Posts Tagged ‘Graham Coxon’

Thursday, May 12th, 2011


Review of Jonny’s Jonny and giveaway

Photo By Mei LewisMei LewisIn case it wasn’t obvious from the name, Jonny is the musical marriage of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci Euros Childs. It’s perhaps not a pairing that people have been clamouring for – it never even occurred to me that the two might work together before it was announced that they were – but it’s not out of left field either. In fact, the more I think about it, the more logical it gets – Blake led the Fannies through two decades of power pop perfection while Childs’ now-defunct Mynci made their name with a unique blend of psychedelia and folk that proudly wore their Welsh heritage on their sleeves; there’s really no reason that the meeting of these minds shouldn’t produce something worthy.

And their self-titled debut, released earlier this Spring, is very much worthy. It’s not a record that necessarily aspires to greatness – the vibe is much more casual and off-the-cuff with a healthy dose of goofiness added in for good measure – but the combination of Childs’ distinctively fantastical songwriting and Blake’s immaculate songcraft can’t help but be a winning combination. Jonny offers both the spot-on harmonies and indelible melodies you’d expect from a Fanclub record but also some of the musical unpredictability that Gorky’s were known for. Not everything hits – opener “Wich is Wich” is pretty much a throwaway and there’s no reason “Cave Dance” needed to run over ten minutes, but songs like “Circling The Sun” and “Candyfloss” are the sort of gems that might represent the career highwater marks of lesser artists. Their name might be nigh-on meaningless but their music makes an impression.

The record is currently available to stream in whole at Merge, and their introductory EP – consisting of non-album material – is still available to download for free. They will be kicking off a North American tour with two nights at the Drake Underground in Toronto – fun fact, Blake now resides in Kitchener, Ontario – on June 3 and 4. Tickets for each show are $21.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts and Merge, I’ve got a couple of prize packs to give away. There’s one for each night and they consist of a pair of passes to the show, a copy of Jonny on CD and a pink balloon that was given away to those who pre-ordered the album. Why? Why not? To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to meet Jonny” in the subject line and your full name in the body along with your mailing address and a note as to which night you’d prefer or if you’ve no preference, say you have no preference. Contest closes at midnight, May 19.

MP3: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”
Video: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
Stream: Jonny / Jonny
ZIP: Jonny / Free

Keeping with both the “streaming new records from Merge” and “bands made up of people from other bands” memes, we have Amor de Días – aka Alisdair from The Clientele and Lupe of Pipas – and their debut full-length Street Of The Love Of Days, which is out next week. The record is streaming at Merge, a new video from said record has just been released, the band is on the road and at The Horseshoe on May 25 and Design Sponge has an interview with Lupe Núñez-Fernández.

Video: Amor de Dias – “Late Morning”
Stream: Amor de Dias / Amor de Dias

Also out next week is Nursing Home, the second album from London’s Let’s Wrestle. Paste has the whole thing available to listen in advance of its release next Tuesday, May 17.

Stream: Let’s Wrestle / Nursing Home

Not out on Merge but definitely out soon – May 24 to be precise – and up and streaming at Hype Machine is Pala, the second effort from Friendly Fires. You can also download an MP3 over there and see them at The Phoenix on May 30.

Stream: Friendly Fires / Pala

The Fly and The Phoenix checks in with Arctic Monkeys about their forthcoming album Suck It And See, out June 7. Spin has also got a new track from the record available to stream. They play The Kool Haus on May 21.

Opening up that show are The Vaccines, who have got a Daytrotter session up, are interviewed by Buzznet and whose debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines is out May 31. And oh yeah, they’re giving away a live track.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Norgaard” (live)

Black Book gets Paul Banks of Interpol to interview Anna Calvi while Mojo just sends some guy to do the same. She is at The El Mocambo on May 27.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit talks about the importance of music blogs at The Pop Cop. They’re at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 29, opening for Death Cab For Cutie.

DIY, The Guardian, The Skinny, The Australian, Clash, Paste and The Quietus all get some time with Wild Beasts about their new record Smother.

The AV Club talks to Stuart Staples of Tindersticks about the art of scoring. Movies. Scoring movies.

Clash welcomes the British festival season with a conversation with Elbow.

Drowned In Sound meets Graham Coxon.

Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange has released a new video for the A-side from his debut 7″ and put the b-side up on Soundcloud to stream.

Video: Blood Orange – “Dinner”

The Twilight Sad are giving away an acoustic EP to anyone who hands over their email address; the sign-up form is up on their website, as is a set of videos from the recording session.

Pitchfork reports that Upside Down, the documentary about Creation Records, has gotten a DVD release as of this week and comes packaged with a two-CD soundtrack/sampler of Creation artists. Which would be great if not for the the fact that it’s only PAL and region-2. Would someone please bring this film to North America in some watchable form?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Floorboards Under The Bed

Review of The Twilight Sad's Forget The Night Ahead

Photo By Nic ShonfeldNic ShonfeldI’ve described – in spirit, if not precise words – The Twilight Sad’s debut album Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters as a sonically monolithic slab of angst, a crescendo sustained over 40 minutes, the sound of a man standing on a Scottish cliff face, arms raised and bellowing against the world. And also one of my favourite records of 2007.

Needless to say, the follow-up was anxiously awaited and though the release of a couple EPs and a collection of live tracks and rarities certainly helped make that wait bearable, that material also came largely from the timeframe of the debut. Which was fine, but didn’t really help answer the question of what sort of direction the band would take for album number two, because as much as I liked the debut, duplicating that recipe almost certainly wouldn’t work again, or at least yield greatly diminished returns and I believed them to be capable of so much more.

And while their set opening up for Mogwai back in May offered a tantalizing preview of the new material, only proper listens to Forget The Night Ahead prove that faith to be justified. With it, the band have largely managed to maintain the immensity of sound that defined Autumns, but have shed enough sonic and emotional weight to be more nimble, more dynamic. And in doing so, the Twilight Sad have opened up space for James Graham’s more sophisticated songwriting to come to the fore. Whereas the lyrics on Autumns were more on the impenetrably abstract side, Night is more evocative in imagery, almost cinematic, and less opaque while remaining sufficiently inscrutability. And glum and depressed as hell. That’s crucial.

Obviously Night doesn’t offer quite the same gut punch of discovery that Autumns – it can’t – but it may well be the superior record. That’s a subjective call, but it does prove that The Twilight Sad have more than one trick in their arsenal, or they’ve figured out how to get even more mileage out of that one. Either way, consider the sophomore slump evaded and The Twilight Sad a band to hopefully soundtrack many more nights of sitting in a dark corner, rocking gently back and forth.

The Twilight Sad are entering the second half of a North American tour that brings them to the El Mocambo on October 10. Exclaim piggybacked a short interview with Graham onto their review of the record and Clash solicited a song-by-song annotation from the band to go with their stream of the album.

MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Reflection Of The Television”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “I Became A Prostitute”
Stream: The Twilight Sad / Forget The Night Ahead
MySpace: The Twilight Sad

Also currently streaming is Richard Hawley’s new one Truelove’s Gutter. It’s excellent. In case you were wondering. There’s interviews at The Chester Chronicle and Shields Gazette and Clash asks him how he’d spend his last day on Earth.

Stream: Richard Hawley / Truelove’s Gutter

JAM and Metro talk to Arctic Monkeys. The band also stopped in for a session at MPR.

Check out the third single from former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall’s forthcoming solo record Without Why, due out next year. I know that the point of pre-release singles is to build anticipation for the record, but in this case it’s working especially well – all three so far have been quite great.

MP3: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Fallen Over”

Music Snobbery and The Derby Telegraph interview Noah & The Whale, whose First Days Of Spring will be out in North America on October 6 and who play the Horseshoe on October 31. The album is also currently streaming at NPR.

Stream: Noah & The Whale / First Days Of Spring

Exclaim and Out interview Little Boots.

Alasdair MacLean discusses The Clientele’s new record Bonfires On The Heath with Spinner and Exclaim while multi-instrumentalist Mel Draisey talks to Rocksellout. The album is out October 6.

BBC gets a status update from The Futureheads on their next record.

The San Francisco Examiner, Pioneer Press and The Georgia Straight welcome Manic Street Preachers to North America for their first tour in a decade. Need I mention how stoked I am for this Sunday’s show at the Phoenix?

Remember when Blur who was saying that their reunion might yield more shows or an album? Not anymore. Alas. But hey, he has a new solo video. Which is almost as good. Almost.

Video: Graham Coxon – “Dead Bees”

BBC and Spinner talk to Ian Brown about his new record My Way. Exclaim also reports that he’s working with Johnny Marr on a television soundtrack.

Rolling Stone and Interview talk to Bad Lieutenant’s Bernard Sumner.

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Look Inside America

Blur reunion looks vaguely across the Atlantic

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceThough of no relevance whatsoever to the contents of the actual post, some discussion emerged in the comments one of last week’s posts wherein the ongoing V Fest-spotting games turned to the possibility of Blur possibly making an appearance at the Ontario edition, unofficially set to happen August 29 and 30 in Burl’s Creek near Orillia. As much as I’d like that to happen – they’re on a very short list of acts who could get me to venture up that way and endure all the logistical joys that go along with it – I didn’t think it likely on account of the fact that though they’d surely be greeted like gods here, their profile in the US isn’t terrific, probably not known as anything but the “woo-hoo!” band outside of your major markets. The point being that I questioned whether it’d make financial sense to extend their reunion tour to this side of the Atlantic, and on top of that none of the press I’d read about their Summer appearances in the UK had hinted they’d intended to bring things across the pond.

Well it appears I spoke a bit too soon. Billboard reports that the band are indeed considering options in America with a Live Nation UK representative is quoted as saying, “There are no plans beyond T in the Park [July 12] and Oxegen [July 10]. They are talking about some American shows still in the same time frame. There are possibilities of some European ones as well.” It’s hardly an official declaration of intent, and sounds a bit non-committal to imagine they’ll be participating in a festival that should be set to announce their lineup (hopefully) soon – never mind the question of whether the people who’d see Blur are the same audience the now top-40 radio skewed fest is targeting. But it certainly offers some hope that those of us who missed ever seeing the band live their first time around might get a second chance, at some point.

Also Blur-related, to coincide with their reunion shows the band is releasing a double-disc best of to supplant the circa-2000 Best Of Blur which, I’m not ashamed to admit, gets more rotation with me than any of their individual studio albums. Midlife: A Beginners Guide To Blur will be released on June 15 and while its 25 tracks is obviously more than Best‘s 18, but I cannot endorse any collection that excludes “End Of A Century”. Sorry. Details on the comp at NME.

Returned prodigal guitarist Graham Coxon appears to have been designated band spokesperson leading up to the reunion shows, which is curious since he’s always been the most recalcitrant of the four. But I suppose it gives him a chance to also talk up his new solo record, The Spinning Top. He tells News Of The World that Alex James’ memoirs encouraged him to return to the fold, talks to This Is Nottingham about what it’s like to be back together, talks mainly solo works with The Sun and Drowned In Sound and covers both bases with BBC.

And because it’s one of Graham’s and also one of the best Blur tunes to say nothing of one of my favourite videos ever – “Coffee & TV”.

Video: Blur – “Coffee & TV”

The Pop Cop scores an interview with Stuart Murdoch about God Help The Girl, which I’ve elected to not write in italics because it’s in reference to the project and not the possible accompanying film/musical/whatever. But if I reference God Help The Girl the album, out June 23, such as in the context of Drowned In Sound doing an extensive review and analysis of the record, it will be noted in italics what with it being a proper title. I know you care about these little OCD things as much as I do.

With the UK release of The Bachelor just over a week away, Patrick Wolf is streaming the whole thing on his MySpace and I’m not afraid to say this will likely be one of my favourite albums of the year. He gives a three-part interview to Drowned in Sound, a video interview to NYLON – his North American label – and talks about his London to This Is London. The Bachelor gets a North American release on August 11 but if you’re able to resist getting an import version before then, you’re stronger than I. He plays The Mod Club on June 15.

Stream: Patrick Wolf / The Bachelor

NPR has a World Cafe session with Bat For Lashes.

The first video from Florence & The Machine’s debut Lungs is now available. The record is out July 6.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”

The Chester Chronicle talks to Little Boots’ Victoria Hesketh about Hands, out June 8.

Polly Scattergood discusses her debut self-titled album, out this week in North America, with The Yorkshire Evening Post.

Jimi Goodwin of Doves reviews his musical upbringing with Pitchfork. They play the Kool Haus on June 1.

The Times and Irish Times talk to Jarvis Cocker.

NME reports that Radiohead have begun work on their next album.

PitchforkTV is broadcasting a Tindersticks show recorded in New York – if you missed their last tour, this is worth your time. They’re magnificent.

Aversion interviews The Horrors.

Check out the new video from Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3.

Video: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “I’m Falling”

The Scotsman and The Line Of Best Fit profile My Latest Novel. Their second album Death & Entrances was released this week.

Pitchfork talks to The Twilight Sad’s James Graham about their forthcoming album Forget The Night Ahead, out September 22.

Former Boo Radleys songwriter Martin Carr asks ten questions of Mogwai. Carr will release his first solo album under his own name – previous efforts came out as Brave Captain – on July 13. NME has details on Ye Gods (And Little Fishes).

Under The Radar interviews Los Campesinos.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

SxSW 2009 A/V – Graham Coxon

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGraham Coxon
London, England, United Kingdom

Guitarist continues his solo career alongside the Blur reunion with the release of his seventh album, The Spinning Top, on May 11
Show review
– interview at The Daily Record

Photos: Graham Coxon @ Brush Square Park – March 19, 2009
Video: Graham Coxon – “Bittersweet Bundle Of Misery”
Video: Graham Coxon – “Standing On My Own Again”
Video: Graham Coxon – “Freakin’ Out”
Video: Graham Coxon – “I Wish”
Video: Graham Coxon – “Spectacular”
MySpace: Graham Coxon

Friday, March 20th, 2009

SxSW 2009 Day Two

Glasvegas, School Of Seven Bells, Graham Coxon and more at SxSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor the second day of SxSW, I eschewed all the running around that marked the first day – instead, I let the bands come to me. The best place to let this occur was the Mohawk, where Rhapsody were again throwing an impressive party.

Leading things off and obviously dazed in the bright midday sun were Vivian Girls, who manage to grow on me a little more each time I hear them. I think their live show worked better for me because it shed the deliberately tinny production of the records and actually delivered some serious oomph with its simple pop sensibilities. Lock me in a room with the album on repeat for a week and I might even become a fan.

I decided to not pay attention to Wavves, who was up next, but was front and centre for the following act – School Of Seven Bells. The band maintained the trio-plus-sampler live format they used when they visited Toronto in November and while I still believe a live drummer would really take things to another level, I found their performance to be a lot looser and more natural this time out – one of the perks of relentless touring, I guess. This was most evident in the Deheza sisters’ vocals, which while still spot-on in their harmonies, had an extra expressiveness that I hadn’t noticed last time. Nice to see and hear their live presentation doing proper justice to the material.

And while not the afternoon’s headliner, it could be argued that Glasvegas were the biggest draw on the bill – after all, the Scottish quartet had rolled into town on no small amount of hype and many, myself included, wanted to see if they could measure up. And in a word, I would say yes. The reservations I had about their self-titled debut aren’t allayed, but they are significantly outweighed by the sheer intensity of the music’s delivery. Decked out in their signature black outfits – and flushed and sweat-drenched by set’s end – Glasvegas proved to have plenty of live charisma. Of course frontman James Allen provided much of it, with his Ray-Bans and pompadour, but much credit must be given to Rab Allan who I was surprised to see handled much of the difficult musical details – guitar, vocals, keys – that make the album a winner, and that he did so while bounding around the stage with bassist Paul Donoghue. A spirited performance from a band that I’d half-expected to phone it in (don’t ask me why I thought that). Very impressive.

At this point there were a few options open to me, but all were filed under “contingency” depending on whether or not the Brush Square Park tent was a badge-only venue, as it usually was in years past. The draw was Graham Coxon, who was a late addition to the festival lineup and the good news was that the venue was indeed open to all.

The bad news was they were running quite a bit late and that I was going to have to sit through a performance from an outfit called Esser to get to Graham. They were a British outfit that you’d have to call pop, but only in the most vapid sense of the word. With a frontman whose only distinctive qualities were a gimmicky haircut and annoying on-stage mugging, they pillaged soul, reggae and dance styles without managing to adopt any of their respective redeeming qualities.

Thankfully their set was somewhat truncated to allow Coxon to play his almost full-set. It’s remarkable – putting aside his skewed pop maven role in Blur, I knew Coxon in his solo guise mostly as a noisenik of the highest order, paying tribute to his American punk and hardcore influences. If this solo acoustic show is any indication, however, his new record The Spinning Top – out in May – will cast his as an improbable folky. Even assuming the arrangements on the album are more electrified, the songs are still very lyric-centric and decidedly unlike his past works. And speaking of his past works, I will confess a tiny part of me was hoping to hear “Coffee & TV” or “You’re So Great”, but I know that’d have been as likely as, well, something entirely unlikely. But still a treat to see one of my favourite all-time guitarists live, in any setting.