The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

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In one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year, Alex Turner and Miles Kane join forces for their second studio album Everything You’ve Come To Expect. The album is eight years beyond their debut in which time both men have reached new heights. It  is important to separate the fact from fiction here. Those eight years have seen Turner particularly gain a fanatic following not far removed from that of Bieber or Harry Styles. Unlike those two there’s more tangible talent on show, but the hype shouldn’t give them the special treatment that the NME might afford them. Bringing in the talented Owen Pallet for string arrangements is already a positive step that will undoubtedly go unnoticed whilst James Ford adds a sense of stability in production so let’s see what the duo have brought us in 2016.

Bad Habbits’ was that eagerly awaited track. The song certainly has a urgency about it, dictated by the tentative and rapid bass line and this along with the jangling acoustic riffs feed into urgent anti-harmonies of the string sections. It’s almost some pseudo- Indie Western soundtrack. Musically, there isn’t much variation from 2008 in this instance apart from the reshuffling of roles between cinematic instrumentals of relentless bass-line, string sections and well placed guitar parts. Having said that, it is delivered in a more imaginative way here. What is less imaginative is the lyrical content or lack of it. There is little flow to them and the only consistency is their repetitive nature which is a shock for both artists. There are also sections of the track with huge clutter and then others with half or even quarter lines which is peculiar. This track is a little bemusing given the calibre of those involved and Pallett’s involvement provides the only consistency and creativity to the track. ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’ is relatively simple with 60s organs and sweeping strings. They feature several varying vocal styles from light falsettos, distorted and deeper tones. There is nothing much more to the track apart from typically verging on predictable masculine lyrics, but at least it functions properly in ways ‘Bad Habits’ didn’t. All in all this is solid whilst being underwhelming  with fleeting moments of enjoyment. Aviation’ is the third single and it is indeed an improvement on the first two singles as it pursues its 1960’s imagery and sound with resonant, rotating riffs and smooth string sections. This song hasn’t moved in a direction of any significance for the duo, but the song builds to tangible progressions and is well delivered and arranged. It is the first track from the album that actually justifies the grand arrangements that have been employed.

‘Miracle Aligner’ maintains the 60’s club ballad formula the duo have employed so often in the album so far. The prominent bass lines, sweeping strings and loose are a well worn formula in general, not least on this album. Having said that, the music works in harmony with Alex Turner’s vocals and they really do the sound justice. The question is though, does it need justifying anymore? Tracks like ‘Pattern’ employ the same methodology with a smoother edge via fluidity from the added piano chords and another piece of sublime strings. Miles Kane demonstrates a degree of vocal versatility here too. ‘Used to be my Girl’ is similar in this way only with a more prominent riff ringing through the track instead of the dramatic string sections. ‘Dracula Teeth’ employs both variations of the style into one song and again it works well along with their vocal harmonies. The negative with this is that these songs occupy the vast majority of the album in various iterations though it does flow decently. More often than not however, they give off an air of confidence and entitlement with their music that is unjustified by the end result. Not often are some of the tracks simply poor in standard, but the rest are wholly predictable and suggests that they have nothing to show for the last eight years which is not the case. In many ways this album is indeed everything you’ve come to expect which might be their point.

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect = 6/10

Owen Riddle

 

Single Review – The Last Shadow Puppets – Aviation

‘Aviation’ is the third single to emerge from The Last Shadow Puppets’ upcoming second studio album Bad Habits . The first two have either been underwhelming or simply poor and so there’s perhaps an unusual environment of pressure surrounding this third single. It is indeed an improvement on the first two singles as it pursues its 1960’s imagery and sound with resonant, rotating riffs and smooth string sections. This song hasn’t moved in a direction of any significance for the duo, but the song builds to tangible progressions and is well delivered and arranged. Still… Don’t expect this album to blow you away from what we’ve heard so far.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – The Last Shadow Puppets- Everything You’ve Come To Expect

After the perplexing first single from their upcoming sophomore album of the same name, ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’ is the new single and title track. This track is relatively simple with 60s organs and sweeping strings. They feature several varying vocal styles from light falsettos, distorted and deeper tones. There is nothing much more to the track apart from typically verging on predictable masculine lyrics, but at least it functions properly in ways ‘Bad Habits’ didn’t. All in all this is solid whilst being underwhelming and confirms only tonal shifts from their debut album.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

This Weeks Music Video with David Bowie, Savages, The Last Shadow Puppets and Blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

Single Review – The Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habbits

 

‘Bad Habbits’ is the eagerly awaited new track of Alex Turner’s and Miles Kane’s eagerly awaited sophomore album, following on from their 2008 debut The Age of the Understatement. For this track they of course worked with producer James Ford, but they also hired the very talented Owen Pallett for the string arrangements. The song certainly has a urgency about it, dictated by the tentative and rapid bass line and this along with the jangling acoustic riffs feed into urgent anti-harmonies of the string sections. It’s almost some pseudo- Indie Western soundtrack. Musically, there isn’t much variation from 2008 in this instance apart from the reshuffling of roles between cinematic instrumentals of relentless bass-line, string sections and well placed guitar parts. Having said that, it is delivered in a more imaginative way here. what is less imaginative is the lyrical content or lack of it. There is little flow to them and the only consistency is their repetitive nature which is shock for both artists. There are also sections of the track with huge clutter and then others with half or even quarter lines which is peculiar. This track is a little bemusing given the calibre of those involved and Pallett’s involvement provides the only consistency and creativity to the track. Much better is surely to come lyrically and vocally rather than this grand, expensive posturing.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Miles Kane – Better Than That

‘Better Than That’ which is out in October, is another single off Miles’ second album Don’t Forget Who You Are and it see’s him at his best. Shovelling instant hooks and melodies with energetic vocals down our throats. The 60’s pop rock bass plays a starring roll with the core hook of the song and everything else works off it. Mile’s rapid build up of vocals leads up to chorus easily while the song keeps plugging away with the interchanging riffs kicking up the rhythm to another gear while the organ sits in the background; holding the other elements as one with it’s subtle wash of sound. The song is not miraculous or out of the blue at all but it’s filled with a lot of tried and tested methods which are pretty much failsafe and when it’s coupled with the swagger and style that Miles has then it’s always going to work in one way or another.

http://youtu.be/kp48FdiAkBQ

Image from www.nme.com 

Alistair Sheerin Q&A Interview

Remember the name because this guy is going places. Middlesbrough’s Alistair Sheerin talks to Stockton’s Owen Riddle (I’m reliably informed that’s me) about supporting Miles Kane, Why he got into music and about Teesside too. For which he talks a lot of sense.

For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to hear your music; can you describe your sound and what you’re about?

Well my name is Alistair Sheerin, i write rock n roll. It’s catchy, honest and doesn’t mess around! I’m from Middlesbrough and have been gigging for a long time now both acoustically and with my backing band, just finished a Miles Kane tour supporting him throughout the UK and been working with Tom Clarke from The Enemy. I’m in the middle of doing the festivals for this time of year whilst recording some new stuff in the studio. Exciting times man!
           Who are the primary influences to your music?
Well the reason i picked up the guitar was because of Noel Gallagher, i saw ‘Familiar to Millions’ from 2000 at Wembley Stadium and i was like ‘fuck! I wanna do that’. So i started learning guitar after that and then through Oasis i found Paul Weller, The Kinks etc. In my house though the radio was always on and i was brought up on people like The Beatles and Motown music. So i think it was in the blood from an early age. Noel and those are still my primary influences today along with Tom Petty, John Lennon and Bob Dylan. But you should never pigeon hole yourself! There’s too much good music out there to enjoy, i make sure i listen to everything i possibly can!

You’ve got yourself a band if I’m right! Who’s who and how good are they?

That’s right. They don’t have a name or anything they are my backing band. We sometimes go with ‘Ally She and the Knobhead Three’ for a laugh haha. I’ve been playing with them a year and a half now. It’s Luke Freeman on rhythm guitar, Ryan Shaw on bass and Ste Fenton on Drums. We’re all from Middlesbrough so we have the same craic. They are great players, i throw everything i can at them and they just take it and play it exactly how its meant to be played. Live we have so much energy, i can’t fault them at all. I’m very lucky to have met these people and they’ve become like my best friends too and it’s such a joy to be on the road with them. It’s nice to be able to say that after all this time after some of the shit i’ve put up with in the past when i used to be in other bands and stuff, very lucky indeed!

There’s a bit of resurgence in more straight up classic rock from The Strypes, Jake Bugg and Miles Kane of course: Do you think it can last and get bigger?

Absolutely! What people forget is that type of music never goes away. Yeah it has moments where is not the ‘in thing’ but it always comes back around bigger and better when all the little fads die out. There’s always an audience for it and a loyal audience too! I’m all over it man. I’m happy that people are including me as part of it and its nice people are putting me in the same leagues as Miles and Jake Bugg etc. There’s still a lot of work to do but it’s gonna be bigger thats for sure, i’ll certainly be part of that for as long as i can because i have a point to prove and things to say!

Being a fellow Teessider, it’s great that there are acts like yourself about. However, do you think it’s harder for the region to compete with other areas of the country due to how strong chart music is here?

I think Middlesbrough is a forgotten part of the UK in general. Not just in music but in every sense. Sometime’s it feels like we’re the arsehole of the country and we’re not! We have some of the best audiences up here who are dying for big names to tour this way and we have some great bands coming through. I think it is easier for bands in say London to get noticed because of it’s vastness and because there is an audience for everything. But then i think those artists struggle up north because we know what we want and if it’s shit we just don’t follow it. It’s irritating that acts in Boro have to travel to get recognition but then again isn’t that the name of the game? We have some promoters doing great work for unsigned music here and it’s building man, it just takes time. I think we’ll get there eventually.

What’s the reaction been like to your music in Middlesbrough, Stockton etc.?

Off the scale mate, it’s taken a while but i’ve got a loyal following now and it’s really been set in stone this year. I returned to The Empire in Middlesbrough for a headline gig and it was packed out! I felt great and i thought ‘i’ve finally arrived’. Stockton Weekender was a great reaction too, a lot of familiar fans in the crowd came down and sang along. At alot of the gigs i get my songs sang back to me and its emotional but really makes me feel good. Like i said it’s taken time but im here now, and i’ll keep going to spread the word as far as i can.

‘I Don’t Need You’ is a quality song. What is the song about lyrically and musically?

Thank you, it’s been the closing song in the set, alot of people really dig it and have connected with it. At the time i wrote it it was about being in a relationship with a girl who was holding me back and would do that thing of ‘pulling a mood’ after a gig if girls wanted pictures or because i couldn’t spend time with her because of a gig. Musically i had the riff for ages and i took influence from a French artist called Jacque Dutronc, he has a song called The Responsible and i loved the way he sang the verses and i used that technique and tried it in mine and it worked. But for other people you can take what you want from it, it’s not just about a girl if you don’t want it to be it can be about a shitty job or a mate, anything!

What do you think is your most complete tune?

Hard to say because i always try and better myself on every song and for me i get most excited about the brand new stuff. I’d love to name one but i don’t think i’d be being honest.

You do some other songs justice too. What are your favourite songs to cover?

I used to do an acoustic cover of Miles Kane Come Closer with an off-beat strumming, that went down well. I threw in a cover of Noel’s If I Had A Gun at a gig a year ago and people went nuts for it! But my favourite i think was when me and the best used to do Cold Turkey by John Lennon at gigs, it was rocking and we made it a bit heavier. I used to love playing that guitar riff in the verses!

You’ve supported Miles Kane which must have been alright! What was it like for you and did he give you any words of wisdom or encouragement?

It was top! They were some of the best shows i’ve ever done and what made it more special was people had been checking me out when it was announced and so the venues were full for me going on. I was buzzin! Really nice, loyal fans. I spoke to him a fair bit but i wouldn’t say he gave me any words of wisdom. I was only meant to do two shows on the tour but he saw my first gig and then told me he was gonna’ get me on more so i ended up doing most of the tour! That was encouraging for me to know that he really liked my music and wanted me on the bill with him.

What’s the best venue you’ve played at?

Birmingham O2 Academy. Not for the actual venue but the crowd were the best i’ve played to yet, one of the best gigs of my life!

Is there a venue that you’d really want to make it to?

There’s loads mate but the ideal one for me would be The Royal Albert Hall. I’ve seen my heroes play there and the sound is amazing too. For me that would be a massive achievement.

Where do you record your tunes? Is it easy to do so?

I record them all over, it depends where you want to go really, no set place. At present i’ve been keeping it up north with a guy called Steve Metcalfe producing my stuff. It’s a long process recording, its easy when you and other musicians know everything really well, but sometimes its good to challenge yourself and take yourself out your comfort zone and do things you don’t do live.

What have you got in mind for the future? An album perhaps?

Nah not an album yet, it’s too early. I’ve got some more songs which i will eventually be putting out, gigging more, something special happening next year that i can’t reveal. For now all i can say is follow me on Twitter or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/alistairsheerinmusic) and keep a look out for what’s going on. I’m in a good place right now and i just want to keep going until my time has arrived, its all exciting!
Thanks to Alistair for giving some straight up and honest answers and be sure to have a look at his music.
Image from © Tim Bailey 2012

Single of the Week – Miles Kane – Taking Over

With the second release from his second album Don’t Forget Who You Are and fresh from one of the performances of his life at Glastonbury, Miles Kane is slowly but surely turning a few more heads. ‘Taking Over’ is a step in the right direction for the aspiring Mersey Mod. Initially it sounds like the that typical heavy and slightly disstorted guitar sound that everyone is having a go at from the Arctic Monkeys to Deap Vally in it’s various styles. But it soon switches to a catchy and more rythmic and melodic song with a chorus that has an easy sing-a-long quality which he has pretty much got sorted. Before taking another foray into the disstorted or ‘fuzzy’ guitar the song goes into your standard rip roaring Miles Kane guitar solo to conclude a well polished song with a few rough or ‘fuzzy’ corners. It’s by no means innovative or ground-breaking but he knows how to make a stylish tune as he’s done here.

Image from whatculture.com

http://youtu.be/saPSlDlVmnk

Friday at Glastonbury

Friday was a crazy day at Glastonbury with a truly awesome line-up at every stage. The headline act on the Pyramid stage was of course Arctic Monkeys. They may have question marks about their musical and technical originality and innovation  which have not gone away with their new single, but they are a class act live and the band played a seamless set of old and new in which their sound was immaculate and Alex Turner had the crowd in the palm of his hands, especially with the string version of Mardy Bum. The whole showman gag was a bit daft but if you were an Arctic Monkeys fan then this set will have had your eyes glazed over and had you foaming at the mouth. For everyone else, you could appreciate a well oiled machine efficiently churning out hit after hit. Miles Kanes appearance was a bonus for the closing tune: 505. Anyone else was enjoying the Disco legend that was Nile Rodgers who was headlining the West Holts stage who has certainly attracted a fresh generation to his music thanks to his work with Daft Punk. ‘Get Lucky’ was just another song to add to his long list of hits which he played out with Chic. Also on the West Holts stage was Seasick Steve who also put on an excellent performance with his make shift instruments and with contributions from John Paul Jones on the bass. Foals played a decent set before Portishead came and captivated their audience in a very different way to the Arctic Monkeys.Headlining the Park Stage were The Horrors who as always played a dual set filled with moments of energy and consideration. Many flocked there to catch the odd new track off their always massively anticipated new album later this year. One or two were played but they are unamed as of now. They closed as usual with the drawn out frenzy that is ‘Moving Further Away’ and were a success like their fellow headliners.

However Crystal Castles on the John Peel stage were not. Their set was just 40 minutes and started 20 minutes late. Everyone usually revels in Alice Glass’ insane actions but the crowd were left a little cold after she mimiced strangling herself with the mic wire, apparently fainted and didn’t come back for an encore. Bastille gathered a large crowd that went beyond the tent for their set on that very stage ealier on in the day. However the crowds were even bigger for the 21st century mod that is Miles Kane. Wearing a Union Jack harrington jacket, Miles is perhaps one of the only people at Glastonbury who can pull off wearing a flag or wallpaper. Everyone else can forget it. He played a set full of urgency and raw energy as he switched from old to new in effortless fashion. He was joined by Alex Turner for a Last Shadow Puppets number for which Miles returned the favour later on. Alt J attracted a much bigger audience then perhaps everyone was expecting, including themselves as they played out much of their debut album.

Jake Bugg was at ease on the Pyramid stage in the afternoon with two new tunes and a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My’ Even earlier than that were Haim in theif first appearance at the fesitval while Beady Eye were a little low key in opening the days proceedings. The Vaccines too, gathered a large crowd to showcase their two albums and their new track ‘Melody Calling’. Savages produced a faultless and high octane performance at the William’s Green stage and they smashed through a set that featured hits from their excellent album: Silence Yourself. That experience will be bigger and better today when they take on the John Peel stage. Tame Impala put on a great glam-psychedelic masterclass of which ‘Elephant’ was the centrepiece. Their deep sound would have better showcased in the John Peel tent but it was great nonetheless. Ghosts certainly turned a few heads with their mixture of sounds and face masks. After all that no one seemed to remember acts like Rita Ora who was certainly put in her place in being one of the only plastic pop acts presnet against a fantasic backdrop of a variety of skilled musicians from various genres. Expect the same today!

Images from http://www.nme.com/ / www.newswhip.com / http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/

Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are Review

There is no doubting Miles Kane’s ability as a musician and his developing song-writing talent. Though it’s not the most innovative thing ever, it’s not what he’s aiming for and there seems to be too much focus on what he wears or who he’s mates with rather than his music. People are obsessed about whether he is a mod or not and send him to the gallows or not depending if he passes their judgement. However he’s also hugely over-hyped by those like the NME who are always setting him up for a fall by acting as if he’s some saviour to revive the depleted music industry. In today’s world it’s nearly impossible for one person to do such a thing and what he’s doing currently will not do the job either so they are already setting him up for a fall in that case. He can’t win. However DFWYA is one of the most solid second albums for a while. He has played it safe with what he knows from Colour of the Trap but what he knows has enough scope for change. He’s done that with DFWYA. Each song is much more snappy and to the point and the excess and wild moments from his first album have been much  more controlled with this album to create a more mature and realistic second album. A small step in the right direction instead of the flatlinging of some peoples second albums like The Vaccines or Mumford & Sons but to be fair to The Vaccines; their second album was only months after their first. Mumford & Sons had a lot longer.

‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ as the title track for the album which is probably one of the most familiar songs compared to Colour of the Trap. Those disstorted and sharp burts from the lead guitar are pretty familiar but are hardly a bad element. The similar song structure coupled with a different sort of rythm section which worked well together had also snookered him in how he could do nothing but fill the empty space with ‘la’s’ but if it’s a lead single some sing a long quality perhaps should be there and it’s provided. Apart from that the song is full of energy and confidence that a Miles Kane track typically has and you do get the slight feeling he was trying to pin-point the areas of his songs that he thought would make a great combination for the lead track and to some extent it work but perhaps it was too hypo-analysed. ‘Give Up was a single released mushc earlier on in the year and it does feel sort of detatched from the rest of the album in that. In certian ways ‘Give Up’ is a “heavier” and revved up version of Miles Kane with sharper and aggressive riffs with Miles’ vocals ripping through your eardrums like the guitars. However it’s also quite controlled and considered in the bridge sections with all the elements changing the tone along with Miles’ deeper vocals that flicks back to the in yer face feel to the song which often works well if it’s not over done. 

‘Out of Control’ is perhaps a little less typical in how it’s more melodic and very considered with acoustic and string elements. The very subtle injections of that sharp guitar riff works well along with the other two elements to play the supporting role and give full focus to Miles and the vocals and lyrics. Other tunes like ‘You’re gonna get it’ have a great rythmic quality to them that marries well with the exuberant style Miles Kane better than it did on the title track. The song if much more rock ‘n’ roll leaning than the alternative angle that songs like ‘Give Up’ have and it gives a better sense of variety and depth in the album but not to a massive extent. The scattered and stop start approach of the instumentals on songs like ‘Tonight’ also cahnge at each interval to mimic the vocal direction to lead to the smooth transition to the chorus and at times is very bass driven and the album itself is much mor bass driver than ‘Colour of the Trap’ and it’s all the better for it. The bass eliminates many of the different guitar tracks and actually gives Miles more space for the vocals and the guitar solo’s that are more valued because of it. It’s not a massive change of direction but he’s certainly tidied up any weak links or any mess from the first album. He’s also made a slightly more melodic and rythmic album that is an even better representation of a live Miles Kane performance and that is something he excels in. My ears are still ringing from when I saw him last. With all that in mind the album is a slight improvement on Colour of the Trap that see’s Miles try one or two new things in a subtle fashion. His core fans will love it for sure and his musicality may drawn in others too. Not mindblowing but not too bad either

Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are = 7/10

Images from www.thisisfakediy.co.uk / www.nme.com