Fronted by teenager Charlotte Brimner, Scottish three-piece Be Charlotte are set to release a brand new single later this month. I’ve no doubt that it’s going to take the world by storm.
“One Drop” showcases just why Brimner is already regarded as one of Scotland’s most cutting-edge songwriters. Skillfully fusing an eclectic range of genres, the track combines elements of hip-hop, electro, and pop, creating a truly infectious and hugely addictive dance-floor anthem.
As Brimner’s Scottish twang alternates between sweeping, impassioned vocal power and gritty beat-boxing loops, “One Drop” races with twinkling melodies alongside throbbing beats and glitchy electro vibes—a vibrant and innovative creation, bound to propel Be Charlotte into the mainstream in no time.
Having already received acclaim from BBC Radio 1 and Radio X, Be Charlotte have also been named as one of The Great Escape’s First Fifty for 2017, and are going to be playing SXSW in March. This year certainly looks set to be a big one for Be Charlotte.
“One Drop” is out 20 January via AWAL/Kobalt Label Service.
You can grouse all you want about how Paul McCartney graduated from the Beatles only to become one of the world’s biggest purveyors of pure treacle, but that’s being unfair. Sure, I would gladly dunk my head in a pail of skunk piss to avoid hearing “Let ‘Em In” and “Silly Love Songs,” and that goes double for “Ebony and Ivory” and “Listen to What the Man Said.” You’re free to disagree, but I am of the belief that all four of the aforementioned songs are enough to disprove widely held assumptions about the continuing progress of the human species.
But. But! During the course of his long post-Beatles career the most lachrymose member of the Fab Four has bequeathed us some of the catchiest songs—I’m talking about “Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “Smile Away,” “Rock Show,” “Live and Let Die,” “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” etc.—you’ll ever hear. All of them may be lightweights, but they can knock out just about anything in their class.
Bottom line? I am of the opinion that Sir Paul’ genius resides in his amazing ability to overcome his natural predilection towards producing pure pap for soft rock people. There’s no denying that the old boy has demonstrated an uncanny capacity for recording horseshit, but he’s simply too talented to let his worst instincts completely overwhelm his facility at turning out irresistible melodies. And it could be his love for pot, but he also has a strange but likeable tendency towards the downright surreal.
Take Ram, his 1971 collaboration with wife Linda. True, Ram may not be representative of McCartney’s overall output, as it doesn’t include a single insufferable song, although “Long Haired Lady” comes flirtatiously close. On the other hand, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” is a brilliant pastiche and predecessor to the landmark “Band on the Run,” and while I laugh at it I also love it more than I did my dear old grandma, the insufferable prick. Just listen to it! The falling rain! The sound of thunder! That wonderful megaphone! That posh English accent! The inimitable Marvin Stamm’s magic flugelhorn! The talk of pies! And I could go on! But you get the idea.
Vinyl Sales Aren’t Dead: The ‘New’ Billion Dollar Music Business: Vinyl records are projected to sell 40 million units in 2017. This will bring the past seven years’ collective sales to the $1 billion benchmark for the first time this millennium. This impressive milestone has been untouched since the peak of the industry in the 1980s. While explosive by today’s standards, according to Deloitte, in its heyday (‘81), total vinyl album sales topped $1 billion in just that year alone.
Radio Wasteland Records opens Friday in Midland: Break out your turntables and get ready for a blast from the past because a record store is opening in Midland on Friday. Radio Wasteland Records, located at 718 George St., will offer an extensive assortment of vintage vinyl and new releases for young and old music lovers alike. “What we have, as far as an offering goes, runs the gamut. If you can think of an interesting genre for vintage vinyl, I think we can represent it here,” owner Jim Gleason said. The store, located just four blocks north of Dow Diamond, will host a collection of genres ranging from rock and roll and soundtracks to radio shows and even a few area recordings.
Tunbridge Wells pop-up vinyl shop owners want to reopen elsewhere in town: A pop-up vinyl record shop in Tunbridge Wells has closed down, but the owners want to reopen in town, saying the business “exceeded all expectations”. Vinyl Revolution, which was based in Camden Road, had opened at the end of October but only had plans to be open at the venue until January due to a proposed redevelopment of some of the shops on the edge of the Royal Victoria Place centre. “For an idea that literally only came to us three months before we opened, the shop has exceeded all our expectations – a large part of that is due to being in Tunbridge Wells,” co-owner Rachel Lowe told Kent Live.
Re-covered in Vinyl: Fully half the modern world seemed to be covered in vinyl back in the ’50s and ’60s, and of course these days everyone is collecting vinyl records again. They might indeed sound better than their digital descendants, but there’s no denying the vintage appeal of all things vinyl. So it’s vinyl on centre stage as the collector’s collective Made by Legacy, which specialises in organising American-style flea markets, mounts its latest funky retail extravaganza tomorrow and Sunday on the roof of Bangkok’s Fortune Town mall. This is the eighth edition for a dazzlingly diverse flea market that has previously evoked nostalgia for Vietnam-era GIs, childhood toys and classic cars. This year’s 150 booths will be piled high with vinyl stuff – and a whole lot more besides.
Music’s Weird Cassette Tape Revival Is Paying Off: For Andy Molholt, there’s something oddly special about hitting play on his boombox at the beach. The Philadelphia-based musician tours frequently with his band Laser Background and, between that and the many shows he helps book back home in Philly, he winds up seeing a lot of bands perform in bars, basements, and warehouses. If he likes them, he usually buys a tape. “It’s nice to only be able to listen to what’s in front of you, instead of having the entirety of music at your fingertips with Spotify and all that,” says Molholt of his growing tape collection. “There’s also something warm and fuzzy about tapes to me, maybe in a nostalgic kind of way.”
In every dream home a heartache / And every step I take / Takes me further from heaven / Is there a heaven? / I’d like to think so / Standards of living / They’re rising daily / But home oh sweet home / It’s only a saying
Now that we’ve said hello to 2017, let say hello to today—full moon Friday. Mercury in retrograde! Greetings from Laurel Canyon—oh, and by the way, this here canyon is closed. Yes, and in addition to the bittersweet farewell to our lovable and funky prez, it poured and rained and poured. Then a house slid into Laurel Canyon. Talk about your morning drive becoming a metaphor for the future…
Our canyon is closed. Were not cut off from the rest of the world or the city, but maybe that might not be such a bad thing.
VIA PRESS RELEASE | Continuing his association with the reactivated Chess imprint, the label that issued so many of the tunes that inspired him in his youth, I Keep It To Myself / The Best Of Wilko Johnson draws together 25 tracks recorded between 2008 and 2012 by the legendary guitarist and songwriter with backing largely provided by Blockheads Norman Watt-Roy (bass) and Dylan Howe (drums), the same rhythm section that performed on Wilko’s enormously successful Going Back Home album with Roger Daltrey.
Including re-workings of Wilko penned Dr Feelgood favourites ‘She Does It Right’, ‘Twenty Yards Behind,’ ‘Sneaking Suspicion,’ and ‘Roxette,’ alongside further dynamic numbers such as ‘Turned 21,’ ‘Some Kind Of Hero,’ ‘Out In The Traffic,’ Barbed Wire Blues,’ ‘Down By The Waterside,’ and ‘I Really Love Your Rock ‘n’ Roll’—I Keep It To Myself / The Best Of Wilko Johnson is a splendid collection of high-octane rhythm & blues with that unmistakable Wilko Johnson Fender greatness stamped all over it. Songs that are sung from the heart and played from the soul.
He’s unlike any other musician, Wilko. If you have the good fortune to see him in the flesh, watch his hands (not his plectrum) chopping out mean riffs, chopping out brutal guitar solos, as he moves constantly, towards the crowd and away from the crowd. Like his music—in motion, always. Songs rarely reach the three-minute mark. But by the time they’re finished you know you’ve been to a gig. The Stranglers Jean Jacques Burnel said of Wilko’s former outfit Dr Feelgood, “I often say to journalists there is a bridge between the old times and the punk times. That bridge is exclusively The Feelgoods, it allowed us to go from one thing to another. That’s the connection, the DNA.”
“I’ve never been good at first dates or surface conversations so I’ll just awkwardly dive right into it and either scare you off or make you fall in love with me. I have one true musical idol and its Mr. Frank Zappa. Mostly out of pure envy though. His music is good, but really I love him because that son-of-a-bitch put out 60-something albums and I haven’t. And he only made it to age 52. If I could choose to be like anyone it would be him. RIP.”
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love me some warm gooey vinyl. As a producer and gearhead, I really enjoy seeing the resurgence that is happening of all-things-analog. I cobbled together my first demo as a 13-year-old kid by recording on an old ’90s Sony 2-channel Karaoke machine straight to cassette tape with the stock microphone that came with it, an old Squier Stratocaster, and a fifty-dollar practice amp.
I even picked up my dad in the background of one of the songs yelling like he always did, “TURN THAT THING DOWN, GODDAMMIT!!!!!” As a third wave analog nerd, I’m proud to say I’ve finally kissed 15 years of digital recording goodbye and come full circle to invest in a mid-’80s Tascam 388 tape machine that I bought off my good friend McCullough Ferguson of Whit.
That said, I’ve learned to be good friends with the digital era too, living a life that embraces the good of both worlds while leaving out the bad. I think this cliché of living a “hipster” lifestyle, as a mere recreation of a Wes Anderson film is dumb. I don’t want to use a typewriter and I don’t need a messenger hawk. I like my Mac and I prefer texting, thank you.
VIA PRESS RELEASE | In the summer of 1997, Kris Kristofferson spent a few days in Texas recording stripped-down versions of his best-known songs. Released by Atlantic Records in 1999, The Austin Sessions pairs the acclaimed outlaw country songwriter with a band of studio aces and guest harmony vocalists for intimate versions of classics like “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Why Me?,” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”
Rhino Records celebrates these powerful recordings with an expanded version of the album that features remastered sound and includes two unreleased session outtakes. Fred Mollin, who produced the original album, tells the story behind the sessions in the collection’s liner notes, which also feature several unpublished photos from the time. The Austin Sessions: Expanded Edition will be available February 10 on CD ($13.98) and digitally ($9.99). A remastered vinyl version of The Austin Sessions will also be available on the same day ($21.98).
Kristofferson recorded The Austin Sessions at Arlyn Studios in Texas with a group of session veterans from Los Angeles and Nashville who were hand-picked by Mollin, who also plays acoustic guitar on the album. Kristofferson’s longtime touring guitarist Stephen Bruton appears on several songs as well.
Mollin recalls: “I knew in my heart that I could pull off a great under-produced production and give Kris the album he always wanted to make: one that felt like it had the uniqueness and rootsy feeling that Dylan accomplished on his early electric albums.”
“When you are up to your neck in shit,” wrote Samuel Beckett, “all you can do is sing.” This is as good a starting point as any to discuss the sad fate of Songs: Ohia’s Jason Molina, who sang and sang but ultimately drowned, not in shit but in alcohol, the complications of which took him away from us at the indecent age of 39. This is no easy feat for any drinker, no matter how hard he hits the sauce. Being a drunk myself, I know. And being a drunk, I feel for the guy. He had genius, but he also had a disease, and in the end the disease won.
That said, Molina left behind a rich legacy of wonderful songs, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. I myself am partial to 2003’s The Magnolia Electric Co., Songs: Ohia’s seventh and final regular album. It’s a haunting and desolately lovely LP, and imbued with a lonely aura of fatality that the albums’ other voices (Scout Niblett, Lawrence Peters) fail to dissipate.
Molina’s work has been compared to that of Palace/Will Oldham, but I also hear distinctive echoes of Smog’s Bill Callahan and Neil Young. But his vocals and lyrics are darker, more beautifully poetic, more doom laden. Neil Young never came close, except on Tonight’s the Night. I can’t listen to Molina without thinking of Rick Danko of the Band singing, “I’ve got fire water right on my breath/And the doctor warned me I might catch a death/Said, “You can make it in your disguise/Just never show the fear that’s in your eyes.”
The Neil Young-esque opening track “Farewell Transmission” delivers on its title—Molina serves up haunting image on top of haunting image, sings, “The real truth about it is there ain’t no end to the desert I’ll cross/I’ve really known that all along.” Sings, “Mama here comes moonlight with the dead moon in its jaws/Must be the big star about to fall.” And then closes the song by repeating variations on, “Long dark blues/A farewell transmission/Listen!” And “Farewell Transmission” is followed by the equally dark “I’ve Been Riding With the Ghost,” which features some appropriately ghostly backing vocals and kicks into gear like that long black Cadillac bearing the ghost of Hank Williams to the gig he would never play in Canton, Ohio on New Year’s Day 1953.