Presenting… Yusuf Azak

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Song, By Toad Records continues to flourish in a way that makes many green with envy. Me? Well, I’m pleased to see a friend doing well -and I mean that most sincerely, folks ((c) Hughie Green).

On November 15 (my birthday, though I’m sure that is coincidental), Yusuf Azak will release his debut album on the label, entitled Turn On The Young Wire.

This song ‘Eastern Sun’ is being released as a free download. Considering how I have been inundated with samey singer-songwriter submissions of late, it is great to hear the Aberdonian anti-folk artist releasing something so good, and turning the genre on its’ head.

I’ve heard his two awesome EPs, Gazelle and Light Procession and I can’t wait to hear the album in full. For now enjoy this, which I have played four times already this evening…comparisons to Nick Drake are, for once, entirely deserved. And go and download those two EPS here

Yusuf Azak – Eastern Sun by Song, by Toad

Oh God.

dead-kennedys

The severe economic cuts that we were expecting in the UK were revealed today.

It makes for a seriously depressing time right here, as does the fact that there are other ways of raising the funds, and not to exploit the most vulnerable people in society.

I have posted this track before, but it just seemed so pertinent to today:

Dead Kennedys -‘Kill the Poor.’ mp3

‘the sun beams down on a brand new day/ no more welfare tax to pay’ indeed…and as Mike Leigh pointed out on TV last night, it’s dangerous to assume that this will make for good art.

Whatever Paul Weller does…nothing can tarnish this

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JC over at the Vinyl Villain has mounted a challenge today over Paul Weller’s solo career.

There’s bits I have liked – but the thing is that as frontman of The Jam (who were ripped off by so many of the bands of the last decade -particularly The Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines) he was responsible for some of the greatest music of the last forty years.

Not of course, that the Jam’s early career was perfect. ‘In the City’ is an awesome debut -like all the best debut singles, it sounds like a manifesto -and yet the album of the same name was patchy. The follow up This Is The Modern World wasn’t very good either -and Weller knew it. But from the era of All Mod Cons onwards to their split in 1982, they were one of the greatest bands in the world.

And I still reckon that this is their finest track:

The Jam -‘Strange Town.’ mp3

…closely followed by this:

The Jam -‘Going Underground.’ mp3

Broken Records’ new video

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There’s now just one week to go until the release of Broken Records’ excellent sophomore album, Let Me Come Home.

I posted my review a few weeks ago, and I’ve been rather chuffed that the band have linked to it on emails they have sent out.

Today sees the release of the first single from the album, entitled ‘A Darkness Rises Up’ which comes complete with this rather awesome video:

You really should have heard the opening song by now, but if not…

Album Review – Elf Power

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Elf Power -‘Elf Power’ (Orange Twin)

Despite the name, this is not the Athens, Georgia band’s debut album. On the contrary, it is the group’s tenth album in their sixteen year career (not including self-released albums and collaborations). Athens is a town that has a reputation for having produced some of America’s finest acts over the last thirty or so years, and I definitely hear some of the same magic that I hear on early releases from REM and the Indigo Girls flowing through here.

Which is not to criticise the B-52s; rather that this is an album which is gently rocky, and folky, and having been playing this record a lot over the last few weeks, one of the finest this year. Highlights include the opening ‘The Taking Under’ and the heartbreaking ‘Stranger In The Window.’ In fact, if you have any passion for gentle ‘alt-rock’ that is never aggressive nor bland, and indeed at times almost pastoral, you should own this album.

The album is dedicated to the legendary Vic Chesnutt, who was both a collaborator and friend of the band, who died on Christmas Day last year. I believe he would have loved this album; I certainly do.

****

Elf Power is out now on Orange Twin Records

Elf Power -‘Stranger In The Window.’ mp3

And just for fun – nothing to do with this album whatsoever – a cover version they did of a Jesus and Mary Chain song:

Elf Power -‘Upside Down (Jesus and Mary Chain cover).’ mp3

Elf Power’s website/Elf Power’s myspace

The return of Gang of Four

gang-of-four-2010

Gang of Four will return with an album of new material early next year.

The album is entitled Content and will be their first album of new material since 1995’s Shrinkwrapped. Funded entirely over the Internet, it will be released on January 25.

You can read morehere at their website and here at The Guardian. T’would appear that sweat, tears and actual blood have gone into the making of this album. More than thirty years after the Damaged Goods EP, it would appear they still mean it man. And that’s more than you can say for Lydon these days…

Gang Of Four -‘Pay For The Farm.’ mp3

A disturbing yet beautiful video

My pile of releases to review gets longer and longer.

Amongst those on the list is the new album from Unknown Component The Infinite Definitive.

This song is entitled ‘Electric Dissolution.’ With a video that brings to mind Fahrenheit 451 and The Nightporter (probably erroneously but I mean it as a compliment), which I find haunting, disturbing and yet beautiful at the same time.

See what you think…

And if you would like to hear the new Unknown Component album in its’ entirety, follow this link.

Album review – Antony and the Johnsons

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Antony and the Johnsons -‘Swanlights’ (Rough Trade)

A few weeks ago, the Mercury Music Prize announced its’ winner and the usual debate(s) ensued about whether the award ever goes to anyone who does anything exciting musically, and whether it will have any positive bearing whatsoever on sales.

One man who showed that it most definitely can do both is Antony Hegarty, who won the award in 2005 for his sophomore album I Am a Bird Now. A few months previously, someone had come into the record shop where I worked at the time and I had to confess ignorance at who he was. ‘You’ll know soon,’ said my customer, as she purchased the album. I did indeed -and word started to spread.

But awards or not, the important thing is that here we have another excellent album from Antony and the Johnsons (as he pointed out in last months Mojo, in deference to Marc (Almond) and the Mambas), and it has arrived less than two years since the last, The Crying Light. That voice is present there as always, and the music is there, but subtle for much of the time. Yet again he has produced another absolutely stunning album.

There’s a number of highlights here – the single ‘Thank You For Your Love’, ‘The Spirit Was Gone’ and for me the outstanding moment is the collaboration with Bjork on the almost nursery-rhyme like ‘Fl├ętta’ and which could fit comfortably alongside most of the material from PJ Harvey’s White Chalk album. Sometimes his music may be dark – yet there are moments to suggest that this maybe his most upbeat album yet; it feels more like spring than the autumn which so often permeates from and into his world.

Antony Hegarty is a true original, and a God given talent. There’s songs on here that are as good as any he’s done thus far; and whether the next album emerges in six months or ten years, I’ll be waiting, and appreciaiting what he’s produed in the meantime.

****1/2

Swanlights is out now on Rough Trade.

Antony and the Johnsons -‘The Spirit Was Gone.’ mp3


Antony and the Johnsons’ website/ myspace

Super Adventure Club Free Tommy Sheridan! (well, sort of…)

super-adventure-club

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

And ‘they’ also say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

‘They’ may be right some of the time, but it can’t hurt Super Adventure Club to be giving away ‘Free Tomnmy Sheridan’ away as a free download mp3, in commemoration of the re-release of their debut album Chalk Horror which is out next week on Armellodie. Not when the man himself is constantly in the news in a Perjury trial.

Download the mp3 here at their bandcamp…

…and watch the video here.

By the way, if you haven’t heard their sophomore album Avoid Zombies, you really should...

Presenting…Warpaint

warpaint-press2010-608x402

I’d opened this email kinda idly, and within thirty seconds knew I’d done the right thing.

Warpaint are the latest signing to Rough Trade and hail from the US of A. On the evidence of this track alone, they compare very favourably to the likes of Belly, Throwing Muses and Veruca Salt. They are Jenny Lee Lindberg (vocals/bassist), Emily Kokal (vocals/guitar), Theresa Wayman (vocals/guitar) and Stella Mozgawa (drums/keyboards).

Their debut album is out on October 25, entitled The Fool and this has been made available as a free download and has a gorgeous video to go with it, to boot. It’s directed by Shannyn Sossamon, who is Jenny Lee’s sister, no less…

They are about to hit the UK, having been touring with the XX in the US. Let me know what you think…

Warpaint’s website/myspace