Last month, those Blackburn based purveyors of Bluesy Rock N Roll, Sky Valley Mistress almost made it to Glastonbury and now they have until April the 26th to take a step towards Donnington’s Download festival.
With days to go, the threesome of Maxwell Harvey William Newsome III, Squire and vocalist Kayley “Hell Kitten” Davies are hovering precariously at number 85 in the online vote, with only the top 100 making it through to the judged stage.
Can you spare one click to keep them in the hot 100, and give them a chance to showcase their debut EP “The Best Thing You’ve Never Heard“?
Is it possible to will a record to success just by concentrating really really hard? Internet research and common sense (not always closely linked) suggests it’s about as likely as moving an object with mind power alone (one presumably American commenter claims to have “pooped their pants they concentrated so hard“).
But for Benin City I’ll take that risk!
Their last single “Baby” strolled to the summit of MLD’s Top 200 tracks of 2012, and on the basis of what Ive heard so far, their debut album “Fires In The Park” (out June 24th) fills me with enough excitement to risk the same fate as the previously mentioned internet commenter.
It combines two twin loves of mine, intelligent thought provoking lyrics and a stonking great brass sound. Main man Joshua Idehen delivers poetic reflections on his imperfect love over a sparse repetitive loop, while the brass section builds slowly with the kind of fanfare that usually signals the arrival of a head of state. Finally it explodes into a melodramatic climax that were the London Olympics still on would surely soundtrack a montage of British success.
MUSIC LIKE DIRT SESSION
Benin City were kind enough to record a session for the blog. Joshua Idehen (Vox), Theo Buckingham (Drums) Tom Leaper (Tenor Sax), Rob Peterson (bass), Rebecca Nash (Keys) and Faye Treacy (Trombone) crammed themselves into a comically small room in a glamorous corner of Walthamstow to perform “Crush”.
Record Store Day is upon us bringing a wallet worrying number of limited edition releases and hosts of bands playing at independent record stores across the globe. For a comprehensive list of who’s playing where, visit the Record Store Day website.
1. RECORD STORE GAY
The inaugural Record Store Gay compilation was one of the highlights of last years Record Store Day and Irish shoppers will be able to buy a fresh collection of ‘gay anthems’ covered by the finest new bands this Saturday. All proceeds go towards Outhouse, a drop in centre offering support to the LGBT community in Dublin. 25,000 people visited the centre for advice in the last year alone and on Saturday most of the bands featured on the album will be playing from 1pm onwards. Listen to the release in full over on their Soundcloud page or download it on Bandcamp.
2. RANDOLPH’S LEAP – “FURTIVE GLANCES”
Randolph’s Leap have the “Furtive Glances” EP, copies of which will be available on very limited edition cassettes from Avalanche Records & Vox Box in Edinburgh and LoveMusic & monorail music in Glasgow.
Harry Zephaniah Johnson, the former insurance salesman, reggae producer and studio owner, better known as Harry J passed away on April the 3rd. It took DJ WrongTom posting his remix of Harry J’s most ubiquitous classic “Liquidator” to give me a gentle shove into posting a brief tribute.
Tom describes his remix as a “mess of synths, bleeps, and overlaid drum tracks” but keeps Winston Wright’s famous Hammond riff at its heart. To me at least the original is the sound of the Waltzers, stick it on and subconsciously I’m 15 and hurtling round with a disinterested youth whipping my neck back as he flicks the Waltzer into a spin. I’m not sure why I have this association… perhaps Cumbria’s funfair barons were reformed skinheads?
Some question whether Harry had his hands directly on the desk for “Liquidator” and the countless other “Harry J Productions” suggesting he was more of an instigator, arranger and entrepreneur. Drummer Carlton Barrett suggests the instrumental was originally meant for Tony Scott’s “What Am I to Do“ while Alton Ellis highlights its similarity to his own “Girl, I’ve got a date“.
Whatever the truth, it says “Harry J All Stars” on the label and that’s the name forever associated with one of the most well known reggae tunes of all time.
The unmistakable bass of the intro was also pilfered by The Staple Singers, after Booker T & The MG’s drummer Al Jackson visited Kingston in 1969 and was given two copies of “Liquidator” by Harry J. Three years later Johnson was horrified to recognize his opening refrain on the radio as what would become a soul standard “I’ll Take You There” was played.
Britain is awash with the giddy joy of people celebrating the death of an 87 year old woman. With unseemly haste the Tory “Britain isnt working” slogan has morphed into a queue to “piss on her still to be dug grave“.
It’s not that I don’t understand the emotiveness Thatcher has always bred, I just don’t get the point. Her death wasn’t at the hands of a baying mob outraged at the inequalities of her rule, it was at the end of a long, happy and prosperous life. Dance on her grave all you like but she lives on in Blair, Cameron, Labour, the Tories and a whole host of Thatcher-Lites.
If the Iron Lady has a positive legacy, it is perhaps to be found in the music her divisive and destructive time in office inspired.
So Margaret, thank you for the music, if nothing else.
Here’s a selection, starting with Lenny Henry introducing The Beat on TisWas Correction: On OTT (the late ‘adult’ version of Tizwas).
The trademark Steinski sound effects and production techniques that had producers like Coldcut scratching their heads over where he found his samples (answer: he created them) are in full effect.
Thankfully the comedy is equally top notch, with works from Nick Vatterot, Sean Flannery,Erin Foley, Chris D’Elia, and Bryan Callen – to name but a few.
Here’s a selection but head to Steinski.com and tell him you love him (while picking MP3 delights from his pockets).
Chris D’Elia’s not a fan of British gangster movies…
As a non-bearded Englishman Buddy Peace is something of an oddity for Sage Francis’ Strange Famous Records. The label is packed with such hirsute talent that the artist roster resembles a scene from the International Bear convention (and yet somehow Vibe magazine failed to mention a single SF act in their 20 coolest beards in Hip-hop list).
Buddy’s latest Strange Famous release pairs him with Rhode Island emcee Prolyphic, who despite his name has kept fans waiting five years for the follow up to 2008’s “The Ugly Truth“. “Working Man“ tells a tale of family turmoil, cancer scares, lack of health care and unemployment woes set to Peace’s obscure loops and dusty breaks.
It doesn’t pull its punches, “Drug Dealer” talks about doctors pushing pharmaceutical products on his mother to treat her cancer, and why her ultimate decision was to refuse them. While “Six Feet High” tells the story of his father losing the family business in the New England Floods. The first single “Business As Usual” is available as a free download and races along with a bouncing beat that belies any idea the album might be an entirely sombre affair.
BBC Radio 3's ‘Baroque Remixed’ night at The Roundhouse featured a specially commissioned collaboration between the BBC Concert Orchestra, Charles Hazlewood and the vintage synths of Goldfrapp's Will Gregory.
A Moog, Korg Monopoly and...
In the words of Willie Nelson “Ain’t it funny how time slips away“, has this blog really stumbled, crawled and rambled it’s way through 8 years of music? The Virgin Megastore from the first post is long gone (along with 1000’s of other record shops) but there’s still a tide of incredible music so Music Like Dirt will no doubt keep on keeping on in a vaguely unprofessional way.
Enough self congratulation and on with what counts, the music and a few gems from last month starting with something French and exquisitely beautiful, courtesy of Chamberlain. T-ISA is in a similar vein to Chilly Gonzales’s Solo Piano work and one can only hope Apple are looking for a new tune to whip the masses into hysteria over the next ipad – pick T-isa. Listen to more on Facebook & Twitter.
Thanks to Whyd.com for tipping me off. Below is the tracks gorgeous video and as ever a Whyd playlist of some favourites from last month.
Stuck for something new to listen to??
How about a playlist of 120 tracks from the UK & Ireland’s finest unsigned acts, hand picked by 40 bloggers from the over 8,000 entries to the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition?
In January, thousands of new bands, like Sky Valley Mistress (above) entered Glasto’s competition, by June one of them will stand beneath the most famous Pyramid outside of Giza.
It is however a long road to Glastonbury’s main stage, they first had to tickle the ears of Music Like Dirt and 39 other music blogs who listened to 200 acts a piece. Each selected their favourite three to form a mammoth 120 strong “Emerging Talent Longlist“.
Next, Emily & Michael Eavis (pictured) plus others faced the unenviable task of whittling the 120 down to a final eight who’ll perform in the live final at Pilton Working Men’s club.
Perfection can it seems be improved upon.
Sohn’s remix of Banks “Before I Ever Met You” is the Messi to the originals Ronaldo, it’s General Zod in Superman II, or a skinheaded Sinead to Prince’s Nothing Compares To You. The London-born but Vienna-based producer rebuilds the track from the ground as he did with Laura Mvula’s ‘Green Garden‘ just a week ago.