Soon come: The Snakes on Bucketfull Of Brains Records (BoB 131)
AmericanaUK’s ‘new heroes of British country rock’ are back, with a new drummer, former Mega City Four sticksman Chris Jones, to celebrate the release of a much anticipated third album: The Last Days Of Rock & Roll.
The eclectic new album sees the band expanding on their established alt-country repertoire from Stonesesque country swagger through soulful Celtic folk to the dirty rock & roll of Mott The Hoople and Mink Deville, sharing a bottle of bourbon with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan along the way.
The Last Days Of Rock & Roll is also the first Snakes album to feature a cover version, with enigmatic ‘The French Girl’, a long lost gem discovered via Gene Clark, and also revisited by Bob Dylan on the Basement Tapes.
The Last Days Of Rock & Roll is not a lament, but a declaration of defiance in an age of intangible downloads and disposable talent shows. It expands on its critically acclaimed predecessor Sometime Soon, with the added instrumentation of violin, sitar, saxophone and pedal steel, plus a special guest appearance from Redlands Palomino’s singer Hannah Elton-Wall on the dynamic country rock opener ‘Too Hard’.
‘The Band Played On’, a song originating from a wild jam session, accelerates from coiled potential energy to a frenzied rock & roll crescendo. Lyrically prescient, it foretold of the subsequent line up change…”I should have known there was something wrong, when the drummer stopped and the band played on”.
The freewheeling rock & roll stomp of ‘Here We Go Again’ written by guitarist Richard, sees the band revelling in booze and blues a la The Faces and Stones, in a perennial tale of tavern banter.
‘Three Little Wishes’ is a heartfelt promise of love from father to child, wistfully delivered by Simon to his daughter, while the hauntingly poignant ‘Jerry’s Chair’, with an intro shrouded in Celtic mist, mourns the loss of Johnny’s father, as seen through the eyes of his drinking buddies.
‘Look What We Could Have Been’, is The Snakes with the dial set to ‘epic’; Simon’s tailor-made classic, stitched with vintage cloth left over from the making of Ian Hunter’s flares.
The title track ‘The Last Days Of Rock & Roll’, featuring a guest ‘choir’, is a song of two halves : three minutes of enticingly crafted lyrics and chords, followed by three minutes of one single chord in a glorious extravaganza, that builds like a tower of power, in an unstoppable homage to the golden age of rock & roll, turning the vibes up to eleven!
Over the last ten years, The Snakes have become known as the bad boys of alt-Country, with their guitar-fuelled rock & roll, Uncut Magazine dubbed them as ‘Muswell Hill’s own Whiskeytown’ following their appearance on Clubhouse Records’ compilation CD, Divided By A Common Language – A Collection Of UK Americana.
Their debut album, Songs From The Satellites (2006), brought them to the attention of legendary BBC Radio 2 broadcasters Bob Harris and Mark Lamarr, who both declared themselves fans of the band, with Mark Lamarr inviting them into the studio for a live session, having been particularly impressed by the dark, twang laden delights of ‘I’ll Be Around’.
The second album, Sometime Soon…(2010), brought further rave reviews including four stars in Uncut Magazine, along with repeated weekly airplay on Mark Lamaar’s BBC Radio 2 show, as well as other national and international airplay, notably on Ireland’s RTE1.
Furthering their International reputation the band were included alongside the likes of Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Kevin Costner, on a double CD compilation album released in Germany entitled Country Rock Heads Vol.1 (2011)
With a reputation on the rise, the songs to back it up and a Chinese calendar to hand, one thing is certain; 2013 will not be The Last Days Of Rock & Roll for The Snakes!
And the band played on…
In just under two weeks John Murry begins his first solo headline UK tour. This follows the release last summer of The Graceless Age; an extraordinary collection of personal, soul-baring songs and performances assembled with the support and assistance of Tim Mooney, once of American Music Club, whose untimely death coincided with the release of the record.
The Graceless Age is a barbed album; once it has its hooks in a listener it won’t let go, and they can’t let go. Over the last six months it has infiltrated its way into many lives, and the consequence is that Murry is here shortly for the first of what will be a series of visits to Europe in the coming period.
But 2013 is the year when John Murry comes into his kingdom and this is the one sure chance of seeing him in relative intimacy, in small venues. Its an opportunity not to be spurned, to grasp the moment of watching these songs as they grow and transmute in live performance.
It’s a short tour, a little toes in the water, and this time some parts of the country are better served than others but if you can find yourself anywhere in the vicinity these are the shows that are not to be missed.
And though a Southern bias is quite deplorable if you’re anywhere near the Home Counties you could actually do four of them (Brighton, Oxford, Winchester, and London).
COMPLETE TOUR DATES
Wed 23rd Jan: GLASGOW: Celtic Connection,
Thurs 24th Jan: EDINBURGH: The Voodoo Rooms,
Sat 26th Jan: BELFAST: The Green Room at The Black Box, (3.00pm show)
Sun 27th Jan: DUBLIN: Whelans,
Tues 29th Jan: LONDON: The Borderline
Wed 30th Jan: WINCHESTER: The Railway
Fri 1st Feb: HOLMFIRTH: The Picturedrome,
with Steve Cropper and The Animals
Sat 2nd Feb: NEWCASTLE: The Cluny
A seasonal song from Sukie Smith and Madam in aid of the restoration of St Leonards Church, Shoreditch:
Sukie says: “We recorded it in response to all the footage of war and stories of civilians being killed in Syria and also in the light of all the child abuse horror show. Hope that’s not too heavy. All proceeds go to restoring the extraordinary St. Leonard’s Church where Handel rehearsed and Richard Burbage is buried. We used the natural reverb to record the vocals: all spooky and perfect.”
Madam featured in BoB#78/79
Jack Day set to launch long-awaited debut album The First Ten on Bucketfull Of Brains on Tues 27th November
The First Ten is the long awaited debut album from much-loved London songwriter Jack Day. Set for release on Bucketfull Of Brains on January 14th, the album contains ten self-penned songs beautifully written and performed by the young singer-songwriter who has been become a ‘must see’ on the thriving London scene.
The First Ten is a solo record – raw and intense. As Day says, “It’s also formative, the first record I’ve made about some of the first things I’ve learnt and some of the first things I’ve said goodbye to. There’s a lot of love in there, a bit of London and a bit of hurt. The songs are delivered straight, recorded by beautiful old mics by veteran engineer Brian O’Shaughnessy (Primal Scream, Beth Orton, Denim, lots of 80s dub and more) at Bark Studios in Blackhorse Road, North-East London. There was a gorgeous old Fender valve amp for the telecaster and upright piano sweet with age; you can hear the foot pedals on the recording. It’s that type of deal. At the front end of recording I was listening to blues and country, from Son House to Townes and all of those; at the back end I was on Otis Redding and Springsteen”
There is an underlining passion and integrity that permeates these songs giving them a truly up-front and personal feel. The opening ‘I Often Think Of You,’ driven along by heavy fast fingerpicking and hand clapping, reflects Day’s early years on the road whilst ‘Birdsong’ offers an altogether different sonic template, a driving telecaster the background to a now trademark blistered voice. The folk-esque ‘Snow and Sleet’ falls in the storytelling acoustic tradition of the likes of Rambling Jack Elliott (a major influence on the young North Londoner) whilst the truly stunning piano-led ‘No One Moves Like You’ just underlines what an incredible songwriter Day has become imbuing within its powerful verses self-reflection, hope, and the trials and tribulations of being an artist. There is even a sublime acoustic gospel vibe on the glorious ‘I Have Been Conveyed’, a track that echoes Dylan in his more religious periods. The album features Bryony Afferson, Pepe Belmonte and Graham Knight.
Jack Day grew up in Hornsey, North London, yet began his musical career whilst living in Brighton. Inspired by likes of the afore mentioned Elliott and Woody Guthrie he began appearing around the capital’s ‘folk’ clubs like Easycome and the famous Lantern Society, then run by Trevor Moss And Hannah-Lou. In 2011, with fellow London troubadour Benjamin Folke Thomas, Day took over running the club that has always been a bedrock to London’s emerging singer-songwriters. Day has toured Europe and the UK and is lining up a tour to support the release of The First Ten.
Prior to the UK release The Greatest Records have a vinyl-only release of The First Ten available from 29th November. Jack tours Europe from 14th November.
Jack plays a UK launch show for The First Ten at The Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston on Tues 27th November where a limited quantity of pre-release CDs will be available.
We are very pleased to announce John Murry’s debut solo tour of the UK in January 2013; tickets are now on sale for all shows.
Thurs Jan 24: The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
Info & tickets
Sat Jan 26: Open House at The Green Room at The Black Box, Belfast (3.00pm show)
Info & tickets
Sun Jan 27: Whelans, Dublin
Info & tickets
Tues Jan 29: The Borderline, London
Info & tickets
Wed Jan 30: The Railway, Winchester
Info & tickets
Thurs Jan 31: The Bullingdon, Oxford
Info & tickets
Photo by Amoreena Berg
BoB’s own Edward Rogers whose Porcelain album we released in Europe earlier in the year is playing at the Half Moon in Putney next Monday evening. He’s opening up for The Kennedys at their London album release show. Ed will be joined by Pete Kennedy and James Mastro; the latter last spotted in the capital last Friday night in Ian Hunter’s band at the spectacular Shepherds Bush Empire show.
“In a career that now spans two decades, New York duo Maura and Pete Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape, surveying power pop, acoustic songwriting, organic rock rooted in their early days in Austin, and a Byrds-inspired jangle that drew the attention of McGuinn, Steve Earle, and most notably Nanci Griffith. The duo co-produced Nanci’s latest CD, and are currently touring the US and the British Isles with the Texas songstress. Alan Harrison of Made in Newcastle said “Opening act, the Kennedys, had a nice line in Country-folk with a quaintly English edge to it and songs like When I go and The Midnight Ghost, won them plenty of new fans, as was witnessed by the long queue buying up their CD’s at the intermission.
On their new release, Closer Than You Know, out on August 21, 2012 via Burnside Distribution in the United States, and October 15, 2012 via Proper Distribution in the UK, The Kennedys strike out into new territory, this time inspired by a sojourn in Paris, where they immersed themselves in the turn of another century, the time when Debussy and Ravel were inventing the sonic palette of modern music. No strangers to reinvention, Pete and Maura came up with a cappuccino-fueled concept at a small café in Montmartre: music inspired by the Impressionist composers, married to the rock and pop sounds for which the duo have long been known. In the spirit of Paris-trained composer Burt Bacharach and his lyricist partner Hal David, Pete took on the task of creating musical landscapes that would cushion Maura’s lyrics and bell-like harmonies. The songs have a quality, inherent in Maura’s voice, that is both soothing and urgent. As writers and producers, the Kennedys continue to mature, from their early style-conscious pop to today’s burnished sheen. Always tuned to their own muse, Pete and Maura have once again come up with a unique sound that is as uplifting as it is unclassifiable.”
From Electric Ghost
An interview with AmericanaUK
“My name is John Murry. I do as little as possible and make as much noise as is allowed by my family, neighbours, and law enforcement officials. Sometimes I record it”
Read it here
A review in Blabber’n’Smoke
“A dark cousin to Brian Wilsons’ California dreaming perhaps, with the dense and elaborate Southern Sky a contender for song of the year as it pounds and insinuates its way into the listener’s brain.”
Read it all here
A review in Flyin’ Shoes
“Astonishingly complex sounds woven together here that will take a long time to reveal all the secrets of their making.”
Read it all here
STOP PRESS: just added to Uncut’s blog is the full interview from which the Q & A was taken.
From The Sun
From The Daily Mirror
From The Independent On Sunday
Read it here
Richard Warren’s musical career began in the mid 90s and has encompassed everything from the dynamic power-pop of The Hybirds, to an ephemeral burst of cult success as sonic explorer Echoboy, not to mention a few revolutions of the planet with Spiritualized and the legendary Mark Lanegan. Richard’s latest studio album The Wayfarer is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2010 solo debut Laments, and a masterpiece of driving folk-punk, full of fire and working class pride, stripped to a brutally sparse frame and conjuring up spirits of the death-balladeers of the Fifties.
“An accomplished guitarist with an ear for the dramatic. Like Richard Hawley’s accursed brother.” THE INDEPENDENT ****
“twanging Like Roy Orbison and kicking up dust Gun Club style.” UNCUT
Now resident in Florida, Bob Rafkin was originally part of the Greenwich Village folk community in the 60s, where his exceptional guitar work led to him playing for legends such as Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, The Everly Brothers, Randy Newman and Tim Buckley. He’s also a very fine singer-songwriter in his own right, with a number of acclaimed solo albums to his credit. Bob returns to the UK with his tenth CD, Twenty Eleven, just released.
From São Paulo, Brazil, Gus Garcia sings in English, and his fascination with UK artists and culture is evident in his highly distinctive music. He released an excellent EP, Many Hiding Places, a couple of years ago and the even better, long-awaited follow-up, Medieval, is available now.
A stripped-down mix of Richard Warren’s The Wayfarer is cover-mounted on BoB#78/79. There is also an interview with him. Bob Rafkin talks in the same issue about his times with Phil Ochs. Still available here.