Sonzeira – ‘America Latina’ (Falty DL Remix)
Released as part of Gilles Peterson’s Brasil Bam Bam Bass project which saw the legendary tastemaker move to Brazil to pay homage to Latin/ South American music, Falty DL’s Remix of Sonzeira’s ‘America Latina’ is a spicy, percussive yet eternally laidback track that can’t help but make you want to move. Containing warm marimba chords and a persistent uplifting vocal sample, the track contains multiple unexpected elements including what sounds like a howler monkey in the background to create a beautifully authentic, groovy piece of music.Read More...
A most extraordinary story reached the end of it's riveting first chapter when Benjamin Clementine was announced as the winner of this year's Mercury Music Prize, for his debut album, the aptly entitled, At Least For Now. Although he had quickly crept up as one of the bookies' favourites it still seemed unlikely until his name was announced by Lauren Laverne live on television, beating off competition in the form of SOAK, Florence & The Machine, Gaz Coombes, Jamie XX, Aphex Twin, Eska, Wolf Alice, C Duncan, Roisin Murphy, Slaves and Ghostpoet.
A notoriously reticent and uncomfortable speaker, the spotlight inevitably shifted to this tall, rangy and young musician of Ghanaian heritage… "I don't know what to say… I'd like to thank music," he said, confirming his desire to focus on his passion, rather than his heritage or troubled background. But, the moment called for more: "I can't believe I have actually won this…" he hesitated. "If there is anyone watching, any child, youngster, student – I never thought I would say this – the world is your oyster. Just go out there and get whatever you want to get."
Band names can sometimes mean nothing, or come across as very silly. Or be so all-embracing that they too lose all meaning. Everything Everything? TV On The Radio? Vampire Weekend, anyone? Then you get something like Fragile Creatures which is a neat encapsulation of humans. Well, as neat as you can get within the limitations of a bands name. But it nearly didn’t happen for this Brighton -based five piece: “There was a guy called Dave, who was investing in us and he said you should call yourselves Fragile Creatures, right from the off,” remembers Adam Kidd, lead singer and guitarist. “We all said ‘no’,” Adam laughs at the memory of it, “Then a couple of months later I said halfway through a rehearsal: ‘Guys! Got a great idea for the band name! Why don’t we call ourselves Fragile Creatures?!”
Indeed, such is the human way with appropriation and rights… But, whoever deserves the credit, there is no denying it is a great name for a band, surely that all but the most egotistical of us can relate to. We are all fragile creatures after all… They even have a song called Fragile Creatures. “Human beings are fragile creatures, and that is the subject of the song. I was reading the New Scientist, and maybe using that as a shield, against the emotional stuff in the lyrics underneath,” says Adam. “There was this article, which says when crocodiles come out of the egg, they are ready to kill, they scurry off on their own. But being human beings, our heads are too big for the birth canal, so you need to have a family unit to look after the child when it comes out. The head isn’t fully hardened; there are lots of physiological reasons… We are pretty pathetic without each other, and that is true of the band, we make up for each other’s weaknesses.”
Anyone who has seen the exhaustive, 150 minute The Death and Resurrection Show (and there aren’t many of you, the film has only been witnessed at a small number of film festivals, and is out of circulation for the time being) might remember the beginning montage of news reports and talking heads, all depicting war, tragedy and possible apocalyptic scenarios, both man made and natural. ‘Do we care. Do we have a moral compass anymore,” says one talking head before the film cuts to a film of a nuclear explosion, a scenario that has profoundly figured in the life of Jaz (Jeremy) Coleman: “I wanted to define the exquisite beauty of the atomic age in terms of style, sound and form… I visualised Killing Joke before Killing Joke really happened,” says Jaz. There was a stage, an anonymous band emitting sounds of a primeval worth…”
Extraordinarily, the band are back in their original state, with the original 1979 line up of Coleman, Martin Glover (Youth), ‘Big’ Paul Ferguson and Kevin Walker (Geordie), who apparently had said on the phone in answering the ad in the Melody Maker that Big Paul and Jaz had placed in looking for musicians: “I’ve never played in a band, but I am the best in the world.” Roll on 2015, and they have a new album out and have just set out on a marathon world tour. It’s been a most extraordinary journey, centred around the larger-than-life personality of Jaz Coleman, who inevitably dominates the film. “Oh my God, there are parts of it I cannot watch. I suppose that’s the good thing about a documentary; there are parts of it I find very difficult to watch, but I think it’s sincere. I gave Shaun Pettigrew (the director) free rein to include the sentient opinions of the I Hate Jaz Coleman Fanclub, and say what they want. I’m not sure it’s the same with Youth’s film (called ‘Youth’), because everyone in the rehearsal room was saying it kisses Youth’s arse, except me. They were laughing about it yesterday. I haven’t seen it… I’ll make judgement then. But I was told that Sir Paul McCartney says ‘Youth could even be a musician if he wanted to'”, followed by another one of those big cackling laughs.
"My computer, my iPad and somehow my TV were all screaming at me, that I had a phone call… I've got a bit too much technology, I think I need to get rid of a bit of it." So says Samuel Preston, one time constant tabloid presence and celeb; not so much for his music, but for the fact that once upon a time (2006) he was in the Big Brother house, and in front of millions of viewers, struck up an intimate relationship with fellow inmate Chantelle Houghton (who was the unexpected winner), to be followed by marriage, and not long afterwards, divorce… "You forget how to write," say Preston. "I noticed that the other day; my phone ran out of battery in a session and I had to write stuff down with paper and pen. I realised how terrible my handwriting was, I'd forgotten how to do it." It's one of several amiable diversions during our conversation with this talkative and friendly interviewee, a songwriter and musician who has enjoyed both success in and out of the spotlight; with his band The Ordinary Boys, and as a songwriter for other artists.
As I write this, today (2 October, 2015) is a big day for Brighton based four-piece Demob Happy. After seven years as a band, and with the same line-up, they are releasing their debut album, playing an in-store at the recently expanded Resident Records, and a 'secret' show later tonight, a celebration of where they've got to so far.
Back in May they performed several shows as part of The Great Escape, including bringing the house down at the rammed Latest Bar, their fearsome, yet intricate and melodic stoner grunge rock sending many of the audience delirious. Their grooves are bouncy, and their stage manner infectious. You can't help but like this band. They look like they are are giving it all, and at the same time having a ball, a difficult to ignore combination that has seen them quickly gain a buzz in the UK and Europe. No doubt, with the release of the album Dream Soda, they will be building stronger and bigger foundations, as they concentrate fully on getting their music heard far and wide.
Come ye come ye to bedrooms, bars and bunker squats/The sound is ringing clear/Now, who'd have thought that after all/ something as simple as rock 'n' roll would save us all (I Still Believe).
The old cliche about hard work paying off couldn't be more apt for Frank Turner, one of those heart-warming, yet unlikely success stories in this often bitterly difficult industry, where there are vastly more fallers and non-finishers than there are those who can actually make a living from doing what they invariably love. Of course, hard work doesn't often equate to success; artistically or commercially. Luck always plays a part, and being at the right place and the right time is a factor. But certainly, hard work, perseverance, and sheer bloody mindedness all play a big hand in achieving that elusive thing they call luck. And those handy/timely breaks, too. It also helps if your young, full of beans, and perhaps a little naive…
"I'm not given to half measures," says Turner. "I'm very passionate about music and passionate about being creative, and I am very aware of how fortunate I am to be able to do this thing that I do. I feel that it gives me an obligation to do something properly."
They were once called the new Lennon and McCartney. In their commercial and artistic heyday of the late 70s and 80s, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook were a super melodic, and sublime songwriting partnership, that while nowhere near as commercially successful as the Fab Four, magically evoked the spirit and times of their South London roots and upbringing, many of their songs up there with the best of John and Paul. Songs such as 'Cool for Cats', 'Up The Junction', 'Take Me I'm Yours', 'Another Nail In The Heart', 'Is That Love', 'Labelled With Love' and 'Hourglass' were highly melodic, clever, and distinctly British pop gems, that rode the new wave era, when records were selling by the boat load. With roots in council estate South London, and featuring the lyrical nous of Difford along with musicality of Tilbrook (as well as Jools Holland, a school mate of Tilbrook's, and founder member of what became Squeeze), the band were pop sophisticates, where Tilbrook's music often brilliantly interpreted and elaborated on the literate and engaging story songs of Difford.
Sometimes I feel a little sad for those born, say, 1995 onwards. They've been brought up in the age of the internet, mobile communications, computing, social media, and super-fast instant gratification. They hardly know what a landline is, have never had much use for the post office, and little need for notebooks or personal organiser, or things like cassettes… In this day and age (at least as far as the communication rich West is concerned) where almost everything is almost everywhere, the notion that you had to spend much time searching out the things you wanted and/or liked is a little quaint, perhaps even hard to fathom…
According to the founder of legendary UK label 4AD, Ivo-Watts Russell: "Journalist Martin Aston passed on a tape that Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club) had given to him. Every morning and evening, driving to and from work, I would start at the beginning, '24' (I know, I know, what more do you need to hear, right? What a song.), but only get about half way through that and whatever the second song on the tape was before arriving home/at 4AD. When I finally did listen to the full 90 minutes I called young Mark K. and left him a message. I learned later he was sitting in the bath listening to me talk. It was a perfect time for me to hear that brilliant band."Read More...