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The Peach Kings- Showdown

Fuzzy, gritty and darn right dirty and I love it. They are duos that have always been a simpler band musically depending on the ever reliable guitar if Steve Dies and sultry vocals of Paige Wood. Showdown is in line with this way of creating but that dirty fuzz charged guitar line makes it sound distinctive, calling back to classic Chicago electric blues, then Wood’s voice is warm but has an air of playfulness.

At the half way point the song adds more textures filling out the space with overlaid, repeated vocals and amped up quicker guitar.  Its allure is dark but gripping there is something about the feel that makes it differ from their prior releases. Exciting things were already on the horizon but after this they have been elevated.

Put Showdown up against any recent release and it’ll blow it away in seconds.

 

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All Them Witches- Sleeping Through the War, Out February 24th.

Nashville based All Them Witches are one of the most prolific bands around and this next album will be their fourth studio record in five years, with a couple of EPs and a few live ones along the way. With each new entry I have anticipated the next even more. Following that trend Sleeping Through the War is the album I am looking forward to the most in 2017.

The usual gap between albums from artists is about two years sometimes three and though it will have been 2 years since Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (2015) came out, it really does not feel like it for me. As a huge fan of the band I have seen them twice last year, once in February the second time in October. So time since the release of the third album seems to have been only six months or a year not double that. So the news of a new album was somewhat of a surprise even if it shouldn’t have been.

By now there has been a fair amount of information released especially with them getting onto Pledge Music (like many other musicians) where you can pre-order the album on various platforms and bundles. So the name and date are known, the artwork is out and so are a couple of songs Bruce Lee and 3-5-7. The former I sort of heard live but technical difficulties got in the way of a full preview. Getting the studio version was a real highlight of last year it made my list of favourite songs of 2016. It is a rock tune with great blasts of keyboards in there; once again the sound is different from what they have done before. Yes it has the familiarity of an All Them Witches number but new elements that let you know the sound is new in some way. It seems that vocals are being played with more well at least on 3-5-7, experimenting with a range of effects/overlays increasing the levels of psychedelic vibes again with it level of anticipation rose.

A major reason why I am so hyped for Sleeping Through the War is because All Them Witches have not made a bad song, all the releases are sublime. Due to this I have come to trust the band and I’m sure that the album will be of the highest of standards. I could not be more excited to hear what the four men have put down for us all on February 24th (hopefully meaning a tour so I can see them again carrying on my aim to see them on all of their tours).

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Late Listens: I’m No Longer a Fool On Parade

                                                                 This House is a Circus

I’m not saying that I have never listened to Arctic Monkeys that’s not possible I am saying that I never really gave there albums an in depth listen. This changed after my good friend Tom let me borrow his CD’s. Well the ones that he recommended the most and that was the first three records (it wasn’t like he told me not to listen to Suck It and See (2011) or AM (2013).

It was impossible not to have heard them when they first exploded onto the music scene. The Sheffield natives did so because they had boundless amounts of talent and where able to support it with the high energy live shows. A fanbase quickly grew around them in their native city and surrounding county. Alongside the ever growing number of fans the media and radio stations started to champion them as well.

Coming straight into the album  charts at number  1, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) became the fastest selling debut record in chart history with 363,735 records being picked up in its first week. It still holds that title and it will do for a very long time. It not only performed ridiculously well being consumed by hundreds of thousands of people it is a genuinely fantastic album. They had the chops to back it up the massive sales. This is even proved because the album also won the Mercury Prize in 2006 beating one of my most beloved bands Editors (their first album was also nominated The Back Room) so yeah it is a good record to say the least. Backed up by songs such as: Dancing Shoes, Fake Tales of San Francisco and From the Ritz to the Rubble the abundance of youthful energy from the group was infectious to all who heard them. Mixed with the class of Mr Turner‘s lyrical ability (it was only a small taste of just how good he is got the bands career off to a flyer to say the least.

When the second album came around it had a ridiculously high bar to reach, I like to think that the band knew this and took it on head first. Happily they did Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007) was yet again a hit. Brianstorm rockets the album into a fast paced epic opener. It was and possibly is my personal favourite it is just so darn good with the lyric ‘Bet there’s hundreds of blokes that have wept because you’ve stolen their thunder’ not only does this one line paint a vivid image of this character that thinks he is ‘the guy’ when he really isn’t. Then on Teddy Picker there are more memorable lines Turner again reinforced his stupendous lyrical ability. Though without the music it would not be half as good, on every song there is a hook, melody that sinks into you and you let it because it is great.

On my old radio show myself, my co-host Tom and the guest for that week, Chris Bickley debated what their best record was. It was a tossup between the first two we could not come to a unanimous conclusion as both are fantastic. But there was a criticism thrown out that some tracks are ‘just filler’ on both records. After in depth listens I could not disagree more! Especially on Favourite Worst Nightmare where every song is good at worst but mainly it is one of the most solid records to come out in that decade. From 505 (a special end to the album is simply wonderful) to Do Me a Favour any band/artist would have been more than ecstatic to have put a song of that calibre together.

Onto the final album that I have gotten to, on the Arctic Monkeys journey Humbug produced by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Eagles of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures and Desert Sessions fame. I know that I have raved and said a lot here about how great Alex Turner is as a song writer but it simply cannot be denied just how great he is. There are very few like him, he has been one of the best for a decade now. Cornerstone again shows his evolution. I was going to point out a certain line but that’d be pointless just give it a listen.  Repeating hit after hit that has the quality lyrical complexity/cleverness that is rarely found anywhere especially not in the popular charts. I feel as though Humbug does not get the respect it deserves even though Crying Lightning (for some reason I didn’t like the single back in 2010) is on there. It may just be that I never really followed them close enough to notice praise it may have been given at the time of its release. Anyway it is a hell of an album (My Propeller is possibly my favourite album opener of theirs. Secret Door is oh so great also to mention a few).

Yes since the release of Humbug there has been a change in the bands attitudes, style and overall persona due to Turner’s Californianisms that he has absorbed. After numerous listens to the records mentioned above I understand why people are so devoted to them. I now don’t say that Favourite Worst Nightmare is my favourite but instead it changes upon which of the three I last listened to. Whether you are still a fan or not of Arctic Monkeys it is undeniable that they are a landmark for British music over the past decade.   

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