Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero’s new record was not that highly anticipated in my musical world. They burst onto the scene with their undoubted guitar sensibilities and magnificent inter-action with the acoustic version of the instrument, a while ago and whilst it was mesmerising for a time, you really did start to know what to expect next. Scratch that big time now, C.U.B.A. is an unexpected but very welcome triumph and really shows that this pair are prepared to push the boundaries towards new horizons.
The songs are favourite tunes from their own catalogue re-arranged and recorded in Havana with a 13-piece Cuban orchestra.I guess we could drop a few points because we are not talking new material here but, the songs have such a (new) life and variation from the originals that they seem new anyway.
Cuba itself is a wonderful island to visit with a rich musical heritage but, if you can’t get there, Rodrigo y Gabriela will be bringing the band C.U.B.A. to the UK in February. I think most shows are now sold out but, if you can get a ticket somewhere, then grab it and let the sun shine in, on your winter world.
The next great hope for ‘Rock n Roll’ comes from Minneapolis, Minnesotain the shape of Howler, with ‘Give Up America’
It is a great record, it’s full of energy, sing-a-long songs that even, could become anthems, but at the end of the day, the record just drips of the Strokes. There is nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong, other than lacking originality I suppose. The only worry as I sit writing this, is, that I am humming’ New York City Cops’
The album even coming out at a Stroke like punching 30 odd minutes, will keep the band busy on the live circuit all year, let’s just hope that they can build their own unique reputation during that time. This album will certainly be on many a car stereo during 2012!
A really delightful album is heading your way from Mary Lorson & The Soubrettes. It’s called BurnBabyBurn' (no relation to the Ash song) Mary Lorson who handlesvocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion (phew!)began her career twenty years ago as the lead singer of the noisepop band Madder Rose., was it really that long ago???
The songs on BurbbabyBurn are just lovely. Lorson has added standup bass and subtle banjo provided by Ameila Sauter and Leah Houghtallng. Described asa “sort of a hybrid theatre piece/indie rock record” thesongs on BurnBabyBurn are just lovely,Lorson has addedstandup bass and subtle banjoprovided by Amelia Sauterand Leah Houghtaling.
Opener ‘Busboy’ has gentle piano and you can hear the’ theatre’ element when the piano is involved. Mary’s voice is pure velvet. Guitar drive ‘Manclub’ and that velvet voice expands even further on ‘Lately’ ‘River has (we love) a banjo and an Americana rhythm. So as you can see the album is very varied in style. It’s a long way from Madder Rose as you would expect. BurnBabyBurn’s elevensongs just drift by. A record for the car, a lazy Sunday morning or just to lift your sprits. Sit back, shut your eyes and listen to 'Only One Number 2' you won't regret it!
Guided by Voices are back (I think) with the original line up of Kevin Fennell, Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos and Mitch Mitchell. I am presuming the band are back, they were in line to headline the ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror’ Event at Alexandra Palace in May but then, pulled out because they had broken up, now, we have a new record!
It’s the first album of new material from this lineup of the band for fifteen years and first impressions are very favourable, indeed it struck me as very much like early days REM. The songs are fresh, alive and interesting.
During their own early days GBV were at the point of many bands today, financing their music by way of their day jobs, self-releasing five albums between 1987 and 1992; Their fifth album ‘Propeller’, found them a record label and 1994's Bee Thousand was their, lo-fi breakthrough.
The band’s career is well documented and they have always had a hardcore of support so, the on-off nature of the band is well expected, the new material though was a welcome surprise.
From the psychedelic start of Laundry & Lasers with trademark sonic guitar, via lovely Strings on the Peter Gabriel like 'Hang Mr Kite' to the Big Star ish 'The Unsinkable Fat's Domino' the album is pure Guided For Voices. I guess the nearest touchstone today to GBV, if you don't know the band is, The Flaming Lips. So let's get out there and buy this record, it will certainly brighten up your January day!
We have to hope this is the start of a new lease for life for the band and that live dates will eventually follow.