About Ed

Music fan by instinct

20 questions with Kobi Onyame

Kobi Onyame

The Glasgow-based rapper takes the test…

Where are you and what’s the weather like?

At home in Glasgow. It was summer earlier on, then winter & now it looks like it’s just meh. Oh wait! The sun just came out. I’ll be back…

What’s your favourite record in the charts?

I couldn’t tell you. I haven’t heard the charts in a very long time but my favourite record right now is “These Walls” by Kendrick Lamar.

What are your favourite films?

Coming to America is probably my favourite film… EVER!

What are your favourite books?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelo changed my life. My mum gave me a Bible when I was 14. I still have it & refer to it for my truth.

What are your favourite TV programmes?

Game of Thrones, The Wire, Entourage, Suits, Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, My Wife & Kids are a few favourites.

What was the first record you bought and where did you buy it from?

First album I ever bought was on cassette. It was Naughty By Nature’s 19 Naughty 3 album. I bought it in a market in Accra, Ghana.

What is your least favourite record that you have made, and why?

I like all my records! I wouldn’t listen to some of my older records now but I liked it at the time I put it out.

Do you believe in God?

Wholeheartedly

What is the strangest story you have read about yourself?

Everything has been pretty on point so far.

Tell us a joke.

Katie Hopkins. The joke is in there somewhere.

Which football team do you support?

Black Stars of Ghana

Do you have any pets?

Nope.

What’s the worst song lyric of all time?

Ha! Too many!

Who do you consider to be the most overrated musical act of all time?

Probably Vanilla Ice. Never forget Vanilla Ice.

What car do you drive?

I don’t have a car. I do drive though.

Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?

You remember the cartoon Captain Planet? Well, I’d get Kwame from Captain Planet to play me. My film will be animated.

Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?

Stream. I’m an avid Spotify user.

How will you vote in the next election?

Labour or the SNP.

When was the last time you cried?

My brother got married earlier this year. I shed a tear of joy and of sadness as my mother wasn’t alive to see. She would’ve been so happy to see him get married.

What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?

Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” is probably just as good or better than Kate Bush. She did the original right? [She did indeed - Ed].

What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened at one of your own gigs?

It was at a festival. A girl tried to reach over the barrier at the front and fell over the barrier flat on her arse. I stopped the show, laughed a bit & asked her if she was ok. She was, so we carried on.

Have you ever been starstruck?

When I met Kanye West.

What is your culinary speciality?

I make a mean Spag Bol!

The Royal Family: should they stay or should they go?

I really don’t pay much attention to the royals.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?

I’d probably be an Economist at the World Bank.

What were you like at school?

Stood out like a sore thumb! A bit geeky, a bit shy but one hell of a cool guy, ha.

What’s your poison?

I actually have no idea ha

If you could change one law, what would it be?

I’d sum everything into the one – love each other.

Which decade would you have most liked to have lived in?

The 90′s was the best for hip hop. I’m happy I was a teen in the 90′s.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Nope.

Kobi Onyame plays BBC Introducing at The Quay in Glasgow on Sunday June 7, alongside Honeyblood, JOnnie Common and United Fruit, amongst others. He Also plays the Solus Tent at Wickerman on July 25.

His new single ‘Imminence (Only Matter Of Time O)’ is released on July 5.

Album Review – Winter Villains

Winter Villains

Winter Villains -’Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes.’ (Owlet Music)

Winter Villains are the Cardiff-based act Josef Prygodzicz and Faye Gibson. Descrined as being an experimental chamber pop-band, they could also be said to inhabit that relatively uncharted space where indie-pop meets post-rock.

‘Empire,’ the first single from this, their sophomore album is a perfect introduction: boy/girl vocals, deceptively simple and utterly heartbreaking. This track alone I could listen to for hours at a time (or my heart broke, which I think it could). Then there’s the beautiful ‘Hunters’ which is in waltz-time, and the experiments with a an ambient-meets pastoral sound on ‘We Lost Our Children To The Depths Of The Forest’ and the title track…I could go on.

As with labelmates Trwbador, there’s a sense of wonder at the sheer beauty, creativity and, Goddammit, originality that’s going on here. Are you ready to be heartbroken? Go on, you know you want to…

****1/2

Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes is out now on Owlet Music

Album Review – Rozi Plain

rozi-plain-friend-itunes-mid

Rozi Plain -’Friend.’ (Lost Map)

The third album from Rozi Plain is an undeniably gorgeous affair, with an amazing range of styles on display. Somehow, it all flows together to make a very impressive album that feels very much a whole rather than scattered ideas.

It opens with the singalong folk-pop of ‘Actually’ which then goes into the the summery jazz of ‘Best Team.’ Yet later on we have the krautrcoky ‘Jogalong’ followed by the pastoral ‘Quarry.’ How does she do it?

Make no mistake, this is not just another singer-songrwiter record (Lord knows there have been way too many of those over the years!). What is so wonderful is the delivery and inventiveness of Rozi Plain and her collaborators (including members of Hot Chip and Francois and the Atlas Mountains, amongst others).

Reportedly it was her brother who got her interested in the guitar. We should all give thanks that he did.

****

Friend is out now on Lost Map.

A song for today #10

Mirror Talk

Mirror Talk are a new name to me, but this LA band and their song ‘Some Boys’ was something that dropped into my inbox and is musically rather more-ish…like something from the first half of the eighties, and all the better for it. The band (according to their facebook page) are Court Alexander (Vocals), Steven Lopez (Synthesizers & Guitar), Sean Krell (Synthesizers & Bass) and Dave Lewis (Synthesizers & Percussion).

As with this track ’1/M/T’ it’s taken from their forthcoming five track EP, 1997:

Presenting…Suede Arrow

Suede Arrow

Every so often, something drops into my inbox that strikes me as a bit different and worthwhile featuring.

In this case it was an email from America, from a young man called Mat Sak who performs as Suede Arrow. This is wonderfully raw garage rock with a slight bounce to it. According to his email, back in 2012 he knew he needed to turn around his life when he found himself in George Bailey county jail as a teenager. So this year he hopped on a train to LA with nothing but his clothes and a guitar.

It’s a cool story and these are three tracks you ought to hear. Sorta in the vein of Beck, early White Stripes and pre-Ziggy Bowie.

20 odd questions with Hannah In The Wars

HannahintheWars2

Songwriter Hannah Curwood comes from the Central Otago region in New Zealand. Hannah in the Wars is a new project, the result of working alongside Roger O’Donnell of The Cure and a handpicked group of musicians…

Where are you and what’s the weather like?

I am in Dalston. The weather is uncharacteristically spectacular, it’s all cerulean skies and pink blossom out there.

What’s your favourite record in the charts?

I have to say, I don’t really follow the charts but I am loving Laura Marling’s new track, ‘False Hope’ and am cataclysmic with joy that Courtney Barnett has another record out.

What are your favourite films?

Such a difficult question but I would have to say that Taxi Driver and Fargo are both magnificent.

What are your favourite books?

Another tough one. In recent days I have really been getting into Anais Nin, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Albertine Sarrazin. I love Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy, Salman Rushdi, Haruki Murakami, the list is endless. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is one of the most fiercely beautiful things I have ever read. Embarrassed to say I haven’t read Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries yet but that is next on the list.

What are your favourite TV programmes?

I don’t watch TV but you have to tip your hat to The Sopranos, don’t you? Also loved the latest season of The Fall with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan(!).

What was the first record you bought and where did you buy it from?

Bic Runga’s ‘Drive’, from our local record store in Wanaka, New Zealand. I think my friend David McMartin gave me a home-taped cassette of it first but I wore that sucker out. Incidentally, Dave’s little sister, Fi McMartin is now in the band….

What is your least favourite record that you have made, and why?

They are all my children, I love them equally. Even the ugly ones.

Do you believe in God?

I’m not sure, does she believe in me?

What is the strangest story you have read about yourself?

I dare say it might be this one.

Tell us a joke.

I detest humour in all its forms.

Which football team do you support?

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Do you have any pets?

I have a most beautiful pointer/beagle mix called Hayes Dog, the apple of my eye.

What’s the worst song lyric of all time?

‘No,no,no,no,no,nooooooo YEAH’ (Anastasia)

Who do you consider to be the most overrated musical act of all time?

New Zealand’s current Prime Minister, John Key.

What car do you drive?

I don’t drive these days as having a car in London seems silly when you can get around so easily. I have a lovely bike, a BMC SR01, that I use to commute.

Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?

Edward Norton.

Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?

Horses for courses innit. Format is constantly evolving and I think it might be foolish to tie your flag to one mast.

How will you vote in the next election?

Hopefully.

When was the last time you cried?

Yesterday. I had one of the most enlightening conversations I’ve ever had and it made me happy. So I cried. Obviously.

What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?

Jeff Buckley singing ‘Hallelujah’

What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened at one of your own gigs?

A young man came and sat in the front row and knew every word to one of my songs. We’re friends now.

Have you ever been starstruck?

Definitely. I don’t usually find it hard to speak to people but when PJ Harvey was standing next to me at an event chatting to Nick Cave it was like my lips were glued together and my eyes were buttoned open. Wide open.

What is your culinary speciality?

Salsa!

The Royal Family: should they stay or should they go?

I feel like if they stay there will be trouble but, if they go, there may be double?

If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?

A vet.

What were you like at school?

A gregarious goodie-good.

What’s your poison?

Champagne.

If you could change one law, what would it be?

I would go crazy in Saudi Arabia.

Which decade would you have most liked to have lived in?

This one.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Yes.

Hannah In the Wars is released by 99X/10 on May 25.

Presenting…Washed

Washed

Washed is the work of one David Richards, formerly frontman of Casino Brag (AKA Fiction Faction).

He’s working on his own as Washed and these are tracks he’s posted to his soundcloud page. I’m loving the lofi,dark electropop sound, and I hope you will, too.

Not much info to share, so just take the music at face value – and spread the word! If you like it, feedback is always good, too.

This single can be bought from iTunes – both tracks will cost you the princely sum of £1.18 (I did!)

There’s more to be found on the soundcloud page, hopefully this has whetted your appetite!

Album Review – Pale Honey

Pale Honey album cover

Pale Honey -’Pale Honey’ (Bolero)

When the debut single from Pale Honey ‘Youth’ arrived a few months ago, it was clear that the Swedish duo of Tuva Lodmark (vocals and guitar) and Nelly Daltry (drums) might well be something special. Acclaimed by much of the media, in a just world this would have translated into chart hits and front covers (this is not a just world). Their debut EP Fiction came out last year and had already shown much promise. So now arrives their debut album and eyes and ears are upon them to see if it can deliver upon the promise.

It does. In Spades. The aforementioned ‘Youth’ and ‘Fiction’ and ‘Fish’ from the EP are here along with seven new tracks. Much has been made in term of positive comparisons to who Pale Honey sound like, and there’s no need to do that again here. What you do get is a duo who can deliver sparseness and switch quickly to the sound of noise that bands with many more members would envy being able to deliver.

From the opening attitude of ‘Over Your Head’ to the brooding magnificence of album closer ‘Sleep’ which brings the pace down with serious style, this is a debut that is genuinely fresh and exciting. Don’t let this just be a critically acclaimed album, spread the word!

****

Pale Honey is released by Bolero on May 4.

Album Review – Jacco Gardner

Jacco Gardner

Jacco Gardner -’Hypnophobia.’ (Full Time Hobby)

This album from the Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner is little short of fantastic. Over the course of these ten songs and forty minutes he presents us with an amazing piece of work that is a wonderful exercise in what might best be described as pastoral psychedelia.

It’s a record that evokes Love’s seminal Forever Changes album with Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, and a touch of Nick Drake about the guitar playing. But it’s not just the feel of the record, it’s the fact that he’s got the songs to go with it, and the voice to deliver them, too.

There’s a timeless quality about these songs, like the opener ‘Another You’ and the epic ‘Before The Dawn’ and what makes it all the more impressive is that it does not feel like an exercise in borrowed nostalgia but one that seems to be looking to the future as much as to the past. An album that reveals more and more with every lesson.

One of the best albums so far this year.

****1/2

Hypnophobia is out on May 4 on Full Time Hobby.

A Song For Today #9

Radio On

It may seem lazy, but I’m going to be open and admit that I have cut and pasted the press release because it says exactly what needs to be said:

“Drawing their name from the Christopher Petit 70s road movie of the same name, Radio On have fittingly spanned some distance themselves since childhoods collectively spent working part-time shifts in pubs and supermarkets whilst rattling round towns in Scotland and the North of England. Growing up- prophetically enough- in the sleepy town whose train station played host to cinematic benchmark Brief Encounter, frontman Sam Hayward formed school friendships with Adam Hartley and Alex Deery, with the band’s line up latterly completed when Adam met James Johnston whilst studying for a Theology degree down in London.

A burgeoning interest in the European art house movies of Petit and his peers was kick-started by the band’s discovery of Radio On- a film which resonated with the four friends as much in tone and style, as via the new wave stars (Bowie, Kraftwerk, Devo) its soundtrack boasted. For Sam, it was this re-appropriation and re-purposing of the road movie genre from its distinctly American origins which particularly struck him; ‘These European film-makers took this American genre, and they played with it, to put their own spin on it- creating a new sub-genre with real emotional depth & artistic merit’. This idea of rewiring the familiar into a new context chimes with Radio On’s own primary musical touchstones- Blood Orange and Robyn, particularly- both names unabashedly referencing their classic pop forbears to an effect that’s still thoroughly contemporary.

Whilst Petit’s troubling narrative traces a radio DJ’s road journey through late 70s Britain in the wake of his brother’s suicide, ‘You’re Always Right’ itself takes origin from a visit made by Sam to an exhibit of work by David Hockney, depicting the numerous Yorkshire towns in which the artist had lived, prior to relocating to the vaster environs of London & Los Angeles. Struck by what he’d seen, Sam embarked on a road trip of his own, re-tracing Hockney’s own journeys through his former hometowns. ‘All the paintings had a road running through them’ remembers Sam, ‘and it struck me that maybe he wasn’t just depicting a place so much as a time in his life, one he was moving through. It was that idea of movement that interested me; there’s a bittersweet positivity to it.’ As such, ‘You’re Always Right’ feels indicative of a wanderlust that pulls at odds with the London day jobs in schools, warehouses (the kitchen of which covertly doubles as an out of hours band rehearsal space) and supermarkets that the band still clock on for. Punctuating Sam’s characteristically wry vocals with fizzy stabs of synths, the track finds Radio On alloying a poppy immediacy with this transient sense of contentment, to vivid effect.”

The video can, and indeed, must be streamed below:

…and if you like this, check out their earlier song ‘Don’t Wait.’