Tag Archives: Paul Weller

Record Store Day 2013 – Rise Music Shop Bristol

Well another record store day has passed and what a day it was.  More releases than ever before and the most well attended by music fans and those who wish to support independent record stores.

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This year I chose Rise Music store in Bristol for the 3rd year running and it was an even better experience than usual due to the excellent staff and organisation of the large queues that inevitably are formed so early in the morning.

Rise has recently had to branch out and diversify its product range in order to keep the integrity of it’s core activity, namely being an independent record store.  They now have a partnership on the ground floor of the premises with Friska, bringing a high quality independent Cafe and a stage for in store gigs.  This works remarkably well and in someways adds to the record store ambiance rather than taking away from it.

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So for record store day rather than waiting in the freezing cold for hours we were able to spend some of it in the warmth of the cafe while waiting for the fun to begin.

This year I ended up getting to the shop for 4:15am, yes – 4:15!!!! unbelievably I was still 20th in the line!

It was a 2 hour wait before the cafe opened at 6am and slowly allowed the queue of people to enter.  The lucky first 20 in the queue get their items picked for them and a goody bag with some freebies for making the effort.  This is an excellent way of doing it and avoids the scrum for the very rare items that people are after.

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Lawrence (owner of the store) sporting his red fez for the day was constantly looking after people making sure they got the help they needed to find what they wanted.

It’s an exciting time to get your hands on the limited edition items, however, it is easy to forget what the day is really about.  To bring people into the independent record stores all over the country that have been going out of business at an alarming rate.

The record stores still around are excellent and have had to up their game by diversifying and essentially giving people a much better experience.  Rough Trade, Sister Ray and soul jazz records to name a few I have been to recently are all excellent.  One of the great pleasures is talking to the staff who are enthusiasts for new music and are extremely knowledgeable.  Rise Music is excellent at this, and many are in bands themselves such as Olo Worms in Bristol, adding to the live music vibe of the store.

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The much hullabaloo about HMV recently brings into focus how good independent record stores are.  People cry that HMV is the last music store on the high street.  My beef with this is that I don’t think that it has truly been a music store for 20 years.  It lost it’s soul a long time ago and became a bland entertainment store, charging too much on the whole, with little support for local bands hiding vinyl in a corner somewhere if you were lucky.

Whoever has the pleasure of re-organising the HMV business model would do well to look at the independent record stores for inspiration.

So what were my picks of the RSD 2013.  I was extremely fortunate to get my hands on all 3 of the Caribou albums – of which rise only had 3 copies of each in store.  Tame Impala, Paul Weller, David Bowie and Nick Cave were all highlights for me.

Apparently the day became the best in Rise music’s history so far.  The interest generated by the event and the entertainment provided by Rise was superb.  The bands that played all day were excellent and I met many like minded music lovers from as far away as Swindon who will be back next year.  More importantly, they will be back between now and the next RSD supporting their independent record shops.

As if to stress the point – I was back at Rise the next day for an in store free gig by Mathew E White.  A lunch time beer and a free gig is not a bad way to spend a Sunday.  Mathew E White was amazing.  The band played for about half an hour, the ground floor was packed and the music was superb.  Their rhythm section blew the house down.

I couldn’t recommend Rise music highly enough.  Remember to support our local record stores!

P J Harvey wins Mercury Music Prize 2011

Last night PJ Harvey was crowned the Queen of Indie and the critics darling as she romped home with the Mercury Music Prize just as the bookies were predicting.

This decision by the panel dispelled a few fears and myths regarding the Mercury Prize.  Namely that you cannot win the prize twice; that an established artist could not win it; and the bookies can sometimes get it right!

In the past perhaps it has been thought that when they nominate the likes of David Bowie and Paul Weller, that it was an acknowledgement, but in reality they could never win.

This years list was particularly strong and varied which made it all the more difficult for the judges, which makes the win by PJ Harvey even more prestigious.

Radiohead must still be thinking what they have to do to win it though!!

A superb album from a superb artist and worthy winner.

BEST ALBUMS OF 2010

2010 was an excellent year for music, the death of the album has been much muted, but with the evidence of current releases I don’t see the evidence of the format dying.

With great pieces of work from the old and young, it has been a pleasure to listen to such great music. This is my pick of the bunch for 2010 which no doubt many will disagree with, but that’s the beauty of lists!  I am bit late posting this but better late than never!

#1 – Paul Weller – Wake Up The Nation

Many of the reviews for this album were excellent, however an often used phrase when it comes to Paul Weller is the obligatory “return to form”.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  This is the third studio album in a row that has been superb for Weller.   Starting in 2005 with As Is Now, which was the real return to form and he has since gone from strength to strength.

22 Dreams was an amazing double album of immense diversity from Latin influences to pure poetry.  Wake up the nation is an extension of this incredible creative high point in Weller’s back catalogue.

There is everything on this album,  with a return to “Jam Like” utterances with the title track Wake up the nation, and Fast Cars/Slow Traffic (with Bruce Foxton), along with sweet songs and psychedelia.  His songwriting is superb on this outing and his collaborations inspiring.

A well deserved Mercury nomination for the album, I would urge anyone to give this a listen.  A complete album in the old fashioned sense, listen to it from start to finish.  My album of the year.

#2 Caribou – Swim

A critics favourite this year, near the top of most lists I’ve seen.  I caught onto these a little late, but I got there in the end.

This album is an organic journey that takes you through a wholesome kaleidoscope of sounds and feelings.  It starts with Odessa which is a fantastic track,  one of the tracks of the year.

This album is appealing because it grows with every listen rather than one you quickly want to leave behind.  A complete entity which is what an album should be and I’m confident I’ll still want more a year from now.

#3 Everything Everything – Man Alive

I saw Everything Everything back in 2009 supporting the Rumble Strips.  I’d heard about them and thought I’d check them out.  It was obvious even then that they had something special, and its great that they have managed to transfer this to the studio.

The album is full of surprises, twists and turns.  There is nothing formulaic in anything they do which is a God send when so much music is generic and lacklustre.

I have heard critics criticise them for releasing songs that are “too complex”! If it were unlistenable I would agree but there is a beauty in these songs and the complexities keep life in the recordings.  There is always something more to discover.

#4 Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM

This album I would class as the most beautiful of the year.  Smooth, crisp and evocative,  simply wonderful to listen to in almost any mood.

The francophile electro- folk- pop never fails to impress, enhanced by the attention of Beck’s production.

The lyrics flirt with the darker side as this record apparently was inspired by her near death experience following a water skiing accident in 2007.  With this record something truly wonderful was inspired.

#5 Edwyn Collins – Losing Sleep

I listened to this album with a speculative ear. This is probably the most surprising album of the year.  You don’t necessarily expect that someone who has been around so long and has had such misfortune could emulate the great songs he has previously written.

This selection of songs is some of the best he has ever written.  Not a bad track on the album.  It is full of collaborations with those that were no doubt inspired by his earlier work.  This could have ended up being a horrible patchwork quilt of guest spots,  but this is far from what has been created.

This is a superb album.

#6 Foals – Total Life Forever

Total Life Forever took me by surprise with the leap forward they have taken from their debut album.  I thought they might do a Pigeon Detectives and make the same album again having such a distinguished sound.

This record is an enormous progression, keeping the edginess of their sound but molding it into something much more refined.   Excellent album with some haunting tracks and a great live band.

#7  LCD Soundsystem – This is happening

If this is the last studio effort from James Murphy et al in this format they will be sorely missed.

Always original, catchy and with a longevity that defines a great album.

#8  Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut

A much underrated outfit, I loved this album.  They have a unique take on the indie format and a sound that is un-mistakenly theirs.  This is an achievement in itself but with the songs that go with it.

Play this album LOUD.

#9 Grinderman – Grinderman 2

We pretty much know what were getting with Nick Cave, but when he does it well it is just superb.   He is on fire at the moment,  his last 2 albums with the Bad Seeds have been classics and now this album is another high watermark.

I love the twisted nature of the lyrics and the grinding gladetorial music.  This is one of his best,  another “old hand” that still keeps coming up trumps.

#10 Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Now,  I have to admit to not being the biggest Blur fan, but since David Albarn has branched out I have become a real fan of his creations.  All the Gorillaz albums have been excellent and this is no exception.  A great piece of work from extremely talented musicians.

The best of the rest :-

#11   Manic Street Preachers – Postcards from a young man
#12   These New Puritans – Hidden
#13   Steve Mason – Boys Outside
#14   Elvis Costello – National Ransom
#15   Sleigh Bells – Treats
#16   Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
#17   Jim Jones Revue – Burning your house down
#18   Skream – Outside the box
#19   Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
#20  Best Coast – Crazy for you
#21  The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
#22  We Have Band – WHB
#23  The Vaselines – Sex with an X
#24  dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip – The logic of chance
#25  MGMT – Congratulations

2010: Best Gigs List

Big Jeff Loves Music - Bristol Icon

http://www.bigjeffdocumentary.co.uk/

Just looking back over the Bands I managed to see in 2010. Great Memories. This is my list of the best of them.

Stevie Wonder – Glastonbury Sunday Night. An amazing party atmosphere to end another great weekend of Music. Not one of my favourite artists but really hit the mark.

Paul Weller – The Garage, London. I managed to win a pair of tickets to this intimate gig and it was amazing. Paul Weller has more energy on stage than most and tonight’s set was fantastic. And a few Jam tracks thrown in for good measure, one of the highlights of the year.

LCD Soundsystem – Academy Bristol. This was a monster set over 2 hours and was simply superb. The crowd was really up for it. It will be sad to see them go.

Edwyn Collins – Fleece. This was simply the most inspiring gig of the year. His new album is some of the best music he has ever done. He was amazing live and had the whole crowd captivated.

Jim Jones Revue – Thekla. This is a band that could so easily be really naff. Rock’n’roll anybody? But they do it so well. My ear drums are still bleeding after this gig!

Frankie and the Heartstrings – Louisiana. New album on it’s way soon. I can’t wait. These guys have something special. A great intimate gig. Hot and sweaty just the way it should be!

Sleigh Bells – Thekla. Lots of testosterone in the crowd flocking to the frolics of Alexis Krauss. Loud and lively.

Julian Cope – Thekla. Yep, he is still bonkers, and I love him for it!

Ray Davies – Glastonbury. Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon for a change at Glastonbury! This was a great festival day.

Fun Lovin Criminals – Bristol Academy. This was a packed out gig, great atmosphere and as ever they were great fun. Really enjoyable gig.

Gig review at http://www.suityourselfmagazine.co.uk/gig-review-fun-lovin-criminals/

Jack Johnson – Glastonbury. Hawaii comes to Glastonbury!

Manic Street Preachers – Colston Hall. After being written off in the early naughties they have now done 3 albums in a row which are just superb. This was a great gig. Unusually for Colston Hall the crowd was great and really up for it.

Foals – Academy. Their new album is superb and such a departure from their first effort. This was a great gig. Again the crowd was really up for this one.

We Are Band – Thekla. This was a speculative gig, but like their album they were excellent.

Steve Mason – Louisiana. Intimate sweaty gig. He has come up trumps this time with his new album and played quite a bit of it at this gig. Surprised he played such a small venue.

Crystal Castles – Anson Rooms. Simply mad but brilliant!

Archie Bronson Outfit – Thekla. Great gig from an underrated band.

Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip – Bristol Academy. Great atmosphere, packed out place but “Jeff Love Music”, still managed to steel the spotlight!

Paul Weller – Royal Albert Hall. Another great gig from Weller and tonight was extra special because of all the Jam tracks he did even off the first album.

Kele – Thekla. His solo album is surprisingly good, it was great to see him in a smaller venue.

The Vaselines – Thekla. This was a good laugh. I just love the sound.

Health – Anson Rooms – Experimental band from LA really hit the spot before the main attraction at the Anson rooms.

Mr Scruff – Academy. I’m getting too old for this!

James Yuill – Thekla. Looks like a geek but sounds great!

Squeeze – Colston Hall. They still have what it takes live, with a back catalogue stretching over 30 years.

Dead Weather – Glastonbury. Jack White can do no wrong!

O’Children – Cooler. I first heard this band wondering around fopp and the copies of cd’s were selling like hot cakes since they started playing them. I enjoyed them live although the crowd was rather sparse!

Oh errr not forgetting our national treasure Rolf at Glastonbury