Our friends at Criminal Records in the UK are making headlines again with a couple of very intriguing artist announcements. First and foremost, The Kut has sold out their “Love Hate Vampire Shotgun System Circus” Tour AND is about to commence recording their debut album AND they have a new video AND…well that’s it but, needless to say we are pretty stoked about it. Maha (lead vox/guitar), Fidan (drums/vox) and Alison (bass/vox) are on fiyah at present and we wish them nothing but continued success. Can’t wait to hear the new stuff!
Speaking of new stuff, checking out the newest band to sign with CR is an absolute must. Argonaut is a 5-piece ensemble that hails from London Town and are criminally good in their own right. Lorna (vocals), Abby (keys, guitar, vox), Nathan (guitar), Paul (bass) and Rob (drums) cite a variety of influences that have paved they way to a remarkably original sound…thankfully none of those influences was Englebert Humperdink! But seriously folks, theirs is a sound awash in gritty guitars, driving drums, siren-esque vocals and just a hint of dissonant angst…very cool.
[itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-alone/id478899535?i=478899536&uo=4″ title=”Eureka Stockade – All Alone”]
This just in… Eureka Stockade, my favorite alt-country band from the other side of the pond have just released their latest single “All Alone”. As with their previous tracks we’ve shared here, the sound feels much more like Georgia or Tennessee rather than England’s Cambridge. But between the steel guitar (which I’m always a sucker for), the ambiance set by the cello, the joyous drumming, and the earnestness felt in the Michael Stipe-like vocals…I don’t really care where they are from.
Once again, Eureka Stockade deliver well crafted musicianship, meaningful lyrics, and a soulful delivery. Talent, genuineness, uniqueness. Across all genres, those are the qualities we applaud here at Froglix.
[itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/big-country/id373911?uo=4″ title=”Big Country on iTunes”]
I was in Mississippi visiting my grandparents for the summer when I first heard them. I had snuck out of my room to catch Saturday Night Live and the musical guest that evening was…you guessed it…Big Country. It was their American television debut and I was completely blown away. Their sound was unlike anything I’d ever heard and, almost instantly, they became my favourite band of all time. I bought every album and, even now, listen to at least one Big Country song just about every day. I count it among one of my good fortunes in this life that I was able to watch them “grow up” as a band right before my eyes and ears and, needless to say, I was quite taken aback the day I learned of lead singer Stuart Adamson’s death. Distinctly I remember my friend Josh, a huge BC fan as well, and I commiserating, reminiscing about our favourite songs just trying to make sense of what, to us at least, was a senseless tragedy.
Fast forward to 2011. I am scanning for Facebook fodder one Friday afternoon when I happen upon a curious post from Treading Lemmings frontman Quinn. Big Country is back together? What? How could this be? Soap opera scenes of characters who had been killed off in early episodes returning after a case of mistaken identity flooded my consciousness. Is Stuart back with us and, more importantly, has he seen and/or spoken to Elvis? Inquiring minds want to know. Alas, ’tis not the case. I am somewhat perplexed to find The Alarm’s original front man, Mike Peters, has joined the band for it’s 30th Anniversary tour. Oh…and I suppose they are going to change their name to the Big Alarm now too. That’s just great!
Having not yet even heard this new incarnation of my most beloved band, I wanted to hate them. However, try as I might…I just couldn’t. I scoured YouTube for live footage of performances and was once again blown away by what I heard. Maybe not so much as before but a respectable amount of “blown awayness” for sure. Bassist Tony Butler still sounds amazing as do the other members of the band. Peters, thankfully, is not trying to be Stuart or evening like him. He’s just being himself…and it works.
“Another Country”, the track featured above, is the band’s first new single in over (12) years. It was produced by none other than Steve Lillywhite who worked with the band on their first two albums. European concert dates in the early part of 2011 gave way to additional dates in the Spring. Hopefully, they’ll be making their way across the Big Pond as I would do just about anything to be able to see these cats live.
Take a listen to the “flash forward” above and be sure to check out the band’s 2011 live performances on YouTube.
The Joy Formidable on [itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-joy-formidable/id356417894?uo=4″ title=”The_Joy_Formidable”]
Take a load off with a The Joy Formidable’s most recent single called “A Heavy Abacus” which will be included as part of their forthcoming EP to entitled Roarities. The way cool live version featured above was recorded at live at the legendar KOKO in Camden, London.
Guess what…still love this band. Why? Becasue they rock and because they have a method to their alt-rock madness…record, tour, repeat. Their day is coming…it’s just a matter of time.
The past seven (7) days have been absolutely crazy and while there has been no time to write I could not, in could conscience, allow the sun to set on the week without the Flashback.
The alt-rock explosion that emanated from across the Big Pond back in the day was spearheaded by a number of different bands with just as many different sounds. We could debate the merits of the Liverpool versus the London versus the Manchester sound until we were blue in the face. We might even find ourselves coming to blows like a couple of rowdy Hooligans at a soccer match but in the end the only thing that would be accomplished would be…well…nothing. So let’s elevate things to the country level then, shall we? It is my contention that if we are talking the UK here, and we are, the top (4) alternative band from the ’80s would be, in my humble but accurate opinion, Big Country (Scotland), U2 (Ireland), The Clash (England) and the band feature above…The Alarm from Wales–North Wales to be exact.
From their humble beginnings in 1977 as a punk band called The Toilets (good gracious, what were they thinking) to an opening act for U2 and, eventually, a headlining band, Mike Peters, Dave Sharp, Eddie MacDonald and Nigel Twist drew inspiration from their Welsh culture and channeled it into their music. Wrought with raw emotion, The Alarm’s big sound (and hair for that matter) cemented their place at the table and while the original band has been broken up for some time now, it’s hard to argue their impact on alternative music.
“Rain in the Summertime” was released in 1987 on Eye of the Hurricane (IRS Records) and also featured a couple of other Alarm classics, namely “Rescue Me” and “One Step Closer to Home.” Three (3) great songs on what would be a very strong follow up to 1984’s Declaration and 1985’s Strength. For ten (10) years these cats poured it on with classic after classic…“Sold Me Down a River”, “Love Don’t Come Easy”, “Blaze of Glory” and the timeless anthem “68 Guns.”
It was all going so well until Peters announced he was leaving the band during a performance at Brixton Academy. The crowd was stunned and his bandmates shocked. What was he thinking? I’m sure I don’t know but what I do know this; “I love to feel the rain in the summer time…”
I had to do some double checking of things with Eureka Stockade. For example, are they really from Cambridge? The one in England?? I have to say, the sound is quite American to me. The pedal steel guitar playing a prominent role in “Without You” does make me think Nashville. And other tracks like “Violence” and “All Alone” made me seriously wonder if they could be from Athens, Georgia. I actually did double check….it’s still Cambridge, England.
And with tracks titled “All Alone”, “Without You”, and “Through Every Darkness”, one might be afraid these could be country-western songs where you lost your job, your wife, and worst of all your dog. Don’t worry; they aren’t. Eureka Stockade is a solid four piece, delivering vocally driven, well-crafted, alt-rock tunes with a decent range of different sounds. “Without You”, with that pedal steel guitar is a masterful acoustic ballad and really is a bit country. “Violence” is on the other end of their spectrum, being more Athens-inspired rock. If you like both of these tracks, then you should be happy with everything in between.