Archive for Blur

Secret Colours’ “Peach” Drips With Hooks and Talent

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Chicago’s Secret Colours have just released their second album, Peachand it is everything that name implies — sweet, tasty, and a satisfying summer treat.  Their first album, Secret Colours, had sufficient reverb to qualify them to play at next week’s Bathysphere: A Psychonautical Voyage, wherein they’re paired with “new gaze” and neo-psychedelic bands like First Communion Afterparty. But if we are to rave about Peach — and get ready, cuz we’re about to — let’s first clarify what kind of band Secret Colours really are, and what they aren’t.

Based on Peach alone, they’re not a psychedelic band.  They are, at their roots, a riff-resplendent blues band with a gloss of pop chops that bear a stronger resemblance to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Blur than to any of the bands they’ll play with in Minneapolis on Friday night.  But that’s good company to be in, and on Peach, there are no fewer than 10 songs you could easily hope would make it onto radio playlists from the ’60s – the Aughts.  Tommy Evans doesn’t have a distinctive voice, he just has a voice you could listen to for hours.  Similarly, guitarist Brian Stach cannot play a single note you don’t want to listen to.  Producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse) has managed to harness good songwriting, great guitar playing, and charismatic singing to create a sound that, measure for measure, is always surprising.  “Wow,” you say, “I did not see that (riff/solo/shift) coming.”  Did we mention they are really young, and this is but their second album?

Since we’ve been playing the album, uh, nonstop for days, we do wonder whether they’ve simply got us under their spell, a band like, say, the Vines or maybe Jet, that, because they know how to pull together hooks and riffs and a purring voice into sonic candy, they lead you to gorge on empty calories, and you hate yourself in the morning.  Pretty sure that’s not the case here, as long as you accept them for what they are.

Bottom line: Secret Colours is a band like the Plimsouls that beguile you on the basis, essentially, of strong songwriting, singing, and guitar playing, and that’s enough.  Yes, some of the underlying song structure can, for a moment, make them sound like a generic ’90s rock band. They maybe could have pared the album by three songs.  But cast those doubts aside.  This is a band that is as confident, though nowhere near as obnoxious, as Oasis was two albums in.  Peach is an album you can play over and over again and still want to hear more.  They are much more commercial than a true alternative band.  But that’s just fine.  It’s a good thing when an excellent band becomes huge, as we — and they — have every reason to believe they’ll be.

So Graham Coxon’s The Guitarist on Pete Doherty’s “Grace/Wasteland”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 31, 2009 by johnbuckley100

Yes, it matters.  If you were to — as I did — just preview Doherty’s solo album via the iTunes 30-second snippets, you might hear the notoriously dissolute Libertine and Babyshambler in the Kinks-influenced guise all British rock stars at some point don — part music hall showman, part busker — and be tempted to pass.  It was only with the arrival of the December Uncut and its boss interview with Blur guitar genius Graham Coxon that we learned he’s the axeman on it.  And of course, when you hear a song like “Palace and Bone” it all comes clear, and it is pretty wondrous.

I didn’t succumb to the charms of Coxon’s folk album, The Spinning Top.  I want to hear him play those weird, twisted tunings like “Song 2” all the livelong day, not an update of Bert Jansch.  I want his solo albums to be like Happiness in Magazines, the best British Powerpop album of 1979, even if it was released in like 2004. On Pete Doherty’s “Grace/Wasteland”, Coxon’s able to shine the light on both sides of his musical personality, the rough and raw and the fey and magical, gloriously twisted in both camps.

Admission: Tulip Frenzy ranked Babyshambles’ Shotters Nation one of the best albums of 2007, and the resistance to Doherty’s solo album was a reluctance to commit, to take a leap of faith.  It took the knowledge that Graham Coxon — perhaps the most brilliant guitarist between Nels Cline and the White Cliffs of Dover — was standing there on that Albion precipice to get us to jump.  Thank Heaven we did.  An eye opener, and ear pleaser, this one is.

Blur : Midlife

Posted in Music with tags , on August 9, 2009 by johnbuckley100

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There aren’t that many guitarists who qualify as geniuses, but Graham Coxon is one. When it came time for someone to put together a really intelligent Blur collection, lo and behold, it’s almost like they had showcasing Coxon in mind.  Granted, hard to do a Blur collection and avoid the guitarist, but thank Heaven whoever was in charge of this had the right sensibiity.  What a great band.

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