wouldn't fuss.

The good news is that Alice has passed her exams. Just as she and Chris are about to celebrate, Jennifer turns up with a bottle of wine. They have a drink and speculate on Alice's job prospects. At last Alice encourages her mother to leave, and she and Chris pick up where they left off.

With Alan on retreat, Usha attends a Chamber of Commerce event alone. She bumps into Carl, and after some surprise and a polite chat they go their separate ways. Admiring a beautiful, elegant woman across the room, Usha asks Annabelle about the man standing next to her. Annabelle explains that the woman is a hot shot lawyer, and the gorgeous man is her husband - Carl. Annabelle laments that some people have it all; doesn't it make you sick? Usha agrees that yes, indeed it does.

Episode written by Mary Cutler

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Review: Loop 2.4.3

Loop 2.4.3 – American Dreamland (Music Starts from Silence)
Loop 2.4.3 is the duo of Thomas Kozumplik and Lorne Watson and for this, their third LP, they’re augmented by a number of guest vocalists and musicians. Between carefully sequenced sections of sampled and edited dialogue “American Dreamland” cross-pollinates cultures and genres and manages to amalgamate percussion led compositions with the uplifting spirit of carnival, avant-rock, drone/noise and choral tendencies.

A short snippet of Celtic inspiration can be heard on “American Elder” (though played on Native American flute) whilst “Alchemy II: Dreamland” switches easily between ghost town abandonment and African inspired rhythms, and back again. Their use of steel drums cannot help but give a few tracks a Caribbean air (“As a Child…”, “Tulips”) but pitted against marimba or circus pipe organ, it makes for an interesting experience.

Loop 2.4.3: American Dreamland

Irish artist Louis le Brocquy dies aged 95...

One of Ireland's most renowned artists, Louis le Brocquy, has died at his Dublin home at the age of 95.

The painter had been ill for the past year.

Irish president Michael D Higgins said Mr Le Brocquy's "pioneering approach to art, influenced by the European masters, was highly inspirational".

"His works, including the tinker paintings, broke new ground and opened dialogue around the human condition and suffering," he said.

"Through painting, tapestry and print, Louis le Brocquy has provided us with individual works and collections that give the insight and response of an artist of genius to Irish history, culture and society."

A self-taught artist, Mr Le Brocquy is survived by his wife and two sons.

His work included portraits of W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and his friends Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Seamus Heaney and Bono.

Mr Higgins said both he and his wife Sabina were deeply saddened to hear of the artist's death.

"Today I lament the loss of a great artist and wonderful human being whose works are amongst this country's most valuable cultural assets and are cherished by us all," he said.

"Louis leaves to humanity a truly great legacy."

Source: BBC


Review: The White Elephants

The White Elephants – Roses (Canal Records)
Background info concerning The White Elephants is decidedly patchy. I know for sure Anthony Moscatello is the main man, writing, arranging and performing, though whether other musicians are present on certain tracks, I don’t know. From what I can glean online, “Roses” is the debut long-player, and something I can confirm with absolute certainty is the album’s unerring quality from beginning to end. Furthermore, if it is just Moscatello, then I’m doubly impressed; so for now I’ll stick with the one-man-band theory – it makes for a better tale.

Listening to the record, the overall impression is not unlike Richard Hell fronting a shabbier, looser White Stripes, which sounds as good as it looks written down. The mix of garage blues with early New York punk rock is inspired, even when he applies it to other people’s songs. Indeed, his version of Beefheart’s “Sure 'nuff 'n Yes I Do” is superb and he roughs up Leiber and Stoller’s “Riot in Cell Block #9” in a way that’d make Dr. Feelgood blush.

As good as they are, it’s the original songs that impress the most. “The Place We Knew” kicks open the door with raggedy gusto, before becoming a perfect blast of punk-blues-pop. If it were out on 7” single you’d save every penny you earned to buy an old jukebox to play it on. “Think Twice” is just as good, with the added bonus of some slash ‘n’ burn guitar that’ll remind old’ns of James Williamson’s lead on The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”. If you’re attracted to the dark side of the street, then try and hear the noirish “Nevermind Blues”, which will probably secure Moscatello a berth in the Bad Seeds should there ever be a six-string vacancy.
Simon M.

The White Elephants – The Place We Knew

The White Elephants: Roses

Message from The Pony Collaboration...


Our new EP, 'Wasted Afternoons', is now available to download here. You can pay what you want (or download it for free). It's a revolutionary idea, I'm pretty sure that we came up with it. This is the first of four digital EPs that we intend to release this year (but don't hold us to that). 

Our next gig is at the Underbelly in Hoxton on Thursday 17th May (supporting Slow Down, Molasses). Tickets are £5 in advance and are available here. We're on at 7:45pm, so get down there nice and early. 

That is all. 



American Psycho to become stage musical...

Bret Easton Ellis' classic novel American Psycho is to be turned into a stage musical.

It will be produced by the Headlong Theatre Company, which made Enron, the acclaimed play about corporate greed.

The show will be directed by Headlong's artistic director Rupert Goold, with music and lyrics by the Grammy and Tony award winner Duncan Sheik.

The the London-based company said no casting had taken place and the venue had not been confirmed.

Bret Easton Ellis wrote the book in 1991 and a film adaptation, starring Christian Bale as investment banker turned serial killer Patrick Bateman, was released in 2000.

The script for the play has been written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who helped salvage the script for Broadway production of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.

Headlong said the stage production for American Psycho had been in development for a number of years.

Source: BBC