FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: AU REVOIR HARRY
In that time honoured phrase, as I go to press, it appears that Harry Kane is finally on his way. This has nothing to do with this week’s music selection but as a diehard Spurs fan I harbour a secret wish that he might not get on with the bratwurst at club barbecues. After winning the Bundesliga and Champions League with Bayern Munich he will then be welcomed back at the Lane to finish his career by knocking in the necessary 48 goals to break Alan Shearer's Premier League scoring record. That’s unless Erling Haaland has already done it.
Thanks Harry and it’s an au revoir.
Photo comp of Alan Shearer ready to fly Harry Kane over to Germany courtesy of Shearer’s Twitter account
Let’s begin with something more beautiful than the game. Looking back, it was a surprise to find that I first wrote about West Yorkshire native, South London based artiste Laura Groves in November 2020 via “Infinite Wisdom”, the lead track from her EP, A Private Road, released a month later. It is a reminder of how time doth roll on that it is only just now that I have become reacquainted with her work through the release of her first full-length album for Bella Union, Radio Red. Laura, who originally worked under the name Blue Roses, brings a rich musicality to her craft as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording artiste and collaborator over the past decade.
Largely written, produced and recorded by Laura Groves in her own studio, watched over by two radio transmitting towers which flicker red at nights, Radio Red is a record a long time in the making that is absolutely worth the wait. Fittingly its songs centre around aspects of communication and often its breakdown. In the case of “I’m Not Crying” she evokes a solitary pain tempered by a knowing sense of calm. Laura always allows the space for her songs to breathe and brings a fluidity of approach reflected in her carefully chosen instrumentation and delicately caressing vocals. There have been some good ones so far but I doubt if there will many more complete and fulfilling records released this year.
From an album freshly released today to one that came out a few months ago but only crossed my desk this week. Somerset singer-songwriter Jeremy Tuplin ticks many of the boxes I reserve for those musicians I affectionately call ‘maverick geniuses’. Jeremy’s latest album is a record store’s nightmare when it comes to labelling as it plays with a stack of styles from indie electronica to psychedelic rock to space-folk [a new one on me – Ed.] A work in the fine and often neglected area of the concept album, Orville’s Discotheque charts the progress of a flawed disco enthusiast and his romantic exertions.
The whole album’s vision draws from the Ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, with his reimagined protagonists, Orville and Eugenie, exploring the strange disco realm that Jeremy has conjured with his compadres, The Sad and Lonely Disco Band. The latest single to be taken from the album, “Love Town” provides a gentle introduction to the leftfield world of Jeremy Tuplin. I like the way the song builds from a gentle acoustic opening to a mellow yet soulful groove, keeping everything light and airy as the singer shares his modest musings en route to love. Or more specifically the Love Town discotheque. Fun and flirtatious.
Photo of Aderyn by Hannah Tottle
Indie songstress Aderyn has been a frequent visitor to these columns since I featured her ode to teen love, “Silver Screen”,in March 2021. The series of singles the South Wales native has put out over the past two and a half years have been characterised by a progression in song styles and a restless spirit, keen to try out new things to help hone her craft. Aderyn brings an exuberance to her work which is really endearing and helps to stamp her individuality in the crowded indie pop-rock arena.
Aderyn is working towards her debut EP Sea Glass which is due to drop on 14 September. Her latest single to preview the EP, “Chip Shop Boy”, returns to core indie pop territory. She captures the adrenalin rush and silliness of infatuation so well as she spills out her feelings about the guy down the chip shop who doesn’t even swear he’s Elvis. “The chippy was the only place open in lockdown, and my imagination ran wild with blissful visions of our future together” she says with a smile. As a reminder that she started out at 16 playing drums in grunge bands, Aderyn also played all the drums on the track while the crisp guitar work and vocal attack are all spot on. A great infectious chorus seals the deal.
Photo of Blonde Redhead by Charles Billot
We exit the Chip Shop next and head across the ocean to New York City where alt-rock band Blonde Redhead came together some thirty years ago. The three-piece comprises Japanese born vocalist and instrumentalist Kazu Makino and Italian twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace who between them contribute lead guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals and drums. Named after a song by 70s no wave band DNA, Blonde Redhead has a new album, Sit Down for Dinner, due on 29 September. Before undertaking an extensive North American Tour on 12 October, the trio hosts a sold-out show at London’s The Lower Third on 22 September and return to the capital on 12 December to play the Village Underground.
“Before” is the latest appetiser from Blonde Redhead. The band seems to fall between convenient labels but I guess you could call this dream pop. There is a touch of Genesis about the feel of the song, in its music box softness, delicate chiming chords and refined modulations. Fans of Cocteau Twins and Beach House should equally love it. “Before” is inspired by the idea of reincarnation told from the perspective of a child who seems to have a handle on the past. Elaborating on this, Kazu adds: “Some children seem quite knowing as if they remember their past lives... or at least that's the impression I get. The song is a sort of celebration of that kind of quality in a young person.” Here Kazu’s beautifully layered vocals cement the mystery of it all.
I have the Spotify algorithm to thank for our final act of the week. The second track featured below popped up in my post Playlist we-think-you-might-also-like feed. I found the first one when checking out the artistes some more. Kansas City, Missouri native Samantha Fish is primarily known as a purveyor of the blues and a mean guitar player yet one who crosses genres to embrace rock and country with a touch of funk and balladry. From a varied musical background, Jesse Dayton has been recording in his own right since the mid-90s and has played alongside the likes of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. The pair came together to write and record an album, Death Wish Blues, earlier this year.
Always a sucker for well matched duets, the album led me to the duo’s earlier collaboration in 2022, a three-track EP Stardust Sessions where I found this stunning version of the late Townes Van Zandt’s classic, “I’ll Be Here In The Morning”.
While that song’s sensibilities are steeped in country music, moving on a year to the duo’s 2023 album, we find Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton much more in gritty blues rock territory though still embracing a broader palette via rock, country and funk influences. “Riders” for example combines a dirty funk riff with blues licks, squalls of slide guitar and some mean verse trading. An ode to the rock n’ roll lifestyle equating tour stopovers with those of the one-night kind, it is tempered by a touch of suggestive humour behind it all. Sam & Jesse will be touring the UK in October from Sunderland to Bexhill on Sea and are well worth catching.