The 5th album from Ceri James is a solid piece of work, real class in its presentation and execution. Eleven songs in all that rock, roll, and seep through your senses leaving a big smile on your face. Musicianship is first class from the six piece, Three Fifths.
There is nothing new, from a new music point of view but, that not what the record is about, indeed this record fits nicely in the UK Country Rock market alongside bands such as, The Low Ryders, Treetop Flyers and Danny & The Champions of the World.
The album contains more than a nod to the blues as well. ‘Wishing Moon’ and ‘Austere Crimes and Hard Times’ are prime example of how the band extends themselves throughout the record.
A Welshman domiciled in London, between 2004-6 Ceri was a licensed busker on The London Underground, so he breathes the city and this band should be welcome in many venues throughout the streets of our fair capital.
A great record for a road trip or a smoky bar (is there such a thing anymore?) and a pint.
As part 3 of a trilogy, new album Memory is described as the widescreen movie, with the previous releases of Blindspot and Distance being described as the script and play respectively.
With his lugubrious vocal style, Michaelson may just be the closest we have to a British Leonard Cohen, and Memory’s 7 songs explore how we remember and the influence of the world and the people around us causing us to rewrite our own histories.
Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards are Dan Michaelson (vocals, guitar, piano), Henry Spenner (drums), Laurie Earle (guitar, piano) and Horse (guitar). Joining them on ‘Memory are Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers (bass), Ali Friend (double bass), Gabriel Stebbing (cello), Johnny Flynn (violin and flugelhorn), Jin Theriault (baritone sax), Yusuf Narcin (trombone) and Christo Squire (alto sax).
Full of sparse, yet lush instrumentation, Memory takes the listener on a journey of discovery almost like a movie soundtrack playing in a smokey late night jazz club.
Tides opens the album, with just vocals and piano, before the gorgeous instrumentation washes over the album like the tide from the title. Think Tindersticks or even The Red House Painters if you want a comparison.
Title track Memory is clearly something important to Michaelson as he himself admits to having “almost zero memory”. This is a beautifully simple piano led track, which again builds with the rest of the band but this time taking a more restrained approach.
First track released off the new album is Undo, which is a tale revolving around the regret at not being able to undo words said during the heat of the moment....”if I could take it back, I would take it back, I’d wouldn’t take it out on you.....but you can’t undo”. Gorgeous cello and percussion are all over this track creating an album highlight.
Half The Reason closes the album, comprised almost exclusively of horns and strings, creating one long, last undulating pulse and leaving the listener in a contemplative mood.
This is best listened to as a late night album, accompanied with a good malt whisky and a roaring fire going. It gorgeous, sparse and melancholy - just like some of my favourite albums. An addition of a female vocalist from time to time could soften Michaelsons delivery, but its a small thing, and not a distraction.
My first impression was that Foy Vance was American, having been listening to 'Joy of Nothing' since 2013, I was drawn with interest to the new record ‘Wild Swan’. Foy is actually from Bangor in Northern Ireland and it’s not till mid album track ‘Bangor Town’ and ‘Fired up’ the penultimate track, that this becomes clear.
So the guy is one of our own, even more good news but, the best news is that ‘Wild Swan’ is a superb record. Great songs, varying styles from the rock n’ roll opener ‘Noam Chomsky is a Soft Revolution’ , followed by the gospel flowered ‘Upbeat Feelgood’ which is followed by the Jack Johnson esqe ‘Coco’ and then a Van Morrison tinged “Casanova’.
Foy has a brilliant voice that can take on any style with ease it seems. The aforementioned ‘Bangor Town’ is a heart shaking wonder.
Songkick lists 103 coming dates, including support on the Elton John summer tour, which must be a good place to learn for an upcoming musician.
A truly great feel good record and certainly, one for your collection.
Philly locals Nothing release sophomore album Tired of Tomorrow on Relapse Records, following the controversy surrounding original label partner Collect Records. Collect Records loss is Relapse Records gain.
Treading the fine line between melancholia and euphoria, Tired of Tomorrow builds on 2014 debut Guilty of Everything, and often adds a further lush layer of strings into the wall of sound filling the speakers.
Leader of the 4 piece, Dominic Palermo has drawn on his recent personal events and tragedies experienced since the debut (isn’t the best art inspired by tragedy ?), to create a heavy doom laden drone of an album with an uplifting afterglow. On a recent plane journey from Italy, this perfectly soothed the usually daunting experience.
Album opener Fever Queen is an urgent pounding start to proceedings, with its crashing symbols and bass intro, before adding the dreamy vocals, and spiriting the listener away on a multilayered cloud.
Following track The Dead Are Dumb is named after the feeling that is just damn easier being dead....I’m guessing you are now realising this isn’t a light and airy listen ? Think MBV and even Lush, and you won’t go far wrong with this gorgeous track.
ACD (Abscessive Compulsive Disorder) is lyrically about having a rotten tooth and an equally rotten personality (phew.) and is a heavy slice of foreboding, but again has the musicality and structure to be euphoric at the same time.
The just damn beautiful Nineteen Ninety Heaven is where the electric guitars get put away (briefly) for the acoustic, to create this dreamy slice of bliss, with added strings and female backing vocals provided by the equally beautifully named Kylie Petal.
Curse of The Sun, in which “It’s the suns fault that everyone on earth is alive”, gets us back on track with the immersive multi layered wall of sound.
You might think Everyone is Happy would be a uplift in the subject matter thematically running throughout the album, but you’d be wrong...its about watching someone you love suffer and the inability to do something about it....thankfully, the song is another lovely slice of dreamy, droney pop music the Cocteau Twins would be proud of.
Title track Tired of Tomorrow closes this 10 song album, and begins with some delicate piano work, before the soaring lush strings take over to create an unexpected, yet fitting end to this collection.
This is an album of contrasts - gloomy yet uplifting, quiet yet loud, heavy yet light, but the overall feeling having listened to the album several times is an blissed out, uplifting one and ultimately rewarding. Play loud.
It was great to be at the 100 Club in London on the 6th April for The Poses only UK gig of their current European tour.
We like the quirky 100 Club in London for its intimacy. The stage is low (with a large pillar just in front of it) but the room is wide and shallow so can get close to the band.
The band are from Seattle and are Ken Stringfellow on keyboards and guitar, Jon Auer on guitar and Frankie Siragusa on drums. On some of the numbers they were joined by Gizelle Smith who provided some great soulful vocals. We were impressed with their new drummer Frankie. His drumming was enthusiastically brilliant. (Last year the Posies long time drummer Darius sadly died).
As always their songs were full of poetic lyrics and beautiful harmonies. Sometimes you need raw piercing sounds of heavy rock and sometimes you feel like standing on a warm beach and letting the gentle waves of rock wash over you. The Posies sound was the latter. It makes you feel good, but there were some serious lyrics wrapped up in there.
They played all of the tracks on the new album Solid States which is to be released next Friday on 29th April. Other numbers were from previous albums dating back to Frosting On The Beaters of 1993.
On the new album we really like the tracks We R Power which has a faster rhythm, the foot tapping March Climes and meditative like The Sound Of Clouds.
We R Power
Squirrel vs Snake
The Glitter Prize
Sound of Clouds
You’re the Beautiful One