1. BLACK WATER COUNTY – THE ONLY LIFE WORTH LIVING
BLACK WATER COUNTY have self-released their third album, THE ONLY LIFE WORTH LIVING, ahead of their headline UK tour in November and December. The album is available on eco-friendly vinyl, with every copy being unique, limited edition orange vinyl, cassette, CD and digital, alongside a new range of merchandise.
The ten track album features the four singles taken from the album over recent months – The Only Life Worth Living, Cruel State Of Mind, Second Guessing (featuring guest vocals from Hannah Greenwood of Creeper) and Here We Are Again.
To coincide with the release, the band will embark on a headline UK tour, as follows:
Thu 09 NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Fri 10 LONDON Camden Assembly
Sat 11 BRISTOL Thekla
Sun 12 PLYMOUTH Junction
Thu 16 LEEDS Key Club
Fri 17 NEWCASTLE Anarchy Brew
Sat 18 GLASGOW Audio
Sat 16 BOURNEMOUTH Old Fire Station
Tickets available from: www.blackwatercounty.co.uk
2. VAN MORRISON – ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
Van Morrison unveils his 45th studio album, Accentuate the Positive, which is out now. Listen HERE. This electrifying homage to rock ‘n’ roll features the recent singles; the Johnny Kidd classic ‘Shakin’ All Over’, ‘Problems’ , ‘Lucille’ and the new single ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’ with Taj Mahal.
Like this year’s acclaimed ‘Moving On Skiffle’, ‘Accentuate The Positive’ sees Van Morrison returning to one of his childhood passions: this time rock ‘n’ roll. Growing up in Belfast shortly after World War II, he was immensely inspired by the heady sounds of 20th century blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Listening to artists such as Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and The Everly Brothers, it wasn’t long until Van was intuitively reinterpreting these sounds with his own band in local hometown venues.
Van Morrison says, ‘Rock ‘n’ roll is about simplicity, sincerity and expressive power and there’s no way you can get away from that. That’s why it’s good and that’s why it’s lasted. It’s spirit music.’
3. JOHNNY MARR – SPIRIT POWER THE BEST OF JOHNNY MARR
Today marks the release of Spirit Power: The Best Of Johnny Marr. A major new collection spotlighting the breadth of musicality across the first ten years of Johnny Marr’s prolific solo career.
The deluxe 2CD edition of Spirit Power features 21 tracks including unheard demos, singles, rarities, and two brand new songs in ‘Somewhere’ and ‘The Answer’ – both shot through with a sense of attack and immediacy.
It’s a song, notes Marr, that would get the approval of his 17 year-old self, mainlining the “narky energy” of Magazine and Buzzcocks, “It’s taken me a long time to write songs that are led by the singing rather than the guitar, and that’s definitely one of them.”
“I’ve played a lot of arenas over the years, and in terms of songwriting, there’s nowhere to hide. For a song to work, it has to be a banger. I know it’s almost uncool to think in those terms, but I grew up in a house where my parents listened to Motown, where you couldn’t get a song released if it wasn’t full of hooks.”
Spirit Power arrives amidst a wave of celebratory activity. Two very special homecoming concerts, titled A Night with the Johnny Marr Orchestra, will take place at Manchester’s Factory International Aviva Studios on 7th and 8th December where, for the first time, Johnny and his band will perform backed by a 30-piece orchestra. Fans can expect a special set spanning Johnny’s entire 40-year career in what is tipped to be an epic finale to his 2023 live tour. Last remaining tickets are on sale here.
4. KATIE MELUA – CALL OFF THE SEARCH
Celebrated singer-songwriter, Katie Melua, has today released the 20th anniversary reissue of her chart-topping breakthrough debut album. Call Off The Search (20th Anniversary – Expanded & Remastered) is out now on 2xCD and 2xLP via BMG and includes b-sides plus seven previously unreleased and pristine demos recorded by Katie in 2002. The album is available here.
Call Off The Search instantly established a then 19 year old Melua as a breakout star, earning commercial success and critical acclaim for its heartfelt themes of love and self discovery and Katie’s unique vocal style, blending jazz, blues, and folk influences with contemporary pop sensibilities. It went on to become one of the best selling albums of 2003, spending 6 weeks at Number 1 and amassing over 2 million sales. Lead single ‘Closest Thing To Crazy’ immediately captured audiences worldwide with its emotive delivery and captivating melody, and hit the top 10 after Katie’s rapturous performance in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the 2003 Royal Variety Show.
Discussing the 20th anniversary reissue, Katie says: “It blows my mind to think that 20 years and 8 albums later I’m still doing what I love, and it all started with my album Call Off The Search.
It went to number one and stayed there for six weeks, and that is where my addiction for making records began. I find it amazing that people still come up to me, mentioning ‘The Closest Thing to Crazy’, ‘Tiger In The Night’ and ‘Call Off The Search’ and it feels incredible to have grown up with a whole generation of people through this music.”
5. GREGORY PORTER – CHRISTMAS WISH
At last! With his customary class, elegance and sophistication, Gregory Porter releases his first ever Christmas album, Entitled ‘Christmas Wish’ it is a loving tribute to his favourite time of year – and to great songwriters, singers and interpreters including Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Dinah Washington and Nat King Cole. In addition to this list of world class names, Mr Porter himself has added to the Christmas catalogue with three original tracks, soon to be favourites for the festive season.
Backed by his long-time band and produced by repeat collaborator Troy Miller, with orchestral contributions recorded at Abbey Road, the album features inspired interpretations of carols, jazz-age standards and soulful sixties deep-cuts including ‘Silent Night’, ‘Little Drummer Boy’, Marvin Gaye’s ‘Purple Snowflakes’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Someday At Christmas’ and Frank Loesser’s ‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?, which features a powerhouse guest vocal from double Grammy-winning sensation Samara Joy.
Gregory will be spreading his love and talents even further, warming up the winter months as he tours the globe with his band. He returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall (after three sold-out shows there earlier this year) for a special, one-off and highly anticipated performance on 13th December, 2023.
6. ERLAND COOPER – FOLDED LANDSCAPES (PIANO VERSION)
Erland Cooper today releases Folded Landscapes (Piano Version), the companion piano album of his latest album, via Mercury KX.
Shaped by the echoes of the glacial caves and the perspective of the ice, this sister record to the original album offers a captivating and meditative journey through music and the natural world. This companion version is a minimal and elegiac solo piano recording of the original 7 movements of his acclaimed chamber strings album earlier this year. Cooper mixed the accompanying piano pieces using the echo captured in the glacial caves of Slavbard, Norway. Scientists working on applied acoustics provided him with impulse responses, allowing him to apply the cave’s unique reverb and sustain to the piano recordings in his studio. The result is a subtle yet profound connection to the sense of place, with every reverb and sound design deriving from the essence of the cave.
EUROPEAN TOUR STARTS NEXT WEEK TICKETS HERE
7. GALEN & PAUL – UNO MÁS
After the bilingual charms, international genre-spanning adventures and picture postcard images of pan-European culture of their debut album ‘Can We Do Tomorrow Another Day?’, Galen & Paul now share the new EP ‘Uno Más’. It continues the vibrant connection established by the acclaimed solo artist and multi-instrumentalist Galen Ayers and Paul Simonon, the legendary bassist and occasional vocalist for The Clash. Listen HERE.
Today also brings news that Galen & Paul will play two headline shows at London’s Bush Hall on April 24th and 25th. Tickets for both shows will be available HERE from 9th November at 9.00am GMT.
Arriving like an encore after the main set of the album, ‘Uno Más’ features four previously unreleased songs from the same recording sessions. They show the depth of the duo’s creativity, each song more than living up to the standard set by the album even if they didn’t make the final cut – clearly for reasons of simple conciseness or flow rather than quality.
8. JAMIE WYATT – FEEL GOOD
Jaime Wyatt releases a genre-defying work of healing and self-love, produced by Black Pumas’ Adrian Quesada, her new album Feel Good via New West.
Hailed by Pitchfork as one of the “most exciting and skillful storytellers” working today, Wyatt is the kind of generational talent whose raw, honest lyricism is matched only by the power of her huge, unmistakable voice. Today, her third and most ambitious album yet – Feel Good, cements this notion, pushing her sound to new sonic and emotional heights, while blurring the lines between classic roots, southern soul, and vintage R&B.
Also out today is the desert-immersed video for album title track, ‘Feel Good’ shot in Sante Fe, New Mexico whilst Wyatt was on tour.