Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Old faces, new records

At the dusty end of of the year, it's usually a spartan offering of new releases that will generally be long forgotten by the end of year, in polls that themselves will be written in early November and often with a Goldfish view of the years music.

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. 

The music is stark and moving without any overt sentimentality, this is by far my favourite Bowie album since nineteen eighty something.

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). 

What is clear from the outset is that both Pete & Rodger were on form that day and the sound is fairly accurate, lovingly reproduced on yet another Abbey Road Half Speed Mastered release, although live sound of bands today is another moan for another day. The only clunker is Pino's buried in the mix bass solo on My Generation. It's not an essential Who purchase, but with the inclusion of a DVD this is a fairly good value triple LP version of The Who's last gasps.

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

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