Billy walton Magic MomentsIf one of your favourite bands is about to record their fourth studio album, wouldn’t you like to have a peek inside the studio to see what’s going on?  I certainly would.  Well, the Billy Walton Band is about to go to work on their fourth studio album, which is being produced by legendary drummer Tony Braunagel with keyboard player Mike Finnigan helping to fill out the band’s sound, and the guys will be releasing video footage documenting the progress of the album (and probably lots of studio mayhem).  If you’re a fan of the band, you can get links to these videos, as soon as they appear, here on MusicRiot.  Make sure you don’t miss out; like our Facebook page and you’ll be notified as soon as the clips go live and we’ll tell you about all of the other great new music we’re reviewing as well.  Does that sound good to you?

Radio (in my) Head editOK, the cat’s at least halfway out of the bag now so I suppose it’s about time we gave you a bit more gen on the Radio (in my) Head album.  The project was conceived a few years ago by Bandhouse Records MD John O’Sullivan as a college project at the London College of Contemporary Music.  He realised that Radiohead songs were a common frame of reference for musicians from all over the world and that every musician seemed to have an interesting take on a Radiohead song (although, personally speaking, I draw the line somewhere short of Brad Mehldau).  By 2012, the college project was completed, but the concept wouldn’t lie down; John had graduated from LCCM and started up the Bandhouse organisation, working with fellow alumni and new contacts on the London music scene.

But the expansion didn’t stop there; the internet (particularly Soundcloud and social media sites) enabled the project to become truly global with contributions coming from eleven bands and/or producers from (wait for it) Italy, Serbia, Russia, Israel, USA, Ireland, France, South Africa, Colombia, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, India, Singapore and Estonia (and good old Blighty).  I make that eleven tracks put together by contributors from sixteen countries.  I think that pretty much ticks the world music box.

I heard a few whispers about this project just over a year ago and that says a lot about how long it takes to get something like this together.  John got the official Radiohead seal of approval for the project at about this time last year, but the whole process of mastering, tying up all of the legal and publishing loose ends and generally giving the project the final polish it so richly deserves takes time, so here we are in September 2013 with the first single released and the album almost ready to go.

I really wish I could tell you more about the album at this stage but most of it’s still very tightly under wraps apart from Ido Livni and Re’ut Szekely’s cover of “Videotape” which was released today on iTunes.  What I will say is that I’ve heard pre-master versions of several songs and they’re all very, very good.  We’ve reviewed live and recorded material from several artists involved in the project here at MusicRiot and we can’t wait to hear their contributions.

We’ll have more news for you about this intriguing album very soon.

Radio (in my) Head editWell that’s just about got the British summer out of the way and we’ve got a few months of good music before the silly season of compilations and box sets starts all over again.  After a surprisingly good August, we’ve got a very busy September lined up for you.

We’ll be reviewing Texan fiddle player/singer/songwriter Carrie Rodriguez live in London and we should finally get to see the Anna-Christina solo show, “Pretty Little Lady?” towards the end of the month.  We’ve also got our only festival review of the summer from Lou; live at Leeds.  I’m sure we’ll find a few other gigs to tell you about as well.

John’s going to be reviewing the new material from Ultraista, Dawn Richard, Icona Pop, Natalia Kills and Goldfrapp while I’ve got the debut Dirt Tracks album for you and whatever else the postman or the internet send my way in the next few weeks.  The long-awaited Radio (in my) Head project is about to launch and we’ll have some news about that for you next week.  We’re also starting a new regular piece featuring links to new music we think you might like to hear.  More in a few weeks.

It’s beginning to look suspiciously like the start of summer, what with the rain stopping and the sun appearing at last, but the Riot Squad don’t care about any of that (apart from the fact that we can wear our shades now without looking ridiculous).  Anyway, we’ve got a busy few weeks coming up with plenty of live and recorded music to tell you about.

“Closer Than You Know” – The Kennedys

I’m finally going to get to see Anna-Christina’s live, unplugged show “Pretty Little Lady?” this week and I’ll be telling you all about that next week. The highly-acclaimed New York duo, The Kennedys, are touring the UK and Ireland to promote their latest album “Closer Than You Know” and we’ll be telling you all about that later this month.  Then, at the end of the month, I’ll be going to Edinburgh to see Modern Misfortune whose first EP is out now.

John’s going to be reviewing albums by Little Boots, Alison Moyet, MS MR and Daft Punk and I’ll be having a listen to The Kennedys album.  I’m also trying to get hold of a review copy of the debut Federal Charm album which is out in June.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

We’re also kicking around the idea of a monthly Riot Squad podcast to let you know what we sound like and what we’re up to each month.  It’s going to be an interesting month.

Well, we’ve had a relatively quiet few weeks but that’s all about to change because Spring is here, the clocks have gone forward and we’re beginning to see some sunshine at last.  The next few months are going to be pretty busy here at Riot Towers because we have loads of album reviews quite a few interesting gigs to see.

On the album front, over the next 4 weeks or so John Preston’s going to be telling us about the latest albums from Tomorrow’s World, Cassie, Charli XCX, Major Lazer, Little Boots and MS MR.  I’ll be going to see blues guitarist Paul Rose, Rosco Levee and the Southern Slide and (at last) Anna-Christina’s solo show “Pretty Little Lady?”.  I’ll be reviewing the Paul Rose album “Double Life” and whatever else pops through the letterbox or into the inbox.

Do you have a “Closet Classic” album?  We’ve been running this as an occasional feature for a while now but we would love you to tell us about your guilty musical pleasures or even your favourite criminally under-rated album.  Send it to us through the “Contact” section and we’ll publish it on the website; easy.

And we should have a few surprises coming up for you as well…

 

Henrik Freischlader 290113 (Photo by Allan Mckay)

 

Billy Walton 290113 (Photo by Allan McKay)

Oxford Street on a wet Tuesday night in January can be a really miserable place, but not if you’re on your way to see The Billy Walton Band and the Henrik

Freischlader Band at the 100 Club, which is exactly what I was doing last Tuesday.  Both bands did the Skegness Butlins Blues festival last weekend before setting off on their UK tours.  Henrik is touring in support of his latest album “House in the Woods” and Billy is touring because the band love playing here and they have a lot of fanatical supporters in the UK.  The Stuart James Band was also on the bill as openers, so, three bands for a tenner in central London; you can’t argue with that.

At this kind of gig, the headline/support distinction doesn’t really apply; each band has its own following and they generally respect the work of the other bands on the bill.  I’m not saying there’s no tribalism, but there is a huge amount of mutual respect between the bands which is reflected in the attitudes of their followers.  Everyone came to hear good music and they weren’t disappointed.

The Billy Walton Band played a much, much shorter set than they would play as headliners and focussed on the latest album, “Crank it Up!”.  They packed in all of the highlights of a headline set into 45 minutes which featured Billy’s wonderful playing and showmanship and the improvisational interplay between Billy’s guitar and Richie Taz’s sax over the rock-solid rhythm section of William Paris and John D’Angelo.  If you’re looking for highlights, I’d go with “Deal with the Devil”, “The Deal went Down” and “Hot Blues” from the album and the inevitable show-stopping “Cannonball”.  I may be biased, but you really should make the effort to see these guys.

If you want a bit of background on the Henrik Freischlader Band, there’s a review of “House in the Woods” here.  Like the Billy Walton setup, this is a classic 70s power trio with an added twist.  In this case it’s the smoky Hammond sound of Moritz Fuhrhop which fills out the sound while Henrik plays his riffs and fills and solos. Again, the rhythm section of Bjorn Kruger (drums) and Theofilos Fotiadis provided a solid foundation for the creativity of the 2 lead players.  Henrik, like his hero Gary Moore, is equally impressive playing heavy riff-based songs and the slower ballads but he still has another weapon in the locker; he has a powerful, lived-in and careworn, voice which delivers both the rockers and the slower songs perfectly.  The band is tight and convincing in both styles and also sounds great with funkier and reggae-tinged material.

The set was dominated, unsurprisingly, by material from the new album (which is very, very good) and “Nowhere to Go”, “1999”, “House in the Woods” and “Breaking my Heart Again” all

sound stunning live; we even had a cover of “Come Together” thrown in for good measure.  There was a minor glitch with the bass sound during Henrik’s set, but it didn’t detract from a powerful live performance from two dynamic bands.

If Henrik and the band are wondering why the audience were leaving halfway through their set, it puzzled me as well.  Transport out of central London isn’t great late at night, but I really don’t understand an audience leaving at 10:30 when a headline band is absolutely on fire.  Anyway, I was there with Plus One until the end and it was a great night; two superb bands with incredible guitarists and great songs.  It doesn’t get a lot better than that.

 

Cover PhotoWell, Happy New Year everyone.  We’ve already decided that 2013 is going to be great year and we’re expecting plenty of great recorded and live music.  And talking of live music, we’re featuring loads of gigs this year starting with some of our friends from Bandhouse Studios as the Radio (in my) Head project approaches its launch date.

 We’ll also be talking to Lilygun’s Anna-Christina about her new unplugged project “Pretty Little Lady” and we’re hoping to have a look at that live towards the end of January.  Keep an eye out for that because it’s looking very interesting indeed.

My New Year’s resolution is that I’m going to watch as much live music as I can this year.  Artists are finding it increasingly difficult to make money from sales of recorded music for many reasons which I’m not even attempting to address here, but we still have a thriving live circuit if you know where to look.  Over the next year, we’re going to try to help you find some great live music wherever you live and, if you miss it, we’ll try to tell you about it.

Have a great year.

Well folks, it’s that time of year again.  It’s the time of festive jollity and frolics, food and drink, happy, smiling little children and the MusicRiot annual Top Five feature.  We’ve reviewed loads of great albums this year and each of us at Riot Towers has picked our five favourite albums of the year to share with you.  But that’s not all.

We’ve spoken to some of the artists featured in reviews on the site and asked them to tell us what they’ve been listening to this year and we’ve had a great response.  We’ll be running those from about mid-December, so keep an eye on the site to make sure you don’t miss them.  If you want to get involved as well, send us your Top Five for 2012 and we’ll publish that too; that’s how festive and generous we’re feeling right now.

While we’re on the subject of great music, keep an eye out for exclusive breaking news on the Radio (in My) Head project.  I’d love to tell you all about it now, but it’s so secret that I’m not even allowed to think about it without asking permission.  More news on that coming soon.

We’ve got some exciting things going on in the near future with some exclusive reviews and releases from some of our favourite artists. Here’s the Riot Towers guide to what’s happening over the next few weeks.

September 10 – Lilygun album release date.  Review here.

September 10 – Amanda Palmer “Theatre is Evil” release date. Review here.

September 10 – David Byrne & St Vincent “Love This Giant”.  Review here.

September 17 – Nelly Furtado “Spirit Indestructible”.  Review coming soon.

September 24 – Dragonette “Body Parts”.  Review coming soon.

September 24 – No Doubt “Push and Shove”.  Review coming soon.

September 24 – Deacon Blue “The Hipsters” album release date.  Review here.

September 24 – Paul Carrack “Good Feeling” album release date.  Review here.

September 30 – Lilygun live upstairs at The Garage.  Review coming soon.

October 8 – Ellie Goulding “Halcyon”.  Review coming soon.

November 2 – Billy Walton Band UK tour starts.

And more pix soon as well.

 

If you haven’t managed to see Riot favourites the Billy Walton Band yet, you can see them across the UK in November of this year.  I know I keep saying this, but you really should make the effort to go and see them.  Full details available at www.billywaltonband.com .

 

November 2, 2012 7:00 pm

The Regal Cinema Evesham, Port Street

Evesham, WR11 3LD

 

November 3, 2012 (Time TBA)

The Flower Pot, 25 King Street

Derby DE1 3DZ

 

November 4, 2012 4:00 pm

Grimsby Yardbirds Club, Church Street

Grimsby, DN32 7DD

 

November 7, 2012, 7:00 pm

The Caves, 8-12 Niddry Street South

Edinburgh EH1 1NS

 

November 8, 2012 (Time TBA)

Backstage at the Green Hotel, 2 The Muirs

Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland KY13 8AS

Billy Walton Band & WT Feaster Band

 

November 9, 2012 (Time TBA)

The Cluny, 36 Lime St, Ouseburn

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK NE1 2PQ

 

November 10, 2012 (Time TBA)

Cameron’s Club, Hartlepool

Double Bill w/ WT Feaster

 

November 11, 2012 (Time TBA)

True Blues Club at Earlestown Conservative Club,

17-19 Earle Street, Newton-le-Willows, WA12 9LW

 

November 12, 2012, 8:00 pm

The Greystones, Greystones Road.

Sheffield, S11 7BS

Double Bill w/ WT Feaster

 

November 13, 2012 (Time TBA)

The Cellars, 56 Cromwell Road,

Eastney, PO4 9PN

 

November 14, 2012 (Time TBA)

The Robin 2, 20-28 Mount Pleasant

Wolverhampton, WV14 7LJ

Double Bill w/ WT Feaster

 

November 15, 2012 (Time TBA)

Crawdaddy’s, Basildon

Double Bill w/ WT Feaster

 

November 16, 2012 (Time TBA)

Boom Boom Club/Sutton United Football Club

Gander Green Lane, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 2EY

Double Bill w/ WT Feaster

 

November 17, 2012 (Time TBA)

Halling Community Center, High Street

Halling, Rochester, ME2 1BS

Double Bill w/ WT Feaster

 

November 18, 2012 (Time TBA)

The Pavilion, Harbour Street,

Broadstairs, CT10 1EU