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)

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 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 805 – W/C 10.05.15

Chart Chat Edition 805 – Week Commencing 10th May 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 – ‘I Love You But Shut Up’ (Single)

The name may be familiar to some of you as Carolynne made it through to the final stages of two X Factor series, initially being rejected at the judges house stage and then later being voted off after a sing off against Rylan Clark. However she hasn’t let that put her off the music industry and this week sees the release of her brand new single ‘I Love You But Shut Up’. The track is an uptempo rock / country number which would pick up lots of airplay if it had major label backing. Without that it may struggle, but if that is the case then that is a shame as it would have been a huge hit if it had Shania Twain’s name on it. “I love you but too much talking and not enough love making” sings Carolynne in the chorus, and after a couple of plays it lodges firmly in your head! A separate track ‘Cupid Must’ve Been High’ received some airplay on the Radio 2 country show and hopefully we will hear more from her as the year progresses.

Graham Parker & The Rumour – ‘Mystery Glue’ (Album)

Renowned singer / songwriter Graham Parker is back once again with his band The Rumour and ‘Mystery Glue’ marks their first release since 2012’s ‘Three Chords Good’. So far two tracks have been made available to download; ‘I’ve Done Bad Things’ is a typical uptempo blues number while ‘Railroad Spikes’ is another track which would sound great in a smokey late night bar. They are now heading off to the US where they have a series of gigs booked for June. During their prime they notched up four top twenty albums between 1977 and 1980 with the final of those ‘The Up Escalator’ narrowly missing out on the top ten. They also enjoyed three hit singles with both ‘Hold Back The Night’ and ‘Sweet On You’ reaching no.24. Now over thirty years on it is great to have them back and recording new music once again and this latest release is certain to keep their fans happy for a while to come.

Jess Mattic – ‘The Experience’ (Single)

Electronic / dubstep duo keep up their one single per month release rate with their latest track ‘The Experience’. It is an electronic instrumental track which clocks in at just under five minutes, although it does contain a couple of vocal samples too. They are from Orlando in American and consist of Matt Fair and Jessie Boerner. They already have their next seven singles in the new release schedule starting with ‘Funkin’ Dance’ in June and concluding with ‘Give It Up’ in December. In addition to their own work they have also worked on remixes of other artists tracks and the most popular mix on their Soundcloud page is their update of Jody Watley’s hit ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Although we are big fans of them here at Chart Chat they are yet to make any major inroads into the UK charts and unfortunately I’m not sure if this latest track will do anything significant to change that.

Paul Carrack – ‘Live At The London Palladium’ (Album)

Not everyone is aware of just how many huge bands Paul has contributed to. Through his career he has featured as part of Ace, Roxy Music, Squeeze, Mike & The Mechanics and Roger Waters backing band The Bleeding Hearts. This May sees him performing at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Eric Clapton’s band while he will return to action in his own right through a series of concerts later this year. This weeks sees the release of this live album which brings together songs recorded across his long career. Standouts include his cover of Randy Newman’s ‘I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today’ (which he originally updated for his 2010 album ‘A Different Hat’), the Mike & The Mechanics songs ‘Over My Shoulder’ and ‘The Living Years’ along with his nine minute version of ‘Time Wait For No-One’. It’s fair to say that he rarely gets the credit he deserves but this collection serves as an introduction to new admirers and a companion to long standing fans.

Port Isla – ‘A.L.I.V.E.’ (EP)

Norwich based four piece Port Isla release their new four track EP later this month. Entitled ‘A.L.I.V.E.’ it features the title track alongside new songs ‘Ready For The Fight’, ‘Penny Red’ and ‘Raleigh’. I have to say that I am a big fan of the title track as it has a real anthemic feel to it and would sound great on the radio. This EP follows on from their last outing ‘In The Long Run’ which was released last November, and fans signing up to the bands mailing list will receive a free download of ‘Volcano’, a track taken from that release. They have been building their following with a series of live shows earlier this year as support acts to James Bay and Kodaline but they also performed as joint headliners with Walking On Cars. They are a band who display great promise and look as though they may go on to bigger and better things. For now this may come a little early for them to secure a first ever hit single.

Public Service Broadcasting – ‘Go!’ (Single)

It seems strange in some ways to be reviewing this as a single as really this needs to be heard in the context of their excellent album ‘The Race For Space’. It stands up as a song in its own right, although I have to say I prefer the track ‘Gagarin’ which also features on the long player. For those unaware of their work the band consists of the duo J Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth who specialise in mixing samples from old news reels and propaganda films into electronic music. The results are often stunning, as are their live shows and fans wishing to see them in the UK should get themselves along to the Lunar Festival in Warwickshire on 6th June. The single is released on 7″ vinyl and as a digitial EP which features the Radio Edit, the Errors Remix, the Louis La Roche Remix and the Kauf Remix. I don’t think we will see this inside the top forty, but if it serves to bring in a few new fans then it will have served its purpose.

Sarah Cracknell – ‘Red Kite’ (Album)

You would have to go back to 1997 to find Sarah’s debut solo album ‘Lipslide’ although it did get a deluxe reissue in 2012. Now, some eighteen years on, comes the follow up ‘Red Kite’ which hits the shops in mid June. It has been produced by Carwyn Ellis and Seb Lewsley who both previously worked with Edwyn Collins and features guest appearances from Nicky Wire and The Rails. Fans have been able to listen to the track ‘On The Swings’ via her Soundcloud page, and it does not disappoint. It is a jazzy laid back piece which perfectly suits Sarah’s distinctive vocals. She is undertaking a five date tour in the UK to promote the album, and will be playing in Brighton, London, Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds. Her last album did contain one top forty hit in the shape of ‘Anymore’ but I suspect that a similar feat is unlikely  this time around. That should not detract from its success and I for one can’t wait to hear it.

Simply Red – ‘Shine On’ (Single)

It was a big surprise to many fans when Mick Hucknall announced the return of Simply Red for a series of 30th anniversary concerts this December. However even after that few expected the news that a brand new album had been recorded and will be released this June. It will be entitled ‘Big Love’ and the first single to be released from it is entitled ‘Shine On’. Already available as both the album mix and the Max Bidda Radio Mix it is very reminiscent of the ‘Stars’ era for the band and received its first play recently on the Ken Bruce Radio 2 show. The bands previous success speaks for itself with twelve top ten albums to their name including five which reached the top spot. Whether they can recapture that level of sales remains to be seen but this new track is impressive.

Wendy James – ‘Bad Intentions And A Bit Of Cruelty’ (Single)

Wendy returns this week with the first taste of new material from her forthcoming new album ‘The Price Of The Ticket’. Her band now boasts the impressive line up of Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) and James Sclavunos (Grinderman / Bad Seeds) and the album promises to deliver. This comes released as a 7″ single which also features ‘Indigent Blues’, a track which is getting a standalone download release. The video was uploaded to her YouTube account at the end of April and has been picking up views since then. The track is a decent punk song with a driving acoustic beat interspersed with menacing bursts of electric guitar. Wendy’s vocals sit well amongst the mix and hopefully will pick up some airplay along the way. She has no  confirmed live appearance at the time of writing but fingers crossed we may see her playing festivals or concerts in the UK before the year is out.

Next Week…

As always there are lots of new singles and albums which don’t generate an in depth review. We expect Lunchmoney Lewis to storm the top three with his new track ‘Bills’ while Anne Dudley’s soundtrack to ‘Poldark’ is also worthy of a mention. Leonard Cohen has a new live album ‘Can’t Forget : A Souvenir of the Grand Tour’ while fans of Doctor Who will be keen to snap up Murray Gold’s latest soundtrack album. As for us we will be back with a new edition soon so please keep an eye on our Twitter feed @ChartChatUK. We hope to see you here again soon.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

10 May, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 804 – W/C 03.05.15

Chart Chat Edition 804 – Week Commencing 3rd May 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?

Ben E King – ‘Stand By Me’ (Single)

The legendary soul singer Ben E King only made the top forty on four occasions, and two of those were with this hit ‘Stand By Me’.  It originally made no.27 back in 1961 just after his debut hit ‘First Taste Of Love’ had reached the same position. ‘Amor’ reached the top forty later that same year but there was then a twenty six year wait to see ‘Stand By Me’ top the UK charts mainly thanks to its use in a television jeans commercial. It also featured as the lead track on the soundtrack to the film of the same name while a cover by John Lennon reached the top thirty in 1975. It has enjoyed a revival over the past few days thanks in part to Ben’s passing at the age of 76 and thanks also to the track being discounted to 59p with some online retailers. Whatever happens this track is established as a true classic of its time and will continue to receive radio airplay for many years to come.

Cinerama – ‘Valentina’ (Album)

Later this month sees the return of David Gedge’s other band Cinerama as they release their take on the Wedding Present album of the same name. This fulfills a long held dream of David to record two versions of the same album, one as the Wedding Present and the  other as Cinerama.  Originally he had hoped to release both versions simultaneously but he soon realised that this was a project that would take some time to achieve and hence the releases were staggered. It will be fascinating to hear the album in its entirety to hear just how different these new versions will sound. It was produced by Spanish Indie legend Pedro Vigil which itself should only serve to add to the magic. To celebrate their return they will perform with a thirteen piece band at a headlining concert in London next month but for now this release will be more than enough to keep fans entertained.

The Crowd 2015 – ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (Single)

Back in 1985 a tragic accident at Bradford City’s stadium saw 56 football fans killed in a fire which swept through one of the stands. Later that year a charity ensemble took a cover of Gerry & The Pacemakers classic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to the top of the charts, and now to mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster a new version of the track is being released by The Crowd 2015. Among those who have joined up this time are the Chuckle Brothers, Dene Michael, Clive Jackson (Dr from Dr & The Medics) and Billy Pearce. It has been the brainchild of Bradford fan Lloyd Spencer who worked with fellow Bantam Nigel Hunter to turn the idea into a reality. Football songs can still have a big impact in todays charts with the Justice Collective’s cover of ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother’ becoming the Christmas no.1 back in 2013. I’m not sure how well this will chart, but it’s a good chance for fans of all clubs to come together and raise money for the Bradford Burns Unit.

Dr & The Medics – ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’ (Single)

It was 1986 when Dr & The Medics topped the charts with their cover of Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit In The Sky’. The followed it up with ‘Burn’, a top thirty hit later that year, but their version of ‘Waterloo’ fell short of the top 40 and that was their last appearance on the mainstream charts. They continued to record with ‘The Adventures Of Boadacea & The Beetle’ surfacing in 1992 and ‘Instant Heaven’ being released in 1996. Their current line up has the same Doctor but different Medics, but they are continuing to record and tour. They release their latest single, a cover of Dead Or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’ later this month on the 25th May. The track comes complete with a video recorded live at the 12 Bar Club in London. There are plenty of chances to catch the band live this year (see link attached) http://doctorandthemedics.com/gig_list.php and a live DVD is set to follow in subsequent months. This is a good fun single and it would be fantastic if we were to see them back in the charts some twenty nine years on.

The Fall – ‘Sub-Lingual Tablet’ (Album)

Part of my reason for switching to covering weekly single releases was to be able to review artists that I am passionate about. I am proud to own each of the studio albums by The Fall, although it has been impossible to keep up with their array of live and compilation albums. They tend to release a new studio album each year, and 2015 is set to be no different with ‘Sub-Lingual Tablet’ due to hit the shops on 11th May. Mark E Smith is proud of his bands latest offering with the record taking four to five months to record. It consists of original tracks with only one cover ‘Stout Man’ while highlights for me are ‘Dedication Not Medication’ and ‘Junger Cloth’. As John Peel famously said The Fall are “they are always different, they are always the same” and that rings true here. While it is quite clear that this is a new Fall album it is also not a radical reinvention from the 2013 release ‘Re-Mit’ or later EP ‘The Remainderer’. Still one of the best releases of 2015 though.

Lucy Rose – ‘Our Eyes’ (Single)

One track that you don’t have to wait for is ‘Our Eyes’ by Lucy Rose which is released this week. It’s a bright and breezy song, perfect as we head into sunnier days, and the video has already received over 200k views since it was first uploaded in March. It is the first track to be taken from her forthcoming studio album ‘Work It Out’ which is scheduled for release in July. It will mark her first new material since her critically acclaimed 2012 debut album ‘Like I Used To’. She is appearing live at the Catherdral Quarter in Belfast this week and has confirmed appearances at Bushstock and Smoked & Uncut next month while fans who sign up to her newsletter at her website can claim a free live EP containing versions of ‘Shiver’, ‘Cover Up’ and this new track ‘Our Eyes’. On this showing the album should certainly be something to look forward to, and 2015 looks to be a promising one for Lucy.

Magnum – Escape From The Shadow Garden Live 2014′ (Album)

Last year saw British rock band Magnum back inside the UK top forty album chart with ‘Escape From Shadow Garden’, the first time they had been there since ‘Sleepwalking’ in 1992. Now comes a live album of the same name featuring tracks covering seven of their eighteen studio albums which was recorded on their worldwide tour last year. It is released as a download, a super jewel CD and a good old fashioned double vinyl LP. For me highlights to be found on this album include a version of their 1978 album title track ‘Kingdom Of Madness’ and a ten minute version of ‘How Far Jerusalem’ which originally featured on their 1985 outing ‘On A Storytellers Night’. While this live album is unlikely to win them many new fans it will serve as a great souvenir for fans who attended their critically acclaimed live shows last year while also serving as an introduction to older material for more recent converts to the band.

On Guitar…Dave Edmunds – ‘Rags & Classics’ (Album)

Dave hit the top spot back in 1970 with his debut single ‘I Hear You Knocking’ and has gone on to achieve eight top forty hits, with half of those reaching the top ten. Fast forward to May 2015 and he is set to release his brand new album ‘Rags & Classics’ which is his first ever completely instrumental release. It contains a variety of cover versions ranging from traditional pop hits ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ to Mozarts ‘Symphony No.40 in G Minor’. Fans wishing to catch him in action can do so at the Summer Rewind festivals which are scheduled for Perth, Remenham and Macclesfield. Last year may have seen him turn 70, but he is very much still an artist to be reckoned with. While others from his era may be content to play greatest hits tours it is testament to Dave that he is still releasing brand new material. Cover albums are ten a penny but this looks to be one which will make you sit up and take notice.

Roisin Murphy – ‘Hairless Toys’ (Album)

Although she originally rose to prominence as the singer in Moloko, Roisin Murphy has been making solo albums since 2005. ‘Hairless Toys’ marks her first long player in almost eight years. Nine minute epic ‘Exploitation’ stands out, and it will get an official single release in early June complete with an EP of remixes while ‘Gone Fishing’ displays a similarly stripped back electronic sound. Both offer a musical landscape to complement Roisin’s jazzy voice but other journalists have pointed to ‘Evil Eyes’ and ‘House Of Glass’ as the stand out tracks. When an artist takes this long to put an album together the result is often worth the wait as opposed to those kind of artists who churn out an album every couple of years to maintain the bank balance.  If you are looking for four minute pop singles you may be in the wrong place but if you appreciate a stylish and well produced album then this may be just up your street.

Next time…

There look to be a few exciting releases to come over the next couple of months and among those which may make our shopping list are ‘A Purple Album’ by Whitesnake, ‘The Desired Effect’ by Brandon Flowers, ‘Saturns Pattern’ by Paul Weller, ‘English Graffiti’ by The Vaccines and ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ by Florence & The Machine. So don’t forget to keep an eye out on Twitter for our next edition.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

4 May, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

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

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