Ryan Adams, The Divine Comedy and The Beta Band
By Steve Rudd
Ryan Adams - Wonderwall
Something of a bizarre choice of song for this North Carolina-hailing genius to cover,
but Ryan sings and plays this Oasis classic anthem wonderfully.. and, in doing so,
stamps an astonishingly original seal of style on the tune.
This cover version also actually features on his heart-attackingly beautiful,
16-song-strong Love Is Hell album, and while Ryan's interpretation of Wonderwall
is far more downbeat than the original version, its newfound bare-backed nature -
in the hands and via the voice of Ryan - lends the song a hugely atmospheric,
surreally fragile and haunting air.
Still, subtle spurts of violin, cello and piano accompaniment are all involved -
but you really to have to strain your ears to hear such musical intrusions, for
they are that purposefully delicate and exquisite.
At present, Ryan is still recovering from surgery he had on his left wrist
following a fall off-stage some time ago.
So, unfortunately, he won't be over in the UK for the foreseeable future to play
any live dates. Which is a shame. A damn shame. (5/5)
Release Date: June 28th 2004.
The Divine Comedy - Absent Friends
The genius singer-songwriter behind the Divine guise, Neil Hannon, has been extremely busy of late.
Having played a bunch of sold-out dates back in April and a whole host more theatre dates
in June, as well as appearing at Glastonbury (where he got some great exposure),
Absent Friends really is one of the best tunes he has written yet.
A brisk acoustic guitar riff compliments the melodic piano tinklings, the vibes of
Absent Friends (Here's to them) being effortlessly endearing, with Hannon's distinctive
singing voice being somewhat reminiscent of David Bowie's.
This quintessentially English-Pop anthem also reflects Bowie's work by being
pretty abstract and eccentric, as Neil sings about both Steve McQueen
and Oscar Wilde
in quick succession for seemingly little reason whatsoever.
Regardless, this tune is undeniably lush, summery - and triumphant, sun-kissed,
gallant brilliance which is so uplifting in nature that you'll want to jump for joy. (5/5)
The Beta Band - Out-Side
The second single release from the band's rightfully acclaimed Heroes To Zeroes album,
Out-Side hammers along with a wicked drum beat and quirky samples aplenty,
proving that these guys are thankfully as ambitiously inventive and imaginative as ever,
and fleetingly sharing similar musical wavelengths with The Super Furry Animals -
and even the subtly charming Badly Drawn Boy.
Indeed, this is genuinely refreshing Alt.-Pop music for the masses, being tantalisingly
Despite being cleverly sample-saturated, an angular rock guitar riff still manages
to under-pin the tune in style, so the end result is that Out-Side is a pretty
intense and complex song that you really have to listen to a good few times before
you've sussed out really what's going down.
And then, as the end of the song draws near, the lads usher in a beautifully
touching lull in proceedings, as they collectively ponder to themselves Am I dreaming?
2004 is proving to be a great year for the band, bearing in mind that the
single release that preceded this one (Assessment) was their first Top 40 hit.
Festival appearances at this year's T in The Park, Move and Guil-Fest spectaculars
should, naturally, do the band even more favours then.. fingers crossed. (4/5)
Release Date: July 12th 2004.
Album Reviews -
The harriWattsband - Comin' Out By Elsie Creek
The harriWattsband, purveyors of fine melodies, have finally decided to take the momentous
step for which we have waited so long. Comin' out.
I have been honoured with the task of communicating to you the important knowledge: has it beenRead more...
Album Reviews -
The Landau's - What Ya Crying For Pre-release CD Single. By Darren Bunting
The Landau's second CD single What Ya Cryin For shows quite a step forward in production,
song writing abilities and out and out confidence from their first release Sweet But True.
it is very easy to forget this band are still only teenagers on the evidence of their recordings.
CD opener What Ya Crying ForRead more...
Album Reviews -
Marlowe - Popularity Gel (single/ Probe Plus) By Steve Rudd
With no fewer than eight band members involved, Marlowe songwriter and assumed ringleader
is a brave man by the name of Simon Bradshaw, who shares the vocal duties with
Chloe Mullett's sensual voice.
John Peel is alleged to be a big fan of the band, and their third album is already
on the way, so why
Album Reviews - Razorlight - Up All Night (album/ Vertigo) By Steve Rudd
The rise and rise and rise and rise in popularity of Razorlight, frankly, has been utterly extraordinary.
It seems, in just a few precious weeks, that they have been elevated way above their hard-working class
roots into relative superstars, given the huge
Album Reviews - X Is Loaded - Raw Nerve (album/ Music For Nations) By Steve Rudd
This Bath-based band is one of the hottest and most exciting rock bands to really
step-out in the past couple of years, blasting out with sky-scraping Emo-rock guitars,
beguilingly soulful vocals (delivered by photogenic frontman Jake) and plenty of
on-stage energy necessary to enthrall anyone who has ever had
Album Reviews - Salako - The Story Of Our Life So Far By Nick Quantrill
Oh, the frustration of being a music fan. After whining long and hard about how recent years have been a
lean period for good music and searching high and low for things for something to excite my ears,
it came as somewhat of a surprise to find it lurking under my nose in Hull.
Album Reviews - The Trailers - From The Top - 7 track EP - By the Sea By Steve Rudd
The DIY punk ethic is still alive and kicking, even down the East Coast of England in the semi-sunny seaside town of Bridlington.
While there aren't many great bands kicking-out of Bridlington at the moment (save for the mighty Goth-Rock spectacular that is Torso Horse)
Album Reviews - Blue Sand - Changed Names and Slaves EP By Michelle Dee
I was given the enigmatically titled Blue Sand EP and after a couple of hearings I was hooked.
Blue Sand have played the Linnet and Lark on Princes Avenue and the newly refurbished Ringside venue in recent weeks.
The title track has a touch of early Placebo
Album Reviews - The Alarm - In The Poppyfields (12-track album - Snapper Music - 2004) By Steve Rudd
25 years down the punk-rock 'n' roll line and The Alarm - assembled around the ever-photogenic mainman Mike Peters - is still going strong.
In fact, the Cardiff-based Alarm's ringing louder than ever on the back of some fabulous media exposure that vaulted right around the world and back because of the fact that Mike craftily decided