Archive for May, 2012

Jack White (né John Anthony Gillis, 9/7/1975)

Apologies – cheap, age-old tactic to grab your attention in the title – Jack White is OF COURSE the latter of the two suggestions! This article is not an argumentative piece but a commendation of White’s ever-growing musical messiah-ness. It is also an article with little structure, so please forgive the forthcoming messiness.

White, a powder-faced peculiarity born in Detroit, is a natural talent to behold. Lyrics literally seep from his rosy lips, beautifully in sync with his bluesy inventions. Thus far, Jack is the ghostly character whom has written 10 albums in the last 13 years, producing & contributing towards countless others. His utter ingenuity literally pales others into significance. How can such a music-orientated man sleep when his left-brain is constantly ticking? 

White ranks alongside, if not at the top of, a talented pile of contemporary songwriters including Dave Grohl, Alex Turner, Thom Yorke et al – this generation’s Weller, Strummer, Dylan and Cash. Like Grohl [Nirvana/Them Crooked Vultures] and Turner [Last Shadow Puppets], White has mastered the art of multi-tasking himself with side projects The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. Oh, have I so far failed to mention his breakthrough act THE WHITE STRIPES, a six-album partnership he forged with ‘sister’ and ex-wife Meg White, whose surname Jack admirably adopted?

The Fly (music magazine) recently awarded Blunderbuss, White’s debut solo record, a 3.5/5 star rating: a filthy insult from what some claim is a ‘shit-rag’ itself. Get real or otherwise get retailed next to Andrex and other bum-wipes!

Also recently, I read a funny snippet in The Guide (The Guardian newspaper’s weekend pullout). On the back page was a factfile reading as follows:

Name: Jack Anthony White

Famous for: Dum dum dum dum der der der

Despite everything, The White Stripes are still synonymous with that one opening bassline to Seven Nation Army.

Thankfully, Blunderbuss has been Jack’s opportunity to finally show the world a figment of his current conscience, post break-up with Karen Elson“I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me” Jack states firmly on first single Love Interruption, I believe him. Sixteen Saltines retains the White Stripes’ ginormous pomp whilst I’m Shaking brilliantly irritates with its cheeky buzzing bee riff. In terms of Blunderbuss though, the aforementioned couple are anomaliesHip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is a more typical cute tale featuring beautiful keys. 

Blunderbuss is misnamed. It’s no stonker but my word is it a charmer.

Jack White (III) we salute you! Thankyou for everything you have so far impressed upon us, continue to do so forever more. 

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Feathers by Symphonic Pictures is like a snapshot of sad 60’s cinematography; an old retro film reels, imaginary moving pictures flutter before your eyes, black and white polaroids imprint on your retina, credits queue. Achieved via a trio of nostalgia-inducing guitar twangs, soothing vocals and metal-clattering drums, Feathers is a lo-fi lament of pastimes, childhood and long-lost relatives. As raw, pure & obscure as anything Joy Division ever put out, Feathers is a treasure to behold in an era of generic rock. A truly inspirational piece of classical symphony, courtesy of an act with an apt name.

 

Published by The Monograph.

Dubbed “Next Big Thing” by Leicester Sound, an accolade shared with acts like Joel Owen & The Antoine Band, The Lonesome Party Heroes have a lot to live up to.

Made up of founders Glenn Mansell [vocals] & Ian Hollis [bass], alongside David Williams [lead], Phil Windess [keys] and Tom Croft [drums], the promising Leicester quintet are NOT to be confused with Texan folk duo Lonesome Heroes.

Fortunately, their 2nd full-length instalment Point to Prove is simply rather damned good. Minimalistic yet effective album artwork provides, in a nutshell, a sweet analogy to the contents.

Point To Prove – Lonesome Party Heroes. Point well made.

Butterfly sticks like glue to your mental playlist [warm this chilly season, enlight the darkest nights/oh your love surrounds me, come and scream it out]. Always also portrays the panoramic Feeder feel, laced with more spellbinding lyrics.

Emotive words and melancholic chimes are littered throughout In My Dream Tonight, which warms your heart like Gaviscon. “I surrender” expresses Mansell whose metaphorical white flag is waved aloft, more convincingly than Dido’s ever was.

Espionage is the theme of Turn on the Light – a stirring number that borrows from and revs up the throbbing Mission Impossible soundtrack riff. Mansell impersonates Ethan Hunt equally well, [hold out your hands and forget all your plans for redemption kick off your shoes you’ve got nothing to lose but the future, hold your nerve unsteady compromise, turn to the light until to you realise, that when one flies alone you might as well fall].

Throughout, Mansell is a fusion of Simon Neil and Gary Lightbody’s reassuring smoothness minus the Irish lilt.

Short. Sweet. Serenade. Fifty-second snippet Shoes is a triple S for description. [I wore your shoes, they were a size too big and far too heavy, they made me sore, but they made me fly]. Lost and Lonely is another cracker laced with resounding lo-fi experimentation and synth swerve.

Encouraging progress from The Lonesome Party Heroes. Point to Prove? Point well made.

Buy Point to Prove here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Point-to-Prove/dp/B006HBO0L6

Thanks to The Monograph for publishing this review.

Walking to this evening’s venue a concerned policeman can be seen sniffing suspiciously around one of the many shady backstreets within the vicinity of Clyde Street, Leicester. Unbeknown to him, a crime was being committed just round the corner at The Musician where a less than 10% capacity crowd had descended to watch a stellar mid-week line-up of raw local talent.

Understandably hesitant initially, Theo Miller grows visibly in stature towards the end of his stage-warming set. Theo’s intelligence shines through in his acoustic repertoire, his comical rhyming couplets coming to the fore on Plans. His lyrical prowess on the likes of Forgive & Forget has won him fans, and a competition: to perform a support slot for Joan Armatrading at De Montfort Hall in November on her 40th anniversary. Fitting is it then, that he departs with Letters, a song about song-writing.

Last time Rosie Doyle entertained at The Musician she was afflicted with a broken string. On this occasion it’s a woefully-tuned top E string and a cold. Despite the mishaps, Rosie adds valuable impetus to the plucking stakes here, epitomised in the skippy number Yellow Brick Road. Her time will come.

Fay Brotherhood – a bizarre meeting of Boudicca versus Cavegirl, bashing out her Pagan-influenced traditional folk. Photo: Steven Seniw/Kicha Media

Fay Brotherhood’s time is already upon us. Born into a blues-loving family based in Coalville, Fay begs to be different. Aesthetically, she is a bizarre meeting [photo left] of Boudicca versus Cavegirl with her dreadlocks and crafty attire. Musically, her traditional folk interpretations of local legends [Black Annis] and battles [Blue Spiral Screams] make for fascinating listening. Combined with Lee Burns’ violin & electric mandolin, Fay’s music accurately recreates rousing Gaelic tones. Chalk Horses for instance is a galloping romp influenced by stone circles and a certain Pagan festival. Lowlands of Holland is another with an ethereal edge. With a name for fame and the conviction to match, now is a great time to Follow the Falcon and join the Brotherhood.

Sporting a “Drink Coca Cola” t-shirt, headline act Chris Ostler climbs to the stage opting, somewhat surprisingly, for a stool. In energising fashion, as if he’d drunken 10 litres of the caffeine-packed drink, Chris’ strumming arm sets off like a piston. Lamplights is the pinnacle of his intermittently emotional set, featuring a beautifully whistled intro. Bullet from Heaven is another highlight, inspired by his Grandad’s participation in World War II. Evidently an accomplished musician, Chris is firmly in the ilk of Ed Sheeran. Also touring with Joan Armatrading in the winter, 2012 promises to be a memorable year for Chris.

And so the evening closes, the buzz dies down and our thanks go to The Musician and promoters Horus Music Ltd for greatly enriching our musical education.

Read more of the release: http://www.horusmusic.co.uk/acoustic-session-on-wednesday-21st-march-2012/

Published by The Monograph.

Crystal Shipsss is the nascent brainchild of Berlin-based songwriter Jacob Faurholt. Already with an impressive five albums under his belt, Yay is a debut for a new project Crystal Shipsss, Faurholt’s “one-man musical vessel”.

Crystal Shipsss – Yay.

“I only recorded when I felt inspired, and with the idea of just making music without overthinking it” says Danish-born Faurholt of his latest record. Sure enough Yay is easier to digest than one of his nation’s famous pastries: a majority of the songs barely exceed 100 seconds.

Traversing the White Stripes’ verve of Geyser to the devilishly dark tones of Burning Kingdom, Shipsss’ first outing is a fascinating exploration into Faurholt’s sea of subconscious. Smile is an acoustically distant MGMT ringer; Uh Huh is a heavenly Sigur Ros lullaby; Romantic is of a similar ilk. Simplistic blends of chords, keys and lo-fi resonance are stirred to create the whirling, airy effects.

Unlike most diamonds though, Yay is far from polished. The recording quality is thrillingly raw but fuzzy; the songs vary from spell-binding [Crystal Lipsss] to introverted [My Dark Slimy Soul & The Jacket]. Others could be considered filler or demos [Sunshine].

The impression gained is very much one of a work in progress, albeit a showcase of some stunning melodrama from a man who stars as an extra in German soaps. Faurholt has compiled the raw materials for something special, Yay being a prototype or teaser.

As mouth-watering in potential as Faurholt’s label [Raw Onions Records] is eye-watering in title.

 [UK release: 11th June]

Find Jacob Faurholt on WordPress: http://jacobfaurholt.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/crystal-shipsss-cassette-release/

Published by The Monograph.