Thursday, 31 July 2014

REWIND: The Clash - 'Deny'

It's been a while since I featured anything by The Clash. FAR too long in fact. Especially when you consider that they were the most-played band in my household about 11 years ago, during my five year "punk phase" that the group inspired. It was the seminal 'London Calling' that I bought first, in fact it was my very last musical purchase of the 90s... I remember buying the CD from HMV in Bath on New Year's Eve 1999. A fine way to end a century. But today's selection comes from the band's debut album from 1977. Which I bought on CD from a record shop in Barnsley back in the summer of 2000. I've now upgraded to vinyl versions of all the band's albums (except for the woeful 'Cut The Crap'), and bought the debut from Plastic Wax in Bristol for about £4 a few years ago. An absolute bargain.

The superb Everything And The Kitchen Sink online radio show and blog features a whole section dedicated to the utter legend that was Joe Strummer. Having broadcast two Strummer tribute specials last year in 2013, the site's host Nikki is soon putting together another show dedicated to the punk icon. After putting out an offer for requests from The Clash's classic debut, I suggested the venomous 'Deny', a great track that people never seem to talk about. So here it is...





Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Interpol - 'All The Rage Back Home'

Interpol's new track 'All The Rage Back Home' has struck me harder and more instantly than anything I've ever heard from them before. Can anyone else hear a hint of Britpop in this, a bit of Suede perhaps?

This intense burst of post-punk is the first studio taste of their new album 'El Pintor', which will be released on September 8. The album was produced by the band themselves and is the first to feature singer Paul Banks on bass following the departure of founding bassist Carlos Dengler shortly after the release of their self-titled previous album in 2010. 'All The Rage Back Home' is one of three new songs which have been previously aired live, and I can remember hearing some rather encouraging new material when I saw the group play the NME Awards Tour earlier this year. Following on from a Glastonbury set a few weeks ago, Interpol have just finished a tour of Europe, and will be embarking on a seven-date US tour today (July 30).



Universal Horse’s Alternative Top 40 – July 2014

RW/FF is very proud to be one of the music blogs taking part in Universal Horse's monthly Alternative Top 40. As well as blogger folk like me, you too can be part of the Top 40 and make your current musical turn-ons count towards the chart each month... 

The Alternative Top 40 is a monthly music chart shared across multiple music blogs, and a great way of discovering music you might not have heard elsewhere. You can contribute to the #AltTop40 by simply naming your favourite tracks of the moment - for full details of how to nominate music, see the latest post about the chart at Universal Horse

The Alt Top 40 is not based on sales, or radio play – or, indeed, any form of objective measure. Instead, anyone who wants can simply tell us the tracks they want to see in the chart, and the more people we hear about a track from, the higher up it goes. 

1. Jack Adaptor - Get It Right First Time


2. Noura Mint Seymali - Tzenni



3. Hazel Winter - YDFLM



4. Swans - She Loves Us


5. Lana del Rey - West Coast


6. Parquet Courts - Bodies Made Of


7. Rabit - Red Candles


8. Jemima Surrender - My Little Brother


9. St Vincent - Your Lips Are Red


10. Kogumaza - NB / Kолокол / Ursids



11. Patrick Duff - Thought Birds / +
12. SJ Esau - Frustrating / +
13. Fingersnap - Blackbirds / +
14. Tune-Yards - Gangsta / +
15. Alicia Catling - Mighty Fine / +
16. Laurel Halo - Supersymmetry / +
17. Sia - Chandelier / +
18. Julie Fowlis - Ged a Sheol Mi Air M'aineol / +
19. Bob Mould - The War / +
20. Marilyn Manson - Disposable Teens / +
21. Happyness - Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same / +
22. Daisy Victoria - Macbeth to my Lady / +
23. Tape Waves - Looking at the Sun / +
24. Roddy Frame - Postcard / +
25. Steve Mason - All Come Down/ +
26. Robert Plant - Little Maggie / +
27. SJ Esau - Soul II Skull / +
28. Carla Bozulich - Lazy Crossbones / +
29. FKA Twigs - Two Weeks / +
30. Jemima Surrender - Anathema / +31. Michael O'Neill - Cheetham Hill Speed Scene / +
32. Melt Yourself Down - Fix My Life / +
33. Mankind - Blood Sugar / +
34. Shacklock Meth Party - Johnny B Goode/ +
35. Manic Street Preachers - Europa Geht Durch Mich / +
36. Patrick Duff - Maria / +
37. Tune-Yards - Left Behind / +
38. Path - Apocalyptica feat. Sandra Nasic / +
39. Camper van Beethoven - It Was Like That When We Got Here / +
40. Archie Bronson Outfit - In White Relief / +


Follow the Alternative Top 40 on Facebook and Twitter. #AltTop40


If you have a website, zine, podcast or similar and would like to host the chart there too, get in touch at alternativetop40@gmail.com. Firstly, if you tell us what you think are the best 5 tracks in the world this week, we’ll compile them into the next edition of the chart. At the end of this post there’s a contact form where you can fill your choices in, or just email your selection to alternativetop40@gmail.com - best one first. You can pick anything you like – from any time, and any place – with the exception of your own music or a band you work for. Five is the maximum: if you can only think of a couple you want to name, send them in anyway...

This month's chart was shaped by
Record Rewind PlayDrunkenWerewolf - God Is In The TV - Neon Filler – RW/FF - 

Vote for RW/FF's Track Of The Month - July 2014

Regular and longterm RW/FF readers will know all about the daily Track Of The Day selections, featuring only the very finest new music.

And from now on, each month, one chosen song will be crowned by RW/FF readers as the winner of the brand new Track Of The Month feature.

Voting will be open for a week until Aug 6, when the winning track will be unveiled. The top 10 most-voted-for songs will also be listed, making up The RW/FF Chart.

Just choose one (and only one) song from the following to make your vote count.


Track Of The Month - July 2014
Traams - 'Giddy'
Tape Waves - 'Looking At The Sun'
Paws - 'Owl Talons Clenching My Heart'
Esben And The Witch - 'Blood Teachings'
The Phantom Band - 'Clapshot'
Stephen Jones - 'A Beautiful War'
Erland And The Carnival - 'Quiet Love'
Goat - 'Hide From The Sun'
Télépopmusik feat Mark Gardener - 'Sound'
Tricky feat. Francesca Belmonte - 'Nicotine Love'
James - 'Curse Curse'
Tony Allen ft. Damon Albarn - 'Go Back'
The Vines - 'Out Of The Loop'
Lee Coombs and Kostas G - 'Phunked!'
Epic45 - 'Weathering' (Bracken remix)
Manic Street Preachers - 'Between The Clock And The Bed'
Plank! - 'Aphidelity'
False-Heads - 'Fall Around'
Echaskech - 'Sovereign System'
Gang Of Youths - 'Poison Drum'
Negative Lovers - 'Hit And Run'
Stephen Jones - 'Manchester I'm Sorry'
The Family Rain - 'You Should Be Glad You've Got A Man'
Interpol - 'All The Rage Back Home'
The Vacant Lots - 'Mad Mary Jones'
The Juan MacLean - 'A Place Called Space'
Poll Maker

Track Of The Day: Night Sports - 'Youthquake'

A glorious, smart and highly infectious slab of synth pop, all the way from Denmark. 'Youthquake' is the debut single from Night Sports, a solo project from Caspar Bock, who is also known for being one half of the acclaimed duo Champagne Riot. With savvy vocals from Nanna Frimodt Kristiansen, 'Youthquake' is quite simply one of the best pop songs to emerge in recent years, and promises great things to come from this gifted artist. The Copenhagen-based Bock has been described as "a demonic Rick Astley(!)" and produces all the Night Sports material himself. The B-side 'Alcohol Kisses' was premiered on The 405, and can be listened to HERE. Both tracks are available to download now after being released a few days ago on July 28.




Tuesday, 29 July 2014

REWIND: Mansun - 'The Chad Who Loved Me'

Mansun were without a doubt one of the most interesting and unusual group to grow from the Britpop era of the mid 90's. While Oasis sang about being a rock n roll star, and Blur were observing British culture, this four piece from Chester were collaborating with Doctor Who's Tom Baker, sampling 'Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy' and writing songs about cross dressing clergymen. I'm tempted to say that Mansun were ahead of their time, but they weren't. They weren't even symbolic of their era, more like something that was being beamed in from a parallel universe. They were if you like, of their very own space and time, something I'm sure fellow Doctor Who enthusiast Paul Draper is happy to know. 

I spent months listening to a taped copy of the debut album 'Attack Of The Grey Lantern', which my mate Steve brought into school one lunchtime for a few of us to listen to. Soon, I bought a proper copy when I could afford one. Even now, I will always associate the word "graceful" with that sweeping intro to the stunning opener 'The Chad Who Loved Me', which soars with majesty before exploding into the heavy, sensational Bond-esque epic that its title suggests.

Fans of the group will be thrilled to know that a Mansun Convention takes place in their hometown of Chester on August 23. Go HERE to read an interview with organiser Andy Lyth. And if you go HERE you can read an exclusive interview that I did with Draper himself... Amazingly Paul is currently working on his long-awaited solo material, with plans to premiere a new track at the convention. Go to his Twitter page (link below) for updates!




Monday, 28 July 2014

Track Of The Day: The Family Rain - 'You Should Be Glad You've Got A Man'

I'm becoming increasingly tired of people in indie bands who keep claiming that "guitar music is dead" before putting themselves forward as the saviours of the genre. Utter nonsense. If people looked a bit more closely at the UK's music scene, they will find that there are in fact indie guitar groups out there who are producing music that will knock many socks off. From my local city of Bath comes The Family Rain, made up of three uber-talented brothers Will, Tim and Ollie Walter. Following on from an impressive debut album 'Under The Volcano' (released a few months ago in February) the band haven't wasted time in delivering a set of follow-up tunes, which comes in the form of their brand new 'Hunger Sauce' EP. This new release is out today (July 28) on Mountbatten Recordings and includes the superb 'You Should Be Glad You've Got A Man', an upbeat, vitalised slice of indie rock that brings to mind a hybrid of early Franz Ferdinand and a (much-improved version of) The Killers, but buzzes with a vibrant yet melodic intensity that the trio are developing as their own. The video was directed and edited by the band themselves, while the track (as with the rest of the EP) was recorded, produced and mixed at NAM Studios by Tom Dalgety.

The song can be downloaded for FREE via the band's Soundcloud page HERE.





LISTEN: RW/FF Radio - 21/07/2014

Last week's RW/FF Radio was a bit of a special one. A VERY special one in fact. To celebrate the first birthday of our local station Melksham Town Sound, we thought it would be good if some of our presenters swapped shows for the week. So my old school friend Jason B took over the reigns at RW/FF Radio for one week, playing an eclectic selection of tracks ranging from pop punk and soul to Madchester anthems and electronica. Expect music from Mansun, Jimi Goodwin, Goldfinger, Jane's Addiction, Booker T. And the M.G.s, Ghosts Of Dead Aeroplanes, The Franklys, Gorillaz, The Stone Roses, The Pretty Reckless, Labyrinth Ear, Transplants, The Secret Sisters and Boots 'N All.



Following on from that, I returned the favour by hosting Jason B's regular Dance Class show, where I bathed in nostalgia and played a number of tracks from my days as a very young club DJ in the mid 90s. Featuring dance classics from Baby D, The Bucketheads, Ken Doh, Souvlaki, Stretch N Vern, Tori Amos, Josh Wink, Strike, Duke, Pete Heller, Alcatraz, The Lisa Marie Experience, BBE, Berri and DeLacy.


Both shows return to normal this week, and can be heard tonight (July 28). I do RW/FF Radio at 7pm, before Jason B returns with Dance Class from 8pm until 9pm. More info about the station's other shows can be found at the website HERE.


PHOTOGRAPHY: Photos of the Eels (Salisbury, July 2014)

Last night (Sunday July 27) Mark Everett (aka E) and the Eels visited Salisbury for the last date of their UK tour. I've heard of bands taking a slight detour while on the road, but it seems that Eels played Bristol on Friday before jetting off to New York to play a song on 'CBS This Morning', and then flying back to England for a show in Gateshead on Saturday night, and journeying back down south for the Salisbury show. I'm surprised the band had any energy left. But the show at the City Hall last night was wonderful, beginning with a selection of heartfelt and rather downbeat numbers, mostly from the recent album 'The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett'. Old classics were given new arrangements, the new songs sounded brilliant next to the fan favourites, and the strength of their set and the songs they DIDN'T play just shows how stellar the Eels back catalogue is. Big hits such as 'Susan's House', 'Mr E's Beautiful Blues' and 'Souljacker' were left out of the set, and yet nobody minded. After a beautifully uplifting 'Fresh Feeling' and an energised 'I Like Birds', E and his band went on to treat the audience to a stunning reworking of 1998's 'Last Stop: This Town' that actually had me in tears. A mad moment near the end saw Everett asking for a hug before running arms aloft into the seated crowd, many of who got up to embrace their hero. Finishing with a emotional 'Daisies Of The Galaxy' and a terrific cover of Harry Nilsson's 'Turn On your Radio', this was a superb set that showcased the new and revitalised the old. Before last night, I hadn't seen the Eels play live in nearly 14 years. The gap won't be as long next time....









Saturday, 26 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Stephen Jones - 'Manchester I'm Sorry'

Released via Bandcamp a few weeks ago, 'Ambition Expired' is the first full-length album to bear ex Babybird cult hero Stephen Jones' own name since 2003's 'Almost Cured Of Sadness', and it's an LP that finds the Sheffield-based musical genius delivering a breathtaking set of strange, beautiful and transcendental pieces. Don't be fooled by the low key nature of the release, this record is a superb piece of work, and one of Jones' finest. There is no press release accompanying 'Ambition Expired', just a doodle and some jotted words that describe this work as "an album with mind altering musical substance" that "involves no effort from the listener" since "ears will throw aside the mind for one simple hour". On BandCamp, a short blurb lists it as "a trip, not an album".

The magnificent opener 'Manchester I'm Sorry' exudes a blissful radiance, close to an ambient shoegaze sound where captivating guitars reverberate around the glowing vocal as slowed lo-fi drums crash underneath the dawning euphoria. Treat yourself to something different and let Stephen Jones take you on a journey that many others are unfortunate enough to be missing out on. 'Ambition Expired' is immersive, euphoric and magical. Read the full album review HERE.




REWIND: Oasis - 'Stay Young'

Even though this was only the B-side of the band's hugely anticipated 'D'You Know What I Mean?' single, some radio stations wary of the A-side's indulgent length and alleged "weirdness" decided that 'Stay Young' would also make it onto their A-list as an alternative for those who found the lead song a bit too much. Can anyone imagine a B SIDE being playlisted on (what was then) the country's most popular station? That is how big Oasis were at the time. It's a bright and upbeat track that always sounds great in summer weather like this, and any other kind of weather in fact. It's also better than a lot of the tracks on 'Be Here Now', an album which I write about extensively a couple of years ago in this article HERE. Noel Gallagher has said that he wrote 'Stay Young' at the time when the word "Britpop" was inescapable, perhaps why it sounds a bit like an emotional final hurrah of the era. This classic will be included on one of the bonus discs that will make up part of the 'Be Here Now' reissue, due for release later this year.



Friday, 25 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Negative Lovers - 'Hit And Run'

The sun is still out, so it's entirely appropriate that this track should also feature on the new edition of The RW/FF Compilation, which is the ideal soundtrack to your summer. You can listen to it in full HERE. Negative Lovers are a band who I discovered after one of their members kindly dropped me a Facebook message to inform me of their existence. Glad I had the time to check them out, because this four piece from the Indonesian city of Jakarta are rather brilliant indeed. Their new EP 'Faster Lover' is released next week on July 27, and features six new tracks. The legendary Jagz Kooner has remixed the EP's lead track, and provides two new remixes for this EP, which also includes this pacy burst of woozily colourful shoegaze, which glows with sunny surf-pop vibes, fuzzed-out guitars and bright melodies.

Negative Lovers are signed to Picture In My Ear records and consist of Tony Setiaji (Vocal,Guitar), Benedict Pardede (Guitar), Yoga Indrista (Drums) and Respati Nugroho (Bass). According to their press blurb: "this Indonesian noise-rock outfit harbours dense feedback, explosive sonic layers and sheets of sky along with a voice that calls out to you from the urban shadows..." I'd say.



REWIND: Underworld - 'Push Upstairs'

This week's Friday Banger is taken from one of my all-time favourite dance/electronic albums. After gatecrashing the mainstream with the NUXX version of 'Born Slippy', anticipation for Underworld's fifth studio album was high. 'Beaucoup Fish' was released in March 1999, reaching number 3 on the UK album chart. To this day it is still their most commercially successful album, selling over a million copies. No less than five singles were released from 'Beaucoup Fish', and the superb 'Push Upstairs' was one of them, and a number 12 hit. Riding on abrasive beats and aggressive, hard edged piano hooks, this late 90s stomper remains one of their finest moments. The album's working title was 'Tonight Matthew, I'm Going to be Underworld', inspired by the famous catchphrase used on the British celebrity impersonation TV programme Stars in Their Eyes.

Today's Friday Banger (and a few other previous entries) will be played tonight, as I return to club DJ-ing for the first time since my stint at Bentley's in the 90s! Everyone is welcome to attend this event, which celebrates the first birthday of our local station Melksham Town Sound. It takes place at the Forest Community Centre, Bowman's Court, Melksham from 8pm-midnight and entry is FREE. Myself, Jason B and some of the station's other DJs will be taking to the decks for a night of banging beats and uptempo grooves... More info can be found HERE



Thursday, 24 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Gang Of Youths - 'Poison Drum'

Quite simply one of the best indie rock songs I've heard in a long time. Gang Of Youths are a five piece indie rock outfit from the Australian city of Sydney. The band only formed in 2012 but musically have come such a long way in such a short space of time, as the epic six and a half minute single 'Poison Drum' confirms. 12 months ago they were "playing to nobody in an inner-city garage", and have recently found themselves touring with Cloud Control, Smith Westerns, Vampire Weekend, Manchester Orchestra and Frightened Rabbit. The group have been working with producer Kevin McMahon in upstate New York on what is to be their debut full-length, planned for release later in the year. With swooning indie romance, chiming guitar hooks, sprinting energy and a strident, breathtaking surge of a chorus, 'Poison Drum' brings to mind Springsteen collaborating with a more gutsy Arcade Fire, and provides the perfect introduction to this great band.



LISTEN: The RW/FF Compilation Volume 21: The Sound Of Summer

A summer special of the RW/FF Compilation, the perfect soundtrack for long sunny days. Struggling to hear good new music? In need of some fresh sounds? I believe in 2014 is the best time for new music we have had in years, but thanks to the people in control of the mainstream, not many people are hearing the good stuff. The regular RW/FF Compilation is here to help. It showcases the music that has featured on the site over the last few weeks. 

Just imagine if the 'Now!' albums featured the best recent music instead of lowest-common-denominator shite... they would sound like this! I don't have regular dates set for each of these mixtape-type things, instead I just wait until I have an 80 minute CD's worth of great new music to make up each compilation. Contrary to what some people think, there is plenty of excellent new music out there, as is proved by every one of these brilliant mixes.



First Aid Kit - 'My Silver Lining'
Spies - 'Moosehead'
Tape Waves - 'Looking At The Sun'
Stephen Jones - 'A Beautiful War'
Goat - 'Hide From The Sun'
Tony Allen ft. Damon Albarn - 'Go Back'
James - 'Curse Curse'
Night Sports - 'Youthquake'
Lee Coombs and Kostas G - 'Phunked!'
Epic45 - 'Weathering' (Bracken remix)
Echaskech - 'Sovereign System'
Manic Street Preachers - 'Between The Clock And The Bed'
False-Heads - 'Fall Around'
THE PHANTOM BAND - (Invisible) Friends
Gang Of Youths - 'Poison Drum'
Mat Motte And The People Who Hate Him - 'Summer Song'
Negative Lovers - Hit And Run
Hell Death Fury - 'Marijuana'

REWIND: The Beach Boys - 'Wouldn't It Be Nice'

It's July, the sun has been out pretty much all week, and right now the temperature in my county of Wiltshire is soaring. So what better way to soundtrack this fine weather than with a classic by The Beach Boys? This eternal slice of pop magic and encapsulation of innocent abandon is the opening track from the seminal 'Pet Sounds', the album that turned them from 60s boyband into an innovative musical force. Brian Wilson (who composed and produced it) described the song as "what children everywhere go through ... wouldn't it be nice if we were older, or could run away and get married". A few years later he added that "'Wouldn't It Be Nice' was not a real long song, but it's a very 'up' song. It expresses the frustrations of youth, what you can't have, what you really want and you have to wait for it." The song expresses "the need to have the freedom to live with somebody," according to Brian. "The idea is, the more we talk about it, the more we want it, but let's talk about it anyway." The lyrics were mostly written by Tony Asher, with the odious Mike Love providing the "Good night my baby / sleep tight my baby" coda. The instrumental track was recorded at Gold Star Studios in January 1966. It took 21 takes of recording the instrumental track before Wilson decided that it was good enough to be the master take. 




Wednesday, 23 July 2014

REVIEW: Stephen Jones - 'Ambition Expired' (Self Released)


The first full-length album to bear ex Babybird cult hero Stephen Jones' own name since 2003's 'Almost Cured Of Sadness' finds the Sheffield-based musical genius delivering a breathtaking set of strange, beautiful and transcendental pieces. 

As well as recording under the familiar Babybird moniker, Jones has also made music as Death Of The Neighbourhood, The Great Sadness, Trucker and Black Reindeer, each project offering something a little different. As well as releasing at least 13 albums under the latter alias over the last couple of years, the bafflingly underrated songwriter and musician has long been promising a new project that "will replace" Babybird, but this is not it. It's nothing like 'Almost Cured Of Sadness' either. Instead, it's something beautifully unique that Jones recorded at home and released via his BandCamp page. Don't be fooled by the low key nature of the release, this record is a superb piece of work, and one of Jones' finest. There is no press release accompanying 'Ambition Expired', just a doodle and some jotted words that describe this work as "an album with mind altering musical substance" that "involves no effort from the listener" since "ears will throw aside the mind for one simple hour". On BandCamp, a short blurb lists it as "a trip, not an album".

It's not as moody and cinematic as Black Reindeer, nor is it anything like the twisted pop songs of Babybird, what 'Ambition Expired' offers is an hour of music to lose yourself in. Before listening, you must free yourself of all distractions. Relax. Put on a pair of headphones. Press play and don't do anything else for the next 60 minutes.

The magnificent opener 'Manchester I'm Sorry' exudes a blissful radiance, close to an ambient shoegaze sound where captivating guitars reverberate around the glowing vocal as slowed lo-fi drums crash underneath the dawning euphoria. An invitation to "leave the church of Atheism and walk out into the light" is offered on the beautifully sparse 'If You Think I Believe In Jesus', a country-flavoured hymn where a piercing vocal soars to spine tingling effect, before the eerie 'Days That Never End' demonstrates tricks that Jones has perfected with his run of Black Reindeer albums. Crafted around unsettling hip hop beats, cinematic electronics and a heavy mood that builds with intensity throughout, it's almost like Death In Vegas remixing Mogwai. Except it's not of course, because Jones' music really isn't like anything else. 

On an album where the vocals are used as more of an instrumental element, 'A Beautiful War' provides the closest thing to a traditional verse-chorus-verse song, a blindingly pretty moment where fluttering electronics combine with blossoming sounds of nature. It's haunting, charming and uplifting all at the same time. It also highlights his ability to fashion odd, indistinguishable noises into strangely beautiful musical elements. The exquisitely hypnotic 16 minute soundscape 'Thank You For Trying To Love Me' is given plenty of room to breathe, taking its time to mesmerise and enchant as elements tesselate harmoniously, building into a dazzling glow of bittersweet euphoria. As well as its lilting serenity, it's hard not to be moved by the sentiment behind the title, reprising a familiar character Jones has excelled at portraying in the past; the unloveable fuck-up well aware of his mistakes, failures and bad habits. 


Even these tracks that clock in at around quarter of an hour each seem to take hold of the senses in such a way, that you're always happy to stay wherever the music takes you. The time and room given to these freely flowing song structures allow the listener to soak up the growing, evolving atmospheres for maximum impact. The stunning 'Endless Summer Day' misleadingly begins with heavily-treated vocals, as well as some ominous and rather acidy synth bass. Within a few masterful chord movements, the shadowy mood makes way for soft electronic tones shifting into glitchy, spellbinding patterns. Carrying the listener peacefully into misty eyed tranquility, it's a mesmeric treasure that flows with a twinkling poignancy and could quite happily go on for twice its already epic length. Grand in its power, but completely opposed to being overblown. On the climactic 'London Underground', sleepy guitars ring out to create a heavenly ambience amongst perfectly placed field recordings, ghostly drones and minimal vocals that drift to the surface like rising gasps of air.

Some of the moods and emotions are too strange to even put into words, and trying to pin a definitive label on these tracks isn't easy either. It's ambient music done the Stephen Jones way. After the hour is up, we're given the 'High Energy Crucifixtion' remix of '...Jesus', a bit of an ill-fitting cut and paste of dance beats and orchestra samples, which we'll ignore since it's clearly intended as a bonus track. 

Despite selling over two million records worldwide, Jones has never compromised the intelligence of his music for the mainstream, and has a deep hatred of mass marketed insipidness. With his talent for the unusal, why would he want to conform to sounding like everyone else? We need people like this man, who make this world a more interesting place by challenging the norm and going against the grain. It's not likely to sell truckloads of copies and you're not going to be hearing any of it on the radio. It's one of those well kept secrets tucked away in a weird little corner of the internet that you might be lucky enough to discover. Treat yourself to something different and let Stephen Jones take you on a journey that many others are unfortunate enough to be missing out on. 'Ambition Expired' is immersive, euphoric and magical. 8.6/10




Go HERE to read an exclusive interview with Stephen, where he talks about the past, the present and the future...