All Styles Served Here…New February Reviews

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…and a few more new records to talk about… from Iceland to Wales… from Pilgrims to Good Ol’ Boys. 

A selection of our thoughts about some of the new records in the shop now….and as featured on our Spotify playlist…feel free to add your voice in the comments

Asgeir – Bury The Moon

With a Papal like blessing from Hipster in Chief John Grant and the love and care of purveyors of all that’s cool, One Little Indian records’ Bury the Moon is sure to be noticed amongst the movers and shakers. The literati and the trendier than thou crowd will fall on this bit of plastic like a vegan dog with a plant-based subway sandwich discarded on the streets of Hoxton. 

Which is Good. This record deserves recognition and high praise. But it also deserves so much more. This record deserve a wide audience and to be on many, many turntables.

Knowledge fount, Wikipedia describes Asgeir’s genre as “Folktronica” and yeah…that’s kinda lazy but I get it, acoustic Guitars and synths. However, anyone who saw the incredible documentary about Icelandic music “Screaming Masterpiece” (and if you haven’t, I recommend you do) will know the amazing genre fluid melting pot that Iceland is. Asgeir like so much Icelandic Music defies classification. So here I go!

The album opener “Pictures” is a lilting confection a strummed acoustic guitar, some gentle synths, brass and strong falsetto voice which pulls at an unassuming but haunting melody. “When darkness falls, we venture out into the night” but this is no scary story of vampires and nocturnal emptiness, but rather a call to interconnectivity and togetherness. “Wherever I go I find my way home” he sings in the striking “Breathe”.

This record is full of songs which reminisce about past times, and paint pictures of cold exterior. Yet, Love and Joy are all pervasive in the world that is created here, and that’s something to celebrate. Bury The Moon is a warm positive record which sounds fantastic and Asgeir has a voice to die for. Get this album now to get ahead of the curve…or wait, wait until some of these tracks appear in some hit HBO tv series and go stratospheric. Your call!

Bryan Ferry – Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1974.

This concert has legendary status amongst Roxy fans, Its up there with that Bowie support slot at the Rainbow. Tired of what Ferry calls the darkness of For Your Pleasure he gathered together most of Roxy, sans Andy and Eno and took to the stage of the Albert Hall in black tie with a full orchestra and played through his fist two solo albums. Ferry’s solo work especially set against the early Roxy albums were a fascinating hotchpot of his favourite songs and song writers. Whilst they don’t have the sonic experimentation of his bands output, but the juxtapositions of these songs has a magic all of its own. 

Live and in the moment, Ferry and his cohorts don’t radically move away from the album versions but there is a verve and energy that accompanies these performances which is simply thrilling. 

The album opens with Ferry bringing a glam camp drama to Jagger’s “Sympathy for the Devil”. Ferry is theatrical in a the very best way. The living joy in the songs ‘Love how you love me/Baby I don’t care/ Its My party” is a thing of wonder. Ferry isn’t recreating the sounds and vibes of the originals…but rather the sounds and vibes of countless mirror facing bedroom bound teenagers singing these into a hairbrush at the top of their lungs, caught up and blown away by potent enchantment of pop. Ferry first and foremost is a fan. 

The original songs in this smorgasbord of cover versions do not feel out of place or anachronistic, they emphasis the magpie quality that Ferry brings to his writing, he is attracted to the shiny elements of the pop cannon and he invests in them, with his modernist artistic aesthetic eye/ear.  “A Really Good Time”, which will later appear on the fourth Roxy Music album, ‘Country Life’ is a desperately sad song about the wearying ennui for listless ‘bon vivant’.  This is a seam that Ferry had mined before and would go on to mine again…’Avalon’ being its ultimate expression.  But here he brings the melancholy to the fore, but in a way, which ensures that audience know they are explicit consumers, users or co-dependents, if you will, of a lifestyle which is ultimately empty. Yet, imbued with the never say die, street toughness of all our inner Sally Bowles’s.

Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1974 is a fantastic time capsule of Ferry planting his flag on the undiscovered country of his future legend. It’s a great, great record and wonderful to imagine being there. 

The Cadillac Three – Country Fuzz

Howdy Y’all. Nice of you to show…now pledge allegiance to the flag and come along for the ride! 

Hailing from Nashville, these young, good ol’ boys, serve up straight, no nonsense Southern Rock and Modern Country the way it’s meant to sound.  So, crack open a cold bottle of bud and put on your shades, your cowboy boots and enter the smokey neon bar, with sassy and sharp as nails bar maids…and a world of faded Levi’s and plaid shirts. 

This is a true honky-tonk good time, feel good record. Steel guitars, southern fiddles and close harmonies that you can join in with and will transport you to the heart of modern Nashville.  These boys sing of Saturday Nights, Dirt Roads and Jack Daniels’ Hearts.

But it also rocks, and it also rolls, the spirt of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd are acknowledged. This is the record that is happy and comfortable with its place in history.  It trusts it’s given genre, knows the limitations but understands that within this paradigm much fun is to be had. 

The stand out track “ It’s Hard out here for A Country Boy”  is an ironic catalogue of all the hardships and privations faced by a red , white and blue collard guy.The song acts as calling card for wonderful The Cadillac  Three….” it’s a hell of a job…but somebodies gotta do it!” They do it damn well! Long may they keep rollin’. 

Those Damn Crows – Point of No Return

A rock album.  A hard rock Album. A hard rock album from a Welsh hard Rock Band. A hard rock album from a young welsh Hard rock band. 

Those Damn Crows are actually something pretty damn special.

They play the music they love, referencing their favourite records, Maiden, Sabbath, Whitesnake, Guns N Roses and even My Chemical Romance.  They play their own songs in a classic style with love. It’s not a pastiche, It’s not arch and knowing, Its not trying to subvert or reinvent the genre. It’s just Hard Rock and it really works. 

The riffs are heavy and relentless, The chorus are anthemic, The rhythm is solid as hammering masonry nails into a wall. The solos are fast and high up that fretboard and safe to say, the heads are banging!  But unlike speed merchants such as Dragonforce where the virtuosity is purely middle class whiter than white boys from Epsom or wherever, showing off, Point of No Return is all about the songs! Those Damn Crows are the real thing. They are most definitely standing on the long-haired shoulders of spandex clad giants but make no mistake they are an original band. 

From the opener “Who Did It” to the album finale “Devil In My Pocket” this album delivers pure unalloyed heavy rock. If that’s your bag, then man I’d get on this quickly…Heads up they will be playing Rambling Man in Maidstone this summer…and if they keep delivering music of this quality, they will be headlining at Donnington sometime very soon! 

Seth Lakeman – A Pilgrims Tale.

Seth’s 10th Solo album in 18 years is beautiful piece of storytelling. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. I was going to review it but this, taken from, from Seth’s website does a far better job than I could ever do. Seth is touring this album around the UK in spring and very excitingly is Headlining at our very own “A New Day “Festival outside Faversham this coming August. 

“Chronicling the voyage and early settlement in these songs, Seth has created a drama that celebrates the history, but doesn’t lose sight of the journey’s tribulations. It stays sensitive to important facets of the story; the religious liberation that passengers were trying to achieve, the nefarious deeds enacted upon the Wampanoag, and the deaths that followed on both sides. It’s a story Seth feels he is intrinsically linked to, “I didn’t have far to go for inspiration. The Mayflower Steps, on Plymouth’s cobbled Barbican streets are 20 minutes away from me. I fished from this quay as a boy, sang songs on tall ships tied up here and played music in just about every old sailors’ pub in this Elizabethan quarter.” Furthermore, as one of the most celebrated members of British folk music, Seth is wholly qualified to replicate the trappings of traditional 17th century musical styles; whether it be through his vocals, stringed instrument arrangements, fiddle playing, or percussion.

The stories in the songs are told from a variety of perspectives, from personal accounts such as the opening number ‘Watch Out’ detailing deadly premonitions of a Wampanoag girl, to tales of the collective travellers in songs such as ‘Pilgrim Brother’ and ‘Sailing Time’, which march at a hopeful cadence reflecting their early optimism. Close your eyes, and with each track you feel possessed by one of those 17th century characters; a crewman wrestling to control the ship, a pilgrim celebrating in rapturous faith, or the solemn Wampanoag tribesmen forlornly surrendering to the new way of life thrust upon them. Seth has married mood to pulsing rhythms in an immersive tale of struggle that, 400 years later, still holds an emotional impact.

Inspiration for the project came when Seth was on tour with Robert Plant, and paid a visit to the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts to talk to the Wampanoag that still reside in the area. It didn’t take long for the songs to form upon his return to England, “After I travelled home from the “New World” to Plymouth, Devon everything happened in a quite mystical way. The songs came together so speedily and with exactly the vibe I wanted, and we recorded in a very short time in my studio at home on Dartmoor.” To supplement the recordings, a between-song narration was written by associate director of Plymouth’s Theatre Royal, Nick Stimson, and read by Paul McGann. Seth was elated to have the prestigious actor on board, “As we finished the album another quite magical thing happened, when Paul agreed to voice the narration between the tracks on the record. He pitched it perfectly.” 

On top of Seth’s own vocal and instrumental performances (Violin, Viola, E tenor Guitar, Bouzouki, Drums, Harmonium) on the record, additional instrumentation is provided by some of the UK’s finest talents, including Irish vocalist (and sister in law to Seth) Cara Dillon (additional vocals & co-lead on ‘Saints And Strangers’), English multi-instrumentalist Benji Kirkpatrick (Vocals, Bouzouki, Guitar, Side Drum), long-time collaborator Ben Nicholls (upright Bass, Jew’s Harp), and Seth’s father Geoff Lakeman (additional vocals). The album was recorded at Seth’s Crossways Studio in Devon, and mixed by Richard Evans (New Order, Peter Gabriel, The Pogues).” 

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