MARLON WILLIAMS – ” River Rival “

Posted: September 25, 2022 in MUSIC

New Zealand singer/songwriter/guitarist Marlon Williams is released a new album, “My Boy”, on September 9th via Dead Oceans. On Wednesday, he shared its third single, “River Rival” via a video for the new song. Steve Gullick directed the video, which simply features a wet Williams singing the song in one close-up shot, no edits.

Williams had this to say about “River Rivals” in a press release: “This tune began with an idle Google search. The Latin noun ‘rivalis’ means people competing for the same source of water. That got me excited and seemed to hit upon a central occupation of the record as a whole. Resource scarcity, very generally construed, is at the heart of most conflict: economically, materially, socially. Musically, it started out as a bleary-eyed Nick Drake-esque acoustic rambler but somehow, perhaps counterintuitively, it felt too heavy that way so with a bit of fussing and redressing (largely in pre-production with Mark Perkins) it gradually morphed into the cyclical synth rock-roller before you. Under Tom Healy’s guiding hand, Cass (Basil) and Paul (Taylor) then built up the rhythmic intensity, each stanza pushing the point a little more urgently every time.”

Of the video he says: “I reconnected with my buddy and ‘Vampire Again’ collaborator Steve Gullick to make the video in a studio in Cambridge while on the recent tour with Lorde. I was so tired I couldn’t be bothered blinking.”

In May Williams shared the album’s title track (also its opening track), “My Boy,” via an amusing video. Then in June he shared the album’s second single, “Thinking of Nina,” a song inspired by the Cold War spy drama The Americans. It was shared via a film noir-esque video.

Williams opted not to record “My Boy” with his long-time backing band The Yarra Benders. Instead he demoed half the album with Mark ‘Merk’ Perkins. Then he worked with producer Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, The Chills) at Neil Finn’s Roundhead studios in Auckland in late 2020. There he worked with LA-based drummer Paul Taylor (Feist), bassist Cass Basil (Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins), and Healy on guitars and synths. There were also appearances from Delaney Davidson and Elroy Finn (on drums and percussion). Dave Kahn is the only member of The Yarra Benders to play on the album.

“Having new personalities in the room allowed me to escape myself,” said Williams in a previous press release. “When everyone’s still working out each other’s roles, there’s an unsettling and exciting tendency to go off in different directions…. It happened naturally. I was listening to more steely, New Romantic stuff, like Duran Duran, John Grant, Perfume Genius, the Bee Gees. All those things fed into the machine.”

Of the themes on “My Boy”, Williams said: “There’s a lot of male shapes on the record. Growing up an only child, I had to outsource my brothers and build a world around me. So while masculinity is a big theme, it’s really subsumed by broader explorations of vitality, and the social and cultural value placed on legacy.”

The alter ego of Brooklyn wunderkind Jed Smith (Jeanines, Teenage Stride), Mick Trouble has released an EP and two albums worth of wonderfully ramshackle pop that pays homage to Television Personalities and other DIY punk of the late ’70s, full of fake British accents, British references and big hooks. “The Oddities & Sodsities” EP, which tips its hat to The Who (the title) and The Beatles (the cover art), collects “b-sides and flexidisc singles” but he keeps quality levels high.

“Theme to We Are the Buzzcocks” is probably the best of the bunch, a very witty songs about the group and their legacy as do-it-yourself pioneers with knowing nods to The Fall, Factory Records and The Damned (to name three): “We are the buzzcocks / say a prayer for ol’ Mark E / you could get Hannet for a fee / or cap’n sensible for free.”

There’s also a quiet version of “Not ‘alf Bad” from Mick’s debut LP (shades of “I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives” in this version), and an Ace cover of The Magnetic Fields’ “The Saddest Story Ever Told.” Like many artists of the era he’s aping, even his throwaways are great.

released July 12th, 2022

WET LEG – ” Convincing “

Posted: September 25, 2022 in MUSIC

After releasing their acclaimed, eponymous debut in April, Isle of Wight rock duo Wet Leg return with two songs for the Spotify Singles series. Instead of covering two songs, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers rework “Convincing” a cut from their debut, and Ashnikko’s “Daisy” from her 2021 mixtape “Demidevil”. “I remember going to stay with Rhian around the time we recorded “Chaise” with Jon McMullen and she had told me about this artist she’d been listening to loads,” says Chambers of the Ashnikko cover. “She sang and played ‘Daisy’ on the guitar in the morning while we had coffee. It feels like another little circle coming ’round in our Wet Leg world getting to make this cover.

Adds Chambers about the reworking of “Convincing.” “Since live music has opened back up, we play some tracks just as they were recorded, but ‘Convincing’ is one of the songs that has gone through a little shapeshift over time as we’ve been playing gigs for the last year. This version we recorded with James leans into the more mellow and woozy world it exists in our live sets.”

The results are slight detours from the raucous sound they established on Wet Leg. Instead, the songs are patient and glittering, perhaps a signal as to what’s to come from the band on their next project. Fifteen months ago, Wet Leg, comprised of duo Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, released its debut single “Chaise Lounge” and since then, they’ve rocketed to stardom, garnering 140 million streams and selling more than 250,000 albums.

Before embarking on their 2023 UK and European tour in support of Harry Styles , the band also announced four headlining dates in December in the USA.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ first live album in 13 years: “Live at the Fillmore” recorded in 1997 and to be released November 25th. The show featured special performances from The Byrds leader Roger McGuinn and blues legend John Lee Hooker. The Heartbreakers played at the legendary San Francisco that year 20 times, 6 of those occasions belong to the album which will contain between 33 and 58 songs, depending on the format.

Highlights from the release include Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” J.J. Cale’s “Crazy Mama,” The Rolling Stones’ “Time is On My Side” and more from The Kinks, Everly Brothers, Bill Withers, The Byrds, Chuck Berry, and Booker T. & the M.G.’s. The collection also features special performances with The Byrds’ frontman Roger McGuinn and blues legend John Lee Hooker. Other standouts include extended versions of original tracks “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and “It’s Good To Be King.” 

The music is being released in a collaboration between the Petty estate and Mike Campbell, a member of the Heartbreakers and former co-writer and collaborator of the late Tom Petty.

Before starting the 20-show run at the Fillmore, Tom Petty outlined his plans in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle: 

“We’re musicians and we want to play. We’ve made so many records in the past five years, I think the best thing for us to do is just go out and play and it will lead us to our next place, wherever that may be.”

The shows at the Fillmore ended up being some of the most joyful, honest, inspirational and prolific experiences of the band’s career, creating a unique bond between the group and their fans. This album features more covers than originals, paying tribute to the artists and songs that shaped Petty’s love of music as he was growing up—before he became a legendary songwriter and performer in his own right.

“Playing the Fillmore in 1997 for a month was one of my favourite experiences as a musician in my whole life. The band was on fire and we changed the set list every night. The room and the crowd was spiritual… AND… we got to play with some amazing guests. I will always remember those nights with joy and inspiration.”—Mike Campbell

The Fillmore was a laboratory for the band. The captivating sold out performances were such a hit, the Heartbreakers were even nicknamed the “Fillmore House Band.” At the final show, Petty noted as he took the stage: “We all feel this might be the highpoint of our time together as a group… It’s going to be hard to get us off this stage tonight.”

The record will be offered in a 3 LP version simulating one of the concerts and a comprehensive box set featuring 58 songs and 14 humorous spoken word tracks that highlight Petty’s connection with his band and his fans from the stage. The shows were taped during the last six nights of the band’s historic residency. The compilation was meticulously curated by producers Ryan Ulyate and Mike Campbell and executive producers Benmont TenchAdria PettyAnnakim Petty and Dana Petty.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers famously played 20 nights at the legendary Fillmore venue in San Francisco in 1997. 6 of the shows were professionally recorded and this release features some of the high points of the residency. The small venue allowed the band to vary their sets each night; they included re-arranged and distinctive versions of their hits, deep cuts, and many cover versions—paying tribute to the artists that Tom and the band had been influenced by.

The 2 CD set includes 33 tracks, 18 of which are covers—2 hours of music. The tri-fold board package includes a 16-page booklet with previously unseen photographs. 

3 LP Set: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers The 3 LP set includes 33 tracks, 18 of which are covers—2 hours of music. The tri-fold sleeve includes a 4-page insert.

4 CD Set:  The 4 CD deluxe edition includes 58 tracks, 35 of which are covers – over 4 hours of music. The 4 CDs are packaged in a box with a 32-page booklet (with previously unseen photographs), 3 custom guitar picks, a replica All Access laminate, and an embroidered patch (“The Fillmore House Band” —a term that was bestowed on The Heartbreakers during the shows at the Fillmore).

6 LP Set: The 6 LP deluxe edition includes 58 tracks, 35 of which are covers—over 4 hours of music. The 6 LPs are packaged in a box with a 24 page (12” x 12”) booklet (with previously unseen photographs), 3 custom guitar picks, a replica All Access laminate, facsimiles of 3 set lists, a reprint of the 8-page Fan Newsletter published in 1997, and an embroidered patch.

6 LP Uber Deluxe: Available exclusively on the Tom Petty webstore, The Uber deluxe edition is housed in an authentic hand-made custom-sized cymbal road case designed and manufactured by Made Worn in Los Angeles. The packaging also includes a replica “All Access” laminate, a reprint of the 8-page Fan Newsletter published in 1997, an embroidered patch, exclusive 7 additional replica set lists, an exclusive foil lithograph (12” x 12”), exclusive vinyl record player slip-mat, custom guitar picks in a tin, and a replica embroidered “Fillmore House Band” baseball hat.

The long-awaited “Live at the Fillmore” (1997)Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ first live album in 13 years—is due November 25th on Warner Records

RYAN ADAMS – ” Devolver “

Posted: September 24, 2022 in MUSIC

Sometimes the trick is to strip it all back, to keep it so simple life has a way to throw you some curb balls – to devolve back into the apeman and embrace the wild spirit in our bones.
This is that album and it has been my honour to have been given the chance to find myself and be myself fully – embracing my music and my life as it comes – in its own way – free of the patterns of the past.
Ryan Adams

Today I want to say thank you and I love you, in the language we speak to each other – with my music. “Devolver” is for you, please feel free to download for free – this is your party and this album is me celebrating you. 

In my darkest moments you lifted me up, creatively and personally and that love was instrumental in how I got here today, to safety and in a place of healing – one year sober. 

Please accept this album as token of my appreciation for all the love you have shown me through the years, for your encouragement to continue on when I didn’t think I could and for standing with me, rebuilding this dream house brick by brick. 

Sometimes the trick is to strip it all back, to keep it so simple life has a way to throw you some curb balls – to devolve back into the apeman and embrace the wild spirit in our bones. 

This is that album and it has been my honour to have been given the chance to find myself and be myself fully – embracing my music and my life as it comes – in its own way – free of the patterns of the past.

Devolver Tracklist:

  1. Don’t Give It Away
  2. Stare At The TV
  3. Alien USA
  4. Banging On My Head
  5. Marquee
  6. Eyes On The Door
  7. Too Bored To Run
  8. Free Your Self
  9. Get Away
  10. I’m In Love With You
  11. Why Do You Hate Me

So thank you. This one’s for you.  You are truly loved and appreciate with all that I am. 

XO

DRA 

The UNDERTONES – ” Teenage Kicks “

Posted: September 24, 2022 in MUSIC

On September 23rd in 1978: Derry, Northern Ireland the punk-pop band, The Undertones, released their debut ‘Teenage Kicks’ EP on Belfast’s indie label Good Vibrations label; it featured the title track plus “True Confessions”, “Emergency Cases” & “Smarter Than U”; after the band signed to Sire Records that October, the label obtained the rights to the EP & re-released it, whereupon it reached UK #31; the title track famously became known as influential BBC DJ John Peel’s favourite song of all time…

John O’Neill attributes the spark of the performance to playing Belfast on a combined Good Vibrations bill on the evening prior to the recording.

“I remember thinking that night. I’m not sure how good we are, but we’re at least as good or better than the other Belfast bands. That made us confident going in to record the next day. We called it the “Teenage Kicks” EP because obviously we were teenagers, and it just had a good ring to it – the “True Confessions” EP wouldn’t have been as good. But even when we played the song live then, I don’t think it stood out more than any other song. We obviously thought it was one of our best, ‘cos we put it on the EP. But we thought “True Confession”s was the best song on the record.”

It may be one of the most cherished recordings ever, but the story behind the release of The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” in 1978 is long on happy accidents. Derry’s only punk band didn’t originally plan it to be the lead track on their debut EP (a record that itself was intended solely as an epitaph) and they even had to persuade their singer to rejoin the band just to do the recording. But when DJ John Peel got to hear it, everything went a bit mad. Not that it turned the heads of our heroes. Famously ambivalent to rock-star behaviour and the trappings of fashion – “You wore what your ma bought you back then” – they would be together for a brief but fertile four-album, five-year career.

They weren’t always popular. If you inspect the back cover of “Teenage Kicks” you’ll find a photo of some arcane Derry graffiti: ‘Undertones – shit, pish, counts, wankers’.

“At the time, punk wasn’t that well known in Derry,” reflects guitarist John O’Neill. “We had a core following of 50 people or so, but apart from that we were treated with a lot of suspicion.”

John Peel’s favourite ever song and not hard to understand why. Timeless teenage frustration in 2 and a half minutes of raucous pop punk heaven. Play it loud and feel free to pogo — you know you want to.

“Teenage Kicks” EP was released on the Good Vibrations label, run by Belfast maverick Terri Hooley, in September 78.

Stevie Nicks has released her signature take on Buffalo Springfield’s timeless protest song “For What It’s Worth” as a digital download and streaming single. A Dolby Atmos mix of the track is also available now on all platforms that support the format.

In 1981, six years after joining Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks went solo for the first time with her debut album ‘Bella Donna’. A massive success, it sold more than five million copies in the U.S., topped the album charts and produced four hit singles, including her signature anthem, “Edge Of Seventeen.” More platinum albums followed – ‘The Wild Heart’ (1983), ‘Rock A Little’ (1985), and ‘The Other Side Of The Mirror’ (1989). In 2019, Stevie Nicks made history by becoming the first female artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – first as a member of Fleetwood Mac in 1998, and most recently in recognition of an extraordinary solo career that spans nearly 40 years.

My version of “For What It’s Worth” is out now! Originally written in 1966 by Stephen Stills, and recorded by Buffalo Springfield, this song has always meant so much to me.

Eric Clapton, one of music’s most influential and successful recording artists, joined Reprise Records in 1983, launching a prolific period that spans 30 years and encompasses some of his most celebrated work. An upcoming limited edition, 12-LP boxed set revisits Clapton’s first six albums for Reprise along with an LP exclusive to this collection that features rarities from the era, including a previously unreleased remix of “Pilgrim” by co-writer and long-time Clapton producer Simon Climie.

“The Complete Reprise Studio Albums – Volume I” will be available on September 30th. It contains newly remastered versions of six studio albums pressed on 180-gram vinyl: “Money and Cigarettes” (1983) as a single LP, and “Behind the Sun” (1985), “August” (1986), “Journeyman” (1989), “From the Cradle” (1994), and “Pilgrim” (1998) as double-LPs. “Behind The Sun” and “August” were originally released as single LPs; both are now 3-sided double albums to avoid long LP sides and to maximize the audio quality.

 The final LP in the collection, “Rarities (1983-1998)” brings together eight rare recordings from this era, including live versions of “White Room” and “Crossroads” that were both featured on the B-side on the 1987 single “Behind The Mask.” Another B-side, “Theme From A Movie That Never Happened” (Orchestral), appeared in 1998 on the Grammy-winning single, “My Father’s Eyes.”

All the music included in this collection was mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering and the lacquers for the LPs were cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering.

“Volume I” spans 15 years and touches on some of Clapton’s biggest studio albums. It begins with “Money and Cigarettes”the guitarist’s eighth solo studio album, which he co-produced with Atlantic Records’ legend Tom Dowd. Released in 1983, it reached the Top 20 in the U.S. and the U.K. and introduced the hit single “I’ve Got A Rock ’n’ Roll Heart.”

Clapton worked with Phil Collins to produce his next album, “Behind the Sun”, which peaked at #8 in the U.K. The album would earn platinum-certification in the U.S. thanks to hits like “Forever Man” and “She’s Waiting.” Collins returned to co-produce the next album, “August”, as well. Certified gold in the U.S., it featured a trio of Top 10 singles – “Miss You,” “Tearing Us Apart,” (a duet with Tina Turner) and the #1 smash, “It’s In The Way That You Use It.” Clapton co-wrote the latter with Robbie Robertson and co-produced the track with Dowd. The song was also featured in “The Color of Money“, the 1986 blockbuster film starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise.

 “Journeyman”, Clapton’s 1989 follow-up, reached #2 in the U.K. where it was certified platinum. An international sensation, the record was certified platinum in Canada and gold in Argentina, Australia, France, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The album was certified double platinum in the U.S., scoring #1 hits on the Mainstream Rock charts with “Pretending” and the GrammyÒ winning single “Bad Love.” The album had two more Top 10 hits in America with “Before You Accuse Me” (#9) and “No Alibis” (#4).

Following the runaway success of his 1992 live album “Unplugged”, Clapton returned in 1994 with “From The Cradle”. A blues covers album, it featured his versions of songs recorded by some of the bluesmen who influenced him, including Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Freddie King and more. The album was certified triple-platinum in the U.S., where it topped the Billboard 200. It also reached #1 in the U.K., making it his only #1 album in the U.K. to date. In addition, “From The Cradle” won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. 

The final release on “Volume I” is “Pilgrim”, Clapton’s 1998 Grammy Award winning 13th solo studio album. It reached the Top 10 in more than 20 countries, including the U.S. (#4) and the U.K. (#3). A passion project for Clapton, the album was certified platinum in America thanks to hit singles like, “My Father’s Eyes,” “Circus,” “Born In Time” (penned by Bob Dylan) and the title track.

The CLASH – ” Straight To Hell “

Posted: September 24, 2022 in MUSIC

The Clash follow up too “Rock The Casbah” with another single featuring a pair of songs from their “Combat Rock” album. The two that made the cut this time are “Straight To Hell” on the ‘A’ side and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” on the flip. They’ve got a special deal going where early purchasers will get a free sticker with the single and a free stencil with every 12″ disc. 

One would wager that ‘Straight to Hell’ is the densest song that Strummer ever penned. It was written during the end of the recording sessions for “Combat Rock”during a “mad, creative rush” the day before the band were due to fly out of the city for New Year’s Eve. In 1991, Strummer reflected on the writing process: “I’d written the lyric staying up all night at the Iroquois Hotel. I went down to Electric Lady and I just put the vocal down on tape, we finished about twenty to midnight. We took the E train from the Village up to Times Square. I’ll never forget coming out of the subway exit, just before midnight, into a hundred billion people, and I knew we had just done something really great.”

The music is nothing short of iconic, with its catchy Bossa Nova style. However, the lyrics are what really marks it out as special. Decrying global injustices, each verse takes to discussing the ills of the day. The first verse refers to Margaret Thatcher’s closure of the steel mills in Northern England, which were once the community’s central hub, which loom as a constant reminder of what was. It also talks of the subsequent mass unemployment which has continued to span generations right up until the present.

Although historical hindsight will prove that the public thought different, NME’s Adrian Thrill wrote that the song, “Straight To Hell” is the finest thing that The Clash have recorded since the ‘Magnificent Seven’ two years ago… Though it could well be the other side – the rambling Stonesy ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go,’ that will pick up most of the airplay.” Looking back he referred to The Clash’s last hit “Rock The Casbah” as “abysmal.”

Joe Strummer was nothing short of an icon. The Clash’s frontman was a character who existed in his own individual realm. A champion of social issues, he penned some of the finest protest and punk songs in existence. He followed up his on-stage persona with a burning personal crusade to do his bit in helping to cure the planet of its social, political and environmental ills.

For the US market, the single was flipped with the non-LP track “Cool Confusion,” and is packaged in a unique sleeve. The song does reasonably well in England, going up the charts to #17. It only made it up to #45 on the American charts, even though it’s remembered as one of the band’s biggest hits this side of the Atlantic.

Strangely enough, the song would be re-released in 1991 in England and go all the way to #1 the second time around.”

‘Straight to Hell’ is not only an iconic piece of music, but it is also one of The Clash‘s most emotionally affecting. When you dig into its meaning, its density is nothing short of astonishing. It is a fantastic reminder of Joe Strummer’s temperament, and that sadly, when he died, the world lost one of its most extraordinary characters. Luckily for us though, he lives on through his musical work and all the discourse surrounding his remarkable life. 

Released “September 24th, 1982

The SOFT MOON – “

Posted: September 24, 2022 in MUSIC

The Soft Moon is the moniker of Californian singer-songwriter/musician/producer Luis Vasquez

“The whole point of this record was to share every emotion that I feel,” says The Soft Moon’s Luis Vasquez. “No two songs are the same. It’s about existing in the world as a human being and experiencing many emotions and experiences throughout life.”

And so hence the title “Exister”, a record rooted in the ecstatic joys and crippling lows that life can throw up and how just hanging on and existing is sometimes all we have. “Exister” is my way of saying ‘I’m here, deal with it.’” Vasquez says. “Exister” sees Vasquez throw himself even deeper into the raw emotions explored in his previous work. Like 2018’s “Criminal”, the album represents another step forward for the Soft Moon, as Vasquez processes his pain with a newfound level of honesty, and an uncanny ability to build on the well-established musical ideas he so enthusiastically draws from.

Sonically, this expression is a vast, expansive and potent one. The opening ‘Sad Song’, which unfurls with a dense brooding atmosphere, Vasquez describes as almost a ballad, while tracks such as ‘The Pit’ capture the opposite end of the musical spectrum, exploding as a thundering piece of industrial techno complete with gut-churning levels of bass.

‘Monster’ – a song that follows a human metamorphosis into an unrecognizable and destructive being – seamlessly combines a deeply melodic, almost electro pop, vocal hook with a slow build atmospherics to create something equally beautiful and unsettling. ‘Become the Lies’ explores the devastating consequences of being lied to by your own family and is a post-punk stomper, merging charging basslines, pummelling drums and snaking guitars, all of which combine explosively.

Elsewhere the album runs the gauntlet of everything from ambient to dark wave – features ferocious guest contributions from fish narc and Special Interest’s Alli Logot on ‘Him’ and ‘Unforgiven’ – all while retaining that distinct tone that unmistakably The Soft Moon.