Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Eels – Tomorrow Morning

Released August 24


It’s getting hard to keep up with Mark Everett.
With the second album of this year alone and the third in a little over 12 months, Eels are back with the completion of a trilogy, the part E calls “the redemption.”
Last June ‘Hombre Lobo’ marked the return for the band after a four year absence of studio albums and was followed up in January with the sombre affair of ‘End Times’. Now the band that formed 14 years ago are offering ‘Tomorrow Morning’ and they’ve continued with the trademark Eels sound though still delivering the delightfully different twists that separate almost every one of their previous eight long players.
After an ambient beginning of instrumental ‘In Gratitude For This Magnificent Day’ the trend continues with ‘I’m A Hummingbird’, refusing to conform to any song writing rules and straying into its own rhythmless, orchestral world while Everett labours: “To be here now, I’m a humming bird, floating tree to tree, I’m a humming bird beautiful and free.”
‘In The Morning’ keeps the tempo slow as E becomes optimistic: “It’s anybody’s day, it could go any way,
 why wouldn’t you want to make the most of it?” and he begins to get over the messy divorce that 
dominated ‘End Times’ with looped drum machines in ‘Spectacular Girl’: “Not a desire and not a need,
 some things just happen because they have to be,” before: “I’m a man on a mission and I’m all about her.”
It’s good to see E’s perpetually low mood lift but ‘Tomorrow Morning’ isn’t actually spectacular, but it isn’t 
something that comes on its own either. If haven’t heard the first two parts of this engaging trilogy it’s like 
watching the last episode in a series  to which you’ve had no prior commitments, you
just won’t get as much out of it. The craft here is what’s remarkable and the balance of the album is 
nigh-on perfect, just not grandeur.
With the conclusion to the latest part of Everett’s life story done and dusted and a world tour currently
under way, the prolific songsmith might be thinking of taking a break; beard, board shorts, surf and bit-bat.
Not likely.


Monday, 23 August 2010

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Hawk

Released August 24


When the weathered pipes of grunge affiliate Mark Lanegan teamed up with the pop song writing sensibilities of Isobel Campbell three albums ago many eyebrows were raised.
With a past that’s somewhat heavier than the former Belle and Sebastian member, ex Screaming Trees front-man Lanegan has also had outings with Queens Of The Stone Age and Melissa Auf der Maur amongst others making this project somewhat off his normal rock-laden radar.
Despite the unusual pairing, they’ve become quite the formidable duo with Lanegan’s weathered growl being the ideal counterpoint for Campbell’s subtle blues/folk nuances.
In their previous efforts they’ve never strayed too far from the sparse road of haunting melodies and sultry tempos. The same vibe is ever apparent in ‘Hawk’ but there’s more to this record than we’ve seen in the previous six years of partnership.
‘You Won’t Let Me Down Again’ stinks of shipwrecked love as Lanegan croons: “You thought I was a weaker man, gave up without a sound,” in his trademark gruff while Campbell lurks in the background to put a certain gloss on the soundscape.
There’s a Bond-type mystery that lingers in ‘Come Undone’ as the jazz blues rings through swirling strings and soulful piano stabs while Willy Mason makes the first of a double cameo in ‘No Place To Fall’ before it all gets rather raucous in the blues romp of ‘Hawk’.
Despite the excellent solo effort of ‘Sunrise’, Campbell generally takes a back seat and it feels like Lanegan’s party at times. This is not the case. The song writing comes from the female side of this duo and that’s where the heart is from. Isobel Campbell has shown a wise hand to fashion a sound that suits another so dutifully and makes ‘Hawk’ an intriguing listen.
She’s wise enough to make you want more.


Friday, 20 August 2010

Songs on the Stereo

 Now then. These are top tunes...

1. Manana - Peggy Lee

2. Many Shades Of Black - The Raconteurs

3. Cigarette Ashes - Jimmy Conwell

4. Nun - I Am Arrows

5. Hawk - Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I like...

Thoroughly enjoying the pop/folk/general good time singalong tunes that Tunng are bashing out at the moment.

Having released their third album '... And Then We Saw Land' they've returned to their original line up that became "very definitely taken with the group musical identity that is continuing to develop."

Their pretty melodies that are based around simple pop hooks and accompanied by the folk twang of a banjo and piano, as well  as the odd synth which overall creates something to lift you up quicker than a Meadowhall escalator.

Check them out down below....

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The almighty Eels return...

Mark Everett isn't giving his fans much time to keep up.

His third album in a little over a year has arrived and due to be released on August 24. 'Tomorrow Morning' is the final foray of a trilogy that started with the raw desire laden 'Hombre Lobo' which was shortly followed up with the more sombre affair of 'End Times'.

The ever experimental Mr E seems to be favouring a more electronic vibe this time round...exciting? Hell yeah.

More to come but for now...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Myspace watch - The Black Flowers

Pounding their way through Sheffield's wilderness comes a dark shade of something beautiful.

After a couple of successful performances at Sheffield's Tramlines festival and a stint in London, what comes next could be quite exciting for the Black Flowers.

The ferocious drums in 'Play With Me, Play With Fire' sit with understated vocals and ringing guitars to set a scene of suspense and mystery that they don't answer to as vocalist Ben Stanton croons: "Play with me, play with fire, I can be your one desire," before: "Let me a paint you a picture, of a dream that I had, you weren't there in the debt of redemption."

Having found a favoured recording spot at the Steel City's 2 Fly Studios with the much revered Alan Smythe, this is band that are not searching for a sound, they found it long ago, and what they found is good.