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Wednesday 31 July 2013

Cabey - Dr Feelgood

There's no doubt that in recent months we have seen the rise of 60s inspired bands in the wake of the phenomenal success of Jake Bugg.
The ones that are floating to the top are all of a certain type though.
Mainly precocious teens reliving a sound that was already old when their parents were teenagers.
While some of the acts are impressive to a degree there's already talk that apart from Bugg the bubble will soon burst as there's a gap between what is being pushed into the market and what the listener is looking to hear.
It would seem that the labels who jumped on the Bugg bandwagon may have misjudged the appetite of the public for fresh faced kids wearing Beatle-esque suits and pedalling a clean take on early pop.
So with that in mind it would be easy to discount others who are treading a similar path.
However that would leave us missing out on the gloriously joyous take on skiffle by Scotland's own Cabey.
There's no real attempt to emulate current trends, but instead a very strong sense of a young man immersing himself in a traditional sound that is really the roots of the UKs rock and roll scene that everything grew from.
On the track Dr Feelgood there's the paring of Lonnie Donegan with the outlaw lyricism of country legend Johnny Cash, and although the music itself is echoing the past there's a timeless attraction to it when the material is so lovingly embraced.
Once the movers and shakers have dropped the kids in the leather waistcoats and mop tops there's a very good chance that when the dust clears Cabey will be the last man standing due to his avoidance of letting a label manufacture a sound and image for him.

Dr Feelgood is out on Monday 5th August on itunes and other download sites
Cabey will be supporting Steve Diggle in Glasgow on the 26th of September and in Kilmarnock on the 27th September.

Rank Berry - Demo recordings

Sometimes there are albums out there that have been produced to within an inch of their lives.
No chord change is left unpolished, no vocal is as it originally sounded, and every single trick that a sound engineer can pull out of the bag is used two whip the music into shape.
Then even with all that additional help it still sounds crap.

Then like a bratty kid sticking two fingers up to the world there's the rough demo recordings that have maybe once said hello to a guy that knew someone that had a neighbour who worked in a recording studio for a day as part of a back to work scheme, and yet for all the recording shortcomings the songs shine.
There's a vibrancy that can't be held in check and you can hear that the material is just waiting to get a sniff at some real production values to take it from great to jaw droppingly awesome.
And that's exactly what we have with the Rank Berry demo recordings.
With their influences to the fore this Glasgow band sound like the bastard offspring of The Black Crowes and Guns and Roses who have been raised on a diet of The Faces and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
There's no pretence that they are anything other than what they are.
No airs or graces, just solid rocking with classic riffs and a vocal performance that some of the bigger more established acts of the genre would sell their souls to have coming from the mouth of their front-man.
With these eight tracks already nailed down, albeit roughly, it is probably time that they pooled the cash together and gave the material the production that it deserves.
I suspect that once they do that and shop the recordings around then it wont be long until a label bites at them, and bites hard.

I've yet to see a band in Glasgow of a similar style that can touch them live.

The Penny Black Remedy - Inhale... Exhale... OK, Now you can panic.

Some bands are blatantly unwilling to be categorized.
They have a perverse need to wander off on a tangent just when others think they have managed to wrap their heads around them.
The Penny Black Remedy are like that.
Balkan folk can effortlessly slide into some country styled ska with nary a consideration for the discombobulation that may cause for those who are not open to changes of pace and being wrong footed at every turn.
However if you are the type who loves the thrill of leaping into the great unknown then this is the band for you.
Each track as it reveals itself is the aural equivalent of a jack in the box bursting forth to shout 'surprise'.
Nothing is as it seems, but all the disparate parts are stitched together so well you can barely see the join.
The album itself is reminiscent of a long corridor with doors lined up on either side and if you open one it's a scene from a spaghetti western playing out, three down on the left it's a niteclub in Berlin circa 1942, next door is the guys from Madness jamming with a polka band and across from that there's a room full of Russians playing a drinking game with Chas and Dave.
Not a lot of it makes any real sense when you look directly at it, but it all casually sits on the periphery rather comfortably just getting on with celebrating it's differences.

So in short let's just agree that it's brilliant and accept that being different is actually pretty cool.  

Folk Grinder - Any old trollop, same old port.

Swaggering onto the dock with a bellyful of rum, and a sea shanty on the lips, it rather obvious that Folk Grinder - with their debut album 'Any old trollop, same old port' - aren't looking to slip past unnoticed.
Shaking off their sea legs they are striding forth to capture our attention, and it has to be said that they are doing so in a rather grand style.
It's a cocktail of English folk, punk rock and bawdy debauchery all topped up with copious amounts of eccentricity.
A heady mix of of a brew that is as intoxicating as it sounds.
While some would be quick to cast the band into the same box as acts of the 'pirate rock' sub genre - and yes there is one – they should belay that order and open their ears up to Folk Grinder and really listen.
It then becomes apparent that they would be more comfortable banded in with the rogues of the romanticized glam punk scene of the late eighties that took their cue from the Stones, Faces and Mott.
The one that painted the sound of the seventies with a lipstick smeared sneer as the key players watched the world go by through the bottom of a bottle of wine.
That's exactly where the band fit regardless of the image.

So with a battered acoustic, and that most rock and roll of all instruments the accordion, Folk Grinder are not to be considered a novelty act, but instead take my word for it that they are in reality purveyors of some mighty fine tuneage that covers everything from hip thrusting rock and roll to heartbreaking tales of loss.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Black and White Boy/Andy Bargh/Cabey - PivoPivo - 09/07/13 (Glasgow)

Mid week live music can always be a bit hit and miss.
Especially from the Monday through to the Wednesday.
Party time usually starts to ease in around Thursday, builds up through the Friday and then goes for it big time on the Saturday.
Sunday is of course reserved for fried breakfasts, Irn Bru* and promises of never repeating the excesses of the Friday and Saturday again.
That's not to say that there are more misses than hits though if you do decide that you want to venture out prior to the end of the week.
The line up of Andy Bargh, Black and White Boy and Cabey is a good example, if proof was needed, that quality can rear its head on a Tuesday evening.

With Andy what you get is a pop start in waiting.
An x-factor judging panel would be in the throes of ecstasy if he was to turn up at an audition as he has everything they are looking for.
And I mean everything.
Boy band good looks and a voice that will never need autotuned is really just the start of it.
If you throw this young man a cover he will nail it.
And it is at this point that others would think that while he may be good why should we care as there are similarly others who parade across out television screens most weekends.
The reason you should care is because his talents don't just stop there.
What differentiates Andy from the others is that his own material is a match for any cover that he would care to wrap his talents around.
While it is very obvious that he could fit easily into a manufactured boy band line up it is also obvious that this would be horrendously artistically restrictive for him.
While his set was heavy with covers it was when he moved into his own material that he stood apart from his peers.
With the confidence to focus more on originally penned songs coupled with playing to the right audience he will turn heads.
All it is going to take is for Andy to be in the right place at the right time.

Black and White Boy is a different story entirely.
His set has been forged in the fire of personal loss.
It's a tour de force of raw honesty that covers how we deal with the death of a loved one, about how that period can often be enveloped in a darkness that has a negative impact on those who are closest to us.
It's part confessional, part self analysis, and maybe also a part of it is about reaching out for absolution by sharing something that we will all have to deal with, or will have actually already have dealt with.
No one will manage to dodge a brush with the reaper prior to shaking his hand, and here is Black and White Boy looking to get to grips with that relationship and how it shaped a period of his life.
It's this honesty factor that gives weight to the performance.
It manages to add a sense of gravitas to the material that anchors it solidly in the memory for those who choose to actually listen.
There nothing lightweight about what he is doing, but equally it isn't something that could never be described as burdensome.
You don't leave feeling that a dark period of his life has been passed onto you, but instead that there has been a communal sharing, and with the personal insight he has offered that we are all probably better people for it.

Cabey is yet another game changer.
While Jake Bugg is riding high in popularity here we have our own skiffle/Merseybeat influenced one man and his guitar acoustic act that could give him a run for his money. (And probably to a photo finish to.)
There's a vibrancy to what he is doing that is infectiously timeless.
From his first thrash at the strings the material screams that the very bones of rock and roll have a power all of their own.
If Lonnie Donegan was alive he would raise a smile at some of the young acts who are coming through, but I reckon Cabey could get him up to dance, whoop and a holler.
While others are looking to push the boundaries of technology when it comes to making music he is a timely reminder that going back to basics has it's own powerful allure to.
There's a jubilant embracing of the past going on, but at no point does he lose sight that this is 2013.
It's not a nostalgia bandwagon that is being jumped on, but more a lovingly crafted homage to the roots of UK rock and roll.
His set provide a personal Road to Damascus moment.
A lighting strike that shattered the expectations that I had.
What Cabey is doing keys right into a genuine music fans understanding of the history of music.
You can't fake that.

A Tuesday night, three acts, three styles loosely connected by the acoustic tag, free entry.

I'm struggling to find a downside.