Monday 26 August 2013

Web of Sunsets

Fool's Melodies is back-porch psychedelia like Woods' Bend Beyond, singer Sara Bischoff has a disaffected croon similar to Hope Sandoval ("and I hope that we all have a lullaby to take the weight away") and the numbing country rock had me reaching for Marianne Faithfull's Sister Morphine.

Neon Blood on the b-side is no less assured and states the case very clearly that Web of Sunsets' debut album (currently being mastered) will rank alongside Georgiana Starlington's Paper Moon and Mazzy Star's return as 2013's most rewarding bittersweet pills.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Marta Ren & The Groovelvets: Summer's gone (didn't swim)

Soul revival from Portugal, Marta Ren sounds – and looks – every inch the peachy crossover pop soul princess on Summer’s Gone.

2 Kinds Of Men – maybe a nod to The Softiques’ Two Kinds Of Boys – goes harder and grittier into street-corner funk by way of Vicki Anderson.

An album’s on its way in the autumn. Watch out.

Bands that aren't The Cave Weddings

Purple Slumber and Longing Dream sound like a lost Cave Weddings single – garage rock rumble, riffs that won’t let go and enough sunlight getting through the post-punk gloom to see the way ahead. It’s on glow-in-the-dark vinyl, too.

Yeah, it does seem melodramatic to lust after a ‘lost’ single by a band who released two singles and a CD ep in 2009/10, but, Jesus, they were good records. Vacations have nothing to do with The Cave Weddings: it’s Jack Bruce, late of the Fungi Girls, a band I never got into, probably because the tipping point of bands with ‘girls’ in the name had been reached by then.

Did you see that interview Lawrence did with Girls 4 years ago? A ‘source very close to Lawrence’ told me that Lawrence thought he was going to interview a girl band and was very keen on the idea. He was a bit disappointed when it turned out to be 2 blokes.

Winter Bear really does feature a Cave Weddings alumnus, namely Erin Dorbin. This time round Erin has gone for girl group punk ramalama with the high spots of The Shangri-Las and the sweet spots of The Flips.

Each side is done and dusted in around 2 minutes. I’m left wanting more.

Colour Me Wednesday: I Thought It Was Morning

This record is full of whip-smart lines and punchy riffs like Kenickie, smash’n’grab power pop like Cheap Trick and pummelling college rock hooks like Blake Babies. Due to their age (“it’s like I failed my teens/now I’m failing my 20s” they opine on Shut) and sass (femme anthem You’re Not My No 1 Bastard) then it’s Kenickie they’re closest to.

I Thought It Was Morning sounds like a 1990s album, but the ska punk is way more Elvis Costello than…well, put it this way, they’d eat Gwen Stefani for breakfast. If, like me, you saw Colour Me Wednesday 18 months ago, bought the demos CD and then came straight to this album, you’d expect ska or at least the bass to be more prominent.

The bassist held them together then. I’m sure he was wearing an Elvis Costello t-shirt at one gig. He’s not in the band now; the sound is different not just because of that, though. Colour Me Wednesday are now better drilled and spikier and hit the target every time.

Like The Tuts, with whom they share a member, I Thought It Was Morning suggests very strongly that their snappy, waspish punk-pop could soon be taken to a much bigger audience. I really hope it does.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Charles Latham's Hard On

Withered Hand’s Hard On from his Good News album is a cover of a 2004 song by Charles Latham.

Hard On was recorded in one take by transient American troubadour Latham at a friend’s house while he was living in Brighton. The false start in the song? The phone you can hear at the beginning interrupted.

Covered by a number of artists, Withered Hand’s version has become the best known. Part of that version was featured on an MTV show called "I Just Want My Pants Back" in 2012. During a kissing scene.

Charles modestly says Withered Hand’s take is the definitive version, but that overlooks the original’s raw emotion and beautiful backing vocals from Ellie Brooks.

Dan Willson of Withered Hand says: "Charles Latham is one of my absolute favourite songwriters and 'Hard-On' was one of the first songs of his that I heard. Somebody in Brighton put it on a mixtape for me and when I heard it I just stopped in my tracks. So simple. So beautiful. So truthful. He doesn't pull any punches. That's just how he writes.”

Another singer-songwriter in Scotland just wrote to Charles saying that he'd covered it at a gig and no one had heard of either Withered Hand or Charles Latham, so he claimed it as his own.

Now everyone can know Hard On is by Charles Latham. And now, as Charles Latham and Withered Hand release a split 7” picture disc on Hangover Lounge Records, even more people will know about Charles Latham.

You can download Hard On for free. Or pay what you want for it (all money goes to Charles).