I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone) – Peter Doherty

unspecified-3Peter Doherty is back with a new single as a taste of his forthcoming album Hamburg Demonstrations

The Libertines main man had always wanted to record in Hamburg and was referred to Clouds Hill Recordings and turned up on their doorstep unannounced the next day. He fell in love with the studio and based himself there for the next six months. The album will be available on CD, 12” vinyl and digital download.

‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ includes a new recording of the Amy Winehouse tribute ‘Flags Of The Old Regime’(now called ‘Flags From The Old Regime’). The album also features ’Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven’ written after the Paris attacks last November – it laments the fact that young people are now picking up guns instead of guitars “Come on boys choose your weapon J-45 or AK-47?” (Gibson J-45 being John Lennon’s favourite acoustic guitar),’Kolly Kibber’ inspired by Kolley Kibber, the newspaper man who meets a sticky end at the beginning of ‘Brighton Rock’ and ‘A Spy In The House Of Love’ a title borrowed from the Anaïs Nin novel.

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Non Canon debut album and tour

non-canon-1-credit-jack-lilleyXtra Mile Recordings will release the self-titled album by Non Canon, another side of Barry Dolan AKA Oxygen Thief. It is out on 28 October 2016 on vinyl, CD and download, pre-order links are below. 

Non Canon exists apart from the story we know and love. A concurrent storyline, a different perspective, the world we experience through someone else’s eyes; familiar but insightful for its new dimension.

In another life entirely, Non Canon gathers maelstroms of guitar noise and feeds them with caustic, yelled, (a)stringent sentences, calling himself Oxygen Thief. Having spent ten years deftly swerving expectation at every measure as Oxygen Thief, Non Canon turns things on their head again. He threads cello where there may have once been feedback, places a third chord where two key changes could have lain, and repeats a chorus line where a scream may have broken the silence instead. He’s returned to his acoustic beginning, that’s true, but he’s torn that up and refused to retain his previous self-taught lessons.

‘Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye’ sets out the manifesto: “I’m afraid of sad songs, afraid of what they’ll do…so I made a firm decision that I’d hardly ever listen and I’d never sing them to myself or you.” But we’re through the looking glass, and what he’s afraid of is now what drives him. As if in defiance of the sad song, fiddles create eddies through repeatedly chiming guitar, a cello building underneath for maximum undertow. ‘Eponymous’ sticks flags in this untouched territory, boldly declaring “I’ve got reservations, I’m not sure I’ll get away with this, I’ve got no expectations, I’m not sure my heart is even in this” – we couldn’t be further from the bold, antisocial thrash of his other self. Deliberating on a blank book alongside a collection of prolific authors (‘A Study in Emerald’), daydreaming about him and his wife meeting  younger (‘Crayola’), and memorised reality versus physical and mental regeneration (‘Memory Beta’), Non Canon charms a narrative and converses with considered wordplay.

“It started as a little challenge to myself to see if I could write something other than the loud riffy stuff I’ve always done with Oxygen Thief and previous bands I was in,” says Barry. “It’s kind of snowballed from there really – I never really expected it to be anything other than a bunch of songs I could look at with a sense of achievement at finishing, and then I’d get on with the next OT record.” Having received support from close friends, his wife and Xtra Mile, he set about recording in February 2016 with some of the songs done at home and some in OneCat Studio in Brixton. All the strings, piano and drums were written on an iPad before being sent to musicians to learn and play on recordings. Chris T-T’s piano playing stand out on ‘Bad Twin’, while Ben Marwood and Charlie Barnes (a touring member of Bastille) contributed backing vocals, along with Gareth from My First Tooth playing drums, and the guitarist from Barry’s first ever band playing violin and viola.

Non Canon is a new story, but it’s a story of its own, one that we will soon know and love with its own history, character and setting.  

Tour dates – more to be confirmed:

October
 17th Firebug, Leicester w/Sad Song Co
18th The Maypole, Derby w/Chris T-T & Sad Song Co
19th The Monarch, Camden w/Sad Song Co
20th Old Road, Chippenham w/Sad Song Co
22nd Star & Garter, Manchester w/Sad Song Co
23rd Baila Coffee & Vinyl, Swindon (early show)
23rd Stag & Hounds, Bristol w/Sad Song Co
24th Tooting Tram & Social, Tooting w/Ben Marwood
27th Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham w/Chris T-T
28th Regather, Lamplight Theatre w/Chris T-T
30th Bodega, Nottingham w/Chris T-T
31st The Nest, Bath w/Chris T-T

 

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New Music of The Day – CXXII : Burst – Vasa

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I know as a musical commentator and judge and jury of the new music of the moment I should really be armed with up to the moment points of reference and fashionably astute observations but there is a lot in that guitar work that reminds me of Big Country. There I said it. It’s probably something to do with my age, but there you go. In it I hear the same soaring, shimmering, wide screen cinematic deliveries, that same Celtic-ness in the riffs, the same scope and grandeur.

 

Okay, this is that sound reimagined, repackaged and then threaded over a more intense back drop, one full of majestic post-rock tricks and polarized dynamics that take us from intense onslaughts right down to gentle atmospheric breaks but somewhere above the complex weaves of sound and intricate structures the spirit of Stuart Adamson seems to loom. Maybe there is something in the water, the air, the whiskey, the DNA, in their shared lowland Scotland…I don’t know. What I do know is that this is great.

 

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Magnificent Bastard – Tommy Hale (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

screen_shot_2016-06-22_at_1-19-55_pmIs it really nine years since the sure-footed tones of Stolen Conversations… first washed into my ears? Tempus does indeed fugit but what has changed? Well, in many ways not much. The same alt-country, punk, pop, soul and rock’n’roll influences swirl around this new musical melting pot, a lot of the same team are back on board and the honest reflections and personal narratives that mark Tommy’s work are still to the fore. If that is what you do so well, why change, right? Why not do what you do only …well, more so? Why am I asking you all these questions?

 

Anyway,  if the last album was a confident and evolved step on from Far From Grace, that trajectory has taken an even sharper upward curve this time out. So, the musical landscape may look familiar but there seems to be something more open, personal, heartfelt and extremely honest going on here. That has never been that far from the surface on previous albums but songs like Save Me, Homecoming Mum, Simple Song and Can I Lay Down Next to You seem almost confessional, the author allowing us into to his private thoughts and emotional personal space, an experience that almost feels intrusive and intellectually voyeuristic. Shared secrets rather than public proclamations.

 

Honesty like this is rare in rock and roll, and this is most definitely a rock and roll record. Forget all the clever relabeling and the on-trend terms such as “roots” and “Americana,” after all no two people ever agree on what either of those mean. This is a guy with solid R’n’R credentials hooking up with others who have taken similar musical journeys but it is age, experience, and those years treading the boards and wrestling with the craft at hand which shapes the music most. Maturity has its benefits.When it wants to rock out, like the titular opening track or the Stones-esque Backburner, it makes no apologies but for me it is the more insular and intense songs that sit between by which we should judge just how far Tommy’s song writing has come.

 

Capturing the sound of your songs is hard enough, capturing the sound of your very soul takes a lot more skill.

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Compulsion Songs – The Lucid Dream (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

 

14067682_10150667609454990_8854624607541711754_nBands that challenge me as a writer are always those I look forward too the most. Where is the fun in trying to find new ways of describing a band who are ripping off something you failed to get excited about 5 years ago when you can try to put into words music that really is striding into new, greener musical pastures? The Lucid Dream is just such a band.

 

And if it is a challenge to find ways of pinning down the myriad of shifting sounds that they weave together to create their individual albums, it is also fitting that haven woven such vivid colours on one album, the next will always see them working with intricate and often unexpected new patterns.

 

It says something about a band who even on CD divide their album into side A and side B and then present only 7 songs ranging from under 2 minutes to over 11. Certainly they work in a way that has no truck with fashion or mainstream conformity.

 

It is no co-incidence that this 3rd album has the media taste makers and musical scribblers of note falling over themselves to applaud their music. Their ability to create walls of sound, which somehow sound sonorous and hazy, jangling post punk lullabies that descend into post-rock soundscapes and even dub grooves, wrapped in shoegaze lullabies mark them out to be one of the most inventive bands working today.

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Reasons – Pete Falloon (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

 

14359121_1834031576816614_3153962082404748390_nIf the Paisley Underground movement of the early 80’s celebrated the acid tinged folk and country psychedelia of the likes of The Byrds and Love, the self-styled and punningly marvellous Paisley Overground is able to plunder from both the originators and the revivalists. Geography also means that there is also a different set of cultural references at work and they are able to come at the music armed with a quintessentially English eye.

 

Pete Falloon’s latest release is as a taster for the forth-coming long player Reed in the River (and you can download  from his band camp page) and it fits neatly into the ethic of that burgeoning scene. As well as influences such as Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and the aforementioned Byrds, hints of early R.E.M and even The Stone Roses find their way in. The Summer of Love may have passed into the stuff of legend so maybe the idea of an Autumn of Appreciation isn’t such a bad one.

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I Know My Place – Gaz Brookfield (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

14354920_10153788188541466_8361563475397586241_nTo say that Gaz Brookfield has remained a fiercely independent musician, DIY stalwart and cottage industry enterprise is like saying that he is partial to the odd tattoo or used to have a bit of a thing for cider. Gigs are booked without agents, he chauffeurs himself around aided only by his own assigned RAC man and albums are recorded largely under his own multi-instrumental steam. But there comes a point where it is time to up the game, head into the realms of bigger and slicker production, aim for a fuller sound, work with a band. What is a West Country Boy to do?

 

Well, the logical extension is to gather friends who have steered their own creative crafts through similar independent waters and put together a gang of like-minded musicians and studio folk, this time operating under a slightly more striking and collaborative Do It Themselves flag.

 

But fear not I Know My Place is still very much trade mark Gaz, the same buoyant mix of humour, history and honest reflections – life affirming, optimistic and joyous, acoustic driven songs but now it is Gaz plus, Gaz 2.0, Gaz and the boys. Effectively what you get is the best of both worlds, the range, style and scope of songs that you have come to expect from him with added depth, colour and vitality. The barrelhouse piano and meandering country violin of Life Begins, the skittering banjo and Hammond wash of Flaws are testament to this and the wonderful narrative of The Tale of Gunner Haines reminds me that the distance between Gaz and the likes of The Men They Could Hang or the lyrics of Blyth Power is not that far.

 

And if there are still some wonderfully personal and minimal outings such as Sand and Sea, and The Ferry Song reveling in appreciation and love for the natural world and people around him, there are also some total rockers, the Gogol Bordello-esque World Spins, the up beat and vivacious title track and the poignant and touching tribute to a fallen friend that is Getting Drunk for Christmas, a seasonal alternative standard if ever there was one.

 

Maybe the punks got it wrong, maybe it isn’t about kicking down the barricades and declaring year zero, maybe it is actually about climbing through the back window of the music industry party and being an awkward, uninvited guest until there are enough of you stood glaring from the back of the room that the hosts can’t ignore you. I reckon any day now someone will beckon Gaz over for that metaphorical vol-au-vent and I’m not even sure if he will take it.

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33 – The 58 Shakes (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

13781772_609815352512165_358813865886197269_nI’m always a bit dubious when a predominantly covers band go into the studio. Either the result is a bunch of re-worked pre-owned numbers, in which case what is the point or they record original material, which begs the question as to why are they playing covers in the first place. Maybe it’s a confidence thing or maybe it’s the fact that as a working band they know that the man in the street likes his comfort zones and is happy listening to a live “juke box” and the familiarity that goes with it. Well, the man in the street is an idiot.

 

Although I’m sure most people go to a 58 Shakes show to hear their well turned renditions of rock ‘n’ roll era classics, this 11 track collection shows that they could easily drop these into the set and only the hippest cats and coolest dolly’s would notice the difference. They capture the country, boogie, swing and jump-blues that went into the early rock’n’roll melting pot from the soulful do-wop of When Your Not With Me at one extreme to the Berry-esque Hey Freckles at the other.

 

The production lacks a bit of snap but you could always get around that by arguing that the record is aiming for a more authentic sound, though for my money a bit of a rawer edge and more of a punch would have worked wonders. Song-wise, however, this is spot on and hopefully will give the band the confidence to move towards a live set that pivots around their original compositions rather than the standards that see them ploughing already well tilled ground.

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Phasers to Stun – This Heel and Mikie Daugherty (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a3733939836_16There is something wonderfully unhinged about  Phasers to Stun, a cover originally by cult Scottish indie heroes Urusei Yatsuraan, an indie-noise attack which mixes maverick outsider pop, art school unconventionality and the “anything is possible” attitude of the post punk point of embarkation. It is joyous and raw, jarring and staccato in delivery, mad and infectious.

The B side, not that we have such things these days, is a much more warped, psychedelic, musical meander that wouldn’t seem out of place on a collection of Syd Barrett’s lunatic songs.

This Heel is, apparently, Martin Månsson Sjöstrand and his imaginary friends and I for one believe him. I had an imaginary friend once. …but he left me.

 

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Proudfoot – Flower of London (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

13237706_2022549747970602_2083582415809540916_nBritish Americana is a strange term, a bit of an oxymoron if you ask me, that is until you look at it from a slightly different angle. I tend to think of it a bit like the languages of the two countries themselves, separated a long way back and allowed to develop along their own different cultural lines, able to communicate, obviously connected yet carrying all the anomalies, traditions, influences and character of the home patch they grew up in.

 

And if Proudfoot’s previous album, Lincolnshire, was perfectly described as having its boots in Nashville but its head in the titular county of main man Michael Proudfoot’s birth, Flower of London is a much more English affair. Within the folky-country outer skin there is very much a beat band pulse and the lungs of a new wave pop act. And whilst the band tip their hats to the sounds of Music City, they weave a whole suit from very English influences, from Nick Lowe to Squeeze and pop templates that neatly accommodate soul, folk and reggae.

 

Six years is a long time between albums but the result is a slick and accomplished set of songs, a set that seems at once to openly wear its influences on its sleeve yet somehow skilfully blend them together and take them on new musical adventures. By the time the last notes are fading from earshot (and you are reaching over to give it another spin) you will realise that six years is a small price to pay for such a cracker of an album.

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