Suede have announced that they will release their seventh album, and their second since reforming, Night Thoughts, on January 22, 2016.
The first track to be made available from the album is ‘Outsiders’ which features a guitar line reminiscent of 80s goth (in a good way, obviously).
The tracklisting for the album is as follows:
1. When You Are Young
3. No Tomorrow
4. Pale Snow
5. I Don’t Know How To Reach You
6. What I’m Trying To Tell You
8. Learning To Be
9. Like Kids
10. I Can’t Give Her What She Wants
11. When You Were Young
12. The Fur & The Feathers
PLEASE NOTE: I am in the process of moving. Updating of the blog may be a bit sporadic for the next couple of weeks. All those putting in submissions, please bear in mind it will be a while before I can attend to much of them.
Over the course of two great albums Eleven, Return and Revert and Wilderness, and the a couple of EPs, Midas Fall have set out their stall as a unique-sounding band. Led by Vocalist Elizabeth Heaton and guitarist Rowan Burn, their mixture of post-rock, progressive rock, electronica and trip-hop, topped off with those vocals and that guitar-work have made the band an exciting proposition to those who have encountered them.
So yes: I write this review as a confirmed and proud fan. But here’s the thing: even whilst I’m predisposed to enjoy this album, I truly hold The Menagerie Inside to be their best and most accomplished album yet. It starts right from the off with album opener ‘Push’ led by a classical sounding piano that owes far more to early twentieth century classical work than pop music of the last sixty years or so. Yet prog can sometimes be shorthand for self-indulgent and goes on forever – Midas Fall understand how to write rock songs and if they ever had tendencies to go on and on, there’s no evidence of that on their albums. The longest track here ‘The Morning Asked And I Said No’ is six and a half minutes long.
Looking back over past reviews of the band, I remember that I was initially sceptical when the first press release described Ms. Heaton’s vocals as haunting. Like ‘ethereal’ it’s a word that can make music critics suspicious through its overuse. But it definitely applies here, one of many things that makes this such an exciting record. It’s more keyboard driven than before and the violin on ‘Counting Colours’ could bring a tear to a glass eye.
How do I know I like this record so much? Well, given how many albums drop onto the mat and into my inbox I have no shortage of music to listen to. But I have kept coming back to this album, again and again. As well as the aforementioned songs, other highlights include ‘Tramadol Baby’ and ‘Counting Colours.’
Will this record appeal to everyone? I don’t know that there are many records that do, to be honest. But what I would hope is that this is the record that finally takes Midas Fall to the heights of commercial success that they so richly deserve.
It may have been a bit quieter around here than late – that’s because I’m in the middle of getting ready to move house and I’m up to my eyeballs in boxes. So, the blog isn’t going on hiatus, it’s just that I’ve got a lot to do.
So keep checking in, and in the meantime I’d like to share two things with you.
First up is the forthcoming mixtape from the wonderful Angel Haze, entitled Back To The Woods. While I haven’t heard this from start to finish I loved her debut album Dirty Gold, and the bits I have heard so far from this mixtape are fantastic.
Meanwhile, I did manage to stream this today, Battles’ third album La Di Da Di. It’s released this Friday and is another enjoyably mental album from the band. No vocals this time – just music…
Everything But The Girl -’Walking Wounded’/'Temperamental.’ (Edsel)
June 1995. It’s my first Glastonbury. Amongst the many acts I see that weekend are Everything But The Girl. A few months back singer Tracey Thorn has guested on Massive Attack’s Protection album, and and she and musical partner Ben Watt collaborate with Jeff Buckley on the stage that day on a cover of The Smiths’ ‘I Know It’s Over.’ This is the calm before the storm…
A few months later, ‘Missing’ a track from their then most-recent Amplified Heart, is remixed by Todd Terry and goes on to become their biggest hit worldwide. And a band who had impeccable indie credentials, and yet had been perceived as moving to the middle of the road are suddenly reborn as a successful dance act.
1996′s Walking Wounded was the duo’s most successful album, and saw them suddenly a lot more in vogue than they had been in over a decade. The title track saw them experimenting successfully with drum’n'bass, but electronica and house found a place here, too. ‘Wrong’ and ‘Single’ were also huge hits. And deservedly so, but it wasn’t that Everything But The Girl had drastically changed their songwriting, but the delivery was in tune with the zeitgeist of the time. This album was well-received then, and it has dated extremely well. (****1/2)
1999′s Temperamental followed in a similar vein, but it’s not as strong as an album. Both re-issue packages come with a disc of bonus tracks and remixes and what this tends to show up is that ‘Full Fathom Five’ the lead-off single and opening track was one of the weakest tracks here in its original form (I could listen to these remixes for hours). ‘Low Tide Of The Night’ the second track seems too like generic house, but after that the album finds its feet, including the lovely ‘Lullaby Of Clubland’ and closing with the Deep Dish collaboration ‘The Future Of The Future (Stay Gold).’
Thus far, it’s been the last studio album from the couple. Both have pursued solo careers, even though they are married with children (understandably they wanted to raise their children out of the public eye). Watt and Thorn have both published two books apiece (well worth reading, if you haven’t already done so). Hopefully they will work on another EBTG album, but the re-issues show a) how to do a re-issue package and b) how to successfully reinvent yourself as a musical act while staying true to yourselves.
Walking Wounded and Temperamental are out now on Edsel
Richard Thompson/The Rails
Edinburgh Queen’s Hall, September 6
I’ve starting to lose count of how many times I’ve seen Richard Thompson live over the last ten years, but it was an unexpected benefit to find that the support act this evening was The Rails, comprised of his daughter Kami Thompson and his son-in-law James Walbourne. Though this isn’t acknowledged until the headline act, it’s a wisely chosen support act. The close harmonies of this husband and wife team are fantastic and even to those not familiar with their music (for shame!) are won over. Shortly to release a new EP Australia, we get a fantastic set comprising songs from the new EP, including the title track, ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’ and ‘Willow Tree.’ They also give us songs from their debut album Fair Warning, including ‘The Panic Attack Blues’ which James tells us was written after going on a bender with Shane MacGowan. They conclude their set with a cover of Edwyn Collins (their favourite Scotsman – he’s produced them), entitled ‘Low Expectations.’ Whilst not one of Collins’ better-known songs, it certainly deserves to be.
Richard Thompson is on tour promoting his most recent album Still, amazingly his first top ten album in his native UK. Produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo fame, it’s yet another amazing collection of songs that shows why those in the know (and that number is still growing) rate him so highly. For his opening number he is joined by The Rails, observing that ‘nepotism will get you everywhere in this business.’ They start his set with ‘That’s Enough’ from the Thompson album Family. Thompson’s onstage banter has long been one of the joys of watching him live, telling us that the songs was written for the Occupy Wall Street Movement but a year too late, remarking ruefully that this is typical of his career. Not for the fans, Richard, not for the fans.
And it’s a career-spanning set. So highlights from Still like the album’s closer ‘Guitar Heroes’ (great on record, astonishing live) and ‘Beatnik Walking’ mingle in a set that stretches his career. Mostly backed by a pretty hot rhythm section, we do get two solo numbers, Fairport Convention’s ‘Meet On The Ledge’ followed by ‘Vincent Black Lightning 1952.’ The latter has been described as his attempt to write a ‘British road song’ and the intensity of his performance is something to behold. But we also get two numbers from Shoot Out The Lights ‘Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?’ and ‘Wall Of Death’ alongside ‘Al Bowlly’s In Heaven,’ ‘Dry My Tears And Move On’ and ‘For Shame Of Doing Wrong.’
Sure, I’m a big fan, what faults can I possibly pick? Well, I think he may have fluffed some of the words on ‘Vincent Black Lightning 1952′ and there’s lots of other songs from his back catalogue I’d love to have heard. But this is clutching at straws. In all seriousness: if I was told that I had to pick only one artist I could ever see live again, it would be Richard Thompson.
Now a few years later, two members of the band James McQueen (Vocals, guitar) and his brother Duncam (keys, vocals) along with drummer Callum Duncan are recording as The Carvelles. They’re gigging in Scotland and have just released their debut single ‘Walk Away.’ The b-side ‘Prologue’ is pretty good too. How good? Well, I played both tracks back to back for the entirety of my twenty minute journey to work the other day. Hugely enjoying this, make sure you turn it up LOUD.
(I’m not going to make excuses about not featuring Monster Jaw, but it’s certainly not their fault I haven’t got round to it before now).
Hailing from Leeds and Bradford, Monster Jaw are Mik Davis (Guitar, Vocals), Neil Short (Bass, Vocals), and Jon Bradford (Drums, Vocals). Roadmanaged by the legendary Joolz Denby (writer, poet, band manager, tattooist and much more), who also does their artwork, they’re working toward their first album, having released a cluster of EPs and singles over the last year.
They have just made this track available as a free download via their soundcloud as of yesterday. According to their facebook page the track ‘Your Day Will Come’ was written and recorded over a 24 hour period and features a unique string arrangement by acclaimed German composer Henning Nugel.
I have to confess I haven’t been watching Hannibal (though I rate the Hannibal films). But it is spectacularly good news that Siouxsie Sioux has made her first new music in eight years.
It’s taken from the finale of Series 3 of Hannibal and it’s entitled ‘Love Crime.’ I can’t find any information about when (or even whether) it will be released, so for now, enjoy the clip on YouTube:
There is, so far as I can find, no more news at this moment about whether this means there will be a new album or tour. And like this blog post, everything I have found on the ‘net is accompanied with a photo that’s not that recent…
Laurie Cameron -’The Girl Who Cried For The Boy Who Cried Wolf.’ (Glencoe Records)
This gorgeous album was one I was tipped off about by Kevin Buckle at Avalanche Records in Edinburgh. First of all, credit, where credit’s due; it’s a brilliant album. (And it’s great to see that at this point in musical history, record shops are still supporting independent artists.)
I don’t know a lot about Laurie Cameron – so I came to this album pretty much at face value. At points in the past I have had singer-songwriter fatigue, and yet a record like this forgives all sins committed under that banner. She hails from Perth, has supported the likes of Roddy Woomble and Frightened Rabbit (Frabbits’ Andy Monaghan contributes synth here) and with musical partner Ross Lorimer she has made one of the standout records of the year. Slightly folky, beautifully orchestrated and understated in the best possible way.
I drove home tonight to 17 Seconds Towers, alone in the car. I had this album on again, and was stunned once again by its’ beauty. The festival’s pretty well over and autumn’s on the way. Standout tracks like her version of Rabbie Burns’ The Slave’s Lament,’ ‘Rest and be thankful’ and the stunning title track are going to be the soundtrack to my autumn. And they should be to yours, too.
The Girl Who Cried For The Boy Who Cried Wolf is out now on Glencoe.
It’s now 20 years since then ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler linked up with the stunning singer David McAlmont for the first time, producing two classic singles in ‘Yes’ and ‘You Do’, both big hits, and with the attendant b-sides (remember those?) forming the basis of their debut album The Sound of McAlmont & Butler.
They’ve reunited subsequently throughout the last twenty years, as well as having successful solo careers, but with the news of a short tour in November, and a twentieth anniversary reissue of the debut album, why not share the stunning ‘no.8 hit that was ‘Yes?’ To me this is a song that still sounds fresh, whilst reminding me of the summer I left school. And still failing to understand why David McAlmont isn’t lauded as one of the best British singers of his generation. Funny buggers, humans…
And as a bonus, the other single they did in 1995 ‘You Do.’
The album is reissued on October 2 and the tracklisting is as follows:
1. Yes (Full Version)
2. What’s the Excuse This Time?
3. The Right Thing
5. Don’t Call It Soul
7. The Debitor
8. How About You?
10. You’ll Lose a Good Thing
11. You Do (Full Length Version)
2. Yes (Four Track Demo)
3. Yes (Instrumental)
4. You Do
5. You Do (Mix 1)
6. Don’t Call It Soul
7. Don’t Call It Soul (Original Single Version)
8. How About You? (Original Single Version)
9. Tonight (Oompah Demo)
10. You Do
11. Walk On
12. Tonight (Overnight)
13. What’s the Excuse This Time?
14. Yes (Bernard Butler & Nigel Godrich 1995 Remix)
15. The Argument
The accompanying DVD is as follows:
1. Yes (Promo Video)
2. You Do (Promo Video)
3. Yes (‘Top of the Pops’, 18/05/95)
4. Yes (‘Top of the Pops’, 25/05/95)
5. Yes (‘Later. With Jools Holland’, 10/06/95)
6. You Do (‘Later. With Jools Holland’, 10/06/95)
7. You Do (‘Top of the Pops’, 02/11/95)
8. McAlmont Vs Butler (Interview)
9. Don’t Call It Soul (Live Acoustic, June 2015, London, NW6)
10. How About You? (Live Acoustic, June 2015, London, NW6)
11. You Do (Live Acoustic, June 2015, London, NW6)