Posts Tagged ‘Blues’

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. 

Charlie Jones is a woman on a mission. Since coming 3rd in the BBC’s 2008 singer/songwriter talent contest, the Birmingham-born blonde has adopted a new incarnation at the head of a jangly five-piece Leicester act. Backed by The Martyrs – four well-dressed remnants of the wild Ego Armalade, [link] Charlie is the star attraction tonight dressed in leopard skin.

She ain't no Nash. Classy Charlie and her Martyr mates have plenty to display. Image: The Monograph

The frustration of enduring a 2 hour-long sound check and resorting to overpriced Carling is dispelled when Charlie et al burst into Cherry Picker. Less Western than KT Tunstall’s Black Horse number, it’s as sweet and fruity as the red prune itself.

Further along is Nothing To Display – a strummed melody about a terminally-gloomy friend who, head in hands, has little to offer, like the vacant message on a mobile phone screen.

Jones resents comparison with Kate Nash. “You always get that. They put you next to another girl with a guitar out there don’t they? I do get a bit annoyed by it. But what can you do?” she retorts. True, there is little Mockney about Charlie’s pure vocals. She deserves another award for taming the blokes from the now-extinct Ego, who exhibit no Flying V’s tonight and are on best behaviour.

Our Side, a passionate song about football and love, successfully paints the colours of the beautiful game. “I’ve got my heart in defence, I’ve got you up front” Charlie sings tactically to the derogatorily-named Kaffir’s alpha male audience.

7 Shades oversees a shift in pace from jig to ballad with a melancholic twist, demonstrating the band’s song-crafting versatility.

Queen of Hearts is the highlight: even the laddish Martyrs trade Jacks for Aces. Incorporating whistling and brassy elements, it’s their stand-out song. Charlie is a beacon, shining brighter than the Martyr’s cheap suit and waistcoats combo.

A lingering suspicion is that Charlie could wipe the floor with X-factor, but she has too much class and dignity to file herself alongside the likes of Cher Lloyd.

With Florence & The Machine, Marina & The Diamonds and Esben & The Witch already established, Charlie & The Martyrs face stiff competition from other female-fronted acts, if only in the name stakes.

Surely though it’s only a matter of time before Charlie assumes her title in waiting, the “heroine of Halesowen” in what is her most promising outfit yet.

Review of Charlie & The Martyrs @ Kaffir Inn, Whetstone – 18th November 2011

Myspace here, Monograph interview here.

A new Amy Winehouse album looks set to top Christmas prezzie wish lists. Entitled Lioness: Hidden Treasures, the 12-track compilation features 2 new songs, alternative versions of existing numbers and unheard material. Recordings are taken from up to seven years apart. 

Amy Winehouse enjoying Coachella Music & Arts Festival, 2007. Photo: Mick Orlosky @ Flickr

Perfected by Salaam Remi, producer of Frank and Back To Black, the posthumous “beyond the grave” release includes doo-wop influences, brass ballads and additional strings. An original and emotional version of Tears Dry will flicker the public’s festive feelings. And if that doesn’t rouse the waterworks, a soulful cover of Donnie Hathaway‘s A Song For You will surely do so, culminating in the lines “And when my life is over/Remember when we were together/We were alone and I was singing this song for you.”

Meanwhile, New York rapper Nas duets on Like Smoke, which contains the sobering line “colder than a penguin’s pussy”.

The enigmatic singer-songwriter died on July 23rd at her home in Camden, prompting mass tributes and mourning. An inquest found alcohol poisoning to be the cause of death with police recovering three vodka bottles from the scene.

Lioness will debut in stores on 5th December, probably putting paid to The Black Keys chances of hitting the #1 spot with their forthcoming El Camino.

Lonely Boy, the new single from The Black Keys has gone viral [or at least microbial], as smartly predicted in advance by Ethan, author of Letters From The Wasteland. The video features a Village People-style cameo from an uncuffed and unnamed bloke outside a motel lobby. Resemblance to Dave Benson-Phillips perhaps, anyone?


Previously, the blues-rock pairing were probably best known in the UK for their Jools Holland performances of Tighten Up, Next Girl and Howlin’ For You.

To label the duo from Ohio as understudies of the Kings of Leon would be a touch flippant. Dan Auerbach‘s guitar breeds a raw sound backed in emphatic style by Patrick Carney’s clattering drums. Underlying humour in their videos also deserves recognition, and is reminiscent of New York indie trio We Are Scientists.

The Keys have been plying their trade for over 10 years now, producing 6 studio albums in that period. Brothers, their most commercially successful record to date reached #29 and silver status here. El Camino their hotly-anticipated next effort will premiere in shops on 6th December. It looks certain to be the long-awaited Gold on the Ceiling for the Americans. The forthcoming winter could well be a Hell of a Season for them.

The only question remains, at what number will El Camino break into the Top 10 UK albums charts?

Photograph: Robin Byles

Following a year’s meticulous planning and eager anticipation, the city of Sheffield is poised once more to host the Tramlines Festival 2011. Over 3 (hopefully scorchio) summer days, Tramlines 2011 will witness a staggering 200+ bands performing LIVE across 70 stages. The FREE music festival conceived in 2009 aims to “showcase the amazing, diverse music” that the Steel City has to offer. This year Tramlines expects to haul a record 175,000 people into the city. Come and join in the celebrations!

When’s it kicking off? Thursday 21st (although officially) Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th July.

Where’s the buzz? Main Stage located on Devonshire Green… Multiple destinations along Division Street… Corporation, The Shakespeare, O2 Academy, Leadmill, The Harley, University of Sheffield and many more pubs, bars, nooks, crannies, pavement…

Who’s playing? Guillemots kick off proceedings with a cheeky set on Thursday evening at Leadmill… The Futureheads… Los Campesinos!… Dananananaykroyd… Toddla T… Ms Dynamite… Ash close the Main Stage on Sunday.

What’s new? This year’s event will be sponsored by Nokia… The University of Sheffield will become the Dance Village… The 2010 inaugural Blues & Ale Trail running from Shalesmoor, Kelham Island to the University Arms now has a Main Stage… Heeley City Farm will showcase a new folk/community event on the fringes of the city with beer tents, stalls and more…

What types of music? Everything… Reggae, blues, folk, rock, indie, pop, r&b, jazz, rap, dance…

Just popular bands? No… local talent, unsigned acts, acoustic sets, buskers… Tramlines truly has something for everyone.