Thursday, 30 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Richard Ashcroft - 'Hold On' (Acoustic)

Former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft hasn't made a great album that I've enjoyed all the way through for nearly 20 years now. His previous outing from 2010 (as RPA and the United Nations Of Sound) saw him trying to "do an Ian Brown" and incorpororate hip hop and electronic influences into his sound. It was an artistic and commercial disaster. Six years on and he returns with a slightly more traditional record, his fourth solo album 'These People'. 

Although it reached number 3 in the UK album charts, the LP is not a great success musically. Recent single 'Hold On' boasts the album's most infectious hooks and would be one of Ashcroft's finest musical moments were it not for the ill-fitting, cheap-sounding digital production that hampers the song. A stripped-back acoustic version recently played when Ashcroft played a session for Radio 2 brings out the best in the song and is the recommended alternative. 

Read RW/FF's review of the album HERE.

REWIND: Johnny Kidd And The Pirates - 'Please Don't Touch'

Until recently I thought that this was a Motörhead song, since the band and Girlschool released a version of it in 1982. But having heard it on the radio last week, I now know its true origins. 'Please Don't Touch' was the debut single by British rock and roll combo Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, released in 1959 reaching number 25 on the UK singles chart. Kidd died at age 30 in 1966, in a motor car accident.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Track Of The Day: case/lang/veirs - 'Best Kept Secret'

This joyous new musical offering comes from a supergroup made up of Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs, who have just released a rather fine album under the moniker case/lang/veirs. “The combination of spirits, the combination of artistry, is very unique, because we have definite similarities, but we are very, very different, and it creates a really interesting thing,” says Lang. “It's a truly collaborative record where our individual essences are firmly in place.”

REWIND: Montego Joe - 'Fat Man'

Here's a song I heard for the first time over the last few days when it was played on the indispensable BBC Radio 6Music. It's from an artist that I also wasn't aware of before. A longer, slower version of this can be found on a 1965 album by Jamaican latin jazz drummer/percussionist Montego Joe. The album is called '¡Arriba! Con Montego Joe', but this version is from a single release on the Prestige Label. Montego Joe died in 2010.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Guy Garvey - 'Open The Door'

At Glastonbury 2016, one of the weekend's best-kept secrets was Elbow mainman Guy Garvey on the Park Stage. Mostly playing tracks from his 2015 solo album 'Courting The Squall', Garvey seems to have gained a second lease of life with his new project. A departure from the sound Elbow have developed over the years but peppered with intelligent lyrical content, his backing band excel at bringing this brilliantly rhythmic music to life as Garvey's vocals provide warmth and expression. Definitely a highlight of the weekend. Included on the new, deluxe version of the album is this fantastic new single.

REWIND: PJ Harvey - 'Good Fortune'

While I thought the much-praised 'Let England Shake' wasn't the 10 out of 10 album the music press made it out to be, I still recognise Polly Jean Harvey as one of the greatest and innovative female icons in music. Having recently released her 9th album 'The Hope Six Demolition Project' a few months ago in April, her set at Glastonbury on Sunday night was full of drama, performance and oddness. But it's still her late 90's/early 2000's output that I'm most fond of, and this tasty single from her fifth studio album 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea' was released in November 2000 on Island Records. It reached number 41 in the UK charts but clearly should have been a bigger hit.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Wolf Alice - 'Lisbon'

One of the most exciting performances of this year's Glastonbury festival came courtesy of the London four-piece Wolf Alice. I'm relatively new to this band's music, having first heard them only a few weeks ago (on Radio 1 of all places!) but I knew that a place up on the main stage would push them a step further towards success. And when they hit that first chord, I felt something awakening. In an age where the singles charts are filled with blandness and conformity, Wolf Alice are a great balance of enticing melody and raw ferocity that provides a fine antidote and just maybe a new beginning for British guitar music. The awesome 'Lisbon' is taken from the band's debut album 'My Love Is Cool’, which was released last year. 

REWIND: Electric Light Orchestra - 'Showdown'

After lots of doom and gloom within the music world over recent years, it was amazing how much of a buzz this year's Glastonbury festival seemed to have. Maybe the deaths of great icons like Bowie, Lemmy and Prince has reminded people how special music can be and taught us to enjoy our musical heroes while they're still here. The festival's traditional Sunday afternoon slot has allowed much-loved groups from the past to enjoy an afternoon back in the limelight, and this year it was the turn of Jeff Lynne and ELO. I first heard of Jeff Lynne after he worked with the remaining Beatles on their "reunion" songs 'Free As A Bird' and 'Real Love', and after years of only knowing 'Mr Blue Sky' and 'Don't Bring Me Down', it wasn't until hearing an ELO Best Of compilation that I realised just how brilliant a songwriter Lynne is. With a hint of 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine', the stunning 'Showdown' immediately became my favourite ELO track as soon as I heard it. Released in 1973, in the US the song was included on the album 'On the Third Day', while in the UK the song was omitted from this album but later featured on the band's first compilation album, also called Showdown.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Beck - 'Wow'

Glastonbury is in for a treat when Beck takes to the Pyramid Stage tonight (June 26) just before Coldplay's big finale. The polymathic Californian has also released a brand new single, and the booming hip hop sounds of 'Wow' are very much at odds with his previous album, 2014's 'Morning Phase'. A new album is promised for release later in the year.

REWIND: Mystery Jets - 'Greatest Hits'

More music from bands and artists lined up for this year's Glastonbury 2016. Mystery Jets take to the John Peel Stage today (Sunday 26th June) and this superb, infectious track is from their 2012 album 'Radlands', which was their fifth full-length. Possibly the greatest song you'll ever hear about splitting up with an ex and having to divide the joint record collection. And it gets bonus points for mentioning Mark E Smith...

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Michael Kiwanuka - 'Black Man In A White World'

The excellent Michael Kiwanuka releases his second album 'Love And Hate' soon, on July 15. He also plays Glastonbury this weekend on Sunday. From the album here is the wonderful 'Black Man In A White World'.

REWIND: New Order - 'Regret'

Despite her great voice, the multi-million selling Adele isn't going to be my choice of Saturday night headline act this weekend at Glastonbury. Her ordinary songs for ordinary people just don't do it for me. Instead I'll be watching Manchester legends New Order. From the 1993 album 'Republic', here is 'Regret', a song I remember hearing a lot of in the early 90s. The song reached number 4 in the UK singles chart, while the album went to number 1.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Blossoms - 'Blown Rose'

One of the UK's most hotly-tipped indie bands are playing Glastonbury this weekend. This wonderful single is from Manchester's bright new hopes Blossoms. The Stockport five-piece have revealed their first studio effort will be eponymously titled and set for release on 5 August 2016.

Blossoms are: Tom Ogden (vocals and guitar), Charlie Salt (bass and backing vocals), Josh Dewhurst (lead guitar), Joe Donovan (drums) & Myles Kellock (keys and backing vocals)

REWIND: Muse - 'Newborn'

Muse headline Glastonbury tonight, becoming the only band to headline the festival on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. From the mammoth 2001 album 'Origin Of Symmetry' here is the superb 'Newborn', a single that reached number 12 in the UK singles chart.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Savages - 'T.I.W.Y.G.'

Post punk combo Savages play The Park Stage at Glastonbury this weekend on Friday night. From their recent second album 'Adore Life' here is the ferocious 'T.I.W.Y.G.'

REWIND: Jagwar Ma - 'Uncertainty'

A historic day as the UK votes for whether or not it should stay part of the European Union. One thing's for sure, it's a country divided and a lot of uncertainty could be on the cards. Hence today's choice, taken from Jagwar Ma's brilliant 2013 debut album 'Howlin''. the band will be playing Glastonbury 2016 this weekend and a second album is due out soon.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Radiohead - 'Daydreaming'

Despite entering the UK album charts at number 1 weeks ago, the physical versions of Radiohead's new album 'A Moon Shaped Pool' have only been in the shops for a few days. For a great experience I recommend purchasing the double vinyl edition of the record, which takes a softer, more minimal approach than the band's previous effort 'The King Of Limbs'. 

The LP is the Oxford band's ninth studio album, and a "special edition" containing additional artwork and music will be shipped in September 2016.

Hailed by critics as one of the best albums of 2016, 'A Moon Shaped Pool' features the haunting, mesmeric beauty of 'Daydreaming', which comes with a video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

REWIND: Metallica - 'Battery'

2016 sees milestone anniversaries of many brilliant albums, and a few months ago one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all-time celebrated its 30th birthday. 'Master of Puppets' was the third studio album by Metallica, the band's first album released on a major label and the last to feature original bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus crash in Sweden during the album's promotional tour. Combining thundering thrash metal with strong songcrafting, the album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. The cover was designed by Metallica and Peter Mensch and painted by Don Brautigam, depicting a cemetery of white crosses tethered to strings, manipulated by a pair of hands in a blood-red sky. From the 1986 classic, here is the tremendous opener 'Battery', a song regularly featured in the band's sets to this day...

Monday, 20 June 2016

Track Of The Day: The Avalanches - 'Frankie Sinatra'

Well, it's about time. Australian cut-and-paste pioneers The Avalanches have kept us waiting 16 long years for a follow-up to their much-loved 2000 debut album 'Since I Left You', and now the wait for new material is finally over. Titled 'Wildflower', the second album will be released on July 8 via XL Recordings. "What kept us going during the making this record was a belief in the day-to-day experience of music as a life force – as life energy," The Avalanches' Robbie Chater said, "hearing a certain song on a certain morning can change your day; it can make the world look different, changing the way you perceive light refracting through the atmosphere for the rest of the afternoon. Literally changing the colour and feeling-tone of your world."

The catchy lead single 'Frankie Sinatra' features vocals from Danny Brown and MF Doom, as well as a sample from 'My Favorite Things' from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound Of Music. The album will also feature appearances from Father John Misty, Toro y Moi, Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue, Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux, Camp Lo, Biz Markie and frequent Nick Cave collaborator Warren Ellis. 

REWIND: The Notorious B.I.G. - "Hypnotize"

A gangsta rap classic. It's been over 19 years since hip hop icon Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G was shot and killed in March 1997. The 24 year old was gunned down just two short weeks before the release of his second album, the all-too-aptly titled 'Life After Death'. The album was released to a significant amount of critical praise and commercial success, and was released at a time when gangsta rap was crossing over into the mainstream. The album sold 690,000 copies its first week and has been credited as one of the best-selling rap albums of all time. It also made the largest jump to number one on the Billboard 200 chart in history, jumping from number 176 to number one in one week.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Underworld - 'Low Burn'

After six years without an album, UK dance legends Underworld returned with their ninth album recently. 'Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future' is their first new material since 2010. Karl Hyde has said of the album: "When I listen to this record what I’m proud of most is that Rick and I made a record without thinking about where it fits or if it sounds like Underworld."The album was co-produced by drum and bass producer High Contrast, who previously worked with the band on their previous LP 'Barking'.

Explaining the album's unusual title, Hyde said in an interview said that Rick Smith's mother's name is Barbara and that the phrase was one of the last things his father said before he died. One of the album's highlights comes early on in the form of the glowing, euphoric 'Low Burn'.

REWIND: T. Rex - 'Hot Love'

'Hot Love' is a majestic 1971 single by T. Rex,and was the group's first number one on the UK Singles Chart. It was also the first T. Rex single to feature both a bass guitar and drums.  Its success was propelled by a legendary Top of the Pops appearance, where Marc Bolan appeared in androgynous clothes with glitter around his eyes. Unusually, the song doesn't appear on any of the band's albums, further proving that Bolan's outfit were more of a singles act than a band renowned for their albums. 

Due to me not being born until the mid 80's, I wasn't aware of this song until 1998 when it appeared on the soundtrack album to the British movie 'The Acid House'.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Kate Jackson - 'The End Of Reason'

Kate Jackson used to be the singer in The Long Blondes until the band's break up in 2008. Now working with former Suede man and highly regarded producer Bernard Butler, her debut album 'British Road Movies' was released last month in May. From it here is the energetic, pulsing 'The End Of Reason'.

REWIND: The Beatles - 'Back In The U.S.S.R.'

Today (June 18 2016) we celebrate the birthday of Paul McCartney, who turns 74 years old. So it wouldn't be right if today's 'Rewind' selection wasn't one of the many classic songs the Liverpool legend has penned over the years. To coincide with his birthday a new compilation was released a few weeks ago on June 10, entitled 'Pure McCartney' and available as a standard CD, 2CD and 4CD boxset. But despite releasing some strong material during his solo years, it will always be his work in The Beatles that Paul will be best remembered for. 'Back in the U.S.S.R.' is the opening track from the double-disc album 'The Beatles', also known as 'The White Album'. Released in 1968, the song is credited to the songwriting partnership Lennon–McCartney, but was in fact written by McCartney. The title is a tribute to Chuck Berry's 'Back in the U.S.A.' while the chorus and background vocals pay homage to the Beach Boys' 'California Girls'.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Jurassic 5 - 'Customer Service'

Despite being an unreleased track from the sessions from their 2002 album 'Power In Numbers', the superb 'Customer Service' is billed as the first new song in a decade from Los Angeles hip hop greats Jurassic 5. The group disbanded in 2007 before reforming in 2013.

This newly-released song is available as a Pay-What-You-Want download exclusively on for a limited time before its official release.

REWIND: The Shamen - 'Move Any Mountain (Progen 91)'

The best known version of this early 90's indie-rave classic, and probably the most effective too. The original version of 'Move Any Mountain' was featured on The Shamen's 1990 album 'En-Tact', before being given a new radio remix by The Beatmasters. The single was released in the UK during the summer of 1991 and was the group's first top-ten single, reaching number 4 in the UK Singles Chart. It was also their only top 40 hit in the U.S., where the song peaked at number 38 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The promotional video was filmed on the slopes of Mount Teide, Tenerife island where band member Will Sinnott drowned and died in May 1991.

The album 'Progeny' features 19 different remixes of the song. and at the time the release meant that the song was the only record to chart on both UK Singles and Album Charts at the same time. The Shamen split in 1999.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Kula Shaker - 'Holy Flame'

Just when fans thought they'd heard the last of Kula Shaker, the band surprised us earlier this year with the release of a new album. And the highly recommended 'K 2.0' was well worth the wait too, a brilliantly crafted combination of indie rock, psychedelica and the band's trademark Indian flavours. From it here is the album's second track 'Holy Flame', just one of many potential singles on the band's fifth long-player. 

The band will be taking to the road again later in the year for a tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1996 debut 'K'. The album will be played in its entirety for the first time. 

REWIND: Ash - 'Goldfinger'

Another classic Britpop-era album that has recently reached it's 20th birthday is Ash's 1996 debut '1977'. The title refers to a year of three events that shaped the band: the births of two of the band-members, the year the first punk albums were released and the release of Star Wars. The album opens with the sound of a TIE fighter, and the final song ends with a choral version of the Star Wars theme. At the end of the album there was a hidden track, which was essentially just a recording of band members vomiting. In 2008 frontman Tim Wheeler remembered: "we'd literally left school six months before... It was insane, just a totally mental time... We just got very nocturnal and very crazy. (Producer) Owen Morris had been not so gradually introducing us to drugs, so we were off our heads a lot of the time!"

'Goldfinger' was released as a single in April 1996 and gave the band their first UK top 10 single, reaching number 5.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Suede - 'What I'm Trying To Tell You'

Suede's 2013 album 'Bloodsports' was probably one of the most satisfying comeback records in recent memory, and it's follow-up 'Night Thoughts' has also pleased many fans and critics. A darker, more focused and more intricate piece of work than its predecessor, the band's seventh studio album was produced by long-time collaborator Ed Buller, and released a few months ago in January 2016 to widespread critical acclaim. The album entered the UK charts at number 6, and was accompanied by a feature film directed by Roger Sargent. From it here is the addictive and darkly anthemic 'What I'm Trying To Tell You'.

REWIND: Stevie Wonder - 'We Can Work It Out'

As far as Beatles covers go, soul icon Stevie Wonder did an excellent job with his magnificent take on 'We Can Work It Out'. He covered the song on his album 'Signed, Sealed And Delivered', and released it as a single in 1971.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Track Of The Day: DBFC - Autonomic

Apart from the fact that DBFC are made up of Dombrance, David Shaw, Antoine Reininger and Guillaume Rossel, I know very little about this French electronic group who have won my ears with their infectious and brilliant new single 'Autonomic', a track that has been picking up some airplay on BBC Radio 6Music lately.

Their Soundcloud page states:
"DBFC is not a band, its a club

DBFC has no strategy
DBFC is not interested in any political lies or promises
DBFC is inspired by the spontaneous combustion of the sixties and the endless possibilities of dance music
DBFC is not afraid to be accused of being schizophrenic nor longing to be praised for its diversity
DBFC refuses to choose between making dance records or rock records."

REWIND: Hole - 'Violet'

Whether you like Courtney Love or not, her grunge-rock outift Hole did produce some rather excellent music during the 90s. With recent rumours suggesting that the original line-up may be reuniting, here's the storming 'Violet' from the 1994 album 'Live Through This'. 

The LP was the band's second studio album, and was released by DGC Records on April 12 1994, just one week after frontwoman Courtney Love's husband, Kurt Cobain died in their home. The album went platinum within a year and has sold over 1.6 million copies in the United States. 

'Violet' was released as the group's seventh single and the third from 'Live Through This' in January 1995.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Track Of The Day - Lindstrøm - 'Closing Shot'

An excellent helping of dreamlike space-disco, this summer anthem from Norwegian producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm was released as a single a couple of months ago and features on an upcoming new EP which is due for release on July 8th 2016. 

REWIND: Astrid - 'Modes Of Transport'

British indie enthusiasts of the late 90's may remember melodic Scottish quartet Astrid. I am no exception, in fact after hearing their charming single 'Distance' on Radio 1's The Evening Session in 1998, I developed quite a fondness for the four piece from the Isle Of Lewis. They released a few great singles and EPs before releasing the Edwyn Collins-produced debut album 'Strange Weather Lately' and its follow up 'Play Dead'. They also released a third and final album in 2004 called 'One In Four' before splitting soon after. Drummer Neil Payne joined Texas, Gareth Russell played bass for Idlewild, as well as releasing some great solo material, Charlie Clark played with The Zephyrs and went on to form Broken Arrow, Cold Night Song and Our Lunar Activities. William Campbell formed Our Small Capital and The Open Day Rotation.

But now Astrid are back, recently playing a number of well-received reunion gigs. They're also recording a new album, provisionally titled 'Fall Stand Dance', and RW/FF has heard demos of two tracks which sound very promising indeed. Until that new album arrives here's the lovely 'Modes Of Transport', a single from the year 2000. RW/FF spoke to Charlie Clark a couple of years ago about Astrid as well as his solo projects in an interview that you can find HERE.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Track Of The Day: Mark Pritchard - Beautiful People (feat. Thom Yorke)

As well as recently releasing one of 2016's best albums with 'A Moon Shaped Pool', Radiohead's Thom Yorke appears on this dreamy, haunting treasure from UK electronic producer Mark Pritchard. It can be found on the album 'Under The Sun', which was released in May 2016 via Warp Records.

REWIND: Super Furry Animals - 'The Man Don't Give a Fuck'

After returning from a five year hiatus for some gigs last year, Welsh indie legends Super Furry Animals surprised everyone with a new single recently, their first in seven years. Sadly for me, 'Bing Bong' turned out to be a disappointing return, lacking the sort of magic that made them a great band. Such magic can instead be found on this terrific non-album single that turns 20 this year. Released in December 1996, 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck' claimed to feature the word "fuck" more than any other song, and although Insane Clown Posse's 'Fuck the World' beats it with 93 uses of the word, a live version of 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck' released as a single in 2004 broke that record.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Track Of The Day - The Stone Roses - 'Beautiful Thing'

Following decades of absense, Manchester icons The Stone Roses recently returned with much-anticipated new material in the form of the catchy yet basic 'All For One'. Following a day of rumour and speculation yesterday (June 9th) the band released another new track at midnight, this one a seven-minute helping of cool Northern funk. Rumoured to be taken from an upcoming new album and featuring lots of tasty guitar from the great John Squire, 'Beautiful Thing' is not unlike a hybrid of 'The Second Coming''s 'Breaking Into Heaven' and Ian Brown solo effort 'Can't See Me'. Those who weren't impressed by 'All For One' might now have a reason to welcome them back.