Maker – Girl Quit Your Crying EP

MAKERMaker hail from Medway – home to the likes of The James Taylor Quartet, The Prisoners and Billy Childish.  But though their music has an undeniable 1960s and early 1970s taste, it is a much more rich, diverse and complex  than the back-to-basic 1960s garage more akin to the aforementioned local heroes, and commonly referred to as the ‘Medway Sound‘.

This week Maker release their second EP. The title track, ‘Girl Quit Your Crying’ is full of a hazy blues, after hours lock-in complete with feathered haircuts, Double Diamond pint jugs and a Rod & The Faces swagger. Alessandro Marinelli’s gravel-throated bluesy voice underlines only one of many influences present on this solid 5-track EP. But the Maker sound is much more versatile, complex and multi-layered than a shallow retro posture.  Somewhere between then and now,  Maker sound unique in these days of shortlived fashions, reality tv and throwaway pop.  They appear to take influence from an array of solid sounds, styles and grooves and run, run, run with it.  They are not simply retro and not exactly contemporary.

Similar to the previous single, ‘Move Your Feet’, there is a strong element of early 1970s soul, R ‘n’ B and rock ‘n’ roll running throughout the whole  EP.  ‘So Serene’ and ‘Are You Watching Me?’ are full to the brim of a white-faced soulful funky groove.  Think Sly & The Family Stone fused with  a steam-charged rhythm n blues of Mick Taylor era Rolling Stones, a good helping of The Faces and etched in the post house music influenced rhythms of Primal Scream and The Stone Roses. Great stuff!

Maker look good and sound great.  They are Alessandro Marinelli (Vocals), Andrew Donaldson (Guitar), Gavin Donaldson (Drums) & John Austin (Bass).  The ‘Girl Quit Your Crying’ EP succinctly captures their authentic rock n roll, psychedelic, bluesy soul sound.

‘Girl Quit Your Crying’, ‘So Serene’ and ‘are You Watching Me?’ were recorded at the famous Rockfield Studio & Leeders Farm. The EP also includes two demos, ‘Lose It On The Second Turn’ and Stop My Heart Dead’, recorded at Ranscombe Studios in Rochester.

Girl Quit Your Crying EP by Maker is available via Kidda Records.

Innocense by Suspects – pure post-grunge garage punk rock

Suspects - Thomas Prescott and James (Jaff) MaySuspects are Thomas Prescott and James (Jaff) May. They come from Southend, and are a part of the ever-growing, pulsating Cool Thing Records that could very well be at the centre of the universe.

Their debut single, Innocense, sees the the two-piece arrive on the garage punk rock ‘n’ roll platform with a bang!

Innocense is an epic slice of back-to-basics, gritty, driving post-grunge garage punk rock.  Pounding drums, heavy big muff-drive fuzz guitars and an abrasive yet controlled, aggressive vocal delivery.  All of which fixates the listener like a rabbit to headlights or Elvis to prescription drugs.  From the off, Innocence explodes into action. 0-50 faster than Valentino Rossi. Ending way too soon, it leaves an empty burning hum and a spellbinding charm, before I select repeat, again and again.

Innocense perfectly depicts a sound that cuts like a switchblade through the endless pile of shallow, empty candy-sweet, non-confrontational drivel that envelopes the sleepy, zombie-like state we find ourselves in. Suspects are here to wake us up from our slumber and to shout from the roof tops FUCK POLITICS – LET’S DANCE!

Pump up the volume and jump aboard the Suspects train departing from Southend-on-Sea, as it steams head on to Garage Punkville!  This train is bound for freedom with its first class passengers Jack White, Black Sabbath, Queens Of The Stone Age and Black Flag.

Innocence by Suspects is available on Cool Thing Records.

Richard Thompson new album,  Acoustic Classics Vol. II & UK Tour

Richard ThompsonFairport Convention co-founding member and celebrated folk guitarist / songwriter Richard Thompson will release Acoustic Classics Vol. II on his own Beeswing record label, distributed via Proper, on 11th August.

Richard Thompson was recently named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time and is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received multiple awards, including Lifetime Achievement Awards at the BBC Folk Awards and the US and UK Americana Music Association Awards, as well as Mojo’s Les Paul Award and an Ivor Novello Award for song writing. Thompson was appointed OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List. Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and many others have recorded his songs.

Following the success of Acoustic Classics in 2014, Acoustic Classics Vol. II will feature acoustic renderings of classic songs from the Richard Thompson catalogue, some previously recorded by other singers, some previously available only in a band format. A second album Acoustic Rarities will be released later in the year featuring new recordings of some of the more obscure songs in the Thompson catalogue, some previously existing only as cover versions.

Special three-disc vinyl LP and double CD versions of both albums together will be released exclusively via Pledge Music: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/richardthompson

Richard Thompson Acoustic Classics II Tracklisting:

  1. She Twists The Knife Again – 2:49
  2. The Ghost Of You Walks – 4:41
  3. Genesis Hall – 3:30
  4. Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair – 2:29
  5. A Heart Needs A Home – 3:27
  6. Pharaoh – 4:26
  7. Gethsemane – 5:13 8. Devonside – 3:06
  8. Meet On The Ledge – 3:06
  9. Keep Your Distance – 3:35
  10. Bathsheba Smiles – 3:33
  11. Crazy Man Michael – 4:24
  12. Guns Are The Tongues – 6:06
  13. Why Must I Plead? – 4:09

A hugely popular live performer, Richard Thompson will tour the UK in October, including the very first concert at the newly-established London Bridge Theatre, which is now sold out and a second London show at Cadogan Hall. Thompson will play Fairport Convention’s annual Cropredy Festival, which takes place August 10-12, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the group.

Richard Thompson UK Tour Dates
(supported by Josienne Clarke + Ben Walker)

Wed 11 October               Brighton Dome
Thu 12 October                 Guildford G-Live
Fri 13 October                    Poole Lighthouse
Sat 14 October                  Bristol Colston Hall
Sun 15 October                 Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre
Tue 17 October                 Edinburgh Usher Hall
Wed 18 October               Gateshead Sage
Thu 19 October                 Salford Lowry
Sat 21 October                  Saffron Walden Saffron Hall
Sun 22 October                 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
Mon 23 October               London Cadogan Hall  *EXTRA DATE
Wed 25 October               Sheffield City Hall
Thu 26 October                 Leicester de Montfort Hall
Fri 27 October                    Basingstoke Anvil
Sat 28 October                  Norwich Theatre Royal
Mon 30 October               London Bridge Theatre  SOLD OUT

Bookings www.serious.org.uk/Thompson

Richard Thompson new album, Acoustic Classics Vol. II is scheduled for release on  11th August on Beeswing distributed via Proper.

Ratboys – GN is post-country, indie pop-tastic

Ratboys - GNRatboys is the vehicle for singer/guitarist Julia Steiner and guitarist Dave Sagan. The band hail from Chicago and began life in 2009. In 2011 they released the Ratboy EP, and in June 2015, they released their debut studio album, AOID.  Their new album, GN (an abbreviation of ‘goodnight’) is released on 30th June on Topshelf Records.

Ratboys’ music is charming, instantly familiar, indie folk, alt pop, post-country songs that err towards a down-to-earth, uncomplicated simplicity.  Just what is needed in these times of austerity, gloom and chaos.

Julia Steiner - Ratboys

On GN, I’m hearing echoes of Kim Deal, The Breeders, and the country-edged Sheryl Crow. Ratboys manage to effortless capture a little piece of a hazy summer daze in their understated, feel good guitar-led pop songs.

The songs on GN  “largely detail experiences of saying goodbye, finding your way home, and then figuring out what the hell to do once you’re back,” says Steiner.

The album’s lead single, “Control” sounds instantly familiar, like I loved this band for years.  I find myself humming along, foot-tapping, head-bobbing to an infectious tune.

GN offers a box of tales, laments and triumphs, which recount near-tragedies by the train tracks, crippling episodes of loneliness, remembrances of a deceased family pet with freezer burn, and on and on. The songs shift and breathe as worlds all their own, tied together by the group’s self-proclaimed ‘post-country’ sound, which combines moments of distortion and a DIY aesthetic with a devotion to simple songwriting and ties to the Americana sounds of years past.

The songs chosen to close both sides of the record – the slow-burning “Crying About the Planets’” and quizzical “Peter the Wild Boy” – unpack the respective journeys of two real people who were quite literally lost and found. “”Crying” tells the survival story of Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson from a first-person perspective, and “Peter” reflects on the life of a feral child in Germany who was eventually adopted by the King of England,” according to Steiner.

Ratboys guitarist Dave Sagan

Certain personal stories – the tour adventures recapped in “GM,” the struggle to learn to show affection as divulged in “Molly” – find Ratboys just as eagerly exploring subject matter that comes from within, and then illustrating the highs and lows with soaring hooks and plaintive ones. Even in the moments that lie somewhere between bliss and misery, a tension persists between Steiner’s sweet vocal delivery and Sagan’s physical, almost-off-the-hinges guitar playing that lends each song a deeper sense of colour and movement.

Come December, I will confidently predict that GN will appear on every well respected ‘best albums of 2017’ list.

Ratboys –  GN  Track List:

Molly
Elvis is in the Freezer
Westside
Control
Crying About the Planets
Dangerous Visions
Wandered
GM
The Record
Peter the Wild Boy

 Ratboys new album, GN is released on 30th June via Topshelf Records on vinyl, CD, cassette and digital download.

Travis Pike Feelin’ Good with State Records

 Travis Pike & The Brattle Street East - State RecordsTravis Pike & The Brattle Street EastWatch Out Woman / The Way That I Need You
500 copies on 7” vinyl State Records
Release Date: 10th July 2017

With a career dating back to 1963, Bostonian living legend Travis Pike has had more than five decades in the music business, but the casual listener could be forgiven for not being familiar with his name.

Releasing only 2 singles under his own name on obscure labels (the ballad “Don’t Hurt Me Again”, backed by The Montclairs’ “Feelin’ Good”, released on Pike Productions to tie in with the film release – more about that in due course, and the incredible garage-psych classic “If I Didn’t Love You Girl”, credited to Travis Pike’s Tea Party, Alma Records, 1967), Travis first found his love of song writing when he composed the title track for “Demo Derby”, a 28-minute featurette produced by his father, James A. Pike, which ran as second feature to “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964, enjoying much success as a result.

Joining the US Navy and stationed in Germany, he then experienced a degree of fame in Hamburg’s legendary Star-Club, billed as “Teddy Pike—Twist And Show Sensation”, before a car accident and resulting shattered ankle brought his twisting days to an abrupt end, and Travis returned to the US in late 1964.

Fast-forward almost 2 years to early 1966, and Pike Productions was ready to make another film, this time aiming to produce the “antithesis of the beach party flicks”, then very popular on the West Coast. While recuperating from his injury and operation, Travis taught himself to play guitar and got busy composing. 10 of his original songs were eventually used in the movie “Feelin’ Good”, including the 2 tracks presented here, featuring Travis himself backed by Oedipus And His Mothers, renamed The Brattle Street East; mixed race group, The Montclairs, who also made a brief appearance in the film, performed two more of Travis’ songs. As inconceivable as it seems today, the inclusion of such a group caused a major issue for the film’s distributors in the Southern states, who declined to book the movie unless the ‘offending’ scene was cut. To his credit, James Pike refused to censor his film; unfortunately, it cost him the level of success he had experienced with “Demo Derby”, and the film sank with little trace.

Fast-forward (again) almost 50 years to 2012, and Travis was able to locate three of the film’s original five reels, successfully restoring 6 music sequences, which he subsequently posted to YouTube, so at least some of “Feelin’ Good” can now be seen and appreciated by a wider audience than its original (limited) theatrical release would have allowed.

State Records are to release 2 of the tracks for the first time, officially authorised and sanctioned by Travis himself, as a limited edition vinyl 7” single in glorious MONO!

Watch Out Woman / The Way That I Need You by Travis Pike & The Brattle Street East is scheduled for a 500 copies limited 7″ vinyl single release on State Records on 10th July 2017.