FROU FROU, AMY WINEHOUSE, THE KILLS, BETH HART, THE ANCHORESS, KATE BUSH
I've been away for the "platty joobs" long weekend and away from my computer for a lovely long break but it has meant that my brain struggled a bit to gather itself into writing mode for this week's blog. To the extent that I found myself on Wikipedia looking for some inspiration for a good opening sentence about Frou Frou's Imogen Heap. How's this one: "Her work has been considered pioneering in pop and electropop music". Sounds about right to me. I first encountered Imogen about eighteen years ago when she collaborated with Jeff Beck (who I was working for at the time) at the Royal Albert Hall. I then saw the film Garden State which featured the Frou Frou song 'Let Go' over the closing credits and went straight to the big HMV on Oxford Street upon leaving the cinema and bought the album Details which had come out a couple of years previously - 4th June 2002, precisely. And I played that CD A LOT. The clever ones amongst this blog's readership will spot that that release date is 20 years ago this week, and so we have a 20th anniversary 6-track Frou Frou EP entitled Off Cuts to mark that anniversary. They are all subtitled with 'demo' but they are very polished in terms of some of the demos I have heard in my life! And five of the six are completely unreleased songs (a live version of 'Guitar Song' was released a few years ago). I'm classing this as quite the big deal since prior to recent weeks, the entire digitally available discography of the band featuring Imogen and Guy Sigsworth amounted to twelve tracks. So as a result, this EP increases the discography by 50%! And safe to say that all six tracks are very worthy additions...
Also missing from my life this week due to "platty joobs" travel is any vinyl listening. So I haven't got a comprehensive review of Amy Winehouse Live At Glastonbury 2007 as yet since it's not available digitally. It's a 2LP release of her set on the Pyramid Stage fifteen years ago this month (available in black vinyl and limited edition clear options), recorded eight months after the release of her album Back To Black - and the artwork features notes from Glastonbury's Emily Eavis.
The Kills have reissued their 2005 album No Wow this week - complete with a brand new mix of it. No Wow (The Tchad Blake Mix 2022) is a bonus disc accompanying the original album on both the double-disc vinyl and CD formats, and is a standalone digital release too. Domino are calling this a 15th anniversary release - my maths makes it seventeen, but who's counting...!
Beth Hart's Led Zeppelin covers album released earlier this year was a real delight. She's released a new extended version of 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' this week, complete with a silent video. This is actually the second silent video she has released (the first was for her version of 'Black Dog'). Presumably the synch costs or permissions with the LZ camp were too difficult - but by releasing a silent video, and the standalone audio, fans are able to "synch" the two together themselves. Smart woman.
Released last Tuesday, just after last week's blog was published, was the latest Bandcamp cover by The Anchoress. Catherine Anne Davies has been recording cover versions for Bandcamp Fridays, and although Bandcamp Friday is on a hiatus until September, she is keeping the covers coming. I'll admit to having been very confused about the cover version dropping last Tuesday rather than Friday, and I think I wasn't the only one. The latest is her take on The Cure's massive hit 'Friday I'm In Love' (which makes it all the funnier that it came out on a Tuesday!). These don't tend to stay around for long, so check it out before it goes back into the archives.
I might not have done much listening on vinyl this week, but I enjoyed my first outdoor gig in years at the weekend - whilst in Dublin I got a ticket to see Deacon Blue and Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott perform at the opening night of a festival series in the park across the road from where I grew up. It was a gorgeous summer's evening, perfect for a bit of a singalong to the likes of 'Dignity' and 'Real Gone Kid' and 'Song For Whoever' and 'Rotterdam'. And both Jacqui Abbott and Deacon Blue's Lorraine McIntosh were a joy to watch.
And great to see Kate Bush in the top five of the UK singles chart midweeks at the moment too - as a result of 'Running Up That Hill' featuring in the new series of Stranger Things on Netflix. Can she beat Harry Styles to the top spot on Friday? I've added the song to the Reissues By Women 2022 Spotify Playlist which will undoubtedly help...!!