Here’s a run-down of the best or most important record releases in March to April 2018.
The Left Outsides: All That Remains
The Left Outsides are London-based husband and wife Alison Cotton and Mark Nicholas (the former the viola and harmonium player in mid-noughties folk-rockers The Eighteenth Day of May and John Peel indie favourites Saloon. This record drifts when you first hear it, beguiling you with its sweetness, before its shadows start to linger, and its darker moments eat you whole.
Leon Bridges: Good Thing
Leon Bridges was still living with his mother in Texas when a couple of guys from indie rock band White Denim helped get his just-so period music out to a receptive world. A restaurant dishwasher, Bridges ended up with two Grammy nominations and a gig playing for President Obama. Good Thing takes some steps forward in time, updating Bridges’s Sam Cooke stylings with a little Usher; the production gently eases its way out of the 60s, too.
After two albums of exhilarating, if slightly derivative, post-punk-influenced hardcore, Copenhagen’s Iceage threw a curveball with 2014’s Plowing Into the Field of Love. This saw them slowing down and expanding their palette with hints of blues and folk, but were hamstrung by a lack of anything resembling a tune. Beyondless builds on Plowing’s change of direction, with far more satisfying results.
Eleanor Friedberger: Rebound
Classy, euphoric electro pop.
Blossoms: Cool Like You
What if the Killers hadn’t grown beards after Hot Fuss, and had instead set about writing 11 new versions of Mr Brightside? Mancunian pop-rockers Blossoms’ second album is your answer.
Okkervil River: In the Rainbow
Okkervil River’s ninth album has a compelling and moving opener, but nothing else here scales the same heights.
Manic Street Preachers: Resistance Is Futile
A remarkable band, still wrestling with the most difficult issues, still searching for beauty in the void.
Arvo Pärt: The Symphonies
Arvo Pärt is now in his early 80s, and firmly established as one of the few living composers whose works offer a bridge between contemporary music and non-specialist concert audiences. This disc, definitively conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, who seems to have become the composer’s preferred interpreter, is the first to include all four of Pärt’s symphonies.
Laura Veirs: The Lookout
Veirs’s 10th solo album is perhaps her most satisfying yet, the deceptively simple songs sketched out on acoustic guitar or piano (the lovely The Meadow is particularly minimalist) and subtly embellished by her band and producer husband, Tucker Martine. Lyrically, there’s a theme of making the most of adversity.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Sex & Food
An anxiety attack inside a disco ball, while Hunnybee – directed at Nielson’s seven-year-old daughter – underlines his versatility and pop nous.
Revamp: Reimagining Elton John
a pair of new albums reinterpret Elt and Bern with a new generation of A-listers. Taupin is behind Restoration, featuring Nashville stars countrifying the catalogue, while John invited his showbiz pals to fill Revamp.
When it’s good, Revamp is very good. When it’s bad, it’s awful. And in between there’s the requisite amount of anonymous competence. Sad to say, the track with Elton’s involvement is the worst – an extremely state-of-the-chart version of Bennie and the Jets led by Pink, with a wholly unnecessary rap from Logic (“Serving food and writing rhymes / For Elton John, the greatest of all time”).
Kylie Minogue: Golden review
Kylie Minogue’s 14th album is the product of two weeks writing in London (before recording it over in Nashville). Yet Kylie opts not for copper-bottomed songcraft, but the unholy intersection of country and EDM.
The Weeknd: My Dear Melancholy
Abel Tesfaye’s surprise EP – the follow-up to the massively successful Starboy – features ghostly and gorgeous production but lyrics that are suffocatingly solipsistic.
The Vaccines: Combat Sports
The extremely high quality songwriting on their fourth album means that their church will surely broaden beyond the indie faithful.
George Ezra: Staying at Tamara’s
Staying at Tamara’s defining mood is one of unchallenging, and unflinching, politeness. It will doubtless be huge.
Yo La Tengo: There’s a Riot Going On
Sly and the Family Stone’s 1971 album of the same name was a full-on record, reacting to extraordinary times. Yo La Tengo’s 15th-odd offering sounds nothing like its namesake. It too is a reaction to tense times, but a much calmer one.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats: Tearing at the Seams
After a decade spent peddling undistinguished Americana to a largely indifferent world, Denver-based Nathaniel Rateliff changed tack in 2015, casting himself as a 1960s soul man. Tearing at the Seams is a collaborative affair, the band writing it together in New Mexico. In places the results are stunning, the horn section giving Coolin’ Out and Be There a real emotional potency. The title track, meanwhile, has echoes of Sam Cooke in Rateliff’s delivery.
Apocalyptic ballads No Sound But the Wind and Belong still sound like wading through molten Tarmac, and some experimentation doesn’t land, but for the most part, Violence is a thoroughly unexpected career peak.
Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar
The trio reckon this is their most “linear” album, which seems a stretch. It feels just as estranged of pop’s traditional structures and strictures as they’ve always been. It feels exhilarating; it feels like freedom.
Trembling Bells: Dungeness
Wild and rebellious British folk band enter adolescence with a howl of song and a glint in the eye. Trembling Bells have always sounded quite beholden to their late 1960s influences, but Dungeness plunges us into louder, darker territories. The music is a mixture of avant-garde racket and crossover doom-pop potential – fans of PJ Harvey, Nick Cave or Nadine Shah will find entertainments here.
Record Store Day 2018 will take place on the 21st April 2018.
Record Store Day is the one day of the year when over 200 independent record shops all across the UK come together to celebrate their unique culture. Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events to mark the occasion. Thousands more shops celebrate the day around the globe in what’s become one of the biggest annual events on the music calendar.
Although there’s only one Record Store Day a year, we also work throughout the year to celebrate our independent record stores by spotlighting exclusive releases, events and special news.
Latest information here: https://recordstoreday.co.uk/news/
Here’s a digest of the albums released in February 2018:
Tracey Thorn: Record
Tracey Thorn has been half (with husband Ben Watt) of bedsit/acoustic romantics turned electronic hitmakers Everything But the Girl. She has worked with Massive Attack and sported one of pop’s best haircut. Her fifth solo album returns to the style of EBTG’s subtly pumping anthems, but lyrically delivers what she calls “nine feminist bangers”. The singer-songwriter suggests that Record captures what she calls the “milestones of a woman’s life” – things that “are not always discussed in pop lyrics”.
The Breeders: All Nerve
Last heard from in 1993’s Last Splash, former member of The Pixies Kim Deal is now returning with her second major band The Breeders. The lineup that made Last Splash has reassembled, bassist Josephine Wiggs marking her return with an icy, perfectly enunciated vocal on MetaGoth, her voice at odds with the warm, husky intimacy of Kim and Kelley Deal’s harmonies.
For an album full of space and silence, it’s remarkably relentless and weighty – maybe not the stuff of arena-packing success after all, but formidable enough that.
Alexandra Burke: The Truth Is
She is the most statistically successful X Factor winners, in many ways, Alexandra Burke’s career has never really got off the ground. Her output has featured some unduly painful dance-pop) and mired in record label woe. While Burke’s voice remains both luscious and powerful, as soul-baring statements go, The Truth Is isn’t particularly profound stuff.
Vance Joy: Nation of Two
The Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy supplies the answer on an album of songs about relationships written, seemingly, from the perspective of someone who has learned about them from watching the romcoms Matthew McConaughey was starring in during his dark ages.
Belle and Sebastian: How to Solve Our Human Problems Parts 1-3
In 1997, when their star was firmly in the ascendant, the Glaswegian indie paragons released three beguiling EPs that were subsequently re-released as a box set. This time they’ve released three EPs since December, which are now cobbled together as an ill-fitting album.
Anna von Hausswolff: Dead Magic
A supernatural soprano has earned Von Hausswolff frequent (and not unjust) comparisons to Kate Bush. Dead Magic sees her shaking off those parallels, stretching from honeyed laments to hex-breaking wails and alien ululations that feel entirely her own.
Debussy: Préludes II; En Blanc et Noir
Maurizio Pollini almost 20 years to complete his survey of Debussy’s Préludes – his recording of the first book appeared in 1999. In that time, his recital appearances may have become more and more uneven, but the standard of his recordings has generally remained high, if, perhaps understandably, never quite recapturing the energy and brilliance of those made at the beginning of his career.
Wild Beasts: Last Night All My Dreams Came True
Last September, Leeds-based four-piece Wild Beasts announced their amicable split. Recorded last summer at RAK Studios in London and released the weekend of their farewell gig, this final album is the second on Domino’s live-in-the-studio Documents imprint (the first was Julia Holter’s In the Same Room).
Marlon Williams: Make Way for Love
Marlon Williams is an acclaimed country singer from Lyttelton, New Zealand, releasing his second album. While an old-timey, lovelorn sway still haunts Make Way for Love, “country” has never been the entire story.
Now, Make Way for Love finds Williams unleashing his inner crooner in the company of producer Noah Georgeson (Joanna Newsom). He brings to mind Roy Orbison or Richard Hawley, but then on songs such as Beautiful Dress and The Fire of Love Williams has a magnificent, fluttering, gender-fluid falsetto that recalls Anohni or Perfume Genius.
Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)
There’s a certain self-indulgence to Car Seat Headrest, but it’s necessary for singer and songwriter Toledo to scratch at the scabs of his life. Over the 13 minutes of Beach-Life- in-Death, he tries to unpick his confusion and bitterness and resentment, with swoops into devastating clarity: “I pretended I was drunk when I came out to my friends / I never came out to my friends / We were all on Skype / And I laughed and I changed the subject.” There are times when the less charitable might be inclined to shout at Toledo to pull himself together, but Car Seat Headrest increasingly feel like a significant band, and Toledo like an unusual and compelling voice.
Ezra Furman: Transangelic Exodus
Furman and his celestial lover go on the run from an oppressive government in an adrenaline-jolted, allegorically angry “queer outlaw saga”, a dark, fantastic road story reminiscent of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart or the classic comic Preacher. Furman’s songwriting is invigorated by a headlong rush of narrative, exploring episodic shifts of tone along the way.
Franz Ferdinand: Always Ascending
This evergreen Glasgow outfit have only tweaked their sound rather than rebooting it decisively, though, making their fifth album a restatement of their core art school pop principles.
Songs such as the title track, Always Ascending, remain wedded to a kind of uptight Caledonian funkiness that marks out Franz Ferdinand as one of the survivors of the 00s punk-funk renaissance. Singer Alex Kapranos’ wry voice is still front and centre, weighing up the merits of journalism (Lois Lane), the NHS (Huck and Jim) and the relief of finding kindred spirits (Finally) – mature topics, but delivered with a taut squelchiness honed by party person Philippe Zdar, one half of French electronic act Cassius.
Steve Reich: Pulse/Quartet
One of the great minimalists alongside Philip Glass and Terry Riley, Steve Reich remains heroically unafraid of the blank page. Pulse uses electric bass to nod to Giorgio Moroder via Daft Punk. Quartet (2013), is a lightly jazzy essay in key-confounding hypnosis on piano and vibraphone, written for and performed by Reich’s favourite percussionists, Colin Currie Group.
Kings of the South Seas: Franklin
The last time this oddball trio convened, in 2014, was to refit 19th-century whaling songs for modern times – hence their name. Here they do much the same for the ballads and broadsides that arose from attempts to forge a northwest passage through Arctic waters, notably Lord Franklin’s doomed expedition of 1845. The crazed mindset that undertook such a mission, and the hardships endured on icebound sailing ships, are evoked through contemporary songbooks (some printed onboard for entertainment) and the odd hymn.
The Kings are no conventional folk group, however. The booming baritone of Ben Nicholls (of the Seth Lakeman Band) is clearly “in the tradition”, but the space rock guitar of Richard Warren (ex-Spiritualized) and the jazzy shots of drummer Evan Jenkins (the Neil Cowley Trio) are not. The outcome, recorded in a Gravesend missionary church, is an album that shapeshifts from the solemnity of Reason’s Voyage to the shimmering dread of Song of Defeat and the gothic chill of The Reindeer and the Ox. A bleak but absorbing voyage through seafaring history.
Nils Frahm: All Melody
It all begins unexpectedly – with a wordless chorale “ooh”-ing prettily. For his seventh studio album, German post-classical composer Nils Frahm has expanded his previous core solo piano brief – a brief that was, admittedly, always highly individual.by
Here’s a digest of the album released in January 2018:
Sunderland’s Field Music produce angular, prog-inflected pop music with strong melodies. Never predictable and drawing on influences from principally XTC, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads and Steely Dan their latest album Open Here should win them new fans.
The second album since his comeback (one that began in 2015 with the Big Narstie-abetted UK garage track When the Bassline Drops and peaked with his chart-topping 2016 album Following My Intuition) by no means disappoints on the cringe front.
Their third album is as eclectic as ever, a winning meld of sunny harmonies, pulsing Krautrock rhythms and psychedelia-tinged vocals, all refracted through the prism of dance music dynamics. But this time there’s a welcome economy to the songwriting and nothing outstays its welcome.
It all begins unexpectedly – with a wordless chorale “ooh”-ing prettily. For his seventh studio album, German post-classical composer Nils Frahm has expanded his previous core solo piano brief – a brief that was, admittedly, always highly individual.
Premiered live in 2015, Landfall is Laurie Anderson’s electro-acoustic song cycle on Hurricane Sandy, the October 2012 storm that devastated huge parts of North America – including Anderson’s New York apartment. As she narrates her nightmare, the arrangements of David Harrington’s Kronos Quartet tell the story sonically.
Marmozets second album is the work of a band who’ve suddenly had time to think about the world and their place in it.
There are still plenty of their trademark screams, distorted guitars and blast beats, which enthusiastically nip at pop like a pack of pesky Jack Russells. However, the rapidly maturing band are also dabbling with rave-type breakdowns, euphoric pop rushes, and even – in Me and You – a (gulp) tender ballad about dreams of a better world.
On their fourth effort, First Aid Kit sound more hurt than ever, if just as mellifluous. Johanna and Klara Söderberg wrote the album when the latter was reeling from a break-up, trying to achieve resolution through the band’s signature balm.
Tune-Yards’ drew freely from global styles across three alt-pop albums, are too curious an artist to accept a free pass, and wrestles thorny issues of race, privilege and platform on their fourth. “I use my white woman’s voice to tell stories of travels with African men,” she sings on the crunching, pulsing Colonizer, “I smell the blood in my voice.”
Born in the Essex badlands from a motley background that includes dubstep and hard rock, Stick in the Wheel conform to none of the lazy stereotypes that surround folk music. Their 2015 debut, From Here, arrived like a punk manifesto; urgent, abrasive, with no contrived antique accents, jangling guitars or prettification of the hallowed tradition. This follow-up maintains their fierceness while broadening their sonic palette and embracing a more diverse approach in its 50/50 mix of standards and originals.
Many a band has stumbled trying to take a cult following with them into the uber-mainstream. However, since re-forming in 2013, Fall Out Boy have edged further away from their emo/pop-punk roots while continuing to top the US charts.
Reworking of the fifth studio album Heartworms. The running order is reversed, and every song is in a different style to the original. By and large, the top-line melody remains intact, but everything else – instrumentation, tempo – is altered. It’s neither better nor worse than Heartworms – which itself was very much a mixed bag – but the pleasures come in different places.
Brighton’s Go! Team, a shape-shifting beast ever since 2004 debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike– a punked-up hybrid of Saint Etienne’s indie dance and the Avalanches’ hip-hop sampledelia – listed in the direction of wistful indie on 2015’s The Scene Between. But 2018, sonic architect Ian Parton decided, needed a Berocca-style boost, a psychedelic marching band to blast away global gloom.
This Americana artist of dual Mexican/US heritage is saying something quite specific on songs like the moving elegy for America, Twins, abetted throughout by an eloquent rock band and a post-War on Drugs spaciousness: that the many cultures making up the US will not be intimidated, and guys like him aren’t going anywhere.
BRMC mapped out their territory on their 2001 debut – essentially, dark and scuzzy black-clad rock – and have barely moved from it since. Their eighth album is another solid affair, from the Mary Chain menace of Spook to the slow-building guitar wig-out of standout Ninth Configuration, not to mention the unexpected Shaun Ryder vocal stylings on the queasily lurching, fairground-evoking Circus Bazooko.
The most significant musical anniversaries of 2018 are all centenaries – of the births of Leonard Bernstein and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and of the death of Claude Debussy, and it’s the last of those, which falls in March, that is attracting the attention of record companies. Warner Classics has got in early with its 33-disc set that aims to include everything Debussy wrote, from his earliest songs of 1879-80 to the three sonatas composed during the first world war, as well as his own transcriptions, and arrangements of his music made by others during his lifetime.
The British multi-instrumentalist Tony Woods has made only four albums in 20 years with his folk jazz Project band, but they all fuse the communality of song with an upbeat, jazzy urgency. Woods’s folk roots are immediately declared in the skipping, pitch-sliding soprano sax melody of Queen Takes Knight, but the jazz connections are also plain in Rob Millett’s glowing, Gary Burton-esque vibraphone sound, and in Outram’s restrained, sporadically wailing chord work.by
News has reached of The Inkwell in York is moving out of its premises but will continue to trade online in order to specialise further:
After the best part of 7 years, at the end of January we will be closing the doors of 10 Gillygate.
Inkwell Records will continue online, and – as a physical entity – we look forward to being a more flexible, moving feast, doing stalls, events, and anything else we feel like under the Inkwell banner. The decision to leave 10 Gillygate has not been easy, and the factors determining the decision are a mixture of personal and business, as is the way of all things with a small independent shop. Regulars will know that over the past couple of years our vinyl stock has become increasingly specialised. We’re better at what we do than ever, but what we do is narrower than it once was – and, truthfully, we would like to specialise further still. Words cannot express what 10 Gillygate means to us, but the natural development of the shop has got us to a point where an online based model makes more sense. Additionally, it is simply time for me and my family – my wife Rebecca and our two children – to move on to the next chapter in our lives. Opening 10 Gillygate was a decision Rebecca and I took together. Her support for the shop has never wavered. We are genuinely excited about what comes next.
More details here: http://inkwellyork.tumblr.com/post/169475465597/one-for-the-road
In a shock announcement, staff at the much loved Head Records in Leamington Spa announced that on its Facebook page that it was closing down for good – https://www.facebook.com/HEADLeamingtonSpa/
Welcome to the saddest selfie we have ever posted. I am very, very sorry to tell you that today we closed the shutters for good.
Thank you all for your loyalty and friendship. It was a genuine honour and our daily pleasure to provide you with the experience we did. We all loved every minute of it. Of course it’s overwhelmingly sad that this has happened, that we have lost our sanctuary, our little family and our jobs. But we fought mightily to the end and we did it with pride and, as always, a smile on our faces.
There’s no easy way to say goodbye. It’s a huge shock for all of us. Please, please continue to support independent shops and help to limit the number of people who have to go through what we just did.
Thank you, we love you. Rock on Tommy.
Over and out.
Most customers were very surprised by the announcement. The store always appeared to be a vibrant standard bearer for independent music retailers with a great range of products. The store celebrated 10 years in business only last year and things had looked rosy with wonderful in-store performances by Lucy Rose and Joe Dolman, plus new racks of vinyl records and record players. Leamington Spa is a wealthy town in Warwickshire with a busy shopping centre.
Let’s hope this is an exception and doesn’t indicate a slow down in the recent growth of physical record shop.by
It’s the time of year that retail workers dread. The pressure is on to make people feel ‘Christmassy’ (suggestable?) and that means shops, restaurants and bars are piping in a continuous loop of the most familiar and famous festive tunes.
Film director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver, Scott Pilgim etc) recently asked the question of his Twitter followers:
Question to people working in retail at this time of year: What Christmas song do you not mind hearing 100 times and which Christmas song sends you plunging into a psychotic abyss?
Question to people working in retail at this time of year: What Christmas song do you not mind hearing 100 times and which Christmas song sends you plunging into a psychotic abyss?
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) November 26, 2017
There was a pretty brutal reaction:
Christmas Wrapping is hands down the worst Christmas song I’ve ever heard. It is ear rippingly irritating and I wish it didn’t exist.
The one I hate the most is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”, but put on anything by Burle Ives and I’m one happy camper
Santa Baby makes me want to hit things.
Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, i could listen to all day. Wonderful Christmas Time by McCartney is the worst, though I’m also sick of hearing War Is Over by Lennon too. And I love the Beatles!
Place I was working started playing White Winter Hymnal by the Fleet Foxes which I adore, so that was fantastic. Wonderful Christmastime by McCartney feels like it’s been on my entire life whenever it plays, the absolute abyss.
I always have time for Stop The Cavalry, but I want Mariah Carey dead
Don’t mind – Greg Lake l Believe in Fathe Christmas Into the abyss – Jona Lewie Stop the Cavalry
When I worked in retail, I could have listened to Bing & Bowie’s Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth on a continuous loop. Lonely This Christmas by Mud got harder to take after the first few plays.
There is some great Christmas music out there. Individual tracks such as “The Fairy Tale of New York” by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, “I believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake and “2000 Miles” by The Pretenders still bear up after all this time. The Phil Spector Christmas Album – “A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector” – is a stone cold classic of musical production, instantly recognisable and ambitious in scope. I must also admit to a bit of soft spot for Nobel Prize for literature winning Bob Dylan’s “Must be Santa”.
There are definitely some lesser known artists, or famous artists with lesser known festive music that are worth tracking down. Here is list of some albums and EPs that you might not have heard yet but could grow to love:
Cara Dillon – Upon a winter’s Night – beautifully sung by Cara and beautifully produced by husband Sam Lakeman this combines magical folky versions traditional Christmas songs and lovely original songs – buy here: Cara Dillon official website
Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker – Midwinter – more traditional folky acoustic loveliness here https://josienneandben.bandcamp.com/album/midwinter
Sufjan Stevens – Songs for Christmas – Songs for Christmas is a box set of five separate EPs of Christmas-related songs and carols recorded by independent musician Sufjan Stevens between 2001 and 2006, includes traditional and original songs like “Get Behind Me, Santa!”, “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!” and “Did I Make You Cry on Christmas? (Well, You Deserved It!)”.
Weezer – Christmas with Weezer – A Christmas EP by American rock band Weezer giving traditional carols the full on geek guitar treatment.
Tracey Thorn – Tinsel and Lights – a Christmas album by British singer Tracey Thorn. The album was released on 29 October 2012.
Various – Gift Wrapped – 20 Songs That Keep on Giving! – compilation featuring the likes of Michael Buble, My Chemical Romance, REM.
Barenaked Ladies – Barenaked for the Holidays – A holiday-themed studio album released by Canadian band Barenaked Ladies on October 5, 2004. The album includes Christmas and Hanukkah songs as well as “Auld Lang Syne”.
The Killers – (Red) Christmas EP – The EP features the band’s yearly Christmas singles from 2006 to 2011.
She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas – Actress and musician Zooey Deschanel and musician M. Ward get festive features several covers of classic holiday songs such as ‘Blue Christmas’ and ‘Sleigh Bells’.
Christmas on Death Row – compilation of rap and hip-hop artists on Death Row and Interscope records featuring Snoop Dogg, Danny Boy and 6 Feet Deep.
Kate Rusby – The Frost Is All Over – third Christmas album by English folk musician Kate Rusby featuring South Yorkshire-based material.
The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album – This contains five original songs and seven standards on a Christmas theme.
Jethro Tull – The Jethro Tull Christmas Album – A mix of new material, re-recordings of Tull’s own suitably themed material and arrangements of traditional Christmas music.
Saint Etienne – A Glimpse of Stocking – tongue firmly in cheek and featuring Euro-pop tunes with titles like ‘No Cure for the Common Christmas’ and ‘Unwrap Me’.
There are many individual songs you could track down like Tim Minchin’s ‘White wine in the sun’, Headless Heroes’, ‘The North wind blew south’.
and Laura Marling’s ‘Goodbye England (covered in the snow)’.
Also on my playlist is The Darkness’ Christmas Time (Don’t let the bells end) because it puts a smile on my face and pleased they got away with a near single entendre.
Have a great Christmas, Midwinter, Saturnalia, Solstice etc etc.by
Liam Gallagher’s new album As You Were has become the highest-selling vinyl record in 20 years.
The former Oasis frontman’s debut solo album sold 16,000 vinyl copies in its first week, which helped send it to number one.
As You Were sold a combined total of 103,000 records and was reportedly outselling the entirety of the top 20 album chart put together.
Older brother Noel has also made a return to the spotlight, announcing his third album with his High Flying Birds. Who Built The Moon? is due for release on 24 November, and will feature the single ‘Holy Mountain’.
The brothers still appear to be openly hostile to each other with frequent digs on social media. The most recent is Liam criticising Noel for singing the Oasis song Champagne Supernova at a High Flying Birds gig (Liam takes another swipe at Noel for singing Champagne Supernova).
“Just heard Dolly’s version of Champagne Supernova in Brazil. Somebody needs to have a word. It’s really upsetting,” Liam tweeted.
“My point is just because you wrote it doesn’t mean you should always sing it,” he went on to say, adding: “It’s really upsetting” and “I’m upset”.
As You Were sees Liam take on songwriting duties, with the help of Greg Kurstin, Andrew Wyatt and others. Back in the days of Oasis Noel Gallagher was the chief songwriter, with Liam not chipping in until their fourth studio album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
Noel wrote many classics like ‘Live Forever’, ‘Rock n Roll Star’, ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Morning Glory’. But despite not having written those songs, Liam says that he’ll continue to sing Oasis favourites as he feels they’re as much his as they are Noel’s.
Noel, known as The Chief, made his comeback with ‘Holy Mountain’, a song totally different to anything he’s done in the past.
The Hyundai Mercury Prize 2017 is a strange beast. It turns the writing, recording and production of albums into a competition. Where it’s obvious when Mo Farah crosses a finish line ahead of his opponents, it’s almost impossible to say, in absolute terms, that one record is better than another.
The artists and music are often a mix of wildly different genres and levels of fame so this year sees obscure British Jazz quartet Dinosaur pitted against mega-selling, Glastonbury headlining singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
For those on the shortlist it’s great exposure, even for someone like Ed Sheeran. For record shops and the music industry it’s an opportunity to sell more product and get the public and the media talking about music in what is traditionally a quiet time of the year for the industry.
While there have been some strange decisions on winners in the past (M-People anyone?), the eventual winner gets a major boost and will be the topic of heated debate.
alt-j – Relaxer
alt-j are an English indie rock band formed in 2007 in Leeds, by Gwil Sainsbury, Joe Newman, Thom Sonny Green and Gus Unger-Hamilton. They have been described as Folktronica.
Blossoms – Blossoms
Blossoms are an English indie pop band from Stockport, Greater Manchester. Formed in 2013, the band consists of Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock.
Dinosaur – Together, As One
Dinosaur is one of the most vital and creative new ensembles in the UK today. Led by trumpeter & composer Laura Jurd, Dinosaur features keyboardist/inventor Elliot Galvin, the effortlessly rooted Conor Chaplin on electric bass and the forever creative Corrie Dick on drums.
Ed Sheeran – ÷
Ed Sheeran, MBE is an English singer-songwriter, guitarist and record producer. He was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk.
Glass Animals – How to Be a Human Being
Glass Animals are an English indie rock band from Oxford who are bigger in the US than the UK currently.
J Hus – Common Sense
A Hip Hop / Rap / Grime artist from London, real name Momodou Jallow.
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Kate Tempest is an English poet, spoken-word artist and playwright.
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Loyle Carner, is an English hip hop musician and actor. His sound has been described by NME as ‘sensitive and eloquent’ and by The Guardian as ‘confessional hip-hop’.
Sampha – Process
Sampha Sisay, who performs under the mononym Sampha, is a British singer, songwriter and record producer.
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
Stormzy, is an English grime and hip hop artist.
The Big Moon – Love in the 4th Dimension
The Big Moon is a London four-piece indie-rock band formed in 2014 by Juliette Jackson.
The xx – ‘I See You’
The xx are an English indie band formed in 2005 in Wandsworth, London.
The 2017 Awards Show will take place on Thursday 14 September at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.
See the official website here: https://www.mercuryprize.comby
While recent deaths of other music legends have been more of a surprise, the death of Glen Campbell on 8th August 2017 and has deeply affected the whole music world. He had been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for several years but kept touring and even producing one last studio album Adiós released in June.
He will always be most famous for hits such as Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Lineman with over 50 million in record sales, however he was also a gifted guitarist who played sessions with the Wrecking Crew, a collection of LA session musicians who played on hundreds of recordings for the era’s biggest names – Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Sam Cooke, Dean Martin, Simon and Garfunkel, Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, and many others.
His guitar touched the landmark recordings of his time. He played on Sinatra’s Stranger in the Night, the famous ringing lead riff on I’m a Believer by the Monkees; Viva Las Vegas by Presley and on the Beach Boys’ landmark album Pet Sounds, Campbell’s guitar and vocals are heard throughout.Campbell even joined the Beach Boys for a five-month tour in 1964-65 where he replaced Wilson, playing his bass and singing his falsetto leads, after Wilson suffered a breakdown and refused to go on the road.
Glen Campbell collaboration with Jimmy Webb
While Campbell is seen as a country artist, it was his collaboration with songwriter Jimmy Webb that took his fame beyond the world of country music. Songs like Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Galveston, and Where’s the Playground Susie have a special place in people’s affections, with lush string arrangements and strong narratives that were more ambitious than the normal three minute pop song.
Campbell credited the fact that he and Webb grew up within 150 miles of each another as one of the reasons why they had similar sensibilities.
“That’s what we grew up with – the good songs, the good lyrics, the good big-band stuff. I miss that era.” In 2005 he said Webb’s “melodies and chord progressions were as good as anything I’d ever heard”.
Campbell racked up 48 country hits and 34 pop hits between 1967 and 1980. Like Johnny Cash, Campbell hosted a popular television show that defined genres in the artists it showcased.
When disco dominated the pop charts, he showed an uncanny ability to adapt by releasing Southern Nights, the Allen Toussaint song redone with a stomping dance beat, and Rhinestone Cowboy, which became ubiquitous at dance clubs and roller rinks across middle America.
Once the hits dried up, Campbell struggled with alcoholism and turbulent marriage battles. He also became a born-again Christian and recorded religious albums while never cutting back on touring.
By the late 1990s, he discovered a new generation of younger artists were citing him as an influence – partly due to a massive reissue campaign by EMI/Capital, but also to a new wave of interest in Americana music spurred on by artists such as Dwight Yoakam, Freedy Johnston, Michelle Shocked, and REM, who all happened to cover Wichita Lineman.
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010, but kept releasing albums and touring until the end, even though he struggled with remembering lyrics at times.by