This website kills fascists – Vote for hope today

Today dear reader is one of the most important days for this country that we’ve faced in decades, certainly since 1979. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago on the day of 2017’s general election, and while I got a couple of “shut up and play” type emails, most visitors to this site understood where we’re coming from and indeed of the long and enduring link between music journalism and politics – just look at Rolling Stone and some of its most important writers over the years. We are also a Liverpool based website, and proud of it, a city which has been devastated by the largest cuts per head of population in the UK since 2010. Today then, as Ken Loach’s team said yesterday, represents a fork in the road – a day when we can choose to go one of two ways. Continue reading “This website kills fascists – Vote for hope today”

Wilco “Ode to Joy” (dBpm Records, 2019)

Approaching an album by Wilco is an interesting proposition for a committed Wilco fan. Is it going to be a magnum opus – ‘A Ghost Is Born‘ or ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot‘; a slight but fuzzy affair ‘Star Wars‘ or ‘Schmilco‘, or something different again – and there’s the rub. Wilco fans like different but not too different  – they are cut from the same cloth as Old Shakey.  They like it that he sticks the middle finger up to doing what’s expected but… but they’d really like to hear a new ‘On the Beach‘.
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Songs for the apocalypse: Billy Bragg “Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards”

Tomorrow feels like the most important day this country has faced in many decades – more on that tomorrow – so for this week’s voyage to americanageddon, there couldn’t really be any other choice. Billy Bragg has adapted the song at live shows over the years to keep up with the times and whatever latest villain we’re having to endure, but some of the lyrics feel as apt now as they did 31 years ago when the song first featured on the classic ‘Workers Playtime’ album. “Jumble sales are organized and pamphlets have been posted, Even after closing time there’s still parties to be hosted. You can be active with the activists or sleep in with the sleepers while you’re waiting for the great leap forwards.”  Here’s hoping the wait is over any day now.

Brady Harris “Keep Your Cover” (Independent, 2019)

This is a sweet and simple confection that punches above its short minute count on the strength of its songwriting, production and musicality. Opening with ‘Tell Me Why’, you could be fooled into thinking you’re getting a Neil Young cover, instead of which there’s a Macartneyesque ditty complete with whistling and some gorgeous harmonies and choruses.
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Frank Turner + Emily Barker, Alexandra Palace, London, 30th November 2019

Frank Turner’s sold out show at the wonderful Ally Pally was his 2,431st gig since setting out as a solo artist in 2004. This is, in itself, a phenomenal achievement and is a sign of his fans’ passion and of his incredible endurance. Turner has re-invented himself on this tour, delivering a very different show from his usual high-energy performances. This was a reflective affair with many fascinating or humorous stories used to introduce each song; these insights undoubtedly helped give a greater appreciation of the songs and was pitched perfectly. Continue reading “Frank Turner + Emily Barker, Alexandra Palace, London, 30th November 2019”

Mad Crush “Listen, The Snow Is Falling” – Listen

We could have pulled a fast one on you here valued reader – we premiered Mad Crush’s single ‘Northern Lights‘ at the end of October, and that’s got a bit of a wintry connection.  We could have just run that again.  But no – we don’t resell previously announced music and claim it as new.  That would never do.  Plus this Festive Season Song is a cover of Yoko Ono’s fifty year old song. Continue reading “Mad Crush “Listen, The Snow Is Falling” – Listen”

Beans on Toast “Inevitable Train Wreck” (Beans on Toast Music, 2019)

Beans on Toast may be a creature of habit, releasing, as he does, a new record each year on his birthday, December 1st. He’s been doing this for over 10 years now with his latest instalment, ‘The Inevitable Train Wreck’ being his 11th album. Over this time, Beans (or Jay McAllister as his mother probably calls him when she needs to give him a telling off) has recorded in a range of different studios with different producers, including Frank Turner and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. Continue reading “Beans on Toast “Inevitable Train Wreck” (Beans on Toast Music, 2019)”

Video: Sam Lee “The Moon Shines Bright”

Produced by Bernard Butler and with a guest vocal from Elizabeth Fraser (no, really!), this is the spellbinding new single from folkmeister Sam Lee, out now, and taken from his forthcoming album ‘Old Wow‘, out on January 20th with a tour to follow (see dates below the video).

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The Mining Co. “Three Kings” (PinDrop Records, 2019)

Irish born singer/songwriter Michael Gallagher is back with his second release of the year, the Christmas themed EP ‘Three Kings’’.  We reviewed his full length album ‘Frontier’ earlier in the year, describing it as “a gently, intelligently romantic record”, and ‘Three Kings’ is very much more of the same, but with added festive flavour. Continue reading “The Mining Co. “Three Kings” (PinDrop Records, 2019)”

AmericanA to Z – Emmylou Harris

As a renowned singer, songwriter and musician, Emmylou Harris will no doubt need little or no introduction. Harris is, without doubt, one of the all-time greats. Her contribution to music over the years is summed up magnificently in the notes accompanying her 2005 compilation album ‘The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches and Highways’ as “a cornerstone of the country-rock genre, who led country music back to its roots, who was a trailblazer for female musical collaborations, who prefigured the resurgence of bluegrass, and who became a key artist of the Americana movement”. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Emmylou Harris”