Richard Hawley Takes to the ‘Streets’

My most anticipated album of the Fall has to be Richard Hawley’s Lady’s Bridge. (His last, Cole’s Corner, was one of my favorites of 2005.) Until then, we’re going to have to do with the album’s first single, the downright peppy (for him) "Tonight the Streets Are Ours."

Despite the seemingly romantic title, the song is actually inspired by Britain’s controversial Anit-Social Behaviour Order.*  Hawley explains:

"I saw this programme on TV about ASBOs and by the end of it I almost shoe’d the telly in. For me it’s quite angry so I wanted to turn that into a positive ’cause I don’t agree with destroying things – well sometimes it’s a good idea. I was sort of imagining the choir in Angels With Dirty Faces, the James Cagney film. There’s a fairground quality to it too. I changed this track quite a bit. It’s huge now. I just think that old people and women and kids should be able to go out on the streets and not be worried about being battered. It’s partly that and the middle section of the song is about how much people need each other, we can’t exist on our own we have to co-exist with each other. But mainly it’s about the brutal ignorance and insensitive way this fucking pile of shit government has decided to deal with anti social behaviour. The future of any country is in its kids and if a shitload of them are basically taught to just be consumers is it a surprise that when they can’t consume because they’re poor that they just go, ‘Well, we’ll take it anyway’? An ASBO doesn’t do anything, it’s just a piece of paper that says ‘Go away’."

MP3: Richard Hawley – Tonight the Streets are Ours (96kbs, from MySpace)

The video, directed by Tom Geens, has a Ken Loach or Mike Leigh feel, with the story derived from the lyrics. I asked about it on Hawley’s message board and within a couple hours he wrote back:

"It was directed by Tom Geens, who’s made many brilliant short films, my fave is one called "Wrong." [totally nsf, btw] I came up with the story and was helped greatly by Tom and Libby Dirby of Warp Films. I will always make my videos with them as they totally get what i want to do which is not make dickhead pop star videos — I want to poke fun at myself and the whole bullshit of promo films. I like making them, but only if they entertain or are thought provoking. Ego-driven videos they are awful. The song inspired the idea really, kids trapped in their houses with shit parents and only bollocks daytime telly for company. In the story she only has her mates and grandad in her life that are any good. And, of course, the streets."

While offering a social message, the "Tonight the Streets are Ours" clip is also pretty funny, with Hawley turning up on "bollocks daytime telly" in the guise of a gameshow host and shopping channel pitchman. Have a look:

Hawley’s very active on his board, and will let you know what’s what in no uncertain terms, and quickly. Lady’s Bridge is out August 20 in the UK but America must wait until October 2. Here’s the tracklisting:

1. Valentine
2. Roll River Roll
3. Serious
4. Tonight The Streets Are Ours
5. Lady Solitude
6. Dark Road
7. The Sea Calls
8. Lady’s Bridge
9. I’m Looking For Someone To Find Me
10. Our Darkness

The album will be available in a regular and deluxe format, the latter will include a DVD with the "Streets" video as well as a 30-minute short created by Warp Films. He’s also planning to tour the US this Fall, which is good news as his show last Spring at Sin-e was one of my favorites of 2006. If you’ve never heard Richard Hawley, you owe it to yourself to pick up his other albums, all of which are great.

*A little more info on ASBOs. I don’t know that much about it, and am sure I’m getting some facts wrong but here’s what I could glean. Citizens can be given ASBOs, civil sanctions for "conduct which caused or was likely to cause alarm, harassment, or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as him or herself and where it’s seen as necessary to protect relevant persons from further anti-social acts by the Defendant." Sometimes this works like a restraining order but, in some cases, teens have been given ASBOs forbidding them to wear hoodies. Violating as ASBO can result in jail time or the defendent being forced to wear an electronic ankle bracelet — as we see in the "Tonight the Streets are Ours" video.

Verve Reform for the Last Time?

I was talking with a coworker about the news this week that original lineup of The Verve were reforming and which turned to the the whole "Bittersweet Symphony" lawsuit. If you don’t know the story, the song uses a sample of the Andrew Oldham Orchestra‘s version of the Rolling Stone’s "The Last Time." ABKCO Records honcho Allan Klein, who owns the rights to all the Stones songs pre-1971, sued the band saying they violated the licensing agreement by using "too much of the song." Klein won, giving sole songwriting credit of the song to Jagger/Richards — despite Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft’s claims that they only sampled "four little bars" of the song.

Klein is known for being a real douche, so I’d always sided with the Verve. But in talking with my friend, I realized I’d never actually heard the Oldham Orchestra version. At the time of the lawsuit, the album, The Rolling Stones Songbook, was one of those rarities you could only find at at collector’s shops, or maybe at a thriftstore if you were lucky. But it was reissued in 2004, so I went out and bought a copy.

What a cool album. This is the Stones as late ’60s bachelor pad music, and some of the arrangements are just brilliant. Especially "The Last Time," which is one of my favorite Stones songs ever. But hearing it, it’s apparent that Klein had reason to sue. The Verve may have brought in their own orchestra, but it’s all based around Andrew Loog Oldham’s arrangement. "Four little bars" my ass.

Still a brilliant song, though. And Klein is still a douche.

I must say, that as good as "Bittersweet Symphony" is, I’m one of those people that think The Verve peaked with A Storm in Heaven (best album of 1993 I thought). I still remember seeing them on their first U.S. tour at Washington DC’s 9:30 Club where they played to about 40 people. Ashcroft was known as "Mad Richard" then, and was an absolute wild man onstage with a scary Thousand Yard Stare. But I mainly watched in awe of guitarist Nick McCabe and drummer Peter Salisbury. As a friend said, "They became a different band after that."

If you’ve never heard it, do yourself a favor and pick up A Storm in Heaven today. Their early singles — "She’s a Superstar," "Gravity Grave" and "All in the Mind" — are great too.   

Robin Guthrie, Mahogany Tonight at Studio B

Former Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie is playing tonight at Studio B as part of a big "Dreampop Dynamite" party that also includes local heroes Mahogany. and a couple other bands I’m not familiar with. 

Usually when Robin plays live these days, it’s just him with a laptop backing. But, as he explains on his blog, he’s doing something different tonight.  "I’ll still be on the stage trying to avoid the spotlight, shuffling about uncomfortably looking at my pedals, but I’ll be doing so in the company of two other musicians, namely Andrew Prinz from Mahogany who has kindly offered to play bass and Odell Nails on drums. This isn’t part of a grand plan, rather me taking a few risks and, in essence, trying to expand my horizons and learn a little at the same time… atGuthrie_rehearsal moments when we play together it is delicious. At moments it makes me fearful that it may not work. I just don’t know. Right now I haven’t the faintest idea how this will turn out, but I have high hopes that it’ll be luscious and pant wetting."

Robin Gutherie’s signature style launched a few rock crit cliches ("cascade of ethereal guitar") and more than a few imitators, as well as the entire Shoegaze scene that did irreparable damage to my ears in the early ’90s. It’s a busy night, but something to consider if you’re looking for something to do. Plus, as Guthrie played on and produced some of Mahogany’s beautiful Connectivity! album from last year, I’d imagine he’ll be taking the stage with them as well — and they are good live, even if they only ever seem to play the same four songs. This could be special.

MP3: Mahogany – Domino Ladder (feat. Robin Guthrie) | (buy it!)

Wombats Finally ‘Move’ to NYC

OK, Liverpool trio the Wombats aren’t moving here but they are playing NYC, at last, after skipping us in favor of Los Angeles when they came over for SXSW earlier this year. When you have a song called "Moving to New York," you should really make the Big Apple your first stop in America. So mark your calenders now — August 15 at the Annex. Not my first choice for a venue, but I’ll take it. Maybe they will do a couple more shows around that as, once again, LA gets three dates. But they’re also playing SF, Toronto and Boston. Here are all the dates:

Aug 06 The Roxy, Los Angeles
Aug 07 Cinespace, Los Angeles
Aug 08 Spaceland, Los Angeles
Aug 09 Popscene, San Francisco
Aug 11 Mod Club, Toronto
Aug 13 Great Scott, Boston
Aug 15 Annex, New York

In other Wombats news, today also sees the release date of their new single, "Kill the Director." I’m not sure that anyone should ever use the phrase "rom-com" in the chorus of the song, but I also can’t stop humming it.

MP3: The Wombats – Kill the Director

The vinyl single has a great CSS remix if you can find it. And the video is cute:

With the release of this new single, it seems the chances of their 2006 debut, Girls Boys and Marsupials, being released outside of Japan are becoming less and less likely. It was rush-recorded specifically for the Japanese market with singles "Lost in the Post" and "Moving to NY" padded out with some hastily-written, but actually quite good songs — it made my Best of 2006 list. Still not signed in the US either, though you don’t play three shows in Los Angeles without having some labels wanting to bite.

Happy Mondays *Not* In the City

MondaysUpdated info:
I had tickets to this *and* Franz Ferdinand. Guess I don’t have to make a choice now. VISA issues keep the Mondays in the UK, but the mighty Rakes and silly-named Pidgeon Detectives play on — the show is now at the Hiro Ballroom Knitting Factory and tickets are a much more reasonable $15. Show is at 11pm, so it’s theoretically possible to hit Franz Ferdinand first, then high-tail it to the Hiro. That’s my plan, at least. I must admit I didn’t really want to see Happy Mondays as I’m pretty sure it would make me sad. Maybe this has all worked out for the best.

This VISA thing is completely out-of-control. Here’s the press release:

Now as we know, one can always expect that along with the name Tony Wilson comes a little extra added drama. If he didn’t let a thing such as cancer stand in the way of ITC of NY happening, he certainly isn’t going to let another curve ball stop the show! Now combine the names Tony Wilson and The Happy Mondays and your chances of a ‘little extra drama’, becomes slightly higher.

With a new album “Unkle Dysfunktional” completed and tucked under their arms, the Happy Mondays were all set to come to the states to play their first NYC show in more than 10 years. The lads from Manchester planned to headline the In The City of NY festival for Tony Wilson, who they owe all of their original success in the late 80’s/ early 90’s. The shows would be a taster for fans of their new material, following hard on the heel’s of their recent sold-out tour in the UK.

The US government has something else in mind.

Due to the unforeseen circumstance of that troubled word we are growing too familiar with, ‘VISA’, The Happy Mondays will not be coming to NYC as originally planned. Therefore they will not be performing at the Nokia as part of ITC of NY on the 13th in addition to their Nokia show on the 14th.

As we all know, The show must go on.

It seems that post-9/11 visa application restrictions for a band with the Happy Mondays history- know as much for their legendary lifestyle as their unique collision of rave beats, indie rock and street poetry has proven difficult this time. Essentially the US Embassy in the UK has halted the process of Bez’s visa application until the outcome of pending court proceedings. Unfortunately Bez was unable to come and shake his maracas at the bands first US performance in more than a decade at Coachella this spring. These proceedings should have concluded weeks ago but due to rescheduling, it made it impossible for a US visa to be issued in time for this weeks planned appearance.

Although the rest of the band were able to enter the country and perform at Coachella, it transpired that other band members – including Shaun Ryder – had been issued with single entry only visas, due to their prosecution histories. Although the duration of the term of their visas would have allowed another visit to the US, the single entry status meant that the whole visa application process had to be restarted upon their return from LA, placing their plans to appear in NYC in jeopardy.

The Happy Mondays are absolutely “gutted” at not being able to support Tony Wilson this week. However, they are sorting their visas issues once and for all—so the whole band— can return to the states sometime soon.

ITC of NY will announce updates shortly on venue changes for June 13th. The Rakes, who are about to unleash one of the most powerful albums of the year take the stage as headlining act, and kicking off the ITC music conference evening festivities are recent #3 UK album chart toppers, The Pigeon Detectives.

All Nokia Ticket holders will get full refunds at tickemaster or point of purchase. The new venue will guarantee admission for all delegate badge holders. On June 14th the UK’s current favorite band Biffy Clyro will headline the Highline Ballroom, along with the most sought after and much talked about Enter Shikari, and Blood Red Shoes round the night out with their new found fame.

It’s 2007 and time for spring cleaning, out with the old difficult dinosaurs – who are neither happy nor here at the beginning of the week, and on with 5 of the hottest new bands out of the United kingdom – rare is it for New Yorkers to see the evolution of UK bands as it happens, Biffy Claro debuts at #2 in the UK this week and ITC had already snagged them to play for us..the exact opposite of extinction, more like an evolution!

I still want to see the Rakes, dammit.

Cribs Notes

After seeing them play to half-filled rooms for the last three years, it’s nice to see The Cribs selling out two nights on their own. (I’m sure having openers White Rabbits and Ra Ra Riot helped a little.) I haven’t seen them since their last Mercury Lounge gig in November 2005 and am ready for a little Jarman Brothers action. Will Ryan bloody his lip? Will he still be wearing that shirt? Will he chug a beer while playing guitar?

I’m quite anxious to hear the new album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, which they’ve managed to keep a lid on, leak-wise, so I look forward to hearing first Wednesday night. But if you want to hear something now, head over to Drowned in Sound and download their new Cribs-hosted podcast where the band spins a couple songs off the album ("Men’s Needs" and "Our Bovine Public") plus songs by bands influential to their sound, including Comet Gain, Orange Juice, and Huggy Bear.

Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever
, produced by Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and featuring some rather refined artwork, comes out in America on July 17, but will be available digitally May 22, the album’s UK release date. Here are the Cribs’ remaining US tour dates, see ’em if you can:

05/02 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
05/03 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
05/04 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
05/05 – E. Rutherford, NJ @ Bamboozle Festival


And here’s the video for "Men’s Needs":

Top image swiped from The Cribs’ official Flickr page

New Sloan Tour Dates

For those annoyed that Sloan‘s last dip into the Lower 48 didn’t included much beyond NY, you’ll be happy to hear that Jay, Chris, Patrick and Andrew are returning for a faily extensive tour of the US, kicking off next week in Buffalo, and then onto SXSW for a bunch of shows and then up and down both coasts. Sorry Middle-America, you’re still out of luck.

Mar 13, Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom   
Mar 15, Austin, Texas Fader Party
Mar 16, Austin, Texas JANE Magazine Party
Mar 16, Austin, Texas Dirty Dog SXSW – Yep Roc Showcase
Mar 17, Austin, Texas Red Seven Mess With Texas Party
Apr 27, Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge   
Apr 28, Seattle, WA Neumo’s   
Apr 30, San Francisco, CA The Independent   
May 01, Los Angeles, CA    The Troubadour   
May 02, San Diego    House Of Blues
May 10,  Hoboken, NJ   Maxwell’s
May 11 , Brooklyn, NY   Southpaw
May 12, Philadelphia, PA  World Cafe Live
May 13, Washington, DC   Black Cat
May 14, Carrboro, NC   Cat’s Cradle
May 16, Nashville, TN   Exit / In
May 18, Minneapolis, MN   Fine Line
May 19, Chicago, IL   Metro
May 20, Grand Rapids, MI  Intersection

My love of Sloan is fairly well documented here.

Sloan photo: Live in Detroit, St. Andrews Hall, January 20, 2007 from Ruhdew’s Flickr photostream.

Young Knives’ NYC Shows Rescheduled

A note from the band…

Calling all US fans:

There have been some double annoying Visa things
going down in our world and it looks like we won’t be in the states until
Tuesday. Some kind of random routine red tape crap twattery. But fear not, we
may have to move some shows, but we will try our best not to cancel any. After
SXSW we will be coming back east. So far Shows affected are Philadelphia,
Manhattan, Brooklyn, Boston and Washington. We have today already confirmed 20th
March for the Luna lounge in Brooklyn and 22nd for the Mercury lounge in New
York City. Philly, Boston and Washington we will keep you posted and we will
never let bureaucracy win.

Tickets for current shows are of course valid for
rescheduled shows.

Sorry for the delay my friends. Until then…


Previously…The UK is giving NYC the short shrift this year, as to bands
stopping on their way to NYC. No Wombats, Pigeon Detectives, iLIKETRAINS, Bees, Electric Soft Parade, Victorian English Gentleman’s Club, Hot Puppies, Bat for Lashes….

Instead we get countless nights with the Pipettes. Bah.

James Murphy on Roundtable

I’m a fan of BBC 6Music’s Roundtable, a Jukebox Jury type show where they get a guest panel of musicians and journalists listen to and review new singles. The greatness of the show depends on it’s guests and today’s show should be interesting: James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Matt Bowman of hotly-tipped new band The Pigeon Detectives, and Jim Bob, who was half of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Plus host Steve Lemacq.

airs here in the States at 1PM EST and you can’t listen live, BBC 6 keeps it available for replay till the next episode airs. Here’s what records will be discussed:

  • Arctic Monkeys – Brianstorm
  • Bright Eyes – Four Winds
  • Robyn – Konichiwa Bitches
  • Rumble Strips – Alarm Clock
  • Kings Of Leon – On Call
  • Timbaland – Give It To Me
  • Arcade Fire – tracks from Neon Bible

Peter and Bjorn (not John) on Sandwiches, Whistling

Turns out a PB&J sandwich would not be peanut butter and jelly as they don’t like them. (Too sweet.) So what is it? Sun-dried tomatoes, hummus, and "some kind of pork." How soon can the Stage Deli get this on the menu?

This bombshell and more over at The DL, where Peter Moren and Bjorn Yttling stopped by to play acoustic and answer fan questions. John was elsewhere.

Also, their response to "Whistlegate":

After last week’s shows at Union Hall and Mercury Lounge, I think I am PB&J’d out for a while. I am ready to try that sandwich, though.

Ok… one more of these. Some girl wrote in to ask them what they’re listening to at the moment. Bjorn recommends El Perro del Mar,  and then mentions some band called Locksaw, or Lochsa, or Lockso… I have Googled and Googled but can’t figure out what the hell he said. Any help here?