News: The name’s Jones…

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TOM Jones has revealed that the British Secret Service could have had a sex bomb at its disposal – with the Welsh singer once considered for the role of James Bond.
But instead of audiences being treated to What’s New Octopussycat? Scot Sean Connery got the role – as Tom was considered too well known to be convincing in the guise.
He said: “The only thing I regret is that I’d like to have had a pop at acting when I was younger, my name was up for James Bond at one time, but producer Cubby Broccoli apparently said I was too well known for people to believe it.”
But perhaps it’s not a bad thing. Jones added: “I have a tendency to overact, it’s a Welsh thing.”

Review: Vexatious D

MUSIC and comedy can be uneasy bedfellows at times – just look at some of the appalling attempts at jokes in this music blog of mine.
And on this, Tenacious D’s comeback special Rize Of The Fenix, this counundrum shows – it’s when the pair drop the music and play the fool on the skits in between the songs that the biggest belly laughs can be found.
But that’s not to say there isn’t merit in the music as well, just not quite often enough.
There’s no instant classic a la Tribute or Love Her Gently here – but their cornball classic rock, self-depreciating humour and potty mouths combine to come up with the goods enough to make this a worthy endeavour nonetheless, on tracks like Low Hangin’ Fruit, Roadie and 39.
So overall Tenacious D is once again on the rize, undoubtedly – just not quite reaching their previous heights.

Download: Grab Sound Advice’s free compilation album

ONE of the best things about the old Sound Advice site, I thought, was the constant stream of free, legal mp3 downloads I was able to offer readers.
I am regularly e-mailed music to offer as a donwload to promote new work from musicians, and it’s a service I plan on providing again in the near future.
But in the meantime, to celebrate Sound Advice’s relaunch, I’ve put together a 12-track compilation album of some of the songs which had been given away free on the site before now.
It features amazing artists such as The Orb, Anti-Pop Consortium, Jaga Jazzist, Amongst The Pigeons, Three Trapped Tigers, Wild Palms, Hauschka and more, and it’s completely free.
Click here to grab a copy and have a listen.

Review: New-look Norah Jones breaks hearts a little

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I HAVE long had a soft spot for Norah Jones, despite a public perception she’s as bland as a mashed potato sculpture of Katie Melua.
It’s clear that behind the radio-friendly country-tinged soulful jazz singer is a proficient songwriter – you can’t argue with the craft exhibited on tracks like In The Morning and Don’t Know Why.
But on Little Broken Hearts, producer Danger Mouse has added a little sexy pop sheen to this.
A smattering of his drumbeats and knob-twiddling, when coupled with Norah Jones’ gorgeous pipes on the likes of Say Goodbye and Happy Pills, is sure to arouse some radio interest.
This is not a forced sexy, mind, but more a mellow, sultry sexy – Norah won’t be donning a conical bra and thrusting her groin at listeners any time soon, she’s still more likely to want a cuddle.
Music for spooning lovers, anyone?

News: Deftones frontman joins supergroup

SOME of the men behind some of my favourite albums of recent years – namely The Deftones’ Diamond Eyes and Isis’ Wavering Radiant – have joined forces to form a supergroup.
Following the band’s end, members of Isis Aaron Harris, Clifford Meyer and Jeff Caxide formed Palms – and now Chino Moreno has been enlisted to join the league of droning metal purveyors.
Harris said: “We’ve worked really hard on this first release and are excited for people to hear it. It’s nice to be back behind the drum kit, and with this lineup.”
Moreno added: “Being a huge Isis fan I’ve always dug the moods these dudes convey with their sound,
“I am excited to combine my sense of creativity with theirs, and to have fun doing so.”
Not as excited as I am to hear Palms’ debut album, out later this year, Chino.

Soundcast: Solo1

SOLO1, a Loughborough-based producer of dubstep and ambient sounds, has decided to keep Sound Advice company, with a Soundcast selection.
He said: “Explorations in BPM and layered, hazy information put together and fashioned to make beautiful, danceable noise. To dance and liberate yourself via machines after years in the guitar wilderness sees juke, dubstep, garage, broken house, drag, witch house *the scene that never was* allowing you a smoother transition through austre England’s twilight hours. Whatever gets you through the night.
“Sbtrkt kick off this mix with an (alleged) Thom Yorke mix of the second track off their debut album and issues in songs that I have been listening to over the last few weeks/months from a disparate number of sources and artists. Actress and Zomby complement further solid gold juke moments as we re-hit urban streets with classics from Burial and Cooly G.
“Zomby closes proceedings with a filmic moment, vital high art from one of the most important UK producers of the last five years.
“A compilation of music informed by acid house memories, rave experience, bass culture and scenes that never were. To dance perchance to dream.”
Listen below or click here to visit Spotify, and click here for more on Solo1.

Review: Sweet Billy Pilgrim just got sweeter

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AFTER a smattering of disappointed reviews so far for the new-look Sound Advice site I am delighted, absolutely over the moon, to be able to bring you an album that’s actually well worth a listen.
Phew, as they say.
Remember folky act Sweet Billy Pilgrim and their critically-acclaimed and award-nominated breakthrough album, 2009’s Twice Born Men?
Well I’m pleased to report they’ve not sustained Mercury poisoning, they’ve spent the past three years making its sound even sweeter.
If you’re familiar with their previous work you’ll know they are never going to be an in your face sound, but their forthcoming LP Crown And Treaty is certainly less timid than before.
Their delicate folk sound has unfurled on this, expanding to touch upon elements of rock, of grand orchestral pop and of electronica, and much more besides.
Throughout the record they meander through a myriad of sounds, resulting in some spectacular musical vistas – the skittering drumbeat and picked melody of Archaeology, the intertwining vocal harmonies of Shadow Captain, the driving electronic flecks sprinkled throughout in Brugada, who knows what the listener will stumble upon next?
Crown And Treaty, it’s a right royal treat.

Soundcast: Jazzdiohead

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I READ an interesting article in the Independent the other day about how the world of jazz is quietly creeping in to rock circles – citing the example of Radiohead employing jazz drummer Clive Deamer when playing live.
It was a very valid point – the likes of Portico Quartet’s eponymous 2012 album is a gnat’s away from Radiohead’s latest The King Of Limbs – and the main upshot of reading it was an afternoon spent listening to covers of Radiohead, mainly jazz ones.
Who knew there are so many?
Anyway, enjoy a selection of the best below – and if you can think of a better name than Jazzdiohead (2 + 2 = Jazz? Just Jazz? Jazz Might Be Wrong?) I’d like to hear it!

Review: Dance compilation works out nice

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IF THERE’S one thing I like, it’s a little invention – and I’m not talking about nanotechonolgy.
A little thought has gone into the latest Pacha compilation album, out on April 30 – it’s not just three CDs of relentless, club-friendly tracks to turn you into a shape-throwing frenzy.
I can’t be the only one waddling around egg-shaped post-Easter wondering how I’m going to fit into my swimming shorts come the summer – luckily this Ibiza Workout Mix has been laid on.
It takes the form of three workout mixes of varying intensity, which warm-up, work-up and cool-down the listener.
And the roll call is in pretty good shape too, featuring the likes of deadmau5, The Grid, Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, Cicada, Cosmic Gate, Swedish House Mafia, Ferry Corston and more.
It’s just a shame the closest thing I get to exercise is walking to my car…

Review: Cate Le Boring

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SIXTIES-influenced singer songwriter Cate Le Bon’s latest LP is like travelling back in time – but no-one enjoys travelling, do they?
Her folky music is stamped with a retro hallmark, with psychedelic swells and grainy production the order of the day. On paper it’s like Syd Barrett’s arranged for Nico to cover some Nick Drake songs.
And there are moments – such as opener Falcon Eyed – where it captures your attention.
But overall the Welsh singer’s results are so subtle, so introvert they become underwhelming and uninspiring – it’s about as interesting as one of those ‘vintage’ shirts made by Primark.