30 jun 2012

Spencer Davis Group

by Bill Dahl
His ferocious soul-drenched vocals belying his tender teenage years, Stevie Winwood powered the Spencer Davis Group's three biggest U.S. hits during their brief life span as one of the British Invasion's most convincing R&B-based combos.

Guitarist Davis formed the band with Winwood on organ, his brother Muff Winwood on bass, and drummer Peter York. Signing on with producer Chris Blackwell, the quartet got their first hit (the blistering "Keep on Running") from another of Blackwell's acts, West Indian performer Jackie Edwards. After topping the British charts in 1965, the song struggled on the lower reaches of the US Hot 100.

The group's two hottest sellers were self-penned projects. "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man" were searing showcases for the adolescent Winwood's gritty vocals and blazing keyboards and the band's pounding rhythms. Although they burned up the charts even on the other side of the ocean in 1967, the quartet never capitalized on their fame with an American tour. At the height of their power, Winwood left to form Traffic, leaving Davis without his dynamic frontman. The bandleader focused on producing other acts, including a Canadian ensemble called the Downchild Blues Band during the early '80s.

The Style Council - Walls come tumbling down ! (1985)

The Style Council a toda máquina en una magnífica versión en directo de una de mis canciones favoritas de Weller.

"Are you gonna be threatend by
The public enemies No. 10 -
Those who play the power game
They take the profits - you take the blame -
When they tell you there's no rise in pay

Are you gonna try an' make this work
Or spend your days down in the dirt -
You see things CAN change -
YES an' walls can come tumbling down!"

Ahora que empieza el Tour de France que mejor que dedicarle esta gran canción a la gran prueba ciclista del calendario.
Que épocas aquellas en que los ciclistas eran instrumentistas!


"El Tarangu"

27 jun 2012

The Del Fuegos

by Mark Deming
Kicking up a ruckus on the more garage-oriented side of the 1980s' roots rock boom, the Del Fuegos were a four-piece band from Boston who (at least for a time) won critical favor and a loyal cult following at home and on the road for their passionate, no-frills style. Formed in 1980, the Del Fuegos consisted of guitarist and singer Dan Zanes, his brother Warren Zanes on guitar, bassist Tom Lloyd, and drummer Steve Morrell. Steady gigging on the Boston club circuit won the band a potent local reputation, which began to spread along the East Coast with the band's first few low-budget tours. While the Del Fuegos began recording an album for legendary local label Ace of Hearts Records, in 1984 the famed Los Angeles indie Slash Records stepped in and signed them, releasing their first album, The Longest Day, in the fall of that year. (By this time, Steve Morrell had parted ways with the band, and former Embarrassment percussionist Woody Giessmann had taken over the drum kit.) One of the first albums produced by former Ronnie Montrose keyboard man Mitchell Froom, The Longest Day's mixture of attitude, guitar firepower, and heart-on-the-sleeve emotion clicked with both critics and fans, and the Del Fuegos seemed poised for a commercial breakthrough with their second album, 1985's Boston, Mass.

While "Don't Run Wild" and "I Still Want You" earned some radio and MTV airplay and the album received rave reviews, it wasn't the hit some were hoping for, and the more self-consciously hip members of the music world began to turn their backs on the band after it appeared in a widely seen beer commercial. The band began reaching for a more ambitious sound and wider musical range on its third album, but 1987's Stand Up received harsh reviews and little support from fans, despite the Del Fuegos' appearance on an extended tour with noted fan Tom Petty (who also guested on Stand Up), in which the group shared the opening slot with the Replacements. After Stand Up's disappointing reception, Woody Giessmann and Warren Zanes both quit the Del Fuegos, and the band was dropped by Slash. In 1989, Dan Zanes and Tom Lloyd decided to give the band another chance, bringing aboard guitarist Adam Roth and drummer Joe Donnelly and cutting a new album, Smoking in the Fields, but while critics were kinder to the new set than Stand Up, the album was a commercial bust, and within a year the Del Fuegos were history. Dan Zanes went on to a solo career and in time found success with a series of acclaimed children's albums, while Warren Zanes returned to music in 2002 after many years in academia with a fine solo album, Memory Girls.

24 jun 2012


by James Christopher Monger
Del Amitri's easy blend of Beatlesque pop and country-rock has made them a worldwide road and radio staple since the mid-'80s. Formed in Scotland in 1982 by bassist/vocalist/songwriter Justin Currie and longtime guitarist and collaborator Ian Harvie, the duo released Sense Sickness on a small Glasgow indie label the following year. Through heavy touring and positive word of mouth, the band -- which now included drummer Paul Tyagi and guitar player Bryan Tolland -- managed to impress the suits at Chrysalis Records enough to offer the fledgling group a recording contract. Their Hugh Jones-produced self-titled major-label debut was released in 1985 amidst a tidal wave of hype, but their signature blend of new wave and country-folk isolated audiences and critics alike, resulting in their inevitable departure from the Chrysalis family.

Del Amitri rebounded with a self-financed U.S. tour that broadened their network of fans and landed them a deal with A&M. In 1987 the quartet expanded by one, adding keyboardist Andy Alston and replacing Tolland with David Cummings and Tyagi with Brian McDermott, and began work on Waking Hours. Released in 1989, the Gil Norton/Hugh Jones-produced LP yielded the band's first British hit, "Kiss This Thing Goodbye," a song that also found success in the U.S. In 1992 the group charted with "Always the Last to Know" from the Change Everything album, but it wasn't until the release of 1995's Twisted and its infectious hit "Roll to Me" that Del Amitri could declare global victory.

Their follow-up, Some Other Sucker's Parade, relied heavily on the adult alternative jangle pop that made Twisted such a success, but failed to generate any lasting hits. Hatful of Rain: The Best of Del Amitri, a much-needed career-spanning anthology that collected the prolific yet spotty group's best tunes, was released in 1998 along with a companion CD, B-Sides Lousy With Love. Del Amitri released the soulful and melodic Can You Do Me Good? in 2002.

21 jun 2012

The Saw Doctors

by Craig Harris
The hook-laden sounds of 1960s rock bands like the Beatles and the Byrds and the working-class imagery of Bruce Springsteen are combined with the musical traditions of Ireland and the intensity of punk rock by the Saw Doctors. The Saw Doctors were a little-known local bar band in Tuam (pronounced "Chewam") in County Galway when they were invited by Mike Scott to be the opening act on the Waterboys' 1988 tour of Ireland and the United Kingdom. In the decade since, however, the Saw Doctors have emerged as the most successful Irish rock band since U2. The Washington Post referred to the Saw Doctors as "one of the world's most appealing roots rock outfits."

The Saw Doctors had their initial success with their second single, "I Useta Love Her," a turbocharged tune about lusting for an old girl during Mass. Despite opposition by the Catholic Church, the song became the biggest-selling single in Irish history and spent nine weeks at the top of the Irish charts. Following its success, the Saw Doctors' first single, "N17," about an immigrant's homesickness, was reissued, and it too became a number one hit. The Saw Doctors' debut album, If This Is Rock and Roll, I Want My Old Job Back, released in 1991, also reached the top slot on the Irish charts.

Although their second album, All the Way from Tuam, released in 1992, was well received in Ireland, the Saw Doctors didn't have their first hit in Great Britain until releasing a four-track EP, Small Bit of Love, which reached the number 24 position on the British charts. A second EP, World of Good, released in January 1996, reached the number 15 position. Same Oul' Town, the Saw Doctors' third album, was released in 1996 and fared even better, reaching number six on the British charts. In 1997, the Saw Doctors released an album, Sing a Powerful Song, featuring 17 tracks from their earlier three albums. The same year, the Saw Doctors recorded "She Says" as the theme song for the BBC comedy series Give My Head Peace. A four-track EP featuring "She Says" and three new tunes -- "School of Beauty," "Days," and "Bushwackin'" -- was released in Ireland in May 1997.

The Saw Doctors had their commercial breakthrough in the United States when "Never Mind the Strangers," co-written with original drummer Padraig Stevens, was used by Guinness in a million-dollar radio ad campaign for Harp Lager. The release of the Saw Doctors' fourth album, Songs from Sun Street, was postponed until September 1997 when their American record label, Paradigm, requested that they tour the United States prior to its release. Villains? was released on the Shamtown label in 2002, followed by a couple of live recordings in 2003 (Play It Again Sham!) and 2004 (Live in Galway). Cure arrived in 2006.

The prime songwriters of the Saw Doctors, Leo Moran (guitar) and Davey Carton (vocals), were veterans of Galway's punk rock scene when they launched the Saw Doctors. Carton had previously performed his song "I Useta Love Her" in a punk group, Blaze X. The current lineup of the Saw Doctors also features Pearse Doherty (bass), John Donnelly (drums), and Derek Murray (keyboards).

18 jun 2012

Que decíais de los gustos de los futbolists? Este si que sabe. Estos días andan publicándose noticias sobre los gustos musicales de los jugadores de "La Roja" (ya sabes, la antes conocida como selección española de fútbol). En general, dan bastante o mucha grima. La excepción # 1 es el madridista Xabi Alonso, que tiene casi tanto buen oído como criterio para jugar de medio centro (ahora lo llaman pivote). Que si The Shins, que si Band Of Horses, que si Stephen Malkmus, que si Leonard Cohen, que si Wilco, que si... Alabama Shakes. Yeah, Xabi, tú sí que sabes. No nos extrañaría verlo en el concierto que los estadounidenses darán en Madrid, donde vive, el 18 de julio (sala El Sol), o en San Sebastián el 19 (festival Heineken Jazzaldia, Escenario Verde), donde se crió futbolísticamente y vuelve cuando corresponde.

Field Music - Plumb

by Tim Sendra
Field Music's fourth album is their most precise, most musicianly, most progressive album to date. Plumb is the sound of the Brewis brothers refining and perfecting their sound, breaking it down to key elements and keeping a tight rein on the individual songs and the album as a whole. Unlike Field Music (Measure), which seemed to last forever, Plumb rushes by quickly in a whirl of quirky (in a good way) arrangements and stirring performances. This time out, the brothers embrace the prog rock elements that have always lurked around the edges of their sound and have brought them out into the light. Along with the usual Beatles/XTC chamber pop that comes through in the big, hooky choruses and the chiming guitars, there are moments that sound like classic Yes or early Genesis, to name a couple. You can hear it overall in way the guitars coil around each other, in the tricky vocal harmonies and weighty-feeling lyrics, and in the interestingly weird combinations of instruments. There are flashes of pure prog too, like the squiggly bass of "Who'll Pay the Bills" and heavy synth rumble on "Choosing Sides." The prog they incorporate into their structure isn't the overly difficult kind, or the kind that appeals to musos or Tolkien devotees, instead it's the kind of prog rock with hooks and swagger (think "Roundabout") that you'd hear on AOR stations in the '70s. When done right, like on Plumb, this combination of pop and prog works like a perfectly constructed musical machine and here it results in what is probably the duo's most immediately satisfying album yet. The shifting dynamics within each song, and from song to song, keep you riveted throughout and the quality of songcraft has never been higher. Add to that the incredibly strong one-two punch of "Just Like Everyone Else" and "(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing" that ends the album in a soaring, heartbursting moment of pop brilliance, and you've got a record that stands out as a career highlight in an already very impressive and inspiring career.

17 jun 2012

Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe

review[-]by Stephen Thomas Erlewine Damon Albarn enlisted Bobby Womack to sing on Gorillaz's 2010 album Plastic Beach, pushing the great soul singer back into action after a prolonged period of silence. Remarkably, the unlikely pair struck up a friendship, a partnership that led to 2012's The Bravest Man in the Universe, Womack's first album in 13 years. Signing with Richard Russell's XL Records, Womack collaborated with his longtime cohort Harold Payne, Albarn, and Russell on this ghostly, skeletal soul collection, each man bringing his own signatures to the table. Russell's beats intertwine with Albarn's spectral chords, each evoking distinct memories of his past work, but even if there are clear antecedents in Russell's production of Gil Scott-Heron or the futuristic funk oeuvre of Gorillaz, these two do not bend Womack to fit their needs: they free him to make a startlingly modern Bobby Womack album, one that harks back to such previous masterworks as Understanding and The Poet, albums that fully embodied both the singer and his times. And so it is with The Bravest Man in the Universe, an album that sounds like 2012 as much as it sounds like Womack: the rhythms belong to the modern world, the slow, shimmering grooves undeniably Womack's, as he's been specializing in this sound since the turn of the '70s. Initially, the most bracing elements of The Bravest Man in the Universe are those electronic flourishes from Russell and Albarn and, most of all, the power of Womack's singing. He's showing signs of age -- his voice is etched and weathered -- but he sounds undiminished, both as a vocalist and as a man. This is not a quiet, mournful album about the dying of the light; this is about living in the moment, embracing age and modernity with equal enthusiasm. The past is present on The Bravest Man in the Universe -- nowhere more so than on "Dayglo Reflection," where a song by Womack mentor Sam Cooke is interpolated and chanteuse of the year Lana Del Rey is deployed as effectively ethereal counterpart, but Bobby covers the traditional "Deep River" and revives "Whatever Happened to the Times," a song he co-wrote with his old running partner Jim Ford -- although Womack is never beholden to time gone by; the old days are part of him, informing how he's facing the present, and there's nothing remotely approaching nostalgia here. For as haunting as parts of the album are, there is no fetishization of death on the parts of Albarn and Russell; even with a tinge of melancholy coloring the fringes of the album, this is an album that affirms the power of life, in all of its mess and glory.

15 jun 2012


by Craig Harris
Led by trumpet player Joseph Bowie -- the son of a St. Louis-based music teacher, the brother of big band arranger Byron Bowie, and late trumpet player of the Art Ensemble of Chicago's Lester Bowie -- Defunkt created some of the most adventurous sounds of the last quarter of the 20th century. Formed in 1978, Defunkt initially took a danceable approach to jazz. Although their first three albums -- Defunkt, Razor's Edge, and Thermonuclear Sweat -- made them leaders of New York's radical underground music scene, their inability to achieve commercial expectations led them to disband in 1983, with Bowie retreating to the island of St. Croix. Reorganized after Bowie's return to New York in 1986, Defunkt recorded an additional six albums, including A Blues Tribute: Jimi Hendrix & Muddy Waters and In America, between 1988-1993. Beginning in 1996, Bowie sought a way to combine the big band jazz of the 1930s and '40s and the dance rhythms and grooves of the '70s, '80s, and '90s. Expanding Defunkt with the addition of more horn players and background vocalists, Bowie introduced the Defunkt Big Band with a six-week stint at the Knitting Factory in New York.

12 jun 2012

SEA LIONS:Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But...

by Tim Sendra
By the time of the release of their 2011 album, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask, the indie pop community was eagerly awaiting the Sea Lions' official debut and it’s easy to see why. How could they not be stoked about a band whose influences were Sarah Records, the Television Personalities, Beat Happening, early Slumberland bands, Love, and Orange Juice? How could they ignore the stream of excellent songs, singles, and tapes the band unleashed in the years previous? How could they not be instantly charmed by vocalist Adrian Pillado’s deep and artless vocals that makes him sound like Calvin Johnson's young, and ultra melancholy, cousin? The short answer is that it was pretty much impossible not to be eager to the point of maniacal. The Sea Lions, in concept and in reality, are like indie pop catnip and Everything You Always Wanted to Know is like a 50-lb. bag of the stuff. Pillado’s songs are super-catchy and his vocals spot-on, and the band sounds perfectly shambolic but also full of energy and verve, sort of like a cross between the Pastels and a '60s garage band like the Dovers. Songs like “I Loved Her So Much” and “I Should Be Sleeping” have a timeless jangle that would fit perfectly in 1966, 1986, or 2011, capturing feelings of teenage angst that will never go out of fashion. Pillado has a knack for making the smallest moments of heartbreak sound like utter tragedy but always remembers to wrap the emotion in melodies that would sound good coming out of supermarket speakers (well, a super cool market anyway). Along with the cheerful gloom and sweetness, there’s also a healthy dose of post-punk angularity and weirdness in the Sea Lions sound, so you can’t write them off as indie pop weaklings. They also don’t sound like they are copying anyone, which gives them instant cred and appeal to indie pop fans who have heard it all. Of course, if songs about eating cereal, endlessly pining for girls, and generally moping around like it was going out of style, sung in a voice that won’t win any singing competitions anytime soon, make you instantly want to throw a hissy fit, steer clear. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask is an album for sensitive souls who like to make a bunch of noise and aren’t afraid to sound dorky while they do it. Along the way they made an indie pop instant classic.

7 jun 2012

Calentando motores para el próximo concierto en Barcelona. (a mi que esta canción me da aires a lo New York Dolls)

2 jun 2012

Deep Purple

by Jason Ankeny
Deep Purple survived a seemingly endless series of lineup changes and a dramatic mid-career shift from grandiose progressive rock to ear-shattering heavy metal to emerge as a true institution of the British hard rock community; once credited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the globe's loudest band, their revolving-door roster launched the careers of performers including Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, and Ian Gillan.

Deep Purple was formed in Hertford, England, in 1968, with an inaugural lineup that featured guitarist Blackmore, vocalist Rod Evans, bassist Nick Simper, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice. Initially dubbed Roundabout, the group was first assembled as a session band for ex-Searchers drummer Chris Curtis but quickly went their own way, touring Scandinavia before beginning work on their debut LP, Shades of Deep Purple. The most pop-oriented release of their career, the album generated a Top Five American hit with its reading of Joe South's "Hush" but otherwise went unnoticed at home. The Book of Taliesyn followed (in the U.S. only) in 1969, again cracking the U.S. Top 40 with a cover of Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman."

With their self-titled third LP, Deep Purple's ambitions grew, however; the songs reflecting a new complexity and density as Lord's classically influenced keyboards assumed a much greater focus. Soon after the album's release, their American label Tetragrammaton folded, and with the dismissals of Evans and Simper, the band started fresh, recruiting singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover from the ranks of the pop group Episode Six.

The revamped Deep Purple's first album, 1970's Concerto for Group and Orchestra, further sought to fuse rock and classical music. When the project, which was recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, was poorly received, Blackmore took creative control of the band, steering it towards a heavier, guitar-dominated approach which took full advantage of Gillan's powerful vocals. The gambit worked; 1970's Deep Purple in Rock heralded the beginning of the group's most creatively and commercially successful period. At home, the album sold over a million copies, with the subsequent non-LP single "Black Night" falling just shy of topping the U.K. pop charts. Released in 1971, Fireball was also a smash, scoring a hit with "Strange Kind of Woman."

Plans to record the follow-up at the Casino in Montreux, Switzerland, were derailed after the venue burned down during a live appearance by Frank Zappa, but the experience inspired Deep Purple's most enduring hit, the AOR staple "Smoke on the Water." The song, featured on the multi-platinum classic Machine Head, reached the U.S. Top Five in mid-1972 and positioned Deep Purple among rock's elite; the band consolidated its status with the 1973 studio follow-up Who Do We Think We Are and the hit "Woman from Tokyo." However, long-simmering creative differences between Blackmore and Gillan pushed the latter out of the group that same year, with Glover soon exiting as well. Singer David Coverdale and bassist/singer Glenn Hughes were recruited for 1974's Burn, and Gillan meanwhile formed a band bearing his own name.

After completing 1974's Stormbringer, Blackmore left Deep Purple as well, to form Rainbow with vocalist Ronnie James Dio; his replacement was ex-James Gang guitarist Tommy Bolin, who made his debut on Come Taste the Band. All the changes clearly took their toll, however, and following a farewell tour, the group dissolved in 1976. Coverdale, meanwhile, went on to form Whitesnake, and Bolin died of a drug overdose later in the year.

The classic lineup of Blackmore, Gillan, Lord, Glover, and Paice reunited Deep Purple in 1984 for a new album, the platinum smash Perfect Strangers. The House of Blue Light followed three years later, but as past tensions resurfaced, Gillan again exited in mid-1989. Onetime Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner was recruited for 1990's Slaves and Masters before Gillan again rejoined to record The Battle Rages On..., an apt title as Blackmore quit the group midway through the supporting tour, to be temporarily replaced by Joe Satriani.

In 1994, Steve Morse took over the guitar slot (fresh from a stint in Kansas), and the revitalized group returned to the studio for 1996's Purpendicular, which proved a success among the Purple faithful. 1998's Abandon followed, as well as a 1999 orchestral performance released the following year as Live at the Royal Albert Hall. Deep Purple was given the box set treatment the same year with the four-disc set Shades: 1968-1998, which collected hits, demos, live takes, and unreleased tracks from throughout the years (touching upon all of Purple's different lineups).

The late '90s/early 2000s saw the release of several other archival releases and collections (Machine Head's 25th anniversary, Friends & Relatives, Rhino's The Very Best Of, and Days May Come and Days May Go: The 1975 California Rehearsals), as well as a slew of DVDs (Total Abandon: Live Australia 1999, In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, Bombay Calling, and New Live & Rare). Former member Blackmore also kept himself busy after leaving the band by issuing a single album with his briefly resuscitated outfit Rainbow (1998's Stranger in Us All), before forming the Renaissance-inspired Blackmore's Night with fiancée/vocalist Candice Night. Despite numerous lineup upheavals during their career, Deep Purple remained alive and well in the 21st century.