Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
Photo by Clare Nash
I’m somewhat late to the Kate Nash party, mainly because I disregarded the invitations last year that were embossed in gold script with, “the new Lily Allen”, on account of the fact that I didn’t care too much for the old Lily Allen. And while the snippets I heard from her throughout the latter half of 2007 were appealing, I didn’t investigate further and I skipped her show at the Mod Club back in January as my curiosity wasn’t enough to break the year-end/start moratorium on live shows I’d imposed on myself. But after hearing some radio session tracks, that curiosity finally got the better of me and I popped out to pick up a copy of her much-heralded debut Made Of Bricks and while it’s not making me kick myself for not getting into it sooner, I’m not regretting picking it up, either.
A good chunk of the record is rather delightful. The singles and the songs that stick to her strengths – namely the jolly, piano-led pop numbers that ruminate and rollick about relationships from the perspective of a modern 20-year old girl – deliver on the praise with which she’s lavished. Sometimes her lyrics stumble over their own cleverness, but they rarely feel disingenuous or contrived and they’re always mated to tremendously hooky melodies so like it or not, they’re going to stick. Interestingly, it’s when Nash tries to stretch out a bit stylistically – perhaps conscious of being pigeonholed as “smart-mouthed girl at a piano” – that things go off the rails. Sort-of electronic opener “Play” is aimless but thankfully brief, and the clumsy-on-all-levels “Dickhead” is the exception to the aforementioned rule. But one has to think that eventually, her artistic grasp will catch up with her reach and pigeonholes won’t be a concern.
Nash is headlining the NME Awards tour across North America featuring a lineup chock-full of NME favourites such as herself and, uh, The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players… yeah, weird bill… Anyway, they’re going to be at the Phoenix next Monday night, April 28. And while the show is sold out, courtesy of Filter sister publication Ragged, I’ve got one prize pack to give away consisting of a pair of passes to the show, a copy of Made Of Bricks on CD and a copy of the latest issue of Ragged autographed by the cover artist. That’s Kate Nash, if it wasn’t clear. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Kate Nash” in the subject line (what, I can’t come up with wacky subject lines all time) and your full name and mailing address in the body. And do it before midnight tomorrow, which is to say Wednesday night.
Nash friend and collaborator Billy Bragg releases his new record Mr Love & Justice today and after being less than enthused about his recent solo records, I’m happy to say it’s a solid album. He’s working with a full band but the arrangements are kept relatively austere, and while he’s a little less lyrically barbed than he was as a younger man, he’s still got plenty to say. Philly.com has a conversation with the Bard of Barking and Spinner is streaming the whole of his new record this week. Note that there’s two editions of the album being released – the regular version and a deluxe edition that comes with a second disc featuring the entire album played by Billy, solo. He plays the Harbourfront Centre – presumably with band – on June 17.
Stream: Billy Bragg / Mr Love & Justice
Chart talks to Rob Dickinson about his latest project… which is the same as his old project. No, not a resurrection of the Catherine Wheel but a revisit to his 2005 solo debut Fresh Wine For The Horses. On June 10, he will re-release the record with newly-recorded versions of some of the songs and bundled with a second disc, entitled Nude, that will feature a half-dozen re-recorded Catherine Wheel songs. Anything new from Rob is good news, even if it’s old, but man – how about some new material…?
Video: Rob Dickinson – “Oceans”
NME reports that The Pipettes have lost 2/3 of their frontwomen, what with RiotBecki and everyone’s secret girlfriend Rosay having left the band. Their polka-dot dresses will now be filled by two new singers known only as Ani and Anna. How will this effect the group? We’ll have to wait and see how they look – er, sound – before passing judgment.
Happy Earth Day. Go hug a planet.