ChartChatUK

talks about the latest releases in the music world

Chart Chat Edition 807 – W/C 07.06.15

Chart Chat Edition 807 – Week Commencing 7th 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?

Kathryn Williams – ‘Hypoxia’ (Album)

After seventeen years North-east songwriter Kathryn Williams is ready to release her twelfth album. It was inspired by ‘The Bell Jar’ by Slyvia Plath and gets its full release on the One Little Indian record label next week. Ed Harcourt has been on duty as producer and the duo wrote the track ‘Cuckoo’ together which has been made available to download prior to the full release of the album. Opening track ‘Electric’ is stripped back and acoustic, showing the true beauty of Kathryn’s voice while ‘Mirrors’ is more dark and brooding with the vocals distorted. This week sees her play intimate gigs in London, Liverpool and Durham with further concerts planned for early July. To date four of her albums have charted, but none peaked higher than ‘Old Low Light’ in 2002 which reached no.56. I’m not sure that this record will beat that, but she continues to deliver and her fans will be keen to hear the results of her labour.

Leon Bridges – ‘Better Man’ (Single)

The hugely talented soul and gospel singer Leon Bridges is back in action next week with his latest single ‘Better Man’.  It is a stunning track which manages to capture a real 1960’s feel to it, and it could so easily have been sung by someone like Sam Cooke. It is musically rich, boasting a full band and a genuine saxophonist.  His debut album is set for release a week later (on the 22nd June) and that looks set to establish him as a force to be reckoned with. The title track was released back in March and captures a similar old school soul vibe. UK fans wishing to catch him live need to be aware that he is making an appearance at Glastonbury later this month before moving on to play a short series of UK concerts during July. I can’t promise that this single will end up becoming a top forty hit, but he is an artist who looks destined for significant success during the remainder of 2015.

Matt Redman – ‘Unbroken Praise’ (Album)

Brighton based singer songwriter Matt Redman returns this week with his twelfth album ‘Unbroken Praise’ this week. Recorded live at the famous Abbey Road studios in London, it features eleven tracks and for me the highlight has to be his soaring and powerful version of ‘It Is Well With My Soul’. The track has an anthemic power about it, while ‘King Of My Soul’ has more of a modern day chart feel to it. Other highlights on the album include ‘Abide With Me’ and the title track itself. For those unaware of Matt, he is a Christian worship leader and author who enjoyed a top twenty hit when he guested on the track ‘Twenty Seven Million’ by another Christian act LS7. He currently has five concerts planned in the US and will hopefully make an appearance in the UK later this year. Matt certainly gets his message across in a powerful way and this album is sure to be well received by his army of fans around the world.

Misty Miller – ‘Happy’ (Single)

London based singer Misty Miller released her brand new single ‘Happy’ this week. It’s a fantastic loud and proud track which will get you singing along after a couple of listens. It follows on from the slightly less frantic ‘Next To You’ which was released earlier this year and comes four years after her self titled debut album.  Her hair may now be darker than when she started out but she is still knows a good tune when she hears one. She is signed to the Relentless Records label where she shares a roster with chart acts Chris Malinchak and Julio Bashmore. She is set to appear live at the Brixton Fightback for Social Housing this week where she will support Alabama 3 and Fat White Family before putting in an appearance at the Bushstock Festival. Of course if there was any justice this would be in the top forty for weeks but with the major labels dominating proceedings this may have to settle for Indie chart glory.

Robin Schulz featuring Jasmine Thompson – ‘Sun Goes Down’ (Single)

German electronic DJ and producer Robin Schulz managed to make his LILLYWOOD collaboration ‘Prayer In C’ as one of the biggest tracks last Summer and he is aiming for similar success with his brand new single ‘Sun Goes Down’. This time around he has teamed up with London based singer songwriter Jasmine Thompson and I have to say that it was one of those tracks that when I first heard it on the radio and I just had to find out who it was by. Jasmine is only 15 years old but has already reached the top forty with her acoustic cover of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ following its use in a supermarket advert. The video to this track first appeared as long ago as October last year and it has been viewed over 75m times since then. The track has already gone on to reach the top three in Austria, Germany and Switzerland so there is no reason to expect anything other than a monster hit in the UK.

Sam Duckworth – ‘Amazing Grace’ (Album)

Having recorded five albums under the monicker Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly we now find Sam Duckworth releasing his latest long player under his own name.  Entitled ‘Amazing Grace’ it is released next week and follows on from a tough year for the 27 year old who freely admits that he came close to giving up music at some points. Instead he chose to go into the recording studio with his friend Jay, and he admits that the resulting process was “fun” and describes how much he enjoyed spending time with his friends doing exactly what he loves to do. Fans have been able to listen to a rough mix of ‘Only A Fool’ online, and in it’s basic guise it makes for an impressive listen. It is simple but well constructed, in the same way that Jason Pierce works his magic with Spiritualized. He will be playing some live shows in Liverpool and Manchester later this month and it will be interesting to hear his new material in a live environment.

Samantha Harvey – ‘Dance With My Father’ (Single)

Samantha enjoyed her first taste of chart action last year with her debut single ‘Angel’, a cover of the Sarah McLachlan track. It was released to raise funds for the charity Cancer Research UK and it received thousands of views on YouTube. Now she is aiming to go one better and reach the top forty with the follow up single which is a cover of the Luther Vandross track ‘Dance With My Father’. Those already familiar with the song will know how emotional the lyrics are, and Samantha’s vocals certainly bring them to life. Her Facebook page has over 90k Likes and her YouTube channel has seen well over 60k views of her performing this track. Fans of Samantha will already know that she has also performed covers of ‘All Of Me’ (John Legend), ‘Earned It’ (The Weeknd) and ‘Thinking Out Loud’ (Ed Sheeran) to name but three. She is slowly building a loyal fan base and could well be one to watch out for over the coming months.

The Twilight Sad – ‘It Never Was The Same’ (Single)

Scottish post punk band The Twilight Sad release their new double a sided single this week. Available on 7″ vinyl and as a download it features ‘It Never Was The Same’ which is taken from their fourth studio album ‘Nobody Wants To Leave & Nobody Wants To Be Here’ but there is equal interest in the flip side which contains a cover of ‘There’s A Girl In The Corner’ performed by Robert Smith of The Cure. The album has been their most successful release so far and it peaked at no.51 last year. They have yet to make an appearance on the singles chart, and I suspect this release will do little to change that. The band will be making three festival appearances next month; T In The Park in Balado, the 2000Trees Festival in Cheltenham and the Latitude Festival in Cheltenham. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we hear a fifth album from them, and a few more UK dates would not go amiss.

UB40 – TBC (Album)

Those who haven’t been keeping up with events may be confused by the two different versions of UB40 which are currently in existence. One version perform as UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro & Mickey Virtue while the remaining original members simply perform as UB40. It is the latter who are currently working on a new album, and have signed up with PledgeMusic to help fund the release and also to increase interaction with their fans. The album is set for release early next year, but fans signing up to the campaign now can receive a limited edition CD of dub mixes once the album sees the light of day. They are set to play a series of gigs during May before returning later this year for another set of concerts in October. Whether they can recapture their original success remains to be seen but there will be no shortage of fans queueing up to see them on tour and signing up for their next album.

Next Week…

Other artists releasing singles in the remainder of June include Fall Out Boy, Alesha Dixon, Don Broco and Maverick Sabre while album releases are set to include Giorgio Moroder, Indigo Girls, Everything Everything, The Orb and Bill Wyman. We will be back soon with more reviews so don’t forget to keep an eye on our Twitter account and our main website http://www.chartchat.co.uk.

Ian Anderson

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

Chart Chat Edition 806 – W/C 01.06.15

Chart Chat Edition 806 – Week Commencing 1st 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?

Gaz Coombes – ‘The Girl Who Fell To Earth’ (Single)

Although it was used in a television commercial, ‘This Time Tomorrow’ was arguably the best song from Gaz Coombes solo career so far. This month sees the release of his latest single ‘The Girl Who Fell To Earth’ which is taken from his impressive ‘Matador’ album. It is a simple but effective laid back acoustic track with Gaz waxing lyrical about a girl and it features such poetic lines as “you wear your elastic heart on your chewed up sleeve’ and “you’re like a circle cut in half”. It is unlikely to trouble the top forty it is still a great track. Fans will be able to catch him live at the Field Day Festival in London early this month and also as support to The Who in Hyde Park later this month. It would be great to see Supergrass reunite for another studio album but while we wait in the hope that that might happen Gaz is more than capable of keeping us all entertained.

Gilbert O’Sullivan – ‘Latin Ala G’ (Album)

It has been thirty five years since Gilbert O’Sullivan achieved a top forty single, but in the ten years prior to that he enjoyed a run of fourteen hits.  He has periodically achieved success with ‘Best Of’ compilation albums with his 2012 collection seeing him back inside the top twenty. Now he is back in action with his new album ‘Latin Ala G’ which stems from his love of Latin Music in the early 1960’s. The title is based on two albums released by Peggy Lee; one was entitled ‘Latin Ala Lee’ and the other was ‘Ole Ala Lee’. Fans have already been able to access the opening track ‘Made In Love’ and this is confirmed as classic O’Sullivan, conjuring memories of his big 1970’s hits while still achieving a slightly modern feel. Gilbert has recently postponed his UK tour but will be rescheduling those dates for later on this year. For now though fans new and old are bound to be delighted with the release of this album.

Holly Johnson – ‘Dancing With No Fear’ (Single)

Later on this month sees the release of the latest single by Holly Johnson. Entitled ‘Dancing With No Fear’, it is a very uplifting club music influenced track and is said by Holly to describe a time when “nothing is wrong, just for a moment, and you can lose yourself in the music”. It is taken from his recent critically acclaimed ‘Europa’ album which has already featured the singles ‘Follow Your Heart’ and ‘In And Out Of Love’. The single is released across two digital EP’s which include a series of interesting mixes most notably from former ZTT label mates Propaganda. He is set to play short series of UK shows during the month of June that will see him take in London, St Albans and his home city of Liverpool. In a recent interview he refused to rule out ever returning to Frankie Goes To Hollywood, but on this showing he should be just as happy to continue with his existing solo career.

The Jive Aces – Spread A Little Happiness (Album)

The Jive Aces are back this week with another fun album entitled ‘Spread A Little Happiness’.  It features a range of tracks, some of which are more well known than others. Few would fail to recognise their fantastic cover of Disney’s ‘Bare Necessities’ but they show another side to their character on their version of the touching and poignant ‘Smile’. Elsewhere we find their take on ‘Get Me To The Church On Time’ from the famous stage show ‘My Fair Lady’ while the title track is one which will be instantly recognisable to most listeners. The definitive version of ‘Boogie Woogie Girl’ for me was by Big Joe Turner, but the Aces give it a good shot, and ‘Simple Things’ is perhaps my favourite track on here. It’s easy to see why the band are so popular, and how they reached the semi finals of Britains Got Talent back in 2012. They have no live shows in the calendar at present but I’m sure it won’t be too long before we see them back on the road.

Nicki French – ‘Eurovision’ (Single / EP)

Nicki first tasted chart success back in 1994 with her cover of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ which reached the top five. Some six years later she was selected to represent the UK at Eurovision where she performed ‘Don’t Play That Song Again’ receiving 28 points and finishing in 16th position. It also gave her a second top forty hit, peaking at no.34. Her new EP is entitled ‘Eurovision’ and features the Andy Haldane mix of that track alongside Matt Pop’s Golden Anniversary mix with both serving to give it a modern dance feel. The Andy Haldane version clocks in at under three minutes long and so still packs a punch as a pop single. The EP also contains covers of ‘Hold Me Now’ (originally by Johnny Logan), ‘Ding-A-Dong’ (originally by Teach In) and ‘One Step Further’ (originally by Bardo).  This is a great fun collection of tracks and reminds us of a time when the UK were much more of a force in the competition.

Rolling Stones – ‘Sticky Fingers (Deluxe)’

While it was originally released back in 1971, this week sees the classic Rolling Stones album ‘Sticky Fingers’ get a repackaged reissue. Their reissue of ‘Exile On Main Street’ topped the charts in 2010, and in doing so gave them their first no.1 hit since 1994. This new update includes the classic tracks such as ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Sway’ and ‘Bitch’ but also offers a second disc of bonus recordings. Treasures featured on that include a version of ‘Brown Sugar’ which features Eric Clapton, an acoustic take on ‘Wild Horses, alternate versions of ‘Dead Flowers’ and ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ along with a series of tracks recorded at The Roundhouse in 1971. Dedicated fans may also be interested in the Super Deluxe format which also contains recordings from a concert at The University Of Leeds back in 1971. If rumours are to be believed then we can expect a new Stones album before too long but until then this will have to keep everyone going.

Sarah Cracknell featuring Nicky Wire – ‘Nothing To Talk About’ (Single)

St Etienne singer Sarah Cracknell has teamed up with Manic Street Preachers guitarist for her forthcoming single ‘Nothing To Talk About’. It is a musically rich track, boasting Sarah’s distinctive vocals over an acoustic based backing which is interspersed with country and western style guitar sounds. Nicky is an interesting choice as co-vocalist as aside from a brief solo career he hasn’t really been known for his vocal talents, and he usually leaves the Manics vocals to James Dean Bradfield. It is taken from her forthcoming second studio album ‘Red Kite’ which is due for release on the Cherry Red Records label on the 15th June. So far her only solo top forty hit has been with ‘Anymore’ although she did get credited on Mark Brown’s 2008 hit ‘The Story Continues’ which reached no.11. She is set to undertake a short six date tour of the UK to promote the album, and it is great to see her back in her own right experimenting with this new record.

Sinead Harnett – ‘She Ain’t Me’ (Single)

British singer and songwriter Sinead Harnett is back on the 15th June with her brand new single ‘She Ain’t Me’.  She has been a regular contributor to other artists work including Disclosure, MNEK, Rudimental and Wiley but it is now time for her to take centre stage. The digital release includes new track ‘Anywhere But Here’ alongside three new mixes; the N3GUS Remix, the Chloe Martini Refix and the Falcons Remix. The  musical backdrop to this is kept nice and simple and this shows of Sinead’s vocals perfectly. I could certainly imagine this being played in a late night club as it has that kind of feel to it. She has slowly been building her following having toured with Gorgon City at the end of last year and Sigma back in April. As we say so often on here if this can pick up a decent amount of airplay then there is no reason why this couldn’t give her a debut appearance inside the top forty.

The Selecter – ‘Subculture’

The last one of The Selecter’s hits came in 1980 when ‘The Whisper’ peaked at no.36 although they did feature on the ‘2 Tone EP’ which reached the top thirty in 1993. They are set to release their new album ‘Subculture in mid June with the Huffington Post already declaring it to be the “Soundtrack of the Summer”. The opening track ‘Box Fresh’ finds vocalist Pauline Black on fine form evoking memories of the band in their prime while ‘Karma’ is another moment of magic and could easily have found its way on to any of their earlier albums. Pauline is joining fellow band member Gaps Hendrickson for a Q&A session on Facebook this Friday (5th June) and fans will also have a chance to catch them live via one of their numerous festival appearances over the Summer. Some bands keep going when they should really give up but this finds the band on top form and sounding as fresh as ever.

Next Time…

We are now just a few weeks away from the change in new release date from a Monday to a Friday. From 10th July all new music will be released on that day of the week and artists who are releasing new material that day includes Aston Merrygold, Little Mix and Nick Jonas while albums are due out on that day from Little Boots, Owl City and Frankie & The Heartstrings. We will continue to keep an eye out for albums and singles of note but we will also be keen to see if this change in date really does make a difference. So it’s goodbye until next time, and we very much hope that we will see you back here again very soon.


Ian Anderson

2 June, 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

Chart Chat Edition 802 – W/C 12.04.15

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

Introduction

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

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

Ash – ‘Cocoon’

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

Chloe Black – ’27 Club’

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

Electro Velvet – ‘Still In Love With You’

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

Fox Stevenson – ‘Sweets (Soda Pop)’

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

Natalie Imbruglia – ‘Instant Crush’

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

Rough Copy – ‘Same Formula’

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

Shayne Ward – ‘My Heart Would Take You Back’

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

Wire – ‘Joust & Jostle’

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

Wiz Khalifa – ‘See You Again’

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

Next Time…

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

Ian Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

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

Chart Chat Edition 801 – W/C 05.04.2015

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

Introduction

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

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

Alexandra Burke – ‘Renegade’

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

Aron Chupa – ‘I’m An Albatraoz’

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

Blow Monkeys – ‘OK! Have It Your Way’

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

Faith No More – ‘Superhero’

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

Lucy Spraggan – ‘Unsinkable’

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

Outros – ‘No Shade In Shadow (Demo)’

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

The Proclaimers – ‘You Built Me Up’

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

Stacey Solomon – ‘Shy’

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

They Might Be Giants – ‘Underwater Woman’

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

Next Time…

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

Ian Anderson

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

Chart Chat Album Review – Europe – ‘War Of Kings’ (Released 2nd March 2015)

Chart Chat Album Review – Europe – ‘War Of Kings’ (Released 2nd March 2015)

Although fans in the UK were only really introduced to Europe through their 1986 hit ‘The Final Countdown’ that was actually taken from their third studio album. Their self titled debut album appeared in 1983, and now some thirty two years later their tenth studio album ‘War Of Kings’ hits the shops.  As with most heavy metal bands they have undergone several line up changes during that time, with only lead singer Joey Tempest remaining constant in the band although guitarist John Norum was there at the start but left the band between 1986 before returning later in their career.

Europe are one of those bands whose true fans know that they have produced ten different albums over thirty years, but so many only really know them for one or two hits.  Their sound now has moved on tremendously since their early days and is heavier with more of a blues tinge than before. Just listen to ‘Not Supposed To Sing The Blues’ from their ‘Bag Of Bones’ album and I promise that you will be blown away.

Opening track and first single ‘War Of Kings’ kicks of proceedings in some style. It’s been on my playlist since it was first release and for me it is one of their best tracks in several years. If there was any justice this would have given them a first top forty hit of the Millenium, but it is very hard to hear this kind of music anywhere other than on specialist rock radio stations. The days of hearing this kind of song on mainstream radio has sadly passed. It has everything – dramatic guitars, soaring vocals and menacing keyboards. First class!

‘Hole In My Pocket’ follows on quickly, and there can be little doubt that they mean business. “It’s not the end / it doesn’t get better than this” sings Joey Tempest over a dramatic backdrop of keyboards and no nonsense guitars.  ‘Second Day’ has a more mean and moody feel to it, but comes with an anthemic chorus which builds nicely including the lyrics “there’s a place that we cannot reach / there’s a light we just cannot see / there’s a hope that won’t give out / it’s all we should talk about”. The track also boasts a fantastic guitar solo halfway through courtesy of guitarist John Norum.

‘Praise You’ is slower, but for me less anthemic. It’s reliance on keyboards almost reminds me of Deep Purple at times, and if I am honest ‘Nothin’ To Ya’ continues in a similar vein. They’re not too shabby, but they don’t scale the heights achieved by the title track.

‘California 405’ picks up the pace a little and again features some nifty guitar work in the middle section. ‘Days Of Rock N Roll’ keeps up the tempo, even if the keyboards do give the track a 1970’s feel at times. No matter, it is bold and brash and rattles along at a fair old pace.  It has yet to be confirmed in the UK, but it has been chosen as the second single elsewhere in Europe, and you can see why.  ‘Rainbow Bridge’ has the kind of title that a progressive rock band might have recorded, and it does have that kind of sound too although at just three minutes in length that is where the comparisons end!

As we move towards the end of the tracklisting, ‘Angels (With Broken Hearts)’ becomes the main ballad on the album, and then in contrast the standard edition is brought to a close with six minutes of ‘Light Me Up’. Both are able to stand up and be counted and seem a fitting way to bring the curtain down.

Curiously there is only one track difference between the Deluxe and Standard editions, and that is the instrumental ‘Vasastan’. Some fans might turn their noses up at such an idea, but in fact it works very well. The guitar work on show here reminds me of Gary Moore at his creative best, building slowly from the start to a solo guitar which captivates the listener. The final 90 seconds feature a reprise of the title track, and then the end is upon us.

Some would say that Europe are back, but others would point to the fact that they never really went away. On this showing they remain as creative and entertaining as ever, and let’s hope it is not too long before album number eleven is upon us.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

29 March, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Classic Album – Cornershop – ‘Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast’ (Released 27th July 2009)

Chart Chat Classic Album – Cornershop – ‘Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast’ (originally released 27th July 2009)

This was Cornershop’s fifth album, and followed on from the top thirty success of ‘Handcream For A Generation’.  If ever there was evidence that the charts are dominated by big labels with clever marketing budgets then this is it, because this is an album which could, would or should have contained several hits.  Instead it was largely overlooked at the time, but if this review helps a handful of fans to discover this lost classic then my writing will have been worthwhile.

I love so many of the bands songs, but some which stand out are ‘Good To Be On The Road Back Home’ (which featured a contribution from the American singer songwriter Paula Frazer), ‘Houston Hash’ (the lead track on their ‘Battle For New Orleans’ EP) and the update of ‘Born Disco, Died Heavy Metal’ which appeared on their ‘Hold On It’s Easy’ album. With so many outstanding tunes it remains a musical injustice that they are only known by the mainstream public for the Norman Cook remix of their ‘Brimful Of Asha’ hit. There is just so much more to them.

‘Who Fingered Rock N Roll’ opens this album and is classic Cornershop, all rock n roll and sitars. It comes complete with a big chorus, and backing singers featuring higher in the mix than you might expect. It features the same kind of big guitars and heavy production which was to be found on their 2002 top forty hit ‘Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III’. In a parallel universe it would have been a respectable top forty hit but airplay wasn’t forthcoming.

‘Soul School’ followed on, a track that was chosen to lead the three track EP ‘School Of Soul’ while the School Dinners Mix of the track featured on their ‘The Battle Of New Orleans EP’. An animated video was made to accompany the track, and at the time of writing this has been viewed over 93,000 times.

‘Half Brick’ is a fifty two second slice of 70’s disco with a Master of Ceremonies introduction played over the top, and it links us through to the title track.  ‘Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast’ is perhaps not as immediate as the opening three tracks, but it’s still a decent listen and not a song you would skip over.

‘Shut Southall Down’ is another short track, clocking in at just over a minute, and one that you would listen to in the context of the album, but probably not one that you would play too often on its own. ‘Free Love’ comes next, and it is slower than some of the earlier tracks while its playing time of five minutes thirty eight seconds make it the longest song on the album. It has more of a dance leaning rather than rock n roll, and it’s distorted vocals give it a distinctive feel.

‘The Roll Of Characteristics (Of History In The Making)’ was the albums lead single. The promotional video to it was first uploaded back in May 2009 and has been viewed over 50,000 times since then. Again, with some airplay you could have imagined this being a top twenty hit but mainsteam radio shunned this album and it’s associated singles.

‘Operation Push’ shows the bands diversity with the track possessing almost a reggae feel to it, while ‘Mighty Quinn’ is a cover of the Manfred Mann classic. They don’t dabble with many covers, but their take on The Beatles ‘Norwegian Wood’ was a moment of real beauty. Anyone interested in hearing that should check out their earlier album ‘When I Was Born For The 7th Time’.

‘The Constant Springs’ moves us closer to the albums conclusion and I personally love the lyrics “I’m Phil Fearon / You are Galaxy” while ‘Chamchu’ has almost a latin feel to its intro before the sitars and drums kick in.

The album closes with ‘The Turned On Truth (The Truth Is Turned On)’ which is more mid tempo that some of the other tracks, but it has some nice Hammond organ touches, and gospel style vocals which make it stand out. It’s an epic way to end the album with a running time just short of seventeen minutes.  But in reality those minutes fly by – what is it they say about time passing when you are having fun?

To be fair I could have picked any of the bands albums, and may yet return in the future to one of their other offerings, but this is probably my favourite.  Tjinder Singh knows how to write songs of real depth, and ones that will leave you dancing and singing. So many songs, and so many musical genres are on offer.  If you haven’t heard anything other than ‘Brimful Of Asha’ then this might be as good a place as any to start…

Ian Anderson

28 March, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment