ChartChatUK

talks about the latest releases in the music world

Caught Live : Scritti Politti (Camden Roundhouse 05.02.16)

Caught Live : Scritti Politti – Camden Roundhouse (05.02.16)

Last time I caught Scritti Politti live it was at the Bush Hall in Shepherds Bush, but this time we are sat down in Camden’s famous Roundhouse venue. The band appeared as part of the In The Round festival and chose to showcase a sample of new material alongside their back catalogue which now stretches for almost forty years.

It seems quite extraordinary that singer Green Gartside will be 60 this year as he looks and sounds much younger. His honeyed vocals show no so sign of decline on show opener ‘The Sweetest Girl’, a track which became a top forty hit for Madness despite peaking at just no.64 in its original format.

‘A Day Late And A Dollar Short’ was recorded for the 2011 compilation ‘Absolute’ and was described by Green as being written at the start of the financial crisis in 2008. ‘Die Alone’ is up next and first appeared in 1999 on the ‘Anomie & Bonhomie’ album. Without anyone else on stage to perform the rap the honour is left to Green but he carries it off without a problem.

According to chart placing ‘The Word Girl’ was the bands biggest hit peaking at no.6 and it goes down well with the crowd. I first heard ‘Boom Boom Bap’ when it was performed by the bands alter-ego Double G & The Traitorous 3 and just as was the case that night you can hear a pin drop in the auditorium during the tracks quiet intro.

‘Jacques Derrida’ featured on the bands debut album ‘Songs To Remember’ although this was released five years after the band first performed. The title refers to the French philosopher and Green happily admits that he didn’t quite get the prenounciation right when he first recorded the song.

‘Oh Patti (Don’t Feel Sorry For Loverboy)’ was another sizeable hit and originally featured Miles Davis on trumpet.  Miles passed away some twenty five years ago but tonights stand in does an admirable job and rightly gains applause from the crowd.  We then find ourselves taken back to 1999 for a trip through ‘Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder’.

What follows is a real treat for fans who have been with the band since their 1970’s formation.  ‘Asylums In Jerusalem’ came close to giving the band a debut top forty hit when it peaked at no.43 in 1982, appearing as it did as a double a side with the aforementioned ‘Jacques Derrida’. ‘Skank Bloc Bologna’ was the bands debut single and gets a full airing tonight followed by ’28/08/78′ which featured a newly recorded intro by newsreader Harriet Cass who was also in the audience. Green describes the song as “quite a racket” and it is certainly a long way from the polished pop music the band produced in the 1980’s.

The band weren’t afraid to give us a glimpse into some newly recorded / never released material. They peformed a medley which included ‘I Wrote This Song For Today’, ‘Slyday Morning’, ‘Hair Pull’ and ‘Mother Succubus’. Hopefully we can expect a new Scritti album at some point soon – it has been ten years now since the success of ‘White Bread Black Beer’.

We move back into more familiar territory with ‘Petrococodollar’ before the main set closes with the bands two big 1984 singles ‘Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)’ and ‘Absolute’ with each sounding as fine today as they ever did over thirty years ago.

I wasn’t sure if we would see an encore after such closure but after rapturous applause the band returned to play two new songs; ‘Slow Deceit’ and ‘Willard Van Orman Quine’.  Few bands could get away with playing new songs at that stage of a show but the fans are appreciative of the new material and go home feeling very happy with what they have seen and heard.

The band often haven’t been given enough credit for their output. ‘She’s A Woman’ showcased the talents of Shabba Ranks before his first UK hit and few bands will have registered the huge change from indie guitar heroes on their early output to the pure pop of the 1980’s to the more experimental sound of their later albums. It was a joy to watch the show and I look forward to the announcement of more dates later on in the year.

 

 

Ian Anderson

(@ChartChatUK)

Advertisements

20 February, 2016 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

The Fall – ‘Wise Ol’ Man EP’ (19.02.16)

The Fall – ‘Wise Ol’ Man EP’ (Released 19.02.16)

I always used to get excited on Monday’s when I would head to my local record store to evaluate the weeks new releases. Now with the advent of downloads that excitement has faded – there is no excitement to downloading a track you already have whereas years ago I may have still purchased that track as a 7″ single to listen to the B side and to keep my collection by that band.

Today sees the release of the new EP by The Fall entitled ‘Wise Ol’ Man’ and I have to say that I was excited when it dropped onto my doormat this morning.  Ok it’s not the same as buying the vinyl single, carrying it home on the bus and putting the needle into the groove but it was my most eagerly awaited release of 2016 so far.

Anyone who watched Mark E Smith’s interview with Channel 4 news journalist Krishnan Guru-Murphy last week will know that he has lost none of his wit, wisdom or ability to sink beer / whiskey the best of us.

The lead track features a cross section of vocalists and not just Smith’s trademark growl.  At just over three minutes long it is verging on a radio friendly pop single but it certainly won’t be heard anywhere too mainstream in a hurry.

‘All Leave Cancelled’ appears in its full eight minute glory, although a reprised take on the track lasting just two minutes also closes the EP. ‘Dedication’ is a remix of the track ‘Dedication Not Medication’ which first appeared on last years ‘Sub-lingual Tablet’ album while ‘Venice With Girls’ also originally featured on that album, albeit in a slightly different mix.

‘Facebook Troll’ is also updated from the album, now extended to include ‘No Xmas For John Quay’ with the combination stretching the track through the seven minute mark.  It mixes both studio and live recordings to good effect.

All in all this is an enjoyable EP even if some of the tracks have existed in a previous form. ‘Wise Ol’ Man’ sounds fresh and energetic, and would certainly be in John Peels Festive 50 for 2016 if he was still with us.   This release will keep us going for now but fingers crossed for a full length album before the year is out.

 

Ian Anderson

(@ChartChatUK)

19 February, 2016 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 814 : Christmas No.1 Contenders

Chart Chat Edition 814 – Christmas Number One Contenders 2015

Introduction

For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 16 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.

 

This years race for the Christmas no.1 is wide open with the X Factor winner due to release their single the week before the festive rundown so just who are the artists who are catching the bookies eyes this year.

 

X Factor Winner – ‘Forever Young’ (EVENS)
Despite the series finishing slightly early this year the winners single is still leading the betting. Last year saw Ben Haenow take the festive top spot with ‘Something I Need’ following on from Sam Bailey’s success a year earlier with ‘Skyscraper’. In fact the X Factor winner won the annual race each year between 2005 and 2008 before Rage Against The Machine capitalised on a public protest vote to defeat Joe McElderry. This year the winner looks set to be one of Che Chesterman, Louisa Johnson and Lauren Murray though as Fleur East will testify the runner up can often end up enjoying more success. It appears that the winner of this years competition will sing Bob Dylan’s classic ‘Forever Young’ but that may suit some contestants more than others. With no other major contender declared at this stage it is possible that it could hold on for the second week that it would need to claim the coveted Christmas top spot.

 

Adele – ‘Hello’ (6/1)

While this track has already topped the charts it is quite possible that this will still be hanging around by then.  With streams now forming a significant part of chart return data it should fare well over the coming weeks although whether it will have the strength to return to the top spot remains to be seen. Her album has been breaking records over the past few days and is bound to find its ways into a few Christmas stockings particularly given the fact that it is not due to be available on music streaming services. The video to this track has been viewed an astonishing 451m times since it was made available at the end of October. In addition to ‘Hello’ her album track ‘When We Were Young’ has also been performing well with a version recorded at the Church Studios being viewed over 20m times. As such that could also put in a late bid for the number one position.

 

John Williams – ‘Star Wars Theme’ (6/1)

Each year it seems there is an anti X Factor single, but few have come close to replicating the success of Rage Against The Machine in 2009. AC/DC reached the top five with ‘Highway To Hell’ in 2013 but last year Iron Maiden missed the top forty altogether with ‘Number Of The Beast’. This year a Facebook group has acquired over 425k members and is aiming to take on the X Factor winner on Christmas week. Few will have failed to notice that this December sees the release of the seventh Star Wars film ‘The Force Awakens’ and the publicity surrounding that can only help the success of this campaign. Star Wars fans are a dedicated bunch and I am sure that there will be some serious weight behind this campaign. As things stand the bookies seem to give them a limited chance as 6/1 seems to suggest that they will end up falling just short of the finish line.

 

Eagles Of Death Metal – ‘Save A Prayer’ (6/1)

Shortly after the terror attack in Paris this track saw an upsurge in downloads and was the subject of a social media campaign to get it to the top of the charts. Although it did make the top ten on individual days it’s placing at the end of the week was no.53 and so my feeling is that its best chance may have gone. It has however given the band their highest charting UK single to date, going some twenty places higher than their only other hit ‘I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)’ which was released back in 2006. Their current album ‘Zipper Down’ reached no.32 upon its release last month and the indications were Given that the band were the ones performing at the Bataclan venue when it was attacked there would be a positive reaction by many fans if this were to climb to the top of the Christmas charts. If it did succeed it would actually improve on the no.2 position achieved by the Duran Duran original back in 1982.

 

Kylie Minogue & James Corden – ‘Only You’ (20/1)

It’s not exactly clear why Kylie has opted to release a Christmas album this year, or why she has asked James Corden to appear on one of the tracks.  However that is exactly what has happened and some bookmakers are quoting odds of 20/1 for this to top the charts. The track started out as a no.2 hit for Yazoo in 1982 but it topped the charts for the acapella band Flying Pickets the very next year. For me the ‘100 Degrees’ duet with sister Dannii Minogue would have made for a better single but I can see why her record label might have seen this becoming a hit. Reaction to the album has been mixed and it only entered at no.12 upon its mid November release but with many fans already owning this on the album there seems little incentive for them to download it again. James doesn’t actually have a bad voice and if this picked up sufficient airplay over the festive period it could yet become a hit single.

 

Cilla Black – ‘You’re My World’ (20/1)

This is another song which is the subject of an internet campaign although with just 12k members it would appear to be someway behind the Star Wars campaign. The track originally topped the charts in 1964 and made a return earlier this year when it reached no.91 following her death. The group have requested that EMI also produce a limited run of CD singles to accompany the release as this would help to boost sales amongst those fans who may not choose to download music. As with the Eagles of Death Metal track you have to feel that the peak momentum behind this track has been and gone but at this time of year anything can happen (and it usually does!). It was also requested that any profits from sales of the track go to Great Ormond Street hospital but whether that will happen has yet to be confirmed.

 

John Lennon – ‘Imagine’ (20/1)

This has appeared in the running this year for two or three different reasons. Firstly it would have been John’s 75th birthday this year but the song took on additional significance following the Paris terrorist attack. Not only do the lyrics resonate about the whole world living as one but an unnamed pianist played the track outside the Bataclan theatre following the terrorist attacks there. The track first charted in 1975 when it made no.3 but it became his third chart topper in the weeks following his death in 1980. It was then later reissued in 1988 when it peaked at no.45 but it had another top three run in 1999. It has sold 1.64m copies over the years and is one of the top twenty best selling singles in UK history. I’m not sure that it can top the charts some forty four years after it was first recorded even if the sentiments ring as true today as they did back then.

 

The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir – ‘A Bridge Over You’ (20/1)

This song is already available but has been the subject of a social media campaign to get it to the top of the charts. The choir first appeared on Gareth Malone’s TV show ‘Sing While You Work’ where they finished runners up in the competition and they first released the video to this track two years ago. The track sees a mash-up of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’. The Facebook campaign has over 150k members already and the video has been viewed over 100k times on YouTube. Charity singles can often perform well and if everyone who has signed up for the campaign downloaded both versions (the Radio Edit and the Extended Version) then it would probably sell enough to top the charts. As I mentioned earlier this years top spot is very much a wide open race so if this group can gather some momentum in the weeks that lay ahead then they could well be in with a shout.

 

The Killers – TBA (100/1)

No significant odds being offered on this year, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without a brand new track being released from the band. For me last years Jimmy Kimmel collaboration ‘Joel The Lump Of Coal’ was one of my favourites although I think that their Neil Tennant and Elton John due ‘Joseph Better You Than Me’ has to be their best Christmas song to date. So far only ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’ has charted, reaching no.34 back in 2007. Other tracks released to coincide with Yuletide have included ‘Christmas In LA’, ‘I Feel It In My Bones’, ‘Boots’ and ‘Happy Birthday Guadalupe’. I will be keeping an eye out for the video which will be coming over the next few days and will certainly be downloading the track once it has become available. Brandon Flowers released his latest solo album earlier this year so fingers crossed for some new material from the band at some point next year.

 

Other Contenders

Other tracks / artists who could be considered in the running include ‘Echoes Of Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens, ‘Christmas In The Air (Tonight)’ by Scouting For Girls, ‘Alone On Christmas Day’ by Phoenix featuring Bill Murray, ‘Christmas Without A Prayer’ by Sparks and ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)’ by Blake & Shirley Bassey.

 

So who will triumph this year? The chart itself is on Christmas Day so it looks set to be a year to remember.

 

 

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

22 November, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Special : David Bowie – ‘Blackstar’ (Released 20.11.15)

Last time around his comeback single ‘Where Are We Now?’ appeared without warning and was released to download on the same day. It peaked at no.6 and in doing so gave him his highest charting single since ‘Absolute Beginners’ back in 1986. The accompanying album ‘The Next Day’ soon went straight in at the top and despite his reticence to tour David Bowie was well and truly back on the musical map.

This time around couldn’t be more different with ‘Blackstar’ receiving it’s world premier across TV channels. A sprawling ten minute song, this is a far cry from his radio friendly singles in the 1980’s. The video opens with an astronauts suit and a woman with a tail who discovers a jewel encrusted skull inside the outfit.

Bowie makes his first appearance blindfolded alongside dancers who appear to be shaking in an involuntary manner. It is a striking image, and a little disturbing! Things take a different turn after five minutes with Bowie singing “something happened on the day he died” over a very different musical backdrop. For two minutes the track takes a calmer and more pop based direction with his blindfold now gone. Lyrically we find the line “I’m a blackstar” on repeat while visually we move to three scarecrows tied to what appears to be a form of crucifix. However his blindfold returns at the end of the video as a group of women dance around the skull.

Musically this shows he has lost none of his sense of adventure, and we look forward to his album of the same name which is set for release in January 2016. Who else would dare to release a ten minute single, particularly one with such a stunning video?

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

Chart Chat Edition 813 – W/C 09.11.15

Chart Chat Edition 813 – Week Commencing 6th November 2015

Introduction

For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 16 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.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

Ben Haenow – ‘Ben Haenow’ (Album)

During the several months that elapse between X Factor series it can be easy to forget just who the previous years winner was. I confess I had to look up Sam Bailey’s name and she only won in 20131 The initial omens for last years winner suggest that he may struggle and lot will depend on the performance of this album. While his debut single ‘Something I Need’ topped the charts last year the follow up ‘Second Hand Heart’ only entered at no.21 though his performance on this weeks X Factor did see the track increase it sales. While Ben claims he decided against recording a full on rock album as it wouldn’t be what the fans who voted for him wanted to hear I would question that decision as I think his voice would sound better against such a backdrop. Ben is a talented performer with great energy and vocal talent but only time will tell if this album is enough to secure him a career in music.

Enya – Dark Skies Island (Album)

One of my favourite things about Enya is that she doesn’t churn out the same thing year after year.  Instead each album is considered and well crafted, and to illustrate this ‘Dark Skies Island’ comes some seven years after ‘And Winter Came’. Since ‘Shepherd Moons’ in 1991 each of her albums has been released in November or December and this album proves to be no exception – perhaps her music just suits this time of year. The album is described by Enya as having a theme of journeys, although she has been keen to point out that it is not a themed album as such. Once again we see snippets of Loxian language (which was created by her lyricist Roma Ryan) on the tracks ‘The Forge Of Angels’ and ‘The Loxian Gates’ and overall the results will be one which serves to delight her fanbase. With 75m sales to her name already this can only add to that already impressive tally.

Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – ‘Swan Songs’

It’s always nice when an artist takes their own decision to bring the curtain down on their career rather than having that decision made for them.  That is the case on offer here with legendary jazz and blues star Georgie Fame who releases an album of twelve brand new songs to draw a line on what has been a phenomenal career. My favourite tracks on offer here include the Calypso led ‘De Carribean Way’, the brooding big band number ‘The Lurper’ and the closing song ‘The Ship’ which was written by Mike O’Neill. Although he achieved three no.1 hits during the 1960’s he has not appeared on the chart since 1971 when he teamed up with Alan Price on the hit single ‘Rosetta’. This is a fine collection of songs which will provide great pleasure to those who purchase and listener to it. His talent will certainly be missed in the years which lay ahead.

Kylie – ‘Christmas’ (Album)

Many artists have recorded Christmas albums over the years and now Kylie is set to add her name to that list. This collection contains an interesting mix of tracks ranging from a posthumous duet with Frank Sinatra on ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ to the rather questionable inclusion of James Cordon on her cover of Yazoo’s ‘Only You’. Iggy Pop also pops up with an appearance on ‘Christmas Wrapping’ while fans who pick up a copy of the deluxe format will also find her duet with Dannii Minogue on ‘100 Degrees’. It’s good to find less obvious covers such as ‘2000 Miles’ on her along with the more expected standards ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ and ‘Let It Snow’. So all in all credit is deserved for avoiding what could have been a cliched collection and producing an album which will keep Kylie fans happy until her next album which should land at some point during 2016.

Matt Berry & The Maypoles – ‘Live’ (Album)

Although he is better known for his acting and voiceover work Matt Berry and his band the Maypoles have carved themselves a reputation in music circles. Having released five studio albums he is now back out on tour during December and has this live album to promote as well. Opening track ‘The Innkeeper’s Song’ is packed full of funk while the popular ‘Snuff Box’ clocks in at over seven minutes. Other favourites to be found on her includes ‘Solstice’ (from his ‘Kill The Wolf’ album) which also passes the seven minute mark as does closing track ‘The Pheasant’.  He was the opening act for Steven Wilson at his Royal Albert Hall concert earlier this year and his popularity is illustrated by the kind of venues he is filling on this tour. In my opinion this is exactly the kind of CD that should be filling up peoples Christmas stockings this year!

Public Service Broadcasting – ‘Sputnik / Korolev’ (Single)

In my opinion it is much better to listen to the ‘Race To Space’ album in its entirety Public Service Broadcasting are releasing the track ‘Sputnik’ alongside ‘Korolev’ as a double a sided single. While ‘Sputnik’ initially existed a seven minute plus epic it has been shortened to a four minute radio edit for this release while new mixes of the track include the Peter Dundov Remix, the Eagles & Butterflies Remix, the Blond:lsh Remix and the Plugger Remix. The band are about to undertake an extensive tour of the UK concluding at Brixton Academy in London on the 29th November. The live show which goes with the album is bound to be spectacular and the growth in their fanbase over the past year suggests that they are on the verge of becoming truly big. For now this is an interesting set of mixes which should secure them some airplay over the coming weeks.

Queen – A Night At The Odeon : Hammersmith 1975 (Album)

This album celebrates the most bootlegged concert of Queen’s career and as the title suggests was recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon forty years ago. At the time of this concert it wasn’t known just how big Bohemian Rhapsody would be hence why it appears fourth in the set list with a reprise coming seventh. If the same concert had happened in 2015 it would surely have been an encore! The set contains their classic hits ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ and ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ alongside a cross section of their early material and a cover of ‘Jailhouse Rock’.  There are various packages of this release to suit different fans pockets with the most expensive being a super deluxe version which retails at over £300. This will be a must for long term fans and collectors of the band while offering an interesting insight into the band during their 1970’s prime.

Roger Waters – The Wall (Album)

This set of songs began life all the way back in 1979 when Pink Floyd’s album topped the charts and it went on to form the basis of some elaborate stage shows in the two years that lay ahead.  However the shows only ever played in four cities and ‘The Wall’ was not seen again until 1990 when Roger played alongside an all star cast at the site of the former no mans land of the Berlin Wall. Then in 2010 the show returned once more to delight a whole new set of fans alongside the stalwarts who had enjoyed previous incarnations. Fans who enjoy the music should check out the feature film DVD / Blu-Ray of the same name which is released later this month along with a series of bonus features. Of course the music has been played and heard many times before but it still makes the hairs on the back on my neck stand up on end.

Next Week…

Other artists releasing new albums in the coming weeks include Adele, Fleur East, Johnny Marr and Train while repackaged releases come from Ed Sheeran, Gregory Porter, Olly Murs and Simply Red. Meanwhile in terms of singles we can expect to hear from Adam Lambert, David Bowie, Idlewild and Leona Lewis. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@ChartChatUK) and please keep an eye out for our next edition which will be with you very soon.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

9 November, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 812 – W/C 23.10.15

Chart Chat Edition 812 – Week Commencing 23rd October 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.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

Alexandra Armstrong – ‘A Year Of Songs’ (Album)

Although he has carved out a career as a comedian, actor and TV presenter it seems that vocalist is another talent which can be added to Alexandra Armstrong’s career. He displayed his vocal talents at the VE Day celebrations earlier this year when he sung ‘London Pride’ and he was also caught on camera singing his cover of Frank Sinatra’s ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’ on the BBC back in January of this year. His popularity on daily quiz show Pointless helped record company executives to see that an album of songs recorded by him would be a big hit! This collection contains some well known and classic songs such as ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’ and ‘Summertime’ and is certain to sell well in the Christmas marketplace. That’s not to say that in any way this is a novelty record as anyone who has heard him sing will testify that he is worthy of his success.

Cinerama – ‘Live 2015’ (Album)

For those who don’t know much about the work of Cinerama they are a band formed by Wedding Present singer David Gedge. Their sound has varied from 60’s pop through to smoother and almost orchestral pieces.  I always had a soft spot for their cover of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and this year saw them perform live with the backing of a string section, a flautist and a trumpeter amongst other musicians. David decided to record the concert live for a release as a CD / DVD and this is the result. Highlights for me here are ‘Quick, Before It Melts’, the magnificent ‘Apres Ski’ and the final track ‘Wow’ which in its original form had a fantastic guitar solo. This won’t necessarily add many new fans to their crowd but for those who do enjoy their music this is a must have item. Hopefully this won’t be the last we will hear from the band although in many ways it may be hard to top this performance.

Def Leppard – Def Leppard (Album)

Def Leppard’s new self titled album appears in two formats. The first appears on 30th October and features the CD packaged with an exclusive edition of Classic Rock magazine containing features and interviews with the band. If you want to simply purchase the CD on it’s own you will have to wait until 27th November and you may only save £1 for your troubles!  Opening single ‘Let Go’ is good enough to have featured on any of the bands previous albums while the other instant grat track ‘Dangerous’ doesn’t disappoint either. The boys appear in the UK for an extensive tour during the two weeks prior to Christmas and fans can look forward to a mix of new material and classic hits. It has been seven years since ‘Songs From The Sparkle Lounge’ reached no.10 but I think that in 2015 this should still do well for them. It’s great to see the band producing material of this quality some thirty five years after we first heard from them with ‘On Through The Night’.

Elaine Paige – ‘I’m Still Here : Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ (Album)

Elaine Paige has enjoyed a long and distinguished career and this CD / DVD combination celebrates a performance in honour of her 50 years in the music business.  She topped the charts with Barbara Dickson on ‘I Know Him So Well’ but her main success has come on stage or on the album chart. To date she has six top twenty albums to her name including most recently ‘Elaine Paige & Friends’ in 2010. As an actress she won awards for her performance as Eva Peron in Evita back in 1978 while the late 1990’s saw her win Lifetime Achievement Awards from HMV and the National Operatic & Dramatic Association. This album has all of her classics ranging from ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’ through to ‘Memory’ while covers include ‘Radio Gaga’ and ‘Summertime’. The BBC Concert Orchestra have added their touches to this and I have a strong suspicion that this will be appearing on the Christmas list of her fans this year.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO – ‘Alone In The Universe’ (Album)

The legacy of ELO has never really gone away, and interest in their music spans several generations. It has been twenty nine years since ‘Calling America’ gave them their last top top forty hit but greatest hits compilations have reached the top ten in 1979, 1994, 2005 and 2012. However this release is their first to contain new material since ‘Zoom’ in 2001 and comes off the back of their hugely successful appearance at last years Festival In A Day in London’s Hyde Park. Opening track ‘When I Was A Boy’ has the distinctive Jeff Lynne stamp on it and sits somewhere between 1980’s ELO and the Travelling Wilburys while the other instant gratification track ‘When The Night Comes’ is a little different, featuring a reggae backbeat over the usual rock’n’roll sound. I think that with the renewed interest in the band this could peak higher than ‘Zoom’ which only reached no.34 in the UK.

Kim Wilde – ‘Wilde Winter Songbook’ (Album)

This was originally released a couple of years back when it failed to make the top 100 but now it gets a deluxe repackage for 2015 with a DVD now sitting alongside the original CD. Highlights include Kim’s duet with Rick Astley on ‘Winter Wonderland’ while Nik Kershaw replaces Mel Smith on her cover of ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’. The album also contains some original tracks such as ‘One’, ‘New Life’ and ‘Hey Mr Snowman’. It has now been over twenty years since ‘The Singles Collection 1981 – 1993’ gave her her last top twenty album but with the right promotion this could yet see her back in the chart. Fans who wish to hear some of these tracks live can do so at a variety of events including two nights at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire where she also appeared after the albums original release in 2013. Let’s hope that this can lead on to a full album of new material from Kim at some point during next year.

Lovestarrs – ‘Andromeda / Cassiopeia’ (EPs)

Lovestarrs started out as The Good Natured on the EMI label but when they parted ways with the record company they could not afford to buy the master copies of their music from them and so they were left with nothing to show for their work. Fast forward to 2015 and they have regrouped as Lovestarrs and are currently running a Kickstarter campaign which should secure the release of two new EPs and a full length album. The band have been releasing snippets of the tracks fans can expect to hear once funds have been raised to complete production duties and it sounds very promising so far. Every £ raised goes towards the release of the music and a pledge from £5 (Twitter follow and mention) all the way up to £2,500 (Sarah’s Grandma’s keyboard) will secure you a reward. I have currently opted for handmade debut album option but there is certainly a lot to choose from so why no have a look yourself.

Seal – ‘7’ (Album)

Seal returns this week with ‘7’, which is actually his ninth studio album if you include his two ‘Soul’ cover compilations. It has been five years since ‘Commitment’ which was effectively ‘6’ and that was a commercial success reaching no.11 while being certified Silver. The album was co-produced with Trevor Horn who famously won a Grammy for his work on Seal’s single ‘Kiss From A Rose’. In terms of the tracks on offer hear ‘Do You Ever’ is vintage Seal but ‘Padded Cell’ is arguably my favourite. As the title suggests ‘Life On A Dancefloor’ has more of a dance feel to it while ‘Every Time I’m With You’ is a tender ballad which showcases his voice to perfection. It’s great to see him back with an album of new material and there is no reason why it should not become his sixth top twenty album. At present his only confirmed live dates are in the US but fingers crossed UK fans will get a chance to see and hear him in the flesh very soon.

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – ‘It’s A Holiday Soul Party’ (Album)

Brightening up the cold and dark evenings are Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings who release their new album ‘It’s A Holiday Soul Party’ in October. Some of these tracks have appeared before with ‘Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects’ originally being released back in 2010 while others are cover versions though ‘White Christmas’ has rarely sounded so joyful and uptempo. ‘Funky Little Drummer Boy’ adds some soul to the yuletide Christmas (along with some awesome drumming) while ‘8 Days Of Hannukah’ shows this is more than just a festive offering. While this album has Sharon firmly at the front of the stage she has also performed as a backing singer, most notably on ‘Rehab’ and ‘You Know I’m No Good’ by Amy Winehouse.

Next Week…

Other artists releasing albums in the coming month include Bjork, Ellie Goulding, Kurt Cobain, Little Mix and One Direction. In terms of the singles schedule we have expectations regarding new songs from Ariana Grande, Leona Lewis, Pia Mia and Therapy?. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and also keep an eye out for our latest updates online. We look forward to sharing more with you all very soon.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

27 October, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 811 – W/C 18.09.15

Chart Chat Edition 811 – Week Commencing Friday 18th September 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.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

Carolynne Poole – ‘Standing On Top Of The World’ (Single)

This is the second official single from Carolynne, and follows on from her excellent debut ‘I Love You But Shut Up’. Fans will already have heard her perform the track on Terry Wogan’s radio show last month while it has also picked up airplay on country music stations around the UK. A live performance of the track was made available on her YouTube channel back in May while other songs featured have included ‘Cupid Must’ve Been High’, ‘One Size Fits All Guy’ and ‘Made For You’.  This track is much slower than her previous single but it allows for the musical backdrop to complement her voice perfectly. It is hoped that a full length album is not too far from release, and that we can expect some live performances soon. It is to Carolynne’s credit that she has taken her own direction since leaving the X Factor and fingers crossed success is just around the corner for her.

The Christians – ‘We’ (Album)

Although lead singer Garry is now the only “Christian” in the band (brother Roger sadly died from a brain tumour while Russell ceased touring from 2005) the band continue to write and perform new material. They are about to release their brand new long player ‘We’ and it comes three years on from their last full length album ‘Speed Of Life’.  The band are touring this Autumn alongside Andrew Roachford and their live performances continue to delight fans with Garry losing none of the edge from his soulful voice. Ten new songs are featured here including ‘Rise’, ‘Mother’, ‘Big Red Sky’ and ‘Roses Are Blue’. You would have to go back over twenty years to find the bands last top forty single, and while that run is unlikely to end in the forseeable future hopefully this album will give their loyal fanbase something to enjoy while bringing in some new admirers along the way.

Cliff Richard – ’75 at 75′ (Album)

It seems strange that in Great Britain we very rarely give praise to artists who deserve it.  This appears to be the case with Sir Cliff Richard who has an impressive array of statistics to his name, but very rarely enough credit.  He has enjoyed fourteen no.1 hits, spent 46 weeks at the top of the chart and has notched up 124 top forty hits. Now in celebration of his 75th birthday he is releasing a three CD compiliation taking in 75 of his greatest hits and he will also be touring the UK before Christmas to play to his loyal fanbase. The only new track included here is ‘Golden’, a track originally penned to celebrate his 50 years in the music business back in 2008. While he has sung the track live it has not been recorded until now.  That aside there is nothing new here but I have no doubt that there will still be an army of fans that will be keen to snap this latest compilation u.

Erasure – ‘Always’ (Album)

Andy and Vince are now celebrating an amazing thirty years as a duo, and in honour of that they are releasing a compilation album entitled ‘Always’. The first disc concentrates on the hits that have spanned their career while a further two discs of rarities and remixes are also included.  ‘Sometimes’ originally reached no.2 back in 1985 but is getting a new lease of life next month courtesy of a new mix by David Wrench while celebrations will continue in 2016 with the release of an anthology and several 180g heavyweight vinyl reissues. While they haven’t enjoyed a hit on the singles chart since 2007 they continue to release new music with their most recent album ‘The Violent Flame’ reaching the top twenty last year. Fans will be keen to pick up the new mixes while hopefully the wider audience will enjoy revisiting their classic singles.

Frances Ruffelle – ‘I Say Yeh Yeh’ (Album)

Frances is an award winning actress who is also famous for representing the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 and for being the mother of Eliza Doolittle. She was inspired to record the album after listening to the music of Francoise Hardy but it also includes songs from Edith Piaf and Les Miserables. The album is preceded by the single ‘Paris Summer’ which is a duet with Rowan John and in support of the album she has also been performing a series of live shows at Crazy Coqs in London. As she notes herself she records for fun and is proud of the results of her labour which has culminated in the release of this album. It’s hard to say just how successful this record will become but it makes a refreshing change to

Hue & Cry – ‘September Songs’ (Album)

While some readers may remember them from their 1980’s hits such as ‘Labour Of Love’ this album represents a very different sound. Later this year will mark a century since the great Frank Sinatra’s birth and the duo have opted to celebrate this occasion by releasing album covering some of his finest tunes. It sounds like they are quite at home with the jazz /swing sound with vocalist Pat Kane delivering a vocal performance which would not sound out of place in a smokey late night bar. Few would doubt the calibre of the songs on offer with examples including ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, ‘Little Green Apples’, ‘Let’s Fall In Love’ and ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’. It’s has been over twenty years since they last charted with the remix of their ‘Labour Of Love’ single but they continue to tour and put out new music.  If you haven’t heard any of their recent output then I recommend you give it a listen.

Lovestarrs – ‘Somebody Like You’ (Demo)

Let’s start with a history lesson. Lovestarrs are a duo consisting of Sarah and Hamish who were originally signed to EMI as The Good Natured. They were dropped by the label, but because they did not own their own songs they could not release them. While many would have crumbled the duo opted to start again, and now they have two complete EPs and a debut album ready to go. This week saw the release of a snippet of ‘Somebody Like You’, and from the few seconds that are available it sounds promising. The track only exists as a demo at present but there are concrete plans for the band to launch a Kickstarter campaign on 12th October, and following on from that the tracks should grow in stature following the addition of some serious production. Other snippets will follow over the coming weeks, so I would recommend keeping an eye (and ear) on their Facebook / Soundcloud pages.

Squeeze – ‘Cradle To The Grave’ (Album)

You would have to go back 20 years to find the last time a studio album charted for Squeeze. On that occasion it was ‘Ridiculous’ which peaked at no.50, but hope are high that they could improve on that placing with their new album ‘Cradle To The Grave’. Both ‘Top Of The Form’ and the title track have featured in the bands live set over recent years with the latter becoming the lead single which has already found its way onto the Radio 2 playlist. It has the upbeat singalong feel which has made for so many great Squeeze singles over the years, and the fact that these new tracks form the soundtrack to the BBC2 programme of the same name can only help to create interest. The band are about to undertake an extensive tour of the UK during the remainder of September / October and I for one am looking forward to getting along to at least one of them.

Tom Robinson – ‘Only The Now’ (Album)

It was at the end of the 1990’s that Tom took a break from recording duties to pursue a career in radio. It was a decision that worked well for him with his Radio 6 show winning him praise from journalists and listeners alike. Now he has turned 65, his kids have both grown up and he feels that in Gerry Diver he has finally met the right producer to bring to life the songs he has had on the backburner for over fifteen years. The first single from the album was ‘Don’t Jump, Don’t Fall’ which was released in support of the male suicide prevention charity CALM. He has taken his band to play live at both Glastonbury and Latitude festivals during the Summer and the impression you get from reading his recent quotes are that he is a man enjoying making music once more. It will be interesting to hear the album in full, and I suspect that I won’t be left feeling disappointed.

Next Edition…

Other artists releasing singles over the coming weeks look set to include Gaz Coombes, Paloma Faith, Paul Weller and Miley Cyrus. The compilation album market is already gearing up for Christmas with best of / greatest hits releases due from Manfred Mann, The Kinks and Frank Sinatra while there is an orchestral album due from Elvis and The Beatles have repackaged their ‘1’ collection to include a DVD.  Artists releasing new studio albums include Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Ellie Goulding and Bryan Adams.

Don’t forget to follow our Twitter account and to keep an eye out for edition 812 which will be out very soon.  Until then have yourself a good week.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

20 September, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 810 – W/C 02.08.15

Chart Chat Edition 810 – Week Commencing  2nd August 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.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

‘Cast In Steel’ – A-Ha (Album)

It seemed that we had seen the last of A-ha when they split up back in 2010 but now some five years later they are back with their tenth studio album ‘Cast In Steel’.  Lead single ‘Under The MakeUp’ has been doing the rounds since early July and it’s an orchestral based dramatic ballad in keeping with their early material. British fans hoping to catch another glimpse of the band in action may have to wait until Spring 2016 when the band undertake a four date tour of the UK taking in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and London. The album is scheduled for release on the 4th September and it follows on from their 2009 outing ‘The Foot Of The Mountain’ which became their first top five studio album since ‘Stay On These Roads’ in 1988. Interest remains high in the band for both their back catalogue and their new material, and let’s hope that they are back for good this time around.

Cornershop – ‘Pinpoint / The Titi Shaker’ (Single)

It’s always a good week when Cornershop release a new single, and so our offices were delighted to see the recent return of the band. ‘Pinpoint’ sees them pair up with stunning Welsh singer Accu on an uptempo disco track well suited to the British summertime.  They previously worked with Accu’s group Trwbador on the festive single ‘Every Year So Different’ which formed part of their Singhles Club programme. The video which accompanies it is simple but well worth a look! The flip side is the funk laden ‘The Titi Shaker’ which comes complete with decoded vocals and a beat which is guaranteed to get you up from your seat. What makes the band so interesting for me is their truly diverse range of influences which stretch from rock n roll right through to Punjabi singer Bubbly Kaur and even the occasional bit of country music!  Few bands get me excited to hear their new material but Cornershop do just that – fingers crossed that there will be more to come later this year.

Joss Stone – ‘Water For Your Soul’ (Album)

It’s been over ten years now since Joss kicked off her career in style with the top five album ‘The Soul Sessions’ and the chart topping long player ‘Mind Body & Soul’ which spent 51 weeks on the top 100. Five years on and record company disputes meant that she didn’t always have the promotion she deserved and ‘Colour Me Free’ peaked at just no.75 in 2009.  Then in 2012 she returned to her roots with ‘The Soul Sessions Vol 2’ and that saw her back in the top ten.  So it will be interesting to see just how well this new album performs, and early indications such as the tracks ‘Stuck On You’ and ‘The Answers’ suggest that it will deliver exactly what her fans have been looking for.  It’s easy to forget just how stunning her voice is and it works well with the new reggae influence delivered by producer Damien Marley. It would be easy for her to churn out radio friendly fodder but it is too her credit that she continues to experiment with her sound.

Leo Sayer – ‘Restless Years (Album)

This new album has been out in Australia since the turn of the year, but only now gets a full UK release.  It features thirteen original songs which straddle a variety of different styles ranging from pop to rock to country. Tracks on offer here include ‘Competing With A DJ’ and ‘Revolution Of The Heart’ but it is perhaps the title track which stands out. It’s simple and acoustic but beautifully sung and the lyrics also have an emotional edge to them. Excluding greatest hits compilations it has been over thirty years since one of his studio albums reached the top forty, and that was ‘Have You Ever Been In Love’ in 1983 which contained the stunning single ‘Orchard Road’. He will be performing a full tour of the UK during September and the number of different venues listed shows just how his popularity has managed to hold up. It would be fantastic if this were to return him to the UK top forty during September.

Mark Morriss – ‘The Taste Of Mark Morriss’ (Album)

While his 1990’s band the Bluetones are due to embark on a 20th anniversary tour, this week finds lead singer Mark Morriss releasing his Curiously the first track to be taken from the album is his cover of Sisters Of Mercy ‘Lucretia (My Reflection)’. I have to be honest and say that for me this doesn’t quite work, turning the dark and brooding original into a midtempo almost upbeat number.  His take on Laura Brannigan’s ‘Self Control’ is much better, giving the song a new lease of life while I was also impressed with his update on Pet Shop Boys ‘Love Comes Quickly’. The acoustic based pop song ‘You Are My Friend’ works well and his version of Scott Walker’s ‘Duchess’ loses none of its drama some forty five years on. However my vote still goes to OMD with their original version of ‘Souvenir’ – this one doesn’t quite do it for me.  On balance this is an interesting album with innovative cover versions.  Some you will like, other you may not, but at it least it should generate some energetic debate!

Motorhead – ‘Bad Magic’ (Album)

It would be a big surprise if I was to review ‘Bad Magic’ with the annoucement that Metal stalwarts Motorhead have decided to experiement with their trademark sound. Thankfully there is no need for concern as some forty years on from their formation Lemmy and the gang continue to deliver their fast paced uncompromising metal sound. ‘Thunder And Lightning’ is every bit as urgent as ‘Ace Of Spades’ was back in the 1970s. The band are currently running a competition among fans to design a video for the track with the winner being awarded two tickets to Motorheads Motorboat Cruise later this year. There is even the rarity of a cover version as they take on the Rolling Stones classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil while the other tracks are pretty much business as usual. They are heading off to the States over the next couple of months but will return to play concerts in Europe later this year although at the time of writing there are no confirmed gigs in the UK.

Natalie Imbruglia – ‘Male’ (Album)

Natalie returned recently after an absence of over five years with her acclaimed cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Instant Crush’, and now what follows is a whole album of versions of other artists songs. Entitled ‘Male’ it focuses on tracks originally recorded by male vocalists and comes some ten years after her ‘Counting Down The Days’ album reached the top spot. Songs featuring on this album cover a wide range of styles with her take on Damien Rice’s ‘Cannonball’ owing more to the Little Mix version, but her update on Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark’ works well. Other tracks that the listener will instantly recognise include ‘Only Love Will Break Your Heart’, ‘Let My Love Open The Door’ and ‘Friday I’m In Love’. She has been chosen as the support act on Simply Red’s UK tour later this year and there are suggestions that this project may be followed by an album of new material.

The Prodigy – ‘The Night Is My Friend’ (EP)

This brand new EP follows on nicely from their most recent album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ which gave the band a sixth chart topper. First up is the Re Eq mix of ‘Get Your Fight On’, but early data suggests that the 100mph three minute ‘AWOL (Strike One)’ is generating the most downloads.  ‘Rhythm Bomb’ features Flux Pavillion and is my favourite track here – it certainly conjurs up memories of the 1990’s. It is a shorter version than the one which appears on the album while I have to say that I prefer the original version of ‘Rebel Radio’ which follows next. The EP is brought to an end by the Caspa Remix of ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ which is an interesting twist on the original track. The band are making several appearances in Europe and around the world in the coming months before the tour with Public Enemy in the UK during November. And talking of Chuck D and the gang…

Public Enemy – ‘Man Plans, God Laughs’ (Album)

It’s been three years since the release of ‘The Evil Empire Of Everything’ but Public Enemy are now back with their new album ‘Man Plans, God Laughs’. The tracks here are typically very short, with only two of the eleven songs clocking in at over three minutes. The longest, ‘Honky Tonk Rules’ samples the Rolling Stones track ‘Honky Tonk Women’, but for me the best song here is ‘Earthizen’ which has been a regular on my mp3 playlist. It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty eight years since ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ gave them their first top forty hit but they have lost none of their edge with the lyrics here being delivered by Chuck D is his own uncompromising style. There are unlikely to be any hit singles on here but if you have enjoyed any of their earlier material then I recommend purchasing this album. Proof that you don’t have to deliver a 70 minute epic full of fillers to please your fans.

Next Week…

Artists releasing new singles in the coming weeks look set to include Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor, Rachel Platten, Sarah Harding, Maroon 5 and Ella Eyre while Iron Maiden, The Libertines, Public Image Ltd, Bon Jovi and Duran Duran are amongst those on the album release schedule. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for us on Twitter (@ChartChatUK) and we will have edition 811 up very soon.

Ian Anderson

(@ChartChatUK)

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

Chart Chat Edition 809 – W/C 05.07.15

Chart Chat Edition 809 – Week Commencing 5th July 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.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

Andy Bell – ‘Weston-Super-Mare’

This is a track which originally appeared on Andy’s ‘Torsten The Bareback Saint’ album last year but now is the lead track on this updated version ‘Variance – The Torsten The Bareback Saint Remxies’.  It is the Radio Super Mix which gets it’s own release but the album contains four other mixes; the Extended Version, the Dancing With Ruby Remix, the Mooger Remix and the Industrial Soundscape Mix. The album came about after Andy decided he wanted to explore the underlying pop sensibility of some of the tracks. The Torsten project has been in Andy’s mind for over twenty years, but the origin of some of the songs pre-date even then. Judging from the samples available on Andy’s own website each of the mixes is very different but each one seems to work well in its own right. This is a decent pop song (with some fantastic lyrics!) which certainly deserves a place on radio play lists.

Andrea Faustini – ‘Kelly’ (Album)

Although he was sometimes provided with questionable song choices Andrea Faustini was undoubtedly one of the stars to be uncovered from last years X Factor competition. He signed to the RCA Label in February of this year and has been recording the album in Los Angeles. The resulting long player features a mixture of new songs and covers including his version of ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength’ and ‘What Would Dusty Do’ which was co-written by The Voice finalist Vince Kidd. The release has been preceeded by the single ‘Give A Little Love’ which first appeared on his Vevo account back at the start of June. It will be interesting to see what level of promotion he can achieve as previous contestants have had mixed levels of success with some falling by the wayside. Andrea has real talent and I only hope that this album serves to be a great launching pad for his music career.

Anne-Marie – ‘Karate’ (Single)

Anne-Marie has enjoyed success in both the world of music (where she has provided vocals to dance band Rudimental) and sports (where she has notched up three world championships in shotokan).  She also appeared with Jessie J in the musical Whistle Down The Wind but this week sees the release of her solo EP ‘Karate’.  Alongside the lead track it contains the ‘Gemini’ and two versions of ‘Stole’; the original version and the Chole Martini Refix. The song has a more laid back feel that some of Rudimental’s output and it would sound perfect on the radio on a warm Summers day. The video to the track was uploaded to her YouTube account at the end of May and has received almost 60k views since then. She describes her music as a mix of electro, R&B, hip hop and pop, and based on this EP you would have to say that is a fair summary. The lead track is already available to download while the remainder of the EP is available later this week.

Foxes – ‘Body Talk’ (Single)

Last year was a great year for the British singer / songwriter Foxes as it saw her notch up three top twenty hits and a top five album in the shape of ‘Glorious’. Keen to maintain the momentum she gained following that album she releases her brand new single ‘Body Talk’ on the 24th July. She has been hard at work promoting the track on both radio and TV while she has also uploaded the promotional video to the track and it quickly found its way to 372k views during its first two weeks. At present she only has two UK concert appearances confirmed for this year; Hackney on 29th July and Brighton Pride on 1st August. However fans will be able to look forward to a new album later this year following pictures of Foxes choosing the tracklist for it last week. I think that this will become a big hit for her and could even improve on the no.7 peak achieved by her biggest hit to date ‘Let Go For Tonight’.

Iron & Wine & Ben Bridwell – ‘Sing Into My Mouth’ (Album)

Despite the misleading pseudonym Iron & Wine is actually just one person (Samuel Bream). He has grown in stature significantly since his 2002 album ‘The Creek Drank The Candle’ and has seen his last two long players reach the top forty. This time around he has enlisted the help of Band of Horses singer Ben Bridwell on his new album ‘Sing Into My Mouth’ which is released on the 17th July. Of the three tracks already available to download ‘No Way Out Of Here’ sticks out as by far the best though the slow yet dramatic ‘Bullet Proof Soul’ comes a close second. Although he has no UK dates currently planned he will make some European appearances in Spain and Portugal at the end of October / beginning of November. Given the success of artists such as Passenger you would expect Iron & Wine to find himself on commercial radio playlists across the country but sadly that does not appear to be the case.

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – ‘Whenever You See Me’ (Single)

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are a trio whose first single ‘Honolulu Rock N Roll’ first surfaced around ten years ago. Most recently they released their album ‘The Third’, and from that comes their new single ‘Whenever You See Me’.  It is releaased as a 7″ with their Mick Jones collaboration ‘Feeling Of Wonder’ on the flip side while the download version also contains the KDL vs Slimkid3 remix of ‘Baby Bye Bye’ and the bonus track ‘I Should Have Known’. It’s great to hear a song played with real instruments and the guitars and brass secton on ‘Whenever You See Me’ really stand out. UK fans wishing to catch them live need to hurry as they are playing live at Strathallan Castle in Chorley later this week before they head off for a series of gigs in Australia.  Although they have a great song the odds on it charting are not in their favour but if it introduces new fans to their diverse brand of music that can only be a good thing.

Little Boots – ‘Working Girl’ (Album)

Little Boots first arrived on the scene back in 2009 when she won the BBC Sound of 2009 poll and was nominated for the Critics Choice Award at the Brits. She enjoyed top twenty success with her single ‘New In Town’ and the follow up ‘Remedy’ graced the top ten.  However since then she has been absent from the top forty with her album ‘Nocturnes’ peaking at no.45. That hasn’t stopped her working hard and she is about to release her new album ‘Working Girl’ and fans have already had the opportunity to hear three tracks from it; ‘Get Things Done’, ‘No Pressure’ and ‘Better In The Morning’.  All three sound good and bode well for the release of the album this Friday. She is playing at Oslo Hackney this week but will then be jetting off for a tour of the States although she will return to appear at Manchester Pride which takes place at the end of August. If you had forgotten all about her then this album is a good point to rejoin her journey.

Lynyrd Skynrd – ‘One More For The Fans’ (Album)

Although the title is based on their 1970’s live album ‘One More From The Road’ this double CD / DVD release was actually recorded at a concert which took place last November. It was a live show which saw them perform their hits alongside a variety of other artists. Highlights here include Cheap Trick’s take on ‘Gimme Back My Bullets’, Peter Frampton’s version of ‘Call Me The Breeze’ and Gregg Allman’s update of ‘Tuesday’s Gone’. As you would expect the band perform their famous track ‘Free Bird’ in all its glory as the penultimate song before being joined on stage by the other artists for a rousing version of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. I was fortunate enough to catch the band a few years back at Wembley Arena when they were support to Deep Purple. They showed that night just what a force they remain even if they have never really achieved the chart success that they deserve.

Petite Meller – ‘Baby Love’ (Single)

Next up under review this week is the charismatic French singer Petite Meller who is aiming for her first taste of UK chart action with ‘Baby Love’. It follows on from last years singles ‘Backpack’ and ‘NYC Time’ and comes released as both a single track download and two EPs of remixes.  There the new mixes available include the Kiwi Remix, the Very Best Remix, the Alex Nagshineh Remix, the Armand Van Helden Remix, the Todd Terry & Ant LaRock Remix and the Super Stylers Remix. The promotional video to the track first surfaced on her Vevo account back in January this year and has been viewed over 1.1m times since then. She looks and sounds very distinctive, and that can only help her to stand out from the crowds in todays mass of bland pop stars. The track has been picking up airplay on both the radio and television so we could well see it making its debut inside the top forty this Friday.

Next Week…

August looks set to be a busy month for new singles with artists releasing tracks including Meghan Trainor, Maroon 5, Sarah Harding and Lion Babe while albums are due to arrive from Ella Eyre, Natalie Imbruglia, Jess Glynne, The Fratellis and Public Image Ltd. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with the best singles being released in the weeks ahead.

Ian Anderson

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

Chart Chat Edition 808 – W/C 21.06.15

Chart Chat Edition 808 – Week Commencing 21st June 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.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

Amy Studt – Different Colour Pills (Single)

It’s been twelve years since the singer / songwriter Amy Studt burst onto the music scene with her debut album ‘False Smiles’. It quickly established her in the charts, reaching the top twenty and yielding the top ten hits ‘Misfit’ and ‘Under The Thumb’. However things after that became much more difficult and her 2008 album ‘My Paper Made Men’ failed to make any inroads into the charts. This week sees the release of her new single ‘Different Colour Pills’, a track which was inspired by a pill given to her by a doctor. It is a far cry (in a good way) from her early material, and shows a depth and maturity absent when she first appeared at 17 years old. The music industry is a harsh place to be and I fear this being overlooked by the mainstream radio stations. However fans wishing to hear more of her new material can catch her playing live at The Islington in London on the 2rd July.

Bleachers – ‘Strange Desire’ (Album)

Next up is Bleachers AKA Jack Antonoff, the guitarist from the American trio Fun. He releases his debut album ‘Strange Desire’ on the 6th July, and that is preceeded by the single ‘I Wanna Get Better’ a week earlier. The album could chart well as it will take advantage of the short week which exists to transition the chart compilation day to Friday. It reached no.11 when released in the US last year and there is every chance that he could repeat that success over here. The single has been receiving plenty of airplay, and the video has received just under 4m views since it was uploaded to his Vevo account back in March 2014. He is set to do a joint tour of the US with British singer Charli XCX although they will not appear in the UK together. We will soon see exactly how he is received this side of the Atlantic when this single and album are made available.

Duke Dumont – ‘The Giver (Reprise)’ (Single)

DJ and Deep House producer Duke Dumont has had a great start to his chart career with his first two singles ‘Need U (100 Percent)’ and ‘I Got U’ reaching no.1 while the follow up ‘Won’t Look Back’ made no.2. Now this week sees the release of his brand new single ‘The Giver (Reprise)’ which is available as a single track download and an EP of remixes. New mixes to be found on the EP include the Mark Ronson Remix, the Fono Remix, the Wave Racer Remix, the Dimension Remix and the Kiwi Remix. The video to the track was uploaded on 21st May and it has already received more than 1m views. In addition to his work as an artist he has also remixed tracks by Missy Elliot, Lily Allen, Skunk Anansie and Donna Summer. I think this will certainly find itself in contention for a top ten placing next Sunday but I don’t think it will do quite enough to become his fourth top three hit.

Duran Duran featuring Janelle Monae & Nile Rodgers – ‘Pressure On’ (Single)

It has been over ten years since we last found Duran Duran on the singles chart, although their 2011 album ‘All You Need Is Now’ did make no.11. Now in 2015 they have enlisted the help of singer Janelle Monae and the legendary producer Nile Rodgers for their new single ‘Pressure Off’. It marks the first release from their forthcoming new album ‘Paper Gods’ which is pencilled in for a September release and it doesn’t disappoint as it is an uptempo pop single in the tradition of their biggest hits, but with a distinctive Nile Rodgers twist. You can hear his trademark guitar strumming in the background while Janelle’s vocals add some weight to the chorus. I can see this picking up airplay on some of the commercial stations and that can only help to promote the track still further. They have fourteen top ten hits to their name already and with a loyal fanbase behind them this could yet add to that tally.

Eliza & The Bear – ‘Make It On My Own’ (EP)

London based five piece Eliza & The Bear release their new EP ‘Make It On My Own’ this week. The title track comes complete with an eye catching video which has been viewed over 90k times since it was first uploaded to their Vevo account at the end of April. Other tracks which feature on the EP are ‘Love Don’t Play Fair’, the RITUAL Remix of ‘Make It On My Own’ and an acoustic version of ‘Talk’. The band doesn’t contain anyone called Eliza (nor does it feature a bear…) and in fact were named after a collection of poems by Eleanor Rees! Sometimes they have been labelled by journalists as Indie Rock, but that is a lazy tag as in fact their sound is much more polished than that. They are set to tour the UK in October when they will play seven dates across the country. They have been very busy in the recording studio of late and we can expect a full length album from them in the not too distant future.

Iron Maiden – ‘Body Of Souls’ (Album)

News of a new Iron Maiden album will be greeted with both excitement and relief by fans who waited patiently to hear the outcome of singer Bruce Dickinson’s battle with cancer. He now has the all clear and is slowly building his strength back up ahead of the bands return to the stage in 2016. The album lasts for over 90 minutes and spans two discs with the band members sharing songwriting duties. The shortest track ‘Tears Of A Clown’ is only one second under five minutes while ‘Empire Of The Clouds’ is the longest ever recorded by the band with a running time of over eighteen minutes. It has been over five years since ‘The Final Frontier’ became their fourth no.1 album and so it will be great to hear some new material from the band. There is no news yet on a single release as they are well overdue a top forty appearance, their last coming with ‘A Different World’ at the start of 2007.

The Jam – ‘About The Young Idea : The Very Best Of’ (Album)

The number of compilations by The Jam that have charted already is quite staggering, yet this week sees the release of yet another one! In 1983 we had the original compilation ‘Snap!’ which peaked at no.2, and that was followed by ‘Greatest Hits’ eight years later also peaking at no.2. The extensive box set ‘Direction Reaction Creation’ made no.7 in 1997 followed by ‘The Very Best Of’ later that year which reached no.9. ‘Snap!’ then returned to the top ten in 2006 and now some nine years later comes ‘About The Young Idea : The Very Best Of’. It encompasses an impressive 47 tracks for less than £10, but fans will have most of these tracks already. It does present a reasonable introduction to the band for any newcomers, but surely those will be in the minority. However it is a tribute to the bands longevity that a compliation released over thirty years after their split can attract so much interest.

Marc Almond – ‘Pleasures Wherever You Are’

Earlier this year saw Marc Almond return with his latest album ‘The Velvet Trail’. It contains a series of different songs arranged over three acts, and notably includes a fantastic duet with Beth Ditto on ‘When The Comet Comes’. He had previously indicated that his 2010 long player ‘Variete’ was to be his last album containing original material but after forging a writing partnership with Chris Braide he decided to change his mind. He has been playing live throughout June but fans will have another chance to catch him in July when he appears as a guest on the Jools Holland tour. Although he hasn’t had a hit single since ‘Adored and Explored’ his live shows continue to draw large crowds and his albums still sell across Europe. I would strongly recommend that anyone who enjoys this track gives ‘The Velvet Trail’ a listen as it is best heard in its entirety rather than via standalone singles.

Vix & Her MsChiefs – ‘Music & Mischief’ (EP)

Americana band Vix and her MsChiefs are about to release their second EP ‘Music & Mischief’ which follows on from their debut release ‘Live at Magic Garden’.  Their track ‘Fame Is Your Driver’ recently received it’s own video starring a number of their fans who in turn are helping the band with their PledgeMusic campaign http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/vixhermschiefs which should secure a full release for the new EP very soon. Their sound is refreshingly different – very few bands can boast a double bass player and a violinist! They are lead by Vix, who formerly headed up Fuzzbox while producer Gavin Monaghan rules the mixing desk having previously worked with a number of big name acts including Editors, Robert Plant, Ryan Adams and Paolo Nutini. The band will play live at the Kinver Music Festival next month along with L Fest which takes place at Uttoxeter Racecourse.

Next Time…

Other artists releasing singles over the coming weeks include Don Broco, Eminem, Shayne Ward, Shift K3y and Fuse ODG while album releases are set to come from  Neil Young, Tina Turner, Lucy Rose and Asian Dub Foundation.  We will be back soon with more reviews so don’t forget to keep an eye on our Twitter account and main website http://www.chartchat.co.uk.

Ian Anderson

21 June, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment