Friday, 29 November 2013


I'm sorry my faithful subjects I have been neglecting you of late but rest assured that I am back to offer you my own take on the yearly rundown of music between January - Dec 2013. Yes I have aimed to get as many different bands, acts and genres into the list but I think we all know by now what I like and what I don't so why bother going through the pretence that I was digging Polynesian nose flute music right?

In no particular order (other than strict alphabetical you understand, this is not the place for anarchy!)

TOP 20 TRACKS OF 2013 (in my ever so non humble opinion)





















o.k iTUNES/SPOTIFY at the ready? 3-2-1 GO!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lou Reed - A Paper Gravestone

It’s 2:35pm on Tuesday 29th October and I’m going to guess a Lou Reed filled NME is being hurried together as we speak. Lou Reed died on the 27th and the offices of every music magazine and blog have been in overdrive ever since. The final piece will hit the stands either tomorrow as planned or possibly next week (if they are going the whole hog and making it a special!). I envisage an edition crammed full of tiny paragraphs and regurgitated stories about the Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick links as well as talk of “the dark side of the summer of love” and the “grisly underbelly of subterranean New York City in the sixties” and will no doubt have a plethora of ‘todays stars’ giving their 2 cents about their own personal favourite tracks.

None of course will be so bold as to choose well known classic solo-era hits or Velvet Underground songs such as ‘Venus In Furs’ or ‘I’m Waiting for The Man’ or dare I say ‘Walk on The Wild Side’ (number 16 with a bullet) as by doing this the individual would risk letting his cool mask slip and give the reader the impression that as the rhythm guitarist for such a hotly tipped band of the moment that they didn’t have an unshakeable encyclopaedic knowledge of the whole history of music at their disposal.

I will guess that tracks such as ‘Billy’, ‘She’s My Best Friend’ , ‘Trouble with Classicists’ as well as the whole mess of ‘Metal Machine Music’ will be trotted out like they were putting together a Motown compilation and those left to choose great, great songs such as ‘Sweet Jane’, ‘Who Loves The Sun?’, ‘Heroin’ or ‘White Light/White Heat’ will instead chose the versions from live albums like ‘Live at Max’s Kansas City’.

When did it all become so complicated?

R.I.P Lou.

Monday, 28 October 2013


R.I.P Lou Reed

1942 - 2013

Songwriter, Guitarist, Singer, Poet, Artist

Wednesday, 23 October 2013



I understand why ‘The Queen is Dead’ made number 1 spot in the NME’s ‘THE 500 greatest albums of all time’ List, I really do. Morrissey autobiography has just been released and they are pushing some well financed publicity behind it. It’s the book of the moment for most and everyone is digging out The Smiths back catalogues as their own personal soundtrack as they flick through each page. I get it. I understand. I just cannot agree at all.

I can picture the hoards of screaming hipsters pointing their bony fingers at me with howls of “go home old man” and 9-10 times they would be right and entitled to do so, but when a magazine like NME includes the line '...of all time' then you are (whether you like it or not) including every generation in the argument. The list is a joke. It has been compiled from multiple people clearly within the NME office and it’s obvious to most which people have chosen which. Random Jazz and Easy Listening albums are crowbarred next to indie titles released last week before being pipped to the post by the standard selection of classic rock LPs and follow up albums best forgotten by formally great artists (in an attempt to show the reader how in depth their music knowledge goes).

Some of the choices are laughable (Big Black’s ‘Atomizer’ clearly punts Elvis’s debut, The Clash’s ‘Combat Rock’ and even The Killers ‘Hot Fuss’ out the park right? The latter which gets lorded about as some kind of game changer and modern day classic of the past 10 years within the pages of the same magazine but today only scrapes in at number 495 now…oh those fickle fuckers eh?

The most annoying choices are those that are just included to give the impression that the writer has such a massive and varied record collection that they honestly prefer albums such as the extremely half arsed and 2 star at best ‘Holland’ by The Beach Boys over Brian Wilson’s own ‘SMiLE’, or the totally out of place random Billie Holiday inclusion ‘Lady In Satin’ which tends to pop up in these lists not because of it’s material or finished production but because of it’s penultimate release status before she finally popped her clogs. The list reads like 5 people just sat down and named every album they could think of and then randomly made a list of them. The top 10 are exactly as you’d expect from such a list. Especially as even NME realise to NOT put The Strokes debut ‘This is It’ anywhere out of the TOP 5 would result in their TOPSHOP gold card being shredded in front of them.


The Beatles managed to get 2 albums ('The White Album' & 'Revolver') in the top 20 although it was touch and go against such classics as PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’ and Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ snapping at their Chelsea booted heels. Those Glastonbury Headliners The Rolling Stones clearly need to learn a trick or two from My Bloody Valentine as the latters ‘Loveless’ puts the poor old Stones into their place and is clearly much greater than their own magnum opus ‘Exile on Main Street’ (which isn’t as good as ‘Parklife’ either…I’m amazed they lasted 50 years with those kind of stats.

There are some howlers and “whothefuckarethey?”’ options in there as well (Boards of Canada…anyone?) Although the main bug bear is the ones that make you grab your head and scream to the heavens “how the hell can Kraftwerk’s ‘The Man Machine’ be better than Bob Dylan's ‘Blonde on Blonde’, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ and ‘Bringing it All Back Home’??? .

As it says in The Bible “Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one and most of em’ stink” . The people responsible for this ridiculous attempt and eclecticism need flogging and worst of all for them…ignoring.


TOP 20

20. Ok Computer - Radiohead
19. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
18. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
17. It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
16. Closer - Joy Division
15. Let England Shake - PJ Harvey
14. Low - David Bowie
13. Funeral - Arcade Fire
12. Horses - Patti Smith
11. Nevermind - Nirvana
10. Definitely Maybe - Oasis
09. The White Album - The Beatles
08. Doolittle - Pixies
07. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
06. Different Class - Pulp
05. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground
04. This is It - The Strokes
03. Hunky Dory - David Bowie
02. Revolver - The Beatles
01. The Queen is Dead - The Smiths

The 500 GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME is available at all good newsagents now!
(on a totally unrelated note Tesco's toilet paper is ALSO on sale)

Monday, 21 October 2013


On the eve of their newest release ‘Beautiful Ugly’ (out on Two Sisters Records); IC1S took the stage at Bethnal Green’s uber trendy Sebright Arms to give their fans an eyeball to eyeball intimate performance to both promote the single as well as thanking their fans for their continuing support in 2013.

This year has been a big year for the group as they’ve successfully juggled recording their upcoming debut album as well as releasing 3 singles, 1 EP and performing multiple gigs, acoustic sets and line up changes. The gig was also a ideal chance to see the band in a smaller venue before they embark on their upcoming promotional Japanese tour and support slot gigs with The Family Rain at the end of the year.

The set was familiar sticking to fan favourites such as ‘Levitate’, ‘Not Perfect’, ‘Growing Up, Going Down’, ‘Beautiful Ugly’, ‘Whack Jack’ and a new song ‘I’m At It Again’ which showed that the IC1S sound is evolving and growing as they move forward as a band. This was the first time I’d seen new bassist, backing vocalist and former sMALL FAVOURS frontman Leon Dee since his inclusion within the group and I believe that his input can only be beneficial as his own playing style and vocal harmonies bring a new level of sophistication to the music which on occasion felt limited in these areas in the past. IC1S look primed and ready to go out of the trap and hit the music scene hard in 2014. Catch em’ while you can.


1. Levitate
2. Not Perfect
3. Billy Silk
4. I’m At It Again (new song)
5. Beautiful Ugly
6. Growing Up, Going Down
7. Never Together
8. Whack Jack


9. Never The Now

'Beautiful Ugly' is now available via Two Sisters Records via their site, amazon and iTUNES.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I'll give you a months notice...

In light of the recent news that Daniel Maiden-Wood (drums,bass & backing vocals) for Anna Calvi has decided to leave the group on the eve of Calvi’s 2nd album ‘One Breath’ being released, my thoughts have turned to other musicians who have decided to leave groups on the verge of international stardom and instead deciding to work on ‘other projects’ or revert back to playing with unknown musicians in Camden pubs for a fiver each. The limelight and 24/7 stardom isn’t for everyone but achieving your dreams and ambitions only to walk away when it’s in touching distance is another all together. Good luck on your journey young lion you played a blinder!

Here are some others.

Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor replaced the soon to be deceased guitarist Brian Jones in The Rolling Stones in 1969 and was there during the height of their fame and album successes playing and contributing greatly on albums such as ‘Let It Bleed’, ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘Exile on Main St.’, ‘Goats Head Soup’ and finally ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll’ before deciding to pack up his Les Paul and walk out without a real explanation to the rest of the group (to be replaced by Ronnie Wood). It has been questioned since that he wasn’t given proper (if any) writing credits on some of the groups tracks and that this was the main reason to him leaving while he has mentioned since that during this period for the group drugs were far too much a problem and temptation for him and the only way he felt he could survive and not lose his family and everything he’d worked hard for since his teens in the process would be to cut all ties and move away all together.

Taylor re-joined the group on their 2013 tour and their Glastonbury headline set.

Noel Redding

It was no secret that when Noel Redding auditioned for the newly forming Jimi Hendrix Experience he thought he was trying out for the guitar spot within the band as he proclaimed he was “the best guitarist in Kent!”. Anyone who has heard the group or the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix will know this was a failed dream before he had even plugged in as it would be comparable to turning up with your football boots on and asking to replace Cristiano Ronaldo as a striker because you “always scored at school at lunchtime 5-a-side”. Redding was given the roll of bassist in the group and the anger and resentment seemed to grow as the group succeeded further and further and the spotlight was aimed directly at Hendrix. Redding finally left the group in 1969 after forming his own group Fat Mattress (with very little success) and was replaced by Billy Cox.

Noel Redding died in 2003

Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs AND Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan

“Who leaves a group like Oasis when they don’t have to?” These were the words leader and Chief Noel Gallagher spoke after tendering the resignations from guitarist and bassist. Both had been with the group from the very start and had performed worldwide and recorded on some of the biggest selling British albums of all time including 'Definitely Maybe','Whats the Story? (Morning Glory)' and 'Be Here Now'. But it wasn’t enough it seems. Talk of flying inflated egos, drink and drug abuse within the group and just overall tiredness from the grind of being in the biggest group of their generation took it’s toll and both decided enough was enough and packed up and left in 1999 before the bands 4th album ‘Standing on The Shoulder of Giants’ was released. The albums subsequently were successful and critically well received although the heart of the group seemed to flicker and the group finally broke up after numerous drummer changes in 2009. For some the band was at it’s best when the line up looked just like the audience they played to. By the time the group folded their no longer looked like Manchester lads living their teenage dreams but a fully fledged Rock N Roll machine with matching stylised haircuts and mod clothing lines. The first 3 albums they looked like the chancers they were and the fans loved them all the better for it.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton started his professional career as the moody guitarist for the blues band The Yardbirds in 1963 and his ‘legend’ of the fastest gun in town was created during this period. Un satisfied with the musical direction the group was heading in with their more pop orientated material such as the hit single ‘For Your Love’ Clapton left the group to join John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in 1965 (he was replaced by Jeff Beck).

After the success of the Bluesbreakers ‘Beano’ album on which he played he left once again in 1966 to create Cream with bassist Jack Bruce and Drummer Ginger Baker. He later broke the group up in 1968 to create Blind Faith who lasted a single album before folding in 1969. He finally went solo. Eric Clapton the Kevin Keegan of musicians, great guitarist with one foot out the door at all times.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The grandaddy of line ups and members jumping ship. Currently the only surviving member from the start is founder, songwriter, producer, lead vocalist and guitarist Anton Newcombe. There have been over 30 other members to come and go since the group was formed in the early 1990's.

Monday, 7 October 2013


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

David Bowie TOP 100 Books...

Want to read like Bowie? No this isn't the latest effort from Maroon 5 but in fact the actual list of books that the Thin White Duke David Bowie has released to the internet...

Time to dust of the those library cards and expand your minds.

David Bowie's Top 100 Must Read Books:

The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby, 2008

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, 2007

The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard, 2007

Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage, 2007

Fingersmith, Sarah Waters, 2002

The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, 2001

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler, 1997

A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes, 1997

The Insult, Rupert Thomson, 1996

Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon, 1995

The Bird Artist, Howard Norman, 1994

Kafka Was The Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard, 1993

Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C. Danto, 1992

Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia, 1990

David Bomberg, Richard Cork, 1988

Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter Guralnick, 1986

The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin, 1986

Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd, 1985

Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey, 1984

Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter, 1984

Money, Martin Amis, 1984

White Noise, Don DeLillo, 1984

Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes, 1984

The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White, 1984

A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, 1980

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, 1980

Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester, 1980

Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler, 1980

Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess, 1980

Raw (a ‘graphix magazine’) 1980-91

Viz (magazine) 1979 –

The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, 1979

Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz, 1978

In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan, 1978

Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed. Malcolm Cowley, 1977

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes, 1976

Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders, 1975

Mystery Train, Greil Marcus, 1975

Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara, 1974

Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich, 1972

In Bluebeard’s Castle : Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner, 1971

Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky, 1971

The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillete, 1970

The Quest For Christa T, Christa Wolf, 1968

Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn, 1968

The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov, 1967

Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg, 1967

Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr. , 1966

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1965

City of Night, John Rechy, 1965

Herzog, Saul Bellow, 1964

Puckoon, Spike Milligan, 1963

The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford, 1963

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, Yukio Mishima, 1963

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, 1963

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, 1962

Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell, 1962

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, 1961

Private Eye (magazine) 1961 –

On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding, 1961

Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage, 1961

Strange People, Frank Edwards, 1961

The Divided Self, R. D. Laing, 1960

All The Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd,1960

Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse, 1959

The Leopard, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, 1958

On The Road, Jack Kerouac, 1957

The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, 1957

Room at the Top, John Braine, 1957

A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno, 1956

The Outsider, Colin Wilson, 1956

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955

Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, 1949

The Street, Ann Petry, 1946

Black Boy, Richard Wright, 1945

Monday, 30 September 2013

IC1s - Beautiful Ugly (Official Video)

The new single 'BEAUTIFUL UGLY'by IC1S out on the 14th October on TWO SISTERS RECORDS...
twitter: @2sistersrecords

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Animal Farm

Many of you out there (and indeed sitting right here writing this) have played in bands far and wide across the London pub circuit trying to scrape together a few quid for beers as well as promoting your group to a usually ever diminishing audience. You would have found out soon enough the hard truths of a gigging band along with the tools of the trade required to deal with angry sound guys (they're all angry) as well as meeting a variety of dishonest promoters looking to rob you blind and convince you that the prestige of playing in a half empty backroom in Camden is reward enough instead of readies in your back pocket.

Animal Farm are a brand new promotions agency looking to turn things on their heads and offer a new template that will share the profits between the bands and the promoters more fairly and in a way that will benefit all involved.

Below is a quick Q&A with Ben Widdall on behalf of Animal Farm.

Q) Describe your new company

A) The Animal Farm Tours started off as a boutique booking agency within the artist development company/label The Animal Farm by myself and Tom Green in January 2012. For the beginning we started booking shows for a small handful of bands for their releases and eventually built it to a point where we were booking national tours and gigs for 20+ bands. Over the summer I decided I wanted to get more involved in live gigs so I now run the monthly label gig nights called "The Hog Roast" (currently at The Spice Of Life in Soho). The plan now is to keep running regular London shows to get some notice in the promoting world and slowly move across the UK so we can eventually run nights all over for our touring bands.

Q) What engrained problems do you hope to change with your new company i.e. profit shares, more exposure for bands etc.

A) Over the years we have heard a lot of horror stories. I myself have been victim to them when I used to play in bands as well. I am not going to name and shame but anyone who gigs in the big cities know who I'm talking about! As we all know we have gone through a financial crisis and with this have seen a lot of venues and promoters offer door split deals. What most companies do is say to a band they have to sell 20-30 tickets before they start to make any money back (even then it is maybe £1-2 per ticket after etc). Now we know why people do this, to cover their costs and make profit, that is just a standard business model but this does leave the bands in the dark.

What we plan to do is to follow the same model but in a much more band friendly way as we are a company who believes the music comes before the business. Obviously we do not want to loose money, that is a given, but we also want to give the bands a chance to make some money on the road and give them a chance to work together with us at making a successful show. All profits get split equally between us and the bands. This is straight away better than any door split promoter I have come across for sure as everyone makes equal amount of profit.

Alongside this great deal we are trying to be more involved in terms of promotion. We will target all local radio, publications, blogs, listing sites, papers, twitter feeds, facebook groups etc to try and get coverage and work side by side with the bands at coming up with a targeted social media strategy. If everyone is equally as involved than it becomes OUR night (bands and The Animal Farm) which gives everyone more incentive to make it successful.

Q) Will there be a specific genre of music the new company will promote or are you open to all kinds?

A) As a company The Animal Farm are open to genres all over the board. We work with folk artists, solo singer songwriters, indie bands, hard rock bands, electro/dance bands, pop rock bands etc. We tend to stay away from rap and r'n'b as we just simply have no knowledge or experience in that field. But who knows, there's always time to learn!

Q) How exactly will it work? Do you have a select number of venues that you’ll work with and act as the middle men for or will you deal with the bands/artists directly?

A) So basically we are having 2 test shows, one in London and one in Hull, both on hard nights (Wednesday & Sunday) to test the waters and find out what works/doesn't work organisational wise. We will then start running more regular shows in London to start spreading the company name and get a bit more awareness. In the new year we have got quite a few tour plans so we will run a few shows on each tour ourselves in different cities and slowly grow to eventually running full tours our selves all over the UK for bands. We will hire the venue, book the bands, organise the night etc. Who knows maybe even a festival or similar event in the pipeline?

Q) What do you think are the main things wrong with the current model of promoting bands and paying them for their efforts?

A) This is a tricky question. You see as we book bands all the time we hear all the different deals and everything the promoters have to say about paying bands: "We simply don't have the budget", "It's a charity event", "It's a free entry event", the list is endless. You get promoters, who I have come across myself being in bands previously, who will pay bands a small percentage of tickets sold after they get 20 people through the door. Door splits are the most common way of doing nights now as 1. we are in a bad financial time, 2. it makes the bands actually work for the show and do something to get people through the door and 3. having the ticket retainer makes sure that costs are covered. Although it's only good if you make it a low ticket retainer so that you are just covering costs and not purely making money, that should be split with the bands!

The other side of the argument is that due to their being soo many bands out there in the country now, we are just inundated with bands left right and centre, and most of them are not very good. Most of these bands are very lazy, they will tell a friend or two on their Facebook they are playing a show and then just turn up on the night, not having discussed anything to do with equipment so just expect to use everyones stuff and play to an empty room expecting to be a pre-made crowd...the world doesn't work like that I'm afraid boyos. You have to work hard every day personally contacting everyone, targeting people n twitter and other social media who like bands that you think are cool, so possibly they would be interested in you. Go busking in your local town, get street teams etc, but that is a different conversation!

At the end of the day a band needs to be paid for the efforts they have put in. As a promoter, you need to be paid for the effort you have put in. If you are a promoter like we are trying to be, then A LOT of time and effort has gone into it, so you should be paid too. As long as the costs are covered, everyone should make equal money. That is what we are trying to do, make it so everyone splits any profits equally!

Q) What’s coming up next?

A) So next up we have our monthly label club night "The Hog Roast" in Soho at The Spice Of Life on Saturday 28th September. Some really cool bands in an awesome location. Our two test nights will be at The Dalston Victoria Pub in London on Wednesday 9th October and at The Adelphi Club in Hull on Sunday 6th October. Those nights are featuring brilliant local bands plus our band Base 11 who are out on tour then.

Q) What do you hope for the future?

A) For the future I hope for our company to be responsible for the big great shows that stick in your memory as your greatest moments. We want to put on awesome bands who put on amazing shows all over the nation.

Q) Where can someone find out more about the company?

A) You can find out more about The Animal Farm by checking out our website at, looking us up on Facebook or just send us an email and ask!

Website --

Facebook --

Video --

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Babyshambles - Sequel To The Prequel- ALBUM REVIEW



Parlophone Records.

Babyshambles have always divided opinion both in the press and amongst music fans. Some have seen them simply as Pete Doherty’s drug buddies playing in a group with him whilst his ‘proper’ band The Libertines barred him from the good ship Albion due to his self destructive drug habits. A gaggle of chancers looking to gain a bit of fame and publicity on the back of the bespoke suited walking car crash that can be Doherty. For others though Babyshambles have always been the perfect foil for Doherty’s more personal and sometimes ramshackle creations who have managed to steady the ship while Pete chased and circled his wayward muse with equal success and failure on both their debut ‘Down In Albion’ and the sometimes overlooked follow up release ‘Shotter’s Nation’.

Album number 3 ‘Sequel To The Prequel’ is a stone cold sure fire winner! There are not just a few decent songs and a single hidden within the grooves, there are reams of great songs and musically everyone is firing on all cylinders. From the opener ‘The Fireman’ (with it’s Buzzcocks fuel and driving drums!) to the mesmerising ‘Farmers Daughter’ which in my opinion has some of the best vocals from Peter since ‘Breck Rd. Lover’. The first single to be released from the album is ‘Nothing Comes to Nothing’ with it’s tight, catchy arrangement and dare I say ‘POP’ sing along chorus which has managed to move from ‘new’ track to ‘indie classic’ within the week of it’s release. And for those of you that felt the same way after hearing ‘Delivery’ for the first time fear not they haven’t just plucked the strongest song first in a ruse to sell a few more albums this track is just a sign of things to come. Each track on ‘Sequel to The Prequel’ stands alone from the others and has been treated with equal love as a potential favourite that could have easily been the 1st single with matched success.

What separates this album from the others available is how complete each song sounds. Each track sounds free of slack or half finishes lyrics that have been forced due to time constraints or record label impatience. The band changes pace throughout the album with rockers, acoustic tracks (the excellent violin led ‘Picture me in a Hospital’ ) and even flashes of Reggae and dub intertwined. The track ‘Doctor No’ which on paper sounds like it could’ve been the unwanted missing link to ‘Pentonville’ (probably the most skipped over track in the Babyshambles cannon) from the debut and ‘I Wish’ from ‘The Blinding’ EP, easily fits here due to the tight performance from the band who keep the beat steady and grooving while the band offer up some pretty group harmonies a long, long way from the out of tune lost vocals of the album version of ‘Killamangiro’. Not everything is a piece of fried gold mind you, the track ‘New Pair’ sounds unrealised and confusing even for the other members of the group who don’t seem to know where even they’re going next musically after each verse. ‘Maybeline’ is bound to be a future live favourite for the fans although in the sphere of this album it is the closest track to approach the mantle of ‘filler’ and sometimes creeps a bit too close to a Babyshambles by numbers song. The song that has been raising the most eyebrows in the music press has been ‘Penguins’ (the first song Doherty wrote for the album), a simple hymn describing his love for Penguins at the zoo, although like most of his previous output both in song writing and poetry judging a book by it’s cover can be a mistake and I’m sure fans will be dissecting it’s hidden meanings online for many moons to come. The song does have some of Pete’s most simplistic lyrics ever written although sometimes simpler means purer and to think that everything Doherty creates must be a stream of consciousness William Blake-esque poetic gem needs to be moved to one side. It’s beautiful and heartfelt piece no matter the content.

The true heroes of the album in my opinion have to be Bassist, Drew McConnell who the group has been quoted in the press as saying was responsible for influencing and exciting the other members to get back together and attempt to make this album (he also contributes to the song writing throughout). The other is Producer, Stephen Street who has managed to create a strong album that will be palatable to both casual passing fans and diehards without losing any of the Babyshambles grit or soul that they are known for. His work on the good time track ‘Fall from Grace’ (a possible nod the The Pogues?) as well as the whammy bar incendiary wig out ‘Minefield’ which ends the album perfectly shows that he was looking to make their best album as much as they were.

‘Sequel To The Prequel’ is the album that was always promised and whilst glimmers of classic status have often appeared in Babyshambles live performances they have finally delivered on all sides. The next time someone corners you in the Barfly to ask why the hell you should care about some “washed up junkie like Pete Doherty simply palm a copy of this album into their confused and gormless hand, this is the third act and amazingly it may have a happy ending after all.

‘Sequel to The Prequel’ is released on the 2nd September On Parlophone Records Ltd.

many thanks to Jack Delaney and Adrian Hunter

Originally printed via ARTROCKER TV

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The ravings of a madman...

If you're looking for something to read at lunch.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Sex Jams - I Call Myself A Rocket NEW Video

Artist: Sex Jams
Song: I call myself a Rocket
Director: Johannes Staudenbauer
Label: Siluh Records (LC 15356)
Tack taken from the album “Trouble, Honey” releases March 1st 2013
SEX JAMS new video! It’s a 2 minute 70ies exploitation-sci-fi-secret-service-thriller with everything from Sabotage’esque trenchcoat dudes to the indispensable time portals. Introducing their latest album “Trouble, Honey” the band has been touring Europe from London to Belgrade and from Warsaw to Barcelona, where they played the infamous PRIMAVERA Sound Festival in May.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Beady Eye - Shine A Light

NEW Video for Beady Eye 'Shine A Light'.

'Shine A Light' will be released on 18th August as a double A-side with 'World's Not Set In Stone'

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Kings Of Leon - Supersoaker

New Kings of Leon track 'Supersoaker'. Premiered tonight (Wednesday 17th July) on BBC Radio 1 Zane Lowe's  show.

A welcome return to form and a great lead single from the upcoming 'Mechanical Bull' Album following on September 24th (via RCA Records)

Bob Dylan's The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 Another Self Portrait (1969 - 1971)

'Self Portrait' was always regarded as the album that showed Dylan's everyman fallibility. It was the album that he said was constructed as a weapon to help him slip away from the 'spokesman for a generation' tag that had been placed upon him. The critics ravaged it un-mercilessly with even ardent Bob Dylan fan Greil Marcus stating "What is this shit?" in his  1970 Rolling Stone review of the album.

Bob Dylan has said since that he made an album that nobody could possibly like. In later years when discussing the album and the times it was recorded in Dylan said "Well, it wouldn't have held up as a single album, then it really would've been bad, you know?. I mean, if you're gonna put a lot of crap on it, you might as well load it up!"

Don't listen to all the critics, give it a listen and make your own mind up. It's not his greatest work by any stretch of the imagination but there are definite high points sprinkled throughout. 'Copper Kettle', 'The Days of 49', 'All the Tired Horses', 'Alberta #1' and 'Living The Blues' all have found a home in his cannon of classics where as songs such as his cover versions of 'Let it Be Me', 'The Boxer' and the god awful version of his own 'Like A Rolling Stone' should be locked in a concrete safe and dropped to the bottom of the Atlantic.

This new release has managed to compile many,many unreleased versions of the songs that were recorded at the 'Self Portrait' sessions as well as during the follow up 'New Morning' (35 rarities in total recorded between 1969-1971).  There will be 3 versions available on August 27th the first a standard 2CD+soft cover booklet, the next up is the 'Deluxe version' which includes 3LPs, 2 CD's and a 12x12" booklet included. Finally for the more obsessive fan there is the super dupa fan dabby dozy version which includes 4 CD'S, 2 hardcover books (including photos and liner notes) all housed in a hardover slip case at a snip of £63.99GBP.

Complete track listing for The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)

CD 1

1. "Went to See the Gypsy" (demo)
2 "In Search of Little Sadie" (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
3. "Pretty Saro" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
4. "Alberta #3" (alternate version, Self Portrait)
5. "Spanish Is the Loving Tongue" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
6. "Annie's Going to Sing Her Song" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
7. "Time Passes Slowly #1" (alternate version, New Morning)
8. "Only a Hobo" (unreleased, Greatest Hits II)
9. "Minstrel Boy" (unreleased, The Basement Tapes)
10. "I Threw It All Away" (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
11. "Railroad Bill" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
12. "Thirsty Boots" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
13. "This Evening So Soon" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
14. "These Hands" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
15. "Little Sadie" (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
16. "House Carpenter" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
17. "All the Tired Horses" (without overdubs, Self Portrait)

CD 2
1. "If Not For You" (alternate version, New Morning)
2. "Wallflower" (alternate version, 1971)
3. "Wigwam" (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
4. "Days of '49" (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
5. "Working on a Guru" (unreleased, New Morning)
6. "Country Pie" (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
7. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (Live With the Band, Isle Of Wight 1969)
8. "Highway 61 Revisited" (Live With the Band, Isle Of Wight 1969)
9. "Copper Kettle" (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
10. "Bring Me a Little Water" (unreleased, New Morning)
11. "Sign on the Window" (with orchestral overdubs, New Morning)
12. "Tattle O'Day" (unreleased, Self Portrait)
13. "If Dogs Run Free" (alternate version, New Morning)
14. "New Morning" (with horn section overdubs, New Morning)
15. "Went to See the Gypsy" (alternate version, New Morning)
16. "Belle Isle" (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
17. "Time Passes Slowly #2" (alternate version, New Morning)
18. "When I Paint My Masterpiece" (demo)

Bob Dylan & the Band at Isle of Wight - August 31st, 1969
1. "She Belongs to Me"
2. "I Threw It All Away"
3. "Maggie's Farm"
4. "Wild Mountain Thyme"
5. "It Ain't Me, Babe"
6. "To Ramona"/"Mr. Tambourine Man"
7. "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine"
8. "Lay Lady Lay"
9. "Highway 61 Revisited"
10. "One Too Many Mornings"
11. "I Pity the Poor Immigrant"
12. "Like a Rolling Stone"
13. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"
14. "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)"
15. "Minstrel Boy"
16. "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"

Read more:
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Available on pre-order via AMAZON (see below)|B00DY951RQ|B00DY951TO&utm_content=nllink-2a003052-Amazon&utm_medium=email&cid=nl%3A704658431&utm_source=uscolumbia-bobdylan&utm_campaign=email-uscolumbia-bobdylan-20130716-nl704658431&tag=smarturl-20

and Bob Dylan's Official site

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Vincent Gallo - LIVE 2013

Good morning my children!

Today we have a real feather in the cap and for the large percentage of you out there in the USA I have some great and impressive news.

Vincent Gallo is playing the San Frandelic Summer Fest!


The movie star, writer, director, songwriter, model, artist, entrepreneur and general renaissance man about town that's who!

You mean the guy from Buffalo 66?

The very same

I fuckin' loved that film!!

Well good for you, it is a classic.

So he makes records as well?

Yes he does. You mean you haven't heard 'WHEN'?

ummmmmm...was there one with Paris Hilton in her under...

'Honey Bunny'

Yeah, I loved that song, almost a lullaby, and this was way before she became world famous, he must be right on the edge of the curve all the time right?


Shit, I think I should check him out and start listening to all of his records.

Go for it, tickets available here...

Thank you, you sir are a true gentleman

please, stop you know I hate compliments

no, no it must be said!

Ok, you're probably right.

Live at the 3rd Annual San Francisco Summerfest
Saturday, August 3, 2013 at Thee Parkside

Doors: 12:00pm (Ages: 21+)

Friday, 12 July 2013


We Come Running is the track on the advert and will be released in the UK on 5th August, 2013

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Babyshambles - Nothing Comes To Nothing


BABYSHAMBLES brand new Single 'Nothing Comes To Nothing' from their forthcoming 3rd album 'Sequel To The Prequel'

A worthy return and hopefully the tip of the trilby in regards to a goldmine of new material.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The spark that started the fire...


Over the years there have been many millions of songs written in many languages and whenever a music magazine has a quiet month with nothing happening of interest they always decide to push the ever faithful "GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME" lists as voted by YOU!...As if 'you' know anything! After all it was 'YOU' that got Mr Blobby, Bucks Fizz and Susan Boyle to no.1...'YOU' clearly have no friggin' idea what is good. So instead of asking the general public about the embarassments that are their own personal record collections lets go straight to the source.

I have recently chatted to the new generation of artists, bands and industry mavericks to find out through their own rose tinted glasses what was 'THE ALBUM' that turned them on at the start and pushed them from a life shifting boxes and stacking frozen pizza's to the yellow brick road of Rock and Roll...

IC1S Frontman Daniel Coburn and Guitarist and partner in crime Jesse James.

Daniel Coburn - Snoop Dogg - 'Doggy Style'
"I used to wear my red baggy jeans and blast this one out. I even used to face my speakers out the window, my mum used to hate it, I still love it!"

Jesse James - Michael Jackson - 'Dangerous'
"I was more obsessed with MJ then that I am with myself, now. Remarkable.
Dan (Coburn) has just agreed that he was also pretty obsessed with him aswell (and did some kind of MJ spin on my flat floor).
Bought the record from Woolworths in 1991. Still got it now, great record."

Nikki Grahame (Big Brother Star, Television Presenter,Author and bona fide Radiohead obessive)

'I Should Coco' by Supergrass
"I listened to it constantly throughout my 2 year stay at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and even made the other children on the ward perform 'Sofa of my Lethargy' at the Xmas Concert!"

Lianna Davies - Bass player extraordinaire from Turbowolf

'Pussy Whipped' by Bikini Kill

"When I first got into punk music I was constantly searching for something, which I could relate to more. Most of the music scene was completely testosterone filled and male dominated. As a 13 year old girl how was I ever going to relate 30 year old men singing about things I didn’t quite have an understanding to? One day I visited an EX Bf’s and he asked if I had heard Bikini Kill to which he handed me Bikini Kill 'Pussy Whipped'. He never got it back (Sorry Tom!) It was my Joan Jett moment. The first time I heard it, it completely blew me away. It was what I had been searching for, A band who I could truly relate to. It’s such an angry record but so poetically beautiful. It’s punk as fuck, in your face and uncompromisingly brilliant. I still get shivers every time I listen to it; even now it’s exciting to listen to. To me the most important record for the Riot Grrl movement maybe because it’s record that introduced me to the whole scene. The gritty guitars, fuzzy bass lines, tribal drumbeats, girl gang vocals and the snarling but angelic voice of Kathleen Hannah. Bikini Kill was a troupe not to mess with. Bikini Kill tackled issues in ways I never thought could have been by music. Pussy Whipped made me find my own voice and pick up a guitar and start my own band and for the first time I knew the music bug possessed me."

Anton Newcombe - Brian Jonestown Massacre

"It wasn't an album, it was all of the good ones that I loved VS how much I hated MTV, Grunge, Funk, Punk, Guns N Roses etc. I wanted to be in a group but nobody would have me in whatever Joy Division / Nick Cave / Post Punk project in San Francisco at the time."

Davina Cooke - Solo Artist


"Unfortunately I cant remember my first album. I suspect it's Bros 'Push' which I still have on vinyl. I revisited it not so long ago and a flurry of giddy feelings and heady fantasyland activities about not one but all three members of Bros came flooding back. Did I really think that 'Grrr" "Oooerrrr" was cool? It's got a groove for sure though 'Drop by Boy' the swooning 'Cat Among the Pigeons'... Hmmm. But maybe this obsession connected to the twins and the other one and the music was the start of my obsession with music forever more. So well hey thank you twins and the sultry brunette and well done for that Matrix film you were kinda cool."


Monday, 3 June 2013

IC1s - GROWING UP GOING DOWN (Official Video)

IC1S - Growing Up,Going Down - SINGLE REVIEW

I think it was Jesus who said “Rock ‘n’ Roll is a funny old game” and for once this may be true. For some Rock and Roll is an envelope that needs constantly pushing, re-evaluating, dismantling and reconstructing every time a group enters the recording studio, whilst for others the art of recording offers up one simple goal, "make it count". For IC1s it's a time to capture the band at the top of their game like a sonic photograph before they get back out on the road where the group truly lives night after night playing for a crowd. 'Growing Up,Going Down' is raw, honest and noisy and in my opinion this isn’t something that can be constructed piece by piece like a jigsaw, you’ve got to just press record and hold onto your hat.

The track is a rallying call to arms that has become an anthem for the group since they introduced it in their live set. The lyrics conjure up universal images for anyone trying to find their place in the world while the clock of life ticks past day by day whilst wrapping it up in a powerful musical panzer attack that turns the songs message from depression to elation in a single verse. The sound could be thought by some to be derivative of both 90’s Britpop and classic rock and roll but surely this would only be a negative point if they’d tried to go any other route. They are 90’s lads and pretending that they spent this decade carefully learning Bjork B-sides would be contrived and pointless, IC1S are out for a good time and are going to get their kicks whether you like it or not. ‘Growing Up, Going Down’ is genuine, loud and proud with a gentle lifting chorus and finger knotting ear worm guitar work that you’ll be humming from now until Spike Island.

‘Growing Up, Going Down’ is out now.
Free Download available at

Also available as 7” Vinyl via Two Sisters Records

Saturday, 25 May 2013



Interview with Frontman and lead singer Dan Coburn

Whats new in IC1-LAND?

Dan = There has been a lot going on recently in fact in the last few days we've actually taken a phone call from *name removed on request* in regards to being on their new label as well as taking other offers from a few other labels that have just started appearing from the woodwork. It's nice to go from being the ones approaching everyone to being the ones approached. Everything seems to be falling into place and hopefully it'll all be complete by the time we get to 2014.

This is your first time playing The Great Escape, what do you think about festivals rather than regular venue gigs for the band? Any differences in set or performance?

Dan = I'm not too sure really, for today we're all really up for it and can't wait to play. Andy (Andy Faulkner:Drums) fucked his ankle playing football, I mean what kind of guy plays a football match the night before a massive festival gig? But he's soldiering through as we all take it very seriously when all said and done. For gigs we approach them all the same really and it doesn't really matter where or when it is or which time slot we have, if its 10,000 people or 10 we'd go on and give it the same energy.

You have a new vinyl release coming out, care to elaborate more on that?

Dan = I think you know about this don't you? (laughs) We're using the punk ethos of 'the record companies don't exist', we're releasing the record ourselves, it won't be chart worthy or anything but it's available as a free download on our website on June 3rd. There will also be a limited edition 7" vinyl out at 5? to 10? to 15 pounds? (laughs) you can't put a price on brilliance (laughs) out via Rough Trade again on the 3rd June. It's all promotion and getting our name about really.

The debut album is still in the works, do you think you are close to nailing the final running order and complete first album?

Dan = I think from every time i've written a song that I know how the album is going to sound and ultimately be but then it changes again and again. In my head I think i'm pretty sure what songs will make it to the album yeah. As for it being recorded any time soon I think we'd prefer a good outlet and label rather than just do it 100% ourselves…punk ethos! (laughs)

As well as playing a lot of full band gigs you're also known for your acoustic slots, how do the arrangements change when doing these more low key slots?

Dan = Yeah well it's basically the same set but…stoned. It's a lot slower and quieter but at the same time mistakes are heard much clearer this way. We did the acoustic slots at the Olympics and Para-Olympics and various other gigs and it's nice to have another string to your bow. If today Andy couldn't physically play we could have done the acoustic versions without any trouble so it's good to have that in backup as well. It's like losing your gun but knowing you still have your knife.

IC1S are known for being outspoken in interviews, do you ever worry that a light hearted slip of the tongue could damage the group from climbing higher up the ranks?

Dan = Well we're really not THAT outspoken. I have thought about it before although in the long run I don't think it really effects things that much. I mean in the 90's when you had the whole Blur VS Oasis thing it was all orchestrated by the labels anyway to shift records.

There has been a recent resurgence in the popularity of the 90's and Britpop as a genre where a certain level of nostalgia has begun to creep into the consciousness of people. Would you consider yourself Britpop or Britpop influenced maybe?

Dan = Britpop influenced would be fair point but Britpop as a whole probably not no. To be honest apart from the bands like Oasis, Blur, Supergrass and The Stereophonics if you actually listen back to Britpop era records it was f*cking shit! We were just lucky to have a few stand out bands at the time which took the light off of these bands that were f*cking awful. Menswear! Northern Uproar! What was that? Nowaysis (Oasis tribute band) were even better than them! Really I would always want IC1S to be the start of a movement rather than just another band riding on the back of a new genre or something.

Are there any groups that you're looking forward to see at Great Escape this year?

Dan = Well we as a band do get very full of ourselves when we're are playing anywhere although there is an act I do want to see and that's the Bangkok Ladyboys over on the green (laughs) no,no…Tribes I like and i'll try and check them out. Good band.

Do you feel any musical kinship with any of the other bands out on the circuit at the moment?

Dan = Not really no. To be honest with you and maybe it's a real horrible way to be but for us it's a case of soundcheck and then go off somewhere else till it's our time to be on I don't really watch any other bands. I would want it to effect my psyche and think "they're REALLY good" and then worry. I'd just rather go on do my thing. As far as I'm concerned there is no other bands on the circuit…just us.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Dan = A lot of Northern Soul music and I really love and am almost addicted to the track "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne, I mean I must have heard this song all my life and it's just slipped past me and then recently it just caught me and I f*cking love it. Dobie Grey as well. When we were on the video shoot for 'Growing Up, Going Down' John (John Campbell: Guitar) CD player packed in and we did acapella tunes and doing Righteous Brothers tunes *sings* "You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your liiiips" (laughs) just awesome over Dartford Tunnel (laughs) it was good. New music? No.

'Growing Up,Going Down' will be available as a FREE download on on the 3rd June 2013




Would you say that in The Netherlands that there was an underground Psychedelic scene emerging or are you very much an outsider?

Jacco Gardner = There are some friends of mine that are doing a similar thing but thats it really, there is no scene going on at all.

I've read that you play the majority of instruments on the album. Would you consider using outside musicians or is the creative process when making an album too personal to involve outside players?

J.G = Well yes, except the drums I do. In the creative process it's the most natural way of working where I don't have to say anything to anyone just pick up the next instrument and just play. It's the same with the recording and producing, it has to be me in every step of the process to get exactly the sound I want.

What instrument do you write on? Guitar, piano perhaps?

J.G = Both, there is no main instrument that I write on.

Who or what influences your writing and the album ' Cabinet of Curiosities'?

J.G = The songwriting? There are a lot of influences, I mean I could name a lot of different people that I like and listen to but for songwriting?
I don't know really, thats a tough question.

Are you at all worried that some critics may simply write you off as a retro or nostalgia act rather than a new artist with something fresh to say musically?

J.G = Not really, to me when they say these things it's a sign that they don't get it and they don't know what it's really about and almost miss the unique things that to me are special in music.

Are you influenced by The Brian Jonestown Massacre or other newer bands that keep the spirit of 60's music and culture current?

J.G = No, not at all. While I was recording I really didn't listen to anything new, only 1960's records really.

You've been vocally compared to Syd Barrett, how do you feel about that?

J.G = You think? I dunno, in singing I try and match people like Brian Wilson, and Arthur Lee with high pitched melodic type of singing, not really Syd Barrett.

How do you compare UK audiences to those abroad?

J.G = In The Netherlands you connect to the audience because you're Dutch and over here you need to prove yourself a little more I think. In Europe most audiences are more wild and fascinated about music where thats not always the case here or in Holland.

What's next in 2013 for you?

J.G = We'll be doing a festival in Belgium, then Luxembourg before doing a big show in 'Paradiso' in Amsterdam. A lot more touring and I'm sure we'll be back in the UK as well.

'Cabinet of Curiosities' is out now on Excelsior Recordings/Trouble In Mind

thanks to Nikki McNeill at Global Publicity

All attached images are strictly © Beki Cowey / Bekitakespictures (2013) and are licensed to Chris Lancaster for use in conjunction with The Great Escape interviews with Jacco Gardner. Further use is not permitted without prior consent, and unauthorised use in any media is prohibited.


After their recent 3 sets in 3 days at Brigton's Great Escape Festival 2013 I managed to catch up with one of the most exciting bands of 2013 thus far...Ladies and Gentlemen be upstanding for DEAP VALLY!

Interview Transcript

Lindsey Troy (Guitar/Vocals) & Julie Edwards (Drums/Backing Vocals)

You're playing 3 gigs in 3 days here at The Great Escape 2013, hows that been for you?

Julie: Well it's been great, really fun although there was a power outage on the first night, they didn't check the levels or something and overpowered it I think, I dunno why it happened during our set and not with anybody else. The power of Rock I guess (laughs)

Would you say your live show encapsulates the band differently from your recordings?

Julie:Yeah that's what we're ALL about, the live shows definitely.

How did the recording go? Did any of the older songs evolve further during the sessions?

Lindsay: Some of them maybe but not really that much.

Julie: Little tweaks here and there

Lindsey: Tracks that maybe started out a bit boring did change during the recording.

Julia: Yeah, although nothing radically different, just certain sounds.

How do you compare the live show to the album? Is it the show that you try and capture on tape?

Julie: Well that's what we wanted to get, our live sound recorded without any fuss.

Lindsey: the goal is to make the album sound as big as it does live which can be a challenge as we are a live band and all of the chaos that spontaneously happens on a stage in a room full of people with all the sounds and feedback's and all kinds of things are the small details that MAKE the show. I think that the studio engineers tend to try and get rid of that stuff and make a weird 'clean' sound.

Julie: We really wanted to let everything hang out and I think that approach works with our minimalism too, you wouldn't want to tidy it up too much otherwise what would there be left? You need all the noise and hiss and contextual sounds.

So there was lots of bleed?(i.e. the guitar sound being picked up by the microphone on the drum kit and vice versa due to volume and lack of sound dampeners)

Julie: Yeah we went for bleed definitely, most of the songs we just jammed out in a room together so on all the drum tracks there was bleed from Lindsey's guitar amp. I think that helps it sound like a live show with the sound bouncing all around you, I mean you can control it to a certain extent but why do you want to right?

The Black Keys, The White Stripes, The Yeah,Yeah,Yeahs and now Deap Vally…what have you all got against bass players?

Lindsey: (laughs) we don't hate bass players!

Julie: My husbands a bass player!

Lindsey: My brothers a bass player

Julie: MY brothers a bass player too!

Lindsey: weird, maybe that's it!, it's psychological. I dunno. Bass is great though, we don't hate bass

Julie: The Black Keys have a bass player now anyway, a friend of ours plays bass for them as he's a sick bass player.

Lindsey: But bass is awesome, bass is fun. I'll probably pick up a bass on some later songs (laughs)

No 'slap' bass though surely? ('Seinfield' intro)

Julie: Are you kidding that'd be cool

Lindsey: if I could I totally would!

How have you found UK shows in comparison to L.A audiences?

Julie: We haven't played in L.A in 2 years now.

Lindsey: No! maybe a year, whenever the smell was

The 'smell'?

Lindsey: (laughs) it's a venue in L.A, whenever that was, that was the last time.

Julie: I think there might be more men at the shows here than girls.

Lindsey: yeah last night there was a lot of guys at the front which sometimes makes it harder to gauge if there are any girls in.

It's sometimes said that UK audiences are more reserved and just wait to be entertained where some audiences in Europe like Spain for example
are 'with you' from the first song, what do you think?

Julie: Yeah but L.A. is that times a million where everyone is the son of the head of a record company or something and has their own band or whatever.

Lindsey: I'm sure it can be like that everywhere, we've had some of the craziest shows in London too. Brighton as well. The last time we played here at the end of our tour in January at 'The Haunt' there was crowd surfing and moshing, it was awesome.

You have a supporter in Vincent Gallo, how did that come about?

Lindsey: He came to a couple of our shows.

Julie:Yeah well he emailed our MySpace page and frankly we don't get messages on our MySpace page much and it said " I am The Director Vincent Gallo, I think you guys are a really great band" and I said that there was no way that was real and that it was some fake thing although Lindsey was a believer and she wrote back and then from there he kinda became our mentor at a really crucial time where we were a baby band who had played a handful of shows, we had a few songs and we were being approached by A&R people who were already trying to get all involved and he was just like "you need to stand by what you do , you are the people that know it, you're the artist, the creative ones here and nobody else knows what you're doing" and he's such a great artist and we have so much respect for him and to have this coming from him is so meaningful to us. He taught us to not be little pussies about it, especially at that time when lame people were trying to control us and I think it was really valuable.

Did you try and borrow any of his gear? (known for his fastidious vintage instrument collection)

Lindsey: Yeah he told us that he had 1600 guitars! But I didn't get to see any of them.

Julie: We love his album 'When', especially because it's from 2001 and the first song is 'I wrote this song for the girl Paris Hilton' and at that time she really wasn't even 'Paris Hilton' yet ya' know? I think he'd met her on the scene and then she was in that video for him (Honey Bunny) that was amazing.

Has Jack White made any inroads to you to disprove your view that he'd "disapprove of you" and your unregimented attire?

Julie: That was a joke! I thought it was because he wouldn't like the way we dressed.

Lindsey: We love Jack White and hope to work with him sometime. We are going to be in Nashville for 'Bonnaroo-2013' festival. (Jack White's 'THIRD MAN RECORDS' is based in Nashville)

Julie: Although he's really hard to pin down as he doesn't own a cell phone.

Jack White is famous for his eye for detail when it comes to stage clothes, do you think it's ever acceptable for a drummer to let the side down by wearing trainers?

Julie: Well here's the deal, I play barefoot I don't know how to play in shoes, it's a weird sensation and I just don't do it. I try not to hold bad footwear against drummers as it needs to be functional as well. I guess trainers are flat footed and flexible and it is like 'sports' playing the drums. They should all try and play barefoot personally although i'm sure there are some drummers who's feet you don't want to see (laughs) hairy feet.

Lindsey: Hammer toes? (laughs) although you don't really see them behind the kit right?

Deap Vally's debut album 'Sistrionix' is released on the 24th June 2013 via Island Records/Communion

Thanks to Deap Vally, Matt Brown at Stay Loose and Zippy Cooper.

All images are strictly © Beki Cowey / Bekitakespictures (2013)
Further use is not permitted without prior consent, and unauthorised use in any media is prohibited.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

WAY TO BLUE: The Songs of Nick Drake

WAY TO BLUE: The Songs of Nick Drake

Nick Drake was always destined to be a cult artist. With his introverted Folk based acoustic songs, doe eyes and an untimely death in 1974 at only 26 years old he was invariably going to find a home within the growing singer songwriter influx of the later 60’s and early 70’s rather than the Top 10 or on the burgeoning Blues Rock scene that were coming to fruition towards the end of the decade. A true album based artist that wrote personal melancholy songs that strayed away from the politics of the protest movement of the New York acts and instead chose to create very English sounding records without ever trying to disguise his clipped upper middle class accent or Cambridge reference points. Generations since have discovered the eloquent beauty within his catalogue and very soon with the release of tribute album ‘Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake’ a new audience will be presented with an window into one of the most interesting characters in U.K music who even after nearly 44 years remains as mysterious and curious as he did in 1969 upon the release of his debut album ‘Five Leaves Left’.

The ‘Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake’ album (released April 16th) has been curated by former Nick Drake producer and friend Joe Boyd and will feature Drake’s songs covered by a variety of artists such as Robyn Hitchcock, Scott Matthews, Luluc as well as one time collaborator and Bass player extraordinaire Danny Thompson. Joe Boyd himself is an already celebrated producer working with acts such as Pink Floyd, Nico and Toots & The Maytals as well as finding time to write one of the definitive books on the 1960’s ‘White Bicycles’ which diarises Boyd’s own experiences and ultimate assimilation into the music industry throughout one of the most exciting periods of Rock music. There will also be a celebratory evening to launch the release of the CD which will feature a Q&A with Boyd as well as footage and live performances from the original ‘Way to Blue’ concerts at The Barbican back in January 2010. The Q&A will be interesting for all fans of Nick Drake as well as the whole U.K Folk scene of the 60’s and 70’s as Boyd has always had a way of cutting through the myths and legends surrounding Nick Drake and his contemporaries and instead giving a balanced opinion of the music, artists and legacies.

I was lucky enough to speak to Joe Boyd about the upcoming night of music as well as his own personal and working relationship with Nick Drake over the first two albums. Below he discusses the recording sessions, musicians involved as well as the uphill battle to try and get Drake on the road and into the world of the underground Folk circuit.

Interview with Joe Boyd

Q) What inspired you to curate the up-coming Nick Drake celebration concert?

A) It’s really for the upcoming release of the ‘Way To Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake’ record and a celebration of that really. I don't want people to think it's a concert like the original 'Way To Blue' shows at Barbican but a few people are going to sing and we'll show some clips from the Barbican event. I'll then talk about working with Nick and they'll be some other bits and pieces and it should be a fun evening.

Q) How did you originally meet Nick and then go on to produce what would become the debut ‘Five Leaves Left’ LP?

A) Well Ashley Hutchings who was the bass player in Fairport Convention had heard Nick play and got his phone number before telling me "you better call this guy, he's very, very good", he had a demo tape that I listened to and almost straight away said "lets make a record".

Q) What was your first impression of the music and songs on the demo tape?

A) Well the very first song that was on the demo tape was 'Magic' which is probably my least favourite Nick Drake song (laughs), but it was my first Nick Drake song that I’d heard and I loved it. The next tracks were 'Time has told Me' and 'Thoughts of Mary Jane' and so really just from that I knew that this guy was amazing and all it took was about 15 seconds of the first song to make that very clear to me.

Q) Robert Kirby contributed the majority of the string arrangements on Nick Drake’s albums, who’s idea was it to bring in Harry Robinson for the ‘River Man’ sessions?

A) Well what happened was that Robert was close friends with Nick and he'd tried to write an arrangement for 'River Man'… and actually something that I didn't know until much recently when I worked on the 'Way To Blue' concerts with Robert was that it wasn't the harmonics or the ambition of the song or even Nick's ideas that he'd felt un-equal to, it was the 5/4 time signature and the fact that he hadn't gotten to the 5/4 lessons at music school yet! (Laughs) he said that he didn't feel confident writing in 5/4 time. He then basically said that "look I don't think I can do 'River Man'" and John Wood (the sound engineer on the session) asked Nick what he wanted and Nick said "I kinda want it to sound like Frederick Delius" and John said "well, get Harry Robinson he can mimic anyone (laughs) . Harry was one of the original members of Lord Rockingham's XI (British group of session musicians that appeared on POP T.V show 'Oh Boy' as the house band) and he also did the film scores for the Hammer Horror Movies. He was great, a real character and he was intrigued and loved doing it and loved the song.

Q) The closing track on ‘Five Leaves Left’ is ‘Saturday Sun’ and apart from being a beautiful piece of music it is also one of the very few tracks where Nick plays piano instead of guitar, who’s idea was that?

A) The piano was Nick's idea. He pretty much dictated what we did and he wanted it to be piano and then John Wood knew Tristan Fry and so we got him in to play vibes which gave it a jazzier vibe to it which slightly confused people at the time. In fact Melody Maker at the time reviewed 'Five Leaves Left' and said that it was "an awkward mixture of folk and cocktail jazz" and I think that it was maybe the vibes on 'Saturday Sun' that threw the Melody Maker (laughs)

Q) Who chose the musicians to accompany Nick on the recordings?

A) Well Nick would say what he wanted and I'd introduce him to various musicians who I thought would accompany his songs well. I was working with Paul Harris for example who'd been doing all the arrangements for John and Beverley Martyn for an album called 'Stormbringer!' at that time, so Paul had met Nick and heard him play and just loved what he was doing and so he played piano on 'Time Has Told Me' and 'Man In A Shed'. I then brought in Danny Thompson (double bass) and Rocky Dzidzornu the conga player who's on 'Cello Song' and 'Three Hours' so in terms of the musicians Nick was more "well we need a piano here…" you know? He'd brought Robert into the mix and then I brought people as and when they were needed. I brought in Richard (Thompson) to overdub the guitar solo on 'Time Has Told Me' and then again on the 'Bryter Layter' album he played live on 'Hazy Jane' and although I don't remember deciding that the second album ('Bryter Layter') would have drums and it was only later in retrospect that I realised that there was no drums except for the congas on 'Five Leaves Left' and that there was drums all over 'Bryter Layter'. I would just bring in people that I knew and had worked with like Dave Pegg (bass guitar), Dave Mattacks (drums) and Mike Kowalski (drums). People that were really good. There were also the 'wild cards' that I included, people like John Cale who was initially kind of an accident in the sense that I’d been recording the ‘Desertshore’ album for Nico (ex-Velvet Underground singer) with him and during the mixing session he had asked me to play some stuff I was working on and I played him a track of Nick’s and he just went crazy over it and said "I’ve got meet this guy" and from that went on to record two songs with him which became 'Fly' and 'Northern Sky'. A lot of the choices were just happenstance really where for example Chris McGregor was at a mixing session I was doing in the morning and it overlapped into the next session with Nick and he just stayed around and hung out and it was just coincidence that these were the sessions where Nick was doing 'Poor Boy' and just ended up playing piano on it.

Q) ‘Bryter Layter’ often gets described as Nick’s “city album”, was there an idea to make a more commercial sounding recording that may reach a wider market?

A) (laughs) well wider, there was really no market at the time for Nick's music. But as far as making anything more commercial, I don't think so. We didn't really make any decisions beforehand like "we're gonna use a drum kit", it was just the songs began to lead to that naturally. Once we'd tried a song with an electric bass and a drum kit instead of Danny Thompson and a conga drum, it sounded good and we just kept going in that vein. Robert had also begun writing with horns in mind instead of strings which gave things a little bit more of an edge to it. As far as the overall sound though there really wasn't a conscious decision to make a more commercial sounding record, in some ways it was less commercial than 'Five Leaves Left' as it was more confusing of an album genre wise. There had been acoustic albums with strings such as Leonard Cohen and you could say that 'Fiver Leaves Left' was in that category but 'Bryter Layter'? I don't know what category that was in.

Q) It’s been said Nick Drake only ever performed few gigs due to the various complex guitar tunings on each song which would leave frequent gaps of silence from the stage while the guitar was adjusted. Was this the case or was it more a mixture of reasons?

A) The guitar tunings live were definitely a problem for sure although it was a mixture of things. Nick didn't talk easily; he didn't have 'small-talk' or know what to say to people, particularly not an audience. He was a very quiet guy so although in hindsight it's easier to think about things you would have done differently at the time it wasn't thought about, nobody even thought it might be an idea to have another guitar in the wings in a different tuning. Although I don't think anybody even knew HOW to tune Nick's guitar except Nick as the tunings were pretty complicated.

I tired to get him out on tour to promote the albums but it just didn't go very well and you have to realise that in the late 60’s early 70’s things were different. The folk circuit was mainly just rooms above pubs and they weren't interested in what Nick was doing as it wasn't traditional English folk music and although he did play at 'Les Cousins' (a folk and blues club in the basement of a Greek restaurant in Soho) a few times but he had trouble getting the attention of the audience who were all there for a drink and night out while on top of that you’d have the waitresses walking around chatting and taking orders and it really wasn't an atmosphere where people would sit quietly and listen unless you grabbed their attention and he just didn't in that surrounding.

Q) Do you think that Nick would have gained a wider audience and broken through bigger if he’d been taken to California on the back of the whole ‘Laurel Canyon’ scene like Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills & Nash crowd?

A) Yes definitely, and it was very frustrating because David Geffen really liked 'Five Leaves Left' and talked about putting it out in America, which would have been great. Although at the time he was just starting up his label (Asylum Records) and he just never came back to really close the deal. Island Records then did a deal with Capitol Records to have their own imprint in America and as Chris Blackwell (Island Records Owner) loved Nick he said that he'd put Nick out through Island, and that took a while to get started and releases arranged. Nick's first release in America wasn't until late 1971 and even then it was a compilation album of tracks from 'Five Leaves Left' and 'Bryter Layter'. It should have come out in 1969 on Asylum Records, which would have been a boost to get on FM radio in America.

Q) Nick’s final album ‘Pink Moon’ was produced by engineer John Wood (who’d worked on the previous two with you). Why did you decide not to produce the sessions?

A) I was moving to California as ‘Witchseason’ (Joe Boyd's production company) really wasn't selling enough records to keep afloat. The records were getting great reviews but weren't selling a lot. So I was working faster and harder to catch up and getting more anxious about all the debts mounting up and then I got this offer to go and work for Warner Bros and I just felt burnt out and in need of a change. Nick had announced that he wanted to do his next record with just guitar and voice which I thought was a very bad idea, Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention was arguing with me about 'Fairport' not being as interesting as before and forming Fotheringay, The Incredible String band had become Scientologists (laughs) and so it seemed to me that everywhere I looked the wheels were coming off and this move was an easy and elegant solution where I could move to California, Island Records had agreed to buy my company and pay off the debts.

Q) Your thoughts on ‘Pink Moon’?

A) I was horrified with the whole idea and thought that it wasn't a good move for him as he'd be turning his back on the possibility of any kind of success he'd built up on the back of the other releases. I don't know what I would have done if I'd been producing, maybe try and talk him into adding some more and putting some more things on the songs I guess, not too elaborate just something else instrumentally. But of course Nick as ever turned out to be right in the sense that today 'Pink Moon' sells by far the most out of the three records.

It's partially because of the Volkswagen commercial where 'Pink Moon' was used that a lot of people were first introduced to Nick's music and that’s great although because it is the most popular both I and the Nick Drake estate receive a steady trickle of emails requesting that the other two albums are re-released with just guitar and voice and without the overdubs and other added arrangements. I have to explain that Nick really worked on those arrangements and really wanted those arrangements it wasn't just me trying to be 'commercial' (laughs). To me the least interesting and corny part of 'Bryter Layter' were the instrumentals which open and close the album which I tried to talk Nick out of but who insisted on them anyway. They are also shocked when I explain that we couldn't do the 'naked' versions even if we wanted to because a lot of the tracks were cut live and recorded in the same room with Nick singing and playing live along with all the other instruments so you couldn't separate it all out.

Q) There is a fabled story among Nick Drake fans that Nick handed the finished master tapes into a secretary at Island Records only for her to put them in a drawer and forget about them. Do you think there is any truth in this?

A) I think there is definitely some truth to that story. I think it was really a case of Nick having finished the record came to Island Records imagining giving the tapes to Chris Blackwell (Island Records owner) and I can imagine him just shuffling up to the front desk and asking if Chris Blackwell was there and the receptionist saying "No" and him just mumbling "when so and so get's back can you give them this". You have to remember that a receptionist in 1971 would have been the same as any other person around that time; she would have never heard of Nick Drake or had any idea who this person was standing in front of her and just assumed it was another demo. It wasn't like he'd even been into Island Records more than once or twice ever and so by just dumping down this tapes and walking back out the door without explaining himself properly or having a real conversation with her stating that he was an Island artist and that this was an expected master tape he was handing in, is completely believable and typical of Nick.

Q) Do you listen to his music for pleasure?

A) Yes, 'Bryter Layter' is one of the albums that I really enjoy listening to out of the ones that I've produced.

‘Way To Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake’ is available now on StorySound Records

Many thanks to Joe Boyd and James Parrish at Prescription PR.