Saturday 28 December 2013

Review: Joe Rosati – The Candelabra Light

Joe Rosati – The Candelabra Light (Independent)
Back in the very early ‘80s, the scorched-earth musical policies of punk were all but extinguished, but the spirit lived on, through a variety of post-punk outfits keen to rip-up the rulebook and establish new procedures and ways of doing things. From the dissonant agit-funk of groups like Gang Of Four and A Certain Ratio to the highly literate song-based bands like Echo & The Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes, the new scene was eclectic, cultured and tremendously exciting – and Joe Rosati would have fitted right in.

It would be all too easy to dismiss Rosati as an artist making music drastically out of time, and much of “The Candelabra Light” feels rooted in a scene that’s long disappeared. Fortunately (for everyone concerned) the accessibility of digitized music has opened up the past and made available styles and sounds to new listeners - and personal playlists zip back and forth through the years, blurring timelines and laying waste to notions of fashion. Rosati’s songs are there to be enjoyed, whatever the time and place of origin.

Working with producer and bandmate Ben Fuller (China Davis), “The Candelabra Light” was recorded in Rosati’s family home, in the Urban Grace Church in Tacoma, WA, and Fuller's Studio in Seattle. The result is a collection with differing textures and qualities, though it retains an undeniable artistic consistency, which is down to both Rosati’s songs and his delivery. Highlights come thick and fast. Opening cut “Candelabra” echoes and reverberates, the simple accompaniment enhanced by atmosphere and mood. “Narrow Path” combines the wiry post-industrial rock of the northwest of England with the post-grunge aesthetic of northwest USA, together with something altogether older and rootsier, while “Sunset Savior” injects a sublime Nick Drake-esque ambience that almost takes the breath away.
Phil S.

Friday 20 December 2013

Review: Tyler Brown – The Hollows

Tyler Brown – The Hollows (Independent)
As winter rolls ever onwards it’s unsurprisingly getting colder and wetter. In fact, rain’s lashing against the window as I type, and if I were a small, fictional, fat brown bear, I might well describe the erratic, stormy winds as blustery. Tyler Brown’s new album perfectly fits both my mood and the weather conditions. The North Carolina native has fashioned a collection that warms the soul – whatever that is – and generates an atmosphere that encourages serious listening.

Previous reviewers have mentioned similarities with Bon Iver, and Brown has also declared an interest, but the deliberate, perfectly measured arc of “The Hollows”, together with the sheer soulfulness of his performance, puts me in mind of early releases on the Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar labels, and artists/groups like Songs: Ohia and Drunk.

Often achingly beautiful, Brown’s songs run the gamut, from lonely abandonment to bright optimism. Opening cut “Color (Where We're Lying)” slowly reveals a narrative that suggests control and restraint, while a ponderous, calculated beat indicates exposure to Cocteau Twins and 4ad. Needless to say, it’s quite magnificent. The elegiac “Cage” mines much the same vein as Big Star’s devastating “Third/Sister Lovers” record, and when the tempo increases and the rhythms deviate (on “Weekend (Un Beso)”), the emotional resonance is diminished not one jot.
Phil S.

Ezra Furman UK tour dates in February

Ezra Furman UK tour dates in February

'Ezra Furman makes songs for the whisky‘n’whorehouse contingent'  - Noisey

Hells Angels LSD parties, Moonshine hangovers, fighting with bike chains; Ezra Furman's 'Day of the Dog' is the soundtrack to one crazy time. Combining rockabilly, soul and punk into a punch that sounds like the Modern Lovers with a brass section, the LP won over the hearts of the Guardian with an awesome 5/5 review earlier in the week. If you like burning stuff this new vid is for you. 

"I Wanna Destroy Myself"

Heres' the tour dates.

11/02/14 - Soup Kitchen - Manchester -
12/02/14 - Sneaky Pete's - Edinburgh -
13/02/14 - Broadcast - Glasgow -
14/02/14 - Duchess - York -
15/02/14 - Moon - Cardiff -
16/02/14 - Hare & Hounds - Birmingham-
17/02/14 - South Streets Art Centre - Reading -                     
18/02/14 - Green Door Store - Brighton -
19/02/14 - Sebright Arms - London -
'Ezra Furman has made an album of classicist rock'n'roll that never feels like an exercise, but a living, breathing piece of self-expression.'
Guardian 5/5 (Album Review)

Tonight at The Musician: Diesel Park West

Diesel Park West
Friday 20th December


Some bands belong to their own time, others trespass on decades where they don't really belong. Diesel Park West must have seemed to some people back in '89, with the release of the far-reaching Shakespeare Alabama, the most welcome and liberating guitar band anyone had heard for years. A lot of artists who have enjoyed massive acclaim and success since, may well tip hats towards the Diesels for being pioneers in the re-emergence of the guitar as the primary sound of contemporary music. Add to that song writing that both provokes and reassures... sometimes within the same lyric... then maybe its appropriate to start spreading the word.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Thursday 19 December 2013

Review: Danielson Famile / Danielson

Danielson Famile – A Prayer For Every Hour
Danielson Famile – Fetch the Compass Kids
Danielson – Ships
(Fire Records)

Danielson (the group) were formed around frontman Daniel Smith Danielson, and adopt the appendix ‘Famile’ when joined by members of his family. They’re from New Jersey and have been an underground staple for two decades. Here Fire Records presents reissues of three albums that span the years 1994 to 2006.

Danielson (the man) possesses an oblique falsetto vocal styling, at times comparable to Zappa’s Jimmy Carl Black or Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, full of shrill twists and turns, which grabs the listener’s attention and doesn’t let go.

“A Prayer For Every Hour” (1994) is their debut album and is a wonkily presented musing on God, religion and worship. It’s a lo-fi affair with a post-Pixies bent (“Naive Child” could even be them), which encounters many a slack tuned guitar, the occasional pan pipe, and Daniel’s fore mentioned vocal is not so much a falsetto as a squeak. 

Through the subject matter, dirges and mantric ramblings, they move freely into the realms of outsider music (they cite Daniel Johnston as an influence) and create the persona of some bizarre Christian band, to which “1000 Push Ups” (for God) attests.

Interlaced with personal tape recorded snippets and disregard for recording clarity aligns them with the anti-folk and free-folk output of the noughties, but predates them by a decade.

The mighty “Like A Vacuum” and the sedative of “Pepcid 20mg” especially worked for me.

“Fetch the Compass Kids” (2001) is more experimental and folk leaning, and the conceptual key word is “Kids”. Recorded by Steve Albini, it’s tighter musically and can be strict like a marching band or teetering on traditional forms, as on the awkward tango of “Let Us A.B.C.“

Nostalgic of childhood and alluring, like the guilty pleasures of a good Sesame Street tune.

For 2006’s “Ships” Daniel was joined by twenty musicians from Deerhoof, Sufjan Stevens, Why?, Serena Maneesh and Half-Handed Cloud. It’s an excellent offering which converges Pete Townshend and Frank Zappa influences through traditional and film music references, lofty highs and lazy lows, and the result is a Folk-Rock-Opera with Daniel taking a cracked lead role.

Acoustic guitars and rowdy drum bombast set the “Ship The Majestic Suffix” asail before touching gentler seas of flute. “Bloodbook On The Halfshell” recalls early Animal Collective, “Did I Step On Your Trumpet” mixes strange political appeals and abstract allusions to love and is set to a rhythm that recalls The Wickerman’s glorious “Maypole Song”. The airier “My Lion Sleeps Tonight” brittles with childlike chorals and xylophone, whilst “Kids Pushing Kids” motors through.

This band improves with age, quite bonkers and damn fine.

Saturday 14 December 2013

This weekend at The Musician, Leicester: Dawson Smith & The Dissenters (Sat.) / Wreckless Eric (Sun.)

Saturday 14th December

Dawson Smith & The Dissenters
plus special guests The Flying Buttress
The Flying Buttress is a solo album project by Dissenters guitarist Martin Burch.

The album 'Release' is a set of new songs written by Martin and features many well know Leicester musicians and singers.

Some of the songs from the album will be performed for the first time tonight with guest singers including Vikki Clayton, Tonia Tempest and Dawson Smith backed by an all star band featuring Neil Segrott, Greg Tempest and on lead guitar Martin Burch (also celebrating his 50th birthday).

Dawson & The Dissenters will be headlining with their brand of swampy blues and Americana that always rocks the house (and it's also Dawson's birthday!).

Sunday 15th December

Wreckless Eric
£9adv £10door
To celebrate the Fire Records reissue of the two albums he made in the eighties with The Len Bright Combo, Wreckless Eric will be performing selected solo shows. A songwriting and recording legend since the seventies, Eric has rarely performed solo in recent years. For the past six years and three albums he has worked in partnership with his wife, Amy Rigby.

Now you can see him as you may never have seen him before, tight, loose and rocking on acoustic guitar, electric six string and gummed-up harmonica, performing songs from all phases of his long career with an emphasis on the songs he wrote for The Len Bright Combo.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Friday 13 December 2013

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (13/12): Aynsley Lister Band + Simon 'Honeyboy' Hickling

Aynsley Lister Band
Friday 13th December
plus Simon 'Honeyboy' Hickling
In a world full of manufactured over-hyped pop music, Aynsley Lister is proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel. His powerful, infectious songs are unashamedly blues influenced and performed with the kind of conviction of someone twice his age. Say the word blues to a commercial record company and see how far they run! But Lister carries on regardless, writing and recording albums that continue to sell and prove that blues rock music can be commercial and have you singing along to yourself days after you hear it, just like half the committee written stuff you hear every day on the radio.

"Exceptionally mature and exciting" – MOJO

"Superb" - The Times

Support comes from world-class blues harmonica ace Simon ‘Honeyboy’ Hickling. With a hard earned and well-deserved international reputation, his subtle and fabulously expressive playing is grounded firmly in the ‘50s and ‘60s heyday of the Chicago and Gulf Coast styles of playing.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Thursday 12 December 2013

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (12/12): Pat Fish (The Jazz Butcher) + Venus Fly Trap + Kevin Hewick

Pat Fish (The Jazz Butcher) + Venus Fly Trap + Kevin Hewick
Thursday 12th December
£4adv £5door
Three cult acts, all 80's survivors with as vital a sound as ever in 2013. Pat Fish is the man behind the legendary Jazz Butcher, signed to Creation Records. "A truly great songwriter" - Alan McGee. Venus Fly Trap have also enjoyed a long and varied musical journey, now stripped down to an intense rock 'n' roll voodoo duo, guitar drum machine and vocals, like Elvis Presley meets the Velvet Underground. Last but not least, former Factory Records signing Kevin Hewick promotes his epic new album 'The Heat Of Molten Diamonds'.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Goldfrapp announce UK dates in March / April

Goldfrapp UK dates:

26 March Birmingham Symphony Hall
27 March Manchester, The Lowry
29 March Brighton, Dome
30 March Portsmouth, Guildhall
1 April Bristol, Colston Hall
2 April Reading, Hexagon
4 April Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
5 April York, Barbican
7 April Gateshead, Sage

Tickets go on sale this Friday 13 December at 10am. 

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (11/12): Oli Brown

Oli Brown
Wednesday 11th December
£10adv £12door
feat. drummer Lyle Mozan
Following his action packed European summer tour with guitar hero, Joe Satriani and numerous festivals in North America, the Norwich local heads back to his old stomping grounds with tales from the road in an intimate show featuring Canadian drummer Lyle Mozan. The 24 year old has spent the past seven years touring the World with five British blues awards to his credit, three studio albums and his latest release; a live CD/DVD recorded in Norwich, 2012. Fans will be taken on a musical journey hearing acoustic versions of the artist’s songs, in addition to his new material scheduled for release in 2014. This rare performance by the acclaimed guitarist showcases his talent acoustically whilst soothing listeners with soulful, yet powerful vocals.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Wreckless Eric / Len Bright Combo dates (inc. Leicester on 14th Dec.)

Performs The Len Bright Combo (Solo Shows)

12  GLASGOW, Woodend Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club tickets
13  EDINBURGH, The Citrus Club, 40-42 Grindlay Street
15  LEICESTER, The Musician
16  BRIGHTON, The Prince Albert

Listen to  "Someone Must've Nailed Us Together" taken from The Len Bright Combo Presents...

To celebrate the release of Fire's reissues of the two classic albums by Medway icons The Len Bright Combo, frontman Wreckless Eric will be playing some solo shows around the UK. He will be playing some of the old favourites from The Len Bright Combo Presents and Combo Time, as well as songs from his vast repertoire.

Fire Records will be releasing the WRECKLESS ERIC catalogue over the next few years. As one of the most influential artists to emerge from the Stiff Records stable, Wreckless Eric went on to have one of punk’s biggest hits with “(I'd Go The) Whole Wide World” in 1977 and inspired a legion of artists from Yo La Tengo to The Vaccines and from Marianne Faithful to Lilly Allen.

The first two reissues in the series are the rare and much sought after recordings by The Len Bright Combo, one of Eric’s early post-Stiff bands. Recorded in the mid-80s, The Len Bright Combo Presents and Combo Time were rough garage rock albums, which stayed true to his DIY roots and have now become very difficult to get hold of. The reissues feature new packaging as well as extensive liner notes from the one and only Wreckless Eric.

An explosive beat combo ruling over the mid-80's UK Medway scene, The Len Bright Combo paired Wreckless Eric with the ramshackle rhythm section of former Milkshakes Russ Wilkins and Bruce Band. Putting today's garage pretenders to shame, the combo recorded two albums of rough and ready pop blasts, with the shake and stomp never losing Eric's sharp wit, or melodic punch. These records contain many of his strongest songs, giving his iconic hit "(I'd Go The) Whole Wide World" a run for its money.

Hardly in step with the UK fads of the day, the trio toured with their own PA system, blasting out performances like each one could be their last. Soon, it would be, as they parted ways after two underground albums released in the space of a year, leaving behind a collection of smoldering gems.

These reissues have finally make the albums widely available and have been lovingly re-assembled, including detailed and entertaining liner notes from Eric himself, taking us back to those days, warts and all. 

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Tonight at The Musician, Leicester (10/13): 8 Miles High + Murmur + Waldorf + No Mans Heath

Wake Up Promotions presents

8 Miles High + Murmur + Waldorf + No Mans Heath
Tuesday 10th December

Wake Up Promotions presents a night of quality live music featuring a selection of Leicester's finest talent.

For up to date gig info on twitter, please follow @wakeuppromotion

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site:

Sunday 8 December 2013

Review: Mediaeval Baebes at Leicester Cathedral, December 6th

Mediaeval Baebes at Leicester Cathedral, December 6th
It’s a sure sign that Christmas is coming when the Baebes start appearing in the cathedrals of England. This year, with a new album riding high in the classical charts, they’re on fine form, performing two sets, which include a nice mix of popular carols, unpopular carols and medieval tunes.

I’ve got copies of their set lists in front of me, and I know I sat there and listened to the whole thing, but remembering individual tracks presents something of a problem. Theirs is a sound that envelops the listener. The combination of surroundings, songs and stage presentation is hypnotic, and by the time the first set comes to an end, time has been suspended and we’ve been transported back to a far simpler period, perhaps when Leicester’s cathedral was first raised.

It’s spellbinding stuff and wonderfully entertaining. There has been a multitude of Baebes passing though the ranks since Katharine Blake split from Miranda Sex Garden back in the late ‘90s, but her current line-up is good as any. Their singing is exemplary, and in taking turns to introduce and/or explain their songs, each takes their turn in the spotlight.

The second set is equally enthralling, and provides several moments worth highlighting. Their take on “Gaudete” is faultless (the Steeleye Span version is probably the most well known) and it’s followed by an old Arabic song/poem called “Clasp Of A Lion”, which Blake sings beautifully, and quite alone – utterly spine-tingling in the church environ. They encore with “Coventry Carol” and the queue for merchandise stretches to the door.
Rob F.

Saturday 7 December 2013

This weekend at The Musician, Leicester: Nine Below Zero (Sat.) / Warner E. Hodges (Sun.)

Saturday 7th December

Xander Promotions presents

Nine Below Zero
£13adv £15door
plus Royston Duxford
Now in their 5th decade, Nine Below Zero are the viable alternative to Alternative, a band that most definitely come to play, a band with their own genuine sound and deep understanding of their musical roots. Live, the combination of Dennis Greaves playing guitar and singing, Brian Bethell on bass, Brendan O’Neill on drums and Mark Feltham on harmonica is lethal, hammering and nailing the big R'n'B sound to the floor of many a famous stage. "NBZ are brilliant live, they work so hard, the audience often go home as exhausted as the band!" so says Andrew Zweck of top promoters Harvey Goldsmith Ents.

Sunday 8th December

Cheeseweasel Promotions presents

Warner E. Hodges
with special guests
At a time when full blooded rock ‘n’ roll music often seems to be in terminal decline and dour singer-songwriters hold sway, it’s reassuring to know that there are still individuals out there ornery enough to believe that salvation and deliverance from the trials and tribulations of modern living can still be achieved through the application of excessive amplification. And it’s always cause for celebration when such an individual returns to active service after a period of relative inactivity.

One such person is Warner E. Hodges of Nashville, Tennessee’s legendary Jason & The Scorchers and latterly with Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, a man who definitely knows what the business end of a Fender Telecaster is for. Warner has been a cult hero to many for over two decades now. A figure renowned not only for his blistering and instantly recognisable style of playing, but also as the most dynamic and entertaining guitar player of his generation.

Remember; always check with the venue before travelling, or grab a ticket direct from the site: