Johnny Marr

Pinky Pinky - Turkey Dinner

LA’s Pinky Pinky, a three piece consisting of Anastasia Sanchez (vocalist/drummer, 20), Isabelle Fields (guitar, 19) and Eva Chambers (bass, 19) have combined a teenage sense of adventure with wise experimental heads on their eclectic debut album ‘Turkey Dinner’.

Former single ‘My Friend Sean’ and ‘It Didn’t Hurt’, are formulated around droll sardonic slacker rock and feel like their base camp. It’s full of the idealism and melodic nous of Pavement and Graham Coxon.

Rather than stay in this comfort zone, they’ve honed record collections and taken well measure chances. On ‘Floorboards’, there’s a sense that Kate Bush has joined The Slits to make a Beach Boys record. Whereas, ‘Sticking Around’ combines a Bush-esque vocal with slick vibes of The Modern Lovers. There is a punk spirit lurking behind the slide guitars on ‘Apple Cheeks’. A sure fire sign that nothing is off the table in the studio.

This approach falls flat on ‘Mystery Sedan’ and ‘Mr. Sunday’. However, temper this with their Johnny Marr attempting the Shrang-La’s style on ‘Lady Dancer’ and ‘Do Me Dirty’, and you’ll be vehemently overlooking those songs.

After a while, it becomes apparent, these aren’t chances, its hard graft and talent combining to deliver their vision. What is missing though, are truly great choruses. That hook, that’s so undeniable, every teenager can beat their parent into submission that their generation is better. It doesn’t feel that far away mind you.

Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here:

Noel Gallagher - Black Star Dancing

Despite the success of ‘Who Built The Moon?’, creatively, although leaps were made, great strides forward were not.

So, when the house music Noel talks about so lovingly emerges in the opening of ‘Black Star Dancing’, we stood still. Has the penny dropped? Has he gone for it this time? It would appear he might have!

The crisp bassline immediately transports you to the early part of a club night. A sense of excitement hangs in the air, where will this night go! Noel has found his Chicago soul vocally, cool and calm in verse, exciting and escapist in the chorus. Someone get him in a studio with Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson!

Noel’s work with Johnny Marr has filtered through on the guitars too. The choppy disco style of Marr and Nile Rodgers collides with his incredulous ability to deliver a catchy solo. It goes further than pop music though, there is a dark edge backing the heavenly backing vocals and hypnotic beats.

This kind of juxtaposition was there on ‘Who Built The Moon?’ but, the quality has now gone to another level.

Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here:

 

Death Valley Girls - (One Less Thing) Before I Die

A big contender for single of the year comes from the LA five piece Death Valley Girls. Released on Friday 5th October on the Suicide Squeeze label, this is one minute fifty seconds of blood sweat and venomous victory!

There is a distinct flavour of Johnny Marr’s 3 solo albums here. Those big distorted but, insanely catchy riffs are firing out like desperate warning sirens. They’ve created a real sense of chase and escape on arguably the most immediate record of the year. Danger is coming for them and they couldn’t give a fuck.

 

Johnny Marr - Call The Comet

Four years have gone by since Marr's last solo album 'Playland' was released. With its predecessor 'The Messenger' only a year before that, the four years allowed for what he had achieved to sink in. They were an eclectic riff laden pair of post-punk inspired albums. Marr's roots were laid bare whilst not treading on the memories of the beloved Smiths.

'Call The Comet' however, at times, overtly retreads his Smiths days. At a point where Morrissey politically alienates Smiths fans, Marr's timing, as ever, is impeccable. He discussed with both Shaun Keaveny and John Kennedy how 'Hi Hello' was a result of sitting on his bed playing guitar like his pre-smiths teenage self. There is more than a hint of 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' about this single. Asarchetypal melancholic tropes fuse with emotive guitar licks, Marr has reclaimed the Smiths legacy for fans who are tired of having to defend Morrissey.

For anyone wanting to bridge The Smiths to Marr's solo career to friends, 'Day In Day Out' is perfect. The acoustic guitar will conjure the heady days of 'William It Was Really Nothing' before his psyche enthused jangle attacks the senses like 'The Right Thing Right' (The Messenger) and '25 Hours' (Playland).

On 'Hey Angel', that rarest of Marr things emanates from his guitar, the rock star solo. Another familiar post punk dystopian landscape is intersected with a crushing solo. It's ridden with such rage and immediacy, over the top could never be levelled at it.

Timing is everything in music. Had his former best friend not aligned himself with the far right this year, and not delivered another average album, 'Call The Comet' would have been just the third good album. In context, it has become a genuine moment for alternative music souls.

The only question left to ask is, what's next? Is there space for another helping? Of course there is but, Marr, so intrinsically linked with exploration may have to rip up the rule book once more.

Johnny Marr: Islington Assembly Hall, London

Johnny Marr’s t-shirt on sale last night reads “Johnny Fucking Marr”. Say this is in whatever tone of voice and you have your review. He is just that good.

Part of it is the seemingly effortlessness of it all. The Townsend windmills, the Rodgers’ guitar licks, the glamour of Bolan or Jagger’s androgynous swagger, it all flows from Marr like it’s the most natural thing in the world. We mortals know better.

Effectively, this gig is a road test of his new album ‘Call The Comet’ and, as ever, it seems Marr has captured national mood. He has married the fire and desolation of the UK’s progressive thinkers with the teenage angst of The Smiths. This blend of despair, rage and hope is sure fire to increase his national treasure status.

Sometimes, with established artists, delving into the back catalogue leads to reworking of songs. So often this is met with negative responses. However, Marr’s interpretation of Electronic’s ‘Getting Away With It’ via a traditional band set up is remarkable. If anything, the ecstatic highs it was designed for in 1991 are surpassed in this format.

Marr is now heading for Scandinavia, it is not to be missed.

Image Source: Tracey Welch/Rex/Shutterstock 

https://www.ft.com/content/35b1011e-59c5-11e8-bdb7-f6677d2e1ce8

Johnny Marr – The Tracers

The comeback single for Marr’s approaching third solo album slots right back into the groove he left in 2014. This time round, there is a sense of dread looming large within his guitars and lyrics.

Lyrically, this could easily be an indictment of the times, mirroring the fall from grace from so many tolerant societies. Marr’s tracers are the Farage/Trump-esque vultures cashing in on the social divides and are expertly reflected in Marr’s modern guitar take on Wire’s early days.

‘The Tracers’ is the sound of the lost being chased in a dystopian nightmare. Despite this, Marr flawlessly finds a way of including some ‘oooo-oooos’. This juxtaposition provides the glimmer of light this heavily shaded banger needs. The pop music king lives strong!

The Charlatans – Different Days

When The Charlatans released their 13th studio album ‘Different Days’ two weeks ago, few could have expected them to top their last offering ‘Modern Nature’. Beset with emotion, ‘Modern Nature’ was highly charged after the tragic death of drummer Jon Brookes and every emotive point felt that bit extra charged for fans.

Perhaps, the emotional stress ‘Modern Nature’ caused led to Charlatans becoming a collective of mates this time round (Johnny Marr, Paul Weller, Kurt Wagner, Sharon Horgan, Ian Rankin, Pete Sailsbury, Anton Newcombe, Gillian Gilbert & Stephen Morris all feature). In doing so, they have managed to mesh their mod-cum-soul-indie side with their more experimental New Order production side for the first time in their career.

This is witnessed tentatively on the opener ‘Hey Sunrise’ but really kicks in on the mixed trio ‘Different Days’, ‘Future Tense’ and ‘Plastic Machinery’. ‘Different Days’ (featuring comedy treasure Sharon Horgan on backing vocals), boasts big booming piano notes and sun drenched production which, comes in layer by layer. It’s such a seamless blend of the two, it allows them throw in a deranged guitar solo to counter any good will.

Immediately following, are the poetic tones of Rebus novelist Ian Rankin. Steeped in intensity, Rankin delivers a tale of hope, discovery and doubt before bursting into the big evolving single ‘Plastic Machinery.

Of the many guest appearances, its Johnny Marr that will leave you reeling. Marr should be the anointed the king of youth culture as he reenergises The Charlatans with spirit of ‘Tellin Stories’ on ‘Different Days’, ‘Plastic Machinery and ‘Not Forgotten’. On ‘Different Days’, their archetypal Hammond organ gets a run out and then, something magical happens. Marr splices in a guitar part reminiscent of ‘How Soon Is Now’ to provide the albums one true moment of ecstasy.

It would be negligent to ignore album closer ‘Spinning Out’. Co-written with long-time friend Paul Weller, this defiant ballad is an astounding end to the album. As the song drifts towards Weller’s luscious entrance, Burgess utters the most resonant lyrics of the album:

“Trying to get back there again / trying to get back there again with you”

On an album which saw their saw a mature approach to their mid-90s hedonism sound, this sense of love of and hope towards their mortality is far more rewarding than the usual fear and doubt.