Most people wilfully misremember the 1980’s – they selectively associate the decade with musical excesses with 12” extended mixes of new romantic and electro-pop music. Parallel to this were a myriad of other things, one of them was College Rock and this record reminds me of those times (the college rock bit, not big hair and slap bass – now I’m doing it). There are few songs that I hear echoes of bands like Big Dipper: Stanley has been around for a long time (in the Lowest of the Low) so this is more like post-grad rock. Continue reading “The Stephen Stanley Band “Jimmy & The Moon” (Wolfe Island Records, 2017)”
Following a string of shows in the UK in 2017 playing as a trio, Canadian musician and ex-Barenaked Lady Steven Page will return to the UK this August for a new set of shows including a performance at London’s Union Chapel and his first solo dates in Ireland. Of last year’s tour and the new dates Steven says: “After 10 years away, I brought my trio over to the UK last October to see if people still wanted to hear me in concert. I was blown away by the response. It was a truly moving and inspiring experience for all of us and I promised to return as quickly as possible. I’m thrilled to announce our return this coming August”. Continue reading “Steven Page announces UK dates for August”
Tom Robinson’s headline mid-week concert was presented as part of the ongoing City Roots Festival, an offshoot of the Cambridge Folk Festival which is presented at several venues across the city in late February and early March. It’s only in the second year of running but has again had an excellent set of gigs lined up. Tonight is, of course, a homecoming gig for local boy Robinson, although judging from the audience there aren’t too many of his youthful contemporaries knocking about. It also marks twenty five years since he played the Cambridge Folk Festival – so a lot of potential points of resonance at the Corn Exchange. Continue reading “Tom Robinson, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 1st March 2018”
Maine-based southern-infused rockers The Mallett Brothers Band have an album due soon for which this current song serves as the title track. One could be forgiven for thinking they’re Cajun inspired, the tradition being honoured here is French but it has Canadian roots as Luke Mallett explains : “The Acadians wound up being Cajun, but they’re a French, Canadian and Irish mix of people that ended up in the woods up north. Their influence is all over Maine. Our grandfather came from Salmon River, Nova Scotia. If you go back up there, there’s a whole cemetery full of Malletts.”
A new band for this site, this is Alaska’s Super Saturated Sugar Strings. Their latest album All Their Many Miles will be available in the UK soon. Their somewhat orchestral folk-pop/Americana does’t really sound like anyone else, which is good, but it does sound great, which is even better.
No Dry Country, or NDC as they sometimes go by, may have started out as a covers band, but nine years on from forming they’ve honed their own style and put out a few releases with their second album “Panhandle Music” due out soon. Musically they weave in a love of Ryan Adams and Hayes Carll with Kings of Leon and other classic rock bands, lyrically they’re willing to challenge – ‘Fifteen Piece Band’ is the wedding day dread of a war veteran struggling with PTSD.
An interesting tale over the last couple of days almost made for the 24-hour news cycle. On Tuesday, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association announced the election of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee to its board of directors. Huckabee, a Republican who believes in creationism and sometime host on the Christian channel Trinity Broadcast Network, was to serve on the 12-member board of the group, whose stated mission is in “improving and sustaining music education programs” across the country and ensuring “every child has the opportunity to participate in music education.” Continue reading “CMA elects rabid Republican to board – and then changes its mind”
It isn’t often that a record reminds the listener of Ray Davies, Mark Linkous and Tom Waits, as this one does. It has the lyrical sensibility of Davies, the clatter and oomph of Waits at his most extravagant and it has the shifts in tone, the juxtaposition of the abrasive and the beautiful as mastered by Sparklehorse. This eclecticism raises it above the usual level, enabling him to use bold swipes like the way the brass slashes across ‘Problems of Your Own’, changing the arc of the song. And how many are brave enough to use the bullfrog rumble of the tuba as Johnson does on ‘Put the World on Standby.’ Continue reading “Ady Johnson “London Songs” (Independent, 2018)”
Lately we were horrified to find that Americana-UK Towers had been visited by a host of unwanted visitors. In short we had a vermin problem. Rats. Big ones. Big, horrible nasty, sharp teethed Johnnies with scaly tails and a poor attitude to other people’s personal space. We presented the problem to The Editor and his “brilliant” solution was to send in more rats so that all the rats could kill the rats and then there would be no more rats. We were uncertain of his logic and indeed the state of his mental health so we hired the services of local Pest Controller Donny John who was happy to go in and tackle the problem. So gung ho was he that he insisted in going in without so much as a sharp stick to defend himself. Eventually we persuaded him to at least take a shotgun borrowed from the organic farmer up the road. All was well and the only payment he required was a pint of sweet sherry and a rendition of this on our jukebox.
Josh Rouse today releases ‘Salton Sea’ online (listen below dear reader), the third track off Rouse’s new album ‘Love in the Modern Age’, which comes out April 13th on the Yep Roc label. Calling the album “a sterling collection that is joyous, upbeat and, most importantly, feels completely authentic,” Forbes website said: “There is no retro gimmick to Love in the Modern Age. This is a masterful storyteller celebrating the nostalgia of his youth with his own feel.” Continue reading “New Josh Rouse out next month, new track out today”