Friday, 30 April 2010

Hustle & Cuss by The Dead Weather

Hustle & Cuss live at Coachella 2010

Hustle & Cuss is the first release from The Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards follow up to last year’s Horehound, which debuted less than 10 months ago.  You can download the track for free here on DW’s site.  Instantly recogniseable as The Dead Weather, Hustle & Cuss is more funky than anything on Horehound, when I first heard it I was immediately reminded of the Black Keys whose songs have a similar dirty groove to them.  Sea Of Cowards is due for release on the 11/10th May.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

'Kentucky Pill' by Johnny Flynn.

'Kentucky Pill' is the lead single from Flynn's  new album 'Been Listening'.  This catchy mandolin driven track with its uplifting trumpet riffs make a perfect sonic background for Flynn to sing his vivid and imaginitive lyrics over.  From the first roll of the drums and boom of the bass the song hearlds something new, the mandolin reminds me of west african music, this shows Flynn is making music with influence far beyond its country/folk roots.  I can't wait for the album in June.  

Also part of my 'Nu-Folk' spotify playlist - here.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Seth Lakeman at the Liverpool Urban Centre, 7/4/10

When I was asked if I’d like to review Seth Lakeman’s gig at the Liverpool Contemporary Arts Centre I jumped at the chance, having heard of the Mercury Prize nominated Folk Singer, but never getting the chance to listen his music I was interested to finally hear him.  I hadn’t heard his music before so I checked out his albums before the show, I’d like to be able to say I was impressed.  Even more so I’d like to be able to say my opinion was changed by his performance.  But I can’t.  When listening to his albums it struck me that something was missing.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.  But having stood just 5 feet from him during his set I realised what it was that was missing.  While he played a confident set with varied material I felt throughout the set that there was a spark missing that let the songs down.

Guy infront of me at the gig in a stupid hat.
The evening began with support acts that were comfortably similar to the headliners style  with The Kevin Critchley Outfit playing in a similar vein to Lakeman’s own brand of slightly rocky English folk.  They opened with an energetic set, with songs from their debut album Scars. With a depleted band, just guitar, violin & cello instead of their normal 5 piece the KCO performed a confident set, engaging and joking with the crowd between songs. They were followed by Dan Donnelly who played a solo set accompanied only by his loop pedal, which he used to create his own backing using the body of his guitar for percussion and layering several guitar parts up to create songs like ‘Cigarette’ and ‘Diamonds in the Road’.

I went for a sit down at the back half way through

Lakeman’s set began with a track, ‘The Hurlers’, from his current album Poor Man's Heaven.  He then announced that he was releasing his next album Hearts and Minds on June 14th before playing the title track. He played several more new tracks during the rest of the evening.  Throughout his set Lakeman switched between violin and guitar and while I felt he lacked a certain spark of conviction in his voice his fiddle playing made up for this. He was ably supported by his band and while his particular brand of contemporary English folk may not be my cup of tea, I can easily appreciate its appeal to so many of his fans.  His songs are well crafted and he and his band played a dynamic set, changing the tempo of the evening several times, slowing the mood right down only to bring things to a peak announcing ‘I hope you don’t mind another hoedown’ and ending the set with ‘Poor Man’s Heaven’ before returning for an encore with an up tempo ‘Race To Be King’.
While Seth Lakeman might not be to my taste he was certainly interesting to watch live and he kept his audience’s captivated throughout.


This review was written for

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Watchman - Peggy Sue


My Band of the month, easily.  I heard about Peggy Sue about six months ago, I'd seen a few videos on Youtube and I knew there was an album in the works.  But I didn't pay them too much attention at the time.  But by accident they have become one of my favourite bands.  I was watching the Local Natives in Manchester last month and to my surprise Peggy Sue were the support act.  They have an energy on stage that's captured on their new album admirably.  Watchman is one of these tracks, the interplay between frontwomen Rosa Rex & Katy Klaw is attention grabbing.  The main refrain "I only came here to see you see me" is infectious.  The album as a whole reaches similar peaks with songs like Yo Mama & Matilda.  While Peggy Sue are part of the Nu-Folk vanguard they offer up something unique.  They have a raw edge, almost punky, sound which sets them apart from the others.  The album Fossils & Other Phantoms is availble now and is also on Spotify here.   Good Summer listening.

Also part of my 'Nu-Folk' spotify playlist - here.