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British singer, pianist and songwriter returns with new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
It’s been quite a five years since the release of the staggering Disappearance Of The Girl. Over 100 million streams on Spotify and performing the miracle of birth by bringing twin boys Dylan and Finn into the world have not precluded Phildel Ng from recording a new album, Wave Your Flags.
It hasn’t been an easy process for her and artist Chris Young, her long-time partner and musical collaborator. As a child, Phildel suffered an often abusive relationship with her stepfather in a home where music was banned. Maybe this melody restriction fuelled her passion for music where she hid a lone cd in her desk. At the cost of a family relationship, she recently attempted to bring him to justice to no avail, and now finds herself estranged from her mother and sister.
Wave Your Flags acts as something of a healing process for her. An album of self-repair which involved a self-referral to hospital for her own safety, an album where she finds strength from the things she values and loves and above all, an album of quite breath-taking quality.
Imagine a Venn diagram made up of Tori Amos, Alison Goldfrapp and Dido, and Phildel will attempt to sit on the periphery of the trio whilst presenting a voice that is one on its own. She doesn’t warble or wail like many of today’s new voices, instead she has a pure and perfect voice that is warming, angelic and often sends shivers down your spine. Make no mistake, there is a huge star here waiting to burst into the world.
From the opening bars of The Deep is it clear that Wave Your Flags is a near perfect album, sounds and voices are positioned and timed with a clinical precision, each syllable is sung with seeming ease and every sound fits snugly to its counterpart. With songs of fissure and healing, Wave Your Flags is powerful yet gentle, therapeutic and provoking.
Lead single, Electric Heights is gloriously empty. A void filled with wisps of vocal accompaniment, snitches of sound and well placed echoes creating a great expanse of calm and warm feeling. Oh Love expresses her gratitude at the support from Chris after she imagined turning herself into the Thames expressed in The Great Wave.
As with Disappearance Of The Girl, there are fascinations with the sea, adding to the fluidity of Wave Your Flags with Wild Sea, Floods and Great Wave and second single from the album, Glide Dog oozes a sexy tension akin to that of Alison Goldfrapp in a song that entices a mild horror to proceedings – “I need more blood than you can pour love.”
The album closes with its most commercial offering in Glorious, a track that will no doubt feature on tv commercials, adverts and incidental music in the future. It’s catchy and memorable, lifts the pace to a pop height and ends the album on a massive crescendo. Phildel is a huge star in the waiting, doing things her way, in her time and on her rules, make no mistake, she is an enormous talent.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop and you can follow him on Twitter as @hiapop, and on Facebook here.
Subtitled “The Motown 70s Studio Albums” this brings together exactly that, the 1970s works by the (I’m A) Roadrunner 60s hitmaker and his band…..Ian Canty feels the groove of the Motown set’s premier sax man….
Autry DeWalt Nixon Jr, better known as Junior Walker, had already seen a lot of life by the time of the first album of this new set A Gasssss in 1970. A troubled childhood in Arkansas meant spending time living with adoptive parents, who encouraged the young man’s love of music and gave him a saxophone as a present on his tenth birthday. Later he co-habited with aunt in Wisconsin (who also was supportive of his musical muse), his natural mother and also his uncle, who was based in Chicago. On arrival in the Windy City he found himself in the middle of civil unrest and his precious sax was pummelled during the fracas. Eventually Junior settled down, got his own place, a steady job and a wife and family. But as the 1940s drew to a close he got the urge to play again, retrieving his repaired sax from his uncle’s place, intent on a career in music.
He joined the band that were to become the All Stars in the early 50s, then known as the Rhythm Rockers and he began using the Junior Walker tag, a nickname from his youth. Meeting producer Johnny Bristol around the time of the name change, it was when Walker and his band joined with Berry Gordy on his Soul imprint (part of the Motown group) that his career really began to flourish. Many US charts hits followed, with the really big ones being Shotgun (which got to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100), (I’m A) Roadrunner (Top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic) and (What Does It Take) To Win Your Love (which again hit the US number 4 spot and also 13 on the UK charts).
As the 1970s dawned, Jr Walker And The All Stars were still coming off the back of their success from their more recent LP, named after that last big hit. In turn the record spawned three other chart singles in These Eyes, Gotta Hold On To This Feeling and Do You See My Love. So all seemed hopeful for the decade, even taking into account Walker’s reputation for unreliability as regarding turning up for studio sessions.
"Do You See My Love (For You Growing)" Junior Walker & The Allstars - YouTube
1970’s A Gasssss certainly starts things off with a swing in its step here. Little Funk and strings touches here and there give the record a feel of the new decade, but Walker’s sax and full-bodied vocal style remained intact. Single and kick-off track of the album Do You See My Love (For You Growing) steps right into the 1970s with a state of the art big production, subtle female vocals assisting Jr’s more rootsy holler and of course that sax. Even though this record was released in the 1970s, it is a step away from the “four to the floor” Motown sound and thoroughly modern (though later track Riding High On Love was made for Northern Soul, being much more in a 60s stomp mode).
There’s a cover of Blood, Sweat And Tears’ And I When I Die which is imbued with a pleasing rawness, nicely offset against the lush instrumentation. A deep Gospel Blues feel is rendered on Groove And Move and if Honey Come Back finds Walker outside his comfort zone with a Soul ballad, he pulls it off with a good amount of verve. Hey Jude gets a Funk do-over and this LP generally delivers as a consistently listenable dance record.
The following year’s Rainbow Funk works roughly to the same template as A Gasssss (there’s another Fabs cover in Something), but also threw the occasional curveball in. Like the Traffic song Feeling Alright, using its odd structure, but setting it to to a rough Rhythm And Blues styling. Take Me Girl I’m Ready tightens up high quality dance to such an extent it comes over like a forerunner of the Philly Sound and Right On Brothers And Sisters is a classy message of unity. The Temptations’ Psychedelic Shack is also versioned with some of Junior’s trademark sax pyrotechnics, which helps the flow of what was already a fluid dance number. Always more at home as a vocalist with an up-tempo Soul shouter, Jr could kick up a storm of James Brown proportions and he certainly shows some of that vim on Pieces Of A Man.
On the second disc here, which features the albums Moody Jr. and Peace And Understanding Is Hard To Find, Walker And The All Stars had pretty much settled into a formula, although both LPs are good enough in themselves it does seem that the band were a little too settled in their work. Junior builds up a JB-like head of steam though on Moody’s opener Way Back Home and the slow R&B of I Don’t Want To Do Wrong is a real treat (Gladys Knight, who co-wrote the song and had a hit with it earlier in 1971 with the Pips, pitches on Moody Jr. with a further three tunes). Don’t Blame The Children is another fine social consciousness song and the title track’s raw Funk is played alongside some effortlessly cool female vocals.
1973’s Peace And Understanding comes out fighting with a defiant I Ain’t Going Nowhere, which despite its clearly evident suitability for the charts was relegated to the b side of non-album track Gotta Hold On To This Feeling. The two part Gimme That Beat is Funky and very cool indeed, the polar opposite of the rather MOR version of Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly now. Jr. And The All Stars do a better job on Carol King’s It’s Too Late, but the spectre of Easy Listening hovered in the background at times in these couple of albums. The title track, which brings this record to a close, is possibly the best thing on Peace And Understanding. A Bo Diddley rhythm buried deep down, those unnamed female singers doing wonders again and Junior’s feisty vocalising, it provides a great end to the LP.
Jr WALKER & THE ALL STARS - I AIN'T GOING NOWHERE - YouTube
The self-titled 1974 album (only released in the UK) steps away a bit from the Soul shouter/sax instro/Funk formula and is a little uneven perhaps, but there is enough to interest one. Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life just avoids another brush with the middle of the road by having Wonder himself appearing on harmonica, but to be honest the first three offerings on this LP are pretty forgettable, you can see why the decision was taken not to give it a full release based on this evidence. Better is the more upbeat Boogie Down and Dancin’ Like They Do On Soul Train is a prime piece of 70s Funk. The latter and Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I Gonna Do) nudge towards the Disco dancefloor.
On the whole though the Jr. Walker & The All Stars album is bitty, which is why I’m happy to report that the next LP Hot Shot was a return to form. His Blues-based sax riffing was seldom heard better than on the first track, I’m So Glad. the self penned Probe Your Mind and Hot Shot (a critique of the music industry) found him and the All Stars firing on all cylinders, intense and very Funky indeed! Love (Keeps Us Together) could set light to most any dancefloor and I Need You Right Now has the talented Thelma Houston leading the way. This is wall to wall great stuff and a brilliant way to sign off this collection.
After Hot Shot Junior Walker went solo for a few years, before rejoining the All Stars in the 80s, though they struggled to make much of an impact and recorded only sparsely. People only seemed to want the old hits I suppose. Junior passed away in 1995 at the age of 64 after a long battle with cancer.
Despite the fact that as the 70s went on Jr Walker And The All Stars’ chart career tailed off, Walk In The Night shows that they kept producing spirited and enjoyable albums, albeit at times a distance away from the “cutting edge”. Junior’s signature sax was a great sound, but may mean that you wouldn’t want to listen to the whole three CDs in one block. However, although A Gasssss and Hotshot are my picks, pretty much any one of the six played on a warm, lazy day makes for the ideal, relaxing accompaniment.
This set sounds great and has an authoritative sleeve note from author Sharon Davis, which sets out Walker’s early career and later work whilst focussing on the 6 albums corralled together here. Maybe Jr Walker And The All Stars days in the Top 30 were drawing to a halt, but the quality control here shows they never slacked off. There’s some sweet, sweet Soul that sticks in the mind and gets the toes tapping – Walk In The Night is more than alright.
All words by Ian Canty – see his author profile here
Damaged Goods compile another set from the statesman of British garage rock – 48 tracks spanning his 40 years recording.
Do we really need another compilation of Billy Childish’s recordings? I mean it’s been only ten years since Damaged Goods released their last one, but considering that in that time Billy Childish has put out a further thirteen records, I guess it may be overdue! Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot goes right back to the beginning and is a distillation of the over 100 albums he has produced in his 40-year career.
Never one to bend to the will of fashion, and having always ploughed his own path, it feels natural that the compilation starts with a swampy, barely audible version of Whatcha Gonna Do About It? from The Pop Rivets’ Live In Germany album, followed by a demo version of Kray Twins. It’s almost like he is willfully challenging the listener to wait out the roughest and sketchiest of recordings and it’s not until track three that we hear anything resembling a final recording of any song, coming in the form of The Milkshakes’ wonderful, almost psych-garage, Love Can Lose. While all three tracks, and others such as Joe Strummer’s Grave, Archive From 1959, and of course the title track Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot, appear on Damaged Good previous compilation (Archive From 1959), where this new compilation differs is in that it runs chronologically, giving the listener a snapshot of Childish’s development, or perhaps lack thereof, over the last 40 years. In this way, we hear how he has stuck to his single-minded idea of rough and stripped back raw garage rock ‘n’ roll through, from The Pop Rivets through to CTMF.
The project that features most heavily on this compilation (getting an entire LP side devoted to them) are naturally The Headcoats/Thee Headcoatees, that which, more than any other, shows the unbridled prolificness of Billy Childish. In 11 years they managed 25 albums between the two groups, and this also shows the conundrum that would face anyone compiling this retrospective in having to boil that quantity, and quality, down into only 9 songs to be included. The side opens with the Headcoatees classic Davey Crockett, a song that perfectly blends Childish’s roots in both the 60’s garage sounds and the punk scene from which he came. A mash-up of Farmer John with a dash of the Ramones’ ‘Gabba-gabba-hey’, and a lick of The Seeds in the solo. It’s also one of the songs that show his continued influence in the garage world, having been covered by The Hinds in 2015.
And of course, his work with Holly Golightly is also here in the form of the stomping Step Out and grooving Upside Mine. Over the years, the work that Childish has done with her, in the form of Thee Headcoatees and as a duo, count among some of his best. It seems as though he has a freer musical range when knowing that he won’t have to carry the song, much in the same way as his later work with Kyra. Their slinking This Wonderous Day makes the cut here. In amongst all the fantastic garage rock that the compilation has brought together, it’s good to hear a few of the songs like these where Childish has stepped out of the mould somewhat. Where it’s even more pronounced through is on I Don’t Like The Man I Am from his work with The Singing Loins, and Mussel Horse, which was recorded in collaboration with his fellow Stuckist and Medway poet Sexton Ming.
The advantage of more or less constantly sticking to your own style over the course of 40 years is that at some point fashion will eventually catch up with you once again, which is exactly what happened at the turn of the millennium, as garage came back in style, and so came The Buff Medways (or Wild Billy Childish & The Friends of the Buff Medway Fanciers Association, if we give them their full title!) It also showed a shift in some of the songs back further to the more harmony-driven garage rock of the 60s, Strood Lights being the perfect example. It didn’t last long though as his Musicians of The British Empire came to the fore with more of a proto-punk racket. After a few doses of the lo-fi indie rock of The Spartan Dreggs, Childish’s project with Fire Dept.’s Neil Palmer, the final side of this extensive collection is dedicated primarily to his current band CTMF. Taking over on vocals once again, the style comes right around full circle to the driving garage he started out with, albeit with a smattering of Hammond organ sitting in with the mix on tracks like A Song For Kylie Minogue. It’s once again a wild racket of glorious garage rock.
Over the last 40 years, Billy Childish has probably been the most prolific British songwriter. He has stuck to his guns throughout, as any true artist should, and produced some of the best garage rock music that the country has seen. Punk came and went, an 80s garage revival briefly showed it’s head, Britpop looked back to many of those 60s British Invasion bands, and 18 years ago garage music hit the mainstream in a way it had never done before. All the while Billy Childish continued, blinkered and focused with a one track mind. Here’s hoping that in ten years time there are another host of albums to try to include in the next compilation. But for now, this is the almost perfect retrospective of a true national treasure.
Listen to CTMF’s A Song For Kylie Minogue below:
Wild Billy Childish & CTMF - A Song For Kylie Minogue - YouTube
Only Ones legend and familial band-mates hit Glasgow promoting new album.
Brother Ged of this parish had dropped this one in my unsuspecting lap as he’d had to cancel his proposed review of one of the dates south of the border. His loss, my gain although the stage time of 10pm on a Wednesday night was giving my aging frame the fear a little bit, I have to admit.
No matter; it’s not every night one gets to see a bona fide legend close up and with last album How The West Was Won being one of LTW’s albums of the year in 2017, this one was a bit of a not-to-be-missed show. There were a couple of competing gigs on locally; a reformed (and by all accounts on fire) Goodbye Mr McKenzie were thrilling folks round the corner at The Garage while the venerable Barrowland hosted jazzman Kamasi Washington.
Perrett last played Glasgow a few years back, around the release of HTWWW and the venue was rammed that night. It was busy tonight with a hardy crowd of believers but not uncomfortably so. Arriving just prior to stage time, we grabbed a close-up view and awaited the man.
Perrett, as I’m sure you all know, has his sons Jamie on guitar and Peter junior (who looked dwarfed by his huge Jazz Bass) supplying the bottom end. A stint in Babyshambles with Pete Doherty probably girded the pairs loins enough to realize that playing with the Old Man wasn’t quite the trial-by-parent it could have been. I suppose that Perrett is the template for Doherty in many ways although his survival instincts seem dramatically stronger as he looks pretty well preserved for a man in his mid-sixties with a past as drug-ravaged as his.
Jamie is a guitarist with some serious chops; looking and moving like a young Peter Buck, his tasteful licks and cascading arpeggios illuminate the set. Young Peter, despite the slight frame, provides thunderous, sliding basslines that lock in almost funk-style at times with drummer Jake Woodward who is calmly orchestrating things from his perch. The keys are provided by Lauren Moon (who can’t help herself from grooving to the music when not playing) and vocals and viola are the remit of Jenny Maxwell who is a perfect foil for Perret’s drawling vocals and laconic stage presence.
The viola really adds an aspect to the songs that is somewhat unexpected; yeah, there’s the folk-y melodic fills but Maxwell is also adept at slicing, John Cale style Velvets-drone which when you consider the youthful Perrett was often compared to Lou Reed, makes a helluva lot of sense.
At one point, Perrett is standing hunched, back to the crowd at his amp, chopping away at the chords with Jamie and Maxwell trading deranged licks like for like in a war of attrition that sounds like the end of the world. Kinda fitting, really. The set is crafted from songs from throughout the years although mid-set Perrett states something along the lines of “this is something of a detour into the past; the future is so much better” as they play a couple of Only Ones songs and it’s hard to disagree. It’s about one of only two things he says all night, the other a remark complimenting the bands prowess; despite this, he commands the stage and seems to be having a ball.
Ged Babey reviewed the new album, Humanworld, and despite being a huge Perrett fan, was less than impressed. He thought some of it sounded half-arsed and unrealised and having just heard it the day of the gig, I get his point.
I have to say, however, that live, the new album sounds incredible; the band played most of mid to set end and the songs really seemed to come alive having been given a longer leash. “War Plan Red” has been around for a while in the set and tonight it is incendiary; Perrett’s vocal delivery is strained at times (he looks and sounds as if he’s battling a cold) but it adds to the tension of the song. The lyrics are deceptively simple but utterly effective. And that voice. What a voice. He’s certainly no three-scale range vocalist but the dry, terse delivery and that unmistakable drawl are enough to send shivers down spines.
Jamie takes front-stage for his own song “Master Of Destruction” which is probably one of the album highlights to these ears. We all know that “Planet” is the greatest love song written about heroin since, well since ever, but lyrically this one sears and flashes with a similar theme. I actually didn’t realise it was Jamie on vocals on the record until a few listens in- he sounds remarkably like his father at times.
Perrett senior takes a bridge after the chorus, repeating “You used to have a hold on me” while Jamie opens the song with a similar “You used to have a hold on me, now the spell is broken, used to have a hold on me, now I am awoken” which of course could be, as many of Perrett seniors songs were, a paean to the love of ones life or in fact, to the seductive clutches of opiates. The climbing minor key chord structure adds a frisson of danger to the song and this song (as do all of the newer numbers) sits comfortably between the older songs. Of course, “Another Girl, Another Planet” makes it appearance at the end- young Jamie again covering himself in glory with his interpretation of that ascending, searing solo. Perrett changes his phrasing a fair bit- I guess that’s allowed when you’ve been playing a song for 40-odd years and despite the subject matter, its a thing of sheer joy.
PETER PERRETT - Glasgow King Tut's Wah Wah Hut 22nd May 2019 - Beasts - YouTube
Finishing with a feral “The Beast” sees the band vamping and dragging the coda out into an explosion of noise. Perrett is grinning at his band-mates; clearly he’s been reinvigorated by playing with these young guns and it’s lovely to see him so animated. If the tour is near you these next few weeks, do not miss it.
Baby Don’t Talk/HTWWW/The Epic Story/Hard To say No/Troika/Sweet Endeavour/Living In My Head/Once Is Enough/Heavenly Day/From Here To Eternity/Whole Of the Law/Love Comes On Silent Feet/Loves Inferno/Master Of Destruction/48 Crash/War Plan Red
Macclesfield trio Queen Cult live up to their early promise on new single Shindigger.
Despite having only been together a relatively short space of time, Macclesfield trio Queen Cult have already began to make a name for themselves across Greater Manchester area thanks to their incendiary live shows and the snarl and swagger of frontwoman Masie Johnson. For the uninitiated the band’s latest single Shindigger is the perfect introduction to a band that exude the kind of bold brash confidence not often seen in bands at this level.
Speaking of bold and brash, the track itself feels like a statement of intent from a band with their eyes very much on the bigger picture. Chunky guitars flesh out the frenetic, percussive backbone, while Johnson’s drawled vocals are laid effortlessly over the top. Big, bold and harbouring equal amounts of sex and sleaze, Shindigger is an excellent release, not least given that it’s the band’s debut single. Expect to see much more from Queen Cult over the next twelve months.
If there’s one word that describes this band, it’s ‘relentless’.
On And On has been a favourite to open with on their massive 32 date tour supporting Sleaford Mods…I’ll say that again…supporting SLEAFORD MODS…I don’t really need to follow on from that, but, I will as this band deserves all the praise they can get. On and On is their first new track since releasing Stop-Start last year and sees them carrying on in a similar stylistic vein with added grit.
LIINES take the trademark post-punk ‘sound’ and somehow make it appear even more urgent and straight down the line – and that’s what I love about this band; nothing is superfluous, everybody plays exactly what needs to be played, take it or leave it…(I think we’ll take it). Zoe’s use of lyrical repetition as a commentary on internal dialogue shows that this band care a lot about making music that not only sounds great but their attention to detail and thought process shows that this is about so much more than that – I’m very interested to see what they do next.
Primal. Urgent. Relentless. LIINES time is now. I wish this band all the success they deserve.
Zoe McVeigh (guitar/vocals) says: “On And On is about keeping everything deep down inside and driving yourself mad with the same looped thoughts. The lyrics repeat because when you can’t get out of this way of thinking, it feels like ‘this thing goes on and on and on’.”
“We’ve been opening with On And On for a while. It sets the scene for us because it’s stripped back and has an urgency we want to come across with our music. We’re really excited to get it out there after a busy few months supporting Sleaford Mods and after a year of promoting our debut album, Stop-Start.”
Electric Brixton, London
May 23rd, 2019
Zara Larsson has come a long way since capturing the hearts of Swedish television viewers when she won the talent show Talang at the age of 10. Now aged 21, and with two successful albums under her belt, the platinum-selling artist is an established force in the Euro pop sphere. The buzz surrounding her forthcoming, presently untitled, third album is escalating after the release of three well-received singles, ‘Ruin My life’, ‘Don’t Worry Bout Me’ and ‘Wow’. Brett Dunford moseyed on down to Brixton and caught a glimpse of this young phenomenon in action.
It’s 8pm and I’m inside the Electric Brixton, where leggy females congregate as far as the eye can see. By 9pm, the venue is a total dad festival! That’s not a complaint, mind you. I’m glad that people of all ages are getting together and showing support for an artist who predominantly appeals to a twentysomething crowd. But a handful were clearly overexcited, judging by the scattered “phwoars” that I heard as supporting act Lennixx took to the stage.
Hanna Larsson (younger sister of the main attraction) and Andrea Kallström sway rhythmically in short black outfits and knee-high boots. For the most part, Lennixx’s music is minimalist pop beats meshed with R&B tones. I connected to their chilled-out harmonies and, if I’m honest, thought they deserved more than the annoying background chatter from those in attendance. The brief set closed with ‘Traded Up’, which I have listened to several times today because I enjoyed it so much. I think I’d like to catch these two again for a full dose when they’re headlining their own show.
After a lull, the lights go down and cheers erupt as Zara Larsson gets her hour under the spotlight. She twinkles radiantly in gold and glitter, and the crowd devour her presence for the duration. Kicking off with a cover of Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’, the bass is so heavy that the building shakes like an earthquake. The anthemic David Guetta collaboration ‘This One’s for You’ soon followed; bringing the house down with it.
Revealing a tattoo she got over here to commemorate her International hit ‘Lush Life’, Zara sweetly states that London is like a second home. As expected, this gesture went down a storm before recent single ‘Don’t Worry Bout Me’ powers up through the applause. This is the turning point when vibes soared stratospherically, and even this ageing Punk Rocker was grooving and contemplating a spell in the pit.
The rousing ‘Don’t Let Me Be Yours’ is next and, my god, her helium voice is so angelic! Let me just put down my pen and pad for a moment, please.
‘So Good’ prepares her legions for another new track called ‘All the Time’, the verses of which pulsate seductively into a catchy dance chorus. All three singles from the new album were performed, and stomping renditions of ‘Ruin My Life’ and ‘Wow’ dropped back-to-back amidst deafening audience participation. The main set closes on epic form to a singalong ‘Lush Life’, accompanied by space rock intro and outro hooks.
“Zara, Zara, Zara…”
But the fans only have to call her name for thirty seconds until their goddess returns. Launching into ‘Ain’t My Fault’, this was the most memorable part of the evening bar none. I don’t usually attend pop concerts, so to witness a cyclonic scene that I’m rarely exposed to was quite special. As I write notes next to the bar, a very attractive girl dances in front of me, gazes into my eyes, and mouths “want you all in my business, baby I insist…” before slinking off with a flick of her hair. Amused, I glance to my left and there’s a guy going absolutely apeshit; possessed, flailing his arms, leaping around energetically and gripped in the sheer electronic ecstasy of pop. I glance to the right, where five or six young women in mini dresses dance together, eyes closed without paying any attention to the onstage visuals. Even a stern-faced security guard bobs his head while channelling as much professionalism as he could muster.
Then I look ahead to the pit. One word sums the area up: happiness. Men and women, young and old, black, white, gay, straight; arms aloft, singing their hearts out and loving every moment of it.
Ending with the appropriate ‘Never Forget You’, I’d say it was a pretty unforgettable night for Zara and her devotees. As I made my way home to the sounds of dance music and smell of weed permeating Brixton’s alleyways, I felt quite positive about getting stuck into this review. And as a music writer, that’s all I can really ask for in a concert.
I Would Like
This One’s for You
Don’t Worry Bout Me
Don’t Let Me Be Yours
Carry You Home
All the Time
I Can’t Fall in Love Without You
Ruin My Life
THE SKIDS – New Acoustic Album ‘Peaceful Times’ to be released 28 June 2019 on No Bad Records – plus UK TOUR DATES 2019 and new Jobson novel out soon.
I get exhausted just reading the Skids extensive press release… for a band of old codgers they just do not rest! Forever on the road, recording, writing, they are certainly making up for lost time -and always put on great shows. So here is all the latest news and tour dates…
Post-punk pioneers, Skids are set to return with a special new acoustic album on No Bad Records on the 28th of June 2019. ‘Peaceful Times’, released on CD, limited edition white vinyl and available digitally, was recorded recently by the founding band members of Richard Jobson (vocals), Bill Simpson (bass) and Mike Baillie (percussion) together with Bruce Watson, Martin Metcalfe and Jamie Watson (guitars) in their hometown of Dunfermline and features ten new acoustic versions of songs from each phase of their long and varied career.
To coincide with the announcement of the new collection, Skids will share their new take on ‘Animation’; a track that was originally included on their second album ‘Days in Europa’.
(It’s quite drastically different to the full band electric version needless to say – but a whole different kind of wonderful!)
Other highlights include ‘The Saints Are Coming’ and ‘Into The Valley’ from their 1979 debut album ‘Scared To Dance’, takes on ‘Desert Dust’, ‘World On Fire’ and ‘Kings Of The New World Order’ from last year’s critically acclaimed collection ‘Burning Cities’ and a brand new composition entitled ‘Kreuzberg ‘79’.
Skids frontman Richard Jobson explains the recording of ‘Peaceful Times’:
“After recording a new album ‘Burning Cities’ we played all over the UK. It was difficult not to smile with joy every night. Amidst all of this happy madness Bruce and I played a few songs acoustically at a charity night in our hometown of Dunfermline. This was something I thought could never be done. These songs were written to be played with electric guitars after all. But the songs had a different power when played acoustically – a new energy – triumph, rage, camaraderie, and a positivity that has always been and will always be the motivation of the bands music and words”.
Album Track Listing:
01. ‘Into The Valley’
02. ‘World On Fire’
03. ‘Kings Of The New World Order’
04. ‘The Saints Are Coming’
06. ‘Hurry On Boys’
07. ‘Blood and Soil’
09. ‘Kreuzberg ‘79’
10. ‘Desert Dust’
Richard Jobson is also set to unveil his latest novel in June, Into The Void follows last years part pop-culture sci-fi thriller, part love letter to David Bowie The Speed of Life. The new book, which is published by Bracketpress on the 21st of June, will be available to pre-order from here:
UK TOUR DATES
MAY 24TH BEARDED THEORY FESTIVAL
MAY 30TH MANCHESTER, GORILLA
MAY 31ST HOLMFIRTH, PICTUREDROME
JUN 01ST EDINBURGH, LIQUID ROOMS
JUN 07TH LEEDS, BRUDENELL
JUN 08TH NEWCASTLE, 02 ACADEMY
JUN 14TH ABERDEEN, LEMON TREE
JUN 15TH LET’S ROCK SCOTLAND
JUN 21ST LONDON, ROYAL ALBERT HALL (Buzzcocks & Guests, Skids, Penetration)
JUN 28TH GLASGOW, KELVINGROVE BANDSTAND
JUL 19TH GREENOCK, THE ALBANY
JUL 20TH STIRLING, DOUNE THE RABBIT HOLE
JUL 21ST REWIND SCOTLAND
AUG 03RD CARLISLE, BRICKYARD
AUG 04TH BLACKPOOL, REBELLION FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER ACOUSTIC TOUR – AN EVENING WITH RICHARD JOBSON – SONGS AND STORIES (Special guests Jamie & Bruce Watson)
SEP 01ST MILTON KEYNES, THE STABLES
SEP 02ND LONDON, UNION CHAPEL
SEP 03RD BRISTOL, ST GEORGE’S
SEP 04TH LIVERPOOL, EPSTEIN THEATRE
SEP 05TH MANCHESTER, STROLLER HALL
SEP 06TH GLASGOW, ST LUKES
SEP 07TH INVERNESS, IRONWORKS
SEP 08TH ABERDEEN, TIVOLI THEATRE
SEP 09TH EDINBURGH, QUEENS HALL
SEP 10TH GATESHEAD, SAGE 2
Simon Maragh was, of course, many things to many people but came into our orbit as the beautiful soul and highly nimble bass player who stood in many times for Goldblade when brother Keith was otherwise occupied and he also played some keyboards for the Membranes.
Simon was a long term friend of the band guitarist Brother Pete and had known him since the teenage days of early eighties Birmingham where they stumbled in and out of many youthful bands. The fast and thrilling days of a post punk skinny youth and angular songs were very much part of their background and backdrop. Even then Simon’s insane knowledge of the minutiae of seventies pop culture stood out in the knowledge hungry crowd.
The affable and gentle presence of Simon finally succumbed to the cancer that he was fighting in all the ten years that I have known him. The dread disease was beaten back a couple of times only to return with a renewed vigour and has taken down this gentle person whose passion for music and the seventies made him both a great bass player and a walking encyclopaedia of that decade’s culture as well as great company and a rock steady presence on stage with truly great bass playing.
He seemed to have memorised a whole decade of knowledge from giggling at footballer’s bizarre seventies birds nest hair cuts, the catalogue numbers of every glam record that existed and every catalogue number, sleeve note and piece of artwork from that garishly brilliant dayglo decade.
In many ways the wonderful Simon was still living very much in that time of youthful innocence. Listening to that receding into the ghosts of time soundtrack and living on those Saturday night teatime treats of crisps and marshmallows, he was a walking, talking reminder of the decade where we were all shaped by the world that was still glowing.
We will miss this fountain of knowledge, his affable presence, his genuine golden heartedness and his ability to memorise anything from scraps of conversation, memorabilia and Goldblade basslines.
Following on from the release of their brilliant new single ‘I Came Here To Eat’ Stockholm’s Birthday Girl (Fran Baxter, James Corden, Martin Baxter, Joakim Sandegård)share an exclusive playlist of influences and current favourites with Louder Than War.
Songs From The Bat Cave
‘Music from our bat cave studio in Södermalm Stockholm. It’s dark here almost all of the year, here’s some music that distracts us from the chills and gets us excited for our 2 week summer.
The Electrician by The Walker Brothers
I remember listening to this song for the first time and it just blew me away. Hauntingly beautiful, tense, atmospheric and then out of nowhere releases into something magical. (James)
Cliff Adams Singers – ‘Parted’
I love the old fashioned sound of a large choir, the dark harmonies, hopelessness in the lyrics, ‘The Cliff Adams Singers’ do covers of old traditional songs and their record ‘ Golden years of Song’ has influenced my writing more than any re odd I can think of. (Fran)
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – High Visceral
Late on the scene with this band but started listening to their records this week and this song has been on the loop today. Great slow building, repetitive instrumental to send you inside your mind. (Martin)
Gloomy Sunday (with Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra) – Take 1
I could’ve picked any Billie Holiday song really, her voice always hit home.
Calvary Scars II/Aux Out – Deerhunter
10 minutes of absolute bliss. Just close them lids and go with it. (James)
Sandy Denny – Friends
Though her voice is so sweet and clear, you hear the darkness in her soul and the lyrics are kind of the same, inviting but she’s telling you to fuck off. (Fran)
Vidro- Samma Skit (Translates ‘Same Shit’)
It’s full on furious punk from Stockholm but with really interesting guitar style and possessed vocals. You don’t need to understand Swedish to love Vidro and they’re amazing live. (Fran)
Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra – Le Monde Avait 5 Ans
The discovery of the Goran Kajfeš music will improve your quality of life so start with this track and then head first into the whole catalogue. (Martin)
The Dive – Beach House
A song, which I’ve probably listened to a thousand times and it still has the same impact as initial listen. The repetitiveness, the hook, the simplicity and when the guitar kicks in, I want it to never end. (James)
Second Sun –Sång Till En Slagen Kämpe
Joakim’s favourite band from Stockholm at the moment, really good live and great friends.
‘I Came Here To Eat’ is out now via Sweet Cream Records