Review: It's not just in the album title that Newcastle bard Richard Dawson is ahead of his time. His dark sense of humour and sweaty barroom gig sonics break through the noise, identifying, tackling but not seeking to solve the problems currently facing British society. What could be more post-modern than that? The UK right now is a fractured and somewhat broken island struggling to come to terms with its own place in the modern world. It's also filled with people struggling to come to terms with this reality. Focusing on portraits of those lost souls, it's poignant, cutting and lyrically hard-hitting. A bold and mammoth concept for an album, the instrumentation is even bigger, easing up on the blues and folk of his formative years to allow more room for pop to break through. The result is proof that in times of desperation a nation can at least rely on its artists to offer some hope that all is not completely lost.
The Seraphims - "Conciousness Of Happening" (2:13)
Gary Davenport - "Sarra" (5:00)
Some Of My Best Friends Are Canadians - "Feeling Sheepish" (4:09)
The Rising Storm - "Frozen Laughter" (3:12)
Warfield Spillers - "Daddy's Little Girl" (4:50)
Joyce Heath - "I Wouldn't Dream Of It" (2:17)
Joe Tossini & Friends - "Wild Dream" (4:29)
Scott Seskind - "I Remember" (2:52)
Angel - "Driving (Down)" (4:28)
Nini Raviolette & Hugo Weris - "Slow" (1:05)
Nora Guthrie - "Home Before Dark" (2:38)
Once - "Joanna" (3:17)
Review: Sky Girl is the work of two noted (but arguably under-appreciated) crate diggers, DJ Sundae and Julien Dechery, and gathers together a veritable treasure trove of obscure material loosely connected by (in the label's own words) "the same longing sentiment". Its' fifteen tracks touch on a variety of hazy, down-tempo styles, and were recorded at various points between 1961 and '91. There's much to admire throughout, from the folksy psychedelic pop of The Rising Storm's "Frozen Laughter", and spoken word eccentricity of Scott Seskind's "I Remember", to the dreamy, eyes-closed ambience of Nini Raviolette & Hugo Weris' "Slow" and string-laden samba-folk of Nora Guthrie's "Home Before Dark".
Review: As we tick over in 2019 it's been some five years since the release of The Delines' lauded debut album Colfax. The six-piece did come out with the The Scenic Sessions in 2015, and while its members have simultaneously remained active pursuing music elsewhere, there's no denying this Imperial album is what everyone's been waiting for. With swathes of piano keys and strings adding the country blues melancholia of the music, the album paints a picture of times in transitional seasons, maybe somewhere in the midwest; be it winter-to-spring or summer-to-autumn. The slow swaggered back-beat of "Where Are You Sonny?" is a real whiskey soaker, while the emotional twang of "Roll Back My Life" should strike a chord or two, too. Hit dem blues.
Review: The music of Nick Drake will alas always be haunted by the personal demons that drove him, not to mention his untimely demise. Yet, to quote the man himself, time has told us he was a rare, rare find. For this last reason, and partly due to the sheer lack of material he created, this compendium of home demos has particular significance, both in terms of the emotional impact of his songwriting and in evoking the sense of what could have been. 'Family Tree' makes for a sharply-focused glimpse into the creativity of a unique and ever-inspirational artist, and moreover as a testimony to a timeless spirit.