2016 kicked off with the beautifully packaged Blackstar from David Bowie, followed almost immediately by his untimely passing. It's impossible not to listen to this album without one ear in the grave and if any musician was going to make his own mortality an artistic statement it would be Bowie. I can't think of another performer with the breadth and commitment to his work than David, on his final album with the black on black printed font, a stunning book and the record itself neatly but securely behind a cut out star, this is a fitting farewell to us all, albeit with the suitable humour somewhere between Spinal Tap and Disaster Area.
It's been over twenty years since Britpop and twenty since Kula Shaker joined it's ranks. After the first two albums; both of which I still love very much, like many other sailors of the good ship Dadrock, Kula Shaker went down by the end of the decade, their buoyancy not aided by front man Crispian Mills making some foolish and ill thought out comments regarding Hitler. Having resurfaced in the mid 2000's and released several new albums, I made a pretty easy prediction about the new release K 2.0 - It'll have some sitar on it. Getting it on the turntable my guess was instantly confirmed, however the Deep Purple vibe has been replaced with a Ronnie Lane / Dylan one, which in itself is no bad thing. So while it's missing the great organ playing of Jay Darlington and in my view isn't as strong as thier first two albums, this is still a fine and worthy record to add to the collection.
The sight of another new live Who release in the record rack brings about mixed feelings. Does a record of Pete & Rodger's appearance in Hyde Park last year really add anything new to the Who cannon? Apart from those who were there who would want it, who is buying this stuff? Clearly people like me! Whilst there is nothing new or even vaguely outside of the park, the inclusion of "Pictures Of Lily" & "I Can See For Miles" make the set list partially enticing (just).
Spring is on it's way and with it two red hot releases are available for pre-order from State Records. The first being Thee Jezebels follow up to last years fine single and it's a 4 track EP. The second is The Galileo 7 Cruel Bird, available on purple vinyl. Get your orders in now at http://staterecs.com