The Blinding Lights, The Battersea Barge, Vauxhall London 5th May 2017

There is a legend among Thames boatmen of a ghost ship, a vessel shrouded in darkness plying the grey river in the night. On board a band plays, guests revel and the music drifts out across the river. The Blinding Lights are not that band but I could understand what they were trying to create here. Continue reading “The Blinding Lights, The Battersea Barge, Vauxhall London 5th May 2017”

Skram “Head Held High” (Independent, 2017)

Oh dear. I’m sure I’m not the only reviewer who sighed when catching sight of the PR sheet accompanying this album which describes Skram as “an Americana style Hypno Folk Rock family band.” The hypno bit is due no doubt to guitarist and singer Darren Marks’ day job as a hypnotherapist and sure enough it is a family band with dad Darren accompanied by his sons Adam (on banjo) and Ben (on drums). Ben is 13, Adam a bit older I think. A commendable idea to showcase the family talents no doubt but the problem here is that both boys are still beginners and really don’t get into any kind of groove at all throughout the album. The banjo just plinks at times and the drums (a full kit that is definitely out of step with the folk rock theme) are more suitable for a pub covers band. Continue reading “Skram “Head Held High” (Independent, 2017)”

Acoustic artists needed for Galaxies Collide Stage

Are you an aspiring Americana / folk / singer-songwriter type acoustic artist? Potentially great news then : the PKD Festival is currently canvassing for artists to appear on the Galaxies Collide Stage at this year’s fFestival taking place near Fife in Scotland. Previous years have seen 8,000 attendees and it is expected that the acoustic tent will be packed to the rafters as the festival continues to grow in 2017. Continue reading “Acoustic artists needed for Galaxies Collide Stage”

Fleet Foxes share new song (or a bit of one) – Listen

News from Pitchfork this morning on our favourite mammals the Tories are proposing to rip limb from limb once again because hey, if you can’t hunt the proletariat down a fox will have to do. They report (Pitchfork, not the Tories): “Fleet Foxes are gearing up to release their next studio album, Crack-Up, which arrives June 16 via Nonesuch. Now, frontman Robin Pecknold has revealed a snippet of a new song in a video taken from a recent listening party for select fans in Los Angeles. Take a listen to “I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar” below. Continue reading “Fleet Foxes share new song (or a bit of one) – Listen”

Malcolm Holcombe “Pretty Little Troubles” (Gypsy Eyes Music, 2017)

For those not familiar with Malcolm Holcombe, he is somewhat of an institution. There aren’t many artists that can say they’ve had a career quite like him and after 20 years and 15 studio recordings, he’s still going as strong as ever and continuing to expand on the vast body of work he has built. The production on the record is crisp and clean and allows room for the impressive guitar skills of Holcombe to shine through along with some subtle and perfectly placed harmonica to compliment the gravelly, whiskey-drenched and rough-around-the-edges vocals we’ve come to expect from him. Continue reading “Malcolm Holcombe “Pretty Little Troubles” (Gypsy Eyes Music, 2017)”

Dirty Dozen: Hayride Casualties

When asked to give AUK the inside track on Hayride Casualties, Daniel DeWald replied “I’ve lived in Brooklyn, NY on and off for over ten years now. I grew up on the East End of Long Island, which has lots of farms and remote beaches. So I crave both city and country, and I think my songwriting reflects this. There’s a pull towards a more acoustic, traditional approach to a song, and a pull in the opposite direction: more electrified, progressive, a bit more rocking. ” Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Hayride Casualties”

Robert Cray, Cadogan Hall, London, 3rd May 2017

It was a dismal, cold night with an ever present threat of rain that brought Robert Cray to London’s plush Cadogan Hall – it’s a converted church, and tonight it was a Temple to the Blues. Cray returned to London with a three piece backing band – the dread-locked and barefoot super-cool bass player Richard Cousins, keyboard maestro Dover “Whitecliffs” Weinberg and the passionate and inventive Terence Clark on drums. And up front, flanked by Matchless Speakers, was of course Robert Cray – belying his age, dressed in his trademark “preppy” style, he looks younger than his 63 years. Continue reading “Robert Cray, Cadogan Hall, London, 3rd May 2017”

Unreleased Elliott Smith track released for campaign

This couldn’t come at a more important time given the oncoming war on well basically half the world’s population. NME reports: “An unreleased Elliott Smith track has been unveiled as part of a campaign in aid of Planned Parenthood, 14 years after the cult singer-songwriter’s death in 2003. Artists including Foo Fighters, St Vincent, CHVRCHES and Bon Iver have already contributed to the compilation of 7-inch singles, alongside comedians Jenny Slate, Margaret Cho and Janeane Garofalo, who offered exclusive spoken word recordings to the project.  Continue reading “Unreleased Elliott Smith track released for campaign”

Ray Davies “Americana” (Sony, 2017)

Ray Davies return with his first album in a decade, if we discount the various Kinks collaborations and choral reworking.  It stands as a testament that everything changes and nothing changes since Working Man’s Café dropped as the newly knighted Sir Ray turns his attention to the country which has had a profound effect on his life, America, yet still manages to return to the recurring themes of isolation reaction to change in the modern world. Continue reading “Ray Davies “Americana” (Sony, 2017)”