Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Blue Aeroplanes go transatlantic - a Fun Lovin Criminal and St Vincent

So, The Blue Aeroplanes 'Anti-Gravity' is finally in the shops and has been getting more rave reviews, including from Stewart Lee, not only 'officially the 41st best stand-up comic ever' but also music reviewer of taste for the Sunday Times, where he gives it four stars. The Sunday Times is currently engaged in one of those (shortlived?) experiments with paid-for content that the broadsheets occasionally dabble in, and we certainly aren't about to help them by subscribing, so we can't link to it, but fortunately you can read it on Stewart's own site.

Drive-By Truckers come up in that review, not for the first time, and their compadres The Hold Steady are increasingly being mentioned in the same breath too. Apparently the Aeros were once described as 'Britain's best American guitar band', many years before either of those acts were around, so it makes sense, in a backwards kind of way. Any booking agents for either of the above acts might do worse than to contact G.Langley@etc if they're looking for forthcoming UK tour support.....

All of which brings us neatly on to another transatlantic link, and the identity of 'A.Clark' - the writer of 'My Old Haunts', which is the penultimate track on side one (we love saying that). A few people have asked and we thought we'd shed a bit of light.

Annie Clark is the real name of an enormously talented singer-songwriter who works under the name of St Vincent, taken from the Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center in New York where Dylan Thomas died. She's big in the States but still relatively little-known over here. 'My Old Haunts' is a reworking of a tune originally called 'Laughing With a Mouth of Blood' and is from Annie's second album, 'Actor', which was released in 2009. If you don't have the album, you can currently hear it here.

We're sure you're capable of looking her up just like we did, but essentially the facts are these. Annie grew up in Texas and early in her career was a member of both the Polyphonic Spree and of Sufjan Stevens's touring band. Her first solo album 'Marry me' came out in 2007 and got a good deal of critical acclaim - here's the Pitchfork review - but it was with 'Actor', two years later, that she started to garner more popular appeal - this one reached no 90 on the Billboard 200.

She has just announced that her third album is to be called 'Strange Mercy' and will be released in September, in the States at least. Not much more in the way of detail yet but it is guaranteed to be worth checking out when it arrives over here. Not sure why Gerard decided to cover that particular tune but we think they must have met on one of the occasions that the Aeros played at SXSW, possibly 2009, if only on the basis that she's a good Texan girl who surely would have been present at her state's major music shindig. Although on reflection, she's probably based in New York these days.

Which terrible, terrible contrivance brings us back to our final American connection of the day - that professional New Yorker and former Fun Lovin' Criminal Huey Morgan played '25 Kinds of Love' on 6music this morning, where he was sitting in for Lauren Laverne. He did not specifically say that he had been a Blue Aeroplanes fan all his adult life but we're sure that must have been the case.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Come nuclear apocalypse, there will be only two survivors... cochroaches, and The Blue Aeroplanes

So, it seems like we're settling down into two kinds of review of The Blue Aeroplanes' new album 'Anti-Gravity'.

It's a fairly even split between the kind of review written by a gnarly old rock boy who knew of them in the early 90s and whose take is generally along the lines of 'great band; talking/singing not always to everyone's taste but should have been bigger than they were; this is a great record but they're unlikely to be bothering the charts again anytime soon'. But we knew that, didn't we?

Exhibit one: AAA music

Then you have the kids. They're pretty flummoxed. Actually exhibit two, by James Swatton for Live Music Scene, is a glowing review: ".. Album highlight ’Oak-Apple Day’ ... combines gorgeous finger picked acoustics with sweeping slide guitar flourishes, and violin, which combines to create a sumptuous whole that shows off the bands masterful grasp of melody."

But even he's not sure about the old talking/singing: "For every listener who loves his singing style, another one will be put off, but that is a statement that can be made about any aspect of the group. The band positively embrace their art-rock moniker, often to the detriment of commercial success or accessibility". But we knew that too, didn't we? Didn't we?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

'It ranks among The Blue Aeroplanes' best work, and it's great to have them back'

A bunch of good reviews starting to come in for 'Anti-Gravity', which will be in the shops next week:



and Penny Black

EKR has been playlisting 'Nothing' on its A-list for the past couple of weeks

plus, a great interview by Richard Lewis from Penny Black with Gerard Langley.

More to follow