THE LOVETONES Myriad Cleopatra Records [Release date 28.02.20]
I can’t say I’m familiar with The Lovetones – an Aussie indie psychedelic rock band previously active between 2002 and 2010. But main man Matthew J Tow’s song writing has been compared (by Rolling Stone) to that of Ray Davies, Bowie, and Lennon and McCartney.
There’s little to be found on the internet about the band – which must, in itself say something – but as far as I can tell, Myriad retains the original core players of Tow, Chris Cobb (drums) and Matthew Sigley (bass), with Tim Kevin, who also engineered and mixed, contributing guitars piano, keys and vocals, and with Nic Dalton playing mandolin on the sessions.
The opener ‘The Circle Turns’ echoes tones of Greg Lake-era Crimson and early, pre- Hunky Dory Bowie, ‘About The Girl’ would have been a shoo-in for Double Fantasy, Billy Bragg’s ‘The Milkman Of Human Kindness’ is given a Lennon/McCartney makeover, the brief, Sigley written, instrumental interlude ‘Caylus 74′ sounds like early Crimson Mellotron noodling, and ‘Everything You’ve Ever Had’ bears echoes of Morrissey.
And so it goes on – ‘Rescue’ reverberates with shades of Reality-era Bowie, ‘Modern Life Is Killing Me’ and ‘Walk Away’ are heavily Lennon influenced numbers, while the title of the Bowie imbued set closer ‘I’ll Never Be That Guy’ rather sums up the whole affair.
Highly derivative, in a World Party sort of way. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
JOE EDWARDS Keep On Running Tiny Mountain Records [Release date 22.05.20]
I was in two minds, given its lack of ‘rock’, whether this gentle, whether this laid back Americana offering merited a GRTR! posting.
But some inspired, if understated blues, almost Claptonesque at times, playing finally swung it. And most surprising of all, is that Joe Edwards heralds not from the Deep South, but from Devizes in Wiltshire!
Starting out playing covers of Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B King at local bars, he went on to study at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts which not only broadened his horizons, but saw him earn a degree presented to him by Macca himself.
Heading to Nashville with brother Alex (drums), to record his debut, finds him teaming up with award winning producer and musician Steve Dawson (a name that crops up regularly in our Americana reviews). As well as producing, Dawson plays a variety of slide instruments from dobro to pedal steel, alongside his regular cohorts Jeremy Holmes (double bass), and Chris Gestin (keys).
Mixing elements of folk, blues and Americana, Keep On Running is an introspective affair, not too distanced in sobriety from Ray LaMontagne, and with a shared breathy vocal style than also encapsulates elements of Paul Simon.
Proceeding at a lazy, at times almost sleepwalking, pace that exposes some very fine playing, Keep On Running may not set pulses racing, but hey, if Ray LaMontagne can sell out the Royal Albert Hall, there’s clearly a bigger market out there than some of us might imagine.
A very niche, but undeniably classy release. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
PATSY THOMPSON Fabulous Day [Release date 16.01.20]
An album 12 years in the wait – her career on hold caring for her mother – Canadian born Americana singer songwriter Patsy Thompson is finally back in the saddle.
With a recording career spanning 1993 – 2007, her roots are in county rock and her ‘comeback’ album Fabulous Day continues in that tradition. Of course, roots music has exploded in the intervening years, but Fabulous Day pretends that never happened.
It’s an album rooted in the sort of country rock that was popular several decades ago, and pays little heed to current trends. So you get plenty of ‘twang’ guitar and ‘traditional’ pedal steel playing. Allied to some excellent vocals, that in place are highly reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde’s unmistakable warble, and you’ve got a highly listenable – albeit somewhat retro – ‘middle of the road’ record.
In truth, Fabulous Day is probably more ‘cabaret’ than ‘roots’, and wouldn’t be out of place on a cruise ship or at the Benidorm sitcom’s Neptune Bar. But there’s no denying, with its clean production, that it’s actually, rather enjoyable (in a ‘guilty pleasure’ sort of way). ***
Review by Pete Whalley
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UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 4 August 2020.
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Featured Albums w/c 3 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LIONVILLE Magic Is Alive (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MAD MAX Stormchild Rising (SPV)
14:00-16:00 MARY COUGHLAN Life Stories (2020)
Power Plays w/c 3 August (Mon-Fri)
SOUTH OF SALEM Cold Day In Hell (indie)
BLACK LESION Sins (indie)
CAROLINE JONES All Of The Boys (Social Family Records)
BLACK SUN Resist (Rockshot Records)
THE JAILBIRDS Dull My Brain (Golden Robot Records)
FROM ASHES TO NEW Scars That I’m Hiding (Better Noise Records)
THE GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS Spirit Of A Workin’ Man (Mascot)
THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA Apologise (TBOG Music)
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