ChartChatUK

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Chart Chat 803 – Record Store Day Special Edition

Chart Chat Edition 803 – Record Store Day Special Edition

Introduction

For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 15 years. We completed eight hundred editions reviewing the weekly charts and new releases before deciding it was time for a change of format.  Now we will be looking at new music ahead of its release, and it won’t always feature tracks released as singles. I have learned in recent years that the best music does not always make the charts, and to renew my love of music I have had to look to broader horizons.

Saturday 18th April marked Record Store Day, and in celebration this week we have chosen our favourite vinyl releases from this years bunch.  Sadly some of these might now be restricted to over inflated prices on eBay but hopefully there are still a handful of copies left around for genuine fans to purchase.  Record Store Day started as a great idea but now is often exploited by record companies and collectors who see fans charged huge prices for limited edition productions.

David Bowie – ‘Changes’

Fans of the great David Bowie (myself included) will know that he has been releasing a series of picture discs to commemorate 40 years since the original release of his singles. Sometimes the Record Store Day releases have proved harder to get hold of, and his 2012 reissue of ‘Starman’ is going at over £100 per copy on the internet.  Sadly that is the only reissue that I don’t own so was glad to be able to secure a copy of this one. It was never a hit in the UK although it remains one of his best known songs. This release features GEM promo version of ‘Eight Line Poem’ on the flip side which fans will no doubt be keen to hear. Next in the series would be ‘Fame’, a track which peaked at no.17 in 1975 but returned to the top thirty in 1990 albeit in a remixed form. That release remains to be confirmed but for now this is a great addition to my existing David Bowie collection.

Dire Straits – ‘Honky Tonk Demos’

This is a double 7″ single release which features four tracks recorded as part of the bands original 1977 demo tape.  They originated from the Pathway Studios in London and were responsible for getting the legendary DJ Charlie Gillett to give ‘Sultans Of Swings’ its first radio play on his Honky Tonk radio show in July of that year. It eventually gave the band their first hit single, peaking at no.8 in 1979 and becoming a minor no.62 hit on its reissue in 1988. Alongside that are three other tracks; ‘Water Of Love’, ‘Down To The Waterline’ and ‘Wild West End’. The band achieved twelve top forty hits but never made the top spot though both ‘Walk Of Life’ and ‘Private Investigations’ peaked at no.2. There is little likelyhood of the band reforming, particularly given the recent top three success of Mark Knopfler’s solo album ‘Tracker’, so fans will have to be content with picking up nuggets such as this.

Johnny Cash – ‘The Man Comes Around / Personal Jesus’

Johnny Cash was even more prolific in his final years, recording enough material to complete six albums in his ‘American’ series which saw him work with legendary producer Rick Rubin. He recorded sixty songs in the four months after the death of his wife June, and songs from those sessions appeared on the ‘Unearthed’ box set while it is believed that there are more unreleased songs in the vaults which may get future releases. Both of these tracks have appeared before, and so this is strictly for collectors only. As a double a-side with ‘Hurt’, his cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’ gave him only his sixth top forty hit and came twenty seven years after his previous chart appearance with ‘One Piece At A Time’. If this release leads anyone to his ‘American’ series there are plenty of delights to be found in there, with some poignant covers of already classic tracks such as ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘One’ and ‘The Mercy Seat’.

Kristin Hersh – ‘Sundrops / The Cuckoo’

Both ‘Sundrops’ and ‘The Cuckoo’ originally featured on Kristin’s ‘Hips & Makers’ album but these versions were recorded for a BBC radio session in 1994. The tracks were uncovered by Jaz Long who found the tapes following a clearout by BBC Leeds. It is released on his Heliospheric label and comes on a stunning blue coloured vinyl record. He has waited several years to gain permission from the BBC and Kristin herself to release these tracks but many will feel that it has been worth the wait. It seems hard to believe that it has been over twenty years since Kristin recorded these tracks, but as our column has recently noted there is plenty of brand new material due from her both in her solo capacity and as part of bands 50 Foot Wave and the Outros. This release is limited to just a pressing of 1,000 and so fans of Kristin (myself included) will be keen to try and secure themselves a copy.

Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark – ‘Julias Song’

Earlier this year saw Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark reissue their classic ‘Junk Culture’ album.  It featured the singles ‘Locomotion’, ‘Tesla Girls’ and ‘Talking Loud And Clear’ but for their Record Store Day single they have opted to go with a Dub version of ‘Julias Song’ and ’10 to 1′, a track which appeared on the reissued format of the album. This new single is released on 10″ vinyl, and features the Weir brothers on bass. Personally I prefer ’10 to 1′ which reminds us of just how great the band were during the 1980’s. More recent albums such as ‘History Of Modern’ and ‘English Electric’ have also provided some high points with ‘Dresden’ being every bit as good as their hit singles. It’s great to see the band continuing through live performances, repackages, reissues and more importanly new material. Fingers crossed we will get to hear some new songs from them before too much longer.

Sarah Jane Morris – ‘I Shall Be Released’

Sarah Jane’s career started out in the early 1980’s with the band The Republic before progressing to The Happy End. Although The Republic generated considerable publicity for her it was as part of The Communards that she had the most success. Since then she has continued to record as a solo artist and last year saw the release of her ‘Bloody Rain’ album which saw her team up with an impressive array of musicians including Zimbabwe born singer Eska, English saxophonist Courtney Pine, Sting sideman Dominic Miller and former James Brown arranger Pee Wee Ellis. Her Record Store Day single is her cover of Bob Dylans ‘I Shall Be Released’ and it comes released on red vinyl with ‘Men Just Want To Have Fun’ featuring on the b side. Both tracks feature on ‘Bloody Rain’, an album which Sarah Jane believes to be the best of her career. This single is limited to a pressing of just 500 but it will have given fans lucky enough to snap up a copy a great deal of pleasure.

Simple Minds – ‘Waterfront’

Earlier this year Simple Minds re-released their classic album ‘Sparkle In The Rain’ on both vinyl and CD.  Now they have decided to issue a 7″ picture disc version of ‘Waterfront’ for Record Store Day which comes with the original b side ‘Hunter & The Hunted’. It is limited to just 1,000 copies worldwide but for me it will always hold a place in my heart as the first single I bought by the band. It originally reached no.13 back 1983 and sounds even better today in its remastered format. Vinyl fans may also want to look for a copy of their ‘Celebrate – Live at the SSE Hydro Glasgow’ album which has also been released this week as a limited edition pressing of just 1,500. The band are still writing and recording new music with their 2014 album ‘Big Music’ peaking at no.12. They are out on tour this year and it is now thirty six years since they first charted with their ‘A Life In A Day’ album. Where does the time go!

Supergrass – ‘Sofa (Of My Lethargy)’

This track by Supergrass was originally intended to be the fifth single to be lifted from their 1995 debut album ‘I Should Coco’ but never made it any further than a radio promo CD. Now in 2015 it does get a release in its own right on green 7″ vinyl, and it comes with ‘I Believe In Love’ on the b side. That track was recorded as part of the same album sessions but the lyrics were never finished and it sat undisturbed on a DAT tape (remember those?) for twenty years. ‘Sofa (Of My Lethargy)’ is a fine track, very different to the urgency of ‘Caught By The Fuzz’, building nicely with a piano and acoustic backing set across distorted vocals. I personally loved their 2008 outing ‘Diamond Hoo Ha Man’ even if it did beceme their first album not to reach the top ten. It would be great to hear some new material from the band but for now this will have to be enough to keep us going.

Wedding Present – ‘Meet Cute / Journey Into Space’

Still going strong, Wedding Present release a limited edition 7″ containing Welsh versions of ‘Meet Cute’ and ‘Journey Into Space’.  Released on the This Will Be Our Summer Records label. The original version of ‘Meet Cute’ featured on their ‘Valentina’ album while ‘Journey Into Space’ originated from the same recording sessions. The Welsh versions came from last years ‘EP 4 Can’ release which also contained Welsh versions of ‘1000 Farenheit’ and ‘Can You Keep A Secret’. They continue in a tradition of foreign language Record Store Day releases which have included ‘4 Lieder EP’ (sung in German) and ‘4 Chansons EP’ (sung in French). The bands next scheduled live date is in Norwich in July but David Gedge’s other band Cinerama are due to appear in London in June complete with a thirteen piece band. The band are going to be releasing a few additional copies of ‘Meet Cute / Journey Into Space’ through their website so if you are a fan keep an eye out.

Next time…

As usual there is no shortage of new releases coming up and we will be bringing you a selection of those over the coming weeks. For now please do keep in touch and follow us on Twitter (@ChartChatUK) and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Ian Anderson

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19 April, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 802 – W/C 12.04.15

Chart Chat Edition 802 – Week Commencing Sunday 12th April 2015

Introduction

For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 15 years. We completed eight hundred editions reviewing the weeks charts and new releases before deciding it was time for a change of format.  Now we will be looking at new music ahead of its release, and it won’t always feature tracks released as singles. I have learned in recent years that the best music does not always make the charts, and to renew my love of music I have had to look to broader horizons.

Anyway here are this weeks list of new singles, albums and EPs to draw to your attention. They should all find themselves released very soon, if they are not available already.

Ash – ‘Cocoon’

First up this week are the Irish rockers Ash who have been building up to the June release of their new album ‘Kablammo’ with their new single ‘Cocoon’. It marks their first major release since their 2010 A-Z series which saw them release 26 singles across the year including 11 which made the top 100 although they did issue the ‘Little Infinity EP’ in 2012. ‘Cocoon’ is classic Ash, rushing along with an anthemic singalong chorus – exactly the kind of track that brought them to the nations attention some twenty years ago. Fans wishing to catch them live can do so over the Summer as they are set to play a cross section of festivals and headlining shows. I still can’t believe that it has been over twenty years since the teenagers first impressed us with their ‘Petrol’ single. Since then they notched up a couple of number one albums and are well overdue for some commercial success. This is more of a promotional release but I think that the forthcoming album could see them enjoying a higher position than they have achieved during recent years.

Chloe Black – ’27 Club’

Australian born singer songwriter Chloe Black releases her brand new single ’27 Club’ on the 26th April. It is released as a single track download and a digital EP which contains the radio edit, the Elderbrook remix and the bonus track ‘Cruel Intentions’. The stunning black and white video which accompanies the track was uploaded to her Vevo account on the 2nd March and it has been viewed over 40k times since then. It was filmed in the Barnes cemetary in London and was shot and edited in just three days. Comparisons have already been drawn between her work and that of American singer Lana Del Rey but for me her works stands on its own without the need to liken it to other artists. If the journalists and critics are right then she is certainly one to watch in the remainder of this year, and it would be great to see her appear at some of the bigger festivals in the UK during the summer.

Electro Velvet – ‘Still In Love With You’

With May just around the corner it is time for the UK Eurovision entry by Electro Velvet to get its release. Entitled ‘Still In Love With You’ it is available as both a digital download and a CD single with the remix and Karaoke version being included as bonus tracks. The duo consist of vocalists Alex Larke and Bianca Nicholas with the latter having previously been a contestant on both The Voice and X Factor. She enjoyed a top 100 appearance with her single ‘Hold On To Your Dreams’ and has duetted with Will Young. Of course it is impossible to say what kind of song would see the UK put in a serious contender for Eurovision so it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to submit a track such as this which is likely to be very different to the other countries. Of course all of us here at Chart Chat wish her well and let’s hope she can secure a top thirty hit like her predecessor Molly Smitten-Downes.

Fox Stevenson – ‘Sweets (Soda Pop)’

Next up this week is the singer, songwriter and producer Fox Stevenson who has already got a collection of EP’s to his name but it has been his brand new single ‘Sweets (Soda Pop)’ which has seen him enjoy top thirty success in the Netherlands and Belgium.  The curious animated video which accompanies the track was first uploaded back in November and has been viewed 1.7m times since then. He came to prominence through the YouTube based music community Liquicity where his track ‘Cloudhead’ became very popular while his Soundcloud page has picked up over 2m plays and he is well on his way to becoming a star across Europe. He also looks after his own label Cloudhead Records and is clearly a man of many talents. I do like this track, although whether it will go on to become a hit in the UK remains to be seen but the backing of the Ministry Of Sound label can only serve to help.

Natalie Imbruglia – ‘Instant Crush’

Australian singer / songwriter Natalie Imbruglia has notched up ten UK top forty singles in her career so far, with five of those going on to reach the top ten. She also enjoyed five hit albums including her 2005 outing ‘Counting Down The Days’ which went straight to the top of the chart. Now she is due to return on the 27th April with a cover of the Daft Punk track ‘Instant Crush’ and it looks set to secure her a first hit in over seven years. It will feature on her forthcoming album ‘Male’ which is pencilled in for release in August and includes covers of tracks from Damien Rice, Neil Young, The Cure and Death Cab For Cutie.  It is very much her take on the song, with the original disco feel overhauled to give more of a pop / rock feel in keeping with her hits such as ‘Torn’ and ‘That Day’. Interest in her comeback is likely to be high, and as such gaining airplay should be little more than a formality. I expect to see her back in the top forty in early May.

Rough Copy – ‘Same Formula’

Rough Copy rose to prominence following high profile appearances on both the ninth and tenth series of X Factor. First time around they progressed to the Judges Houses stage but dropped out after Ajobe struggled to get his Visa through in time.  The same thing happened a year later, but this time they continued as a duo and got through to the live shows where mentor Gary Barlow reunited them as a trio. Eventually they were edged out in the semi final, losing out to Luke Friend who scored a top forty hit of his own recently with ‘Hole In My Heart’. Their first single ‘Street Love’ was a reworking of Anita Bakers ‘Sweet Love’ and reached the top thirty on the r’n’b chart. They are following that success up with their new single ‘Same Formula’ which is out to download on the 4th May. The video to the track was uploaded to the bands Vevo account on the 1st April and has been picking up views ever since. It is a straight forward r’n’b number and I think it could do well for them once it is released.

Shayne Ward – ‘My Heart Would Take You Back’

Shayne released his first three albums on Simon Cowell’s Syco label before being dropped after ‘Obsession’ only reached no.15. Since then he has appeared on the reality TV show ‘Dancing On Ice’ and has featured in West End productions Rock Of Ages and The War Of The Worlds. Acting remains something of high interest to Shayne and recently he has been auditioning for a role in the popular soap ‘Coronation Street’. He has been working on his fourth studio album ‘Closer’ with legendary producer Mike Stock and the fruits of his labour see the light of day this week. ‘My Heart Would Take You Back’ is the first single to be taken from it, and is also released this week. The video that accompanies it was shot earlier this year and is a classy black and white affair which picked up 250k views in a little over two weeks. He would love to prove the doubters wrong and notch up his first top forty hit in almost five years.

Wire – ‘Joust & Jostle’

This track features on the bands self titled album which is also released this week. It is their fourteenth studio album since they originally formed back in 1976 and their first since 2013’s ‘Change Becomes Us’. Although they have commanded a loyal following over the years they have enjoyed relatively little chart success with their highest charting single remaining ‘Outdoor Miner’ in 1979 which peaked at no.51. Similarly on the album chart only ‘154’ in 1979 has reached the top forty, with a peak position on no.39. This track is distinctly Wire, and rattles along at a fair old pace clocking in at just two minutes twelve seconds. It’s not the shortest track on the album with that honour belonging to the one minute fifty two second song ‘High’. It’s great to have them back and with a UK tour planned for this month and a US tour to follow in June it looks set to be a bright year for the band.

Wiz Khalifa – ‘See You Again’

There has been great anticipation of this track being released as a single and now this week that has happened. For those unaware, this is a track which features in the seventh and most recent Fast & Furious movie and has been made popular by the video which includes snippets of actor Paul Walker’s final scenes. It is an emotional time in any franchise when a central character departs, but it is even more poignant here because Paul’s death means this really is goodbye. However it’s not just trading off the film, this is a sensitive and well produced track with Wiz declaring that his aim was not to leave viewers leaving the cinema feeling sad. So it trys to capture the upbeat spirit of the movies, and lines such as “the days hard work forever pays / now I see you in a better place” really hit the spot. It would be a bold gambler to bet against this entering at the top of the charts next Sunday afternoon.

Next Time…

Lots of artists have new albums or singles coming in the weeks ahead.  Ones which are getting us excited include the Tracey Thorn EP ‘Songs From The Falling’, Ella Eyre’s debut album ‘Feline’, Paul Weller’s eagerly awaited return with ‘Saturns Pattern’ and The Fall’s latest offering ‘Sub-Lingual Tablet’. So don’t forget to keep in touch with us on Twitter and to keep an eye out for edition 803 which should be with you all very soon.

Ian Anderson

14 April, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Album Review : Black – ‘Blind Faith’ (Released 13th April 2015)

Chart Chat Album Review : Black – ‘Blind Faith’ (Released 12th April 2015)

This week sees the release of ‘Blind Faith’ by Black. Excluding the 2013 repackage of ‘Wonderful Life’ and the 2011 compilation ‘Any Colour You Like’ this marks his first studio release in over five years. He will be remembered by many for his 1987 hit singles ‘Sweetest Smile’ and ‘Wonderful Life’ but fans will know that he has a much richer back catalogue that just those two songs.

Although he has recorded consistently during the intervening years, singer Colin Vearncombe dropped the Black name between 1993 and 2005 having become disillusioned with certain aspects of the music business. This new album came as a result of a Pledge Music campaign which saw Colin interact with fans, who in turn helped to fund the recording process. He was pleasantly surprised with the fans raising more than double than the original target. He is heading out on his longest tour for sometime this April alongside his musical parter Callum MacColl and so hopefully things are looking up for him once more.

Onto this new album, and ‘The Love Show’ opens proceedings, and it is classic Black. Parts of it remind me of Divine Comedy, but then you could argue that it might have been Neil Hannon himself who was influenced by early Black material. In contrast to some of the albums we have reviewed recently this is the longest track and it doesn’t even make it to four minutes. Everything here is finely crafted, but straight to the point too.

‘Don’t Call Me Honey’ is a little more uptempo in the same way that tracks such as ‘I’m Not Afraid’ and ‘Everything Is Coming Up Roses’ were back in 1987. If artists such as Colin still received recognition on the mainstream radio stations then this would have made for a great single. Sadly the musical landscape has shifted and airplay on the radio is now much more aligned to record label marketing budgets and not simply down to what the public might want to listen to.

‘Good Liar’ comes complete with beautiful orchestral backing, and the refrain “I’m a liar when I’m in love” will stick in your mind after the first listen while ‘Sleep Together’ is a more laid back affair. I particularly liked the line “two fools wishing on a long dead star”, and it’s a track I really like.

‘Womanly Panther’ again uses orchestral backing to its advantage, and it conjurs up images of couples performing the tango and other ballroom dances, such is its almost quickstep beat. For me it is one of the standout tracks on the album.

‘Sunflower’ may only last for just over two minutes, but its backdrop of a simple piano against Colin’s vocals works very well. ‘Not The Man’ follows on, picking up the tempo a little “I am not the man you want me to be / I am not the man you want” sings Colin in the chorus, and it’s an immediately catchy track.

‘Ashes Of Angels’ builds slowly from an acoustic start to a catchy chorus while ‘Stone Soup’ is a much slower affair. ‘When It’s Over’ is another highlight, a track which could easily have appeared on his 1988 album ‘Comedy’.

‘Beautiful’ keeps things simple, just Colin and an acoustic guitar, and then the album is brought to a close by ‘Parade’. This is a haunting song, but a fine way to end the album.

The important thing about any music is that it is really down to each individual listener what it means, and how it is interpreted. What I have given is my opinion, and for me I have really enjoyed rediscovering the joys of Black. Colin Vearncombe still sings as he did at the start of his career, and while there is a nod to the past there can be no doubt to the listener that this is a brand new Black album. Making the initial step to partner with Pledge Music was a brave one, but one which paid off and one which I hope he may visit again in the future.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

12 April, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 801 – W/C 05.04.2015

Chart Chat Edition 801 – Week Commencing Sunday 5th April 2015

Introduction

For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 15 years. We completed eight hundred editions reviewing the weeks charts and new releases before deciding it was time for a change of format.  Now we will be looking at new music ahead of its release, and it won’t always feature tracks released as singles. I have learned in recent years that the best music does not always make the charts, and to renew my love of music I have had to look to broader horizons.

Anyway here are this weeks list of new singles, albums and EPs to draw to your attention. They should all find themselves released very soon, if they are not available already.

Alexandra Burke – ‘Renegade’

Although her second album ‘Heartbreak On Hold’ failed to repeat the commercial success of her first outing ‘Outcome’, Alexandra has continued to carve out a successful career with her performances in the stage version of The Bodyguard receiving complimentary reviews. ‘Renegade’ is the lead track from her new EP of the same name which is released as a free download from her website www.alexandraburkeofficial.com on 27th April, but a clean edit of the track can be downloaded now via her Soundcloud page. It builds nicely to a dramatic chorus, and the vocals are in keeping with Alexandra’s recent declarataion that she is back with “my music, my rules”. The EP promises a selection of tracks including ‘Ain’t That Right’, ‘Don’t Make It Easy’ and a collaboration with Shakka entitled ‘Get Down’. On this showing it will be well worth a listen, and if it’s free to download you have no excuse not to do just that!

Aron Chupa – ‘I’m An Albatraoz’

We have been waiting for this to be released for quite some time, but the latest estimates show that this should be out in the UK on the 19th April.  This has been a monster hit around Europe, and the video has received over 120m views since it was first uploaded back in October last year. It has topped the charts in Sweden and Denmark while reaching the top five in Australia, Austria, Netherlands and New Zealand. It is a very simple track lasting just over two minutes, but the title of the track will soon stick in your head. It starts off with a simple piano before launching into a full on dance track, and although some of the lyrics might need to be censored for the radio it should still become a big success. It is sung by Aron’s sister Nora Ekberg who also appears in the song’s video and I think that overall it achieves Aron’s desire to mix old fashioned1920’s swing music with a modern club beat.

Blow Monkeys – ‘OK! Have It Your Way’

Dr Robert and the band are back with a brand new album ‘If Not Now, When?’, the follow up to their 2013 release ‘Feels Like A New Morning’. Those who remember the band from their mid 1980’s hits ‘Digging Your Scene’ and ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way’ may be surprised by the sound of their latest material. ‘OK! Have It Your Way’ was one of the first tracks to appear, and it sounds more like ‘Nutbush City Limits’ than anything from their extensive back catalogue. The band are about to undertake a tour of the UK which concludes at the Under The Bridge club in London on 25th April. It seems somewhat frustrating that a band whose current output is this good can be defined by a handful of hit singles, but hopefully their new album will do enough to remind existing fans just how exciting they can still be while giving a nudge to some of the older fans that they are still going strong.

Faith No More – ‘Superhero’

You would have to trace back to 1997 to find the last time Faith No More appeared on the chart, or released any original material. They formally split in 1998 but reformed again eleven years later. Initially that reformation was just for a reunion tour, but eventually rumours surfaced that they would be writing and producing new material. Fast forward to 2015 and we now have a brand new album entitled ‘Sol Invictus’ which sees the light of day in mid May. For fans who can’t wait until then there are two tracks which can be downloaded from the album, one being ‘Mother******’ and the other being ‘Superhero’. The latter has been played almost half a million times and has also been released as a limited edition 7″ vinyl single. The sound of these new songs can be linked back to their earlier material and fans can be very confident of the long player which lays ahead.

Lucy Spraggan – ‘Unsinkable’

Lucy released her first album ‘Top Room At The Zoo’ back in 2011, and following her success on X Factor the record made no.22. After she left the competition she released her major label debut ‘Join The Club’ and that secured her a place in the album chart top ten. Since that release in 2013 she has been working on her latest long player ‘We Are…’ and the first single to come from it will be ‘Unsinkable’ next week. It is a simple, well produced pop song with a real band and interesting lyrics. She has lost none of her appeal since first appearing on TV, and has done well to stay true to her original artistry. The big question this time around will be whether she can still sell records, or whether she will still be linked back to simply being a “former X Factor contestant”. She is actually so much more and I only hope that she will be able to continue to make music like this.

Outros – ‘No Shade In Shadow (Demo)’

Kristin Hersh is known to most people through either her work with her band Throwing Muses, or via her solo output. She has also released music as part of 50 Foot Wave and their drummer Rob Ahlers has combined with her to form the new trio Outros along with Chris Brady from Audio Learning Center. Subscribers to her Cash music project were rewarded this week with the first taste of the bands output, an unmixed version of ‘No Shade In Shadow’. The good news is that it is a strong track, with the Ahlers contribution on the drums very noticeable. It is midpaced, with the title being repeated through the chorus and it will have you nodding your head in approval. The band have recorded further tracks which should see the light of day soon while a new solo album and a 50 Foot Wave EP are also due for release in 2015 so a busy year lays ahead.

The Proclaimers – ‘You Built Me Up’

If it wasn’t for their distinctive Scottish vocals, you couldn’t tell this was a Proclaimers song. It’s short (two minutes and twenty five seconds), and decidedly uptempo and rocky.  It is the first taste of what we might be able to expect from their new album ‘Let’s Hear It For The Dogs’ which is released at the end of the month. It marks their first new album since their 2012 outing ‘Like Comedy’ which peaked at no.31. The band are touring the UK during May and June before they make a series of festival appearances at Carfest North, the Wickham Festival and the V Festival. I can forsee the album doing well for them although I don’t think it will give them their first top ten appearance since ‘Hit The Highway’ back in 1994. They have clearly not lost their ability to write catchy pop songs and 2015 will be all the better for having them back in action once more.

Stacey Solomon – ‘Shy’

Her giggly personality and run of appearances on mainstream TV shows may have distracted people from just what a spectacular voice Stacey Solomon has.  Most recently she appeared on The Jump, and before that she presented Love Machine with Chris Moyles, Sing If You Can with Keith Lemon and was most famously the winner of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. It is to her credit that she has taken her time to ensure that her forthcoming album ‘Shy’ is not just a collection of cover versions but instead a showcase of impressive tracks. Stacey has written most of the material on the album herself but can also boast contributions from both Rita Ora and Lily Allen. Both the album and its title track are scheduled for release on the 19th April, and it is already appearing on the Radio 2 playlist. It has a laid back jazzy feel to it, and could quite easily have been a standard recorded many years earlier. The video to the track was uploaded to her Vevo account on the 5th March and managed to pick up 75k views during its first month. I’m not sure if will be a standalone hit, but the album should do well for her.

They Might Be Giants – ‘Underwater Woman’

This year saw the American alternative rock duo They Might Be Giants reactivate their Dial-A-Song service which saw them promise to release a new song every week during 2015. The original incarnation of this service is thought to have featured over 500 different songs and mixes between the years 1985 and 2008. This month sees them collect the first set of the new songs for the album ‘Glean’, and ‘Underwater Woman’ was the twelfth of those to be released.  It comes complete with a simple animated video and with a running time of two and a half minutes it could fit on any of the bands previous albums. They know how to deliver short, punchy, catchy pop songs and this is no exception. We are barely one third of the way through the year so we can expect more new material in the coming weeks and months. The band are currently on a tour of the US with twenty five dates planned during the course of April and May. I’m sure that this won’t be the last time we review them as part of our site.

Next Time…

There is no shortage of new albums coming over the next few weeks including ‘Blind Faith’ by Black, ‘The Magic Whip’ by Blur, ‘Saturn’s Pattern’ by Paul Weller, ‘Sol Invictus’ by Faith No More, ‘Sub-Lingual Tablet’ by The Fall and a new deluxe update of Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’. So don’t forget to stay in touch via our Twitter feed @ChartChatUK  and we will be releasing edition 802 very soon.

Ian Anderson

5 April, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment