Sunday, September 24, 2017

NITS: An EXCLUSIVE interview with HENK HOFSTEDE!



While My Guitar Gently Weeps:

An EXCLUSIVE interview 
with 
NITS’ Henk Hofstede

There isn’t another band on the planet quite like Nits. Formed in Amsterdam in 1974, the band has never made the same album twice. During the first 18 years of the band’s career – when they were known as The Nits – their musical trajectory was not unlike XTC’s: their quirky early releases gave way to earthy, warm and thoughtfully crafted albums. Originally, their popularity was confined to their homeland of Holland but their fan base began growing slowly but surely. Their 1978 indie single, “Yes Or No,” became a Power Pop favorite in the U.S. while songs like “Umbrella” and “The Young Reporter” (both from 1979) generated worldwide interest once the band signed to Columbia/Sony. When the band scored a bona-fide career-changing hit with 1987’s “In The Dutch Mountains,” the Netherland’s best kept secret were finally a commercial success…

Friday, September 22, 2017

THE ORCHIDS: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A




BEMUSED, CONFUSED AND BEDRAGGLED:

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A 
with 
THE ORCHIDS’ 
Chris Quinn



Scotland has given us some great artists over the years. The list is endless but here’s just a small sample: Nazareth, Simple Minds, Del Amitri, Aztec Camera, Teenage Fanclub, Orange Juice, The Bluebells, BMX Bandits, Average White Band, Belle & Sebastian, Pilot, Big Country, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Skids, Texas, Associates, Midge Ure, The Proclaimers, Marmalade, Friends Again, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Endgames, The Blue Nile, Bay City Rollers, etc. And that is just a smidgen of the tip of the iceberg! However, The Orchids remain one of Scotland’s finest yet most underrated bands. Originally emerging in the late ‘80s, The Orchids were a proper Pop band with big musical dreams but only an indie budget. Signed to the influential Sarah Records label, The Orchids were labelled as a ‘Twee’ Pop band yet they seldom ever fit comfortably into that categorization. With songs like “It’s Only Obvious,” it was apparent that the band, even in their early days, were destined to be something bigger than even they realized.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

DRUMS AND WIRES UK: Introducing The Band


     Jon Bicknell is best known as the former bassist for classic British Mod band Squire. Led by singer/songwriter Anthony Meynell, Squire recorded some of the finest Mod/Power Pop of the early ‘80s yet they remain sorely underrated in the Rock ‘n’ Roll history books. Perhaps one day, Squire will finally get the recognition they deserve?! Until then, we’ve got their music to keep us warm at night. And those ace basslines that we’ve all come to know and love on Squire records were played by the magic fingers of Mr. Bicknell.
     Nearly 40 years after Squire first made their mark, Jon Bicknell has returned to the music scene with a vengeance. Instead of being a sidekick partially hidden in the shadows, Bicknell steps out in front as lead vocalist, bassist and main songwriter with British guitar pop trio Drums And Wires UK. While they don’t sound like Squire, Drums And Wires UK certainly operates in the same musical universe. Influenced by ‘60s Pop, ‘70s and ‘80s Indie Pop and Mod, Bicknell & Co.’s debut release - UPS DOWNS AND MERRY-GO-ROUNDS is a short and sweet seven song mini album that combines all of those influences and serves up a tasty treat of non-nonsense indie Pop. The songs jangle and soar. The vocal harmonies are very Squire-like. Instead of going for a big, glossy sound, the band keeps it rough and edgy – almost a bit ramshackle in spots. Songs like “I Want To See The Sun”, “Sunshine Smile” and “All The Things” are gems. In fact, every track here is worthy of slipping onto a Pop mixtape… preferably in between Squire and Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians. Oh, by the way, the band’s name is not a reference to the XTC album – it refers to the instruments the band uses to create the music!
     With the album now available, Stephen SPAZ Schnee thought it would be a perfect time to introduce you to the band…

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JON LANGFORD/FOUR LOST SOULS


JON LANGFORD's
FOUR LOST SOULS

9.22.17


Jon Langford is a rarity in the music business. I can’t think of another artist that can be called a pioneer of British Post-Punk (with The Mekons and The Three Johns) AND a beloved Americana singer/songwriter.  But don’t misunderstand the man: this is NOT a case of an artist changing musical styles to chase fame and fortune! In fact, one can find traces of the American musical landscape in the early Mekons releases although they are buried amongst the many shadows that the band were prone to throw during their inspiring career. Over the years, Langford traveled many different musical roads, all of which lead to the glory that is FOUR LOST SOULS.

Friday, September 15, 2017

ODESZA: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A!



A MOMENT APART:

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with 
ODESZA’s Harrison Mills


STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: A MOMENT APART has just been released.  How are you feeling about the album and the reaction you’ve had so far?
HARRISON MILLS: This album represents the next chapter of our project.  We’ve wanted for so long to push our sound and mature as musicians.  With A MOMENT APART we’ve accomplished a denser, more cinematic sound that incorporates a lot of organic, symphonic instruments. We’ve always considered ourselves an album band, so it’s hard to give people a song out of context, and even harder to choose those singles.  The advance releases cover a lot of styles and genres, so it’s been interesting to see listeners kind of pick and choose their favorites.  We’re excited for people to be able to listen to the album in full – the narrative of the album gives a lot of context to those songs.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BRUCE COCKBURN/BONE ON BONE

BRUCE COCKBURN

BONE ON BONE

9.15.17

BONE ON BONE is the highly anticipated 2017 album from Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. The album is his first in six years and is the follow-up to 2011’s SMALL SOURCE OF COMFORT. His 25th studio album overall, BONE ON BONE finds Bruce Cockburn at ease as a musician but ill at ease with the world. For those familiar with Cockburn’s work over the years, this may seem like nothing new. However, BONE ON BONE finds Bruce at the top of his game. And for an artist that has been releasing albums for nearly 50 years, this is quite a feat.  Mixing Folk and Blues, the album is warm, intimate and filled with songs that are destined to become Cockburn classics. Amongst the Folk Blues stomp of songs like “States I’m In” (the first single) and “Café Society” is “Forty Years In The Wilderness”, one of the loveliest songs he’s ever written.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

MTUME/Prime Time: The Epic Anthology reviewed!








Mtume

Call them R&B, Funk or Soul - it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you still remember their name.

Best known for the hit “Juicy Fruit,” Mtume put the fun in Funk!  Their output straddled the line between Funkadelic/Parliament-inspired grooves and smooth and sexy R&B, never straying away from their soulful roots. The oft-sampled outfit achieved more success in the UK and Europe than America, it seems, but there's no doubt that Mtume should have been bigger -much bigger - than they were. You can rediscover the band via PRIME TIME: THE EPIC ANTHOLOGY, a brand new two CD collection courtesy of Soul Music Records/Cherry Red.