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 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UibsjY5K-c

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...