May 07, 2014

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James - Moving On

Okay. This is special. Really, truly, genuinely, honestly special. We know where we at ei8htball stand on the subject of James; they're national treasures, they've never let us down, they never will and Moving On is yet another slice of perfect heartfelt pop so let's talk about the video shall we? We NEED to talk about the video. Directed by BAFTA award winning animator and director Ainslie Henderson, the video for Moving On - inspired directly by the lyrics which deal with the idea of death and rebirth - is a heartbreakingly beautiful piece of work concerning itself with letting go of the ones that you love, with having the grace to let go, to respect their wishes, desires and needs while at the same time celebrating new arrival. Death and rebirth, sorrow and joy, acceptance and celebration, all tied together, all part of one bigger picture and all taken from the line "Time, always unwinding". Single and video, both as wonderfully life affirming as you could ever wish for.
May 07, 2014

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The Long Ryders - I Had A Dream

So where was I? That's right; The Paisley Underground and that wonderful enclave of 60s psych at the heart of mid 80s America. As with anything great at the time, this was found through the late and much lamented Whistle Test. Sid Griffin's Long Ryders were a gateway drug to the countrified version of The Byrds and the wonders of Gram Parsons. Here though there is less country and more driving Rickenbackers and punning drums. This, my friends, is as good as pop gets.
May 02, 2014

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VerseChorusVerse - Three

Want something deliciously dark to knock the start of your weekend just so slightly off- kilter. Northern Irish singer-songwriter Tony Wright, operating under the (possibly Nirvana inspired?) name of VerseChorusVerse describes new single 'Three' as "the dark heart of (his) album"  and wanted the accompanying video to reflect that darkness. What you have here is not so much a video, more a mini film noir; unsettling, edgy, thrillingly sinister, excellent. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"] VerseChorusVerse - Three[/caption]
May 01, 2014

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There's a popular misconception

I don't need to introduce you to these do I? The Inspirals. The mighty Clint Boon on their defining keyboard sound. There are days when I honestly think that this may be as perfect as pop gets:
May 01, 2014

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That's What Dreams Were Made For

You get these weeks where the new stuff isn't that startling so you retreat to the past, take refuge in the familiar, the comfortable, the obscure, the elitist. The things that can't be described in 140 characters. The 'Paisley Underground' was a marvellous thing; basically West Coast, a loose alliance of bands that rejected the gloss of the 80s and played with the tropes of psychedelia, americana, country, Neil Young grooves, guitars basically. The most famous members of this loose coalition were R.E.M. and (you won't believe this initially) The Bangles back when they were an indie guitar band. Green On Red though - Green On Red were a shout back to Crazy Horse; spiralling guitars augmented by some nice Hammond, a country twang and a great attitude. This is 'That's What Dreams Were Made For' - played live somewhere on some obscure TV show with The Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce introducing. Enjoy.
April 25, 2014

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Let's call this round table shall we?

Some quick round ups for you after a quiet week - Fiona Bevan's Rebel Without A Cause is a love song about escaping inspired by London's last bout of riots and accompanied by a sun-drenched road trip video. Summery, poppy, acousticy, pleasant enough without being startling.   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="408"] Fiona Bevan - Rebel Without A Cause[/caption]   If it's edgier that you want, darker, more challenging then there's always Warp Records' artist Patten's blurred reinterpretation of Jon Hassell's 'Metal Fatigue'. Long time Eno collaborator Hassell has his 'City: Works of Fiction' album from 1990 reissued in June as a 3CD set comprising the original album, a contemporaneous (good word eh?) live set and an album of remixes including this vaguely unsettling tune. Nothing to do with summer or riots at all.     [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="200"] Jon Hassell - Metal Fatigue[/caption]   More traditionally - Sam Semple credits the turning point in his musical path to seeing Kris Kristofferson live in concert. Kris is a god so Sam's fine with me. He's had a song covered by Boyzone but let's not hold that against him - it was written for his own wedding so he hardly intended Ronan and the lads to get their hands on it. 'Baby We're Alive' shows a bit of a Willie Nelson influence with just a drop of Bill Fay. Warm and fuzzy. In a good way. Life affirming.   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="536"] Sam Semple - Baby We're Alive[/caption]      
April 16, 2014

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Roddy Frame

Slight break from the usual proceedings - I'm simply going to point you in the direction of an artist's entire website. The very great Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera if you didn't already know) is back, new album set to go and everything. There are two tracks on his site, the damn fine 'Forty Days Of Rain' and the utterly, utterly sublime 'Postcard'. Roddy Frame can do no wrong. This is more proof, call it a public service. http://www.roddyframe.com
April 16, 2014

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Girl Band - The Cha Cha Cha

It's out for Record Store Day. It's a flex-disc. In a wooden box. They're from Dublin. They make a hell of a noise. It's twenty five SECONDS long. Short. Sharp. To the point.
April 08, 2014

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Driving Mrs Satan - Hells Bells

Look, I'll say it straight out: I'm not a metal fan, I'm not a fan of AC/DC. I just don't get the genre, I just don't get the act. (And I know there's tons of you screaming "DC aren't metal!!" at your screen.  That, my friends, is exactly how much I don't get them) Driving Mrs Satan get DC though. Driving Mrs Satan get metal. A London/Naples based acoustic trio with a penchant for revisiting the classic metal song book via the medium of female voice, acoustic guitars and double bass, they have a clear love and reverence for their subject matter, bringing the melody to the front and calming everything else down. In the way that French act 'Nouvelle Vague' tackled early eighties' indie with a bossa nova beat, Driving.. take on the likes of Sabbath, Priest and Metallica and turn them into thoroughly pleasant jazz  numbers. If, like me, you're not into metal this may well be your gateway drug Hells Bells
April 03, 2014

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Merrymouth - I Am The Resurrection.

Yes. You heard right. You may remember that last week we teased you a little with the trailer video for Merrymouth's forthcoming second album 'Wenlock Hill'. Those of us who had heard the full album knew that something was being held back from the trailer. That something is here today. The album is a damn fine thing with Ocean Colour Scene vocalist Simon Fowler's folk tinged project excelling on both original material and fascinating, brave, cover versions. 'That Man' has a Kinks-ish vibe to it, 'Salt Breeze' is a sea shanty with the gentility and jollity of 'Yellow Submarine' in its salt splashed jauntiness (and a fine cameo from the legendary Chas Hodges.) 'He Was A Friend Of Mine' is The Byrds' lament of the killing of JFK reconfigured to cover the death of John Lennon and  The Stranglers' imperious 'Duchess' attains nobility from Merrymouth's decision that it feels like a Ray Davies song. The jewel in the crown though? The selling point? The reason you're reading this? What does it take to cover one of THE iconic tunes of the last thirty years? What does it take for the singer of a Britpop era band to tackle a tune that towered over, inspired, created that era? It could have been folly of the highest order. To take the song that closed The Stone Roses seminal first album and reinvent it as a stately, reverent piece built on piano, strings and the sound of heartbreak. It could have been seen as arrogance, foolishness, career suicide. It is none of these. It is quite simply majestic, finding a solitude and sorrow at the heart of the Roses' tune. Replacing the pride and defiance with regret and melancholy. There are many reasons to invest in Wenlock Hill but this is the one that you need in your life.   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="680"] Merrymouth - I Am The Resurrection[/caption]