Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Primary Colours – album review

Eddy Current Suppression Ring release their second album, Primary Colours on Melodic Records
Eddy Current Suppression Ring release their second album, Primary Colours on Melodic Records

Eddy Current Suppression Ring release their second album, Primary Colours on Melodic Records.  Release date: August 18th 2009

From the moment I hit play I was taken back to the dirty record shop up the street from where I grew up; back in the day you could find me hunting through stacks of old records searching for bands like The Fall and Wire.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring, bring a contemporary, truly carefree feel to the post-punk genre that frankly has been missing in recent years.

This Aussie group has been receiving rave reviews back in Australia with Primary Colours reaching number six on the national album charts, and recently going on to win the Australian Music Prize (the equivalent to the Mercury Music Prize), and its not hard to see why. The album is defined by powerful riffs and an almost lazy tension, that some how holds it all together creating an album that feels rather rough around the edges – but in the best way.

Primary colours, the second album by Eddy Current Suppression Ring, is a mix of post punk, rolling power ballads like Wrapped Up, to fun almost dancy tracks like We’ll Be Turned On. From beginning to end, the album maintains a fun energetic vibe that has listeners reminiscing of ’80s post-punk mixed in with a little bit of surf.

Marking a bit of a departure from the ’76 sound of their first ep, this band has clearly developed there sound becoming less frantic and slightly more palatable.  Full of finely crafted guitar riffs and the occasional debut of a synthesizer, this album overall is pretty kick ass and should not be missed.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring Primary Colours tracklist:

1. Memory Lane
2. Sunday’s Coming
3. Wrapped Up
4. Colour Television
5. Inside Of Me
6. I Admit My Faults
7. Which Way To Go
8. You Let Me Be Honest With You
9. We’ll Be Turned On
10. I Don’t Wanna Play No More

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIX6YbpJ5wM

Latitude Music Festival – Doves, Spiritualized, Mika, Band Of Skulls

Latitude Festival: photo by Paul Wesley Griggs
Latitude Festival: photo by Paul Wesley Griggs

Latitude Festival Music Stages
There were four main music stages at this year’s festival: Obelisk (main stage) Arena and The Lake Stage were open air, while the Uncut and Sunrise Arenas were in tents.

Latitude Festival Highlights – Saturday 25th July

Band Of Skulls – Sunrise Arena
After surviving a thunder & lightning worthy of building an ark, let alone sleeping rough in a tent, I returned to the woods on day two of the Latitude Festival to watch Band Of Skulls play their heavy, post-grunge indie rock to an enthusiastic gathering on the Sunrise Arena.

This was an early afternoon set with the bright sun beaming through the trees.  But the Band Of Skulls sound was bass-throbbing heavy, and quite literally shook me up.  Playing tracks from their wonderfully titled current debut album, Baby Darling Doll Faced Honey, including the anthemic sing-a-long  chorus of I Know What I Am and the slower, brooding, lighter-fuelled Fires.

At times Band Of Skulls lighten the mood, drop the distorted guitars and with Honest sound more folk than rock.  They may have a rubbish name but when they want to, they really rock!

Mika – Uncut Arena
Begrudgingly, I accompanied my 12 year old son to watch Mika play the Uncut Stage.  We missed the first three or four songs & entered the stage with Mika sitting at the piano playing, as it was billed, an acoustic set.  I lasted just two songs before asking my son if he was bored.  He said to give it one more song.

Just then two cannons fired a continuous stream of confetti over an audience full of young children and mothers.  Then, unexpectedly Mika climbed on a platform, possible his piano, and a full band stood up.  The show came alive with a lively version of Big Girls from his award winning debut album Life In Cartoon Motion.

Though not my style of music, I certainly appreciated the effort Mika was putting into the performance, as he leaped all over the stage, orchestrating the audience in clapping along in time with the up tempo beat.

To end the set, Mika made himself visible to all once again, this time sporting an American Indian headdress and playing a trashcan which was tied to his chest like a big bass drum. Whoops and screams, mainly from the mothers rather than the kids made for a great atmosphere and reminded me that, after all we were all here to enjoy ourselves.  And for his part, Mika put on a great show.

Doves – Obelisk (main stage) Arena
Of all the artists playing Latitude this year, it was Doves I was looking forward to seeing most.  When at their best they make perfect alternative pop songs that make me smile and want to swing my arms around in a state of happiness; and that’s exactly what I did.

Like Pet Shop Boys the night before, Doves remarked on what a beautiful festival it was and how it was great to see families in the audience.  The rain stayed away as Doves played songs from their current album, Kingdom Of Rust as well as old favourites like The Cedar Room, Pounding as well as the Motown beat sounding Black & White Town; and before making way for Grace Jones, finished a wonderful set with a perfect rendition of There Goes The Fear, complete with a familiar live Latin-style percussion finale.

Before thanking the audience and wishing them a good weekend, bass player and main vocalist Jimi Goodwin prematurely introduced the headline act on the Main Stage, by saying “…and heeeeeeeeeere’s Grace!”

Spiritualized – Uncut Arena
I confess that I am not that familiar with Jason ‘Spaceman’ Pierce and in all honesty hadn’t given Spiritualized the time due to not liking Pierce’s previous band, Spaceman 3.  So it was with no expectations that I agreed to watch Spiritualized in preference over the Grace Jones show, which I knew was going to be exciting, flamboyant, and full of costume changes and a great live spectacle.

The Uncut Arena filled to capacity and looking around the audience it seemed that a large majority were big fans eagerly awaiting something special. Maybe they knew what to expect.  But I had no idea.  Dub reggae played until the lights dimmed to the delight of the audience.  I could feel the anticipation grow as a few pushed further forward towards the stage as if to get closer to the main man – Jason Pierce. After all, I think I’m right in saying; Spiritualized is simply a vehicle for his musical ideas.

The band started with a slow, grinding, buzz guitar noise.  Constant, heavy but in no way rocking as Pierce nonchalantly murmured the lyrics of Amazing Grace.  It was enough to grab my attention and make others whoop and cheer as the sound was left to drop a decibel or two before the second track burst in, all guns blazing.  Everything and I mean EVERYTHING had instantly been turned up to 11 and the strobes were having their own epileptic fit, let alone causing one!

Still the song was slow, grinding with a buzz guitar that filled the air like we were all crammed into a telephone box.  The sound was deafening but strangely not too loud.  I can only explain the music as being like a very slow version of My Bloody Valentine at their best. This was great.  This was something very special.  So special that I wondered if all Spiritualized gigs were like this, or I was witnessing one of those shows, like the Jesus & Mary Chain North London Poly “Riot Gig” I will be able to say “I was there!”

The songs weren’t familiar to me.  But they were to those around me.  The music was mostly a slow burning psychedelic alternative rock.  At times twisted, archaic prog rock elements; always self-indulgent and trippy.  But then there were clear moments of Gram Parsons / The Byrds alt. Country and even a soft thrash that reminded me of Ace Of Spades by Motorhead (Come Together) rather than Pink Floyd’s Us & Them.

With my unfamiliarity I made a few of my own reference points to reminiscent sounds I could hear drift in and out.  Mazzy Starr, The Stooges, My Bloody Valentine, Pink Floyd, Gram Parsons & The Byrds and also black gospel music.  I don’t wish to offend anyone who holds Spiritualized in high places.

If you are reading this and you are now thinking of going to a Spiritualized gig then I have probably spoilt it for you because you are now going to expect a live show to blow your mind.  But I can honestly say in the past 25 years there haven’t been many performances that have left me feeling quite so speechless.

Live in the City concert celebrates the unveilling of new Manchester City strip

mcfc_gig_by_smatthes_01Last Friday night, July 17th, at the City of  Manchester Stadium the Live in the City concert took place to celebrate the unveilling of Manchester City Football Club’s 2009 Umbro designed strip.

The Manchester legends Doves bought the Live in the City event to a close with a storming headline set supported by up and coming local talent including the hotly tipped Twisted Wheel, Kid British and Answering Machine as well as a performance from Manchester City’s own Kickz project.

DJ icon Mike Pickering, Hacienda original, hyped the crowd up for the arrival of Doves with an upbeat session of Manchester classics, earning rapturous applause from the crowd before the headline act.

The free concert was arranged by Manchester City Football Club and Umbro to promote the club’s new football strip, the 5,000 audience had received tickets to the concert when pre ordering the new kit.

This innovative launch, which sought to reward true fans for their support through a celebration of Manchester culture, is the first part of a ten-year brand partnership between Umbro and Manchester City FC.

Luke Jackson …And Then Some: album review

Luke Jackson – …And Then Some released on Popsicle Recordings
Luke Jackson orchestrates a feelgood ride that flows through easy listening, folk and commercial pop with echoes of Nick Drake, Nick Heyward, The Cure and Oasis pop.

Watch the video for Come Tomorrow

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4-BOVa9Qgc

This album is the result of a seven-year email correspondence which culminated in a meeting between Luke Jackson and Magnus Börjeson.

Jackson had been a fan of two of the Swedish musician’s former bands: Beagle and Favorita, and the two songwriters finally met in Paris where Magnus was mid-tour playing in another Swedish group, The Cardigans.

Robert Kirby (Nick Drake, Elvis Costello, John Cale etc) wrote orchestrations for the album and accompanied Luke Jackson to Sweden to conduct the necessary recording sessions with nine players from Malmö’s Opera Orchestra.

Luke had managed to bring together two of his most beloved musical worlds: the pop sensibilities of his friends in Sweden, and the distinctive eloquence of Robert Kirby’s string arrangements. It is the collision of these two worlds which makes …And Then Some so compelling. Densely layered guitars and vocal harmonies fuse with sweeping string lines, none of which ever draw the ear too far from what lies at the heart of Luke’s music…gorgeous, expressive, unpretentious songs born of the trials and tribulations of a life lived to the fullest.

The brand new animated video for Goodbye London was written and directed by Murray John whose prior credits include AC/DC and the Rolling Stones’ last world tour animation and work with Badly Drawn Boy and Roxette, amongst others.

Watch the video for Goodbye London

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8nrDz1xNFE

For more information visit www.myspace.com/luke_jackson

Debut Album: Earth and Earthly Things by Cutaways

Cutaways debut album: Earth and Earthly Things
Cutaways debut album: Earth and Earthly Things

Cutways debut album, Earth and Earthly Things, is an energetic introduction into the upbeat, delirious and dizzying world of the Cutaways jagged and boisterous indie pop music.

The synth-driven indie-pop trio has made a name for themselves over the past year with their shouty boy-girl vocals and pounding beats, accompanied by catchy pop hooks. Featured last year on BBC Radio One’s ‘Introducing Session’, their debut album has been highly anticipated.

The 12-track debut album is full of odd tempos and chaotic interludes. Although it often feels as like their songs are spiralling into complete chaos, they always seem to maintain an over arching sense of coherence, that only highlights their pop sensibilities. However, this can make the album quite hard to access at first and it was only after a few listens that I found myself absorbed in the rhythm and playfulness that underpins Earth and Earthly Things.

Despite initially feeling under whelmed by the album, as I began to listen closely to the harmonic punchy construction of their songs, I realized that every song had something truly new and creative to offer it’s listeners.

Cutaways will be playing a number of shows over the summer throughout the UK to promote their new album. Known for their vibrant performances, which have featured everything from rap cameos to impromptu puppet shows, they promise to deliver something a little out of the ordinary – much like their music.

Cutaways: Earth and Earthly Things track listing:

1. Mile of Kroton
2. Weapons of Choice
3. I Spilled Your Drink So You Broke My Heart
4. Hey Map My Way
5. Wrong Causes, Right Words
6. Early Things
7. A Better Paul
8. Lovers Are Lunatics
9. I Don’t Understand What You Don’t Say
10. Secret Distance
11. Lights
12. Fight To The Death

For more information visit www.myspace.com/cutaways & www.WeAreCutaways.co.uk