Monday, 3 October 2011

Live Review - Slow Club

Leadmill, Sheffield
Following the release of Slow Club’s excellent sophomore album, ‘Paradise’, tonight sees a welcome homecoming for the Sheffield duo.

Their popularity in the Steel City has continued and a hushed silence falls over the Leadmill as they take to the stage. Despite an additional drummer and bass player, it’s very much business as usual for Charles and Rebecca. And as they open with new single ‘Where I’m Walking’, they wrap their alternate vocals tentatively around their folk pop.

It’s easy to see why their large crowds keep returning - in addition to their catchier-than-a-cold folk, the city’s worst kept secret ooze personality on the live stage. Rebecca can’t help but burst out laughing at times (often during the middle of a song), and when Charles brings up the subject of her chosen attire (a custom made Sheffield Wednesday kit-cum-dress) there’s a heartily mixed reception before she pipes up: “Well we’re all Sheffield aren’t we?”

‘Christmas TV’ is as beautiful as ever and songs from ‘Paradise’ (‘Hackney Marsh’ and ‘Never Look Back’ in particular) are composed, full and sink into their set with an unfaltering ease, demonstrating just how far the twosome have come since the release of their debut ‘Yeah So’ in 2009.

‘Two Cousins’ draws an end to the main set before ‘Giving Up On Love’ completes the show with Rebecca’s voice dominating a fitting end to a compelling evening.

Live Review - Viva Brother

The Leadmill, Sheffield
When Viva Brother walk onto the Leadmill’s Steel Stage you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked back into August by accident.

The heavily talked about and much maligned self-titled ‘Gritpop’ quartet have a crowd baying for blood. And when the opening chords of ‘New Year’s Day’ ring out, the crowd heavily populated with students begin to let the frustrations of an almost certainly sexless Fresher’s Week be known, and a bouncer takes up residence on the stage.

Amps and platforms are mounted as Viva Brother follow the rock n roll precedent they’ve set themselves, and when they find the time to stop spouting self-indulgent statements of intent, they really can crunch a riff as good as any pub band out there. They have their sing-along moments and at times can be good value, but between all their swagger and front there really isn’t that much to talk about - you know about the nineties, right?

There’s dodgy falsettos (‘Electric Daydream’) and, apparently, rare moments of modesty from front man Lee Newell (“Well this is a bit mental, please don’t throw those guys out, they’re legends”) as the growing number of bouncers wage war on renegade bar dancers and crowd surfers from an already cramped stage.
‘Darling Buds Of May’ provokes further madness as Viva Brother re-find their groove, albeit a groove that was found long ago – and done better.

They’re going to wish they’d never asked you to read between the lines.

Kasabian - Velociraptor!

Written for SHUlife

Released September 19


“It’s been fifteen or sixteen years since the last truly classic album, but I think we’ve done it,” says Serge Pizzorno, guitarist and songwriter of Leicester four-piece Kasabian.

Pretty standard  - Kasabian lauding themselves pre-release, claiming to be the best band on the block and the most important British band and blah blah blah.

‘Velociraptor!, the band’s fourth album, buzzes with the garage rock and synth psychedelia from which they spawned but, at times, shows a new found maturity that forgets the strident Kasabian we know for a more poignant one.

‘Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To’ is wrapped in Arthur Lee influence as rhythm, melody and arena-rock breakdowns are effortlessly twisted together. ‘Days Are Forgotten’ has a ragged blues swagger and the cursory spaced out chorus but it’s in ‘Goodbye Kiss’ when Kasabian enter new territory with strings and hooks lifted straight from the rock n’ roll handbook of heartbreak.

‘La Fee Vert’ tries to continue the good form but crashes into a non-descript abyss while ‘Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From The Storm)’ will act as a place to hide when questioned about a so-called masterpiece as it rings with an anthemic, eastern undertone.

While ‘Velociraptor!’ has the blueprint of solidarity, it’s not classic, just good.

Did some photographs of...Viva Brother



Did some photographs of...Slow Club

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Live Review - Willy Mason

Written for SHUlife
The Harley, Sheffield, August 23

It was in 2004 that Willy Mason released his superb debut album ‘Where The Humans Eat’.

Back then, fresh faced at 19, people were comparing his drawl to that of a young Bob Dylan. With social observations and off the cuff poetry encased in low key melody and acoustic guitars, ‘Where The Humans Eat’ was arresting in the same way that the folk legend had set his store in the Sixties. Seven years later, with only ‘If The Ocean Gets Rough’ (2007) following his debut, he’s back on the road, clad with guitar, practice amp and trolley, performing his songs at their bare bones.

A pin drop can be heard for ‘Gotta Keep Moving’, ‘All You Can Do’ and ‘Oxygen’ while ‘So Long’ is stripped back from the chirpy folk pop heard on record, with Mason sounding more weather beaten than ever. The crowd sing back the chorus of ‘We Can Be Strong’, causing a slight look of shock to wash over 26 year-olds face, and call out requests, to which the New Yorker duly accepts – even if he can’t remember the words.

Tonight, Willy Mason shows the importance of intimate gigs like this. While others spend their night with binoculars trying to squint a glimpse of spectacular, he provides his own kind of spectacle, and he doesn’t even need a set list.

Monday, 15 August 2011

New Street Adventure

Stunning stuff from a stripped down New Street Adventure.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Songs on the Stereo

Photograph by Tom Walton

1. Josh T Pearson - Woman When I've Raised Hell


2. Sarah Mac - Everyone Knows

3. The Lost Brothers - City Of The Rose


4. Elephant Keys - Whatever Gets You To Sleep At Night

5. Crystal Fighters - Plage


Carl Woodford

Photograph - Tom Walton

I've written enough about this singer/songwriter over the last couple of years so anyone who reads this blog will probably know who he is. If you don't - he's one of the country's top guitar players so check these videos out and prepare to enjoy.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ysabelle Wombwell – Ysabelle Wombwell


Released August 15

Warren Records

After supporting the Magic Numbers and Noah and the Whale, Isabelle Wombwell has been making sure she’s getting close to the mainstream radar this year.

The singer/songwriter from Hull is becoming known for carving out ruthlessly emotional live solo performances, as shown on her superb BBC Introducing session for BBC Humberside. But despite this, her eponymous debut album only partly manages to translate the folk brilliance she has promised into a mixed bag.

Although opening tracks, ‘The Story Of Your Life’ and ‘Goodbye My Cynical Friend’, twinkle in the right places, they scrape the bottom of the pop barrel with predictable melodies that stick rigidly to the formula and head up the creek without a paddle.

Her aching heart and dulcet vocals are at their best when she sheds her band, The Reigning Geese, for song majorities and ‘Falling’ is incandescent in its delivery as Wombwell croons: “Falling, the stairway from her is here. You’re trapped in your sin that seduces you in and now you’re falling down.”

‘Greasy Hands’ has groove but the bluesy acoustic guitar becomes drowned in organs and drums as it loses direction, and this is the point - while this debut album isn’t terrible, it’s terrified to see the outskirts of the boundaries which it has set itself and wallows where it feels comfortable, not allowing Wombwell to be as good as she could be. 

Too often does the intimacy get blown out of the water to be replaced by chirpy drum beats (‘Borrowed Time’/’I’ve Changed’) and too often is Wombwell not left to her own devices, which is where she shines her brightest. 

That said, there’s enough here to suggest that when Ysabelle Wombwell opts out of the middle lane, something quite special could happen.

Tramlines 2011

My contributions for SHUlife's coverage of Sheffield's free for all festival.

Dead Sons/The Crookes/The Futureheads/Ash – Main Stage, Sunday
As Dead Sons took to the stage early on Sunday afternoon a thundering bass took over the main arena. They’re another band that supported Arctic Monkeys at the beginning of June, though they sound more the part and despite rarely looking up through heavy haircuts, their jagged riffage set the scene for the afternoon.
Clad in trademark snappy suits and shades, The Crookes bounced across the main stage, throwing themselves at the task in hand at full throttle. As they came to end of their set they pulled ‘Backstreet Lovers’ and ‘Yes, Yes, We Are Magicians’ out of their ever growing back catalogue to rile up the crowd who vociferously asked for more.
The Futureheads don’t need any introductions. They opened with ‘The Beginning Of The Twist’ (the biggest hit played so far today) to the crowd’s jubilation before hammering through ‘Decent Days And Nights’ and finishing with ‘Hounds Of Love’ with their trademark Geordie hollers. 
The Lost Brothers – The Wick At Both Ends, Sunday
It was a quiet affair in The Wick At Both Ends with folk duo, The Lost Brothers, keeping things unplugged and encapsulating their awed audience. It was as intimate as it gets with even the faintest hint of chat getting shushed down immediately as their immaculate harmonies drifted from heart-rending to sublime.
Elephant Keys – Frog and Parrot, Sunday
Things were a little bit more hectic in the Frog and Parrot as Elephant Keys let loose their brash rock n roll to a packed house. Catchy melodies, riffs and licks stole the show as energetic front man Phil Goodwin threw himself between monitor tops and his microphone before they left the stage with puddles of sweat and smouldering guitars. 
Jersey Budd and Josh T Pearson – Leadmill, Sunday
It’s a shame that Jersey Budd had to battle the crowd for his husky voice to be heard. Shedding his band and keeping things low key, the singer/songwriter from Leicester showcased songs from his debut album ‘Wonderland’ with sincerity and personal triumph.
“You guys weren’t very nice to Jersey, y’all going to be nice to me?” Are the first words Josh T Pearson uttered as he brought the curtains down on Leadmill’s weekend. He held the crowd from conversation as he chatted idly for five minutes, laughing and joking, before playing songs from ‘Last Of The Country Gentlemen’ with a gruelling sadness.
It was his between song banter that saved his audience leaving the show as tear filled wrecks with the emotional songsmithery  touching nerves in each corner of the room with tales of alcoholism, infidelity and self loathing. A fitting end
Carl Woodford – The Folk Forest, Saturday
Carl Woodford’s reputation as one of Sheffield’s finest folk stars is growing, and so is his crowd. His finger picking croonery and tales of heartbreak build up to the 31 year-olds curtain closer, ‘Coloured Walls’, in which he fashions his well known strum n’ drum technique with an unmerciful attack on his guitar. 
Sarah Mac – The Library Theatre, Saturday
When SHUlife picked Sarah Mac singer as one of our Ones To Watch back in November last year, it looks like we may have been on to something.
As The Library Theatre filled up and Sarah Mac took to the stage there was a hushed silence before she swung into her jazz blues, twisted with a hit of pop.
“Have you been having a good time? I think it has been proper mint,” said the singer before introducing ‘Sessions’ which was delivered with smiles before her minimal band of drums and bass left her to complete the set with ‘Everyone Knows’, leaving everyone with a tear in their eye. 
The Black Flowers/The Tivoli/The Book Club/The Monicans/Mabel Love – Leadmill, Saturday
It’s a celebration of Sheffield’s finest down at the Leadmill and SHUlife’s November 2010 Band Of The Month, Black Flowers, jangled through some of their newer offerings to a packed Steel Stage.
The rattle and shake in newer songs such as ‘Lies’ show they still know how to write a tune but they’ve softened their edge, and they’re suffering for it.
The Tivoli have been a main stay on the Sheffield music scene for over five years now and as Lee McMahon’s throat shredding vocals ripped through the crowd they showed what a tight unit they’ve become. Despite this, their powerful guitar driven tunes provoked relatively little crowd response, unusual at a Tivoli gig.
The main stage was rammed to see Exposed Magazine’s voted Best Band, Book Club, but despite the anticipation, it was slow starting as they introduced tracks from their new album until Carnell said: “Alright then, we’ve changed the set a bit,” and they deliver ‘Somebody’s Daughter’ and ‘Mr K’ with a perfection that goads the crowd into frenzy.
The grunge sensibilities of The Monicans went down well on the Steel Stage as their their loyal faithful got their dancing shoes on at the front while the band dripped sweat through their screeching guitars.
After their support slot with Arctic Monkeys and growing reputation as an impressive live band, Mabel Love have been gaining admirers. It didn’t show though and what usually spits charming indie, stumbled and stuttered towards the night end.
Futures and Twin Atlantic – Leadmill, Friday
Emo scenesters Futures entered the fray with a their upbeat pop rock and a need to be noticed.  As they ran through crowd favourite, ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’,  things get going but it was noticeable the side parted haircuts and teen romancers were waiting for Twin Atlantic when singer Ant West piped up: “I’ve heard there’s a football team here called Sheffield Wednesday? They must be the greatest team in the world.”
It’s little wonder that when the Glaswegian quartet, Twin Atlantic,  do stroll on there’s an air of anticipation. After tour supports with Blink 182 and Biffy Clyro recently completed the publicity seems to have done the trick and it’s in no time that the crowd had their hands in the air as they ran through tracks from their recent album, ‘Free’, with guile filled licks and fizzing energy.
The Blackbirds and Lewis Floyd Henry – Frog and Parrott, Friday
This small pub on Division Street was splitting at the seams and as The Blackbirds (a concoction of Cut Your Wings and Shot Dead) filled the air with feral blues there’s little wonder people were craning their necks just try and get a look at them. It was loud and unforgiving as they played a mix of their own songs and covers with a visceral edge.
As Lewis Floyd Henry stepped on stage and began to unleash his blues psychedelia, things began to spice up. He’s best known for his raucous busking sessions on the capital’s street corners but the one man show hit another notch as people stood as close as a foot away when the venue closed in on over capacity.
After his debut album, ‘One Man And His 30w Pram’ hit critical acclaim with BBC 6 Music and Mojo, the London based singer already has a cult following that has spread to the Steel City.   

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Brother - New Years Day


Released June 26

This four piece from Slough are the new band that everybody loves to hate.

There has been a lot of talk about Brother over recent months with their music packing a similar punch to their roguish rock n’ roll star behaviour.

Taken from their forthcoming debut album, ‘Famous First Words’, ‘New Year's Day’ is full of riffs, chants and more hooks than Robson Green’s tackle box. It’s more gritpop than Britpop and the band unleash a cascade of reasons to keep people interested in guitar music. Damn good reasons.

Keep a sharp eye.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Wanda Jackson sounding gooood...

Wanda Jackson covering Bob Dylan's 'Thunder On The Mountain'....

Songs On The Stereo

1. Arctic Monkeys - Black Treacle

2. White Denim - Drug -  

3. Hollie Cook - Milk And Honey -   

4. Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks -   

5. Alex Clare - Hands Are Clever -   

Monday, 13 June 2011

Live Review – Arctic Monkeys

Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield

Having being billed as one of the biggest shows of the summer, some might say Arctic Monkeys have some pressure on their shoulders.

The release of their fourth album ‘Suck It And See’ has preceded this double shindig in Sheffield and after the mixed reviews of ‘Humbug’ questions were also raised about the live performances that accompanied their third album. But as they stroll on stage to Hot Chocolate’s ‘You Sexy Thing’ they don’t look like a band that are hosting the burden of the next day chart run down.

It’s with a swagger that ‘The View From The Afternoon’ and ‘Brianstorm’ thump through their temporary home and the quartet don’t look like they’ve got too much to worry about until the altered breakdown of the otherwise flawless ‘Still Take You Home’ jitters and stutters to expose underlying nerves.

‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ thunders into the Sheffield night before the sing-along crescendo of ‘Crying Lightening’ sends the crowd further into rapture. It's when Turner conducts the world’s largest choir through a sparkling solo rendition of ‘Mardy Bum’ that it becomes more and more apparent that this is a special night - there are skin heads singing with a tear in their eye, flares in the crowd and inflated jonnies floating through space as the sea of hands pump relentlessly to make Sheffield shake in its foundations for 90 minutes, uniting  10, 000 people in happiness and piss.

Miles Kane joins the band for ‘505’ to end the main set before they return with ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and ‘A Certain Romance’ to cap off an emotional homecoming from one of the Steel City’s finest exports.

Quality not great but you get the idea..

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Rough Fields – Watery Fable


Out Now
Bomb Shop

When James Birchall holed himself in a studio with booze and instruments during a period of seclusion at the close of 2010, he took the alter ego Rough Fields

‘Watery Fable’ is a concoction of urban folk dashed with electronica and harmony that tells a fictional tale of two abandoned tribe members living in their homeland.

After a promising start of ambient vocals and toned down plucky electric guitars, ‘Watery Fable’ begins to fall too far into its own story and drifts into nothingness for the final two minutes to create little other than a lacklustre soundtrack to the demise of a civilisation.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Hollie Cook – Hollie Cook


Released June 6

Mr Bongo Recordings

Having grown up in a household of all things music, it comes as little surprise that the daughter of Sex Pistol Paul Cook ditched school to pursue a career in the family profession.

It’s paid off too and after collaborations with Jamie T and Ian Brown, Cook is releasing her debut album.

Taking influence from reggae singer Janet Kay and Phyllis Dillon, Cook wraps psychedelic pop melodies around dub beats and ska licks with Mike Pelanconi’s slick production adding a summer time shine to the mix.

The spooky ska backdrop to opener ‘Milk And Honey’ plays host to Cook’s entrancing vocals that, despite some flaky lyrics (“every day in the morning paper you, you got the news of the world, your gonna make changes, it's time to laugh all alone in your room,  if only you could shine through the darkness,”) are delivered to near perfection.

‘It’s So Different Here’ and ‘Shadow Kissing’ provide plod-along moments but the subtle horns and chipper beat of Shangri-Las cover ‘Walking In The Sand’ and Caribbean ska of ‘Cry (Disco Mix)’ apply a fresh bond between reggae and pop that stands this album in good stead for the festival season.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Hot Soles

Be sure to check out this groove loving blues soul duo....The Hot Soles

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Box Of Stones



Released June 5

Dirty Hit Ltd

After raising eyebrows with his previous two EPs, now is the time for Benjamin Francis Leftwich to come of age.

With his forthcoming debut album, ‘Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm’, hot on the horizon (released June 20,) the twenty-one year-old has built himself a fearsome reputation as one of the hottest new talents in folk.

‘Box Of Stones’ continues Leftwich’s fine vain of precocious songsmithery as finger picking acoustics join his croons and superb harmonies to show that the promise of his first efforts weren’t just a flash in the pan.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Songs on the Stereo

1. Various Cruelties - Cold As You -

2. John Martyn - Heel Of The Hunt

3. Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi ft. Jack White - Two Against One -

4. The Budos Band - Black Venom

5. Richard Hawley - Roll River Roll

Top tunes x

Monday, 23 May 2011

Red Snapper – Key


Out Now

V2 Benelux

After spending two years in the making, ‘Key’ – the seventh album from progressive jazz cohorts Red Snapper has eventually arrived.

Since forming in 1993, the band have continuously commandeered genres and made them their own by pushing boundaries in the brutal fashion only they know how.

‘Key’ sticks to their progressive path but despite the introduction of jazz saxophonist Tom Challenger, guest vocalists Gavin Clarke (UNKLE, Clay Hill) and Mercury Prize nominee Eliza Carthy, it’s slow starting.

‘In Your Backs’, ‘Chimee’ and ‘Spikey’ might take a biscuit from the disco to make sense as it all becomes a little bit too much with Red Snapper not really knowing what they want to be, resulting in a car crash of sound.

The drums punch and kick throughout with Challenger’s sax dominating the melody which has a grace that lies deep inside the array of supersonic electro soundscapes that later reveal themselves as repetitive and thoughtless.

It’s when Challenger takes control in ‘Take Your Medecine’ that it all comes to life and the fusion of genre is seamlessly welded together in a way that the opening of the LP fails to imitate.

As Carthy enters the fray in ‘Loveboat’ the tempo is temporarily raised with disco jazz licks pounding their way to a dance floor near you before ‘Eye Liner Stab’ and ‘Great First Touch’ begin to lift ‘Key’ from near oblivion.

Yeah it’s progressive, it’s just not that good.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Lykke Li – Sadness Is A Blessing


 May 16

Atlantic Records

You would have had to have been living in another dimension not to have stumbled across this Swedish songstress over recent months.

With sophomore album ‘Wounded Rhymes’ having the critics on their knees as she lamented on post tour depression and love stories gone wrong, second single, ‘Sadness Is A Blessing’, bleeds all of the above with ethereal melodies and gripping vocals containing the moving poignancy of a ghost ship in the night.

As the 24 year old croons: “I ranted, I pleaded, I beg him not to go. For sorrow, the only lover I've ever known,” there’s an openness that is as compelling as it is cheerless and she continues: “Sadness is a blessing, sadness is a pearl, sadness is my boyfriend, oh sadness I’m your girl,” to show a lonely soul shedding the burden of broken days.

Friday, 6 May 2011

John Fairhurst Interview

After spanning the globe on never ending tours, getting tattooed by monks in a Thai temple and playing festivals such as Glastonbury and SXSW, John Fairhurst finds the time to tell Tom Walton about his past, a return to Sheffield and his new album...

The yet-to-be titled long player is pencilled for release in September, with recording to take place at Sheffield’s Club 60 as the talkative 33 year-old bluesman explains: “It’s one of those rare places, it’s got a great vibe, I want to try and transmit that through to the music, and they’ve got fantastic 24-track analogue recording facilities.”

It will be a return to a city Fairhurst has fond memories of, he studied environmental conservation at Sheffield Hallam University and recollects: “I think it was 2001 when I finished at Hallam,” before laughing: “They’re pretty much the years when I really learned to play the guitar. It’ll be nice to spend some time there again.”

Originally from Wigan, the well travelled musician has wandered the world with his finger picking blues and gypsy jazz. He’s amiable and spins tales of the Rif Valley, living in Spain, Australia and New Zealand into conversation before explaining why it took until 2007 to record his debut album, ‘Joys Of Spring’ (released in 2008.)

With the studio set in a countryside cabin just outside of his hometown, he and friends collaborated on his instrumental curtain raiser. It later sold out of the limited run of 1000 copies and led to critical acclaim.

As Fairhurst looks back on the recording of the album, he reminisces fondly: “It was my first opportunity to actually release anything, I’ve been recording stuff and gigging since I was about 16 but this was the first time I managed to stay in one place and get it all down. It was very intimate, it was a beautiful summer and we recorded a lot of it with the doors open, all of the art work was done on site while we were recording and it was just a very organic way of doing things.”

He describes his second long player, ‘Band’ without the fond sense of nostalgia and labels his sophomore album as a “troublesome beast” and a “labour of love” that was a more difficult experience compared to his debut. 

"The blues is coming back."

With the guitarist adding his gnarled vocal to the equation and a host international musicians taking part, sessions didn’t run as smoothly as ‘Joys Of Spring’ but it was a progression and the more highly charged blues material was perhaps easier for the listener to grasp.

Fairhurst first picked up a guitar at the age of 11 after listening to his father play slide. Taking influence from Captain Beefheart (“a genius, way ahead of his time,”) Tom Waits and Robert Johnson among others, he began to develop his well honed finger picking blues.

The guitarist considers Johnson and Waits as the men who set him on the road to playing with his father being a particularly strong influence despite the fact “he never even played a gig.”

When the guitarist was five years old the iconic Sarod player K. Sridhar stayed with family Fairhurst and it had a profound effect - Fairhurst has met with the musician several times since his stay in Wigan nearly 28 years ago and now considers him as something of a mentor and Eastern blues licks are visible in Fairhurst’s music today.

"Third Man Records is the most forward thinking record label."

With talk of blues and guitar bands facing a slide in mainstream popularity to the rejuvenated electro and dance scenes, Fairhurst rejects talk of a dwindle,saying it’s more important than ever: “The blues is coming back, if you look at Seasick Steve playing the main stage at festivals and the Black Keys – who just won a Grammy and they’re essentially a two piece blues band. They’ve taken the ball and run with it, they’re taking blues to new places.”

It’s a topic he knows and adds:  “Look at my label [Debt Records,] they’ve got some great blues artists, like the Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six.”

The progressive musician believes music is expanding and the industry is coming back to life, the modern diversity in the current market fascinates Fairhurst who seems the perpetual optimist and welcomes the constant birth of new genres.

Before the conversation ends Fairhurst is intent on making his point and adds: “The White Stripes may have ended but Jack White’s Third Man Records is probably the best record label in the world, by far the most forward thinking. He’s [White] releasing records by fantastic folk and blues artists,” before laughing: “I wouldn’t mind being on it myself.”

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Australia mad at TvDub towers....

Alright, he looks like a twat but Daniel Johns is on top form here...

The almighty Tim Rogers playing 'City Lights' from You Am I's album 'Deliverance'.

Meltdown is pretty much the right word for the band that never emulated the heights of their debut album and early live performances.

OK, JET haven't been cool since 2002 but this is a tune...

Friday, 29 April 2011

Michael Kiwanuka – Tell Me A Tale EP

Released June 11
Communion Records

Arriving in time for summer 2011, Michael Kiwanuka will be fresh from playing tour support to Adele just in time to brighten the disappointingly grey summer days.

Recorded and produced by Paul Butler (Bees) in the Isle Of Wight with a host of indigenous musicians, ‘Tell Me A Tale EP’ perches on the edge of a precipice that promises greatness.

As Kiwanuka croons: “Tell me a story that I can read, tell me a story that I believe. Paint me a picture that I can see, give me a touch that I can feel,” the 23-year-old plays older than his days as rootsy folk is combined with soul and a backlash of emotion.

There is a vulnerability to his sound and voice that tugs on the heart strings and ‘Need Your Company’ and ‘Worry Walks Beside Me’ will make you bleed compassion and empathy for the lonely heart as strings, pianos and modest blues guitars create an ambience that’s difficult to escape from.

Mel Tormé

 Perfect old school blues soul....

Monday, 25 April 2011

Teenage obsessions...

This was Silverchair's first live performance after singer Daniel Johns' battle with reactive arthritis.

Johns was still suffering from the aftermath of the life threatenning condition when this performance took place at Australia's ARIA Awards Ceremony (Aussie equivalent of the Brits) in 2002. He reportedly changed chords positions in order to play the song.


Stumbled across this....

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Songs on the Stereo

1. Arctic Monkeys - Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair

2. Raphael Saadiq - Heart Attack

3. Michael Kiwanuka - Tell Me A Tale

4. Alexander - Truth


5. The Kills - Nail In My Coffin

Top tunes x

Monday, 18 April 2011

My Head Radio – Reality Cheque


Out Now
Hotblack Records

My Head Radio have never collaboratively met.

It can do bloody wonders the internet and yeah, it might be a soulless way to purchase your music but if the advert has shown us anything, it can make new relationships blossom.

Compiled of four musicians connected by the World Wide Web, all sharing a love for funk, jazz and hip hop, the electronically built group that spans two continents have hit their second album despite an array of studio, maternal and equipment complications, on top of their geographical differences.

Reality Cheque is a peculiar concoction of jazz and lo-fi rap that chills and swings mischievously with horns and funky bass. It’s not without its charm in parts but as predictably as your average internet date goes, it falls short.

The superb jazz fusion of ‘Up To You’ and the non-violent message of ‘Cease Fire’ provide highlights but it takes a while for the Atheist rambling longevity of ‘Big Foot Prince’ to convey it’s message: “I see through your ruse and refuse your command, I’ve tried all the scoops in your ice cream stand, drafting a plan to melt your deception, what if I’m the man with a biblical lesson.”

From the outside it might seem that My Head Radio have moves so smooth it's going to be a done deal but that charm eventually becomes as plastic as her breasts and the beats as predictable as his next profile picture.

While it’s not difficult and it’s not offensive, Reality Cheque is just as boring as the conversation the next morning.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Arctic Monkeys - Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair

Released May 30

It’s with thunder and fire that Arctic Monkeys have announced their return.

After the muscular riffage of the opinion dividing ‘Brick By Brick’, the quartet are moving into heavier territory to piss on the ridiculous rumours of guitar band extinction.

‘Don’t Sit Down Cause’ I’ve Moved Your Chair’ is an untamed brute that plays on Seventies arena rock with an unashamed bite that breaths fresh air back into rock n’ roll.

Turner speaks in riddles: “Go into business with a grizzly bear, just don’t sit down cause’ I’ve moved your chair,” and Cook wraps meaty hooks into thick licks to push the Sheffield quartet into new terrain as they continue their evolution.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Beatles - Sheffield - 1963

Legend – The Beatles made their live Sheffield debut on February 12, 1963 at the Azena ballroom, Gleadless...or so Peter Stringfellow would have you believe...

During an interview with Beatles biographer, Mark Lewisohn, nearly 20 years ago, the notorious entrepreneur (who organised the gig with his brother, Geoffrey) told Lewisohn that the Beatles played the Azena on the February date, claiming it was the first time the band had appeared on a Sheffield stage.

In fact, recent research shows it was last Saturday (April 2) that marks the 48th anniversary of the Beatles’ legendary show at the Azena, nearly two months before the reported date.

Suspicion arose among Fab Four fans when it was realised that the band played in Oldham on the same night they were supposed to be in Sheffield, the day after recording their debut album ‘Please Please Me’ in a single session at Studio Two in London.

Evidence, in the form of a set list picked up by a support band member on the night, has since confirmed that Lewisohn was fed false information. The handwriting from the document has been confirmed by Lewisohn as Paul McCartney’s and features ‘From Me To You’ - which hadn’t been written by February.

Furthermore, a poster supposedly advertising the February 12 Azena line-up has long been discarded as fake. The poster contains the famed ‘drop T’ logo, in which the stem of the T, central in the name, drops beneath the other characters. This wasn’t designed until the April of 1963 and wasn’t officially unveiled until May of the same year when it was used on Ringo’s bass drum. 

The fake poster, designed by Duffield that later sold for £10, 000

The poster, made by Colin Duffield, later sold at a rock n’ roll memorabilia auction for £10,000 and was accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Duffield himself.

I recently uncovered the real advert for the event at Sheffield City Library archives. Taken from the Sheffield Star of April 2, 1963, it disproves Stringfellow’s claim that the Beatles’ first ever Sheffield gig took place at the Azena, and the authenticity of Duffield’s poster.

The night itself was originally meant to be played at Stringfellow’s new club, the Black Cat (formerly St Aiden’s Church on City Road.) But when tickets started selling quickly (for four shillings, the equivalent of 20p today) prices were raised to five shillings (25p,) the location was changed  to the Azena and over 1,000 more tickets than the venue's capacity of 500 were sold.

Another 1,000 people turned up without a ticket and when someone opened a fire door to let people in, chaos ensued before police officers restored order.

Notably, one of the band’s top hits, ‘Twist And Shout’, wasn’t included in their set. It is thought that John Lennon had a cold and didn’t want to risk his voice with the iconic throat shredding vocals.

Before playing the Azena, the Beatles appeared twice at the City Hall, on March 2 and 16 of that same year, before appearing in Sheffield another two times at the venue before the year end.

Sheffield Star - April 2, 1963