It’s been 20 years since Kula Shaker exploded into the UK Britpop Scene with their million selling debut album K. Their brand of esoteric psychedelic pop rock, full of Eastern mysticism made them one the most unique (often termed eccentric) of the Brit Pop bands in the 1990s.
This year Kula Shaker are back together playing intense live performances as witnessed at the Roundhouse earlier this year. Govinda sung entirely in Sanskrit and the only Sanskrit top 10 UK single ever, is still chanted by the crowds that attend the shows. Tattva, Hey Dude, through to the hit single Hush are all great songs that still sound as fresh today, 20 years on.
Further celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of the ‘K’ album will see the band performing ‘K’ in its entirety, alongside songs from the rest of their four albums, on their UK December tour.
On the eve of the London Olympics, Saturday 28 July, it seems apt that the Sound Island Music Festival will be paying homage to the ‘Best of British’, flying the patriotic flag high, with a host of top British bands that helped rock the 90s. We can now announce that a spark of ‘Madchester’, fused with some ‘Cool Britannia’, will open what is probably the Kent coastline’s biggest summer music event, in true Britpop style.
Headline band James, who are perhaps best-known for their hit singles of the 1990’s – Sit Down, Come Home and She’s A Star – will take centre stage. They’ll be capping a night which includes Echo & The Bunnymen whose chart-topping music includes The Cutter, The Killing Moon and Nothing Lasts Forever preceded by a much anticipated performance by the recently reformed, multi-platinum band, Cast, whose live performances have been described by Noel Gallagher as a truly “religious experience”.
Crowds will also be treated to performances from, Inspiral Carpets, who are arguably amongst the most popular band to emerge from the early 1990’s ‘Madchester’ scene;, The Farm, best known for their chart topping album Spartacus which spawned the anthemic All Together Now and, British indie-rock band Space who came to prominence in the 1990’s with singles such as Female of the Species, Neighbourhood, Avenging Angels and The Ballad of Tom Jones.
The mercurial English band James came out of the fertile early 1980s Manchester post-punk scene. Combining an acerbic wit with honest yearning, the band’s vision – which a writer in ‘Musician’ called “eclectic, theatrical and introspective” – kept James relatively underground for many years. It was with the release of Goldmother, in the early 90s, just as the ‘Madchester’ movement, with its wave of popular Manchester-based indie bands, focused public attention on James and won them mainstream recognition.
Singles How Was It for You, the remixed Come Home, and Lose Control, all made the Top 40, and the band’s newfound success was re-affirmed when they played two sell-out dates at the Manchester G-Mex at the end of the year. In March 1991, the popularity of Sit Down, led to a re-recorded version being released as a single, reaching #2 in the UK Singles Chart and became one of the biggest-selling singles of the year.
Following the departure of lead singer Tim Booth in 2001, the band became inactive, but reformed in 2007 for a new album and international tour. Now, more than two-decades since first forming, James has sold more than 25-million albums worldwide
Commenting on the announcement, concert spokesperson Dion Clements said “Across the weekend The Sound Island Festival aims to cater for different verse tastes in music. The decade of the nineties, Madchester and Britpop is very much back in vogue so we opted to start this years Festival with several of the hottest acts from of the period. Sunday features Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks, two of the hottest acts in music today, providing a truly eclectic offering of some of the highest quality music”
The concert will take place at Sound Island Festival, Quex Park, Birchington-On-Sea, on Saturday, 28 July.
For more information, or to book tickets for the event, visit www.gigantic.com, or call the 24hr ticketline 0844 888 9991 / 08712 200260.
Tickets can also be booked from www.quexpark.co.uk / 01843-848826 or www.margatewintergardens.co.uk / 01843-292795 and locally by personally visiting the Margate Winter Gardens.
Following the announcement that celebrated Brit rockers, Reef, are to release an exceptional and innovative box set in March, we can now reveal the full and comprehensive tracklisting.
Available to buy on 26th March 2012 Reef release their complete recorded works in this all-encompassing box set. Spanning across their ten year career, the 9 CD and 1 DVD package features every commercial song recorded, including their very first demo ‘The Purple Tape’ – which lead to the band being signed to Sony – as well as b-sides, demos, live tracks, rarities and previously un-released and un-heard material. The DVD includes all music promo videos, TV appearances and interviews and some home movie footage capturing the story of this iconic ‘90’s band.
Beautifully packaged the box set also contains a 64-page booklet featuring never-before-seen pictures of the band, a 12” vinyl of their newly arranged 5th album (Lucky #5), a vintage poster and a replica demo of their ‘Purple Tape’ sessions.
The full tracklisting is detailed below.
For this very special release PledgeMusic teamed up with the Metropolis Group to bring together this Ultimate Collectors boxset for the band, which was made available for pre-order in November 2011.
This partnership provides a direct-to-fan project giving Reef followers the chance to get first access and exclusive bonus content with the release of this new product.
In addition, Reef are making available a range of unique ‘pledger only’ items to their fans via be www.pledgemusic.com/projects/reef which include:
• Signed Reef photographs
• Signed drumskins and sticks
• Limited edition T-Shirts
• Boxset & gig ticket bundles
Gary Stringer, lead singer of Reef says: “We are properly stoked to finally have all the Reef music in one place …… we’ve enjoyed looking back at our original 10 year blast from a fresh perspective and now fans and new friends alike can do the same with this great box set.”
To coincide with the release, the band will be playing two exclusive shows for 100 people at West London’s Metropolis Studios on 23rd and 24th March 2012. To gain tickets, fans will need to pre-order the boxset (priced at £200 inc. ticket, or £125 without) www.pledgemusic.com/projects/reef. Further exclusives will be available via Pledge Music.
Reef formed in 1993, signing to Sony imprint S2 Records the following year. Their debut 1995 album ‘Replenish’ achieved Gold status and saw the band play shows with the Rolling Stones, Paul Weller and Soundgarden.
The follow up to Replenish, 1997’s ‘Glow’ stormed the UK Charts at Number 1 and included the single ‘Place Your Hands’. In 1999 the band released ‘Rides’ (George Drakoulias) and in the same year the band saw off the likes of Oasis and Pulp to win the Music Industry’s Soccer Six competition. Rides was followed by the poppier sounding ‘Getaway’ produced by Al Clay (Pixies, Stereophonics) in 2000 which was most notable for the single ‘Set The Record Straight’. Always a favourite at shows and Festivals alike, the band made many high profile appearances during this period, including Glastonbury and Reading festivals.
This incredible box set compiles all these phenomenal successes and lovingly documents the story of how West Country’s finest sons went from fledgling band to one of the best loved rock acts of the nineties.
Reef Complete 93/03
Disc 1: 93/95
1. Feed Me
3. Good Feeling
8. Choose To Live
Disc 2: 95/97
1. Place Your Hands
2. I Would Have Left You
3. Summer’s In Blooming
4. Lately Stomping
6. Don’t You Like It?
7. Come Back Brighter
8. Higher Vibration
9. I’m Not Scared
10. Robot Riff
11. Yer Old
Disc 3: 97/99
1. New Bird
2. I’ve Got Something To Say
7. Locked Inside
8. Back In My Place
9. Undone And Sober
10. Who Are You
11. Love Feeder
12. Moaner Snap
13. Funny Feeling
14. Electric Sunday
Disc 4: 99/00
1. Set The Record Straight
5. All I Want
6. Hold On
8. Won’t You Listen?
11. I Do Not Know What They Will Do
Disc 5: Lucky Number 5
1. Lucky Number
2. Give Me Your Love
3. Stone For Your Love
4. Talk To Me
5. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
6. Say What You Want
7. Love Having You Around
8. Steal Away
9. Thank You Baby
Disc 6: B-Sides Vol. 1
2. Fade (Demo Version)
3. Sunrise Shakers
4. Acoustic One
5. Water Over Stone
7. The Snob
9. It’s Not What I Need
10. Hawaiian Tooth
11. Back Into Line
13. New Thinking
Disc 7: B-Sides Vol. 2
1. Foot One
3. Triumphant Anthem
5. This Day
6. Gentle Morning
8. Life Seems So Clean
9. Nothing Town
10. Inside Outside
11. Bloody Mary
12. Nothing Can Change The Fact
13. Whistle Down
14. War Pigs
Disc 8: Live/Rarities
1. Place Your Hands (Live At Wireless)
2. Summer’s In Bloom (Live At Wireless)
3. Come Back Brighter (Live At Wireless)
4. Repulsive (Live Liquid Room Tokyo)
5. Speak Lark (Live Liquid Room Tokyo)
6. Naked (Live Liquid Room Tokyo)
7. Yer Old (Live From Derby)
8. Choose To Live (Live From Norwich)
9. War Pigs – Live
10. Saturday – Live
11. Talk To Me – Live
12. Wake (Live Royal Albert Hall 1994)
13. Good Feeling (Live Royal Albert Hall 1994)
14. Feed Me (Live Royal Albert Hall 1994)
15. End (Live Royal Albert Hall)
Disc 9: Demonstrator
1. Higher Vibration
2. Lately Stomping
3. New Bird
4. Stone For Your Love (Demo)
5. Thank You Baby (Demo)
6. Steal Away (Demo)
7. Talk To Me (Demo)
8. Unsocial Animal (Demo)
9. Young Man (Demo)
10. Don’t You Like It When I’m High (Writing Demo)
11. Soft Song (Consideration Writing Demo)
12. It’s Not What I Need (Writing Demo)
13. Robot Part (Orinoco Jam)
14. That’s Entertainment
15. Mellow (Hallucinogenic Vocal Pass)
16. Daze (Unreleased Demo)
17. Sweety (Live At Stepping Stone Studio)
Disc 10 (DVD): Videotape
1. Good Feeling
4. Weird (Christian Stevenson Edit)
5. Place Your Hands
6. Come Back Brighter
8. Yer Old
9. I’ve Got Something To Say
11. New Bird
12. Set The Record Straight
14. All I Want
15. Give Me Your Love
Live & Rarities
1. Sony Minidisc Advert (1994)
2. Good Feeling (from ‘The Word’) (1995)
3. Naked (from ‘Glastonbury 97’)
4. Place Your Hands (from ‘Glastonbury 97’)
5. Come Back Brighter (from ‘TOTP 97’)
6. Yer Old (from ‘TOTP 97’)
7. I’ve Got Something To Say (from ‘TOTP 99’)
8. Set The Record Straight (from ‘TOTP 00’)
9. Live At Jack’s Flat (2000)
10. Start Me Up (from ‘TOTP Re:Union 01’)
11. War Pigs (from ‘Re:Covered 03’)
Cassette Tape: The Purple Tape
1. Second Chance
2. Good Feeling
ReefComplete 93/03 is due for release on 26th March 2012.
On 20 February Fire Records will reissue It (1983), Freaks (1987) and Separations (1992).
Britpop has been retired for some 15 summers now. It showered itself in glory for two bright years but the fame became too powerful and Britpop eventually swallowed itself whole, omitting the painful stench of excessive flatulence as it went.
However, sat slippered and bloated in its easy armchair, it can look back with pride on some of the cheeky scamps it spawned; mouthy chancers who could write glorious pop songs with verve and wit. And at the heart of that family is the bastard child called Pulp. The gangly, gawky interloper who finally found a home and friends in the mid 90s. But for Pulp, the story had begun long, long ago.
Three is not the magic number for Pulp. The band’s fourth album, His ‘n Hers, finally propelled them from the wings where they’d waited for 16 years. Most bands would have given up long before. But then most bands don’t have a Jarvis Cocker at their heart. And Jarvis Cocker’s strange and beguiling heart beats throughout the band’s first three albums.
Perhaps in light of Pulp’s recent comeback, Fire Records has decided to reissue the band’s early back catalogue: It (1983), Freaks (1987) and Separations (1992). Some of the tracks previously appeared on Countdown: 1992-1983, which Cocker compared to a “garish old family photo album” on its release and urged fans not to waste their money.
Like the awkward teenager, whose skin is too taunt for misplaced bones, Pulp needed time to grow into themselves. So it’s fair to say that, on their own, neither of these reissues is a pop classic. But then it can be fun flicking through old photo albums.
It is a collection of folky, whimsical portraits, all summer haze in the daisy parks. Cocker’s love of Scott Walker shines through on tracks like My Lighthouse and Wishful Thinking. And there are vocal mirrors reflecting the inflections of Morrissy. The acoustic arrangements are sparse and the lyrical honesty is a world-apart from the word-played wit that became Cocker’s calling card.
Jump forward four years to 1987 and Cocker has collected a new set of musicians, including Russell Senior, who would become an integral part of the band. Senior expanded Pulp’s sonic range, giving Cocker the scope to travel through darker landscapes. On Freaks his voice has changed, from the earnest wonderings on It, to a brooding, half-spoken, half-sung delivery, telling tales on the seedier underbelly of suburbia. The album is a midnight fairground ride, ringing with carnival chords borrowed from The Doors and an art-school ethic straight from the Velvet Underground.
By the time Separations was released in 1992, three years after it was recorded, Pulp already had pop gems including Babies and Lipgloss in their set. The album can’t match the band’s evolving songwriting skills and it never quite reaches the claustrophobic heights of Freaks. However, the first half showcases Cocker’s growing confidence and lyrical mischief: Don’t You Want Me Anymore contains the fantastic line “I’ve never seen you look as ugly as you did that night”. The second side of the album is an experiment with acid house stylings. It never quite works but did spawn the brooding frustrations of My Legendary Girlfriend.
Pulp fans will lap up the reissues. However, the albums are also well worth exploring on their own terms, especially Freaks. They contain all of the pieces that Pulp would eventually meld together; humour, pop-eared radars, delicious hooks and a kitchen sink disposition. Some bands were born and died within the confines of Britpop. Pulp were much too smart to implode. Their roots stretch back to 1978 and the strange teenage visions of Jarvis Cocker. Exploring those visions across a changing landscape is time and money well spent. All three albums have been remastered and repackaged and come complete with bonus tracks and liner notes from Everett True.
Kicking up a bit of a buzz since being premiered on Radio 1’s Zane Lowe show towards the end of last year and gaining support from all the relevant radio and media outlets during the last few weeks, Little Comets will release their new single Joanna on January 17th.
The new single follows hot on the heels of one of my personal favourite singles of last year, the anthemic Isles which was released in October.
The band are also giving away an incredible alternative version of the single which they have called Joannacapella which is exactly what the title says, an acapella version of the song.
You can listen and download Joannacapella here:
Definitely a band to watch out for in 2011, here is the excellent video to accompany the new single:
Little Comets – Joanna
The single release precedes the brand new album from Little Comets enigmatically entitled ‘In Search Of Elusive Little Comets‘ which will be available on January 31st 2011.