Author: Craig Scott

Michael Chapman & Julie Byrne Combine At The Union Chapel, London

Venues and artists don’t always make happy bedfellows, but the combination of Michael Chapman and Julie Byrne playing at London’s Union Chapel on Monday 13th November was a rare occasion of an acoustic match made in heaven. Billed as a ‘special guest’, legendary guitarist Chapman took to the stage under the church’s rose-tinted windows, appearing in his trademark baseball cap, illuminated by a spotlight, through occasional billows of dry smoke. Delivering a mesmerising performance to a hushed audience, his finger-picking playing style and stony voice cut through the room, while occasionally interspersing his set with tales of more than...

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We’ve Got Good At Making Records, Spoon Interview

It’s almost a cliche how positive Spoon’s reviews are, you could easily think their full name is Spoon 8/10. According to Metacritic, they’re the most acclaimed band of the decade. Not Radiohead, not Arcade Fire, not Kanye or Kendrick Lamar – the band that has the most positive reviews over the past 10 years is Spoon. But the Texas-based group are no studio hermits and once again they’re on the road, playing festivals and gigs across Europe, including three shows in the UK in June, before returning again in November. They were last in the UK in March playing...

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Dodgy Interview: Good Vibes Is What It’s All About!

Dodgy interview – What Are We Fighting For? ‘Good vibes, that’s what we’ve always been about’ Dodgy’s new album, What Are We Fighting For, is released on 2nd September, on Cherry Red Record. It’s the fifth Dodgy album by the definitive line up of Nigel Clark, Andy Miller and Mathew Priest and comes four years after their critically acclaimed comeback album Stand Upright In A Cool Place. New member Stu Thoy joins them on bass, giving the record a louder, rockier feel than past material. Craig Scott met Nigel and Matt round the corner from BBC Broadcasting House, just before...

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Interview: Teleman, A Streamlined Machine.

A Teleman Interview. Teleman formed in 2012 from the ashes of Reading’s acclaimed Pete and the Pirates. The new band took it’s name from composer Georg Philipp Telemann – signalling a shift to a more refined form of pop from their indie guitar-fest early days. Featuring from the original band Tom Sanders on vocals, brother Jonny Sanders on synths and Pete Cattermoul on bass – they were joined by Hiro Amamiya on drums. Teleman’s second album, Brilliant Sanity, was released earlier this year and the band are currently on a UK/European tour. I spoke to bassist Pete shortly before...

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Interview: The Rebirth of Kula Shaker

Has it really been 20 years since Kula Shaker released their debut album, K? At the time it was the fastest selling debut since Oasis’s Definitely Maybe, and went on to shift more than 1m copies. Follow up albums performed well and solidified a hardcore fan base, but ultimately failed to match the band’s initial commercial success. Always excelling as a live band, they recently reformed and are currently touring throughout February and March, including a sold-out show at the Roundhouse in London. I recently met with lead singer Crispian Mills and drummer Paul Winterhart in west London where...

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Interview: Frankie Lee. American Dreamer.

Frankie Lee interview: American Dreamer Reading the bio of American singer Frankie Lee can leave you feeling like you’ve just been fed a pitch from a scriptwriter: he was born on the banks of the Mississippi; aged 12, he moved to Minneapolis following the death of his father and ended up hanging out with local musicians, drinking cokes and learning chords from the side of their stage; he dropped out of college, bought a station wagon and travelled the US; at 22, he was diagnosed with narcolepsy for which he was prescribed methamphetamines, resulting in a drug habit now...

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Live Review: DRINKS at the Lexington.

DRINKS live review at The Lexington Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley’s collaboration DRINKS played at The Lexington in London on 10 September to a sold-out crowd eager to see how the improvised sound of their recently released debut album, Hermits On Holiday, would transform to the live arena. After a hectic few weeks leading up to the tour, in which Le Bon admitted that she and Presley had yet to work out which parts they would be playing live, there were no signs of things-still-being-ironed out as they emerged on stage and proceeded to play the kind of...

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Interview: Heartless Bastards. An Upward Trajectory.

Heartless Bastards Interview. Heartless Bastards were formed in Ohio in 2003 by lead singer and songwriter Erika Wennerstrom and have been playing in various iterations ever since. The band have received wide attention in the US and are a familiar site playing on talk shows such the Late Show with David Letterman. Now based in Austin, Texas, they released their fifth album, Restless Ones, in June 2015. I caught up with Erika, drummer Dave Colvin, bassist Jesse Ebaugh, and guitarist Mark Nathan backstage at London’s The Borderline shortly before they played a sell-out gig. The band appears to have...

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Interview: Cate Le Bon, Drinks. Raising A Glass To Good Friends

LA-based Welsh singer songwriter Cate Le Bon and American psych-rocker Tim Presley have joined forces to form Drinks. The pair became good friends after Presley’s band White Fence supported Le Bon on a US tour and she has returned the favour by regularly playing guitar in White Fence. After a relationship forged on tour, in the coffee shops and bars of LA and soundtracked by a shared love of the album Faust IV by Faust, they decided it was time to combine their talents and make a record.  Hermits on Holiday by Drinks will be released on 21 August...

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Interview: Gill Landry. I’m Putting My Own Boots On And Taking A Walk.

After 11 years as a member of the Grammy-award-winning Old Crow Medicine Show, Gill Landry struck out on his own earlier this year following the release of his third solo, self-titled, album. With his first headline tour recently completed in the US following a support slot on Laura Marling’s UK tour this spring, Landry has come a long way from his early days busking around the north-west of America and across Europe. His relationship with Old Crow was forged during those early busking days, and the band’s infectious, foot-stomping, folksy rock‘n’roll was a product of that environment. But if...

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Interview: John Joseph Brill. Pieced Together.

Later this week, Liverpool-based John Joseph Brill – born Henry Brill – will celebrate the launch of his new EP, Pieces, by playing a sold-out show at the Islington in London. It should be a triumphant occasion, but the background to the Pieces EP is less celebratory. Brill wrote the songs during a troubled period in his personal life, which included coping with a serious illness, so it’s perhaps no surprise there’s a tender, introspective melancholy running through his lyrics reminiscent of The National. Yet, just like The National’s Matt Berninger, Brill’s baritone voice often manages to evoke a warmer sentiment....

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Interview: H Hawkline. An Ear For A Melody.

Welsh singer/songwriter H Hawkline – otherwise known as Huw Evans – has a knack for creating strange, and sometimes bilingual, pop reminiscent of fellow countrymen Gruff Rhys and Euros Childs. Signed to Heavenly Recordings, he’s just released In The Pink Of Condition, an album packed with wonderfully beguiling lyrics and chugging melodies – the first single from the album, Moons in My Mirror, is an infectious gem. Now living in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Cate Le Bon, who also produced his album, H Hawkline is back in the UK touring throughout February. I spoke to him shortly before he...

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Interview: Eric Lilavois. On Both Sides Of The Tracks.

Eric Lilavois has produced countless bands and artists, including Saint Motel, Atlas Genius and My Chemical Romance. He owns Crown City Studios in Pasadena, California, and co-owns the legendary London Bridge Studios in Seattle, where some of the most influential albums of the 90s were recorded, including Pearl Jam’s Ten and Dirt by Alice in Chains. An artist in his own right, Lilavois recently recorded an album – Salt, Sea and Smoke – with a some of the most accomplished session musicians in the US, the making of which has been captured on film by documentary-maker AM Bushe. I...

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Interview: The New Pornographers: We’re Sort Of A Super Group.

The New Pornographers released their sixth studio album, Brill Bruisers, in August and it was packed with the kind of infectious, uplifting indie-power pop that made their debut album Mass Romantic an instant classic. While many of The New Pornographers have released acclaimed solo albums, when they come together the Vancouver-based band seems capable of accommodating and amplifying the widest of talents. Hours before their gig at Shepherds Bush Empire, while most of the band dozed nearby, I caught up with leader AC Newman backstage to find out what it’s like being in one of the world’s best-known ‘super...

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Interview: Sam Baker. Survivor Turned Storyteller.

Texan-born Sam Baker released Say Grace last year and it went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2013, with Rolling Stone magazine naming it in their top five country albums of the year. Say Grace was his fourth album, but Baker’s music career has taken off relatively late after working on construction sites most of his life. He survived a near-death experience in 1986 when a train he was travelling on to Machu Picchu in Peru was blown up by a bomb left on board by Shining Path guerrillas. After experiencing such a traumatic...

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Interview: John J Presley. Benevolent Dictator, Nascent Hit Maker

There’s the air of the inevitable about John J Presley. His fuzzy, yet refined form of garage blues has been compared with Nick Cave and Jack White, while his last two singles – both released by Killing Moon Records – wouldn’t sound out of place being pounded out by The Black Keys. For a man without an album he’s got a fairly impressive set at his disposal – think quality, not quantity – that can be found online in all the usual places. Let’s face it, he’s even called Presley. I caught up with him holding up in Highbury,...

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