Sonny Landreth – LIVE in LAFAYETTE

sonny landreth

Sonny Landreth
LIVE in LAFAYETTE
Provogue.

The King of Slydeco Gives Us The Best of His Best TWICE.

Sonny Landreth is one of those guys whose name you know; but never quite sure where from until you do some research and find he’s a ‘Guitarist’s Guitarist’ playing on albums by everyone from Eric Clapton to Little Feat via Johnny Winter and beyond; and when I checked I found I don’t actually own any of his 16 previous albums; but that has been out right by this intriguing Live Double Album; with two sides being his best tracks played acoustically and the other two electric.
The acoustic set opens with Blues Attack, the title cut from his first solo album in 1981 and with nothing to compare it against; this Cajun belter features Landreth’s breathy singing and some really hot guitar licks but the Star overshadowed by Steve Conn’s swinging accordion on a cool Southern Bluesy song.
The first night I played this album was a stifling Summer’s evening and was the perfect march for songs like the dreamy A World Away and The High Side which both beggar pigeon-holing into a specific genre, as Landreth truly makes his Resonators ‘sing’ as the band strum away in an Urban-Texacana kind of way.
Now I’m on my third ‘sitting’ it comes as no real surprise to find Mark Knopfler is a fan and gifted Sonny the custom engraved Beltona that features on the album cover and Landreth plays so magnificently on A World Away.
If we stay with the Acoustic Album; it’s the type of cool soundtrack to BBQ get together for serious music fans; with a couple of specific tracks, Hell at Home instantly springs to mind,  that will get them to stand tall and face the speakers like meerkats!
USS Zydecoldmobile is something of a ‘theme tune’ for Landreth and I can hear why; it takes Zydeco music into a whole new stratosphere for me; and it will for you too…..but, with Landreth’s stunning rendition of Key To The Highway running it close, my favourite song here is Creole Angel; a slow burner that will get you reaching for your love and smooch real slow in the moonlight.
Then there are the other two sides of baking hot and sweaty electric music, which opens with Back To The Bayou Teche; they type of song Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler have spent decades trying to master; yet Sonny Landreth and friends make it sound all too easy; when we know it isn’t.
Things slow down and get real funky within seconds of that song ending so Landreth can make the notes flow out of his guitar like Summer rain.
While some of these tracks can be described as ‘up-tempo’ Sonny Landreth makes laid-back sound like a day in the gym; as he bends notes for fun on the three mind blowing instrumentals here; Milky Way Home, Brave New Girl and Umbresso which whisked my back to my days listening to John McLaughlin and The Mahavishnu Orchestra……and Landreth’s intricate playing is every bit as complex and technically brilliant.
The latter is immediately followed by a slow Blues called Soul Salvation; which is more up my street these days; especially as we get to hear another beautiful accordion solo in the middle.
As you would expect from a guy who has been recording for 30 odd years, he keeps the best for last with a sassy Walking Blues bleeding into my favourite track from these two sides; the album closer The One and Only Truth which has Landreth and friends pulling out all of the stops on a cracking dance tune that makes the Mavericks sound quite pedestrian.
I’ve said many times before that the main reason I do this and put so many hours in is so I can discover new music that you struggle to find anywhere else and pass it on to you guys and gals……..Sonny Landreth and in particular this Live in Lafayette album is just that type of pearl.
Try it; I think you will like it.

Released 30th June 2017
http://www.sonnylandreth.com/

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Hannah Johnson – SHAKEN

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Hannah Johnson
SHAKEN
Self-Release

Country AND Western That Will Break Your Heart (And Mend It Too!)

This is a weird thing to say, but I always felt sorry for the Toy Hearts (sisters Sophia and Hannah Johnson plus Dad Stewart) as they were exceptionally talented, looked good and were bloody hard working; but were treading the circuit and releasing albums in the years just before British Country Music became cool (and profitable).
So it was a lovely surprise when I saw a link to Hannah Johnson’s IndiGoGo page last week financing her maiden solo album; then before I had the chance to pledge some dosh, or ask a mutual friend for a contact number, Stewart sent me an e-mail offering a review copy – RESULT!
It arrived the following morning and hasn’t been out of the car stereo for the last three days.
The opening track Nowhere Train is an absolute delight; with Hannah channelling her inner Reba and Tammy on a delicious slice of Classic Country with enough Telecaster Twang to set my heart on fire.
With not hearing the Toy Hearts for a couple of years I’d forgot what a lovely and distinctive voice young Ms. Johnson has; soft, velvety and with just the slightest ‘rasp’ around the edges; and alongside Stewart’s classy pedal-steel and Chris Shirley’s subtle bass playing gives a truly authentic sound to Morning Cocktail* and the swoonsome West Texas Lullaby.
Hannah co-wrote 3 songs here; but it’s her ability to choose a song to suit her voice that is most impressive. She could easily have gone for a bunch of Classics; but no….there are a couple of brave choices here that work a damn site better than they should. I already own three versions of Trouble in Mind; and there are scores of others but Hannah takes it, turns it inside out and makes it a sultry Western Swing song; perfect for a late night in a Downtown Honky Tonk; and it’s a similar story with Willie Nelson’s Three Days on which she really does get to show her vocal range in all it’s glory.
I had a rye smile when I first heard Hannah purr her way through this sultry version of Not In Birmingham; not just because it’s marvellous; but of course because Ms Johnson comes from Birmingham…..ENGLAND; which I doubt Roger Miller had in mind when he wrote it.
For once Mrs Magpie agree on a ‘favourite song’ and I’m thrilled to say that the clever and bittersweet your Girlfriend Hates Me is a co-write between Hannah and Sarah Sharp; and is as good a Country song that I’ve heard in years; and is absolutely perfect for National Radio and TV; in the UK and US of A!
The Toy Hearts were probably best associated with Bluegrass and possibly Western Swing; but were never ‘one trick ponies’ and Hannah moves through the different genres with the same ease and cool herself; with every song being different enough from the previous one to keep the whole album interesting but nothing ever jars; which is quite some feat for Hannah Stewart and Chris Barns who all co-produced this 36 minutes minutes of Country Heaven.
The funniest part of me keep talking about SHAKEN being an ‘Authentic Country’ album is that expression is out of fashion these days and Hannah Johnson (& The Broken Hearts) recorded the album at the Ameripolitan Studios in Austin TX and has firmly aligned herself (and band) to Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Movement which is rekindling this type of quality music around the globe; and more power to all of them.

PS i I’m pleased to see that sister Sophia, while not in ‘the band’ plays acoustic guitar throughout.
PS ii My car stereo doesn’t have enough room to show the full title of *Morning Cocktail; missing ‘tail’…..which made me blush the first time I looked!

http://hjbrokenhearts.com/
Released July 10th 2017

Trevor Sewell – CALLING NASHVILLE

trevor s

Trevor Sewell
CALLING NASHVILLE
Self-Release

The Blues Knows No Borders With Music This Good.

The old adage of ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’ surely applies to Trevor Sewell from Sunderland in the NE of England.
Even Trevor would admit to being a ‘journeyman musician’ up until only a couple of years; making a living from his work but very much under the radar like so many others out there.
Then quite randomly in 2013 he received a letter saying he was in the running for a prestigious Blues Artist of the Year Award in Hollywood! Blow me down if he didn’t go on to win it; and after 30+ years become an overnight star!
Jump forward four years and he is about to release this; his fifth album in five years, recorded in Nashville, of all places with some friends; of whom a couple of names are well known around these parts; but more of that later.
Opening track Someday instantly made me sit back in my swivel chair……it’s the Blues Bub; but with the addition of a fiddle has a sweaty Country feel to it; and I like it a lot.
This is followed by Mountain of Gold; a tender ballad that wouldn’t be out of place at the Bluebird Cafe or one of the more hip venues in East Nashville; as opposed to the Working Men’s Clubs of the North East where Sewell served his apprenticeship.
I’ve said before I truly admire artistes that are prepared to step out of their comfort zone and Trevor does that from start to finish here. Of course his distinctive gravelly voice (think Chris Rea after 40 Benson and Hedges) and his top quality guitar playing make this a Trevor Sewell album; but who among his many fans (old and new) would expect some light night sultry Jazz tinged ballad like the beautiful 7 and 1/2 minute duet with Janis Ian? Me neither; but with Ms. Ian tinkling the ivories, Trevor Brewis’ rock solid drumming and Sean O’Bryan Smith on double bass sounding as if they have just left the Bluenote studio; it’s the perfect late night accompaniment for lovers everywhere.
Older fans will love and newer ones impressed by the fire and brimstone guitar and vocals  on Stand Next To Him and You Ain’t What I’m Looking For, as both are Blues Rockers of the finest order; and with Matter of Time shows Mark Knopfler how it’s done.
The biggest surprise for me is the high standard of songwriting here; not that Trevor was ever a poor songwriter….far from it; but the ballads Tear It Down and Blanket of Hope which is full of glorious female harmonies on the chorus too, take him into a league I never expected from a man primarily known for his guitar playing.
It’s probably because it’s the the biggest and best surprise here in every department, from stinging guitar interludes to the swirling B3 Hammond via a tight Muscle Shoals type rhythm section that the delicious duet with Tracy Nelson, Long Time Ago easily becomes the RMHQ ‘Favourite Song’ on CALLING NASHVILLE (An Americana Adventure).
Trevor’s trademark ‘Blues’ is the thread that weaves throughout the album; but he delves into many golden pots to create a true Americana Adventure for a starry eyed Mackem Lad.

http://www.trevorsewell.com/

Released July 25th 2017

Rocking Magpie TOP TEN REVIEWS Jan 1st – June 30th 2017

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Rocking Magpie
Jan 1st – June 30th 2017

The Rocking Magpie website has been going for two and a half years and despite a couple of personal ups and downs continues to go from strength to strength.
As a for instance when I checked the stats so far for 2017 we have already surpassed the figures for the whole of 2015 and should go past 2016 by the end of August!

Here’s our Top 10 Reviews for the first half of this amazing year.

1) Ian McNabb – STAR, SMILE, STRONG.
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/ian-mcnabb-star-smile-strong/

2) Danny and The Champions of The World – BRILLIANT LIGHT (Exclusive video & CD combined).
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/danny-the-champions-of-the-world-brilliant-light/

3) Chuck Prophet – BOBBY FULLER DIED FOR OUR SINS.
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/chuck-prophet-bobby-fuller-died-for-your-sins/

4) Rodney Crowell – CLOSE TIES
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/rodney-crowell-close-ties/

5) Colin James – BLUE HIGHWAYS
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/colin-james-blue-highways/

6) Robert Vincent – I’LL MAKE THE MOST OF MY SINS
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/robert-vincent-ill-make-the-most-of-my-sins/

7) Bruce Foxton – SMASH THE CLOCK
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/bruce-foxton-smash-the-clock/

8) The Haley Sisters – ALWAYS BY MY SIDE
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/the-haley-sisters-always-by-my-side/

9) Mark Eitzel – HEY Mr. FERRYMAN
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/mark-eitzel-hey-mr-ferryman/

10) Stephen Fearing – EVERY SOUL’S A SAILOR
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/stephen-fearing-every-souls-a-sailor/

Thank you all for your continued support.

Alan

Sierra Hull – WEIGHTED MIND

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Sierra Hull
WEIGHTED MIND
Rounder Records

Taking Bluegrass Into A  Semi-Classical Sphere.

Sierra Hull is one of those names that gets whispered alongside a ‘knowing look’ in certain circles these days; which is no surprise when you see who appears alongside the young singer-songwriter on her second album.
First and foremost Sierra Hull is recognised as an amazing mandolin player; and boy is that evident on the intro to Stranded which opens this disc; not a song as I understand as Sierra only occasionally whispers “Dear 22, I’m stranded here” a couple of times over her divine mandolin and possibly a bowed Double bass to create a hypnotic piece of music.
The instrumentation and heritage alludes to this being a Bluegrass album; but the construction of songs like Fallen Man and Queen of Hearts/Royal Tea far exceed the limitations of that particular genre; as do others too.
There is a slight hint of the young Nanci Griffith on a couple of songs; most noticeably the ethereal Birthday which has an almost Southern Gothic feel to it and the harmonies with Abigail Washburn will send a shiver down your spine the first time you hear it.
Bela Fleck’s production must be applauded too, as he somehow manages to give very limited instrumentation (a mandolin and dbl. bass) a very ‘big’ sound; which is why I draw a comparison with chamber music, but never ever does it ever compromise Sierra Hull’s amazing voice.
Much like the banjo I can find the mandolin a tiresome instrument at times; normally when played at 100 mph to show how ‘brilliant or dexterous’ the player is; but in Sierra Hull’s hands it becomes a thing of rare beauty; never more so than on the darkly Celtic sounding Wings Of The Dawn.
When I first heard the wonderful title track Weighted Mind the name Alison Krauss instantly sprung to mind; then I read the notes on the album sleeve and there was Alison’s name on harmonies! All I can say is, while Ms Krauss adds some substance to the song; it would be just as good without her inclusion, which is a phrase I never ever expected to write.
It’s fair to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised beyond belief by this album; which should make choosing a favourite song difficult; but it isn’t; as the finale Black River is quite the epic; showcasing Sierra’s clever, intricate and almost poetic style of songwriting with her clever, intricate and poetic mandolin playing, with the added bonus of a choir made up from Abigail Washburn, Alison Krauss, Rhiannon Giddons and Bela Fleck on harmony vocals; and when Sierra Hull’s beautifully crystal clear voice filtered from the speakers on a warm Summers evening I was instantly transported into some kind of musical Heaven.
As I implied at the start, you have to be a very special talent indeed to attract Abigail Washburn, Alison Krauss, Rhiannon Giddons and Bela Fleck, who also produced the album to aid and abet you so early in your career and Sierra Hull most certainly is a very special talent indeed.

http://www.sierrahull.com/home

Released Jan 20 2016

Anthony Toner – INK

toner d

Anthony Toner
INK
Dozens of Cousins Records

A Delightful and Gentle Look at Life, Love and Family.

Regular readers will know of my love for Northern Irish singer-songwriters; all of whom were brought to my attention by my friend Bap Kennedy.
One of my favourites is the ‘elder statesman’ Anthony Toner who only released his debut album just under ten years ago; and recently sent me a ‘gig only’ Best Of which is quite exceptional and a copy of INK his latest new release.
Anthony’s distinctive warm husky tones are as wonderful as ever on the opening track Let The River; a gentle piano led song about the effect love can have on you. Think James Taylor singing a Randy Newman song.
As we know songwriter’s get their ideas from what is around them; both good and bad, which makes track#2 all the more fascinating; as An Alphabet deals with his father’s Alzheimer’s and it’s harrowing effect on the singer; but written and sung through a shroud of love and sensibility; which is the thread that weaves through every song here.
Anthony Toner’s newsletters are captivating as he doesn’t just try to ‘sell you stuff’ but talks about books he is reading, music he is listening to and also about his family; which is how I already knew about his father’s condition and his Mother died earlier this year.
His Mother;’s death is included here in the stunningly beautiful The Night Prayer of St. Augustine. Surely a difficult subject to write and indeed sing about; but Toner does it all with such love and elegance you can’t help but smile and mentally give him a big warm hug.
Perhaps these two events have caused him to look back on his life; which may explain the charming Square Eyed Boy and the slightly frightening but engaging Exit Wounds; when he describes the time he held an actual gun for the one and only time in a friends bedroom after the Troubles had finished. Told in a ‘Talking Blues’ style I now associate with Belfast’s favourite son Ivan Morrison; Toner held me captivated for four solid minutes.
Toner’s rolling guitar style doesn’t just hold his songs together but he gets to showcase his skills on four semi-classical instrumentals; none of which are ‘filler’ as each is here on merit, and Cotton Anniversary could and should be the theme tune to a travel programme or such like on the TV.
Much like Bap Kennedy, Anthony Toner has ‘a way’ with a love song that leaves you in no doubt how strong his feelings are without every sounding drippy or schmaltzy. The Honky-Tonky Still Your Man is a good example as is Sleep Like a Soldier.
But; it’s two songs that don’t fit into any of the above categories that tie for the ‘Favourite Song’ title; but the way he takes a tiny personal observation and makes it Universal subject that will touch the hearts of everyone who hears it is outstanding on Light From The Stars and the sad love song Sometimes The Night.
If you are of ‘a certain age’ and like songwriting of the finest quality sung from the heart by a truly distinctive voice; then I can’t recommend this album highly enough.

http://anthonytoner.net/

Released May 1st 2017

Black *Scarr – DELUDED

black scarr

Black *Scarr
DELUDED
18 Til I Die Records

It’s Folk Music Jim; But Not As You Know It! Urban Folkicana?

One of our ‘finds’ this year was London band The Persecuted and for once I’ve actually kept up an occasional correspondence with Johnny Black from said Beat Combo. As many musicians out there will appreciate Johnny has to keep a lot of plates spinning to make a living from his chosen profession; one of which is this duo with singer-songwriter Emma Scarr.
So far so good; and when he told me they had recorded an album I foolishly said “send me a copy” without thinking……and there was no going back when he uttered the dreaded F-Word……”It’s more Folk than our usual stuff.”
Well three weeks later I can tell you it’s now been on and off both the office and car stereo with satisfying regularity.
A soul stirring harmonica opens the album and first track Going Home which stars Emma on a heartfelt story of a young woman who has moved to the country for a better life but hankers for the bright lights and crazy traffic of the big city. It’s a simple yet clever story and song that will resonate with many people who return home after life at University or the like.
That harmonica returns with a vengeance on Dirty Coins; a song on many another album that would be ‘my favourite’. A wonderful tale of two women (sisters) who are polar opposites, with one tied down to a life of domesticity and the other a free spirit that flits around the world, but each is jealous of the others life and lifestyle. (PS it took a while but I know what that harmonica melody is a homage to!)
It breaks my heart to admit to liking a Folk album; but there is something very refreshing about a simple observation song like Night Tube Home, about a musician having to take said mode of transport at the end of the night (I remember Jason Ringenberg once cutting short an interview for that very reason!).
Thankfully there’s the occasional flash of pedal-steel to add extra Country spice to a couple of tracks with Emma’s pleading Mrs. Average being a stonker of a South London Honky-Tonker; and on Another Beer her deliberately ‘flat annunciation’ couldn’t be any more effective on a Country-Folk response to the Rolling Stones Mother’s Little Helper.
Johnny does take the lead a couple of times with King of Rock and Roll being a real Folk-Rocking foot-stomper and on My Therapist Said he touches nerves that I don’t want to discuss; but it’s a song many of could have written……but didn’t.
On an album chock full of Kitchen Sink dramas none are any sadder or more eloquent than Carry Me Home about a woman who ‘pops out for some shopping’ and several hours later after meeting several acquaintances asks and needs to be ‘carried home.’ Sad? Yes; but beautifully described and sung by Johnny Black.
My favourite song here though is Can of Worms, a tale of sexual infidelity and its heartbreaking consequences. The story and intimate details are pin sharp and coupled with Darren Buddell’s pedal-steel and Emma’s exquisite fiddle playing make this the type of song we would normally associate with Loretta or Patsy; not a couple of English Folk Rockers.
While Mr Black co-wrote all of the songs with Ms Scarr, she takes most of the heavy lifting in the lead vocal department, with Johnny only sneaking in a couple of times; and the world here is a better place for it as Emma has a gorgeously ‘lived in’ and occasionally ‘world weary’ quality on the songs that she inhabits like an Oscar winning actress.

http://www.18tilidie.com/default.htm

Released 16th June 2017

Danny & The Champions of the World -BRILLIANT LIGHT

DANNY BRIGHT LIGHT

Danny & The Champions of the World
BRILLIANT LIGHT
Loose Records

Deeply Insightful Alt. Britainicana For Grown Ups.

After listening to the first single from this album Swift Street on constant rotation for two solid days back in April; my first play of BRILLIANT LIGHT was still a huge surprise….lots of surprise actually and many different feelings prickling my senses across all 18 songs on that first day.
The striking guitar intro to opening track Waiting For the Right Time is trademark Champions of the World and when Danny’s riveting voice floats in like a London fog even the pickiest of music fans would have to sit back and listen to whatever followed; and in this case it’s justly merited. This laid back and sad song is a fascinating way to open proceedings; and it perfectly sets the scene for what is to follow.
The beautifully bittersweet Bring Me To My Knees follows and half way through my bottom lip began to tremble but I managed to fight back actual tears as Henry Senior Jr.’s exquisite pedal-steel playing compliments Wilson’s sad, sad story.
I was only two songs in and worrying that I wouldn’t be able to see it through to the end of all 18 tracks…..yes EIGHTEEN songs and pretty much all of this ilk! 18 song? To fit everything in and let the music flow as it was intended, you can either buy a Double CD, or depending on your ‘hipster values’ an old-fashioned Double LP, or ……and this really exciting, an actual triple CD or LP with an extra two sides of cool instrumentals!
Of The Champions six albums, I have to say this is the least accessible when you first play it; but subsequently the layers and emotions peel away leaving you stunned with the quality of songwriting on Don’t Walk Away and Long Distance Tears; while Wilson show’s a new found maturity in his story telling too, with Never In The Moment and the superb It’s Just a Game (That we were playing) and
I’ve always admired the way Danny can write a song about his childhood ‘memories’ and make the the listener feel he’s writing about them; yet at no time is he ever mawkish. Here the single Swift Street is about ‘three old photos’ of family members but generated memories of my own parents and siblings; and it will bring back similar memories for you too.
There’s always a soulful streak on a Champions album and here Waiting For The Wheels To Come Off is another sad song as is It Hit Me but both are strangely uplifting and as cool and insightful as they’ve ever recorded; but it’s for their quintessentially British take on Americana that we know and love them.
Let The Water Wash Over You (Don’t You Know) is Southern Rock straight out of South London and on The Circus Made The Town; if it wasn’t for Danny’s distinctive voice I would swear I was listening to something recorded in Laurel Canyon circa 1973.
So; favourite track time and it’s not been easy; as there isn’t really a definitive ‘stand out’ song; this is an old fashioned AOR/Grown Up album that you should listen to as a complete ‘work’ but I will point you to Gotta Get Things Right in My Life, not just for the touching lyrics that punched me straight in the heart but also Paul Lush’s staggering guitar parts and the other is the album closer Flying By The Seat of Our Pants which could be not just the Champion’s theme tune but that of RMHQ too.
I’m not sure but history may prove BRILLIANT LIGHT to be Danny and The Champions of the World’s definitive album (or even triple album if you buy that model!)

Released June 30th 2017
http://www.dannyandthechamps.com/

The Mekons – Existentialism (2016)

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The Mekons
Existentialism (2016)
Bloodshot Records

Our Favourite Noisenik Multi-Cultural Post-Punk Rockers Raise The Roof (Again)

To coincide with a short UK Tour and due to ‘public demand’ Bloodshot Records are finally releasing this 2016 Live Album in it’s own rite; and as a special treat we have asked Mekons fan and friend of RMHQ, singer-songwriter, famed producer and engineer Mr Roy Peak to have a listen and put his thoughts don on paper. Here’s the results.

When a band like the the Mekons decide to do a live album they say the hell with 48-channel digital consoles and four packed nights at the Royal Albert Hall. They pick a small, tight room in Brooklyn, fill it with rowdy fans, and then the band crowds around a single microphone—mixing be damned!—and they send the results out into the world. Sure, this isn’t Abbey Road Recording Studio quality, but it does make for a damn interesting document, fitting in these hardened, topsy-turvy times we all live in.

(The video document that captured this recording, called Mekonception, shows more than one microphone. I suspect these were for the live mix in the room for the audience, mostly to amplify the vocals and add some effects to the sounds. The sound engineer part of me would like to know more how all this was accomplished as the sound is full, well rounded, nearly perfectly balanced, and stereo friendly—it sounds awesome in headphones!—and fantastic on my old 1970s Pioneer with thrift store speakers.)

Now that’s out of the way, what about the performances, the songs, the attitude? I’m happy to announce that if you’re a longtime Mekons fan you should be more than satisfied. I have a feeling the Mekons would fit right in during the dada art movement of the early twentieth century, as an art-house drinking band, their rolling singalongs shaking the walls of the Cabaret Voltaire. The band pulls no punches politically, and plays with their usual mix of rowdy, crowded vocals and tight, taut rhythms wonderfully, adding some fun and unexpected vocal effects and swirling ambience throughout. These arrangements are exceedingly brave and well thought out down to the nth detail, and its amazing they pulled it off so effortlessly and still sound as if they were having the time of their life while doing so. From Gang of Four like rave-ups, to drunken singalongs, to the melting pot mish-mosh that is the Mekons musical oeuvre, this album feels so right and every song fits together in a manner nearly forgotten in today’s world of Spotify singles and NoiseTrade EPs. I love it when albums sound like albums and not one or two singles and a lot of filler material. It probably helps that this was recorded all together during a single focused performance, but still, the end result is breathtaking.

Nowadays whenever a reviewer mentions the Mekons they always add that they’re becoming more “Americana” all the time. I don’t hear that. To me the members of the Mekons always sound as if they’re having a blast which is something sorely lacking in many of the so-called Americana acts that are in abundance of late. Wilco are far too serious, Jason Isbell too dour, Steve Earle has so many chips on his shoulders it’s a wonder he can walk upright, and everyone has a “story” or a so-called “validating reason” they’re making a new album. (Writing this album saved me from addiction!” or “This album is all about the problems of bullying!” or “These songs represent my lifelong struggle with toe fungus and it was recorded on vintage all-analog equipment as that’s the only way for me to fully realize my vision!”)

The Mekons, even with all of their forthrightness and sense of responsibility, still manage to sound fun, throwaway, and relevant all at the same time, a true punk rock trick, incapable of being forced or insincere. As a Mekons fan I had high hopes for this album and it far exceeded my expectations. Fun, rocking, rollicking, and truly relevant, I plan on listening to this one quite often for quite a while.

https://www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/mekons

Released June 2nd 2017

Roy Peak – http://www.roypeak.com/

EXCLUSIVE King King – (SHE DON’T) GIVE ME NO LOVIN’ (single)

king king june 17
King King
(SHE DON’T) GIVE ME NO LOVIN’
Manhaton Records

Today is the day when King King premiere the official music video for their new single on the Rocking Magpie! We welcome you to spread the work about this fantastic music video and single.

The single is taken from the band’s forthcoming fourth studio album “Exile & Grace” (released ON Manhaton Records on Friday 6th October). mixed by Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Feeder and Therapy)The new album promises to deliver even more of a punch from King King, with killer songs performed with true passion by a fist tight line-up.
“Exile & Grace definitely has a rockier feel and sound to it,” says King King’s Alan Nimmo. “We are following our influences from the Classic Rock genre, Bad Company, Whitesnake and Thunder. We really set out to challenge ourselves with this album. We’ve stepped up the quality of song writing and pushed ourselves physically in both performance and delivery!”

Buy/stream the single here http://bit.ly/KKLovin
http://www.kingking.co.uk/Home.html