The time is near. Are you Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? Are you Wyatt Earp or Ike Clanton? Life is full of choices and no more than nowadays. Even since the launch of Pete Gardiner’s excellent new single it seems the whole of the country have been deciding whether you-know-who should have driven 260 miles. So, the time is now…
Riva Taylor started out as a young star, Becky Taylor, securing her first West End role in Les Miserables at seven. At just 12 she was The youngest person, twenty years ago, to sign for EMI records. These days, after a musical rebirth as Riva, she has just released the first part of her super album ‘This Woman’s Heart’, and has just launched the This Woman’s Heart online community for Mental Health Week and beyond.
Dave Wakeling is probably best known as lead singer of The Beat. After a debut hit on 2 Tone Records with a cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears of a Clown’, he and his band went on to gain almost legendary status within the two tone and ska music genre and continued to have hits until they split in 1983.
This Sunday will see the release of a very personal tribute from Pete Gardiner to his mother. ‘A Mother Like You’ is a song that was written especially for his own Mum but its a song that will resonate with men everywhere as they struggle, like many men, to put into words what their mother means to them.
It was July 1986 and I was standing at Wembley waiting to see Queen play their last world tour date at the famous National Stadium. I had watched support bands INXS, Status Quo and The Alarm whip the sold out crowd into a frenzy of expectant excitement that seemed almost impossible to match and yet, and unsurprisingly, Queen managed to not only match but surpass all expectations in what became remembered as an iconic gig.
Blancmange, the hugely successful British electronic band have a new album and a tour to go with it. Kicking off in Scotland on May 1st and working their way across the U.K. to finish in October. To go with the tour they have a new album ‘ Mindset’ which releases on May 22nd. Blancmange music has been used in so much recent music by La Roux, LCD Sound System and Hot Chip. So influential is the band and their music that electronic superstar Moby described the, as “the most underrated electronic band of all time”, high praise indeed. Since Stephen Luscombe was forced by illness to stop touring or recording after 2011’s ‘Blanc Burn’, the band’s evolution has continued with Neil Arthur at the helm and Essentially Pop were lucky enough to chat with him this week about the new album, the tour and even ABBA, who’s ‘Day Before You Came’ they superbly covered. It’s an honour to get a glimpse at what motivates one of our own electronic superstars.
Pete Gardiner is back and he’s definitely channelling his inner gunslinger; this time he’s shooting whiskey and honesty and he’s got something to say. New single ‘Bourbon and the Truth’ still boasts the searingly honest lyricism that defines Gardiner’s music but this time it’s complemented by a driving old country backbeat that screams Marty Stuart or early Cash…we are even treated to the sound of a spaghetti western style gunshot.
For those that know the music of Blair Jollands, one of it’s many qualities is the scale, the cinematic approach, the layering of intricacy that make up the whole. And so the chance to see Blair reproduce this in an intimate, stripped back gig is the chance of a lifetime but also holds a little fear. Will the music that feels so beautifully produced, so minutely detailed hold up to the broader brush strokes of something more acoustic?
Blair Jollands moved to London 20 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand where he learned to master records before taking that skill to an audio post production studio in Soho. Since then he has completed sound design in film and TV with credits that include ‘Poldark’, ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ and ‘Pride’. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on ‘Shackleton’ in 2002 and has garnered praise for his songwriting from none other than the late, great David Bowie who described one of Blair’s compositions, ‘Killing Landings’ as “ a great song”.