Jun 2, 2010
Some fine music from around the planet as usual but with a bit of a focus on some great bands that I've seen live in Liverpool in the past couple of days. It was just great to be back in Liverpool after quite a while. It seems to be regaining its pride after a lean few years. The music scene seems to be developing a healthy swagger of its own.
Ridin' on the L&N - The Hexmen (Liverpool, UK)
The Hexmen were a product of the post-punk maelstrom of Liverpool in the early 1980s. George Hexman: singer, sessions blues-harp player and frontman, founded the band. The line-up was a shifting collaboration of local luminaries including members of Afraid of Mice, Psychedelic Furs, Edgar Jones, The Las, the Boo Radleys, Shack and Elvis Costello amongst others. Even Charlie Whitney from supergroup Family was a sometime Hexman.
International Pop Overthrow
Thanks to the efforts if Graham Holland from the It's a Frog's Life Acoustic Podcast ( www.podcast.itsafrogslife.net ) and Alan from Darkhorse Radio ( www.darkhorseradio.com ), AMP had a strong presence at IPO Liverpool this year and it has hopefully established a productive link with IPO founder and CEO David Bash who describes the series of events,
"Each International Pop Overthrow features between 25-180 of the best pop bands from around the world. [Liverpool had over 150 acts] Everyone from the bands to the spectators has a wonderful time, and although we're all exhausted by the end, we part company with one prevailing thought: "I can't wait to do it again next year!"
If you are in California, the thirteenth IPO California is being held at various venues from July 23 to August 8. The circus them moves on to Portland Aug 11-14, Seattle August 18-21, Vancouver August 24-28 before organiser David BAsh takes a bit of a break before the November IPOs in New York, Boston and Toronto.
IPO information is all at: www.internationalpopoverthrow.com
So Little While Road - Antoine Dufour (Montreal, Canada)
Antoine Dufour is emerging as one of Canada’s young stars of acoustic, finger-style guitar.
Dufour was born in the little town of l’Epiphane, near Montreal. He started playing guitar at the age of 15. He studied at the CEGEP of Joliette, where his teacher made him listen to Leo Kottke, Don Ross and Michael Hedges. His life and his vision of the guitar changed, and since then he has been completely devoted to finger-style steel string guitar. His musical style is a mix of the powerful rhythms of rock, the sensibility of classical music, a funky groove, and a pure folk melody.
Colours - Major Major (Liverpool, UK)
I saw Major Major twice on Monday at The Cavern pub (in the afternoon) and at the Cavern Club (evening). The performances were similar but had quite different effects, at least on me. I suspect that this is a band that is better suited to a rather larger space.
Their first show in The Cavern pub, a classic dark, sticky floored basement pub was totally competent and musically very impressive indeed, they put not foot wrong. Finely constructed songs with wit, energy and fine individual performances from the totally solid Louis Cooper laying down a great foundation on the bass upon which Neil Owen's guitar and Liam Dobie's drumming manoeuvre some really inventive playing around each other to create a sound that seemed to be a lot bigger than its component parts. The excellent, playful, almost cheeky chappy vocals of Conor Clarke demonstrated a serious skill in delivery to really show off the collective MajorMajor songwriting skills.
Whilst very much their own band, the overall effect may, at times, bring to mind a very youthful parallel to The Blockheads.
Colours is about the rivalry between the Liverpool and Everton soccer supporters.
Not because I am poor - Brother Lion (Jamaica)
Producer Marco DeFelice found Brother Lion in the jungle of Jamaica where he sang a remarkable song, totally unaccompanied - it was recorded on Marco's iPhone and he later added music tracks to create this sound.
Brother Lion picks fruit from trees to make his living and he recently suffered broken bones from a serious fall which has put him out of work. Marco has made the conga available on iTunes and all income from sales will go straight to Brother Lion. You can compare the raw and dubbed versions at the site that has been set up for Brother Lion.
Ella - Dave Sasscer (New York, NY, USA)
Dave is a New York City based singer songwriter. He was raised in Puerto Rico and currently performs his mesmerizing version of polyglot Spanish and English rock and reggae songs in clubs around New York City. He has just released his new album of Spanish Rock songs called “Cuentos de la Porta Del Sol (Capitulo Uno); available on iTunes and other online outlets.
Ariel - Social media in music marketing
"Music success in nine weeks" and Sound Advice video series.
If you are musician who is serious about success you really should check these resources out.
Fire on the Moon - Steve Hackett (USA)
Former guitarist with Genesis, Steve Hackett has a tour coming up in North America this summer with June dates in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois and Wisconsin in support of a new (and as inventive as ever, album called "Out of the tunnel's mouth" which is in stores on 8 June. From the album, this is Fire on the Moon.
There's a set of illuminating interviews with Steve on Lick Library at:
Gille - Jienat (Hamerfest, Norway)
Jienat is based in the northernmost town on earth: Hammerfest, Norway.
If you drive north on Route E6, you only have 955 km left as you cross the Arctic Circle.
More than 5,000 years ago, fishermen and hunters with special needs for climatic masochism settled in this neighborhood. Even today, we are fewer that 10,000 persons in town-- a growth rate of less than 2 persons per year since 3 000 B.C.
Despite its small population, peoples have mingled in this region for thousands of years. In a reflection of this, the lyrics on this disc are in Swedish, Spanish, Northern Sami, Kildin Sami and Inare Sami. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only CD featuring the Kildin Sami language.
This may all sound pretty improbable but please check out the website to find and see more. It is quite remarkable to witness the lengths that people will go to produce music.
Winelight Club are back in Norwich with "Mixed UP Music" tonight at the Brasserie at Greens on Barrack Street in Norwich. Featuring, DAVE SHARP (The Alarm), THE BELLHOPS (30's Swing like you've never heard it before), APRIL MAYBE MAY (formerly Fallen Leaves). Should be interesting.
£7 on the door.
Elephant in the Room - MajorMajor (Liverpool, UK)
And yet … I wasn't blown away by the live performance in the afternoon.
Later, in the even more dingy back room at The Cavern Club, they had room to move onstage and a larger audience to interact with. Now everything came together, the set connected with the audience without being oppressively in-your-face, the crowd were totally behind the band who took that energy and rode it. Now it was clear why they have been invited back to play Galstonbury again this year. Sadly, they will be doing so without Liam on drums. IPO was his last gig with MajorMajor after six years. The band are now actively searching a new drummer. There are big shoes to fill. Check the myspace and site for details.
A second track from the excellent MajorMajor closes out this week's Suffolk'n'Cool. By late evening, the front bar was almost empty with everyone crammed and sweating in the AMP Showcase show. Oops.
It was great to be back in Liverpool again and from yesterday's showings from The Hexmen, The Freebies, Emerald Park (played last week), Steve Roberts, Built on Tradition and Major Major, the city's musical energy is back and there's a real swagger about what is coming out of this extraordinary city.