are a pair of former choir boys drawn to each other
as teenagers by a love of metal and hardcore punk. Now they "make music
that is terribly English
: both polite
," one part drone
, one part rural psychedelia
. Their new album, Preternaturals
, released yesterday, is now streaming over at The Quietus
. [more inside]
In 1964, The Beatles put together a one-off variety show
, with musical numbers specially pre-recorded for the show, presented in the style of theater-in-the-round. Around the Beatles
was aired in the UK and later that same year in the US, but never commercially released. The show includes The Beatles performing a scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream
, with Paul McCartney as Pyramus, John Lennon as his lover Thisbe, George Harrison as Moonshine, Starr as Lion, and Trevor Peacock
(the only actual actor in the lot) in the role of Quince. A color clip of that
was posted previously
, but you can watch the entire (almost) hour-long show with The Beatles' segments accompanied by seven other musical acts, on Dailymotion
, though it's in black and white. [more inside]
You wouldn't think so from its trendy shops and restaurants today, but Seven Dials was once one of the worst slums in London. Intended as a smart residential area when its construction was completed in 1710, this cartwheel of streets between Charing Cross Road and Covent Garden quickly declined to become an over-crowded refuge for the city's thieves. It was here that London's thriving trade in gallows ballads made its home.
A collaboration across more than 100 years, from the jobbing hacks writing ballads and selling them at the foot of the gallows to the historical investigation
of the British Library's broadsheet collection by MeFi's own Paul Slade
, to modern rock, folk, and blues musicians, and then to your ears. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
There is no questioning Syd Dale's [mid-60s UK NSFW] place amongst the legends of library music. ... his lavish big band inspired compositions were quickly brought to the public's attention through their use in countless t.v. shows and advertisements. Much of his work could be as classed as easy listening however Dale was also adept at incorporating elements of funk and spy jazz.* [The music of the 1967 Spider-Man animated TV series - to which he so memorably contributed - has been discussed previously.] [more inside]
More, perhaps, than any other rock star of his generation, Jagger has made it his business to understand and control the mechanics of his own stardom.
Gordon Waller of British duo Peter and Gordon had died at 64
Gordon Waller, from the British duo Peter and Gordon
has died of cardiac arrest in CT this past weekend. The songs I really like to listen to from them was the one Paul McCartney wrote "A World Without Love
" and "True Love Ways
". Sad to hear he's passed.
The great British guitarist Davey Graham died Monday at 68.
Every aspiring acoustic guitar player who came of age during the 60s knew of Davy Graham, composer of Anji
and inventor of the DADGAD
tuning. His own records were never commercial smashes, but his influence was felt by all his contemporaries in the world of folk music and by legions who came after who knew nothing of him personally. The Guardian has a brief obit
and assembles a fine video tribute
The Stone Roses
are set to reform. It's almost 20 years since they released their extremely fine album creatively titled The Stone Roses
. The band
that was a big part of the Madchester
movement have been bumping into each other at Manchester United games and no doubt seeing the money that the footballers are making decided it was time to regroup. The rumours are not certain, but some say it is 75 percent
likely and media reports everywhere
indicates it is probably happening. [more inside]
"I bet you look good on the dancefloor"
is the new single by a hitherto unknown Sheffield band called the Arctic Monkeys
. [warning direct QT link] Media hype
has meant demand for their London gig is so high they have moved from playing a pub to playing the London Astoria
. Their observations on northern culture
have drawn comparisons with Oasis
and Kaiser Chiefs
- or will they go the way of other bands picked up then dumped by the media? (anyone remember Gay Dad
?) Whether or not they last, you will probably be hearing them quite a lot in the next few months.
AppreciationFilter: Edwyn Collins
--Scottish Britpop Master--from Nu-Sonic as a teen in the 70s, Orange Juice ("Rip It Up") in the early 80s, to "A Girl Like You" and "Magic Piper," and still going strong decades later.
He even created a British sitcom, West Heath Yard, and now supports up and coming bands. Even if you've never heard of him, you've heard at least one of his songs, whether in Austin Powers or elsewhere. More history here, from his old site. (and you can hear 18 streaming songs of his on the main link, above.)
Edwyn is now in the hospital after suffering a serious brain hemorrhage.
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal
(NWOBHM to cognoscenti) one of the lesser known but most influential movements of the past quarter century. After the innovators of Metal
ran out of steam in the late 70's and were stampeded in the maelstrom of punk, heavy metal (and testosterone-soaked delindquents everywhere) found itself in a quandary). A number of UK acts took some cues from the punks, shortened the songs, reigned in the self-indulgence and speeded up the tempo, and upped the relevance and intelligence of the lyrical content, while still retaining the vocal prowess, instrumental pyrotechnics and young warrior energy that makes it Metal in the first place. Some groups
became world famous. Others only big in Europe
. Some great ones missed stardom by just
. Many of these acts have been cited as inspirations by Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Napalm Death and the thrash/death metal hordes, and even many post-punks. An interesting summary for fans, and a good introduction for non-mans who may have to recalibrate their opinion of the genre after checking some of these bands out.
Fix Up, Look Sharp
With stateside hip hop in an unprecedented doldrum, the torch has been snatched up on this side of the Atlantic by 18-year-old Eastender Dizzee Rascal. He's recovering from a stabbing carried out rival fans of a rival garage collective in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. The attack took place a few days before being nominated for the Mercury Music prize.
Guaranteed not to be everybody's cup of tea, but he's an interesting character and challenging music make it, and his album, worth a look.