Sunday, December 18th, 2011
Neil Halstead and Gemma Hayes cover Kate Bush
Frank YangOne of the music stories of 2011 was the return of Kate Bush from whatever misty English castle she’d been hiding in since releasing her last album, Aerial, in 2005. It began with the curious remix/renovation project Director’s Cut in the Spring, but was followed by a proper collection of new works this Fall in 50 Words For Snow. And there was much rejoicing throughout the land. To mark this – and also because I’ve had the tune kicking around my head for a while – are a couple covers of one of my favourite Kate Bush songs by two artists who don’t, incidentally, belong to the ever-growing cohort of Kate Bush art-rock devotees emerging into the UK music scene of late.
Given that Bush was one of Britain’s biggest stars when Neil Halstead first led Slowdive out of Reading in 1989, it’s unlikely that wasn’t some degree of fan. And though his solo output has been fine – 2008’s Oh Mighty Engine was quite enjoyable – I’m hoping he can draw inspiration from her comeback this year to restart Mojave 3. They’ve been on hiatus since 2006’s Puzzles Like You, though the band did reconvene to play some shows earlier this year – precisely who was in the lineup is unclear to me, though. Otherwise all that he’s done this year is contribute a track to his label’s Christmas compilation, a one-off in the vein of where this cover comes from – a collection of indie lullabies. Sorry Neil, we want more.
Irish singer-songwriter Gemma Hayes put out her fourth solo record Feel It Break earlier this year so even though it took three years to follow up Hollow Of Morning, she escapes any chiding for being lazy. And certainly none for not being generous; this live recording of “Cloudbusting” comes from an early December 2009 gig in Cork, Ireland and was given away for free by Hayes a couple weeks later.