Mike Doughty: The Flip Is Another Honey

Mike Doughty

    Though admittedly ours was a late introduction to the solo mastery of former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty it has brewed a heightened excitement every time something new emerges from the unique talent. His previous albums, Yes And Also Yes and live extravaganza The Question Jar Show only went to increase anticipation for any future releases as well as probably expectations of those unveilings. The Flip Is Another Honey is the new album from the Brooklyn master of the unpredictable and inspirational, a release which admittedly we had whispers of doubt about before entering its intriguing content. Of course to even question this man and his ideas even in merely glancing thoughts was plain stupidity as the album of cover songs which one assumes have inspired him in some way or simply ignited his own personal passions, is quite sensational.

Released via Snack Bar/Hornblow Recordings, The Flip Is Another Honey, this wonderful title taken from a 1956 review in Variety in regard to the Jerry Lee Lewis release Crazy Arms and meaning “the b-side is also really good”, consists of tracks reinterpreted by Doughty in his own inimitable style. Some are ‘straight’ versions in his unique way whilst others have been teased and seduced by the imagination of the man into little irresistible jewels which ripple with mischief, invention, and inspired vision. It is fair to say despite the ardour brewed by his previous albums the pure joy and impressiveness of this album was unexpected from looking at the chosen songs, so we hang our heads in shame at not having faith as The Flip Is Another Honey is just wonderful.

Apart from the version of Randy Newman song God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind), the brief instrumental  slice of flipStephen Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns, and an irrepressible take of Guys and Dolls song Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat by Frank Loesser with a great havoc ending, all three having the assistance of long time collaborators pianist “Cashmere” Dan Chen and cellist Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, every sound on the album is played by Doughty starting with the irresistible opener Sunshine. Sampling the voice of John Denver throughout the track sees Doughty rapping verses in between, his grizzled baritone narrative entwining deliciously with the harmonies of the songs author. It is an inspired interpretation which is as riveting as it is provocative, and at all moments a respectful homage to the original song.

The bulging sinews of Jimmy Bell, a blues song originally written by Cat Iron with Doughty basing his version on the 15 60 75 the Numbers Band recording, is a pulsating heavy boned rampant beat feast of a song. The track consumes the senses with a compelling potency and vibrant breath which openly shows the blues influences which have cast their inspiration over his previous work.

Take Me Home, Country Roads is a straight forward version of the Denver classic and features the distinct vocal caresses of Rosanne Cash alongside Doughty. To be honest from an already in place dislike of the song the album for one of only a couple of times does not moves the passions something the following Cheap Trick song Southern Girls manages with ease. Again it is a relatively true version to the original which ticks all the boxes and with the smouldering intensity and resonance which weaves across much of the album is a track to hungrily engage with.

To avoid drooling over every subsequent track on the album further personal highlights come firstly with Tightrope. It is a song which Doughty builds around a chorus by The Stone Roses, his raps adding infectious flesh to the addictive chorus as does the fascinating entrancement by the keys. Then there is Running Back a great version of a less known Thin Lizzy track and Reach Out another Cheap Trick track which was originally from the Heavy Metal Motion Picture Soundtrack. Both songs just lead the senses and emotions into a fuller rapture with their uncomplicated but stylishly sculpted presences, the second of the two stunningly merging into acoustic tease Higher State of Consciousness, the Josh Wink techno anthem.

The pinnacle of the album is Doughty’s version of the Camille song Ta Douleur. Sung in French the song is a thrilling seduction with eager tempo and a delicious discord soaked piano wantonness to infect and send the listener into fiery ardour. The greatest triumph in an album of continual peaks, the song is ingenuity at its best.

With further impressive covers of tracks from Doveman, Red House Painters, and Low, The Flip Is Another Honey is an engrossing slice of invention and musical passion from a man who is never lacking either trait in his own work. The fact that for us he has turned songs which previously left no telling imprint on the emotions into passion driven favourites tells all about the album and Mike Doughty.

http://www.mikedoughty.com

9/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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Darktown Jubilee: The World, The Flesh & The Devil

©trevorpalin 2012

©trevorpalin 2012

    The World, The Flesh & The Devil is one of those releases which refuse to die down after completing its musical persuasion before the ear. Though the debut album from UK indie band Darktown Jubilee does not particularly offer anything strikingly new or adventurous, its songs have the intriguing habit of popping up again in thoughts and memory long after departing the speakers. Whether a melody, hook, or particular rhythmic encounter from the album they sneak up on you and strongly invite a return to what is a rather decent release.

The Manchester based band consisting of David Boardman (songwriting, vocals, guitar), Stuart Day (bass), John Cosgrove (drums), Al Roberts (lead guitar), and Gary O’Brien (keyboards) formed in 2010 and have been on a sure ascent ever since. Their sound finds inspiration in the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, The Killers, and The Temper Trap, a wide flavouring which certainly spices up the robust and anthemic album. Produced by Boardman and long- time collaborator John Kettle, The World, The Flesh & The Devil involves the listener from first note to last with rampant rhythms and colossal hooks a continuing temptation alongside the flames of strong melodies. Released on their own Parade Recordings, the album as mentioned does not stride into uncharted territories at any point but certainly creates waves which offer the longer term seduction. It is also a release which takes time to makes its full persuasion, maybe only a few tracks immediately having an instant irresistible temptation, but it smoulders with each return to its presence convincing a little more.

The two singles from the album open up the release starting with the energetic Breakdown. The song is a feisty storm of guitar avatars-000006888741-tsflnt-t200x200driven sound with a thumping heart and expressive breath vocally and musically. Guitars and bass stroke the ear initially whilst beats tumble across their gait, the rhythms increasing in force and frequency as Boardman begins the songs narrative with his impressive tones and delivery. There is an unmistakable Foo Fighters infectiousness and rampancy to the song coring the melodic teasing of keys and guitars and by its end the fiery encounter leaves one breathless and deeply satisfied.

The terrific start is matched by second single Stay, a less demanding but equally potent tempest of infectiousness. With a pulsating and mesmeric pulse from bass and synths, the track is a magnet to the senses and once in control sends layers of sultry keys, persuasive vocals, and stirring guitar strokes across the ear for the fullest creative suasion. Like the opener the anthemic depth of the song is towering but tempered by the emotive and shadowed lyrical presence. Both of the two songs find Darktown Jubilee at their best which could have left the album top heavy but the following tracks with varying success ensure the release is rounded and relatively consistent.

The likes of acoustic ballad The Great Escape and the big boned power ballad All I Want bring immediate diversity to the album after the adrenaline coursed start and though admittedly neither comes near to grasping the same impact as the first pair they are well crafted songs easily worthy of attention. Give Me a Sign, though a song which gains better appreciation with more companionship, slips below the already pleasing standard, though again here or at any point on the album you cannot criticise the songwriting or musicianship bringing the songs to life. It just does not ignite much more than appreciation due to its familiarity to plenty of other songs before and undoubtedly coming after it, something which cannot be said of Stop! Look Around. Starting on a sparkling cascade of sonic sprinkles the track bursts into a tall rampant gait with the occasional reserved restraint to create impressive crescendos of energy and sound. It is another catchy anthem puller which puts the album back on course.

The thrilling When You’re Wrong which starts as seemingly another emotive ballad before brewing and unleashing addiction fuelling rhythms and bighearted melodies without losing that initial intimate feeling and the intriguing Beautiful Night both continue the again enthralling lure of the album. The latter of the two is a weave of atmospheric grace and definite familiarity though without allowing a defined reason as to why emerge in thoughts, and a further refreshing variety to the album.

The remainder of the album settles into a strong if unremarkable stance though again songs like the Costelloesque Lost and  Something’s Gotta Give with depth and style ensure further strong pleasure.  The World, The Flesh & The Devil is an album which could be said does not ignite a fire in the belly or explode with dramatic moments but boy does it linger and return with ease whenever it wishes. If you are looking for accomplished and powerful big hearted tunes than Darktown Jubilee certainly fits the bill.

http://www.darktownjubilee.com

https://www.facebook.com/darktownjubilee

Given time…8/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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The Longsands: Little Britain

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    Little Britain is the third single from The Longsands’ excellent debut album Meet Me In Spanish City and once more it offers the mightiest persuasion as to why the band is so highly rated and passionately followed by their fans. The Northumberland quintet has earned an impressive reputation for their passionate and fiery live performances and a wealth of acclaim for their singles and album. The new release will be no exception, the song a potent and attentive inciting companion for thoughts and emotions.

Emerging from as guitarist Ian Barnes said in our interview with him, “…mucking about with a few tunes in 2006 and it was more of a hobby…”, the band went from winning a national unsigned competition to selling out local venues the following year and touring Greece with a commission from Sony music and Jack Daniels.  With the line-up of Barnes, vocalist Trevor Cox, lead guitarist David Stanyer, bassist Gary Ormston, and drummer Paul Stephenson in place from this point, The Longsands has continued to ignite audiences across the UK, gaining notable fans in the shape of Steve White of The Style Council and Bruce Foxton of The Jam, who the band supported on a tour, and gained support and exposure through the likes of Bob Harris, Dave Stewart, and Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene, who The Longsands have just completed a February tour with.

     Little Britain is a smouldering fire which grows and impresses the more you allow its anthemic and rich defiant fire to burn upon the ear. Emerging from a guitar stroke of the ear which is laced with elements of The Jam even in its brief unaccompanied moment, the song is soon a brewing passion of licking guitar flames and the continually impressive expressive vocals of Cox, Soon a velvety growl of bass from Ormston brings its shadows to bear accompanied by the firm rhythmic frame engineered by the forceful beats of Stephenson. Fully into its stride the track evolves into a heart driven melodic tempest of confrontation and impassioned intensity of emotive elegance and political honesty.

The song is a call to arms for thoughts and emotions in league with an irresistible temptation for the passions to feed lustily on its glorious melodic feast and enrapturing crescendos of power and craft. Whilst reviewing their album we as suggested earlier found the song a slow burner but it soon stood and still stands as a track which ignites the richest emotions inside with each welcome meeting.

Completed by the engaging An Affair In Manchester and an instrumental version of the single, Little Britain inspires a real passion for itself and the band which their album accelerates further. With an accompanying video for the single which features Howard Marks, the release should finally see The Longsands find the deserved break into the widest recognition, they certainly burn brightly on our and a great many others radar already.

www.thelongsands.co.uk

8/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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Common Tongues: Solitary Thinker

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    Bewitched and enchanted by their 2011 debut single Jumping Ships, UK indie folksters Common Tongues has kept a candle in the passions vibrantly burning as they unveiled more delicious pop folk majesty through songs which continually smoulder and ignite the passions. Their new single is no exception, the song an emotive caress upon thoughts and emotions which first seduces before leading the listener into a sizzling yet tender melodic romp of contagious energy.

The Brighton band was formed in 2010 by childhood friends Tom Anderson and Oli Hinkins, who grew up together in Cambridge. With a line-up completed by Andrew Stuart-Buttle, Dan Somers, and James Drohan, the band released first two track single Jumping Ships via Something Nothing Records to a strong eager response following it up over the past couple of years with impressive appearances at numerous festivals including Bestival, and the Secret Garden Party, as well as support performances alongside the likes of Beth Jeans Houghton, Michelle Stodart, Juan Zelada, The Miserable Rich, and Alice Gold. Citing influences from the artists such as Yann Tiersen, Villagers, Radiohead and Brian Wilson as inspirations, the band creates sounds which tempt and persuade like sunshine whilst evoking and inspiring like her alluring touch.

Taken from their new April released EP, Solitary Thinker is the perfect teaser, a song which triggers a rich appetite for more ctwhilst igniting flames of pleasure to make the short wait for much more bearable. The song emerges from a brewing breath with acoustic guitar and melancholic violin weaving gently across the senses, their stroke tender yet powerfully suggestive. The feeling of loneliness is accentuated as the vocals add their weight and expression though the music equally offers a little dance of light and hope throughout the emotive heart. Mid-way through the track entertains rhythmic teases which raise and incite the temperature and intent of the song into a feisty launch of energy which sparks further rapture as the building crescendo of expertly crafted sounds and anthemic vocals explodes within the heart.

The song walks the perfect line between emotionally intense and light and whimsical, achieving both without unbalancing the passion or fun of the track. Musically too the track merges more forceful sounds which maybe are a rarity in folk pop with traditional majestic beauty in harmonies, melodies, and expression. It is a glorious song which will ensure an even more focused and maybe impatient anticipation for the upcoming EP.

www.commontongues.co.uk

www.facebook.com/commontongues

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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The Procession: Call You

   Procession CallYouArt-IDEA2

    The promo sheet for Call You, the new single from UK indie rock band The Procession, suggests it is a hint of a new direction for the band. Taken from their acclaimed debut You Are Now Leaving The Future, the song certainly is one of the more diverse and enthralling tracks on the album but whether the clue to a new avenue for their already intriguing and imaginative sound to experiment with we will have to wait until their second album due for release later in the year. Featuring the guest vocals of Emma Redhead, the single all the same is a warm and enchanting endeavour which easily leads one to want to further investigate the band.

Formed in 2007 whilst all band members were at university, the Midlands based quartet of vocalist/guitarist James Best, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Martin Byrne, bassist Paul Richardson, and drummer Rob Gill, took no time in making a name for themselves on the local live scene. Their continued ascent brought radio and media exposure elevated further when they became the inaugural winners of the BandForTheDay international unsigned band competition. 2011 saw the release of their debut EP Sometimes on Circular Records to strong acclaim surpassed when the October of the following year via the same label, You Are Now Leaving The Future was unleashed. Previous single Cease and Desist was an eagerly pursued invitation for fans into the full length release something which Call You easily repeats for newcomers to the band.

A sultry caress of acoustic and electric guitar washes over the ear initially to bring the senses to focus as the compelling dual vocals entwine around the emotive sound and lyrics. The silky tones of Redhead are a delicious kiss and smouldering temptation alongside the vocals of Best and Byrne in verse and the glorious chorus harmonies. Musically the song entices and entrances with an equally seductive elegance and passion and though the song never explodes into a full fire there is an anthemic breath which shouts loudly at times to complete the fully riveting encounter. Combining reserved flames of folk, pop, and rock into one stirring and inciting emotive flame Call You is a delightfully contagious treat which is unafraid to show its sinews for an even deeper satisfaction.

The single is one of the highlights of You Are Now Leaving The Future  and has not lost any of its rich potency over the months since. In fact it makes thoughts of the next album from The Procession even more excitable.

http://www.theprocession.co.uk/

www.facebook.com/theukprocession

7.5/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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Lace & Whiskey: Confuse The Mind

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    Lace & Whiskey is one of those band names which instantly offers thoughts of the sounds they produce, in this case the name inspiring expectations of soft melodic rock. As their new single Confuse The Mind shows the UK band are very much inspired by and entrenched in that area of rock n roll but also bring vibrant additives of folk, blues and rock pop to their accomplished sound. Taken from their successful and acclaimed Running Out of Time album, the new track easily gives credence to the enthusiastic responses laid upon the band.

The East London quartet formed in 2008 soon earning a strong reputation live as they played throughout the capital and further afield at renowned venues such as Dublin Castle, Hope & Anchor, The Enterprise, Proud Camden and the Troubadour leading to an appearance at the High Voltage Beer Festival. Fronted by the punky growls of Andy Hodgson, the band line-up is completed by guitarist Melissa Collett, bassist Nick Charleston, and Aaron Smith on drums. 2010 saw the release of their EP Acoustic Shots but arguably 2012 with the release of debut album Running Out of Time, is where the band found a strong light of recognition.

The third single from the album, Confuse The Mind is a welcoming mix of blues and classic with elements of garage and southern rock to its infectious gait. From its initial note the song is a feast of sinewy rhythms, sonic guitar flames with an acidic melodic breath, and feisty anthemic vocals. Its stride prowls rather than charges along but the song is never reluctant to raise the tempo throughout to engage with further contagion. The guitar flames of Collett are especially magnetic whilst vocally Hodgson is passion, mischief, and defiance rolled into one earnest encounter, the whole combination ensuring the listener only looks their way.

Arguably the song does not offer anything new, its heart and presence seeded from well recognised sources but it certainly grabs hold tightly from start to finish for two and a half minutes of undeniable prime satisfaction. For very solid and honest melodic rock n roll you could do a lot worse than checking out Lace & Whiskey and Confuse The Mind, a release which certainly for us leads one happily into their Running Out Of Time album.

www.laceandwhiskey.co.uk

www.facebook.com/laceandwhiskeymusic

7/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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