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Henry Bruce-Jones Yuko Araki channels noisy psychedelia for ‘Moonstroke in the Mountain’

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Shane Woolman presents Adventures In Sound And Music : Carl Stone special

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Lisa-Marie Ferla Julien Baker – Little Oblivions

If you’re already familiar with Julien Baker’s pared back, acoustic guitar and piano-led songwriting, the wider sonic palette is the first thing you’ll notice about Little Oblivions – the exhilarating gasp of synthesiser on “Faith Healer”; the way that “Hardline” roars and crunches to its conclusion; the stately, synthetic percussion underpinning “Relative Fiction”. The Memphis songwriter’s adoption of drums on this third album – her second for Matador – has, as she has joked in interviews, the potential for a Dylan moment given the sparse confessionals typical of her work to date.

But regardless of ornamentation, Baker’s writing remains a rigorous and unforgiving thing, her words too intimate for daylight hours. The characters in these 12 songs seek redemption in substances, shared secrets and snake oil merchants as Baker casts herself somewhere between protagonist and narrator, sometimes in the gutter, sometimes watching from the side of the road as it all goes up in smoke.

Little Oblivions was recorded in Memphis as 2019 turned into 2020 with Calvin Lauber and Craig Silvey, both of whom worked with Baker on 2017’s Turn Out the Lights. It was a period that – just months before much of the world was forced to turn inward, in varying degrees of lockdown – marked the end of a tumultuous time for Baker: both her second album and boygenius, her collaborative project with friends and fellow songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, attracted significant attention and a gruelling live schedule. That summer, medical reasons forced the cancellation of a run of planned European dates and Baker went quiet, reemerging with boygenius on the spring 2020 solo album from Paramore’s Hayley Williams.

Written during that period of turbulence, the songs that make up Little Oblivions seem to predict the collective trauma of 2020: stark lyrical references to violence, vice and what is ultimately the inability to escape from oneself, whether by placing one’s faith in a god or a bottle. The songs are also, curiously, some of the most uplifting Baker has yet written – in part because of the dizzying melodic highs, in part because of the way the songwriter remains standing, defiant, in the face of self-examination at its most brutal.

In this context, “Heatwave”, the album’s second track, is particularly stunning: an unflinching portrayal of the gruesome, self-absorbed reality of an extreme depressive episode. Its central conceit is Baker witnessing a violent accident; her voice dispassionate, disconnected from the electric guitar melody line despite the brutality of the subject matter. “I had the shuddering thought,” she sings, as the car bursts into flames in front of her, “this was gonna make me late for work.”

That relatively subdued track gives way to “Faith Healer”; inspired, says Baker, by the cognitive dissonance of substance abuse. It’s one of the album’s busiest, musically, but there is intention in every sonic detail: the way the melody seesaws over the verses and bridge before the crunch of the chorus, the way Baker’s voice switches between whisper and exorcism. The music is liberating, the lyrics – “I’ll believe you if you make me feel something” – perfectly capturing the paradox of finding escape in the things that you shouldn’t.

Some cognitive dissonance may also be required to get your head around Baker playing almost every instrument on the album – unless, perhaps, you caught her joyful drumming behind Hayley Williams in a live session just before Christmas, or have stumbled across her high school band Forrister on Bandcamp. The raucousness of “Hardline”, cathartic pop chorus of “Relative Fiction” and “Highlight Reel” – which takes half the opening riff from Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and corrupts it into something as claustrophobic as its lyrics – make the quieter moments all the more powerful.

Of these, “Song In E” is the most gut-wrenching: a vocal and piano performance on which you can hear every creak, Baker brutalising herself on behalf of a past heartbreak. “I wish you’d hurt me,” she sings, almost tenderly, “it’s the mercy I can’t take”. On “Bloodshot”, the song which gives the album both its title and its epigraph, the louds and quiets are juxtaposed to particularly devastating effect, all but the most minimal piano dropping away to highlight that “there is no glory in love”.

The album is an embarrassment of lyrical riches, every line a tattoo on the skin. Like Phoebe Bridgers, Baker has a particular knack for tiny details that grab the listener: a moth trapped in the grille of a car on “Favor”, a song which features backing vocals from her boygenius collaborators; a burning engine; the drunks in the bar talking over the band. Everything on Little Oblivions will make you feel, and it’s the catharsis we all need.

Little Oblivions by Julien Baker

The post Julien Baker – Little Oblivions appeared first on UNCUT.

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Sam Richards The Who Sell Out super deluxe boxset unveiled

The Who have revealed details of their mammoth The Who Sell Out super deluxe edition, due for release via UMC/Polydor on April 23.

It features 112 tracks across five CDs and two 7″ singles – 46 of which are previously unreleased, including 14 unheard Pete Townshend demos: hear “Pictures Of Lily”, “Kids! Do You Want Kids” and “Odorono” below:

The super deluxe edition also comes with an 80-page full-colour book – including rare period photos, memorabilia, track by track annotation and new sleevenotes by Pete Townshend – plus nine posters and inserts, including replicas of The Who posters, flyers and newsletters from 1967.

The Who Sell Out will also be reissued in a 2xLP deluxe (stereo) vinyl version, featuring the original album and highlights from box set; a 2xLP deluxe (mono) vinyl version pressed on coloured vinyl; a 2xCD edition; and a variety of digital formats.

Check out the full tracklistings and pre-order here.

Of course, you can read much more about The Who Sell Out in the latest issue of Uncut, which features an exclusive interview with Pete Townshendorder a copy here.

The post The Who Sell Out super deluxe boxset unveiled appeared first on UNCUT.

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Looking forward to my live chat with Luke Spiller THIS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 27th @ 5pm EST. Get your…

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Tom Pinnock Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye: “We decided we were going to start a new scene”

Man the barricades! The new issue of Uncut – in shops now or available to order online here, with free P&P for the UK – features Ian MacKaye’s first-person account of Fugazi’s incredible, and loud, career at the vanguard of America’s post-hardcore scene. In this extract, he recalls being inspired by Sex Pistols and The Cramps to form Minor Threat, before ripping it up and starting again in even more ambitious fashion with the radical, inspirational Fugazi…

—-

When punk rock appeared, the media were really derisive about it. At first I just took a bite of the media’s pie and thought, “Yeah, this is fucking ridiculous, these idiots stabbing themselves with safety pins and vomiting into each other’s mouth…” But I had really good friends with great taste who were into it, so I had to listen. When I heard “Bodies” by the Sex Pistols, it hit me that this was the underground, the counterculture. I’d really believed in music as a revolutionary thing growing up in the ’60s, but then by the ’70s it seemed like everyone just wanted to rock, so I’d given up on music in the sense of a community. With punk, it was like being led into a secret cavern. On February 3, 1979, I went to see my first punk show, which was The Cramps. To my mind, that’s still the greatest show of all time.

When Minor Threat started playing in December 1980, [we had] this idea of the punk scene creating an external kind of family. It worked, and the scene here in Washington became pronounced, identifiable and connected. But if you look at interviews with us from 1981, we acknowledge that, as part of the scene becoming bigger, you’re going to get more assholes. The media depicted punks as psychopathic, self-destructive, nihilistic looney birds, with the result that psychopathic, self-destructive, nihilistic looney birds thought they were punks. They would start coming to shows, and then the shows became a problem.

After Minor Threat split in 1983, there was a period when the scene was fractured. There were a lot of people – and a lot of people we didn’t know. There was also a burgeoning street-punk/skinhead scene that was so not what me or my friends were interested in. Their behaviour was detestable – stealing, vandalising, gay-bashing – just fucked up, and they were nationalists, thinly veiled white supremacists. It was very discouraging. We decided that instead of quitting punk or driving those people out, we were just going to start a new scene – we’d play music that would not be appealing to those people, let them do their thing at their place and we’d do ours at other venues.

That’s what gave birth to Revolution Summer – we weren’t trying to create a revolution, it was just a moniker, a start date, a somewhat concerted effort to do something creative, to start bands or fanzines, get involved with political stuff. We wanted to take what we’d learned and developed in forming our tribe and take it to another level. These new bands were profound: Beefeater, Rites Of Spring, Kingface, I was in a band called Embrace. They were very offputting to the more conservative punks, but they were challenging, intellectually stimulating. I mean, Rites Of Spring were one of the greatest bands of all time, they were so incredible live.

Embrace only played 11 shows. In March 1986, when we played our last show, I realised my misstep. I had gone in thinking that I wanted to be in a band, but what I really wanted was to play music – and that’s different. Joe Lally used to drive gear for Rites Of Spring. I heard that Joe wanted to play bass in a band, so I called him and said, “Hey, I wanna play some music, but not form a band. Do you wanna play with me?” So we just started to play together.

By this point we had a lot of the early stuff – “Merchandise”, “Waiting Room”, “Bad Mouth” – but I still wasn’t thinking we’d be a band. I’d known Brendan [Canty] and Guy [Picciotto] since 1980 or ’81, they were in Happy Go Licky by this point, so I asked if Brendan wanted to play drums with me and Joe. That really changed the way we sounded – he has his own style of playing, he’s an absolutely brilliant musician. At some point Brendan took a break and we tried all these different drummers, including Dave Grohl.

But Brendan came back, as Happy Go Licky were kind of part-time. So we started playing again. On September 3, 1987, we did our first show. We kept trying to get Guy to play with us, because he was around all the time and Brendan and Guy were pretty inseparable. The original idea of Fugazi was that it was gonna be a revolving cast of people in the band, all sorts of guest musicians and different singers. But Guy couldn’t see a role for himself. At our third show, he hung at the side of the stage, singing backups, and then the fourth show we went down to Richmond, North Carolina, and he came with us. We became more of a group. In October, he sang his first Fugazi song, “Break-In”, and that was incredible.

Read much more about Fugazi in the April 2021 issue of Uncut, out now with The Who’s Pete Townshend on the cover and available to buy direct from us here.

The post Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye: “We decided we were going to start a new scene” appeared first on UNCUT.

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Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Felix Mendelssohn was one of the most gifted and versatile musicians the world has ever seen. As a child prodigy he was likened to Mozart and he grew to become one of the most famous and beloved composers in Europe, during the middle of the 19th century. His life was cut tragically short, at the age of 38, while he was at the very height of his powers. This week, Donald Macleod focuses on the final five years of Mendelssohn’s life, and follows the composer through his extremely hectic work schedule which undoubtedly contributed to his early demise.

Music Featured:

Lied ohne Worte in E minor, Op 62 No 3 (Trauermarsch)
Paulus, Op 36 (excerpt)
Cello Sonata No 2 in D, Op 58
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op 61 (excerpt)
O for the wings of a dove! (From Hear My Prayer)
Lieder ohne Worte in B flat, Op 62 No 2, 5-6
Lieder ohne Worte in E flat, Op 67 No 1
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64
Organ Sonata No 5 in D, Op 65
Wenn sich zwei Herzen scheiden, Op 99 No 5
Lieder ohne Worte in C, Op 67 No 4
Lieder ohne Worte in A, Op 85 No 5
Lieder ohne Worte in D, Op 102 No 2-3
Piano Trio No 2 in C minor, Op 66
Athalie, Op 74 (Overture & War March)
Lied ohne Worte in D minor (Reiterlied)
Rondo Brilliant in E flat, Op 29
Lauda Sion, Op 73
Nachtlied, Op 71 No 6
Jubilate, Op 69
Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56 “Scottish” (Vivace non troppo & Adagio)
String Quartet in F minor, Op 80

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) https://ift.tt/2PefJ1Q

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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CAS My Classic Album: Mark Leckey on ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

Turner Prize winning artist Mark Leckey joins Classic Album Sundays’ DEBONAIR for a deep dive into the ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ album musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, on which the 1971 rock opera of the same name was based.

This stream will air at 8pm on Sunday 28th February on our Facebook and YouTube pages. It will be available on-demand thereafter.

Mark Leckey is a British contemporary artist, working with collage art, music and video. His found object art and video pieces, which incorporate themes of nostalgia and anxiety, and draw on elements of pop culture, span several videos including Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) and Industrial Light and Magic (2008), for which he won the 2008 Turner Prize.

‘My Classic Album’ is a series of free-to-view artist interview streams created with support from the Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund. Future interviews will feature artists such as Mark Leckie, Emma-Jean Thackray, Steven Wilson and many more.

Join our monthly Album Club, Classic Album Pub Quiz, Safe & Sound Hi-Fi webinar and receive rewards here.

The post My Classic Album: Mark Leckey on ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ appeared first on Classic Album Sundays.

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Michael Bonner Paul Weller announces new album Fat Pop (Volume 1)

Paul Weller has announced details of a new studio album, Fat Pop (Volume 1).

The album is released by Polydor on May 14.

Weller is joined by his core band members (drummer Ben Gordelier, Steve Cradock on guitar and bassist Andy Crofts) as well as a number of guests including Andy Fairweather Low (“Testify”), Leah Weller (“Shades Of Blue”) and The Mysterines’ Lia Metcalfe (“True”). Steve Cradock has co-written “Still Glides The Stream”.

Tracklisting for Fat Pop (Volume 1) is:

Cosmic Fringes
True
Fat Pop
Shade Of Blue
Glad Fimes
Cobweb/Connections
Testify
That Pleasure
Failed
Moving Canvas
In Better Times
Still Glides The Stream

The post Paul Weller announces new album Fat Pop (Volume 1) appeared first on UNCUT.

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