SPEECH Debelle‘s debut album, Speech Therapy, luckily isn’t just all talk.
The London-based female rapper does have a real gift of gab, giving her male peers a run for their money with a proficient lyrical flow delivered with a voice that teeters between sweet and streetwise.
But for me the real talking points of this album are the backing tracks, which are cunningly crafted hip hop tracks laced with jazzy ornaments and acoustic instrumentation.
There are dips – Go Then, Bye and Daddy’s Little Girl are a tad toe-curling for my tastes – but in a genre dominated by male MCs, Speech Debelle has demonstrated she doesn’t just talk the talk.
IS IT a bird? Is it a workshop? No, it’s a countrified folk group, here with their debut album, Sleight Of Hand.
Because Sparrow And The Workshop claim this release is a ‘mini-album’, too long to be an EP and too short to be an album – which is either lazy or self-indulgent, depending on your point of view.
Anyway, what isn’t lazy is the Glaswegians’ music, which for the best part rattles along with a pleasing acoustic guitar twang and evocative vocal intertwining of drummer Gregor Donaldson and Jill “Dead Sparrow” O’Sullivan.
But is the trio’s Scottish Americana worth a listen?
Only slightly – in fact, why not wait for them to bother making a full album.
• FAITH No More? Not any more!
To coincide with the legendary metal group’s reformation for this year’s Download Festival in Castle Donington, the group have put out a best-of compilation.
The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection is in stores now.
• Here’s one to get your claws into – Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear.
The group’s fourth album is a must-have collection of gloriously quirky indie pop.
• Scottish singer songwriter Paolo Nutini has released his second album.
Sunny Side Up, which contains the single Candy, is available to buy now.
• American idol Kelly Clarkson has put out a new single.
The track I Do Not Hook Up is the latest from her hit album All I Ever Wanted.
• Jolly good news – Hockey have released a new single this week.
One listen to the disco indie track Learn To Lose and it’s sure to stick with you.
• For what it’s worth, the new single from Placebo is out this week.
For What It’s Worth is the first taster of new album Battle For The Sun, which is out on Monday.
• Trance metal band come crashing back this week Enter Shikari with their single Juggernauts.
The track, out this week, even adds a rap section to the group’s already mashed up mix of dance music and metal.
• If you’re on the lookout for bittersweet pop rock, then maybe the new single from Carolina Liar is what you’re after.
The song, Show Me What I’m Looking For, released this week, is the first outing from forthcoming album Coming To Terms.
• The Revolution will not be televised – instead it will be released later this month on CD and mp3 download.
The Revolution presents Revolution, a collaboration between Cuban musicians such as Anónimo Consejo and Ariday Vega Martín and mainstream artists such as Norman Cook and Roisin Murphy, is out on June 29.
• If all of this is music to your ears, you can read more from the pop world online at www.echoisaacashe.blogspot.com.
Not only does it leave the listener wondering how the singer songwriter managed to leap direct from the straight down the line hook-laden indie pop rock of his first album These Streets to this melting pot, but the question of where the bloody hell his singing voice comes from exactly looms larger than ever.
Musically, the genuinely uplifting Sunny Side Up draws from a baffling collection of sources – from reggae rhythms to big band trumpets to tin whistle solos, Paolo’s new sound is harder to pin down than a greased Hulk Hogan.
And over this his voice veers wildly between from Otis Redding-style grizzled growling to Bob Dylan nasal moaning – all with an, ahem, distinctive pronunciation that’s Nutini’s alone.
It’s hard to say what exactly Sunny Side Up sounds like – but as sure as eggs is eggs, Nutini doesn’t sound like yet another James Blunt, James Morrison clone any more.
TOP rock band Athlete are bounding into town for a gig this Saturday.
The group, whose hits include Wires and Hurricane, play Loughborough Students’ Union from 7pm on May 30.
Spokeswoman Nikki Shipley said: “With some huge anthems behind them, these four guys are guaranteed to give a performance never to be forgotten.
“This is the first venue of a new UK tour and the opening night will not disappoint!”
For more information click here, here or here.
Faith No More spent around a decade fusing heavy metal, rap and funk with some superb results, and all boxes have been ticked with this double-LP of singles backed with a collection of B-sides and rarities.
From the proto-rap rock of Epic through the slap bass of We Care A Lot to the twisted Be Aggressive, via the thunderous Ashes To Ashes and Mike Patton‘s inspired “ewww” on Easy, the memories all come flooding back.
Innovative and inspirational, if you can’t catch the reformed Faith No More headlining this year’s Download, then download yourself a copy of this compilation.
GRANDMASTER Fred, Loughborough’s talented breakdancing pensioner, has abandoned his dream of body popping his way into the pop charts.
Fred Bowers had planned on releasing a hip hop single, following in the footsteps of last year’s winner George Sampson.
But following national press articles claiming that the 73-year-old star of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, who Simon Cowell described as “brilliant” after he auditioned in Birmingham, was a “fakedancer” who claims disability allowance, the pensioner has shelved the plan.
Rumours had circulated in the town that Fred had already signed a deal with Decca Records, who have had artists including The Rolling Stones, Adam Ant and The Smurfs on their roster over the years.
Grandmaster Fred will take part in the show’s live semi finals on Thursday, May 28.
SABBAT will indeed be playing at Download this year, as well as a host of other acts confirmed today.
Bleed From Within, Sleepercurve, Blackhole, New Device, The Outcry Collective, Tripswitch, The Instigators, In Case Of Fire, Hardcore Superstar, Symphony Cult, The Crave, Billy Boy On Poison, The Ghost Of A Thousand, People In Planes, The Auteur, 13 Riots, Forever Never, The Computers, Serpico, Flood Of Red, Attack! Attack!, Logan, Fei Comodo, Jett Black, Million$ Reload and Raucous Jays will all appear.
VETERAN Nottingham band Sabbat have announced they will be appearing at this year’s Download Festival.
In a message on the group’s website, guitarist Andy Sneap said: “We are pleased to announce that after months of being really annoying and badgering Andy Copping, the man responsible for Download, he finally broke down and added Sabbat to the bill on Sunday.
“We have to be the most local band ever to play at Castle Donington having been in attendance most years and even walking to the festival a couple of times.
“I must say I have been somewhat disappointed in the lack of pigs heads and bottles thrown during the latter years, kids today just don’t know how to enjoy a good festival!
“I personally am looking forward to getting one half of my face sunburnt Richard Dreyfus style and feeling like George Best’s left kidney on the 15th. Should be fun!”
ONE artist who I’ve been impatiently waiting for new stuff from is Mr Hudson, whose debut album with The Library, A Tale Of Two Cities, was one of my Albums Of The Year 2007.
He resurfaced last year in a collaboration with Kanye West on his album 808s And Heartbreaks, and it seems that working with the rap superstar has heavily influenced his new work.
Minus The Library, Mr Hudson’s new single, Supernova – a sparse hip hop track that swells with emotion by its close – is now upon us.
It took me by surprise knowing his piano-based origins, but it’s quickly lodged itself in my brain, and I simply can’t wait for the full LP, Straight No Chaser, later this year.
And if you want to hear a snippet for yourself, there’s a free mix mp3 of some of the tracks available here.