Whilst Eels embrace 'Extreme Witchcraft', Olly Alexander makes a 'Night Call' and FKA Twigs celebrates 'Capri Sun'
As 2022 begins and New Year's resolutions are made, and just as quickly broken, the first batch of eagerly awaited new musical releases are set to arrive to delight our ears. After a festive fill of Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Jona Lewie, Mariah Carey, Slade, Wizzard, Wham and even The Pogues it's almost a relief to know that there's something fresh on the horizon. 2021 was an incredible year for new music with standout releases from the likes of Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, Little Simz, Olivia Rodrigo, Halsey, Arlo Parks, Tyler the Creator and Nick Cave but 2022 looks set to be just as exciting with new music expected from The Weekend, Mitski, Cardi B, Lizzo, Alt-J, Arctic Monkeys, Avril Lavigne and breakthrough band Wet Leg. Whilst those releases are not expected just yet (we'll have to wait a little longer until we have confirmed release dates) there are plenty of new albums due out in January and the following are the pick of the bunch.
Years & Years - Night Call.
DreamWorks newly signed act Eels delivered an extraordinary debut album when they released 'Beautiful Freak' in 1996
Left-field alternative pop didn't really get any better than Beautiful Freak in 1996 and arguably it's rarely been bettered since. The visionary concept of Mark Oliver Everett, 'E', was a breath of fresh air that fused genres, combined styles and ultimately delivered a fantastic off-kilter album. eels debut full length record is brilliantly sequenced, drawing you in immediately with it's lead single, Novocaine for the Soul, and leaving you wanting more with it's melancholic close out track, Manchild. The array of techniques, samples, instrumentation and inspired production makes 'Beautiful Freak' one of the most interesting, and at the time, arresting debut albums.
Within the opening two songs of Beautiful Freak there is a sample of Fats Domino and Gladys Knight, static, Jive, brooding strings, killer guitar riffs, a great walking bass line and some truly unforgettable lyrics; no wonder it grabbed everyone's attention and became a surprise top 5 album in the UK. Whilst the NME were not fans of the album, giving it a measly 5/10, they were in the minority as the album was generally well received and critically acclaimed at the time.
Continue reading: Album Of The Week: The 25th Anniversary Of 'Beautiful Freak' By Eels
Ride and The Strokes will be joined by The Black Keys, Patti Smith, The Replacements and more.
Fans and hopeful attendees of Barcelona's Primavera Sound were delighted to discover that the preview app they downloaded was a video game displaying the full line-up for the festival's fifteenth anniversary.
Already announced were Friday and Saturday's headliners Ride and The Strokes, and now they've been joined by a host of other equally incredible artists. Thursday sees The Black Keys leading the bill alongside The Replacements, who are hitting Spanish stages for the first time and Antony and the Johnsons, who've been doing plenty since their last Barcelona gig. Bringing some variation to Thursday proceedings are electronic virtuosos James Blake, Richie Hawtin and Simian Mobile Disco.
Continue reading: The 15th Anniversary Line-Up For Primavera Sound Is Finally Here!
Mark E. Everett of Eels has been given the Freedom of the City of London.
Eels frontman Mark Everett was been given the Freedom of the City of London ahead of his concert at the Barbican Centre on Thursday (July 24, 2014). Everett was previously mistaken for a terrorist in the capital.
Mark Everett performing with eels in Venice [Getty/Frederick M. Brown]
In 2010, Everett, or "E", was questioned by police in London's Hyde Park after they mistook him for a suspected terrorist. The singer, who boasts an impressive and full bodied beard, was taking a break from a day of interviews when authorities approached him after he appeared to fit the description of a suspicious person they were looking for. "Not every guy with short hair and a long beard is a terrorist. Some of us just want to rock," he said at the time.
Continue reading: Mark Everett, The Guy From Eels, Is Given Freedom Of The City Of London
Albums of Note... It’s been a long two years since James Blake released his debut eponymous album and now, the pioneering producer returns with Overgrown, album number two. Peppered with quality collaborations, with hip-hop legend RZA and electronic music’s figurehead Brian Eno, Overgrown is the sound of an artist still trying to find his niche, but releasing high quality, accomplished tracks, whilst he’s on his journey. “Blake really is a talent to behold, as his ingenious moulding together of poles apart genres and production wizardry clearly shows… when you're already as accomplished at all manner of musical exercises as he is then it will obviously be hard to focus all this talent and all this energy into one place.”
Splitting opinion like musical Marmite, John Grant returns with Pale Green Ghosts. This album may sound unrecognisable as Grant, to anyone already familiar with his work. He’s hooked up with Gus Gus’ Biggi Viera and has decamped to Reykjavik. As a result, a new reliance on vintage-sounding synthesisers and a nod to club-land has John Grant sounding like an altogether different proposition to the John Grant of days gone by.“Grant's dyspeptic edge may be blunted, but when called upon the man can make a fine ass post-modern disco song, like we ever doubted that he could, and Blackbelt is a tweaked remix away from the transient world of A Lists, charts and chat shows. Cleverly poignant, its way with knock out disses would give Jake Shears something to think about if it proved to be a permanent change of direction…”
There was a lot of love in the room for the eels show in Bournemouth. Much of it was actually on stage, with Mark Oliver Everett going out of his way to sidestep the spotlight in favour of highlighting members of the band. In-between the crunching riffs and inspired cover versions he was calling his band mates to the front of the stage for a hug. That enthusiasm and camaraderie was infectious leaving the audience in an uplifted and celebratory mood. This wasn't the sound of a man dealing with his inner demons, instead E was in a thoroughly life affirming mood.
It's also clear that Eels are a well-oiled machine. Songs were grouped into clearly defined sections leaving the setlist as an organic progression from loud southern infused Rock to Everett's unique quirky Pop sound and back again. Dressed in matching Adidas tracksuits the band looked like a bizarre re-invention of a sixties pop group, with Knuckles' drum kit at the front of the stage and three band members on a rear riser behind him. There was theatricality throughout, with a hilarious skit to introduce the band, and the ignition sequence during main set closing track 'Souljacker'.
The growling guitars of opener 'Bombs Away' heralded a quick succession of songs from new album Wonderful Glorious, punctuated by the surprise inclusion of Fleetwood Mac's 'Oh Well'. The Garage Rock of the opening 30 minutes showed just how skilled Everett is in writing big songs with catchy hooks that sit comfortably alongside such a familiar cover. The mood started to mellow following 'Peach Blossom' and 'Prizefighter', which opened the door for a revamped version of 'Fresh Feeling' and the second cover of the night 'Itchycoo Park'. While the set wasn't structured towards nostalgia, relying heavily on new material, there was a wry sense of humour on show as E made The Small Faces' song very much his own.
Continue reading: Eels - O2 Academy Bournemouth March 2013 Live Review 2013
Mark Oliver Everett - Mark Oliver Everett aka E of eels performing live on stage at the Manchester Academy - Manchester, United Kingdom - Sunday 17th March 2013
Albums of Note... Mark Oliver Everett (better known as ‘E’) returns as eels, with new album Wonderful, Glorious. It’s a return to the form that we saw from Eels in the ‘90s. In recent years, Eels albums have been a rather bleak affair, as Everett has had to deal with the death of his parents, his sister and his cousin, all in a relatively short space of time. Wonderful, Glorious sees Eels get some of the fight back – literally, in ‘Kinda Fuzzy,’ in which he snarls “don’t mess with me I’m up for a fight.”“this teeth-grit, eyes ahead attitude is something we've come to expect from Eels, and Wonderful, Glorious is at its best when he's at his growliest… By the end you even sense a form of happiness has fallen upon this most maligned performer…"
Frightened Rabbit have parted ways with Brighton indie label Fat Cat and release their third album Pedestrian Verse on Atlantic Records. With most of the album’s tracks having been written around the time of Scott Hutchinson’s relationship breakup, it can make for a pretty uncomfortable listen at times. With a new producer at the helm the band seem to have developed a more free-flowing musical ideal, even if the emotions contained within are high in intensity.“In summary, 'Pedestrian Verse' can perhaps best be described as the sound of Frightened Rabbit doing what they do best. Just how many more fall outs and break-ups Scott Hutchison can through to continue the cycle remains to be seen, but for now this is up there alongside 'The Midnight Organ Fight' as one of the band's finest collections to date.”
Following the release of his bleakly personal double album Blinking Lights And Other Revelations in 2005, Mark Oliver Everett - better known simply as E - seemed to spend the rest of that decade spent. With good reason; the 33 track opus came in wake of the suicide of his sister, the death of his parents and his cousin's role as flight attendant on the fatal 9/11 plane. That's an awful lot to take in, and the pain absorbed by the stalwart songwriter was all too clear in Blinking Lights And Other Revelations' intense confessionals.
E has since written a trilogy of albums, each with their own diminishing returns; it felt like he'd said all he could say for a time after Blinking Lights. , but if 2009's Hombre Lobo, and 2010's End Times and Tomorrow Morning felt like the sound of an artist starting to run out of puff, then Wonderful, Glorious is a marked attempt to return to the late 90's and early part of the noughties, where albums like Beautiful Freak, Electro-Shock Blues and Souljacker overcame the depression of their contents with an anger too, a defiance that stopped him from sinking too deeply into his shoes, as he began to thereafter.
'Bombs Away' opens the album and is a spiky, confrontational number, the feel of a man shaking himself out of despondency and reigniting the fire within, "I will be heard, and your opinion will wait its turn" E orders, in that familiar husk of a voice, sounding like a man downtrodden for too long. 'Kinda Fuzzy' is another aggressive number, E snarling "don't mess with me I'm up for a fight", and yet as soon as he utters that things fall away, 'Accident Prone' an almost apologetically timid slumber that sees mojo lost and a retreat made. Thankfully it's just a brief respite, and much of Wonderful, Glorious is, if not strong enough to be labelled his 'finest in years', certainly representative of a man re-energised after three years away rediscovering his thirst for music and life.
Continue reading: Eels - Wonderful, Glorious Album Review