From this month’s Friends Of compilation (out now on digital download!) there’s been some discussion of a striking track by Hurray for the Riff Raff called “Pa’lante” which is an incredible listen. Pitchfork have written a piece about it here which is worth a read while you absorb the track – the audio is below. “In an ever-desensitized world, Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee Segarra is skilled at making violence human. “Pa’lante,” a ferocious highlight from her forthcoming record The Navigator, examines the spiritual death that occurs when ancestral histories and identities are abandoned in order to assimilate. The song’s title is a Spanish affirmation that means “onwards, forwards,” borrowed from the name of the newspaper published by the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican community activist group that agitated for change in the 1970s. Segarra also samples a recording of Pedro Pietri’s seminal 1969 poem “Puerto Rican Obituary,” which illuminated the rigged game of naturalization to a generation. But her lament is entirely her own. Continue reading “Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “Pa’lante” – Listen”
We get a fair amount of offers to cover gigs by americana artists here at AUK but particularly with showcases and album launches, they are often London based which is awkward since precisely one of our writers lives in London and his whole life would be spent going to see live music if he attended them all. Which doesn’t sound like such a bad thing when you come to think about it. Anyway, as is common knowledge it’s grim up north where we’re based, so if you are one of those new-fangled London people, can write well, produce copy quickly and fancy seeing some Americana for free from time to time (normally on week nights) then please get in touch with us. A lot of the artists are “up and coming” as they say, but today’s fresh faces are tomorrow’s Ryan Adams. Or Ryan Adams-es. And you could be the person to tell the world about them.
We love country music here at AUK, but the politics of mainsteam country can be something of a turn off in these weary times, so this is a nice article from Billboard reporting on country anthems with a progressive bent. They report: “Last week, Garth Brooks revealed an alternate version of the music video for his 1992 single “We Shall Be Free,” an inspirational song from his album The Chase that features the sort lyrics rarely heard on country radio: progressive. The newly unearthed clip, which Brooks debuted on his Facebook Live chat “Inside Studio G,” had been updated from its original version in 2002 and incorporated footage from 9/11 alongside cameos from celebrities like Al Gore and Michael J. Fox. Brooks had never released the updated video, but decided to do so after seeing a renewed interest in the song, which turns 25 this year. Continue reading “Here’s 10 socially progressive country tunes for you”
A great little article from the Guidelive.com site which was published a couple of weeks ago and we’ve just come across, which discusses the difficulty of defining the genre. Believe me, we’ve had some heated discussions ourselves. If you can guess their final definition you win a Twix. They report: ” The musical genre Americana is nearly as vast as the country it’s named for. Take a look at award-winning Americana musicians and you’ll see the problem: Legendary soul singer William Bell won a trophy for Best Americana Album at the Grammys recently. Bon Iver topped Billboard’s Americana/Folk Albums Chart for its electronic-focused, completely twangless album 22, A Million. That same chart more recently listed albums by pop poster boy Ed Sheeran, classic soft-rockers Simon & Garfunkel and even “Fire and Rain” man James Taylor. Major label country artists Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson topped the same chart. But, hey, it’s all Americana? Continue reading ““Why Americana is one of the most deceptive labels in music””
It’s fair to say that growing up Loudon Wainwright III had some mixed feelings about his father, a columnist for LIFE magazine which he has summed up himself in a typically forthright and candid manner: “When they first were published in the magazine in the 1960s and 70s I mostly ignored them because having a famous father had been, by in large, kind of a drag. I was the son of the famous LIFE magazine writer Loudon Wainwright. Wasn’t that great? Wasn’t I proud? Those 2 questions always led to a third, which I invariably asked myself: How the hell was I going to top that?”. Continue reading “Loudon Wainwright III – ‘Survivng Twin’”
I was drawn to Acetone because they were on Vernon Yard Recordings alongside Low, on whom I had a major musical crush. It’s always a risky business but in pre-internet days you had to take a punt, and I did. It turned out that they were a kind of all male Mazzy Star or a cross between Spaceman 3 and Kris Kristofferson. They played a slowcore version of Americana over the span of 5 LP’s and one EP, before calling it quits in 2001 when bass player Ritchie Lee killed himself. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z: Acetone”
Here it is folks: the annual review of the best music of the last year as decided by your favourite music writers. Or at least the ones who write for Americana UK (we don’t yet have a Tony Parsons Julie Burchill dynamic going on between any two writers but give us time). The dust has settled on the pints of crème de menthe, the scars are healing and we are all friends again. Here is our definitive list. Continue reading “Americana UK staff pick their best of 2016”