A (hopefully) regular new music feature for you is this week’s Music Magazine. Featuring Vinyl News, a book review and something CD or vinyl flavoured in review terms. Hope you like it!
First up is post Brit-pop, psychedelia rocker, Kula Shaker and their new release, 1st Congregational Church of Eternal Love (and Free Hugs) who continue their creative march after their reformation in 2006. Classic vibes from the lads on this 2LP sprawl. There’s rock, folk rock, big power pop, you name it. Oh, it’s also very funny.
New out from the classic 80s post punk/art rock outfit, Breathless has released See Those Colours Fly (Tenor Vossa). I initially felt frustrated by the plodding, seemingly one-dimensional nature of this new LP. Then I switched off, stopped working and listening at the same time, took my time, allowed the music to come to me and relaxed with this one. It’s actually rather lovely.
USA – https://amzn.to/3BPirAR
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3QIB1yC
From Bear Family comes Marcel Riesco and Patiently, a 10-track, 10” album. It’s a new release from a current artist but in the style of 50s rockabilly. Offering a distinctly Roy Orbison aspect to his vocal, combining rock’n’roll and country with a guitar flashes in the mix, this one includes a 14-track CD.
USA – https://amzn.to/3qVVlSR
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3BEJBKh
New from Pierrs Kwenders comes José Louis And The Paradox Of Love featuring a bit of singing, a smattering rapping and all in Lingala, French, English, Tshiluba, and Kikongo. There’s some intriguing synth beats and rhythms here. The track L.E.S. (Liberté Égalité Sagacité) is a case in point, a fascinatingly funky outing plus more folky/pop constructions.
USA – https://amzn.to/3Dl98JX
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3xl58p6
From Oceans of Slumber comes their fifth LP release, Starlight and Ash which moves further away from metal but retains their dark (sometimes doom, witness Star Altar) rock essence. Drama rock?
USA – https://amzn.to/3dhpUPx
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3RLCGEO
A rarities package, for you. Fast Eddie’s Shake a Tail Feather (Countdown) offers music for the classic R&B crowd, for those who never left the Mod revival. That’s where this band originates, they grew up in the late 70s and hit the scene square in the early 80s. This is a collection of early demos, unreleased singles and more.
USA – https://amzn.to/3BELIOk
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3LtadS9
Finally, check out Rise Jamaica! Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence, this Trojan complication focuses on the radio hosts from back in 1962 which means some unreleased ska items for you and artists like Derrick Morgan, Frank Cosmo, Hortense Ellis, Jimmy Cliff and The Beltones.
USA – https://amzn.to/3RKIZIU
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3dfD9jK
Title: I Might be Dreaming
There’s something terribly old fashioned about Esbe. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Esbe sounds like she’s been dragged from the 70s, long brown frock and all, possibly from the stage and musical excerpt section of The Two Ronnies TV show, after a quick chat with Barbara Dixon and Gilbert O’Sullivan. Ronnie Hazlehurst nodding to her from his conductor’s platform…
Do you see where I’m going with this one?
There’s a sort of corduroy vintage glow around Esbe’s music. And it’s good. Very good, in fact. Classic. Clear Delivery. Sincere. Well enunciated. Well intentioned. Emotive.
In mastering terms? Esbe offers a remarkably balanced tonality, especially for a CD release. Her own vocal delivery tends towards the upper registers but that blends nicely with the firm, lower frequencies. Nothing’s out of kilter here, there’s no frequency emphasis and if compression has been added, it’s been done with a feather-lite touch.
If you miss how music used to sound. Check out Esbe.
USA – https://amzn.to/3Ulforg
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3S6hh90
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER
This is a bit special and no mistake, more so because ELP was never a singles band. They did release them, obviously but it was never their thing. Which makes this set all the more special. We have 12, 7” remastered singles in a strong, sturdy box with foil art atop, that includes: Lucky Man, From The Beginning (bit of a lost chilled gem, this one), Fanfare for the Common Man (surely their best single and one of the best prog singles ever, ever?), Jerusalem, C’est La Vie, Stones of Years, Tiger in a Spotlight, Brain Salad Surgery, Canario, Black Moon, I Believe in Father Christmas (warms the heart, this one) and Affairs of the Heart plus, let’s not forget, B-sides for each.
Each is offered in copies of the original sleeve art from a particular territory from some of the oddest places, which makes them all the more intriguing. So yes, you get the UK, French and USA (promo) releases, plus releases from Japan and even Germany…but Angola? Oh yes, From the Beginning is presented in a copy of the original Angolan sleeve.
More than that? You get a batch of “re-imagined” art cards while each disc is printed on coloured vinyl!
Finally, you also receive a 14-page 7” square booklet, including an essay, photos plus detailed edit information.
In sound terms? The 7” format has never been blessed with audiophile fairy dust – but these have. The remaster offers finely presented upper frequencies, the treble performance on Fanfare for the Common Man (not exactly the dominat sound on this one) is delicate and fragile while the music has been recorded low, there’s not even a hint of excessive compression here. The acoustic guitar on From the Beginning is just a delight. There’s distinctive effort heard here in the way the strings are pushed and strummed.
USA – https://amzn.to/3QKpcrN
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3QIFIse
FENDER: 75 YEARS
Author: Dave Hunter
It’s a bit of a combo. This one is a sort of coffee-table book but with lots of added detail. And a very nicely presented tome it is too, arriving in a folio format. Nevertheless, it does offer a slightly quirky, hard outer sleeve because that case doesn’t quite cover/protect the entire book. Odd. Half an inch of the book sticks out from the protective outer case. Form over function, methinks.
I also find it odd that the author, Dave Hunter, is nowhere to be seen, printed on the outer case so anyone looking at the book, in its shrink-wrapped form on the shop shelf, might assume that this is an unattributed, in-house Fender publication. You get the word ‘Hunter’ on the spine but that could relate to just about anything, frankly. An imprint, perhaps? Never fear, Dave. I’m here to give you glory where it’s due.
The book itself focuses on the guitars of course but also keyboards, amplifiers, pedals and the people who played them. From Hendrix to Clapton to Kurt Cobain and more. This book is more than just a celebrity spotter, though.
There’s lots of rare images here. Witness the 1945 lap steel prototype created to test the “boxcar” pickup and, for HiFi fans, Fender’s automatic record player complete with early techie sketches. I was fascinated to see old images of early Fender factory properties, old Ads and even a before-after twin-set image of long-serving staff member Abby Ybarra, who wound pickups at the company from 1957 to 2013
Leo Fender is present via archival quotes and there’s a fascinating series of accounts of how the company began to work with artists to establish a reputation and an image as well as how Fender tackled the thorny problem of advertising and broadcasting that message to the public.
This is a fascinating story well told and illustrated by Hunter and serves as an excellent primer on the legend that is Fender.
USA – https://amzn.to/3RCrri1
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3S2qvDj