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BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Paul Weller: 22 Dreams (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Paul Weller: 22 Dreams (Shock)

A couple of months ago I was invited to give a lecture to Auckland Uni music students about a contemporary songwriter of my choosing whose catalogue of work was interesting and worth studying.I picked Paul Weller on strength of this quote from him about his forthcoming album: "It takes in soul, rock'n'roll, there are some folky moments,...

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Damon Albarn has had the more visible profile outside of Blur -- Gorillaz, his Mali Music album, The Good, The Bad and The Queen -- but for the band’s former guitarist Coxon (who left after Think Tank of 03) The Spinning Top is his seventh solo outing and extends his interest in Anglofolk of the Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson...

Blur: No Distance Left to Run (EMI Double DVD set)

Blur: No Distance Left to Run (EMI Double DVD set)

This beautifully shot, career-spanning, feature-length doco leaves a lot of threads hanging for those who didn't follow every nuance of the relationship between the four members of Brit-pop's Blur, and you certainly get the impression that guitarist Graham Coxon -- often a blitzkrieg of noise on-stage but nervous, reticent and slightly precious...

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach (EMI CD/DVD)

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach (EMI CD/DVD)

Gorillaz aren't the first to make "world music" of no fixed cultural abode (Elsewhere has noted 1 Giant Leap and the Laya Project among others) -- but there is something so diverse yet coherent, musically ambitious yet delivered with a pop sensibility, and just so damn clever and enjoyable about Gorillaz that they stand apart from all...

MIKE EDWARDS OF JESUS JONES INTERVIEWED (1993): Right here, right now . . . back then

MIKE EDWARDS OF JESUS JONES INTERVIEWED (1993): Right here, right now . . . back then

Mike Edwards has got a big mouth - and without going too far into the anatomically impossible, it’s his big mouth that gets right up people’s noses. And right here, right now in Birmingham, he’s been getting up the noses of the British music press - which admittedly isn’t hard to do and probably quite worthwhile....

Ocean Colour Scene: Saturday (Keep on Keeping On)

Ocean Colour Scene: Saturday (Keep on Keeping On)

Despite being one of the most exciting and interesting bands of the Britpop Nineties -– singer Simon Fowler had a rough and soulful voice, guitarist Steve Cradock a member of Paul Weller's touring band –- this outfit from Birmingham never really took hold in New Zealand. On their home turf they had Weller as a vocal...

OCEAN COLOUR SCENE INTERVIEWED (1996): Take it to the top

OCEAN COLOUR SCENE INTERVIEWED (1996): Take it to the top

From the outside – even on the rather mundane inside -- the Irish Centre on Birmingham's dreary, windswept Digbeth High St doesn't look like the city’s premier rock’n’roll venue. And it’s probably not, but . . . “Yeah, the history’s here though,” says Ocean Colour Scene’s lanky...

THE STROKES (2001): The future, the past or just passing through?

THE STROKES (2001): The future, the past or just passing through?

These are indeed worrying times. Steel birds fall from the sky, tall towers tumble to earth, rumours of war is the way of it if you are an innocent citizen, and the end of the world is apparently upon us. Nostradamus warned us of these times. Jezzus, I wished he'd warned us about the Strokes as well. In case you've missed the current...

Northside: Shall We Take a Trip (1990)

Northside: Shall We Take a Trip (1990)

The difference between the American psychedelic experience of the Sixties and that of the British can be captured in two phrases: in the States Timothy Leary was telling people to "tune in, turn on and drop out" which clearly demanded some committment. In Britain however George Harrison -- on It's All Too Much -- was offering the more...

No Way Sis: I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (1996)

No Way Sis: I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (1996)

For the Oasis tribute band No Way Sis their work was done for them: Oasis were notorious for borrowing/plagiarising/thieving melodies which songwriter Noel Gallagher cheeerfully admitted -- and their song Shakermaker owed more than a nod to the Greenaway-Cook song I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (a hit for the New Seekers and also used as...

The Vapours: Turning Japanese (1980)

The Vapours: Turning Japanese (1980)

Ever wondered why the English New Wave band The Vapours were just a one-hit wonder with Turning Japanese? They don't. They know exactly why. A little background though: they were from Guildford and the mainman was singer/songwriter Dave Fenton who had a day job as a solicitor. Playing as the Vapours, the four-piece were spotted by Bruce...

PAUL WELLER: THE MODFATHER (2010); The ways forward

PAUL WELLER: THE MODFATHER (2010); The ways forward

Some careers get too long to be easily digestible. Pity those doing the Paul McCartney reissue. His solo career in pop-rock – we leave aside his classical projects and The Fireman – stretches to almost 20 albums, and about twice that many of you include Wings and live albums. Even Paul Weller, who started his recording...

NOEL GALLAGHER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1998): Just being here, now

NOEL GALLAGHER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1998): Just being here, now

The trademark cockiness and dismissive directness is still there, but at times this also sounds like a very different Noel Gallagher, a man more circumspect and, although still expletive-heavy, sounding less prone to shooting from the lip. A little over two years ago we met before an Oasis gig in Leicester and he was garrulous,...

DAMON ALBARN: FROM BRITPOP TO A CARTOON CHARACTER (2010)

DAMON ALBARN: FROM BRITPOP TO A CARTOON CHARACTER (2010)

When I met Damon Albarn in London many years ago things were looking good for his band Blur: they'd previously scored a minor hit with There's No Other Way (heavily borrowed from Syd-era Pink Floyd which he cheerfully admitted), it had taken them to America, and their debut album Leisure went to number two on the UK charts. Their second...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Who Are You and The Kids Are Alright (Polydor)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Who Are You and The Kids Are Alright (Polydor)

The Who -- with as few living members as the former Beatles -- continue to tour and record, and while we wouldn't deny their current firepower, it is worth noting that the explosive energy of their early years was when they really excelled. From the late Sixties onward Pete Townshend started to over-analyse in a way that perhaps blunted the...

NOEL GALLAGER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1995): The view from the top

NOEL GALLAGER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1995): The view from the top

It's the week after Oasis’ Earl’s Court triumphs where they’ve pulled 20,000 for each of their two night stands and now Noel Gallagher is slouched backstage in the unpromisingly named Gramby Halls, Leicester. In two hours the band will play a blinder of a gig to 3000 in this basketball stadium. Their set tonight is the...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Jam, All Mod Cons and Setting Sons

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Jam, All Mod Cons and Setting Sons

By the time of their third album All Mod Cons (their third in a little over 18 months), the Jam's Paul Weller had really hit his straps as a songwriter. Where their previous two albums had gone off like boxes of fireworks, by All Mod Cons the mood was changing and Weller's very English influences (notably Ray Davies) were being incorporated into...

Beady Eye: Different Gear Still Speeding (Liberator)

Beady Eye: Different Gear Still Speeding (Liberator)

In one of life's great ironies it was, of all people, Ringo Starr who enjoyed the greatest chart success with a string of chart singles in the wake of the Beatles break-up. And who would have reckoned on Dave Grohl's subsequent career after Nirvana. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Liam Gallagher is the first Oasis brother out of...

SUEDE REISSUED AND RECONSIDERED (2011): England made me

SUEDE REISSUED AND RECONSIDERED (2011): England made me

At the going down of the sun we will remember them, those great Britpop bands who were The Next Big Thing – like Longpigs, the Seahorses, Mansun, the Supernaturals . . . All household names, right? Yes, it was – and still is -- easy to be cynical about Nineties Britpop, especially from this distance when Oasis and Blur...

Ocean Colour Scene: Here in my Heart

Ocean Colour Scene: Here in my Heart

It was one of the saddest days I can recall, and yet it had started out so well in Birmingham, a place where I had been drawn to interview the Britpop band Ocean Colour Scene in their hometown. It was 1998 I think. OCS never really made an impact in New Zealand, which was a pity because the night I saw them they were spectacularly good,...

Paul Weller, Wild Wood (1994)

Paul Weller, Wild Wood (1994)

By the time he came to releasing albums under his own name in the early 90s, Paul Weller had already had two separate careers: first in the Jam and then the Style Council. If the Jam had been quintessentially English and took its references from the Who, the Small Faces and Ray Davies as much as Mod culture and the rage of the punk years,...

OASIS: DEFINITELY MAYBE DVD REVIEWED (2004)

OASIS: DEFINITELY MAYBE DVD REVIEWED (2004)

When Oasis, out of Manchester, started to gain real momentum a decade ago one wag wrote to a Britrock magazine and said this was all very well, but they were dull to watch live: just hold a postcard of them at arm's length and move it about a bit, he said, and that's about it.That was true but he forgot to factor in one thing, that they could...

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