Reviews

Saltlake sign to Regent Street Records at BPI Offices

Saltlake sign to Regent Street Records at BPI Offices

Up and coming Brighton band Saltlake have penned a two year record/publishing deal with independent record label Regent Street Records.  

In an industry first, the three-piece Rock group signed to the label at the offices of music trade body the BPI located in London’s County Hall building.  The band will now release their debut EP These Broken Bones on the label on November 2nd, 2015.

 



Signing the band to Regent Street Records was Chief Executive Vanessa Higgins, who commented:

 

“I’m so chuffed that Saltlake have signed to Regent Street Records.  They make killer music that’s entirely suited to our label’s ethos. They have a ton of talent, passion and energy as well as an attitude that’s on point, and I am truly excited by the journey that lies ahead. It was great to pen the deal at the offices of the BPI given they’re so enthusiastic in support of labels and are keen to promote more music at its grass roots.

Vanessa, who last month was elected to serve on the BPI Council to represent independent label members, explains how she came across the group:

“It was the band’s trademark energy at their live shows that first caught my attention, though, ironically, it wasn’t them I went to see.  Whilst in LA for the BPI’s Sync trade mission I met with the legendary Bob Frymire, who helped to set up Virgin Records in the US and is now at APM Music, and he insisted I check out the band Gooding when on tour in the UK.  I trekked across to London’s New Cross to see them, but unfortunately they’d already played their set by the time I arrived.  Disappointed with myself and about to leave, I was stopped in my tracks when these three young lads came on stage and proceeded to rip the place up.  I was blown away by their sheer energy and immediately knew I had to sign them…..  

“As fate would have it, when Henry, Ash and Liam went to their BIMM tutor Jake Shillingford to ask advice about Regent Street Records, Jake was on his laptop, and the last email in the inbox was from…Vanessa Higgins.  We’d been working together as part of Britsync – so everything fell into place nicely.”

 

Commenting jointly, Saltlake’s Henry Gottelier, Ash Powell and Liam Quinn, said:

“Before even thinking of signing to anyone we had been doing things largely off of our own backs, preferring to gig as much as we can, which we love doing, and really develop as musicians and hopefully build a buzz and expand our fan-base.”

“When Vanessa got in touch, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect and it just felt like the next natural step for us as a band. We like to think that we have boundless energy that comes through in our music, but Vanessa has this is in spades too, and she’s so authentic and down to earth, not to mention a lot of fun to be with. Regent Street Records have a real passion for supporting new music, and they seem the perfect label for us, and the ideal vehicle for all the things we hope to achieve. We can’t wait to start working with Regent Street Records and we’re really excited about releasing our EP on the label next month.”

 

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, added:

“When Vanessa put the idea to us that Saltlake sign to Regent Street Records at our offices we jumped at the chance. We’re passionate about working with our label members to support emerging music and encourage grass roots talent. We’re also keen to reach out across our membership in innovative ways to connect with new faces and fresh thinking, so this simple but effective idea really appealed to us, and is just the sort of thing we want to do more of.

“We have high hopes for Saltlake, and know that in Regent Street Records they have a wonderful home for their talents.  We wish Henry, Ash and Liam all the very best working with Vanessa in future.”

ENDS –

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ENQUIRIES

Vanessa Higgins, Regent Street Records      vanessa@regentstreetrecords.com +44 (0)7477 812378

Gennaro Castaldo, BPI                                      gennaro.castaldo@bpi.co.uk                  +44 (0)7801 194139

 


Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit)

Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit)

“Keep your beady eyes on me,” are the first words sung by frontwoman Ellie Rowsell on Wolf Alice’s debut album. What’s more, she delivers them with the air of someone secure in the knowledge that the alternative world is increasingly unable to put its eyes anywhere else. My Love Is Cool has already been hailed as the best rock debut of the decade and only missed out on the Number One slot when Florence And The Machine rode a post-Glasto uplift to pip them at the post. Even better, My Love Is Cool offers much more than their grungy live reputation might have suggested. The beguiling likes of Turn To Dust and Bros initially seem to indicate a band that’s more Alice (in shoegaze wonderland) than Wolf (at the punk rock door), until you realise this band remains emotionally feral, even during its tamer musical moments. “Are you wild like me?” asks Rowsell on Bros, “Raised by wolves and other beasts?” So when they do get savage – as on the caustic, Veruca Salt-esque You’re A Germ – it bites all the harder. And there’s more than enough invention and emotional weight here to ensure Wolf Alice are a band not just to keep your eye on, but to give your full attention.

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Muse: Drones (Warner Bros)

Muse: Drones (Warner Bros)

For Muse, it turns out that space was anything but the final frontier. Recent albums may have seen Matt Bellamy and co boldly go forth into full-on interstellar prog rock opera mode, but Drones sees them returning to the earth’s orbit. It’s all relative of course – only a band who once conjured the epically bonkers Knights Of Cydonia might consider the 10-minute long, Ennio-Morricone-goes-space-rock of The Globalist, or the full-on choral explosion of the title track, to be somewhat stripped down affairs. But the likes of Reapers and Psycho’s Marc-Bolan-on-steroids strut (complete with scary drill sergeant dialogue), buffed up superbly by über-producer Mutt Lange, rock more directly than Muse have for some time – they even managed to triumph at this summer’s Download festival, despite some initial complaints they weren’t heavy enough to headline. Aftermath even offers a rare (and rather touching) Muse ballad, while lyrically, more earthbound concerns also dominate – chiefly, the use of machines to disengage people from the horrors of modern life, although it’s also possible to construct a very human break-up narrative from songs such as Dead Inside. But, however you choose to interpret Matt Bellamy’s intent, Drones proves it will take a lot more than gravity to hold Muse down.

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Foo Fighters: Foo Fighters (Roswell/Capito

Foo Fighters: Foo Fighters (Roswell/Capito

LOST GEM

Nowadays, Dave Grohl is so unstoppable that not even a broken leg can derail him for long. His fall from the stage in Gothenburg, Sweden, might have forced him to cancel headline slots at Glastonbury Festival and Wembley Stadium, but just a few short weeks later, he was back in action, playing on a Game Of Thrones-inspired chair, no less. But there was a time when Grohl’s path was less certain. Back in 1995, the idea that the shyest member of Nirvana might cut it as a frontman, let alone one of the biggest rockstars on the planet, seemed ridiculous to some, who gleefully dubbed him “the grunge Ringo”. Two things convinced the public otherwise: a storming 1995 Reading Festival appearance, and this debut album. Some of it sounds exactly like you might expect Nirvana’s drummer’s solo project to sound, but Grohl was already finding an unexpected lightness of touch. So this album boasts the hardcore assault of Weenie Beenie, but also the pretty Lemonheads-esque ditty of Big Me and the big, brawny alt-rock of This Is A Call. It didn’t break any legs, but it did break the band and no true Foo fanatic should be without it.

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Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Collected Recordings 1983-1989 (Polydor)

Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Collected Recordings 1983-1989 (Polydor)

Lloyd Cole And The Commotions: Collected Recordings 1983-1989 (Polydor)

“If you really want to get straight/Read Norman Mailer/Or get a new tailor”. With lines like that (from 1984’s Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?), it’s no wonder that singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole and his Commotions became such a touchstone for ‘80s students and wannabe indie intellectuals. Their classic debut album, Rattlesnakes, seethed with proto-hipster literary, music and cinematic references, from Eve Marie Saint to Arthur Lee to Simone De Beauvoir, but also allied them to knowing-yet-effervescent pop melodies, meaning the likes of Forest Fire and Patience were guaranteed to impress that bookish girl/boy on your English Lit course. Thirty years on, they sound just as fresh, perhaps because such reference points – rather like Cole himself, whose solo career has rarely attracted such attention – have been allowed to gather dust, neglected on library shelves while modern students explore the more instant delights of the internet. But this beautifully packaged, six-disc box set makes a strong case for Cole’s rehabilitation; even the follow-up albums, 1985’s polished-but-charming Easy Pieces and 1987’s raggedly hedonistic Mainstream – regarded at the time as diminishing returns after Rattlesnakes flawless poise – yielding up multiple gems. Time for them to cause a Commotion again.

Megan Henwood: Head, Heart, Hand (Dharma)

Megan Henwood: Head, Heart, Hand (Dharma)

Megan Henwood: Head, Heart, Hand (Dharma)

If the recent wave of folk-rock has tempted you to explore the genre’s full-time residents rather than its tourists, but you’re wary of the full finger-in-your-ear, twigs-in-your-real-ale stereotypes, Megan Henwood might just be your perfect guide. She’s authentic enough to have won the BBC’s Young Folk Award in 2009 (with her brother Joe) but, while this album was apparently recorded in a farm building surrounded by hay bales, it’s also rooted in modernity. Henwood has a warm voice and a witty, occasionally slightly sinister way with a lyric that will remind you of Jenny Lewis or Laura Marling as much as Eliza Carthy, while she’s not afraid to move subtly into rock, pop or blues. Meanwhile, producer Tom Excell is more used to working on electronica and you can tell, this album’s expertly controlled dynamics rendering the album much more contemporary than her debut, 2011’s Making Waves. And songs such as perfectly pithy break-up anthem Chemicals (“I was gonna be your doctor/But I could not find your heartbeat”) and painfully poignant closer Painkiller will appeal to anyone who likes their music raw and emotional, not just those perplexed by Mumford & Sons ditching their banjos. Folk music for all folk, in other words.

 

Years & Years: Communion (Polydor)

Years & Years: Communion (Polydor)

Years & Years: Communion (Polydor)

Years & Years’ brilliant debut album recently became the first ever Number One album to be released on a Friday, as part of the Global Release Day initiative that now sees new albums come out in most countries on the same day. And, appropriately enough for an album that will be forever associated with that Friday feeling, Communion is stuffed full of all the here-comes-the-weekend club bangers your heart could desire. But the real strength of Years & Years lies in the fact that there’s much more to them than floor-fillers. Even on the hits – and there are lots of them, from the persuasive groove of Shine to the spiralling pop majesty of King – singer Olly Alexander’s lyrics provide a lot more emotional depth than you usually encounter when your hands are in the air, meaning this album will work just as well the next morning when the inevitable hangover and feelings of regret kick in. Olly told us earlier this year that he isn’t “interested in writing about having a good time in the club – it’s more about having a bad time in the club.” But, whether you’re looking for good times or solace in bad times, Years & Years are the one club in town that will always let you in. Whichever day of the week it is.

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Madonna: Rebel Heart (Live Nation)

Madonna: Rebel Heart (Live Nation)

Madonna certainly still knows how to get your attention. But while there may have been the occasional misstep during her headline-grabbing comeback campaign – both metaphorical (eg her sometimes-controversial appropriation of various political figures as fellow “Rebel Hearts”) and literal (falling down the stairs during her performance at the BRIT Awards) – musically, Rebel Heart is her most sure-footed album in years. This may be because, while she continues to work with contemporary producers and collaborators (Diplo, Avicii, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj), she also allows herself a few backward glances at her own stellar pop career. So for every potty-mouthed, sex-obsessed clickbait club track (S.E.X), there’s also a wistful pop-soul anthem (Ghosttown). For every blippy bit of bleeding edge minimalism (Illuminati, Unapologetic Bitch), there’s a lush meditation on the perils of fame (Joan Of Arc) or her own mortality (Wash All Over Me). Musically, she’s not afraid to reference past triumphs such as Music (Devil Pray) or Vogue (Holy Water) while Veni Vidi Vici looks back in lyrical detail at the most remarkable pop career of the last 30 years. “I was fearless like a renegade,” she concludes, “I came, I saw, I conquered”. Long may she continue to do so.

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Ride: Nowhere (Creation)

Ride: Nowhere (Creation)

Some reunions seem inevitable from the minute a band splits up; others come along long after you’ve given up hope of them ever happening. Nineties indie-rockers Ride definitely belong in the latter camp. Nearly 20 years after an acrimonious split, their return has been 2015’s most pleasant surprise so far, and the early gigs have suggested that, while they were often accused of gazing at their shoes, their music continues to look at the stars. And never was that more true than on their classic 1990 debut, Nowhere, which showcases the beguiling mix of melody and noise that made them such a bright light amidst the dark musical days of the early Nineties. So while Taste has a tune a boyband would sell their hairwax for, Ride slather it in wave after wave of harmonies and spiky guitars. And the powerful yet sensitive likes of Vapour Trail and Dreams Burn Down will take you back to a day when indie bands cared enough about the music they were making to never take the obvious route. This may explain why Ride have returned after two decades in the wilderness seemingly bigger than they were the first time around. It certainly means that this is one reunion you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.

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Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (Atlantic)

Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (Atlantic)

Like in Texas, everything was bigger in the Seventies. And Led Zeppelin were bigger (and louder) than everything else. But if, from a modern vantage point, it’s difficult to comprehend exactly the position Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham found themselves in as the biggest beasts in the decade’s rock equivalent of Jurassic World, 1975’s Physical Graffiti shows the band themselves knew exactly what their status meant. Because this is the sound of a band that knows they can do pretty much whatever they like. A sprawling double album, Physical Graffiti takes the time and space to explore every nook and cranny of Zep’s sound. So we get the relentless blues of In My Time Of Dying and Kashmir, a song so colossal it seemed like it was soundtracking the arrival of Godzilla long before Puff Daddy appropriated its central riff to do just that. But there’s also the folk-rock of Bron-Yr-Aur and the joyous rock’n’roll of Boogie With Stu to lighten the heaviness. Forty years and over 10 million sales on, Physical Graffiti still sounds untamed and unrestrained. Only now – as with all the beautifully-presented, Page-helmed Led Zep reissues – it comes with even more music, including demos that show the evolution of several classic tracks. Sometimes, bigger really is better.

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