richard bowes Tour and Music News

Live4ever Interview: ‘It felt back to where we were, making music to make each other laugh’ – Royal Blood talk new album and Trouble’s Coming

Posted on 01 Dec 2020 at 10:01am
Back with a new single, Mike Kerr of Royal Blood takes Live4ever through the genesis, recording and finishing touches of their upcoming third album.

“I was laughing at this idea of tyrants dancing, imagining Darth Vader coming back to his headquarters after a long day terrorising the galaxy. What does he listen to when he takes the mask off and pours a glass of red wine? It just made me laugh. It was a stupid thought process that lead to hopefully a good idea.”

So speaks Mike Kerr of Trouble’s Coming, Royal Blood’s latest single released back in September. An unusual gestation for a smash-hit single, one would agree, but Kerr is happy to add some context; “A massive influence for the record was Sam Rockwell.”

“There’s a scene in Charlie’s Angels where he’s the villain and he’s in his lair. He’s dancing in his suit and his snakeskin boots with a can of Coke to Simon Says by Pharoahe Moach.”

“For years that was our walk-on music because I was obsessed with that tune. When Trouble’s Coming came, I thought it was totally what Sam Rockwell would dance to. It’s disco music but I wanted it to be really menacing.”

Yes, Royal Blood are back with a slinky single and a new album to follow in 2021. Trouble’s Coming made a big splash on arrival, hitting Number 1 on the UK Vinyl Singles Chart and garnering Hottest Record accolades on both Apple Music and Spotify, as well as being a contender for Radio One’s own Hottest Record of 2020 as a whole.

Safe to say, it’s been a successful comeback but, despite their previous successes, Kerr is still grateful: “It’s amazing, and not something that’s taken for granted,” he tells Live4ever when we speak over Zoom. “You go and make a record, get lost in your world then come out and think, ‘oh yeah, there’s people out there that like us and want to hear this!’.”

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Album Review: Various Artists – Brits & Pieces

Posted on 30 Nov 2020 at 8:41am

Brits & Pieces is a new collection born of social media.

Here is an album which proves that anything is possible with passion, enthusiasm and hard work.

Nearly two years ago, a 90s indie fan set up a Twitter account with a view to sharing memories, merchandise and anything else from the decade.

Primarily centred (but not exclusively) around Britpop, Marc Rossiter’s feed quickly became a treasure trove for fans of the era, especially through his wealth of personal photographs of luminaries from the era.

As the account gained more and more followers, new bands were recommended to Rossiter and, inspired by the Shine series, he took it upon himself to release a compilation album of independent British artists.

Now, with the tracks having been mastered by Nick Brine (engineer of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and The Stone Roses’ Second Coming), the CD is available to purchase from Rough Trade, with all profits being distributed to the bands equally.

Review: Laundromat – Green EP

Posted on 27 Nov 2020 at 8:19am

The second of three EPs planned by Laundromat into 2021 is out today.

Following on from the earlier Blue EP (see what he did there?), Meet Me In St Louis frontman Toby Hayes unveils more bedroom recordings.

Like its predecessor, the charm in this EP lies in its intimate, lo-fi textures and its intense, in-your-ear vocals. With 6 Music support from Lauren Lavern and Steve Lamacq already under his belt, anticipation builds with each new release from the Brighton man.

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Live4ever Interview: Goat Girl reflect on the wide impact of lockdown ahead of On All Fours album release

Posted on 25 Nov 2020 at 8:13am
Goat Girl have been chatting to Live4ever ahead of the release of their new album On All Fours on January 29th next year.

As you probably know, there is quite a large gap between the recording of an album and its release.

Mastering, artwork, production, promotion…all these things take time, even before factoring in when is most financially beneficial to release said album. And while 2020 has given everyone the ‘luxury’ of time, for Brixton’s Goat Girl it has meant sitting on their sophomore album for well over a year.

Fortunately, the quartet are confident in it enough to take events in their stride, with no fear of losing the momentum built by their well-received, self-titled debut of 2018. “Not playing the songs, it still feels really new with not touring,” they tell Live4ever over Zoom during mid-Lockdown #2.

“That’s something to look forward to, and it still feels really fresh even though they are a year old! 2021 just made more sense. We got to take our time with the videos and everything else.”

As is their wont, creatives are rarely happy with the ‘finished product’, but with so much extra time to play with, was there ever any temptation to tweak the album? “You can always hear something and hear how it can be different.”

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that things can constantly mould and change, but it’s quite nice that it’s set in stone because it’s a snapshot of that period of time, when we were writing and how we were writing.”

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Review: Tim Burgess – Ascent Of The Ascended EP

Posted on 18 Nov 2020 at 8:06am

Tim Burgess keeps his band ticking over with new solo release.

For reasons initially beyond his control, Tim Burgess has had quite the year.

By now, you’ll surely be aware of his Twitter Listening Parties which, it’s fair to say, have taken on a life of their own. As well as giving other artists good exposure, on the official website one can now purchase art prints with links to recommended record stores.

In addition, all year Burgess has been vocal and pro-active in his support of music venues, and even aided in securing bailout packages for the Gorilla and Deaf Institute in his (near) hometown of Manchester.

As if all that wasn’t enough, he’s also released a (solo) career best album, I Love The New Sky, and is closing out the year with this Ascent Of The Ascended EP. It consists of two new tracks and recordings from a session at Paste Studios in New York, just before the pandemic took its vice-like grip on 2020.

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Album Review: Katy J Pearson – Return

Posted on 11 Nov 2020 at 8:09am

Katy J Pearson justifies the long road on debut album Return.

The word ‘indie’ has gone through many re-evaluations over the years; from its origins as music released on an independent record label to becoming a catch-all phrase for anything with guitars. Katy J Pearson can lay a claim to being ‘indier’ than most.

Nearly four years ago, Pearson and her brother had dalliances with the music industry after the pair were picked up by a major label. Yet they soon fell foul of the machinations and pressures required to work with a music behemoth.

Chastened by the experience, she honed her craft as a solo artist and wrote a catalogue of songs between her parents’ house in Gloucestershire, her own bedroom in Bristol and a local community arts centre, all the while touring as a support act to Cass McCombs and Olden Yolk among others.

These wares caught the attention of Heavenly Records, who financed the release of this album (hence Return) and gave Katy J Pearson the space to develop at her own pace. If nothing else, she deserves kudos for buckling down and finding her own voice (hence indie). Happily, there is much else to praise.

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Album Review: The Slow Readers Club – 91 Days In Isolation

Posted on 03 Nov 2020 at 8:13am

It seems prescient to be reviewing this album in the week the UK enters another lockdown.

For those of us old enough to remember the first lockdown, it was a time of great uncertainty and fear. Others took the bull by the horns and made the most of the opportunity – as you will have gathered by this album’s title.

They may have released an album only in March, but as The Slow Readers Club’s avenues for promotion were all closed off, the Mancunians weren’t as idle as many of us. In tandem with using social media to their advantage for listening parties and livestreams the band also, using the wonders of modern technology to their advantage, shared ideas and wrote songs online before taking to the studio once restrictions were eased.

As one would expect with an album written during an unprecedented (sorry) period, themes of isolation, anxiety and reflection pervade.

Live Review: The Lathums at Blackpool Tower

Posted on 29 Oct 2020 at 10:21am

Pity all the ‘Ones To Watch For 2020′. In 2019 they would have built up a solid foundation of fans and critics, with everything in place for a sustained attack on the first year of the new decade.

Tours, festivals, new music would all have been locked in the diary, as well as all the other elements of a promotional campaign. But fears were raised early on in the lockdown that for anyone beneath the tier of Academy level (namely playing venues of 500 upwards), it was to be instead an uncertain future.

The Lathums fall into this criteria, although not by much, such is the momentum they have. This is speculation, but it’s not hard to envision the four-piece from Wigan as favourites during the festival season, and hype around their new Ghost EP would have been formidable. Not that they are doing badly; this livestream performance was watched by over 2000 people, and many more will catch it at a later date.

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Album Review: CamelPhat – Dark Matter

Posted on 28 Oct 2020 at 9:08am

It was never taken for granted that this album would be released.

Having been working together since 2004 (after DJing under several other names prior to then), Dave Whelan and Mike Di Scala released a string of singles before settling on the name CamelPhat in 2010.

The duo continued to release tracks on an as-and-when basis until their breakthrough hit Cola in 2017. Ever since, they have followed a career path broadly trailblazed by Disclosure, which will culminate in large shows in Glasgow, London and their native Liverpool next year (fingers crossed).

It’s a darker, more minimalist sound than has become CamelPhat’s signature, brought into sharp focus across the twenty-one tracks chosen to make up their debut album. Unfortunately, as an approach its limitations are laid bare when spread so thin: for every bona fide classic, there’s an inferior companion piece.

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Album Review: Chubby And The Gang – Speed Kills

Posted on 26 Oct 2020 at 11:02am

For a genre so simple (a guitar, three chords and the truth, to quote Harlan Howard), punk music has a lot of variations.

Green Day offered up ‘pop-punk’ as a title for their snotty efforts (pilfering from the Ramones whilst doing so), Oi! eventually gave way to ‘hardcore punk’ as practiced by Black Flag, and it’s best not to pull on the thread of conversation that is ‘post-punk’.

London’s Chubby And The Gang have gone back to the start, when punk in Britain evolved from what was dubbed ‘pub-rock’, as pioneered by Dr. John. On the re-released Speed Kills, they channel the early greats, with a Beano-style cover harking back to the scene’s bratty roots. Infused with youthful energy, it’s a candidate for debut album of the year.

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