zaterdag 30 juni 2018

Sir Paul McCartney plays Beatles and Wings hits to pub crowd. A conversation

Liverpool Photo: Mark Carvell
That Sir Paul McCartney played a pub in Liverpool has been watched by multiple millions of people the world round by now. The news leaked in a BBC news item two weeks ago. The item brought three gentlemen in a discussion that we of WoNoBlog are happy to share with you.

Gary, 16-6:
Interesting how even now Macca still has the power to draw such intense interest from the media and public. Great to see this sort of thing happening in a pub (evidently took place at the The Philharmonic pub in central Liverpool) in this day and age? This will be screened on James Corden's (US) Late Late Show next week on Sky1… maybe worth watching. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-44435526

Mark, 16-6:
Thanks, Gary.  Paul always seems up for that sort of thing - in London he's been seen on the tube (but not busking!). Down to earth - literally! John was the same in New York (but got shot).  Paul also still has strong family links with Liverpool and he supports the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. The city generally loves him unlike Ringo - they haven't forgiven him for what he said on the Jonathan Ross show about not missing the city - in 2008 the Liverpool city of culture year! I went to the Beatles week in Liverpool last year. The statue of the group down at the Pier Head  in the photo with Paul is great - really captures the spirit of the group (based on a photo). There's also a great statue of Billy Fury at the Albert Dock and a new one of Cilla Black in Mathew Street standing outside the Cavern - not the original club alas which was knocked down by the Council in the 1970s when they had no sense of the musical heritage under their feet - again literally in the case of the Cavern! Cilla worked in the cloakroom at the club but would sometimes be invited on stage to sing with the Beatles - and they later gave her a couple of hit songs (Love of the Loved, It's For You and  Step Inside Love). Liverpool is better now at recognising its home-grown heroes - and in the case of the Beatles it's become a huge money-earner from tourism.

Hamburg Photo: Mark Carvell

Wo., 16-6:
I just read a blog of a Dutch Beatles fanatic who went on a pilgrimage to Hamburg with a few other real fans. Apparently there's a Beatles five piece memorial on the intersection of Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit, the two streets they  played 1960-1962. Stuart Sutcliffe is set somewhat apart from the other four, including Pete Best of course. They assumed that is because he stayed behind with Astrid.

These fellows and a lady also sort of broke into the building where the Beatles slept behind the screen of the adult movie theatre in their first Hamburg weeks, to have a peak. All cities have their stories, but there's only one original.

It is amazing the Cavern Club was torn down, as the Beatles were already venerated in the 70s. What no one could have predicted is the sort of pilgrimages fans would undertake. (And the aldermen and civil servants deciding on these topics were probably too old to have been fans.) Was there a sign on the side of a building in Salzburg in 1830 saying Mozart lived here? Probably not. In the mid 80s of the last century there was. And so it is with the Beatles nowadays and many other 60s heroes.

I should do my Liverpool trip one of these days.

(Here's the link to the Dutch blog: http://beatlestalk.blogspot.com/)

P.S. It's a three story piece, that ends quite nice, but also shows some fans just go too far, really. 

Hamburg Photo: Mark Carvell
Mark, 17-7:
Attached are a couple of photos from a trip to Hamburg I did a couple of years ago. The Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit street where the music clubs were haven't changed much but the original Star Club burnt down quite a few years ago so nothing left of that main club where the Merseybeat groups all played. I'm standing in the doorway exactly where John stood in the 1961 photo on his Rock'n'roll elpee. Difficult to find - and the locals get pissed off with the Beatle fans who do persevere and find it!


I also attach a photo of a very good statue of John in a Havana park that was unveiled by Fidel Castro. His granny specs kept getting nicked so they pay an old bloke to keep any eye on him. 

Mark, 17-7:
Back in Liddypool, attached are a couple of photos of the new statue - dig Paul's winkle-pickers - and one of an earlier one of John in Mathew Street which originally had him sporting a rock'n'roll quiff but the moptop was substituted after tourists complained they didn't recognise him! Mathew Street is now a tourist trap mess alas: I remember going there in 1971 when it was a dingy backstreet of warehouses. Good for the economy though I suppose.

I also came across a blow up John during a street carnival in Malta back in January! 

Mark, 17-7:
The Cavern Club was demolished unnecessarily: the club had long closed and the plan was to build a ventilation shaft on the site for the city's underground railway - but that shaft was never actually built. The bricks were sold off for a few quid each - worth a lot more now! 

Wo., 18-6:
You never stop amazing me where you have been over the years, Mark, and the hunt for historical places connected to 60s acts. I have to admit to not being that diligent, but also, at least in part, because it just doesn't cross my mind. If I look back to what I have done. The first is probably walking through London to see Battersea Powerstation in 1978 (not the Abbey Road crossing), Jim Morrison's grave in Père Lachaise in 1986. Sitting in the Cafe Wha? and the Kettle of Fish in 1992, Hendrix' grave in Renton in 2003. The Yellow Submarine I saw at Liverpool airport from the car on route to the Lake District some years back. That may just be it.

BTW, I saw a picture of the Abbey Road crossing being demolished by a road crew last week, leading to consternation on the Internet. I have been told long ago that this wasn't the original crossing any way. So the next will probably become just as iconic as the first and the second one soon.

Rotterdam Photo: Wo. 24-3-12
Looking at the photo's of Macca, 76 today, in a pub in Liverpool is amazing. To think that there were some lucky people who attended this mini show! Some have all the luck. I count my lucky stars to have seen him in 2012. A very emotional show, I have to admit as a lot of things all came together that evening. My niece who introduced me to the band as a very young boy, my son who is a huge Beatles fan through me and my best friend around me and the music that is there for nearly a lifetime as well. It was sort of overwhelming. With Sir Paul in great form. And then imagine all the huge hits he did not play that evening. It all ended or nearly ended with 'Hey Jude', which was my first self bought 45. Some more tears alright accompanying the first notes. I'm still sort of proud to be able to write this: 'Hey Jude' as a first 45. It could have been a lot worse to have to admit that 50 years later. With 'Revolution' exposing me to a totally different and for me, then, unknown side of The Beatles.

76. How much more years can we enjoy his presence and love of music?

Wo., 21-6:
I just received an e-mail from the same cousin I mentioned in my last e-mail, with a message announcing a new Macca album, called Egypt Station. Now I haven't been warming to most of McCartney's albums in the past 25 years, it is always something to look out for.

'Flaming Pie' may have been the last one I truly liked in fact.

Mark, 22-6:
Yes I've just seen the news too. It's several years since his last album so one hopes that the songs on it will be the best and most developed of whatever he has been working on in this relatively long period of no releases. 

His albums always sell well at the time of release because of who he is and the solid base of Beatles fans and completists who buy his records regardless (like me....!). But he is not averse to experimenting and reaching out to younger talents and spreading his profile which is a good approach for a multi-millionaire artist to take in order to keep in touch with reality and changes. However these efforts tend to be one-offs and he risks sinking back into complacency and nothing happens for a while - and in the meantime he's distracted by touring the world singing Hey Jude etc. I wonder if he went back into a proper band that might sharpen up his writing  and he'd benefit from other members telling him "come on Paul, that's a load of crap, why don't you do it this way?" or " I've got a riff that I've been working on that might work here, Paul" - which is how it often worked in the Beatles. Trouble is it couldn't be like re-inventing The Beatles because really talented potential band members would likely be put off by the stigma of always being in Paul's shadow and prefer pursuing their own independent ambitions. Look what happened to Denny Laine: undoubtedly talented but after falling out with Paul and the end of Wings he had no career and ended up bankrupt.

That said it is not unknown for Paul's records to be re-assessed - such as Ram which I've always loved for its rich diversity but it was slammed for being lightweight at the time John was at his peak with Imagine. The album Paul did in collaboration with Elvis Costello was a peak though that was a partnership that could not possibly continue given Costello's stature as a writer/artist/performer in his own write - sorry! - right! Flowers in the Dirt was a McCartney album, not credited as the Costello-McCartney album it should perhaps have been (I've heard the multi-cd archives version with additional tracks that they worked is well worth the investment). 

Final point:: the title "Egypt Station" sounds intrigueing and potentially exciting in musical terms but I expect it's meaningless! 

Gary, 22-6:
Here it is! https://youtu.be/QjvzCTqkBDQ  Enjoy! 

Mark, 24-6:
Thanks Gary -and I also saw it on yer actual proper telly, like. I note the last great moptop is now wisely easing off on the hair dye in his 76th year. I've been to the house in Forthlin Road which is a faithfully restored basic council house open to the public and is quite a contrast to the big suburban semi in Menlove Avenue where John grew up (the working class hero worked hard to shake off his middle class roots). George and Ringo grew up in similar modest terrace houses originally with outside toilets next to the back alley. Quite remarkable if Paul knocking on the door - over 50 years after moving out:  oh alright, go on, "Let 'em In" - was entirely un-staged.  I wonder if he'll attempt an autobiography before he forgets too much more of the really interesting detail - it's pretty much all been written for him in the dozens of biographies, one or two of which claim his fabness' approval like Philip Norman's. Though it's rather self-sanitised, I recommend the massive Anthology tome with its fascinating illustrations.

Speaking of ageing musical icons who are just about hanging in there, I finally bought Françoise Hardy's new album while changing trains in Paris last week en route to Strasbourg. There are a couple of excellent records shops on the Grand Rue in Strasbourg - "Oncle Tom's" and "Thirty and Co". I picked up Steve Earle's latest album from last year So You Wanna Be An Outlaw (I'm seeing him in concert in London next month) and a vinyl reissue of Rory Gallagher's album Tattoo. That is me revisiting my youth: I saw Rory play at my first proper rock concert in 1973 at the Liverpool Stadium which was a notorious boxing ring now demolished. Also I'm restoring to my record collection this excellent blues/rock album - perhaps Rory at his peak - after a vicious austerity cull I had to institute in the early 1980s when I was skint. Sobering to read, as I have just done, that almost all of Rory's side-men on bass, keyboards and drums have now followed him through the pearly gates to the great gig in the sky.

By the way, I also dropped into Brussels last week to try to talk the Commission out of their intention to cut (we believe) 200,000 UK companies out of .eu next March if there is no deal. The total number of UK-based registrations is 317,000 which is 9% and 4th largest EU MS in terms of .eu registrations - so EurID aren't exactly pleased either. Meanwhile the Commission risk losing that useful 1mill euro surplus from .eu (and for my efforts I got pick-pocketed on the way back to Brussels Midi). 

Wo., 26-6:
What an incredible video with Macca in his old hometown! Of course nothing in there is truly spontaneous, but that does not mean that the intentions are totally true and well-meant. It does show a little where he's from and where some of the songs originated.

The pub show is a real enactment of the 'Let It Be' rooftop concert, with one main difference: there was an audience to start with. If they really were this lucky we'll never know. The people that came running in certainly were.

I had never heard of the talkshow host, James Corden, nor his Carpool Karaoke, but he really does all this well prepared, fully good-humoured and with love for the music of his guest. What he manages to show his audience is twofold: the love of music Paul McCartney has at the depth of his heart and the love and respect he receives from people the world over who respond to his music. This did not last for 10 years, as The Beatles thought at the time, but will outlive him for decades if not hundreds of years.

Have you heard the new single, 'Come On To Me'? I honestly think it may be his best since the 70s. What an energy, what fun. 100% alive, enjoying life and exuberant, bubbling and bursting with energy. The second song released is 'I Don't Know', a much more serious ballad, not unlike 'Ebony And Ivory'.

Yes, his voice is audibly ageing now, but at 75/76 it is allowed to. The music is what counts. If these songs are the standard of 'Egypt Station', we have a great album waiting for us after the summer.

Here's the link to the lyric video of 'Come On To Me': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeJLrtFY7Ds

Sorry to read about your wallet, Mark. Always a bit of a shock when a thing like that happens, not to mention all the time lost afterwards. I, unfortunately, can speak from experience.

Last Sunday we had another living room show. It was so beautiful, once again. The band, Maggie Brown, managed to draw pure emotions from the people present. They moved all, while most present had never heard of the band before. It is an honour to stage shows like this, I can tell you, for more than one reason. Any The Beatles fan should listen to 'Hail To The Rain' by Maggie Brown. The song is so beautiful.

(You can read about the living room show here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2018/06/maggie-brown-live-living-room-show.html)

Gary
Mark
Wo.




vrijdag 29 juni 2018

Hellfire. Ben Bostick

"I've got a job in the valley but today I didn't go", somewhere in the last few words a honky-tonk piano joins a voice that sounds like cars burned rubber in there for years on end. Rough, tired, edged and full dirt thrown in there on a daily basis. The guitar that comes in sounds just as sleazy with a load of reverb and sustain to draw out the notes played. Albums can start a whole lot worse that Hellfire does.

Ben Bostick makes a statement in the very starting moments of his new album. Life isn't good, so he's "gonna clean out his account ... to drink a disgusting amount". 'No Show Blues' is a great rocking song, like they are supposed to be made in the U.S. of A. A great solo is thrown in there to, leading up to a momentous crescendo before the song returns to the main theme. And all that in a little more than 3.30 minutes.

Promo photo
Ben Bostick is a country singer from Los Angeles, releasing his second album. What struck me the most, listening to the album for the first time, was how alive Hellfire sounds. There seems to be no holding back, no recording tricks. The music and voice come across as one big, if not huge ball of energy thrown at the unsuspecting listener to digest. The sound is so tremendously solid.

Reading up a little on the album the reason was explained. Ben Bostick, vocals, rhythm guitar; Luke Miller keyboards; Kyle LaLone, lead guitar; Cory Tramontelli, bass and Perry Morris, drums all played together in a circle while listening to the vocals through floor monitors. Producer John Would used the sound created not just by the instruments/gear but the whole room as such. The result is this tremendous solid sound, enormous and successfully (a)live.

Promo photo
Bostick may be dubbed a country singer, his music certainly can be found in the rocking segment of country, moving towards blues rock in sound and intend. Yes, there are rough sounding country songs as well, but never without a solid electric guitar. LaLone and Miller alternate solo's, giving songs their own distinctive feel. LaLone has several fine country licks (and rock (and roll) ones) in this repertoire, while Miller rolls his piano notes around. A song like 'Tornado' is LaLone tinged with the twirling guitar notes. It may not be my favourite song on Hellfire, 'Tornado' is more than alive though and will work a miracle in a live setting. In 'The Other Side Of Wrong' they both go at it, creating a wild, all sweeping rock song. This band was on a roll in Would's studio.

Hellfire is an album when a person needs a lift up and for those evenings when one just wants to sing a long to dirty country-rockers, tight fist up in the air. Only one thing may be better, to hear Ben Bostick and his band play these songs live. It looks like Mr. Bostick has succeeded in achieving his goals when making Hellfire.

Wo.

You can listen to and buy Hellfire here:

https://benbostick.bandcamp.com/album/hellfire


Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g



donderdag 28 juni 2018

You Will Not Die. Nakhane

Op de website MusicMeter, waarop muziekliefhebbers hun al dan niet gezouten mening over een album kunnen geven, las ik een paar dagen geleden bijzonder enthousiaste verhalen over You Will Not Die van de uit Zuid-Afrika afkomstige Nakhane.
 
Direct bij eerste beluistering begreep ik de positieve of zelfs opgewonden verhalen over de plaat van deze Nakhane, die zich in het verleden kort bediende van de achternaam Touré (als eerbetoon aan de Afrikaanse muzikant Ali Farka Touré) en sinds deze eerste beluistering ben ik alleen maar meer onder de indruk geraakt van de muziek van de Zuid-Afrikaanse muzikant.
 
You Will Not Die opent met prachtige, rijk georkestreerde en bijna filmische klanken, die direct beelden van weidse Afrikaanse vlakten op het netvlies toveren. Het zijn klanken die worden gecombineerd met de mooie en zeer krachtige stem van Nakhane, die op het eerste gehoor wel wat doet denken aan die van Benjamin Clementine.
 
Waar ik de muziek van Benjamin Clementine en zijn stem vaak net wat te pretentieus vind, had Nakhane me met de groots klinkende openingstrack, waaraan ook nog avontuurlijke elektronica en fraaie pianoklanken zijn toegevoegd, direct te pakken. De stemmige openingstrack legt de lat direct bijzonder hoog voor de rest van het album, maar Nakhane kan hier mee overweg, door op imponerende wijze zijn veelzijdigheid te tonen.
 
De van stuwende elektronica en springerige ritmes voorziene tweede track schiet meteen een heel andere kant op en doet me in eerste instantie wel wat denken aan de platen waarop David Bowie flirtte met moderne dansmuziek. Op buitengewoon subtiele wijze voegt Nakhane echter ook invloeden uit de Afrikaanse muziek toe aan het al zo rijke en veelzijdige geluid, bijvoorbeeld door de zo karakteristieke gitaarlijnen uit de Afrikaanse muziek of Afrikaans aandoende koortjes toe te voegen.
 
Wanneer de ritmesectie kiest voor een wat zwaarder aangezet geluid en de gitaren opeens hoekiger klinken, zijn associaties met de beste platen van Peter Gabriel niet te onderdrukken en zo verrast You Will Not Die steeds weer met verrassende wendingen en briljante vondsten.
 
De stem van Nakhane maakt hierbij diepe indruk. Het bijzondere van deze stem is dat Nakhane het pretentieuze van Benjamin Clementine en het ongrijpbare van Antony weet te combineren met de allure van Bowie en de soul van bijvoorbeeld Terence Trent d’Arby.
 
Nakhane kan hierdoor uit de voeten in mysterieus en atmosferisch klinkende pianosongs, maar blijft ook overeind wanneer een hele batterij elektronica om hem heen losbarst. De Zuid-Afrikaanse muzikant beschikt over een stem die kwetsbaar maar ook strijdbaar kan klinken, wat deels zal zijn veroorzaakt door het verleden van Nakhane als homoseksueel in een sterk homofobe omgeving.
 
Het is zeker niet alleen de stem van Nakhane die van You Will Not Die zo’n bijzondere plaat maakt. Ook het zeer rijke en veelzijdige instrumentarium, dat zowel bloedmooi als avontuurlijk klinkt, en de werkelijk prachtige productie van Ben Cristophers, die zelf ook een aantal prachtige soloplaten maakte (met het uit 1999 stammende My Beautiful Demon als hoogtepunt), dragen nadrukkelijk bij aan het fascinerende eindresultaat.
 
Hetzelfde geldt voor de veelheid aan invloeden op de plaat, want niets is Nakhane te gek, waardoor You Will Not Die kris kras door een aantal decennia popmuziek schiet en bijna achteloos schakelt tussen 80s synthpop, Afrikaanse muziek en pastoraal klinkende pianosongs, om slechts drie van de vele uitersten te noemen.
 
Ik vond You Will Not Die direct een prachtplaat, maar inmiddels ken ik magische krachten toe aan een plaat die maar blijft verrassen met hemeltergend mooie passages en een impact om bang van te worden. Ik lees nog verrassend weinig over de nieuwe plaat van Nakhane, maar man wat is dit goed!

Erwin Zijleman


Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

woensdag 27 juni 2018

Maggie Brown live. Living room show Haarlem, Sunday 24 June 2018

There are moments in life that allow me to see the emotions on the faces of people, some sad, some happy occasions. One of these moments occurred in my own living room watching the faces of the guests attending the show Maggie Brown played there on a grey, late June Sunday afternoon. The sun shone within our house and not outside.

My girlfriend and I were lucky to have a fantastic band from Amsterdam and present it to our friends and guests. Considering this was the band's first living room show and lead guitarist Frank's first show with the band ever, I can only muse about what it can grow into. If anything the music of Maggie Brown lends itself for this setting and looking at the faces of the people listening it was clear no one went home untouched.

Maggie Brown and I go back four years now, with the band's first eponymous album, followed by the Mountaineer solo album of singer/guitarist Marcel Hulst and last year 'Another Place', my favourite album of 2017 by the way. In those four years the band received a special place in my personal musical pantheon. Can I explain to you why that is?

Basically no, there do not seem to be the right kind of words to describe how the music resonates within me, how it touches me and moves me. Simply that when I heard 'Hail To The Rain' for the first time, I knew instantly that I was listening to one of the most beautiful songs ever made. A song so beautiful that it nearly shocked me. Everything in it seems to be right. From the elementary guitar riff starting it to the exquisite mood changes within it. When the final part comes by I'm floored.

Something I can not comprehend is that this song was not picked up by radio stations or DWDD. Everyone calling him- or herself a DJ ought to be ashamed of themselves. Beautiful music has nothing to do with likes on Facebook or Instagram, but everything with being moved. It has all to do with the emotions and the response of people. Moved by the change from a major to a minor chord, as Marcel explained to us. 'Hail To The Rain' moves, touches, as it is beautifully constructed, worked out into all the details, with a refrain so easy to sing along with. And nearly all songs on 'Another Place' have this sort of impact on me. I think you get the message and hopefully I did explain a little for you. (You can read my review of 'Another Place' here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2017/06/another-place-maggie-brown.html)

Luckily for Maggie Brown it was not just me. I saw people smile of joy, a tear here and there and intense faces following every move of the music, full of admiration. I saw the power of beautiful music at work. Most who attended will have gone home and told about Maggie Brown, letting family and friends listen to its songs and spread the word.

Should you be looking for a band to play in your own living room, you know where to go. I understand that the band is keen to do this more often, so grab your chance while you still can.

Four shows into our living room concerts I can only state that it is not possible to enjoy live music more intimately. To hear everything, see everything, the at ease interaction between the musicians and the audience, the instant feedback musicians receive from the audience, is unique. It proves to be rewarding all around. There's certainly more to come.

(All photo's by) Wo.


Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

dinsdag 26 juni 2018

Stargaze: Tribute to Blackstar. Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Saturday 23 June 2018

The "rockshow" to be
"There's a rock show at the Concertgebouw", Paul McCartney sang in 1975 (and it rhymed to believe or not for a Dutchman.) This proved not to be the whole story, as Stargaze and guests Anja Plaschg, Anna Calvi and Laetitia Sadier showed. Together with composers Jerek Bischoff and André de Ridder they all worked on a reinterpretation of the Blackstar album and a few other songs by Bowie. So in the end it wasn't exactly a rockshow at the Concertgebouw but a form of hybrid between rock, jazz and classics that worked like a dream and, I'm sure, would have made David Bowie proud. His final work transcends all time, space and musical genres in this interpretation.

The story surrounding Blackstar is known, I presume, so does not need repeating here. (Read my review here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2016/01/blackstar-david-bowie.html) Fact is that Bowie's final album has been put up in rock's pantheon as a masterpiece. Time can only tell that for certain, as the circumstance following the release certainly contributed to the impact of the album. Two and a half years later I can only say that the album holds up totally and still gives away some details each time I listen to it.

'Blackstar'
The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is a beautiful building, once slightly outside of the town that was catching up with its location and overtaking it at a tremendous building pace in the 1880s and 90s. A city bursting out of its early modern age surroundings within the canals. I had never been inside before, so took it all in. A fairly sober interior, much more so than I had suspected. The names of still famous and more or less forgotten composers adorning the walls. A huge stage in front of the floor, where all the seats had been taken out. Persian rugs were laid on the floor. Several people sat down immediately, as if the Paradiso of the pre-punk 70s was back in fashion. A large organ hanging on the wall at the back of the podium. It was used to.

Stargaze is an orchestra of classically trained musicians who enjoy making a cross-over to modern music, also in cooperation with bands. The idea for this tribute started with reworkings both Jerek Bischoff and Andre de Ridder made of Blackstar, independently from each other. From there things slowly got together and here we were for a fairly unique show and unique collaborations that may never happen again.

A show that started with 'Warszawa'. The ominous instrumental song that, to me, really started Bowie's "Berlin period". The brooding sounds created with Brian Eno, were played by classical instruments and of everything the bass version. The longest, yet small, saxophone I've ever seen. A sort of double flute. All producing the dark sounds of 'Warszawa'. A song I could not listen to, really, at the time. The song Bowie opened his 1978 tour with, standing behind a small synthesizer. Things change. So do the tastes of a young man who has grown up. I really do not believe I would have liked Blackstar when I was 18 or so. In 2016 on 8 January I was surprised, shocked, moved, shaken, impressed, conquered, smitten. All within 24 hours of listening to the album over and over.

Blackstar was played in one go. The lady singers changing places to sing lead after the duet of 'Blackstar' between Calvi and Plaschg. The intricate arrangements fully recreated the very dynamic and electric album in a near organic form. The director played a bass guitar here and there, next to a very limited amount of electric guitar. Some orchestra members changed more instruments than Ferry Heijne during an average De Kift show. The organ player climbed the organ and back when needed elsewhere. Odd rhythms and odd sounds are an intrinsic part of Blackstar and in the tribute. The director was counting a lot before the orchestra could star playing. This part of the show was over far too soon. Ms. Sadier was less at ease it seemed, but she came through beautifully with a little help (as in counting) from the flute player, who also sang a beautiful harmony.

The orchestra gave us a finale with 'Ashes To Ashes', always a favourite, 'Space Oddity', my first and greatest Bowie love. A lot of singing along was allowed and the audience did not need a second prodding from the conductor. This was a celebration of the love for Bowie's music for and from all involved. Orchestra and audience sang together, while only the violinists were at work for us. It ended with a very intense song, I still haven't figured out what it was. It seems there are Bowie songs I am not familiar with. Anna Calvi sang it immensely intense and went all out on her guitar, punishing it with her slide, while the orchestra cooked up a storm. And even then I did not need my earplugs for a single second. So it is possible to play not too loud and have a venue enraptured. It wasn't a rockshow, true, but came as close as classically trained musicians can come to one. Well done Stargaze and all your guest involved in this beautifully majestic tribute.

(All photo's by) Wo.

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

maandag 25 juni 2018

Other Arrangements. Parker Millsap

Parker Millsap is from Purcell, Oklahoma and with his 24 years old releasing his fourth record. He is working hard at finding his own voice and style and working outside of the mainstream record labels has allowed him to just do just that at a fine pace.

For me it's like I'm transported back about 40 years in time and listening to a Rod Stewart or The Faces record for the first time, say 'Foot Loose And Fancy Free' (1977). Millsap has a softer voice than Stewart but comes at least half of the way. There are some dirty rocking songs involved where a Ron Wood like slide guitar plays a role in. Clean ballads can be found as well, but no hit like 'You're In My Heart' was or, the opposite 'Hot Legs'.

The main difference is that Millsap has a violin player who plays a role in each song. This fact makes Other Arrangements an album that sounds differently from most rock albums. It makes it stand out, in fact.

Listening to Other Arrangements by the song, the variation between the songs is one of the first features that capture my attention. Parker Millsap is not afraid to change the mood on his album. Exuberant can turn into reflection within a song, 'Let A Little Light In'. Followed by the blues of 'Tell Me'. Somewhere beneath this all is a love for acoustic folk songs. Sometimes even as if the acoustic was stripped away in favour of his more rocking side.

Parker Millsap is not afraid to add some less obvious influences into his music. Some Tamla/Motown can be heard in there, perhaps even a hint at gospel. The purpose of the record remains to rock at some level and the mix blends well in most songs. There's not much wrong with a soul choir accompanied by a mean lead electric guitar underneath it all.

If I have to write something not speaking in favour of Other Arrangements it has to be that most songs colour neatly between the lines of rock conventions. Even when Millsap tips his hat to The Rolling Stones things never get really wild. This fact makes it hard for me to get through the whole album in one go. Despite the variations. Here I point back to Rod Stewart, I always had the same problem with him, even in his golden years, 1975-1978.

Having said that, there is enough to enjoy on Other Arrangements. Parker Millsap knows how to write a good pop-rock song and has a clear vision on how he wants them to sound. The result is a varied, solid album showing him the way in which he may want to develop himself further.

Wo.

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

zondag 24 juni 2018

Goat Girl. Goat Girl

Met name de Britse muziekpers doet al een tijdje heel druk over Goat Girl. Daar valt ook wel wat voor te zeggen, want de vier jonge meiden uit Londen, die de twintig nog maar net hebben bereikt, maken opvallende muziek.
 
Clottie Cream (Lottie), Naima Jelly (Naima), L.E.D. (Ellie) en Rosy Bones (Rosy) verdienden met hun eerste demo’s een platencontract bij het legendarische Rough Trade label en op dit label is nu het titelloze debuut van Goat Girl verschenen.
 
Dit debuut telt maar liefst 19 tracks en de band uit Londen heeft hier slechts 40 minuten voor nodig. Het debuut van Goat Girl is hier en daar van het labeltje punk voorzien, maar met punk heeft het debuut van Lottie, Naima, Ellie en Rosy echt niets te maken.
 
De plaat opent met een filmisch aandoende track met jazzy accenten, waarna in de tweede track wordt uitgepakt met invloeden uit vooral de postpunk. Ik moest onmiddellijk denken aan Siouxsie & The Banshees, maar de songs van Goat Girl schuren ook met grote regelmaat dicht tegen het vroegere werk van P.J. Harvey aan en raken hier en daar ook aan uiteenlopende Courtney’s als Courtney Love en Courtney Barnett.
 
De band uit Londen geeft gelukkig wel een geheel eigen draai aan deze invloeden, die de afgelopen decennia al flink zijn uitgemolken en sleept er bovendien nog flink wat invloeden bij, waarvan ik in ieder geval de Pixies wil noemen.
 
De eigen draai van Goat Girl bestaat bijvoorbeeld uit uit de bocht vliegende gitaren of juist uit honingzoete koortjes, maar ook jazzy accenten en een viool die zo lijkt weggelopen uit de country dragen stevig bij aan het fascinerende geluid van Goat Girl.
 
Met 19 songs in maar net 40 minuten doet de muziek van de Londense band uiteraard wel wat gefragmenteerd of op zijn minst wat lo-fi aan, maar een rommeltje wordt het nergens. In muzikaal opzicht schiet de plaat alle kanten op, maar omdat de ondertoon donker blijft, klinkt het geluid van Goat Girl ondanks de enorme variatie consistent.
 
Vooral het gitaarwerk op de plaat vind ik heerlijk en het is knap hoe donkere wolken postpunk in één keer kunnen worden verdreven door flink wat ruwe country of bluesy rock, waardoor de grauwe Britse industriesteden onmiddellijk worden verruild voor het Amerikaanse platteland of voor de Britse blues clubs uit de jaren 60 en 70.
 
Het past prachtig bij de wat onderkoelde zang, die het debuut van Goat Girl voorziet van een heerlijk doom geluid. Echt deprimerend wordt het echter nooit, al is het maar omdat de band uit Londen ook kan betoveren met heerlijke koortjes, die de donkere songs van de band opeens iets lichtvoetigs geven.
 
Het debuut van Goat Girl biedt volop ruimte aan uitstapjes buiten de gebaande paden en kan heerlijk ruw rammelen, maar ook nadrukkelijk het experiment opzoeken. Zeker niet alle songs op de plaat zijn even sterk, maar omdat een experimentje van 2 minuten altijd wel uit is te zetten, houdt Goat Girl je makkelijk bij de les. Het levert al met al een verrassend en bij vlagen imponerend debuut op; precies zoals de Britse muziekpers ons al een tijdje probeert te vertellen.

Erwin Zijleman



Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

zaterdag 23 juni 2018

Roger Waters Live. Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, Friday 22 June 2018

The man who had a wall built between himself (and his band) and his audience to show his disgust at stardom and perhaps the world at large, built another sort of wall yesterday in the Ziggo Dome and went on a private tour past the front of his audience shaking hands, saying hi, enjoying being adored. The difference between the two shows and nearly 40 years could not have been more striking.

Roger Waters' disgust with a lot going on in the world today hasn't abated with age. At one point in time he, the band backing him and the music were in danger of disappearing in an overkill of messages being displayed all around, while a pig (a pig drone?) flew through the hall. What Waters' thinks of Donald Trump was already clear listening to his latest album, 'Is This The Life We Really Want?' (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2017/06/is-this-life-we-really-want-roger-waters.html). I certainly have my opinions and somehow never seem able to just expect the next salvo and keep being surprised, shocked, amazed. Reading a few dozen of statements made by the president of the U.S. one after another, there's simply no denying of this man's true intentions and stupidity. He's after the whole world with a wrecking ball, with a vengeance. In search of admiration and personal glory. All better prepare, or "resist", as Roger Waters' message to us all was. If there ever was a musician who still thinks he can change the world, I saw him yesterday. 60s activism returned with a vengeance as well. There is a missionary streak in Roger Waters as well, as well as a hint at fascism in his theatrics and grand gestures. So I'm not always certain of what his messages convey.

His audience, as far as I could judge, mostly male, white and over 50, oddly enough the group where white, angry men, with populist streaks, score high, came for a trip down nostalgia lane. Musically it certainly got what it wanted. What Waters successfully executed, was to bring a lot of the songs into a current political context. The music of Pink Floyd, there wasn't a single song from one of his three previous solo records, is there for eternity and we saw one of the two masters at work while we still can.

Surrounded by a pool of fantastic musicians, e.g. the ladies of Lucius on background vocals, drummer Joey Waronker and "hippie" Jonathan Wilson, only recently mentioned on this blog as producer of Dawes, played the songs perfectly. As the core of the stage band also made 'Is This The Life We Really Want?', on stage it must feel more like a true band than a set of hired hands. This was a machine, executing the music 99,9% perfectly. Yes, there was a duff note a few times, showing this was live or at least mostly. I'm never 100% certain with Roger Waters having read in the past that a lot of the music came from tape. It's all of no consequence. It was perfect.

The show started with a film of a woman filmed from the back on something like Vlieland, a lot of wet beach at ebb tide, dunes, sea and clouds. She hardly moves staring onto nothingness. The film returns later with a child lost and a ragdoll on the beach lying in shallow water, like the little Syrian child a few years back. All of a sudden the clouds turn red, it's the end of the world as we know it it seems and the band kicks into 'Breathe', with Jonathan Wilson singing David Gilmour's parts. Waters even acknowledged Gilmour later in the show by mentioning his name while introducing Wilson. He's, finally, ready for a reunion in the next and/or the afterlife it seems. And about time. They created this fantastic body of work with the four of them, so animosity should abate somewhat over decades. Rick Wright was remembered without a mention, but by playing a fantastic version of his 'Us+Them', also the name of the tour, a song I'm appreciating more and more as I grow older.

'Breathe' changed into the raucous 'One Of These Days'. A clock announced the beautiful 'Time' and there I start to lose track, although I have to mention that the ladies Lucius are no female Afro-American gospel singer, the way they handled 'The Great Gig In The Sky' was very well done and even gave it a contemporary feel. 'Dark Side Of The Moon' was played nearly complete. 'Wish You Were Here' got two songs, 'Animals' also, 'The Wall' a few more.

'Another Brick In The Wall 2 and 3' ended the first part, leading to an intermezzo on the theme resist. I have to resist so many things that I almost decided to leave before the second part of the show. There's so much to resist and nearly all true. So where to start as a simple, single person? Well by reporting on what I saw yesterday and saying that it is hard not to agree with a lot of the messages. The gloves are off with some politicians in the EU as well and not with unelectable ones as Wilders and Le Pen. No, they have been run over by a whole new lot and they are in charge. I'm hearing things that my grandparents heard in the 30s and that's becoming scary. So, is it the end of the world as we know it? We need R.E.M. back it seems. Come out of retirement you guys, we need you. The messages, all in huge red lettering ended with the word "Pigs". So you're allowed three guesses what song started the second part of the show.

The long and drawn out 'Pigs' had a whole theatre show accompanying it, signboard messages, masks and all. A contraption as long as the venue descended over the length of the hall, slowly recreating Battersea Power Station. So there was a wall among us anyway. One that became overwhelming during 'Money'. There it started to outlast its welcome, no matter how impressive. Luckily it was slowly dismantled, bit by bit after 'Money' was nearly overkilled by messages and pictures. The music became detached from the videowall, while the band became inconsequential it seemed. It did not do the show any good, while in the long intermezzo of 'Pigs' it worked perfectly, Trump vomiting vileness and all. So even one of the best songs ever made can be humbled by an overkill of visual impressions I've found out.

And the new songs, how did they do? Well, about as to be expected, if you've read my review you know what I mean. I still think 'Is This The Life We Really Want?' is a fine album, with one person missing: David Gilmour (or Jonathan Wilson playing his parts), that would have made it the best Pink Floyd album since 'The Wall', now since 'The Final Cut'. Luckily we got no songs from that album.

'Sheep' was fantastic, as always. A steamroller of song. 'Wish You Were Here' soft and sweet. It all ended with 'Brain Damage' and 'Eclipse', again so impressive and so beautiful. Each and every note reverberating in the DNA I grew as a teenager, taking this music in like essential nourishment, which it was to my budding brain and intellect.

After having a Palestinian student biker for a good cause on stage, the encores, with a Roger Waters who visibly was getting tired and couldn't stop coughing, gave us 'Wake Up And Smell The Roses' and the biggest tip of the hat to David Gilmour possible 'Comfortably Numb'. Pink Floyd as a communal singing exercise, time changes everything. No there was no 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond', but then one can't have everything. Roger Waters gave it his best and at 74 that still is a tremendous lot. I'm so glad I went again this time around.

And the final surprise
(All photo's by) Wo.


Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g



Passwords. Dawes

With Now Living Abroad, the new album by The Furious Seasons, I started my review about commenting on a time machine I seemed to have stepped into, taking me back to the 1970s. (Read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2018/06/now-living-abroad-furious-seasons.html) Passwords by Dawes more or less does the same with me. Notwithstanding the loud guitar riff opening the album in 'Living in The Future', a nice title when referring to a time machine, Dawes does take us back.

Dawes was one of the first reviews on this blog with an album called 'Nothing Is Wrong' (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2012/02/normal-0-false-false-false-en-gb-x-none.html). Ever since I always thought the band did not do what it was best in. In the bio accompanying this release it says something about returning to older days and I can only concur here.

The hard riff reminds me of the second half of the 80s. It is in 'Stay Down' where Dawes moves into the 1970s West Coast realm. The Eagles and Jackson Browne and the whole entourage around those artists comes to mind immediately. The slow delivered Don Henley like vocal delivery. The soft music all around. It evokes a time long gone in a successful and pleasant way.

Promo photo
Taylor Goldsmith seems to have found his Californian voice once again and the sound to boot. Underneath it all there's a lot of keyboards to be found played by Dawes' newest member, Lee Pardini. His keyboards determine a large part of the mood and the moodswings of Passwords. Always subtle, yet very present notes can escape the carpet he lays underneath the music with extreme ease.

For Passwords Dawes reconnected with producer Jonathan Wilson, who produced the band's first two albums. Perhaps that explains why I am so comfortable with Passwords. That is, when I play the album a little louder. In the background this album does not work, for me. It all just sort of disappears into the rest of my life happening. Passwords is not a dominant album. Far from even. Turning up the volume a little unleashes the true beauty of the album. Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, just a few names that spring to mind while listening to 'Feed The Fire'.

Promo photo
Wilson provided the music on Passwords with several layers that make Passwords simply more interesting. A few strings here, an extra guitar there. Where I thought the most recent albums by Dawes to be one dimensional, that objection has been totally lifted on the new album, with the mostly subtle, yet extremely effective arranging.

In my review of 'We're All Gonna Die' I wrote the band is in need of a few percent more originality (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2016/12/were-all-gonna-die-dawes.html). I'm not sure if Dawes found just that, it did find better songs or better worked out songs, making this a far better album. So it must have.

Wo.

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

vrijdag 22 juni 2018

Up In Smoke. Town of Saints

A new single from Dutch band Town of Saints providing us with a soundbite from a new album to be released later in the year. I tend not to write about singles, but there are notable exceptions and Up In Smoke is one. The song is so upbeat, while telling a story about things not so upbeat.

The music is even more exuberant than I remember Town of Saints to be. That has everything to do with a very prominent violin/fiddle setting the tone and pace of the song. The Decemberists and The Oh Hellos at their most eclectic is what Up In Smoke gives us. In that regard the band shed a little owness, uniqueness and traded it for a most endearing sound. There's everything to like here. I haven't heard a single ooh or aahh, yet everything around Up In Smoke spells the sort of music the world has been leaving behind for a few years now. The violin does everything the vocal oohs and aahs did for other bands a few years back in this decade.

So, is Up In Smoke, too late, the proverbial mustard after the meal? No, for that it is too much fun, too eclectic, but above all far too good. There is a full band at work, i.e. bass and drums, otherwise this could be a The Hackensaw Boys song. Harmen even sounds like Ferd Moyse IV in seceral passages. The harmonies between Harmen and Heta come straight out of the Butler - Chassagne songbook.

Yes, that are lot of comparisons, but they only make sense if Up In Smoke is a good song all by itself and that it is. A little ball of energy tossed into the world for all of us to charge ourselves with. Quite the present at the start of the summer of 2018. What sets this song apart is when the tempo changes in the short interludes, making it more exciting as every single time a new energy outburst is bound to follow. A little unique element that makes the song even better. Also compared to many of the comparisons mentioned here. Up In Smoke is a hit. Get it on the radio and success ought to play out itself.

Wo.

You can listen to and buy Town of Saints albums here:

https://townofsaints.bandcamp.com/


Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

Risha. David Eugene Edwards & Alexander Hacke

When did I buy my first 16 Horsepower album? It must have been after the release of 'Low Estate', as I remember having 'Sackcloth And Ashes' on a cassette copy. (Yes, folks, remember that one?) But who is Alexander Hacke?

Edward's sound by now is overly familiar. Since disbanding 16 Horsepower he has explored his extremely intense music with Woven Hand. There no longer are surprises to be expected from him. A collaboration with another musician might open new avenues for him to make music in. So let's peruse further into the album called Risha.

The unusual name Hacke associated the name Blixa Bargeld in my mind and proved correct. Alexander Hacke is a long time member of the German experimental group Einstürzende Neubauten. A band I do not associate with music in the conventional way. So what is his influence on Edwards?

Nothing, where his way of singing is concerned. David Eugene Edwards here is totally his own man. Which is only logical. Someone sings as he sings. Edwards uses his voice in the deeper registers, trying to conjure up moods that go beyond the here and now of our daily troubles and toils. Ghosts and devils are exorcized, the Lord asked for assistance to not be led into temptation and asked for forgiveness when all else fails. The instruments he uses are always organic, stemming from age old traditions.

It is here where Alexander Hacke steps in. David Eugene Edwards' singing is underscored with electronic beats, weird noises, synths and sequencers. It doesn't so much change the mood that usually comes with Edwards' presence, that simply is too dominant to change, it enhances it in several ways. Underscores it with capitol lettering.

Promo photo
Risha starts almost undercooled. Dark sounds creep from my speakers like snakes slivering towards me slowly but surely. An acoustic guitar is in the middle of the murky, condensed sound. The percussive sound that moves in and out of the song, is ominous, near threatening. "On earth, as it is in heaven, on earth ... heavens of earthly delight". The lyrics move into familiar territory. The temptations on earth do not make for a heavenly existence. The opening song is of such an intense beauty, while trying to estrange me the whole time from it as a whole. Separating earthly delight from heavenly beauty. Luckily for me I do not mind enjoying both when offered and Edwards & Hacke do just that here.

The condensed yet fast beat of 'All In The Palm' with the strong electronic undercurrent comes as a shock. Nothing prepared me for this onslaught, the first time I heard it. Here it is Alexander Hacke on David Eugene Edwards' tail, instead of the devil. Relentlessly the beat drives him onwards, while he is singing into his 30s style microphone, distorting his voice. The song is totally turned upside down by an electronic intermezzo, before the beat returns like a high speed train coming towards me out of nowhere at warp speed. The song integrates an acoustic guitar at the end as well.

So far it may be clear that something is happening on Risha. Perhaps I don't yet know what it is, but Alexander Hacke is definitely having an influence on David Eugene Edwards. 'The Tell' is another song where Hacke goes full out and Edwards dutifully follows. Again there is this intermezzo, this time with a faintly familiar melody, before the beat returns relentlessly accompanied by a loud, very distorted electric guitar that is wailing like it has just been separated at the U.S. border from its manufacturer.

Promo photo
I can't say that the music on Risha is comfortable, but then was the music of David Eugene Edwards ever comfortable? There you go. When moving down Risha, there are songs that can be identified as more Edwards and others more Hacke. Both estrange the other's music more than enough to speak of a true collaboration. Where earlier this week I wrote on Arthur Buck, that Peter Buck seemed more like a solo guitarist in Joseph Arthur's band, here the two artist come up with the best of the two of them. Yes, Edwards' voice is dominant, of course, the music is a hybrid. Impressive, loud, intrusive but above all, good.

Risha is a collaboration that fully works. It may come as a shock to 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand aficionados (and who knows to Einstürzende Neubaten ones to, I can't tell) they would do themselves a favour to take this album in, fully completely. It seems 1 + 1 can equal three sometimes.

Wo.

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

donderdag 21 juni 2018

Looking For Horses. Kesia Nagata

Looking For Horses van Kesia Nagata lag inmiddels al een aantal weken op de, in dit geval virtuele, stapel met platen die mogelijk interessant zijn voor een plekje op deze BLOG en leek hier eerlijk gezegd niet meer van af te komen.
 
Een laatste aansporing van degene die me deze plaat getipt had was echter voldoende om de plaat toch maar eens uit de speakers te laten komen, waarna ik binnen enkele minuten (of zelfs enkele noten) verkocht was.
 
Kesia Nagata is een Canadese singer-songwriter die zich op haar bandcamp pagina als volgt introduceert: “Kesia Nagata is a British Columbia based singer-songwriter who sings about trees, death, horses, and the unbearable enormousness of existence, among other important things”.
 
Het is een mooie introductie die nieuwsgierig maakt naar haar muziek en die nieuwsgierigheid wordt versterkt door haar volgende citaat over haar eerste plaat: “Looking For Horses spans a ten year stretch. It’s the highlights, as it were, from a meandering decade of heartaches and delights”.
 
Het zijn geen loze citaten, want Looking For Horses van Kesia Nagata is een intense en zeer persoonlijke plaat. Het is een plaat die in de hokjes singer-songwriter en folk kan worden geduwd en die kiest voor een betrekkelijk sobere benadering.
 
Op Looking For Horses moeten we het voornamelijk doen met de akoestische gitaar en de stem van Kesia Nagata (slechts incidenteel wordt een mandoline toegevoegd), waarmee de plaat flink wat risico loopt om in de categorie ‘13 in een dozijn’ terecht te komen. Het is een categorie waarin deze plaat gelukkig geen moment thuis hoort, want zowel met de instrumentatie als met de zang weet Kesia Nagate zich te onderscheiden van de hordes aan mogelijke concurrenten in dit genre en dit doet de Canadese singer-songwriter ook nog eens met haar songs en haar teksten.

De instrumentatie op de plaat is sober, maar zeker niet eenvoudig en Kesia Nagata slaagt er ook nog eens in om haar akoestische gitaar rauw en direct te laten klinken, wat zorgt voor een bijzondere sfeer.

Dat rauwe zit ook in de stem van de singer-songwriter uit British Columbia, die de ruwe emotie van Joni Mitchell weet te combineren met de donkere klanken van Tanita Tikaram. Platen met alleen een stem en akoestische gitaar gaan me vaak snel vervelen, maar de songs van Kesia Nagata zitten vol onderhuidse spanning en hebben bovendien een bijzondere lading.
 
De Canadese singer-songwriter slaagt er ook nog eens in om variatie aan te brengen in haar songs, waardoor Looking For Horses je pas weer los laat wanneer de laatste noten weg ebben. Kesia Nagata heeft tenslotte ook nog eens wat te vertellen. Haar songs zitten vol persoonlijke verhalen, maar schuwen ook meer filosofische thema’s niet, waardoor haar songs je in een nog wat stevigere wurggreep houden.
 
Kesia Nagata heeft met Looking For Horses een indrukwekkende plaat afgeleverd. Het is een plaat die waarschijnlijk makkelijk ondersneeuwt met het enorme aanbod van het moment, maar daarvoor is het debuut van deze getalenteerde muzikante echt te bijzonder. Wat een mooie plaat.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier naar Looking For Horses luisteren en het album kopen:

https://kesianagata.bandcamp.com



Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g


woensdag 20 juni 2018

Now Residing Abroad. The Furious Seasons

Every once in a while an album surfaces that is like a time machine. I am not referring to all the new psych albums, as the sounds they produce could not have been made in 1967. No, I'm talking about singer-songwriter style albums that could have been made in the 1970s on the U.S.' West Coast but are from 2018.

Now Residing Abroad by The Furious Seasons is such an album. Acoustic guitars, soft singing, a slightly gloomy mood following the lyrics on longing, loss, yearning and things not here but there, out of reach. Absolute beauty caught on tape or digits. The Furious Seasons sounds like it was born 40 years too late, yet in time to replace the slowly lost heroes of the past.

And then I started to read up on the trio. David Steinhart is on the musical beat since 1984 and formed this trio in 2006 with his brother Jeff on bass and Paul Nelson on guitar and harmonies. Now Residing Abroad is the band's 6th release. I can't tell anything about the past, as I haven't heard any of the band's music. Fact is that I'm tremendously and pleasantly surprised by what I'm hearing. Thoughts of Tim Hardin, Jim Croce, John B. Sebastian, Bread, Harry Chapin, the acoustic Neil Young and Marty Balin and many others come to mind who scored hits in the late sixties to mid 70s and played these slow moving singer-songwriter songs with an ever so slightly jazz-tinged flavour to their music.

The Furious Seasons lay down a beautiful mood on Now Residing Abroad. A mood for a time long gone and of innocence lost. In 2018 the whole world is watching in amazement at the speed with which the national and international order is shaking on its very foundations. The Furious Seasons appear to be a beacon of stability in uncertain times. A buoy to anchor a ship on in a too rough sea. "The chaos subsides as the seasons change" Steinhart sings with his soft voice in 'Status Quo'. It seems like he knows what he is singing about.

Under the soft singing that often comes closest to the voice of Bread's David Gates, there are two acoustic guitars at work. David Steinhart and Paul Nelson intertwine their instruments in delicate ways. The upright bass lays the soft foundation under it all. Every once in a while one guitar escapes for a firm solo. All that is relative of course, the music being as brittle as it presents itself. It compliments the singing in the most beautiful of ways.

Did I like this music in the 1970s? The answer is a definitely maybe. Somewhere on the fringes of my musical awareness there was 'Guitar Man' or 'W.O.L.D.', Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May' or 'Reason To Believe'. That was about it for me around 1974. Now I'm confronted with music that sounds just like it and I am nearly swept away. Now Residing Abroad certainly strikes a chord in me and not for the last time I'm sure.

Wo.


Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g