Friday, 26 February 2010
Last night’s benefit concert for the victims of the Haiti earthquake wasn’t the music industry’s fastest response to the disaster. For that, we must cede grudging respect to Simon Cowell’s reinvention of Everybody Hurts. This hastily organised show, featuring Paul Weller, Mr Hudson, Seasick Steve, Futureheads and KT Tunstall, no doubt appealed to music fans resistant to Cowell’s pan-celebrity pop fondue who wanted to empty their pockets into the donation buckets.To be continued at Paul Weller News, our partner in crime!
It can be tricky to pin down a deity - especially when he's not exactly the type to do the press run (Weller was the only famous guest at this year's Awards not to enter via the red carpet).
Still, we managed to grab the Modfather a few moments before he took the stage with a backing band that included Gem Archer and My Bloody Valentine/Primal Scream guitar alchemist Kevin Shields. Ladies and gentlemen, be upstanding for a Godlike Genius... (Luke Lewis)
The Moons (Copy Signed by Andy in Coventry!)
"Life On Earth"
Acid Jazz (AJXCD230)
File under Modern Sounds
For further details and full tracklisting click here
The much-anticipated Life On Earth hits the shelves in March - we have an early review.
Life On Earth a hard one to pin down in terms of influences - a slice of late 60s rock/pop, more recent guitar-based indie, a touch of the Small Faces, certainly a dash of Weller and some Beatles-style vocalisms, all coming together without actually being a pastiche of any of them. That's a tough one to pull off.
Some jungle beat drums take us into album opener 'Don't Go Changin'', a nice mix of modern-day indie and late 60s-style pop, the kind of stuff The Coral and The Bees have been getting plaudits for over the last few years. It's pretty much a blueprint for the next 11 tracks.
'Chinese Whispers' and 'Let It Go' lean heavier on the 60s side, the former being an insanely catchy bit of melodic rock with a chorus you'll be humming for days, while the Hammond fights it out with some harmony vocals and a Weller-style guitar break for the lead role on the slower-paced 'Torn Between Two'.
'Nightmare Day' just might have a touch of The Specials about it (I'm thinking 'Ghost Town'), 'Promise Not To Tell' rocks out in its own understated way, 'How Long' throws in a Beatles vibe (courtesy of Andy Crofts' Lennon-style delivery) and if you want quirky, the jaunty beats of 'The Ragman' will certainly give The Coral a run for its money.
Completing things is 'Everyday Heroes' (another 'big' tune and catchy chorus), a slow-building, wannabe epic in the form of 'Lost Soul' (which interestingly has an intro that mixes Michael Jackson's Billie Jean and The Doors' Riders On The Storm), 'Wondering', with Paul Weller's piano guesting on a slice of Beatles-inspired pop and album closer 'Last Night On Earth', which is...well, probably the most forgettable song on the album. It's not a bad song, just doesn't really hang in the head. Except the intro - that's a bit like 'Across The Universe' if I'm honest.
If there's a downside to Life On Earth, it's the lack of a real 'killer' track - a calling card tune that will throw the door open for the band. But what it lacks in individuality, it makes up for by its collective strength. For a debut album, it's certainly impressive - good tunes, good songs and plenty of promise for future albums to come.
If you've a thing for 60s-inspired indie (like the previously-mentioned Bees or Coral), you'll certainly enjoy this. It takes influence from the past without being a stale reworking of it. A metaphor for mod itself you could say.
Reviewed by David Walker (review posted on 22nd February 2010)
This Weds 24th: *Weller only playing a short set - with Kevin Shields & Gem Archer (no Cradock):
To tune in, head to Sky Channel 0184, Virgin Media 975, Freesat 727, DAB or NME Radio.
The Shockwaves NME Awards, which will be hosted by Jarvis Cocker, will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 11:25pm (GMT) next Friday (26) then on T4 on the same channel at 11:10am on Saturday (27).
Sound Quality: Excellent stereo recordings converted to MP3 @ 320kbps, very high quality.
Genre: Indie Pop - acoustic plus band.
Sets: In three parts:
Part One: Four promo recordings (from February 2008), with intros by Amy MacDonald, acoustic solo sets for WDR 2 recorded at the radio station and subsequently broadcast during the month.
01. This Is The Life
02. Poison Prince
03. Mr. Brightside
04. Mr. Rock & Roll
Part Two: Live in concert recorded at Kleiner Sendesaal, Cologne, on the 1st June 2008, for WDR 2 - Musikclub, and subsequently broadcast on the 15th June 2008.
01 Poison Prince
02 Mr Rock & Roll
03 Youth Of Today
04 This Is The Life
05 Mr Brightside
06 Footballers Wife
07 Barrowland Ballroom
08 Dancing In The Dark
09 Road To Home
Part Three: Again live in concert (recorded on the 18th September 2008), for the 'New Pop Festival 2008' at Kurhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany. This appears to be a new syndicated venture for some European major radio groups, this copy broadcast on Radio Bremen (programme Bremen Vier Intensiv) on the 12th November 2008.
01 Poison Prince
03 Youth Of Today
04 Mr. Rock'n'Roll
05 Next Big Thing
06 Footballers Wife
07 Mr. Brightside
09 Dancing In The Dark
10 This Is The Life
11 Let's Start A Band
1. Wake up The Nation- Zinc’s Crack House Remix
2. Fast Car Slow Traffic - Erland & Carnival Carnivalization
3. Grasp & Still Connect - The Bees Version
4. She Speaks - Tunng Remix
5. Andromeda - Richard Hawley Remix
6. In Amsterdam – Noonday Underground Remix
7. No Tears To Cry- Leo Zero Remix
8. Find the Torch, Burn The Plans – Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Remix)
9. Aim high / Pieces of a dream – The Amorphous Androgynous Remix
10. Part 1: Aim High (Aim Higher)
11. Part 2: Pieces Of A Dream (A Dream In Pieces)
12. Part 3: Aim High (The Higher Aim)
13. Part 4: Aim High (Like Water Needs A Flower)
14. Pieces Of A Dream - Original version (BONUS TRACK)
15. Grasp & Still Connect - Original version (BONUS TRACK)
Over the years, I have banged on & on about Gil Scott-Heron - but the new album is fantastic. Do not come to it expecting The Bottle, this is old school Gil (the poet/rapper), against modern beats creating a stark soundscape that sets his musings off to perfectly. The Robert Johnson cover of "Me & The Devil" is worth the price of the album alone!
When news came out about the album last year, it mentioned that it was going to be stripped down sound and I was expecting the tinkling of his old Fender Rhodes, similar to how he starts many live shows. However, when snatches of several songs became available with this contemporary beat back drop, it was a master stroke. It makes Gil as relevant now as any time in his career - however, despite the marketing push - I am sure he will still be tragically ignored.
My only negative is that at 28 minutes - it is a short album and you have to pay out a further £20 if you want to get the ltd issue double lp, that features a couple of extra tracks. I hope that they make these available as downloads soon, as the bonus tracks include new versions of "Winter In America" & "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" - two of his most compelling songs.
For those that can access it, Craig Charles' Soul & Funk show on BBC 6 Music this Saturday features an interview with Gil. Normal service will now be resumed!