Now the Time Has Come for the From The Jam star to embark on a proper solo career before it’s too late.
Now, whatever you think about what I’m about to write, I want to make one thing totally clear. I adore From The Jam. When it comes to providing a great night out full of superbly recreated moments, they are without equal. I was never that keen on albums like Dig the New Breed or Live Jam, but, being too young to remember the band’s original (in)carnation, seeing the Fire and Skill of FTJ assured me that everyone was right – The Jam must have been an extraordinary live force.
Teenage Fanclub: the 90s indie legends feted by the likes of Oasis and Kurt Cobain have had a pretty good 2016 with a top-10 album Here, superb UK and US tours and even an appearance on the Andrew Marr Show to boot. Norman Blake and co. also like their, er, trajectory for 2017 with a series of shows planned including a huge date at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in February to end a European tour, followed by jaunts to Japan and Australia.
“Praise is what we crave, it whispers like a lover. Time’s a funny thing, it sings in our ears like a siren.”
John Howard – Across the Door Sill (Occultation Recordings) 8/10
John Howard last week released his latest solo album, following on from the Europe-wide success last year of his new band’s self-titled debut LP John Howard and the Night Mail. Across the Door Sill is a concept album which really delivers the goods despite throwing fans a curveball on first listen, differing markedly from the full band sound of the Night Mail.
Allow me to share with you my five highlights of the year in album form. The list is not exhaustive or exclusive to one genre or another, but click on the videos, explore a bit further if you like what you hear, and enjoy the soundtrack to my year!
Two track debut shows promise for a band on the up.
CUPIDS – Money/A Study in Extremes 8/10
November is almost over. As the turkeys are getting fat and the end of year ‘best of’ lists are taking shape, one event took place this month which is really worth not letting slip under the radar. The first brace of songs from Manchester band Cupids became available to stream and download. To call it a debut is slightly disingenuous. The line up of vocalists/guitarists Sid Cooper and Jake Fletcher, alongside bassist Ryan Comac and drummer James Cardus, all in their mid-twenties, are already road-hardened from their previous incarnation, cult band The Gramotones.
“I have been the father of your son, I have been the mother of your dreams, I have been the brother of your heart, I have been the child you’ll always need…”
John Howard – Storeys (Kid in a Big World) 9/10
Like many, I was converted to the cause of singer-songwriter John Howard earlier this year by his new band, John Howard and the Night Mail. Their debut album received blanket positive reviews from critics, including in several of the larger music magazines. But this was only the latest stage in Howard’s recent renaissance. Perhaps the most logical step into Howard’s recent solo work is 2013’s self-released Storeys. Storeys remains Howard’s best selling solo album since his 1975 effort Kid in a Big World, released on CBS.