Wovenhand Wat begon in 2001 als het zijproject van David Eugene Edwards (ex-16 Horsepower) is een serieuze folkrockmachine geworden. In 2012 kwam alweer het zesde studioalbum van Wovenhand uit. ‘The Laughing Stalk’ bevat meer elektrische gitaren, meer drums en de band klinkt pittiger dan ooit tevoren. Het laatste album ‘Refractory Obdurate’ verscheen in 2014 en Wovenhand gaat op deze voet verder maar de band behoudt haar melodieuze inslag. Live weet de band met dreigende, duistere gitaarmelodieën en intense vocalen het publiek te bezweren. Donkere folk en alt country wordt afgewisseld met sonische stormen waarin o.a. stijlen als postrock en drones opdoemen. David Eugene Edwards is gewapend met banjo en/of slidegitaar en weet hoe hij zijn publiek bij de keel moet grijpen.
Romano Nervoso If Marc Bolan and Mick Jagger had ‘got it on’ in the 1970s then Romano Nervoso, the self proclaimed Godfathers of Spaghetti Rock, is probably what their love child would sound like. Consisting of two of the original members of Hulk - Giacomo and Mathieu - and with Luca “DJ Highbloo” on drums, makes Romano Nervoso a force to be reckoned with! Think Tony Manero meets Rocco Siffredi with a mix of Starsky & Hutch, shaken not stirred…and on the rocks! Since bursting onto the scene in 2008, the band has been tearing up the live music scene full speed ahead and shows no sign of slowing down! So far the VK, the Botanique and various other venues have all fallen under Romano Nervoso’s spell. Bands such as Electric Six, Band of Skulls and Skip the Use have begged them to be their opening acts and Jaques De Pierpont has given his seal of approval with unlimited airplay. The English can’t get enough of them and even the French have caught on. With a sneak attack planned for Italy in 2011; you can bet your bottom dollar that musical world domination will soon be on the cards. Their first EP, Un-Tuned, opened up a floodgate of media and public interest which allowed the band to spread their wings and a string of gigs across Europe ensued. Living by the mantra “Love Your Mommas”, it makes perfect sense that this was the release title of the bands second EP. Fast forward to the now and Romano Nervoso’s eagerly awaited debut album Italian Stallions, distributed by PIAS, is knocking people off their feet, pealing the wallflowers from off the walls and enticing them all into the spirit of rock & roll. If you like your music with a healthy dose of Bolognese, look no further because these are your boys.
Rory Block Heralded as “a living landmark” (Berkeley Express), “a national treasure” (Guitar Extra), and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. The New York Times declared: “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.” Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora “Rory” Block grew up in Manhattan a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. The rich and diverse Village scene was a constant influence on her cultural sensibilities. She was playing guitar by age ten, and by her early teens she was sitting in on the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park. During these years, her life was touched – and profoundly changed – by personal encounters with some of the earliest and most influential Delta blues masters of the 20th century. She made frequent visits to the Bronx, where she learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnson’s mentor (“He kept asking, ‘Where did she learn to play like this?’”). She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC, to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb first-hand his technique and his creativity. “This period seemed to last forever,” Block Recalls nearly forty years later.” I now realize how lucky I was to be there, in the right place at the right time. I thought everyone knew these incredible men, these blues geniuses who wrote the book. I later realized how fleeting it was, and how even more precious.” By the time she was in high school, her family had splintered in different directions. With nothing holding her down, she left home at 15 with her guitar and a few friends – heading for California on a trip marked by numerous detours and stops in small towns. Along he way, she picked her way through a vast catalog of country blues songs and took her first steps in developing a fingerpicking and slide guitar style that would eventually be her trademark. She recorded an instructional record called How To Play Blues Guitar in the mid-60s (she was billed as Sunshine Kate on the original recording), but then took a decade off from music to start a family. In the mid- and late ‘70s, she made a few records that ran counter to her inherent blues instincts, and the result was frustration. “Eventually disgusted with trying to accommodate a business which never seemed to accept me or be satisfied with my efforts,” she says, “I gave up totally and went back to the blues.” The result was a record deal with the Boston-based Rounder label, which released her High Heeled Blues in 1981. Rolling Stone referred to the album as “some of the most singular and affecting country blues anyone – man or woman, black or white, old or young – has cut in recent years.” Back in a groove that felt comfortable and fulfilling, Block threw herself headlong into an ambitious touring schedule that helped hone her technical and vocal skills to a razor’s edge, and at the same time nurture a distinctive voice as a songwriter. She stayed with Rounder for the next two decades, making records that simultaneously indulged her affinity for traditional country blues and served as a platform for her own formidable songwriting talents. The world finally started taking notice in the early 1990s, and Block scored numerous awards throughout the decade. Her visibility overseas increased dramatically when Best Blues and Originals, fueled by the single “Lovin' Whiskey,” went gold in parts of Europe. She brought home Blues Music Awards four years in a row – two for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and two for Best Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. Then in 1997, she won the Blues Music Award for The Lady and Mr. Johnson, a tribute to Robert Johnson, taking home Acoustic Album of the Year. Today, after more than twenty highly acclaimed releases and five Blues Music Awards, Block is at the absolute height of her creative powers, bringing a world full of life lessons to bear on what she calls “a total celebration of my beloved instrument and best friend, the guitar.” Her newest project, titled "The Mentor Series," is a growing collection of tribute albums to the blues masters she knew in person. Her recent release "Blues Walkin’ Like A Man/A Tribute to Son House," will be followed by "Shake Em On Down/A Tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell," due out in early 2011 on the Stony Plain label.
Hell’s Kitchen Hell’s Kitchen was a thrash/crossover band from the US. They released two albums “If you can’t take the heat…” (1989) and “Fistful of Chicken” (1990) and then split up. Not to be confused with the band from Europe that makes a different kind of noise: “Unclaptonise the blues”… Well, we can count on Hell’s Kitchen and their 14 tracks from “Mr Fresh” their new album to do so. Continuing a new reading of urban blues with the same passion and daring already bursting on the abrasive “Doctor’s Oven”, the trio has gone back “to the Devil” here, yet again, scraping the blues hard against unruly rock, slashed with strident punk, to get rid of any last shreds of respectability. Listen to “No Guts” very loudly and you’ll understand. The good old blues… They shake and shove and actually crash into it for shock treatment. We want more ! You don’t go to a concert or listen to a Hell’s Kitchen album timidly tapping your foot, dreading to hear “Quiet !”. If these blues remain as exciting and dangerous in 2009 as in the 40’s when it got it’s first electric shock, it’s thanks to Taillefert C. (drums, percussion), Monney B. (vocals, guitars, noises) and Ryser C. (doublebass) who have, for the last few years, applied without frills, in studios or when touring around Europe, exciting sound treatments and rhythms essential for it’s rejuvenation. Today Hell’s Kitchen knows the recipe for the spicy sauce that gives the blues it’s initial roughness, without forgetting it’s velvet glove side studded with nostalgia as in “Flowers” and it’s double, the beautiful and heart-rending “Flowers revisited” with a string arrangement that lets us imagine the ensuing tracks… But let’s not get side-tracked : despite it’s contrasts and surprises, “Mr Fresh” is above all a blues record : free and strong.
Boogie Beasts Luiks-Limburgse alliantie. Leden van de psychedelische groep Voodoo Boogie en het geflipte garageduo The Goon Mat & Lord Benardo. Vertalen hun liefde voor elektrische delta-blues in iets tussen The Black Keys en John Lee Hooker: dirty beats, hypnotiserende slides, huilende mondharmonica's en lekker veel fuzz.
Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six For a band that likes to work quickly, it doesn’t half take us a long time to get anything done. We recorded our first album, Found Drowned, over the course of about ten days in a house we shared in Withington, South Manchester. That was in early 2008. We didn’t have enough money to press the thing and we didn’t know much about online distribution, so we sold CD-R versions of it wrapped in cling film. In 2010 we were awarded some money from the Northern Residency Fund and were finally able to press a thousand copies, but with so much time having passed it was hard to feel excited. We vowed we’d never let a record hang over us for that long again. Bands are like sharks – they need to move forward or they become U2. Towards the end of 2010 we recorded an EP, Get Religion!, in a studio that Dan had built in an old farmhouse in Cheshire. (Don’t ask where the money came from: it’s not a pretty story.) There was a baby grand piano in one corner and a tape machine in the other. We felt very authentic indeed. The EP featured six of our newest songs and we rushed the release out as quickly as possible, terrified of stagnation. That same catch-me-if-you-can philosophy informed the decision to make the launch party (in February 2011) double as the recording of a live album. This became Live At The Dancehouse. While EPs and live albums are all well and good, we still didn’t have a full LP that we all felt effectively represented the sound of the band. So at the end of 2011’s festival season we locked ourselves inside a house on the south coast of England for five days and recorded eight songs. We would’ve done more, but time was against us. Our singer Alison Cegielka had also become very unwell, which led us to postpone the final vocal sessions until she had regained her full powers. Our European booking agent, however, was keen for us to have a new record to plug on our Spring 2012 tour, so we decided to release the four songs sung by Louis as the Memoir Noir EP and then follow up later in the year with Ali’s songs once we’d completed those recordings – a sort of His & Hers album in two 10” vinyl chapters. Unfortunately we parted company with Ali in June 2012, the recordings still unfinished. Memoir Noir is the only release associated with that time. Of all our recording sessions, Memoir Noir had definitely been the most successful musically. The live chemistry was there, the opportunity to experiment, the freedom of having our own work space. What a home studio lacks in customised spaces and soundproofing it more than makes up for in good vibes. So we resolved to do it again at the end of 2012, but this time BETTER. We booked three weeks in the same house as before and set about working on pre-production, going over the songs and logistics, working through all the angles. We gutted the ground floor and set up our recording space in three adjacent rooms (there’s more about this in The Specs Of Tech). Our bedrooms were upstairs and the socialising/dining area was at the other end of the house to prevent too much noise spill. Each morning we’d rise at 8.00am and play together until dusk. We recorded everything. Our model was The Band’s Music From Big Pink – a bunch of guys living together and making an album. It doesn’t get simpler than that. Or better. We didn’t care about perfection; we just focused on the feel. You can definitely tell a dishonest record from an honest one. (You can read a day-by-day account of our progress in Louis’ Studio Diary.) For a while we toyed with the idea of creating a gapless album with linking passages and repeated motifs. We reasoned that, in an era where forty-minute LPs are becoming something of an anachronism, what’s the point in simply bundling a bunch of songs together? Surely we had to dress it up in some way that leant more towards the long-player than the MP3 shuffle – creating a product that would best be consumed as a single meal rather than a platter of morsels to be nibbled at indiscriminately? The further we ventured into the recording process, however, the less we wanted to dress these songs up. If they can’t exist on their own and fend for themselves then they were never meant to survive at all. Over the years we’ve recorded in a lot of different ways. Onto computer, onto tape, in “proper” studios, in makeshift ones, live on stage, acoustically around a single microphone, in public, in private. We’ve come to the conclusion that the hardest thing is not the laying down of a quality or definitive version of a set of songs, but rather the preserving of moments – capturing something of the personality of the contributors and the context in which the songs are performed. This was our aim on Youth, to get a sense of that moment. The album begins and ends with the sound of the tide, recorded just down the road from our studio house. We won’t bore you with the metaphors; we all know what tides can symbolise. We’re a band that’s been together a while now. Over the years we’ve had some fall-outs, we’ve lost people and gained people, we’ve been to a lot of places together and learnt a lot of things. We hope there’s more of that in front of us than behind. We moved into a house for three weeks and made a record. This presentation of a bunch of songs is, we suppose, a bit old-fashioned. But it would be a lot more old-fashioned if we tried to disguise the thing as modern. We just hope you like it.