Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

For two days, The city of Southampton was blessed with the presence of the world’s top rock band.

On the first, it was the turn of the town, with Led Zeppelin blowing the minds of 2 1/2 thousand fans at the Gaumont Theatre. But the next day, our heroes came to the Union, and played to us in the Old Ref. as it is sometimes known. The Gaumont concert had been pretty tight, but not as good as 1 would have expected from a band that had been on the road for the past two months. They enjoyed it. and we enjoyed it, and that’s what matters. As usual, they were a bit slow to warm up – in fact “Rock and Roll”. their opening number, was very rough, and the next, “The Lady”, a track from Led Zeppelin 5, wasn’t much better either.

“Black Dog” followed, and the audience joined in instantly “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” came next, giving John Paul Jones a chance to show us his dexterity on the keyboards. Until “Loving You” Jimmy Page had been churning out the riffs to make the numbers boogie, but on this one he gave us his first solo, very fast one second, and slow the next, getting everything out of each note. “Dancing Days” and “The Song Remains the Same”, two new numbers were the next, the first, a straight rocker very much in the Zepp style, and the second. a longish complex number, starting and finishing with some low tempo-melodic guitar playing, and connected with a heavy rocking bit and a superb organ solo from John Paul Jones. The next number Robert Plant dedicated to the manager of the Gaumont — “Dazed and Confused”. This, a track from their first album, was used as a showpiece for Page’s long guitar solo. For part of this he used a big bow, and the highlight was when he hit the strings and got the note to echo back to him. When he’d been playing for about 10 minutes, the rest of the band joined in and stretched the number out to about 25 minutes.

Next was a beam of clear, white light, as Plant called “Stairway to Heaven”. Plant’s vocals, which had been a bit hidden by Page’s guitar before, came through beautifully, the song gradually rising to the peak of that superb rocking ending. That got everybody on their feet, and shouting for every Led Zeppelin number under the sun. But Plant asked everybody to shut up for a moment, while he told them about his visit to the toilet. On the bog wall, he saw this name — Alan Whitehead and this next number was dedicated to him. It was “Whole Lotta Love”. The band went into a number of old rock and roll tunes, then “I Can’t Quit You Babe”, and back to “Whole Lotta Love“- for a tremendous climax to the show. A few minutes clapping, and they were back to give us “Heartbreaker”, and then “Thank You”, featuring John Paul Jones with a long organ intro, and back for a third time.

Plant said how much they’d enjoyed the gig, and then they proceeded play “How Many More Times”, the first time they’d done it for 2 1/2 years. But you’d never have known it, it was so tight. Straight into “Communication Breakdown”, and then it was all over. See you again, they said, and a very nackered goodnight.

This was the only gig they recorded on the whole tour because they reckon the acoustics of the old Ref are good —and after the show Jimmy Page said there would probably be a live album later this year. Let’s hope so — it’d be a great souvenir of a great show.  –JOHN CLARK. (University of Southampton / Wessex Scene)

Setlist: 0:00 Intro 0:17 Rock and Roll 4:00 Over the Hills and Far Away 10:33 Black Dog 16:14 Misty Mountain Hop 20:46 Since I’ve Been Loving You 29:23 Dancing Days 33:57 The Song Remains the Same 39:27 The Rain Song 48:43 Dazed and Confused 1:16:55 Stairway to Heaven (partial) 1:23:04 Whole Lotta Love 1:50:24 Heartbreaker 2:01:40 Mellotron Solo 2:05:07 Thank You 2:14:44 How Many More Times 2:23:04 Communication Breakdown

Kid Congo Powers has had a busy 2022. He released a memoir, “Some Kind of Kick”, an “intimate coming of age tale, of a young, queer, Chicano kid, growing up in a suburb east of East LA, in the mid-‘70s, exploring his sexual identity through glam rock” and eventually being a member of three iconic bands, The Gun Club, The Cramps and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, among many other musical and artistic accomplishments.

He also released a new album with The Wolfmanhattan Project, his group with The Gories’ Mick Collins and former Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert, as well as a live album with his group Kid Congo Powers & The Near Death Experience where he’s backed by Australians Harry Howard, brother of the late Rowland S. Howard (The Birthday Party, Crime & The City Solution), and Dave Graney of The Moodists.

Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded February 7th, 2014.

Songlist: Conjur Man Killer Diller I Don’t Like Bubble Trouble

I have woken up to the news of the passing of virtuoso guitarist and singer-songwriter Tom Verlaine. An enormously inspirational figure with his New York band Television. A swarm of bands to form and bloom in the wake of Verlaine and his fabulous group.

The news that Tom Verlaine, singer and guitarist with iconic NYC band Television, had died had been confirmed, tributes had started to pour onto social media from fellow artists. No surprise, as the group’s debut album, “Marquee Moon”, is one of the most influential albums of the the ’70s NYC scene and Verlaine’s expansive style can be head in groups today some 45 years later.

Tom Verlaine, frontman and guitarist in iconic NYC band Television, has died at age 73. The news was shared by Jesse Paris Smith who said he died after “a brief illness.” Verlaine, who was born Thomas Miller in Denville, New Jersey, began studying piano at an early age but switched to the saxophone after hearing a record by Stan Getz. He adopted his stage name in a reference to the French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.

Teenage friends with Richard Hell, they both moved to New York around the same time and played in groups together before forming Television with guitarist Richard Lloyd and became regular performers at CBGB’s and other NYC clubs. (Hell would leave to form the Voidoids in 1975.) He and his school friend, Richard Hell, who shared a passion for music and poetry, moved to New York City separately and in 1972 they formed the group Neon Boys, which comprised Verlaine on guitar and vocals, Hell on bass and vocals, and Billy Ficca on drums. The group lasted a short while then in March 1973 they reformed, calling themselves Television, and recruited Richard Lloyd as a second guitarist. Their first gig was in March 1974. In 1975, Hell left the band and they released their first single with Fred Sonic Smith replacing Hell.

Verlaine, who was the band’s lead singer and did most of the song writing, once dated poet and musician Patti Smith when they were part of the emerging New York punk scene, and they would collaborate many times over the years. Verlaine was considered one of the more skilled musical practitioners to emerge from the now-defunct CBGBs club in New York’s Bowery, where their contemporaries included Blondie, The Ramones and Talking Heads.

Beginning with their landmark 1975 debut single, “Little Johnny Jewel,” Television became one of the most renowned groups on the burgeoning New York underground scene; though lumped together with the punk phenomenon, the band’s complex songcraft — powered by Verlaine’s strangled vocals, oblique lyrics, and finely honed guitar work — clearly set them apart from their peers. The unique guitar interplay between Verlaine and Lloyd, and Verlaine’s reedy vocal style would be Televsion’s signature elements found on their classic debut album, 1977’s “Marquee Moon”, one of the most influential albums of the era. Television broke up not long after the release of their second album, 1978’s “Adventure”, but reformed briefly in the early ’90s and then again in 2001 .

After Television split, he released a string of solo albums, with his song “Kingdom Come” inspiring a rare cover version by David Bowie on his “Scary Monsters” album.

Verlaine soon released a self-titled solo album that began a fruitful 1980s solo career. He took up residence in England for a brief period in response to the positive reception his work had received there and in Europe at large. In the 1990s he collaborated with different artists, including Patti Smith, and composed a film score for “Love and a .45”. In the early 1990s, Television reformed releasing a self-titled third album, and were sporadically active in later years, hailed as a prime influence on the alternative rock of the 1980s and 1990s. to record that one studio album and a live recording “Live at the Academy” released 1992; they have reunited periodically for touring.

Verlaine released his first new album in many years in 2006, titled “Songs and Other Things”.

Tom Verlaine, front man and guitar player with Television. “Marquee Moon”, for me the best guitar album ever released in 1977, was one of the best albums to come out of the New York punk and rock scene of that period. The title track stands out for its innovative guitar work and an incredible solo by Verlaine. That lengthy solo that comes in at 4:52 is a real stoner. The band’s second guitarist Richard Lloyd discussed the unique dual guitar roles in the band: “There weren’t many bands where the two guitars played rhythm and melody back and forth, like a jigsaw puzzle. It was clear between us that I played the lead, or the single-note lines, while Tom was singing, then took over the rhythm if he was going to take the solo. If I was going to take the solo, he’d just keep playing rhythm. The split was supposed to be 50-50, or 40-60, but we had this giant ‘Marquee Moon,’ where Tom gets to solo for five minutes or whatever, but it was so good that I couldn’t argue about it.”

And then he summarized the legacy of that amazing album: “I don’t think of that album as just a collection of songs. I think of “Marquee Moon” as one thing. It contains so many songs that reach you, but there’s no way to separate them. You know, these days, people download a song or two from an album. Well, “Marquee Moon” is not for that. “Marquee Moon” is the whole thing. One thing. Like Mount Everest.”

Mike Scott of The Waterboys tweeted: “Tom Verlaine has passed over to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted at. He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix could dance from the spheres of the cosmos to garage rock. That takes a special greatness.” He added: Tom Verlaine … first heard on Patti Smith’s “Hey Joe” and “Break It Up”, He played with Smith in 2005 for a 30th-anniversary concert of “Horses” in its entirety, which was later released on CD and Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel”, the most incredible, otherworldly guitar playing. Jazzblown, fantastic, inspired. Never surpassed, never equalled except by himself.”

Stuart Braithwaite of the band Mogwai tweeted: “Devastated by this news. Tom Verlaine was a true great. His role in our culture and straight up awesomeness on the electric guitar was completely legendary. Name 10 minutes of music as good as “Marquee Moon”. You can’t. It’s perfect. Rest in peace Tom.”

“I think what I took from Verlaine was not really his style,” U2’s the Edge told Rolling Stone in 1988, “but the fact that he did something no one else had done.”

Will Sergeant, guitarist of Echo & The Bunnymen, said: “Tom Verlaine’s playing meant the world to me. If I ever played anything that sounded like him I was happy. He set me on my path as a guitarist, thank you Tom.”

Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens: said thinking of Verlaine’s guitar playing this morning – and that’s what really hit me- was the influence of his tone in Seventies Rock. He ended or at least challenged the heavy bluesy thrust of Page/Clapton/Richards. Verlaine’s guitar was loaded but sweet. It sang and soared. It was lyrical. it possesses enormous beauty. It hinted at jazz. It was ethereal and other worldly. And for someone like me, who was not a follower of guitar players and their lengthy solos, here was a guitar player for my age. And you just have to listen to the shape of guitar bands of the Eighties and beyond to hear the legacy of his playing.

Simon Raymonde wrote: A true original. No one played guitar like Tom Verlaine before or since. Sat crossed legged on the floor on his side of the stage in Roskilde as he played in Patti Smith’s band and that was as close to perfection as you can get. A sad sad day. Rest in Peace Tom

Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate wrote, “such an immeasurable influence on me and, of course, on so many of fellow guitarist friends.” Real Estate wrote, “this band would probably exist – but would surely not sound the way it does without Tom Verlaine.”

Marty Wilson Piper of the Church: The other end of the sphere of classic original and inspired guitar players, I played with him most nights on the US tour in 1988 where he opened for the ex-band acoustic and we played “Cortez the Killer” as an encore (electric of course), trading solos. He travelled on our bus and I spent a substantial amount of time in his company which led to me playing guitar (uncredited along with Jay Dee Daugherty) on his 1990 album “The Wonder”. Verlaine was a great inspiration to me as he never seemed to hit the notes that others chose. He was that intoxicating mixture of high competence and risk, emotional and raw, and able to sustain long guitar solos that were always disappointing when they stopped.

Solo albums:

  • Tom Verlaine (1979)
  • Dreamtime (1981)
  • Words from the Front (1982)
  • Cover (1984)
  • Flash Light (1987)
  • The Wonder (1990)
  • Warm and Cool (1992, reissued in 2005)
  • The Miller’s Tale: A Tom Verlaine Anthology (1996)
  • Songs and Other Things (2006)
  • Around (2006)

Blondie simply shared a photo of Verlaine, and guitarist Chris Stein recalled, “I met Tom Verlaine when he just arrived in NYC I guess ’72. He had long hair and came to my apartment with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he’d written. Both Tom and Richard Hell have told me that I auditioned for the Neon Boys but I don’t remember.”

Peter Buck: So lucky he hit our ears…without his

Four albums into their career, White Reaper is really etching a place for itself in the contemporary rock scene.

The Louisville-based band can be best described as garage glam/punk, if that makes sense. There’s a specific energy to the band’s songs, one that calls to mind Irish glam/rock greats Thin Lizzy as much as it does the thrashy sentiments of early Metallica.

White Reaper unleashed the band’s latest album, “Asking For a Ride”, its second major-label release, on Elektra Records. It begins with the ripping title track:

Recorded and largely self-produced in Nashville with the help of close friend and engineer Jeremy Ferguson, “Asking for a Ride” finds the Louisville band taking a more direct and in-your-face approach, prioritizing the collection’s raw energy and its ability to translate live through ripping and nervy compositions. It’s White Reaper at their most exciting – dialing up the chrome-plated riffs and monster hooks – a welcome reminder of just how much fun rock music can be.

“We ask ourselves: ‘Does it sound good when we play it in the room together?’ And if it does, those are the songs we want to pursue,” Esposito noted.

Guitarist Hunter Thompson concurred: “We started to recognize how we operate best as a band.”

“Fog Machine” was a pre-release track shared ahead of the album, and it’s a crystallized version of White Reaper’s whole aesthetic (and some of those Thin Lizzy-esque riffs): prioritizing the collection’s raw energy and its ability to translate live through ripping and nervy compositions. It’s White Reaper at their most exciting – dialling up the chrome-plated riffs and monster hooks – a welcome reminder of just how much fun rock music can be.

“Pages,” the first song shared from “Asking for a Ride”, reached the Top 20 at Alternative radio upon its release, and exemplifies the band’s ability to slow down and embrace some killer melodies:

Way back in 2003, the first episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! was filmed in Los Angeles. The musical guest on that episode was Coldplay, who performed the single “Clocks.” Fast-forward two decades later, and Coldplay visited the Kimmel set once again on Thursday night, to help celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary — and the English pop/rock band did so with a wonderful performance that ended on the roof of the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Initially, Chris Martin came out alone to chat with Kimmel, apologizing that he and the band didn’t have enough time to put together a performance. After giving Jimmy a gift (a music box playing the iconic piano lead to “Clocks”), Martin began singing the song, and soon an in-studio orchestra appeared, backing Martin as he continued, walked up the stairs in the set and made his way to the roof, where he and his band performed the song to a backdrop of fireworks.

Jimmy Kimmel also appeared playing a little saxophone in what made for a pretty epic performance:

This special appearance by Coldplay came as the band is prepping for a big year, with three more Grammy nominations in tow and a newly announced batch of West Coast dates of the group’s ongoing “Music of the Spheres” world tour.

To fully grasp the scope of Coldplay’s live experience these days, which has been delighting massive crowds around the world for some time now in support of the band’s 2021 album “Music of the Spheres”,

On this day in 1969, The Doors played one show at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden.

“Who Scared You” and “The Soft Parade” were performed, two songs rarely played by the band live. The set is finished with Morrison tossing his leather jacket into the crowd.

RHODES – ” Friends Like These “

Posted: January 27, 2023 in MUSIC

Rhodes’ beautiful new album “Friends Like These” is a distillation of everything he has been through, good and bad, during a transformative period of his life. Though he and producer Rich Cooper (Josef Salvat, Lucy Rose) recorded its 10 songs during lockdown, they were chosen from around 100 that Rhodes wrote as he processed major personal and professional changes in the years that came before. Some, like becoming a father, were completely joyful. ‘Others, like deciding to leave his record label and trying to navigate his way out of toxic working relationships, provoked a complex array of competing emotions. Hertfordshire-raised, London-based Rhodes says he picked the songs that “best represented my journey over the past few years” and tried not to overthink what his second album “should” be. The title is derived from the old saying “with friends like, who needs enemies?”, but flips it into something positive. “My close friends are all over this record and if it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t exist,”

The album is finally out! “Friends Like These” feels like a milestone moment for me. So much has happened in the last few years and in what has felt like a lifetime I’ve been through some of the highest points in my life but also some of the lowest, there’s been a lot of heartache and pain, a lot of realisation and a lot of change, but one thing has always remained the same, you guys! You’ve all stuck by me and been so unbelievably patient waiting for what comes next. I’m grateful beyond words for that kind of belief and I really do hope these songs resonate with you. 

To me, these songs represent the chaos of it all and all of the twists and turns on the winding road that led me to where I am today. I’ve been talking in interviews recently about what music means to me and what music meant to me when I was growing up and discovering myself and my identity. Well, I always saw music as a refuge and an escape. When I listened to my favourite artists it was like a safe space to feel like I could express myself through their expression and I want you to feel that too, not just with the new record but all of the songs, to treat the music like a close companion speaking to you of understanding and hope, reassuring you that there is always a way through the darkness. 

We’re now so close to the UK & EU tour in February! There are still a few tickets left, so if you don’t already have yours, please follow the link and get them now! I want to see as many of you there as possible. I’m planning something very special for you and I’ll be playing a lot of songs from the new record but also a lot of the older songs from Wishes and some deep cuts from when it all began. The shows will be super intimate, which I feel is what always creates the most wonderful kind of musical memories.

Shortly after the release of their gloriously homespun 2017 debut “Ignite the Rest”, beguiling indie rock duo R. Ring began working on material for their follow-up. Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery collaborated on fragments, again enlisting drummer Laura King, Lori Goldston on cello, and Joe Suer on vibraphone. Of course, R. Ring and friends had no clue that their process would be sidelined by a pandemic.

Engaged in other projects (Deal with The Breeders and Protomartyr and Montgomery with his Candyland Recording Studio) and waiting out a global crisis, Deal and Montgomery tinkered on nearly-finished tracks and bided their time. In early 2023, with a tentative hope that the coast was somewhat clear, R. Ring re-emerged with “War Poems We Rested”, an album replete with three-minute songs that stagger and strut in equal measure.

The album’s opener, “Still Life,” declares itself as the first of many thrilling stylistic fake-outs. In this case, King’s colossal drums quickly crescendo before toppling into a bone-dry torch song. The taunting top-line dances like a ghostly Marianne Faithful across a seasick chord progression embellished by Suer’s vibes. The second song, “Hug,” is a neat fusion of a classic Deal chugging dynamo and Montgomery’s guitar fuzz dream while repeating its mantra, “We’re all here.” This one-two opening salvo establishes the album’s far edges: by turns swaggering, joyful, vulnerable, and stark.

Another standout in an album stuffed with mini-gems is the spectral “Exit Music.” Over an eerie suspended organ, a choir of breathy Kelleys caress a startling, mazy melody that feels like an otherworldly transmission, while underneath the band burbles and squalls like 154-era Wire.

But “War Poems We Rested” isn’t all head fakes and sonic collage. Montgomery’s “Likeable” grants a two minute affirmation (“I consider myself very likeable”) over a sturdy, rolling arrangement, while King’s “Def Sup” strides through a rubbery groove with chunky analog synth jabs. And “Cartoon Heart / Build Me a Question” blasts through a bratty two chord vamp while Deal ponders the Big Questions: “What is the name of your favorite song? What’s up with your crooked leg?”

Kelley Deal describes “This song is a love letter to all the daytime drunks of the world who, with soggy brains and liquored breath will melt the face off anyone they can corner. Glitter and vomit— we’re all here.” 

In the album’s final stretch, “Lighter than a Berry” finds Montgomery unguarded as he outlines the dissolution of a moment. An ominous curtain of feedback parts to spotlight a lonely guitar figure which serves to prop even lonelier lyrics. And while the last song doesn’t necessarily undo “Berry”’s devastation, the stately instrumental, “War Poems,” offers a panoramic Americana guitar motif and the hypnotic motion of a dozy night drive as a lingering moment of grace.

Even though “War Poems We Rested” was momentarily quarantined, R. Ring used the opportunity to blow up the idea of album packaging and design. Singer and poet Matt Hart, tasked with writing some notes, enlisted a cadre of friends to create new poems inspired by each song, which resulted in a chapbook lovingly designed and handbound by Louisville’s alla testa. The first 125 copies of the “War Poems We Rested” LP will include this poetry collection featuring Sadie Dupuis, Hanif Abdurraqib, Lee Renaldo, Jackie Clark, Sara Jaffe, Rose Zinnia, Amber Tamblyn, Alejandro de Acosta, Jeremy Michael Clark, and Peter Davis.

War Poems, We Rested” is out everywhere now, and is the first full length release from R. Ring since 2017.

PRIESTGATE – ” One Shade Darker “

Posted: January 27, 2023 in MUSIC

Hailing from the sleepy rural town of Driffield, Yorkshire, Priestgate are charismatic, angsty and euphoric in equal measure. After a stellar year of experimentation, the band have emerged in 2020 with their own brand of guitar music

Dubbed “The best new live band on the planet” by Dork magazine and Ones To Watch this year by most blogging sites, the ascendant East Yorkshire five-piece Priestgate are back with “One Shade Darker”, the highly anticipated follow-up to their enthralling debut EP “Eyes Closed For The Winter”.

Featuring ‘Some Things Never Change’, named Tune Of The Week by Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1 (“outstanding, emotive, arena ready guitar music”) and the new single ‘White Shirt’, an anthemic homage to their small hometown of Driffield.

Formed as a battle cry against the restlessness and mundanity of rural life, Priestgate began as a reaction to the sparse local music scene around them, which in turn has allowed them to craft and develop their own unique sound without the added pressure of conformity.

‘One Shade Darker’ is the sophomore EP from rising East Yorkshire-based quintet Priestgate. Following 2022 debut EP ‘Eyes Closed For The Winter’, the group further underline their credentials by providing another four tracks of gothic, romantic and melody-heavy guitar pop, Drawing comparisons to The Cure and The Maccabees, Priestgate have combined bright guitar-pop hooks with darker lyrical sensibilities, concocting their own angst-laden blend of the hypnotic and euphoric.

Blue vinyl 12″ on Lucky Number. Edition of 500 copies

MEG BAIRD – ” Furling “

Posted: January 27, 2023 in MUSIC

Happy Release Day to Meg Baird’s highly anticipated record, “Furling”. “Furling” moves through the breadth of Meg’s musical fascinations and the environments around them—edges of memory, daydreams spanning years, loose ends, divergent paths, secret conversations under stars—all led by a stirring, singular voice calling experience and enlightenment, elation, and ecstasy into bloom. 

At long last, Meg Baird will be releasing a new album with possibilties of going out on the road again—this time with a full backing band of captivating co-conspirators!

Deeply rooted in Sixties/Seventies English folk and progressive rock yet touching on Nineties trip-hop and electronica in places, ‘Furling’ is the fifth solo album from Meg Baird, the leader of American psychedelic folk act Espers among many other musical endeavours. It’s simultaneously her most intimate solo work yet, and also the most musically epic and band-led.

Since co-founding Philadelphia’s luminary psychedelic folk collective Espers, Meg Baird has steadily created a body of solo and collaborative work within folk, acoustic, electrified and underground music traditions. She has recorded with harpist Mary Lattimore, helped form Heron Oblivion as a drummer and vocalist, and has continued to create her own solo work featuring her beguiling guitar and songwriting. An index of observations, passions and humour in both lyric and musical form, emanates from Meg’s heart outwards to yours.

released January 27th, 2023

“Furling” was primarily recorded at Louder Studios by Tim Green. Additional piano and vocal recording were captured at Panoramic Studios in Stinson Beach, CA with Jason Quever