Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
I Want You To Know
Today’s post brought to you by UK artists formerly in other bands.
Charlotte Hatherley gave fair warning late last year that her second solo record The Deep Blue would be a much different record than her debut Grey Will Fade, but even as an avowed fan of that record as I am, I wasn’t expecting the follow up to be so damn good. The first record proved that Hatherley could combine sweet vocals, wicked guitar chops and a killer pop sensibility into a deliciously power-poptacular package, but with the new one she demonstrates a songwriting elan that makes you wonder why she spent as long as she did playing second fiddle in Ash.
Whereas Grey was a mainlined sugar rush, Blue takes its time in revealing its melodic treasures – hell, opening track “Cousteau” doesn’t even have any lyrics, just Hatherley cooing “ooohs” for the duration (don’t worry, it’s great). While the bounce-off-the-wall anthems are fewer (though extroverts like “I Want You To Know”, “Very Young” and closer “Siberia” more than compensate in quality for quantity), the depth and breadth of songwriting and musical creativity on display. It’s sonically dense and rich without stepping into overproduction – just a superb album, top to bottom, of British pop the way I like it, free of affected snottiness and faux-punk attitude. But maybe most exciting is what it augers for Hatherley’s future musical output – if she keeps stepping it up the way she has between her first two records, she’s going to be turning out some (even more) amazing albums before long.
Hatherley talked to The Belfast Telegraph and Room Thirteen about the circumstances around her leaving Ash and crafting her second album. She’s also posted some praise from David Bowie on her website – hey, if I had a pull quote from David Bowie I’d post it too. Idolator makes the audio case for getting The Deep Blue a domestic release (though to be fair, the import price isn’t that dear) while I will just post the two excellent videos from the record. Unfortunately I think odds of that happening are pretty long, and chances of any live dates over here are probably non-existent because, well, there’s no justice in the world. Haven’t you heard?
Magnet, which sadly seems to have become a quarterly instead of a bi-monthly, shoots the shit with Andy Partridge about this and that and toy soldiers. He co-wrote “Dawn Treader” on Hathereley’s record and has his own double-disc of new material, an improvisational album with former XTC keyboardist Barry Andrews called Monstrance, coming out April 3. Check out an MP3 and video from the release:
The Telegraph profiles Brett Anderson, whose solo self-titled debut came out in the UK Monday and was promptly crapped on by Pitchfork (via The Rich Girls Are Weeping). The Argus also has an interview and he tells BBC America he’s open to a Suede reunion. Richard Oakes’ fat little ears just perked right up.
Lisa Gerrard, ex-Dead Can Dance, will be at the Danforth Music Hall on May 13. The Best of Lisa Gerrard was released in February (and I know Gerrard and DCD weren’t British but they were on 4AD and based out of the UK for a while). The Courier-Mail talks to Gerrard about her DCD days.
NME is streaming the whole of Maximo Park’s latest Our Earthly Pleasures, out in North America on May 8 and touring same later in the Summer including a July 14 date at the Mod Club in Toronto. The new album sounds great in almost exactly the same way the debut did. That’s not a complaint.
Also out in North America on the 8th of May is Everything Last Winter , the full-length debut from Fields. Initial impressions have been rather disappointing considering how much I like their 7 From The Village mini-album, but I’m still giving it a chance – check out an MP3 from the album and the video for the new single and judge for yourself. They’re at the Opera House on May 11 opening for Blonde Redhead.
Interesting piece from The Independent stating that Scottish author Iain Banks is assembling a tribute album to Frozen Gold, the fictional band in his rock’n’roll novel Espedair Street. Maybe my favourite contemporary author, Banks’ latest novel The Steep Approach To Garbadale is out now. Which begs the question, where is the mailman with my copy?