Sick Scenes – Los Campesinos: Album Review

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Out Now on Wichita Recordings

Los Campesinos return after a four-year hiatus with an album that simply drips with angst and rattles with the sound of a soul in torment.

Any temptation you may feel to offer words of comfort and assurance that things will be alright to this band of troubled troubadours should be resisted on two counts. Firstly, they probably won’t be and secondly the muse of misery has led to the creation of something quite special.

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I Me Mine – The Extended Edition: George Harrison – Book Review

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Genesis Publications

Available February 21st 2017

An essential and beautifully presented testament to one of the most unobtrusive of musical icons.

I Me Mine was originally published in 1980 and grew from a series of conversations between George Harrison and former Beatles press officer Derek Taylor. The extended edition however, encompasses all of Harrison’s writings between 1963 and 2001 and features an updated introduction by Olivia Harrison and new cover art by Shepard Fairey.

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Damned Damned Damned 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition – Album Review

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CD/LP/DL  – BMG out February 17th

 An adrenalin-fuelled distillation of the true spirit of the period 

To coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the release of the first album by a British Punk band, BMG are releasing a re-mastered version of the classic debut by the definitive punk band. Rest assured, any work that has been done at the mixing desk does nothing to detract from the explosive power of the original record.

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Still Got The Fever – Ian McNabb Interview

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Ian McNabb talks exclusively to Shadow of a Dream about his forthcoming album ‘Star Smile Strong’ and life as a truly independent artist.

Sometime soon, avid customers will be taking delivery of a highly anticipated new album. Its arrival will be made even more special by the fact that it is despatched straight from the artist himself.

Ian McNabb is a songwriter of the highest class. A man who has always excelled at the ‘Holy Trinity’ of his craft; lyrics, melody and arrangement and who spices his work with signature and formidable guitar work and one of the best voices around. These may seem obvious, even old fashioned virtues, but the reality is that their rarity in the modern music business makes him an artist to truly cherish.

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Steve Diggle, Buzzcocks – Classic Interview from 2014

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I interviewed Steve Diggle of Buzzcocks a couple of years ago, just as their most recent album, The Way, was about to be launched. The interview was originally featured on Louder Than War in October 2014. I think the interview captures the essence of Steve and Buzzcocks very well and is certainly worth another read.

 

Steve Diggle’s enthusiasm is infectious. He believes that Buzzcocks have just recorded one of their finest albums and is itching to get out on the road and do what he loves best, sharing his music with the people he identifies most with, the audience. Speaking to Louder Than War during a brief rest between completing a US tour and starting the UK leg, Steve’s passion for The Way was tangible.

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‘The Rover’ by Aphra Behn: The Swan Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon – Review

 An amorous and exhilarating blend of colour, intrigue and passion

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‘The Rover’, The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Directed by Loveday Ingram

The Swan Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon until February 11th 2017

Photo Credit – Ellie Kurttz

Perhaps one of the greatest triumphs of this outstanding Loveday Ingram production is that it has drawn more widespread appreciation for the writer Aphra Behn. Secret agent, proto- feminist, novelist, translator and propagandist among other things, Behn was the first professional female writer in England and Virginia Woolf said that “it was she who earned (women) the right to speak their minds”.

Loveday Ingram discovered The Rover on a shelf in the RSC and was instantly struck by the possibilities of the exotic and amorous story. It’s easy to see the resonance in late 2016 of a group of dashing and romantic fun-lovers escaping the increasingly puritanical and small-minded shores of England to a life of hedonism and excitement in Spain. While the cavaliers of Behn’s original story, who were fleeing Cromwell’s England after the execution of King Charles 1st, found love and adventure in Southern Europe, Ingram has cleverly relocated the story to South America during Carnival. This setting, coupled with Lez Brotherston’s stunning design, allows the intertwining tales of those seeking love, adventure or freedom to coalesce into a visually stunning spectacle.

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Drive By Truckers – Mike Cooley Interview from August 2016

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I interviewed Mike Cooley of Drive By Truckers earlier this year for Americana UK. We discussed a range of issues related to their new album American Band. The album has sold very well and features highly in a number of ‘Album of the Year’ lists, including being Number 1 in the Bitter Southerner 2016 list.

The interview is even more valuable now in light of recent developments with Mike pulling no punches. Read it and hopefully enjoy Drive By Truckers when they tour here in March.

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Wilko Johnson Interview – June 2012

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I interviewed Wilko in June 2012 as the book ‘Looking Back at Me’ with Zoe Howe was launched.

The last four years have certainly been a challenge for Wilko as he battled cancer. I met him again in August 2013 just before what many felt could have been his final performance at Bingley. His spirit was unbreakable and his performance was almost spiritual.

The interview originally featured in Wrexham Leader, Wrexham.com and Louder than War but it’s still one of my favourites so it’s worth another read.

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