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Glastonbury Headliners- Radiohead '03 vs. Muse '04

All the talk over the weekend has been about Jay Z's supposed jaw dropping performance on Saturday night at Glastonbury, which to be fair is a description not too embellished. The Brooklyn rapper's decision to come on performing Wonderwall with the quotes of a scorning Noel Gallagher in his ears was an inspired one and set the tone for a set that seemingly had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Some have even said it was one of the best Glastonbury headlining performances ever. Having watched the following two sets (although I'll admit being must be an entirely different kettle of fish), I can't see beyond Radiohead and Muse when it comes down to the greatest Pyramid headline set this millenium (and that includes David Bowie in 2000). Splitting Muse and Radiohead however is a task I can't do. Radiohead in 2003 returned to headline the stage for a second time and in a complete volte face from their rapturously received 1997 OK Computer dominated set, lurked into the deepest darkest corners of their back catalogue to provide a chilling and intense main show that...was once again received rapturously.

Muse on the other hand headlined for the first time ever and the talk before was that they weren't a big enough act to be given such a slot. However the Teignmouth trio blew these mumblings out of the water with an awe-inspiring metal show that suddenly made the gigantic Pyramid Stage seem small and homely as it struggled to contain their massive side. Stockholm Syndrome and it's five minute outro was the icing on the cake to close a show that people will be talking about in years to come. Which one was better though? I have no idea; however you can watch both below (gathered from accumulated Youtube videos- all decent copy, BBC/DVD rips) and decide for yourself.

Radiohead- Glastonbury 28/06/03
There There
The National Anthem
Talk Show Host
Where I End And You Begin
Climbing Up The Walls
The Gloaming
No Surprises
Fake Plastic Trees
Sit Down Stand Up
Go To Sleep
Sail To The Moon
Paranoid Android
Everything In Its Right Place
Karma Police
Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Muse- Live at Glastonbury 27/06/04
01. Hysteria
02. New Born
03. Sing For Absolution
04. Muscle Museum
05. Citizen Erased
06. Piano Interlude

07. Apocalype Please
08. Ruled By Secrecy
09. Riff + Sunburn (piano)
10. Butterflies and Hurricanes
11. Riff Heartbreaker (Led Zep) + Bliss
12. Time Is Running Out
13. Plug In Baby
14. Blackout
15. Stockholm Syndrome + Outro

Glastonbury Headliners 08- Kings Of Leon

If ever I was going to go to my first Glastonbury, this would have been the year to do it; easy to get tickets, nothing much else planned for summer and a stream of people I know who went. Yet I didn't...blame the credit crunch (or at least my credit crunch) and the fact I was seeing Radiohead in London the day before it kicked off. Never mind. Anyway, Kings of Leon didn't impress me much when I saw them at Leeds in 2005, however since then they've released a wonderful 3rd album and if I'm honest I was cringing enviously all the way through this performance by them. They're not great showmen, barely moving about the stage, but the sheer power and immediacy of their songs wins over most crowds. The BBC refused to show their new songs and in fact asked them not to play any (boo the BBC) whilst some other links I've not found yet, but here's the setlist and the videos that are available from the weekend. Enjoy!

'Black Thumbnail'

'Taper Jean Girl'
'My Party'

'King Of The Rodeo'
'Wasted Time'
'Four Kicks'
'Molly's Chambers'
'California Waiting'
'The Bucket'
'On Call'
'Pistol Of Fire'
'Spiral Staircase'
'Knocked Up'

'Slow Night So Long'


'My First Radio - Progress' God Is In The TV Single Club Review


My First Radio: Progress


Label: Gizeh Records

Progress is available as a free download NOW from the God Is In The TV Singles Club at http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk.

Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

With ‘Progress’, the latest release to come forth via the excellent God Is In The TV’s Singles Club, you get the feeling that every nuance of this four minutes has been pored over and finely combed for an absolute age. Nothing feels out of place, everything comes in at exactly the time you’d expect it to and strings, guitars and pianos build together steadily but surely to create a rousing thunderstorm of noise. Sounds pretty robotic ey? You couldn’t be more wrong, because right from the get go passion bleeds through this shoegaze ballad from every orifice.

Right from the lonesome, melancholy piano introduction it’s clear that this is a song that will tug at your heartstrings and pull them this way and that. The vocals soar powerfully over the gentle of addition of strings that stealthily and gorgeously widen the sound without you even realising. You should know at this point that ‘Progress’ is only going to go one way, and so it does with a sudden eruption of drawn out strings, ringing guitars and crashing chords and symbols, shattering the peaceful ambience that’s come before it; funnily enough for a sound reminiscent of ‘Black Dollar Bills’ by Hope Of The States this track does indeed feature Mike Siddel of ‘States and Lightspeed Champion fame wielding his violin. Just like that however the noise melts away leaving us alone in an empty space with just the piano for accompaniment: stunning stuff.


My First Radio - Progress

My First Radio's
free download single 'Progress' can be accessed at God Is In The TV.

Wild Beasts- Limbo, Panto album review

Wild Beasts - Limbo, Panto
Simon Jay Catling

Wherever Wild Beasts came from, surely it isn’t Kendal. Cumbria always feels a bit detached from the rest of England sure, but not like this. The fact that most of the county’s a National Park means no mobile phone masts, and this alone gives you an indication of its isolated feel. Additional to this are the rolling, guard-like hills that surround and watch your every move, and the lakes that cover miles of the mostly unblemished countryside. Even a decampment to Leeds does little to pour light upon the influences of this extravagant four piece. Kaiser Chiefs? Elland Road (although funnily enough I might not be far off on this one)? Skinny jeans and trilbies? Sure I’m doing ‘the Northern London’ a discredit by pigeonholing it so generally, but the feeling remains; most bands debut LP’s allow the listener to get some semblance of where the music they’re listening to comes from, not so Wild Beasts.

What is it that we’re dealing with here? A pop band? The melodies are certainly there, the tightness and immediacy is all there, but to merely call Wild Beasts a pop band is to greatly neglect the sound that they’re creating. No; ‘Limbo, Panto’ comes across more as a 21st century opera. Catchy enough to keep hold of our increasingly short attention spans with songs about late nights, gaudy sex and growing up, yet possessing an amount of pompousness and grandiosity that’s far too much to absorb from one listen alone. Who can we call their peers? Lyrically the group’s nearest peer would surely have to be the Arctic Monkeys and bands of their ilk; this LP consists of nothing other than songs of 18-30 working class Britain, but unlike Alex Turner, Wild Beasts lead singer Hayden Thorpe lyrically paints a scene far beyond the simple romance that the Arctic’s man aims for. Thorpe instead takes these apparent everyday and unremarkable environments and adds backing dancers, costumes, garishness and drama to the most camp level. And what a falsetto he delivers it in; not since Mr. Mercury will a voice split opinion so neatly. Like the band’s music (and we’ll get to that in a minute), Thorpe’s is a voice of ridiculous pretension, knowing of critical provocation; let’s face it, there’s not many male voices about at the moment confident enough to deliver in such an overblown and indulgent manner; Matthew Bellamy sure, but even on Muse’s debut ‘Showbiz’ his vocals were reined in and censored. Not so here, Hayden Thorpe imprints his mark right from opening track ‘Vigil For A Fuddy Duddy’, swooning across the 70’s sounding disco ballad as he describes a sexual encounter with more smut than Mills & Boons, “flaccid, I asked for this bellow spit rich belly pit moan and blush with hot hormone”. ‘The Club of Fathomless Love’ meanwhile is a lyrical delight, exploring a young man’s preparation for a night out and it’s eventual happening, describing the club poetically, “we bellow baritone to our favourites, like life depends on it!/ I hold my brothers in breathtaking clinches/ this is my heart’s hub, the hot, wild, fug of the club of the fathomless love”, it’s a scene we’ve all seen before many a time and yet Wild Beasts tell it as one might describe a scene from A Clockwork Orange; and why shouldn’t they? If ever there’s a time in your life when everything you do is achingly important then it’s surely at the onset of manhood; dressing up such a night musically is no different than what we do in our minds every time we go out, get drunk and fall down at the beginning of our alcohol led lives.

It’s this lyrical content and subject matter which prevents ‘Limbo, Panto’ from truly taking off for the sun and bursting in a blaze of its own unrepentant egotistical bravado. ‘The Old Dog’ is a lesson in the pitfalls of casual sex, graphically describing the unwanted birth as “a human is hauled from the wombs wired jaw”, whilst ‘Please, Sir’ is a naughty schoolboy’s plea to be allowed back into class following a series of misdemeanours. Fourth track, ‘Woebegone Wanderers’, is another of note; taking leave of the burlesque cabaret sound that the previous two songs contained, and reverting back to the 70’s disco of the opener before sending each verse off into an exotic waltz. Thorpe meanwhile passionately soars above the toe tapping bass and jangling guitars to painstakingly portray something as common as supporting a football team “we’ve been lumbered with the losing life for far too long/ the ground bellows like the belly of a sleeping whale”. The band even operatically recreate the standard chant of ‘Who are yer’ to good effect. Yet this is not an album all about the lead singer and his lyrics, for it’s as a band that Wild Beasts excel and not as individuals. Drummer Chris Talbot ties the whole album together with percussion that ranges from the straight ahead stomp of ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’ and ‘The Devil’s Crayon’ to the slower, more subtle hi-hats and symbols seen on ‘The Old Dog’. Ben Little’s guitar contains the tone that takes the Wild Beasts far away from their peers in terms of any musical similarity; seemingly coming as he does from a time when every guitarist was required to have a quiff and a suit, whilst Tom Fleming’s bass weaves its way through ten songs of patterns ranging between swing, funk and a whole lot more in between. Such difference in styles sounds like a recipe for disaster, but miraculously it holds together as well as any pop punk band. Perhaps the epitome of the LP is ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’; together with final track ‘Cheerio Chaps, Cheerio Goodbye’, it provides an almost happy final scene, an epilogue if you will, describing the characters who have come before as those who need “to make the most, before we turn to ghost/ swig the bottle, bottle/ slap the face of Aristostle”. Meanwhile an eminently danceable rhythm not unlike Hot Chip juts through the exotic, dreamy funk-filled haze. Whilst maybe not the best track on the album, it is perhaps a song that could be described as the opera’s programme notes, giving an overview of the album. The aforementioned ‘Cheerio Chaps, Cheerio Goodbye’ is the encore for this ten part stage show and, as you’d expect from this album, works as a deliciously indulgent closer for what is as much of a diverse, ambitious and purely ridiculous an album as you’ll hear all year.

Yes, Wild Beasts are going to have their haters; any band who nails their colours to the mast so blatantly as this foursome have done are going to have their critics, be it the marmite voice of vocalist Hayden Thorpe, the 70’s throwbacks of some of the tracks or just the sheer absurdity of the entire album. Are they taking this seriously or are they just taking the piss? Perhaps before answering that you should take a look at your own life. How often as a youth have you viewed a night out as an event of utmost importance, what does it feel like when the team you support loses 3-2 from a penalty after going 2-0 up? How much did you build up the losing of your virginity? How risqué and dark did some of your early sexual encounters seem? Wild Beasts are merely playing out the importance of all these events that have already occupied a similar level of priority in your mind at some point or other. So before you mock or deride this band, take a stop and realise that to do that you are forgetting a part of your life that’s either happened or is currently taking place. You don’t have to be The Enemy or Hard-Fi to empathise with the common man; when listening to ‘Limbo, Panto’ drop the “too cool for school” attitude and you’ll hopefully find yourself engrossed in one of the albums of the year. And they’re from Kendal!?

Wild Beasts Myspace

4.5 stars
Wild Beasts video for their current single 'Devil's Crayon' can be seen HERE.

Wild Beasts debut album 'Limbo, Panto' can be purchased from Domino Records.


'Obviously 4 Believers- Then I'll Be Leaving You' Audiocribbler single review


Obviously 4 Believers: Then I'll Be Leaving You

Date Released:

Label: Shifty Disco (download)

Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

Obviously 4 Believers (a canny play on a Bob Dylan song title there you see readers?) are a four piece with a sound rooted in the 90’s; oddly this isn’t as bad as you would at first think. For whilst it’s a familiar path that the Lancashire based group furrow, they possess enough artistry and passion to ensure that ‘Then I’ll Be Leaving You’ doesn’t merely slip into the realms of Arctic Monkeys wannabes.

With an opening reminiscent of ‘Country Boy’ by The Charlatans this is definitely a band who are unafraid to wear their influences on their sleeve, and in this case why shouldn’t they? Lead singer Sam Hayward possesses a true rock n’ roll screech that cuts nicely between Manchester mainstay Tim Burgess and White Stripes front man Jack White. Adam Hartley’s guitar meanwhile sprawls summery blues riffs throughout this two and a half minute indie stomp.

Granted, it might not be the most original song in the world but it does the job of an immediate, energetic pop number well; the four piece clearly know their way around a catchy hook and show a tightness that at the end of the day is the key in creating this type of music. Indeed if anyone’s in need of a pick up, a quick blast through this pleasing nod to British rock’s linearity should leave rather a broad grin on your face.


'Then I'll Be Leaving You'
can be purchased from the band's Myspace from August 1st.


Yaaaaay, more free downloads on this blog

Yes, for whilst my podcast is on an indefinite hiatus, I've decided to offer at least something for you chaps to take away with you as reward for courageously forcing yourself to read through over zealous review after over zealous review. Basically, where possible, I've gone back through most of the reviews that are on this blog already and added a track by each band featured for either streaming and/or downloading! This is a trend I'm going to continue (as well as scouring for Free EPs, Albums and whatnot that bands and artists are throwing up on the internet). So dig in!

Talking of which, a band I reviewed a couple of months ago called, A Word Like Attack, have made their debut EP available for free on their Myspace (in fact they did this quite some time ago). The tracklisting runs as thus:

A.Word.Like.Attack - Everyday I Start Running
Chapter I: Thursday Morning
Chapter II: The Detective
Chapter III: They Will Hunt Us Down Like Dogs
Chapter IV: The Guilty Don't Stand Still

You can download this EP from www.myspace.com/awordlikeattack

In other news, I got pretty bored this afternoon and decided to concoct up a muxtape. Muxtape is a wonderful idea that will hopefully become even more so once they allow you to upload .m4a's and get more bandwidth. Anyway, I've included 11 tracks for your listening pleasure, no real theme, just songs that go together before twisting off on a noise-rock tangent towards the end..

Listen at http://jarock87.muxtape.com

As ever, thanks for those who read this.

new EP 'Ships That Hung In The Sky' is available from the band's Myspace

The Hop- God Is In The TV Review

Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, Grammatics, Napoleon IIIrd, Daybreakers, The ABC Club

Bradford Hop., 31st May 2008
Simon Jay Catling

The Hop (Part of Bradford Music Week)

The acts on the bill merely had to turn up today, because the overall winner of Bradford’s Hop is the city itself. It’s a simple idea: round up the best of the areas best up and coming bands (plus a few from Leeds), cram them into two of the city centre’s best loved venues (The Love Apple and Delius), and charge an eye-poppingly cheap £5 for the whole day. This reviewer missed the likes of Sons and Daughters, Johnny Foreigner, This Et Al and more, yet is about to write paragraphs waxing lyrical on the quality of the acts that he did see; as good an indication as any as to the quality of this event.

First into the fray at the darkened, intimate surroundings of the Love Apple are Bradford six piece ‘Daybreakers’; their set brings to mind the potential result of Mark Ronson deciding to remix all of Led Zeppelin IV. Put bluntly there’s brass sections and guitar solos fucking everywhere; a shrewd choice by the organisers to open up with an energetic and full blooded act, but as the vocalist and lead guitarist fret-wanks his way through yet another piece of 70’s hair rock it seems he’s a little oblivious to the pretty much universally accepted formula that brass band + Jimmy Page = a little bit jarring. Nevertheless one has to commend his energy as he growls, thrusts and noodle’s his way through half an hour of thirty year old rock n’roll roll champagne. It’s a mere shimmy through the bar to get to room 2 in the Love Apple although at first it appears that a couple of young scallywags have broken into the venue and are about to nick off with the upcoming performer’s instruments; stop thief! Oh wait, sorry its only room two’s opening act ‘Alt Track’. The duo surprise on two counts; firstly, telling them to act their age and not their shoe size would probably see little difference in behaviour; secondly, their on stage confidence and performance is that o two performers way and above their age. Drowning out the inevitable ageist gags with a sweeping, IDM backed, atmospheric opening track, it’s clear that Alt Track are a band with bags of potential; seeing the route lead by the likes of 65 Days Of Static, Errors et al and thinking “yeah we’ll have a slice of that”. One ill-advised rap aside from the younger looking of the two, this is a set high on ambition even if at times they fail to quite reach the heights they’ve set themselves. Even so there’s plenty of time for the duo to grow and develop and exciting times are set to be ahead for them.

A change of scenery’s needed in the form of the gruelling ascent up the road to Delius; in reality its just a couple of minutes stroll up the hill but in this fat reviewer living inside a thin reviewer’s body it’s not long before the sweat comes cascading down my forehead like the Niagara Falls. However, once I get to Delius, essentially a large and friendly (and cheap!) pub, I don’t look too foolish as Tom Nova, the lead singer from ‘Redwire’, is positively doing front crawl in his own perspiration. Let’s not take too much away from him though as he leads his four piece through a frantic and energetic set. On record one suspects that Redwire follow the British rock linearity that threads through the Sex Pistols, Oasis and the Arctic Monkeys, yet live they not only play twice the speed (in fact looking at it, guitarist Joe Parkinson could pass out at any moment), lead singer Nova is absolutely everywhere: bashing synths, in the crowd, on the floor. It’s an inspired performance from the locals and easily draws the best reception of the day. Captivating in an entirely different way is ‘The ABC Club’s’ lead vocalist Zandra Klievens; slenderly put together and holding herself awkwardly in a cardigan and jeans, the singer stares vacuously out at the crowd through two gorgeous large eyes, causing at least 50% of said crowd to fall in love that instant. It helps that in the four other members behind her she has a band who touch on shoegaze whilst retaining a very pop-like charm; Jordan Radcliffe and Sam Marns compliment each other instead of going to war in trying to build up soaring yet familiar sounds. Highlight of the set is the song ‘43’, Klievens mournful vocals sweep across the venue with a power that belies her stature. It’s quite simply a performance of absolute brilliance.

The bar’s been set for ‘Grammatics’ then; a band very much making waves of their own. In Owen Brindley they too possess a lead singer of the gorgeously captivating variety; a man straight out of the Brett Anderson school of front man attitude. Today though slight problems with the percussion (problems it has to be said that seem monitor related) mean the band struggle to truly show their undoubted class. ‘Shadow Committee’ and ‘Polar Swelling’ seem to fill the entire room with their avant-garde (am I allowed to say math rock?) slants, but frustratingly ‘D.I.L.E.M.M.A’, the bands new single and arguably strongest pop song, malfunctions as the off-kilter percussion drifts in and out of time. Cue grim faces all around at the end of the set; nevertheless this too is another band with huge potential, and potential which will most likely be realised. At the very least they’ve made yours truly question his own sexuality, not bad for half an hour surely guys? Back in the Love Apple, ‘Napoleon IIIrd’ has invited all of his mates into room 2 for his performance; that’s how it feels anyway as a warm and familiar crowd sing along and smile to tracks from Napoleon’s album ‘In Debt To’. It’s a relaxed and assured performance from a singer who looks set to become an unlikely hero over the summer. Thunderous noises from next door cause me to abandon an interval pint just to see what all the fuss is about; when I get there it’s to see that four piece ‘Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man’ are whipping up an epic, smouldering concoction of all things dark and beautiful. Despite clearly misjudging the spirit of your average Yorkshire crowd (“We really love Bradford, it’s a wonderful place” is greeted by a large amount of laughter from those in attendance, ) OELM are yet another standout performance in a long line of them today; singer Frederick Blood-Royale’s voice staccatos and booms its way through the venue with songs about fatherhood and Adam & Eve, whilst drummer ‘Edward Quarmby’ thunders on behind in a way that can’t fail to force the guitarist and bassist to fight back in a rampaging cacophony of deep, dark noise.

The final name on the bill I see today couldn’t possibly be more of a contrast. ‘Paul Marshall’ sits contentedly holding his acoustic guitar with only an electric cellist for company. Whilst I stand thinking about how excellent but unlikely it would be to describe myself as such one day, the recently signed Rough Trade artist starts strumming and the room melts away. Adding to the Love Apple’s already established cosy atmosphere is the fact that during the set almost everyone is sat on the floor, staring up engrossed in the singer’s performance. Comparisons with ‘Nick Drake’ are as obvious as they are unavoidable but Marshall, through his performance, allows his songs to reach through to a crowd a touch more than I could ever envisage Drake’s doing. In a journalist, talking-out-of-my-arse roundabout way I guess I’m trying to say that Marshall’s songs have a very mainstream accessibility; but that’s nothing to be sneered at because if you go to the heart of them all they share the same beat as their creator. Don’t be fooled by these songs either, for underneath the gentle strumming and hushed vocals lie lyrics of relationship breakdowns, lost loves and murder.

Indeed, if ever there was any evidence that the white rose of Yorkshire is currently handing out a sound musical drubbing to the red rose across the Pennines then The Hop is surely it. Whilst Manchester rumbles incessantly on, searching for the next flash in the pan success stories and ignoring its genuinely talented artists, the east is currently host to a huge number of acts that may not be hitting the mainstream subconscious quite yet, but who are nevertheless going to be remembered for a long time after the likes of ‘The Courteneers’ and ‘The Ting Tings’ have started picking up their benefit cheques.

Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man Myspace
Grammatics Myspace

Alt Track - Pedestrianised

Napoleon IIIrd - Defibrilator

Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man - The Drowned And The Saved

The ABC Club - 43

Grammatics - D.I.L.E.M.M.A

Alt Track's
debut EP 'A Nation Is On Fire' can be purchased from the duo's Myspace. 50% of the cost goes to Amensty International
Napoleon IIIrd's debut album 'In Debt To' can be purchased from RecordStore.co.uk
Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man's latest EP 'The Lay Of The Land: The Turn Of The Tide' can be purchased from HMV.
Grammatics new single 'D.I.L.E.M.M.A' is available from Dance To The Radio.


A Classic Education- First EP

A Classic Education - The First EP

Simon Jay Catling

When, like me, you are sitting outside in the glorious sunshine with nothing to do in the foreseeable future other than turning over to make sure that your back gets a good browning (and this is in the North East folks! Who said global warming was a bad thing?), then bands like A Classic Education are pretty the only type of music you ever need listen to at this point in time. The Italian-based three piece (six when performing live), release their first EP only a year after forming, and for such a fledgling effort the five songs in here contain cohesion and poise that can only come across as a pleasant surprise.

Support slots with the likes of Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse have clearly rubbed off on A Classic Education, their sound falling somewhere in between the two and with traces of underrated Swede’s Last Days Of April thrown in for good measure. ‘Stay, Son’ is the rousing, foot tapping opener, with lush strings shaping and moulding four minutes of orchestral tinged pop. Don’t mistake this for some band who’ve merely seen Canada’s finest make it big and decided to hop on the bandwagon though; the lead vocals come across as emotional and heartfelt and the EP as a whole tugs at the heart strings with real passion. ‘Lovers Barricade’ drifts into murkier territory, the percussion and guitars meeting somewhere down in the depths before a crescendo rises out of the mist. ‘Victories At Night’ very much follows the path of the lead off track; settling itself down into the rootsier areas of American alternative indie as hauntingly deep, booming drums settle into the background, allowing the vocals to soar and cut through the atmosphere before another slow build up leads into another emphatic ending. A Classic Education could be criticised here for following a similar pattern a little too often, finding an agreeable sound and sticking to it rather too resolutely, and it’s something that might begin to tire in the context of an entire album. Here though it does just fine and the dreamlike saunter through ‘Badlands & Owls’ really allows the percussion and strings to work in harmony to provide the most straight ahead pop song on the EP. ‘Wartime’ provides an understated end to proceedings, sounding like iLiKETRAiNS if they stopped singing about history for a bit.

For a first full EP this is extremely promising, and with an appearance at Indie Tracks Festival coming up this summer, it could be that A Classic Education prove to be one of the hits of the weekend. ‘First EP’ is a collection of songs that whilst at times suffer a little from over similarity, clearly show a band with their hearts and passions in the right place. And on a delightful summer’s day what more could you want?

First EP is available from

A Classic Education Myspace

3.5 stars

A Classic Education - Stay Son

A Classic Education's debut EP 'First EP' is available from the band's Myspace.


Jacob Golden Interview

This was supposed to be for God Is In The TV but they don't seem to have put it up. Here it is for your perusal anyway.

Jacob Golden

For a man who possesses a singing voice of quite startling power and energy, it comes as a bit of a surprise to find Jacob Golden a quiet and at times shy presence on the other end of a phone line. The Californian solo artist is currently on a brief tour of our green and pleasant land in support of Sarabeth Tucek before a headlining show at the famous Troubador in London, famous for being the first venue in our delightful capital that Bob Dylan ever played at; a fact not lost on Golden, who confesses to being particularly excited about playing at the venue; “it’s certainly got a lot of history. It’s a place that harks back to the 60’s and the cafes of Soho, the whole English folk scene and artists coming from America coming across to play- a real romantic time. I'm honoured to be playing it; there's a certain energy about the place."

Yet his live shows don’t always take place in such salubrious backgrounds. In America, the Sacramento-born artist has become well known for his ‘house concerts’- taking time out during his touring schedule to play in fans living rooms in whichever town he happens to be in; it’s a concept he warmed to instantly and views some of his best performances as those taking place away from the confines of a stage. “There’s no PA, no stage- it’s just about the songs. I think my music works best when there's nothing between the song and the room, that’s probably how I prefer the way of doing it." That’s not to say Jacob doesn’t enjoy playing more conventional venues, and it’s an area he thrives in. On one of the times I’ve been lucky enough to catch him live, he’s successfully managed to turn a chattering, disinterested crowd into one of thunderstruck awe; never possessing anything more on stage than his acoustic guitar, the singer manages to engage a crowd simply with the conviction and dynamic of his voice. Heart wrenching emotional deliveries of lost love ballads such as ‘Love You’ contrast with softer, more up tempo “pop” songs like ‘Shoulders’- both from his excellent second album ‘Revenge Songs’, released last year. Without seeming to be the type to blow his own trumpet, Golden nevertheless recognises the diverse quality of his music and what he can do with it live: “My music does have different shades,” he comments: “Live, I don't change the melodies much, but I like to take the dynamic to different places depending on the venue. Solo-wise it’s always a bit of an experiment and I want to keep things that way; I don’t want to stick to a formula, for me the performance is as much a part of the art as writing the songs,” he muses before, fearful of heaping too much praise on himself, he laughs, “but I suppose when it does becomes formulaic I’ll know it’s time to try something different.”

If maybe a little bashful, there’s no doubting Jacob Golden’s passion and vision for his work. When he speaks about his music, it’s with a very clear direction and feeling; a lot of artists can feel at odds with their muse, but the acoustic troubadour is happy and at ease when discussing his own work. Interestingly for a man who freely admits on his own blog that he’s “certainly not banging down the doors of the mainstream”, he has in fact collaborated with a rather impressive array of talent; notably Chris Martin and Michael Stipe for ambient electronica DJ Faultline, as well as composer Nitin Sawnhey amongst others. For a singer who live seems so confined in his intimate surroundings, his positive words on such collaborations come across as a surprise; “I do like the idea of stepping into different roles, and when I do it with different people they get different aspects of my personality. I have a side project called ‘Little Foxes’ which hasn't made its way out to the world yet, but is much more experimental and electronic than what I do by myself. The cool thing about doing collaborations is that I'm able to bring back little aspects of that and add it to my own music so it works both ways.”

What to expect then in the near future from him? Well for starter’s, copies of a live EP will be available from the London gig and there seems to be an intent for more to come. Recorded at RAK studios in the capital, the artist invited thirty people into recording and played live in front of them, an idea that reminds him, again, of the 60s: “I like that you can listen to Jimi Hendrix records and there's times when you can hear people hanging out in the studio and getting into it; there’s a certain vibe to that. The EP’s like a volume one; the idea is to keep putting out live recordings. I think there's something different that comes out when you’re singing in front of an audience instead of by yourself. But doing it in a studio means it’s the best of both worlds because I do like having the space to experiment in the studio and the solitariness of that.”

Also to coming out on May 26th is new single ‘On A Saturday’; a track that gained attention in America after appearing on the final ever episode of Californian teen drama the OC. To merely attribute that fact to the song is to do an injustice however. The song concerns a time earlier in Golden’s life when he first came over to live in London; and indeed it is a city he still enjoys despite eventually returning to the West Coast. “When I first came everything was brand new, and there was an energy to that which was very exciting. Now I've been a lot, it does lose that brand new quality. But in some ways it’s my second home, I feel a little bit more on the inside: I’ve experienced it and have friends here. I’ll never be the kind of person who becomes so infatuated with a place that they actually want to become part of it, I like to be a bit on the outside; but at the same time it’s different than just being a tourist.” And of the single itself? “On a Saturday's a little bit sweeter, slightly softer than my other stuff. It’s also my catchiest pop song at the moment; it’s not entirely fashionable and goes

back to my love for the Beach Boys and also 70’s folk music, which isn’t necessarily the stuff that’s on the radio at the moment”, and then, in a rare instant that allows him to bring the confidence he possesses within to the surface, he promises “but it will find its way out there.”

A folk-influenced singer sitting on the outside about to break in? I think there was a certain artist in that position when he played The Troubadour in the 60s wasn’t there?

Jacob Golden plays The Troubadour in London on 3rd June.


Jacob Golden - Hold Your Hair Back

Jacob Golden's latest album 'Revenge Songs' is available from Rough Trade


MAPS Festival Review at Audioscribbler


How's My Pop?/The Ending Of.../The City Joy Cons/Little Engines/El Condorez: Maps Festival, Joe's Bar, Manchester


Your Rating:

Simon Jay Catling

To say that Manchester has an abundance of live music going on this weekend would be akin to suggesting one of their football clubs was a bit happy with the result on Wednesday. With Eurocultured taking place down Oxford Road, and the Warehouse Project back for a “final” farewell this weekend, it seems an odd choice for the city’s bohemian trendy Northern Quarter to throw a festival. However, that they have and with 20 venues taking in the likes of the Ruby Lounge, Night & Day, Roadhouse and more, it makes sure that it more than holds its own against the competition. Tonight however I’m in Joe’s Bar; not the most obvious place for a live music venue, there’s a hotel upstairs and the bar itself is filled with a mixture of daily commuters, tracksuit clad scallies and bizarre old ladies in leather jackets.

This doesn’t seem to phase El Condorez in the slightest. The three piece have clearly played together for a long time; the bassist’s sandpapered facial hair shows the odd fleck of grey and the lead singer’s shredded jeans and white vest top look a little silly on him. Their music however, which is relentlessly cheesy 70’s rock n’ roll, is delivered with an emphatic energy. It’s all there: the poses, the drum rolls, the sprawling riffs, the sexually ambiguous use of guitars. To say that El Condorez belong in a different era is no understatement, especially with the other fresh faced acts on tonight’s bill forming most of the crowd here; yet their live show is undoubtedly tight and entertaining and does its job very nicely. In contrast, Little Engines look like they won’t be doing a job at all tonight; the three piece, with a combined age of about fifteen (probably) turn up completely wasted and minus amps and cymbals.

A quick whip round conjures up the required equipment, yet the drummer sets up the hi-hat with the speed of a sloth on vacation, staring hard at the borrowed cymbal as though willing it to arrange itself. Somewhat irritatingly though, when Little Engines finally do get round to their set they turn out to be rather good. Sure the bassist looks like he’s in another world and the drummer appears to be toppling off his stool every other song but when you possess the type of afro influenced pop songs as Engines do it’s easy to get away with. Added to this is that their singer, who surely could be Kele Okerele’s younger brother, possesses the kind of Alex Turner-esque voice that could quite easily attract the attention of “the people”, whoever they might be. There’s a very real sense of Manchester that oozes out of these young gentlemen, not the swaggering cocksure attitude of the Gallagher brothers, but something that’s undoubtedly ingrained in the youngsters from the whole spectrum of the city’s musical heritage.

If Little Engines look like they’d merely taken time out from getting stoned in the park to turn up tonight, the same can’t be said of The City Joy Cons. Daft name maybe, but the five piece possess three synths, two guitars and more pedals than a Coronation Street sewing factory and set about using them to good effect. Hailing from Essex, the Cons rip their way through a bristling 25 minute set that throws the synth into the middle of two frantic guitars and watches to see whether it can fight its way out again. The lead singer’s voice comes across a bit lightweight at times for sure, but overall The City Joy Cons have the look of a very polished looking outfit. Tight musicianship seems all the rage tonight in fact as follow up act The Ending Of play a longer than anticipated set that starts off a touch heavy on the angst ridden side, but rallies to whip up a stirring emotional climax of noise around a lead singer who possesses charisma in abundance. My easy-guide-to-journalism book tells me to place his voice somewhere between Gerard Way and Robert Smith so that’s where he shall go, and rightly deserved too; this three piece managed to create a sound worthy of band’s possessing twice their number and they proceed to thunder to the end of their set.

Headliners How’s My Pop? (pictured) have been lurking about the venue all evening, hiding in the shadows all pale and ghoulish. Eyeing them up, it seems unsure what to make of them; the task of following a couple of high octane acts seems like it might be enough to send them off into the land of nod. To be fair though they’ve only been here all night because everyone else is using their bass amp and that was a tribulation in itself. Turns out we needn’t have worried anyway as the Lancashire foursome provide a powerful and full blooded sound that allows subtlety and melodic sound to seep in without compromising any of its dynamism.

A Hammond organ turns everything all Cold War Kids but the lead singer/guitarist simply refuses to let the music to lull into anything remotely resembling constant; scattering the keyboards and percussion with short, sharp solos and wrapping his excellent playing around a sound that in a strange juxtaposed way feels as much as though it belongs to the past as much as it portrays a gateway into the future. Lyrically they’re excellent; laments about “the red stain on the English flag” rub shoulders comfortably with more typical lovelorn efforts. The small but appreciative crowd will them on and as the final chords crash down on a forty minute set that takes in summery pop, 60’s rock’n’roll, country-ish tendencies and a whole lot more in between, it’s clear that How’s My Pop? have successfully managed to steal the show. And coming on top of what was a pleasantly surprising bill that’s no mean feat.

El Condurez

Little Engines

The City Cons

The Ending Of

Hows My Pop?


Hows My Pop? - Laura Laura

Lesson Learnt..

An 'anonymous' commenter has continuously drawn reference to the fact I have my details wrong on the vocalists who perform on Maybeshewill's album. Obviously it's an absolute necessity before you can even write a review to get your facts right and in this case I haven't. Made me realise how dependent writer's can get on the press releases that are sent their way with a new release; I reviewed Maybeshewill after buying it so I had to find out all the blurb myself, clearly the source I found it from was incorrect which as the delightfully succinct 'mr anonymous' puts makes it a 'poorly informed review'. Lesson learnt and in future I'll be making sure I get all my facts right before getting my review down!

To make up for this, here's a couple of tunes for downloading. First is from the aforementioned Maybeshewill album; the title track of the album Not For Want Of Trying- a truly spine tingling track that features a brilliant exert from the film Network, starring Peter Finch.
Maybeshewill - Not For The Want Of Trying

The second song I'm giving to you is by a band who I only heard about and saw for the first time yesterday at the excellent Bradford Music Week mini-festival The Hop. A full review will be up at some point hopefully, but in possession a lead singer who was utterly captivating, the four piece played a half hour set that contained ethereal guitars and mournful vocals yet with a percussional urge that stopped it from wallowing entirely in the depths of emotion. Brilliant stuff, although this demo doesn't really do the live performance justice it's still a fine recording.

The Debuts- White Lies


Coming up in the next few days...a new Angry Teenager, a feature on Jacob Golden, live reviews of Bradford Music Week and Maps Festival..Thanks for reading!