Paul Weller has reached the goal of sixty years experimenting as few. However, his pedigree still lacked something: an album of pure songwriting, almost as a crooner, embellished with orchestral elements able to make his voice soar. More in line with some songs composed for the soundtrack of the film "Jawbone" (2017) that with the last solo album "A Kind Revolution", Paul Weller this time opened the door to his most intimate thoughts and, at the same time, also to his Black Barn Studios, calling to himself veterans of different ages and extractions such as Rod Argent of the Zombies, Martin Carthy, Lucy Rose, Danny Thompson of the Pentagles and even Noel Gallagher (whose contribution, in fact, consists only of two short cameos) . The result of "True Meanings" is a record that draws on the trends of folk-rock singer-songwriters like Nick Drake and Neil Young, bringing at the same time the elegance of Weller and a songwriting decidedly more relaxed and positive, thanks also to the component orchestral, able to bring out what is the real protagonist of the album: his voice. The funk-jazz of "The Soul Searchers", whose words were written by Conor O'Brien of the Villagers, already make up their minds. Acoustic guitars, dramatic strings, even the nefarious sound of the Hammond organ played by Rod Argent: this is the perfect soundtrack for all the examinations of conscience made in the moonlight. Weller delicately scans each syllable, as if it were part of a narrative or some propitiatory rite: that are the pastoral images of "Glide", decanted in a low tone just above the acoustic guitars, the intro glam-rock of "Mayfly" or the rich orchestrations of "Gravity", it does not matter. A red thread is there, often suspended on the contrasts of the human soul, as is the case of "Wishing Well" in which the call to the Neil Young acoustic in the verses is so strong, as the voice of Weller becomes unexpectedly resolute on the refrain, fomented by the presence of the vibraphone in the middle of the piece. For his fourteenth solo album, Weller puts all of himself, including contradictions: from the erotic poetry of "Come Along" to Harrison's mysticism of "Books" (complete with Sheema Mukherjee's sitar and the brief appearance of Noel Gallagher's Harmonium ), up to what is the opus magnum of the album, the ambitious and dramatic "May Love Travel With You", in which the classical and orchestral element dominates. Although Weller has personally written most of the repertoire, the numerous guest musicians leave more than one obvious paw, which are the mischievous waltzes of "Old Castles", the desperate pop-soul chants of "What Would He Say" and "Movin ' On "or the purely British singer-songwriter of" Aspects ", not by chance chosen as a single launch. The most unexpected phantasy, however, is that of the ex-enemy David Bowie, in a reflective passage on death and life; a piece that seems to come from remote times and places, and it's really hard to hold back the tears when Weller sings: "Do you know there's no journey?" Bows and acoustic guitar mark what, in fact, is the descent among the mortals of the late Major Tom who, at the end of a long lasting feud until the years zero, peacefully asked Weller to give him back his cut of hair. The album closes with the involvement of Erland Cooper for the text of "White Horses", which once again shows the will of Weller to redefine himself through other points of view far from his generation, without ever abandoning that language provocative that has always distinguished him. This is a perfect conclusion, especially thanks to Rod Argent's mellotron, who is able to gently insert himself between the strings, the guitar arpeggios and the glockenspiel's chimes. Probably in the end it will not be the most representative album of the career of Weller, but certainly - so far - is one of the most intimate and personal. Impeccable in the arrangement and production, the Modfather has been able to give a record that portrays him as a very refined singer-songwriter: and if, as they say, life begins at sixty, Paul Weller proves he still has a lot to offer.
Miles Kane is certainly one of the most influential bishops of the mod-revival scene of the 2000s (and not by chance testimonial for Fred Perry), guitarist of the Little Flames at the dawn, frontman of The Rascals then, before embarking on a successful personal career among records on his own and the famous collaboration with Alex Turner with the project The Last Shadow Puppets. This album, third from solo studio, comes out after 5 years from the previous one, seen and also considered the important intramezzo with the recalled Puppets. The title is due to the world of Wrestling (one of his favorite fiction, according to Kane himself), specifically to the final move by the Irish Finn Bálor. Kane draws from decades of albionic rock, both in his most punk garments, as in the more beatlesian or more glam, without fear of sin of lack of innovation, fantasy and excessive conformism. With so much self-confidence, so much histrionics, a lot of impudence, without fear of having all the light of the spotlight on him. Although this is a declared break-up album, the tone of the pieces is not at all resigned or rasped; indeed, we are facing the most rocking of the three records so far proposed by the good Miles. The most worn pieces are very aggressive and blend together Buzzcocks, The Libertines, and the very first Supergrass, in a vortex of sharp guitars and tight rhythms ("Too Little Too Late", "Cold Light Of Day", "Silverscreen" - almost stoner - , "The Wrong Side Of Life" - original and blues -, "Something To Rely On"). The rhythms slow down only in the languid "Killing The Joke", which recovers the unjustly forgotten Oasis of "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants", and in the delicate tolling of the "Shavambacu" closure, while the game of quotations in other pieces becomes fun and expertly dosed (Marc Bolan in the amazing "Cry On My Guitar", the last Red Hot Chili Peppers in the aforementioned single "Loaded", a funky bowie of funky in the beautiful titletrack). Of course, the work does not shine for originality nor melodic, nor instrumental, much less compositional: but the image that "Coup de Grace" leaves us is that the 32 year old Merseyside is neither running away, nor chasing, but is perfectly at ease on the road he is traveling. So one wonders: is Miles Kane really the most credible heir to Paul Weller?!? Posterity will judge....
Welcomed under the wing of Paul Weller, for the Stone Foundation began a new career, a decisive acceleration in the sound and attitude of this quintet that until recently was floating in the background of British scenes. Two albums in two years are the fruit of a fruitful and interesting collaboration, confirmed in the 2018 album, "Everybody, Anyone" (the fifth in the studio), which comes one year after the publication of "Street Rituals", the first work with Weller in the control room. This time, the Modfather abandons the role of producer as it was for the previous record, while maintaining the aura of "deus ex machina" and inspiring the entire work. The hand of the former Jam, who has recorded several parts of the guitar and the choirs, is known: the mature and full-bodied sound of the band led by Neil Jones and Neil Sheasby is significantly influenced by Paul's tastes and floats between acid jazz British for groups such as Jamiroquai, Incognito and James Taylor Quartet (Rune Above It), and the blue-eyed soul (band's trademark) student of the great American black school, embellished by the inclusion of gospel choirs (Give the Man to Hand, Belief, Heavenly Father). The final product is refined and elegant, without superfluous tinsel and kneaded sounds. The Wellerian influence adds to the sound that seminal touch that was of the Style Council, between funk, latin jazz and bossa (Next Time Around, Carry the News), so much so that the Modfather has involved in the recordings also the old comrades of journey from the 80s Mick Talbot (keyboards) and Steve White (drums). There is also room for other prestigious collaborations, brought in the curriculum of the band by the "godfather" Weller: for detachment the best song is Only You Can, recorded with Hamish Stuart, Scottish guru of soul and white funk with his Average White Band, which leads to the maximum exaltation of the groovy groove of the whole album. Surprising, but equally successful, the collaboration with the English folk singer Kathryn Williams, who appears in the beautiful jazz ballad Do not Walk Away. Rich, engaging and full of atmosphere and soul, "Everybody, Anyone" is the record of the consecration for a band that exploded late, but that has rewarded the public's expectation with products of remarkable quality. Promote Jones, Sheasby, and good old Weller with full marks.
I was interested to see what the 4 Watford guys would do with their third album. Their first "Response" album was released in 2015 with great critical acclaim, but their second album "A Thousand Times", released the following year, had mixed reviews, moving from a solid British Beat sound to a sound more independent. That said, both albums achieved the number 6 score in the independent charts. I agree with the rankings as both albums were good in my humble opinion. Given their influences of mod music of 60's, reggae and ska, up to punk and soul. With frontman Billy Sullivan, it is very easy to make comparisons with the Jam, and this may have led to the slightly different direction of the second album. I will not make comparisons with the band of Paul Weller, because I suspect it is hard for the Spitfires now to deviate from his shadow. They are the band they are, and it is not surprising that there should be similarities between their playing and the music that influenced them. Oasis played like the Beatles, Greta Van Fleet sounded like Led Zeppelin, and an old band of the 60s called Rolling Stones started playing like Muddy Waters, or Little Walter and I think it did not do them any harm. So, without further ado review the third album: 'Year Zero', which opens with 'Remains The Same' almost to confuse their critics, the track begins with a gentle introduction, followed by a very indie guitar riff and when it starts the sung, there is a recognizable touch of British beat, on the whole the song sets the tone for the album which is a hymn of desperation for the young people of the working class, and provides an incisive beginning to the album. The trumpets in the audio on this track are incredibly good. 'Frontline' has a New Wave touch on it, an incisive guitar and the George Moorhouse keyboard that create a real mix of styles that together with Billy's voice become fantastic. 'Over And Over Again' has an intro of the keyboard, which is very reminiscent of the Nutty Boys themselves, and includes powerful trumpets again. We have a bit of Ska with 'Something Worth Fighting For', from the brass intro and the slow guitar riffs that move into the most recognizable guitar style. It has a melancholy feeling reinforced by the trumpets and the slow rhythm. This track is worth alone for the trumpet solo. So far there has been nothing unpredictable on this album, but then we got to "By My Side". The simple intro of the keyboard gives a different touch to the previous tracks. Billy's voice is clear and sad, and at first it looks like a thoughtful song. Then the singer of the singers came into life and for the rest of the song is a duet. The refrain is quick and raises all the spirit of the song. George Moorhouse has a chance to shine on this as his keyboards are the most important tool on the track. There is also a good Sam Long bass line. The song goes up and is really beautiful. 'Move On' is back to a sharp Ska sound, with excellent percussion by Matt Johnson where there is a catchy guitar riff and a nice chorus. Here you can hear the influences of the Clash throughout the track. This influence continues with the song 'Sick Of Hanging Around'. The voices bounce along with the rhythm of the track, giving it the quality of an anthem. The album changes direction with the title track "Year Zero" which is a cacophony of dub futuristic sound electronics. Then all too soon the album ends, in a more traditional way with "Dreamland", which is a piece with a slow tempo: the Ghost Town for a new generation. The order of production and execution of the album is perfect and the mix of songs works really well. This is an album that will satisfy all the Spitfire fans and will probably still be a winner. It's New Wave for a new generation, it's not an album like Clash, Specials, Madness or Jam. It is true that influences can be heard on this album, just as influences can be detected in most albums. This is a Spitfires album and it's damn good !!! So, if you liked "Response" and "A Thousand Times", you get "Year Zero". If you do not have any, but you like the powerpop get all three !!!
The Soul is a serious thing, who engages in this genre can not be a mediocre player or have a decent voice, everything must be a good if not very good. Mike Painter is an "old" knowledge in the Italian music scene, if you want, underground. On the scene from the early eighties with the Four By Art, historical group of the Milanese scene where; once this project is finished, Mike does not stop and continues to offer music with other bands to create solo projects. The last "creature" has the name of MIKE PAINTER and VIOLA ROAD quintet which includes excellent musicians. The project comes to give birth to two albums, the second, coming out this June 2018 is: "Nothing Changes" composed of ten songs including: four covers and six original compositions all signed by the pair Michele Pingitore - Viola Romani Adami. Soul, funk, Northern Soul, with a matrix of 70s and 60s, blend into a noteworthy product. The cut is sartorial, studied, without smudges, even the covers have their own imprint, of course, the Hammond organ played by Mike prevails and accompanies the wonderful voice of Viola; excellent wind instruments, guitar and drums complete the quintet. An elegant record, according to the hammond / jazz tradition, which makes you want to go wild on the track. The choice of covers is never trivial: "Gone With The Wind Is My Love" by Louis Barreto to an intense "I Put A Spell On You" by Jay Hawkins. The unpublished "Picture Me" seems out of a James Bond movie, those with Sean Connery. To note the beautiful and with a good rhythm "I'm a Dreamer Today", the instrumental "Soon Or Later" and "Your Name" that closes the album with horns and guitar in evidence. A nice disco where you get to the end and come back to hear it, great in a cool evening and relax with friends. Recorded at the Groove Studios in Milan, mixed, mastered and produced by Mike Painter, this is one of the best national products released this year. Highly recommended !!!
After a long period of reflection, a key figure was missing to understand the history of pop in Spain as this is the case Alex Díez in Art Cooper. Seven years have passed since Leonese published what was his last release, "Mi Universo" (Elefant, 11), and while the wait was revived with the release of a single and the generous compilation "Popcorner. 30 Años Viviendo En La Era Pop "(Warner, 16), the truth is that the author seems to be focused on the publication of (interesting) musical books through his Chelsea publishing house. The fact is that the former Flechazos finally presents a new work of study, specified in a decalogue the old way and as required by the traditional canons. Because the content of the album is also classic, with that pop a bit nostalgic but always bright and colorful - as well as detailed and solid - that the musician manages to manage so well. A retro sound that never goes out of fashion, with the lack and aftertaste of the 60s to the power-pop, even if this time the guitars are a less marked element, thus oxygenating (even more) the melodies. A preference that could be understood as a flash of creative maturity, were it not for the juvenile delusion that overflows that colonizes the entire LP. The optimism comes out with the usual reasons that inspire our composer: traveling, the city, the dance, the sun and the summer, or simply the escape, accompanied by a new band that presents Mario Álvarez on guitar and Daniel Montero on bass. "Tiempo, temperatura, agitaciòn" (Elefant, 18) includes several pieces that, due to their verticality and immediate empathy, could very well become part of the group's exceptional repertoire, in the case of: "El ultimo tren" - the most beautiful piece opens the delivery: "Salto", "Graciela" or the infallible single: "Infinito". The work is completed with other salient points such as the infallible and simple: "Luz", or: "Ya llegò el verano", a powerful: "Dos Grados Bajo Cero" debtor of The Boo Radleys or "Telerañas", in what it is a sound close and beautiful as to the harsh melancholy. Albums of Spanish Mod sounds par excellence always emit a classic romanticism that dazzles, as well as perpetrating an apparent hedonism conscientiously worked in search of quality. Even without being his best collection of songs (the work had been much higher on previous occasions), we can say that he really missed that clean and accurate style of Cooper. Tracks of three minutes that after only a couple of plays force to share refrains to scream, arranged with the usual elegance and tied together with the rhythm. The singer has the gift of impregnating his music with that imprint, in an active ability from the first days of his first band: Los Flechazos and on which the musician seems not to have lost his talent.
Raúl Julián 13/06/2018
Third work since their return in 2012, with their new ideas, far from being exhausted, they multiply: this new work could be seen as a Quadrophenica rock opera of the 21st century, about twenty songs from a booklet by Carlos Zanón on Rai, former leader of a fictitious rock group, who decides to squander his family project, gather the members of his old band and resume his artistic career. Many of the themes developed episodes or characters from the "Zanon story" are transformed into songs like: "Elwood y Jake", "Cadena de trasmission", while others may seem farther from the plot like: "My mierda naranja" or "Quién matò al gato? "and finally:" Despiertar de un sueno ", but the album as a whole looks like the diary of a fifties musician where:" Ensayos de cobardes "transports us to the rancid, sweaty and unhealthy atmosphere of the rehearsal room from where it all started: "Cadena de trasmision" is like a love letter from a veteran group to a debut band, "El Tren de la Bruja" or "El poster de Samantha Fox" is like talking about ancient myths, now transformed into fallen angels ... many of the words are written with a comic vein sharks: '' No keep me to buy to discos / ni llevar the bike to the taller / No me gusta lavar los platos / pero alguien keeps it hacer ''. Musically, the composer's weight falls this time at Alb ert, whose guitar, sharper and stronger than ever, plays a little more in the style of bands such as Green Day or Redd Kross than in The Jam. Overall, this is also a great job by a band that loves and does not argue !!!
Once upon a time there was acid jazz, do you remember? It was the beginning of the '90s and the sound of successful groups like Incognito, Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai wore that curious label (in both directions, being also the name of a record company whose productions are a flagship of the gender). Son of the age of contamination and nephew of watershed records for the history of jazz all (Headhunters of Herbie Hancock, with its ingenious fusion), acid jazz is a fizzy fusion idea as sour as a rocker would mean , which winks at funk, soul, club electronics, disco, and flirts with easy listening and pop. This is the scene that was part of the Corduroy, today back on track on the same label (the Acid Jazz, in fact) that had them baptized and for which they had recorded the first three albums. In the suggestive case of these four Londoners, the twins Addison, the former Doctor and the Medics Richard Searle and Simon Nelson-Smith, the nu jazz was going and still overlap with the resurgence of exotica, lounge, soundtracks of the genre films and other strange and more incredible musics, channeled in the curious navigations halfway between revival, stracult and postmodernity of which the musical chronicles of the period were also infatuated. The new album "Return of the Fabric Four" is conceptually a soundtrack made and finished, a film of which we would also have the title and the cover - stylish replica of certain posters of the 60s and 70s. His instruments would be perfect for a blaxplotation, a poliziottesco or for a theme party revival: stylish funk aperitif with bubbles (the title-track), so much fusion saucy, the exotic-tropicalist touch (the bossa nova of Sambarella), also a bit of twang and distorted guitar - more than wah wah on which we willingly kept the presser foot in the first hour as Out of Here - to duet with Hammond on a soft lounge (Blackmail), and a bit of r & b flying the Union Jack flag (the beat of Saturday Club, rare vocal track with echoes of Who). All played with a catchy elegance that makes his collection of appetizing cliches fresh and lively. Always cliché it is, to be fussy; revolutionary, the Corduroy's music has never been deep, but always elegant, well played and groovy. This is also confirmed by this return.
A Modernist, it is a documentary film about "The Unknown Hero of British Menswear" and "Influencer Influencer" and, of course, the man who gave the Harrington jacket its name. Let's say that some pedigree this designer has, not to say many. The film is the work of Jason Jules, Lee Cogswell and Mark Baxter and presents exclusive interviews with musicians Kevin Rowland, Suggs and Paul Weller, the issuer Robert Elms, the art expert Ronnie Archer Morgan, the advertising guru Sir John Hegarty and Sir Paul Smith. The story told is described as the best kept secret of British men. The name of John Simons is one of the few people who have heard almost all the mods, but to whom every man with a decent shirt or a pair of well-made moccasins is in debt. Recounted by his friends, family, fans, as he himself tells it, this is the definitive story of John Simons. In terms of selling men's clothing, which began in the 1950s, he later inspired and instigated a series of street styles and subcultures including Mod, Skinhead and Suede Head. Whether you realize it or not, John Simons has been responsible for shaping the way many of us dress. But the documentary aims to prove that it is more than just clothes retailing. The concept of John Simons concerns Modernism and a "avant-garde mentality". An authentic way that knows how to see and foresee everything: from art to architecture, to music and beyond, which makes its story so compelling and unique. As I said, it's really a documentary to keep an eye on and not to be missed. FUNDAMENTAL ... and thanks again Mr Simons !!
Acid Jazz Records is celebrating its 30th anniversary and on March 23rd it published a very special compilation. The illustrious London independent label, founded in 1987 thanks to the two disc jockeys Gilles Peterson and Eddie Piller, was the promoter, during the late '80s and throughout the decade of the' 90s, a new style of jazz: the acid jazz. Funk, fusion, soul and even electronics, were the contaminations that influenced this new musical current. Jazz On The Corner was curated by Eddie Piller himself and by an exceptional guest, Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock), linked by a long collaboration in some radio programs. The actor does not hide his love for this genre and states that "jazz has been the basis of my musical diet since my adolescence, so listening and loving jazz did not sound strange to me, even though I think it took little research ". The album captures the essence and experience of the two loyal supporters of the British soul and jazz scene, who have collected in one work the artists who have influenced their musical life. From the hard bop of Lee Morgan and Art Blakey, to the more soulful notes of Mose Allison, from the funk jazz of Leon Thomas to the modern spiritual jazz post of Kamasi Washington, are just some of the composers you will find in the compilation. Jazz On The Corner is an interesting tool for anyone who wants to start embarking on a journey into the syncopated world of jazz.
This duo of Uppsala, a city famous not only for being the largest in the north of Sweden but also for having the most complete university faculty in Scandinavia, delights us with its seventh album which, starting from the first dated 2006 and consequential to the others, it proposes a liquid and cold sound, a rarefied sonority worthy of the coolest of the lounge or easy listening situations in perfect harmony with what could be a Scandinavian metropolitan or country landscape. Trummor Och Orgel means drum and organ, so the sound you will hear will be only of these two instruments, but amalgamated so well that they will give you the sensation of listening to complete music in all its parts. The two Ljunggren brothers started this project mindful of another 2 most famous Swedish who performed in the 60's and that was called Hansson & Carlsson, who have two albums and two 45 laps and who in their time acted as shoulder to bands like the Rolling Stones or Jimmy Hendrix when they played in Sweden. Returning to the latest work of the Uppsala duo, you have an album with nine totally instrumental songs that you listen to pleasantly: both during a trip by car, that comfortably seated in the dining room drinking a good wine and chatting with friends. The space age ambiance of the hammers played by Anders will transport you to an imaginary made of white landscapes alternated with houses or trees, in short, an excellent record that I recommend to everyone and for those who love these sounds, I also recommend the complete discography.
Associating the Northern Soul to the city of Tel Aviv is certainly not an immediate mechanism but all there is remedy, must have thought Yashiv Cohen mind and propulsive engine of the MONC: "It is true that ours is not exactly what comes to mind when you think about Israeli music, but I had the privilege of growing up in Kibbutz Kfar Blum, whose founders came mainly from the United States and thanks to them I listened to American and English music from an early age.My mother's family emigrated from Brooklyn and growing up in my house was a bit like being in Woody Allen's Radio Days.You soon became the soul of my favorite music, deeper and deeper then I fell in love with the Northern Soul, the movement that emerged from the Mod scene in North of England in the late 1960s, from that moment I practically fell in love with the whole Mod genre. " It is with this background that the good Yashiv in 2008 begins to get noticed in the nightclubs of the Israeli capital (the reports refer to clandestine karaoke!) Where he will soon meet the other members of the future ensemble. Dagli Elettra, rock band very popular in city circuits, recruits guitarist Nitzan Horesh, drummer Boaz Wolf and bassist Doron Farhi. Complete the line-up with the trombonist Ido Kretchmer and the brothers Sizzling, Sefi to the trumpet and Ongy to the sax. It's Dylan Girl's piece from the North Country that inspired him for the band's name; Wilson Pickett, Gloria Jones and Booker T. are among the references for the musical address. Another cheerful Brigade of the Soul was born and if The Commitments have been the blackest band in Dublin in the film imagination, the MONC want to become the toughest Northern Soul band in the Middle East! The apprenticeship for them is the same: hours spent in the cellars to review the classic R'n'B and Soul of the '60s and' 70s that then re-propose in dozens of concerts, refining the instrumental practice and putting together a handful of original compositions with which they manage to attract the attention of Acid Jazz Records and debut in 2010 with the 7 '' Man Of North Country / Debut. Two years later, again with the London label (which over the years has become synonymous with musical elegance with Brand New Heavies and James Taylor Quartet artists in the catalog), the first long-term work, The North, will arrive. In the album in addition to the black, which we have already mentioned, the atmospheres of bands like Style Council and Dexy's Midnight Runners, exuberant songs with immediate grip, excellent arrangements and an ultra-vigorous approach. Now, after four years on tour for half of Europe, This City arrives and the MONC hit again. The album in fact starts very well, the warm voice of Cohen (very similar to that of Paul Weller) and the pasty sound, illuminated by the wind, make Running an exemplary piece to introduce us to the musical delicacies of the Israeli association. We are in the same emporium frequented by Weller, Talbot and Rowland in the early '80s: memorabilia Soul and R'n'B, proletarian elegance and unstoppable desire to dance. Wendy Rene, tribute to the color singer under the Stax in the early 60s is, without hesitation, the most beautiful piece of the lot, a real wonder from the catchy refrain and the linear melody that never tires, a small instant classic. They are still the brass and the sax that excel in the solar and foaming All In, Country Lost / Tobacco Road and Let's Get Away and if, Country Boy is the perfect soundtrack for cocktail parties and spy stories at the Bond, 77 is the slow that wait to dance tight close. Bella is also the version of I'm Comun Home (In The Morn'un), a Northern Soul masterpiece by Lou Pride. The seductive Kinksiniana ballad Permanent Vacation closes the record. This City is therefore an excellent record that conveys a feeling of freedom and joy that is at the very origin of this inebriating and unmistakable music. What then, on this tour, comes from Tel Aviv and not from the suburbs of Liverpool, it's just a detail.