Browsing Tag The Wicked Whispers

LBB11 Review

LBB11 – Thursday

The Stairs, Graham Day & The Forefathers, The Wicked Whispers

Cor, blimey, Le Beat Bespoke ELEVEN? It only seems five minutes since the last one: what’s more, it only seems like yesterday I was musing on exactly the same thoughts. Wherever do our lives go?

This year is decidedly a bold step for the New Untouchables: for the first time, there is not one band or artist gracing the bill whose career predates the early-80s. THE WICKED WHISPERS, who like tonight’s headliners hail from equatorial Merseyside. Whilst I’ve never heard them before, their sound and appearance seem strangely familiar: (they twang their Rickenbackers and Telecasters with youthful fervour and exuberance, know their way round an eerie melody, and recall the Toytown stylings of Factory and Kaleidoscope as much as the West Coast hallucinogens of the Byrds, Charlatans and Music Machine, whose standout tune The People In Me they end with) their early 90s indie influences, by now an inevitable facet of any psych revival act, give them a defiantly British identity far more refreshing than many of their contemporaries’.

By contrast, GRAHAM DAY and his arse-kicking beat combo THE FOREFATHERS have always known where they want to be (in a word, Medway, where they’ve always been) and they revel in it. Sandwiched between two quintessentially North-Western acts, they couldn’t be more “Sahf Eastern” if they tried: whereas mate and mentor Billy Childish has spent half his career soaking up primal Americanisms, Day and long-term colleague Allan Crockford have always sounded, despite sharing the exact same blues, garage and RnR influences, like the bunch of Kents they are. This, of course, is why all their former bands were brilliant, and why they’re great. Thrashing through the tracks from their 2014 longplayer “Good Things” ( a mixture of Prisoners, Gaolers, Solar Flares and Prime Movers numbers re-recorded the way Day always envisaged them) they’re essentially, though they won’t thank me for this, the Mod or psych-garage-head’s equivalent to Motorhead, AC/DC or early Quo: rock’n’roll at its most undiluted and wilfully uncommercial, yet ironically featuring Beatles/Kinksesque hooks and melodies that could batter most so-called “mainstream” artists into oblivion.

And though something’s clearly up with Day’s guitar (thus robbing Love Me Lies and Begging You of about 30 percent of their overdrive) and Crockford’s allegedly brought the “wrong setlist”, these distractions only determine the trio further to grind such gremlins underfoot. Following a slight lull in pace, Sucking Out My Insides revives proceedings with incendiary aggression: the encore of Joe South’s/Deep Purple’s Hush is an arguably unnecessary adjunct to their own, far superior I Drink The Ocean, but one supposes every rock’n’roller must pay respect to his influences sometime and this has been in the set list on and off since the Prisoners days. The question is, will Day ever again channel his inherent Purpleness into performing selections from the Prime Movers’ Earth Church or Arc albums? What do you mean, “piss off”?

To mark their first London appearance in over 20 years, THE STAIRS have seemingly brought along an entire Scouse Mafioso of devotees and even if some of them do spend the entire set complaining about the volume (try not talking over everything, duckie, and you’ll hear it) the awe and reverence in which we all still hold them “dahn ere” obviously still pales into insignificance compared to their Godlike status up the ‘Pool. And so it should: without Edgar Summertyme-Jones and crew’s early 90s efforts, half the subsequent psych, R’n’B and indie acts that followed in their wake simply wouldn’t have followed. The Coral? Had they never heard “Mexican R’n’B”, they’d probably all be stacking shelves in the Hoylake branch of Tescos right now. Truly, the Stairs were, and are, that important so, now they’ve finally returned to show the pretenders how to do it properly, will they live up to the legend?

From the opening blues-pummel of Mary Joanna and Flying Machine, it would definitely seem (even if lead guitarist Ged Lynn’s distortion pedal doesn’t appear to be plugged in) that this is the case: When It All Goes Wrong and Mundane Monday have much the same (if more refined and textured) impact, although Russian Spy & I bumps the energy levels back to party proportions.

Woman Gone & Say Goodbye, Mr Window Pane and the evergreen Right In The Back Of Your Mind are as swaggeringly cocksure as any triumvirate of tunes can be, hitting the assembled fans (many of whom, including me, never saw ‘em first time round) in all the designated places. Conversely, just as many are bemused by both sides of the new single A Thousand Miles Away/Shit Town, the former sounding like extreme Canterbury prog fed through Robin Trower’s blues blender and the latter like the Swell Maps or TV Personalities on harder drugs than either ever took, but I personally find their uncompromising experimentalism encouraging after all, do you really want your favourite band to reform 20-odd years on having not developed in any way whatsoever? The Stairs have never danced to anyone’s tune but their own, and that’s what makes them special. And, somehow or other, I don’t see things changing. The final song of the set is Skin Up and the encore is (what else) Weed Bus. The Stairs represent the embodiment of everything New Untouchables has ever been about. Welcome back gentlemen.

LBB11 – Saturday

Jim Jones & The Rightous Mind plus Little Barrie and The Dustaphonics

Having sadly forgone Friday’s shenanigans, Saturday promised to be undoubtedly the most “rock n roll” of all four nights: definitely the most radical departure from the original NUTs template since the days of Circulus, albeit louder.

My apologies to the DUSTAPHONICS, who I was unable to see due to a family engagement in not-so-sunny West Kensington: having heard positive things about them, I was keen to catch at least some of their set, but after a while, it became apparent this wasn’t going to happen, something which also became increasingly true of LITTLE BARRIE as the hours wore on.

Nonetheless, the two songs I did catch were superb, full of bottom-heavy, fuzz-bass groove, and (though comparisons must be wearing thin by now) worthy of Zep at their best. Even from those eight minutes alone, it was evident that LB are not only light years ahead of any other band on the UK “vintage” scene, but any worldwide combo currently lauded as saviours of veteran heavy rock. Sadly, because of Barrie’s commitments (Morrissey, Primal Scream) they’ll possibly never be as big as the goddam should be. General sensors of opinion was that this was the show of the weekend

JIM JONES and the Righeous Mind mix the best elements of all three of Jones prior aggregations through a demonic, disjointed blender: it still rocks out, particularly on the thrudding grandeur of Base Is Loaded, Hold Up and Walk It Out, but there are more than three chords now, and it’s more angular, uncompromising. More Beefheart than Berry, more Red Krayola than Otis Redding, more King Crimson than King Curtis, more Sun Ra than Sun Studios. Unfortunately, this also means several quieter, blues’n’ jazz-tinged interludes, which a fair percentage of the crowd opt to natter over: whether this is down to the Mind being the most unusual Le Beat headliner yet or simply the unfamiliarity of the material is unclear, but there are definitely less transfixed attendees at the back than at the front. Once the album’s out and fully ingrained in their collective consciousness, though, they’re bound to pay more attention: with closing numbers as powerful as Alpha Shit, it looks as if they won’t have any choice in the matter anyway, and even Boil Yer Blood, which I have to admit I was resolutely unimpressed by on first hearing, is transformed into a stomping monster live, the dirtbox rhythms of drummer Lee Martini smashing thin air whilst Jones lurches and struts like some unhinged hybrid of Lee Brilleaux and Bill Hicks. Such a thunderous climax can’t fail to make impact, and by the closing chords, everyone’s been won over.


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Darius Drewe

Darius Drewe was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Bands Clubs DJs Events Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Record Reviews – Nov 2014 (Part 2)

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Graham Day and The Forefathers

‘Good Things’ – Album

So, here’s the basic idea. A grossly under-rated and overlooked songwriter decides to get a couple of his long-time mates and former band members to join him for a reworking of some of his work spanning over 30 years. They strip it back to basics. Guitar, bass and drums and let rip.

The result is, you end up with six Solarflares tracks, three from The Prisoners, two from The Gaolers and one from Prime Movers. All of them brilliant in their own right, but taken to a new ‘Medway garage’ high on this album.

Graham Day and The Forefathers (they being Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard) have reminded anyone who didn’t know, (or just plain forgot) what incredible musicians they are and what a fine songwriter Graham Day is.

Exuding the principle of ‘don’t think about it, just get it done’, from the off, with ‘The Good Things’, ‘Mary’ and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Mind’, Graham, Allan and Wolf just tear it up.

All through this 12 track collection, you constantly find yourself marvelling at the power of the trio and at the same time, humming along to a catchy chorus or hook that is the foundation of all great songs.

It is a very neat trick to be able to play with such force and such skill so as not to lose the finer qualities of a tune. That takes experience, of which Graham, Allan and Wolf have bucket loads.

When I said at the start that this was a ‘basic idea’, it has turned into a brilliant idea and a great album.

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The Franklys

What You Said – Single

Those of you who have been listening to the Nutscast Sessions will know this band were the first to appear live in our studio. Those who may have turned their noses up because the Franklys are a rock band are missing the point.

The point is, myself via my reviews and the New Untouchables have backed this band for best part of two years because we recognised the genuine potential in their debut EP. We saw the same potential in The Strypes when no one would give them a second look.

So here we are, two years on and guess what? The mainstream is all over The Franklys. NME, XFM, Absolute Radio and many others have only now twigged what we knew all along. The Franklys are a band destined to hit big very soon. This sudden wave of interest is due to ‘What You Said’, the new single available on digital download.

Following on from the brilliant ‘Puppet’ earlier in the year, this new track sees the girls developing a recognised ‘sound’.

Zoe Biggs’s haunting heavy bass lines, Nicole Pinto doing what good drummers do; make their instrument so much more than a time-keeper. The pocket-sized bundle of dynamite that is Fanny Broburg letting rip with searing lead guitar work and Jen Ahlkvist continues with her bitter-sweet and ever-so-edgy vocals.

Yes, The Franklys are closer to the Foo Fighters than The Jam, but so what? There is always room for a great rock band and more so for a great all-female rock band. Mark my words, 2015 will be a big year for The Franklys.

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The Wicked Whispers

Maps Of The Mystic – Album

For those of you who did not make it to Crossfire back in October, you really missed a great show. The Wicked Whispers played a fair chunk of this, their debut album at the official London launch.

Nutsmag Reviews has highlighted this band once before. It was last year with the release of their marvellous single ‘Voodoo Moon’ b/w ‘Nightbird’.

I’m so delighted to say, the promise shown on that single has materialised onto this album.

2014 has been a vintage year for new music in my humble opinion, and for Wicked Whispers to produce ‘Maps Of The Mystic’ as we head toward the tail end of the year, just highlights what outstanding quality has come from all quarters and most of it ignored by the mainstream. (No surprise there!)

While the band comprises of Mike Murphy, Toby Virgo, Steven Penn, Andrew Smith and Nathan Sayer, it is Murphy who is clearly the driving force. He wrote all the songs and produced the album, which is no mean feat considering the complexity of some of the arrangements.

It says much about the abilities of Virgo, Penn, Smith and Sayer that they can match Murphy’s vision and ambitions musically.

The recent single ‘Chronological Astronaut’ leads the way, and a fine upbeat track it is too. Equally upbeat and just as good are the songs ‘You Wouldn’t Believe’ and ‘Odyssey Mile’.

It’s when the band show their softer side that Michael Murphy’s song writing really comes to the fore. The title track ‘Maps Of The Mystic’, ‘Flying ‘Round In Circles’ and ‘Amanda Lavender’ beautifully display Murphy’s ability to find a melody and work with words. If his aim is to paint musical and lyrical pictures, I have to say he has achieved it with ease.

In a year of brilliant albums, this one has to be right up there with the best.

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New Street Adventure

No Hard Feelings – Album

It seems barely believable that three years have passed since the first time I saw New Street Adventure at The Barfly, Camden. After the show that night lead singer Nick Corbin gave me a copy of a cd the band had just released. It was called ‘Just The Kind Of People’, a four track EP. It was brilliant and sat very well alongside other contemporary bands with a soulful flavour.

It did seem that New Street Adventure (NSA) was set to conquer all in their path. What happened? Who knows? In the blink of an eye, one of the most talked-about bands almost disappeared.

They did, however, sign to Acid Jazz Records which is fortunate because at least they were with a label populated by people who still regard music as an art form. (Not something you could accuse major labels of.)

So after a lot of hard work and a few line up changes, NSA are finally back with their debut album.

Let me say from the outset; this was well worth the wait. All the potential that I and all the other NSA fans saw three or four years ago is all wrapped up in this sumptuous collection of soul flavours.

Nick Corbin has lost none of his acidic anger and whit with his lyrical content and those he aims at are hit fore-square.

Of course the most recent single, ‘On Our Frontdoorstep’ leads the way, and that mixture of Northern Soul-inspired rhythms and hard-edged social commentary is a feature of this album.

But while ‘Be Somebody’ and ‘She’s An Attraction’ could get you dancing, the softer side of NSA is no more evident than in my favourite track right now. ‘Say You’re Lonely’ is one of the finest ballads I’ve heard all year. It draws you in and gives you goose bumps by the end of the song. (Well, it did to me.)

‘No Hard Feelings’ has been a long time in the making, but it been worth the wait. Now they are back on track, let’s hope NSA build on the success of this LP.

I do have one minor point to make though, I still prefer the 2011 version of ‘The Big AC’.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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November 16, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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The Wicked Whispers (Newbreed)

This entry is part 8 of 22 in the series Newbreed4

Band Members:
Mike  Murphy (Vocals/Guitars)
Toby Virgo (Bass/Backing Vocals)
Steven Penn (Organist)
Andy Smith (Guitars)
Nathan Sayer (Drums)

Discography:
2011 – EP ‘The Dark Delights of the Wicked Whispers (Electone)
2012 – Single ‘Dandelion Eyes’ (Electone)
2013 – Single ‘Voodoo Moon’ (Electone)
2014 – Single ‘Chronological Astronaut’ (Electone)
2014 – LP ‘Maps of the Mystic’ (Electone)

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

The Wicked Whispers formed in 2010 but arrived in 2011 with ’‘The Dark Delights of The Wicked Whispers’ EP on limited 10” which put the band on the map. We  played our first debut show onown event called ‘The Butterflies Ball and The Grasshoppers Feast’ bringing Arthur Brown in as support.. Mike Murphy formed the band after demoing a new project and decided to put a band around it which then evolved into the band people know today.

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

The Doors, Love, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Byrds, Jimmy Campbell and James Brown.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

The Levons and Red Sands because they are great and also on Electone Records.

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

It’s a small scene in Liverpool which we don’t have much involvement with being honest . There are regular nights at The Go Go Cage (held at the Cabin Club) but we occasionally put on huge shows ourselves like ‘The Butterflies Ball and the Grasshoppers Feast’.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

That’s up to the listeners but you could say it’s a melting pot of US west-coast meets London 60s jangle wrapping around some lucid songwriting.

06. What are your live shows like?

Pretty intense as a lot of our songs are very intricate and short but we like to put on a full on live performance and give it our everything on stage.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

Our main influences we’ve touched on. We rarely play covers as we put more time into developing our music but we have played tracks by Jimmy Campbell and the Velvet Underground at shows. We don’t despise anyone but we know what music we can relate to and like.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

Love, lie and positivity. Plus a load of ale and general laddish behavior.

09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Mike Murphy writes the songs and prepares the music. The subject matter is vast but he mainly likes to develop dream like perspectives and tries to explore unanswered questions and wonders.

10. What’s your favorite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

Each member of the group would say something different but ‘Chronological Astronaut’ has been a favorite since the band formed.
Same regards to our favorite songs but lets just say ‘Michaelangelo’ by Jimmy Campbell because it is a classic.

11. How would you describe the current underground scene?  Do you participate?

Were not too clued up but it seems fragmented currently. When we started hitting the road in 2011, there was a tight circuit of bands including us playing the same nights up and down the UK. We have seen sparks of this but its not as tight as it was. It would be great to get this going again but we will be popping up at a couple in the near future.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Recording our debut album and Mike Murphys challenge as first time producer.

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

It all depends as there are several levels to consider. We are always working on the next thing and split rehearsals up to required functions. If we have a live obligation we prepare for it, we don’t rehearse blind. But weve already started working on the next thing to follow up from our debut album out September so we are doing sessions for that.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

This is a complicated one as we are fully aware of how the music industry works. We just want to play and release our music and if anyone in the press or media  likes our music and wants to play and write about it, that’s great.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

Of course, there’s loads of great stuff currently. Highlights are Temples, French Boutique and Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

Theres loads we would like to do. Recording in Sunset Sound in LA is on our list. Regards producers that would be telling our next steps but someone looking to develop new ideas from our favorites music that inspires us.

17. What should we expect from you in the future?  What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

Theres always stuff coming up but we are most excited about promoting our debut album through the UK over the next few months with some great live shows. Our big album launch in Liverpool will be great as its being held at The Kazimier which is a stunning venue. We are also bringing the brass and string section with us on that one. We have an exciting Crossfire 25 show in October ( the 11th) launching the LP in London and then we are doing some tour dates with Ian McNabb and The Moons with much more on the way including another headline tour. Beyond our debut album lets just say the follow up will be quick as we are headed into the studio before Christmas.

Web Links:

thewickedwhispers.com
facebook.com/thewickedwhispers
twitter.com/Wicked_Whispers 
soundcloud.com/thewickedwhispers


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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March 2, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music Tags:, , , ,
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