Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday's Zen - Winston's Take on the Best of the UK Scene


Sometime around the start of January 1995, Richey Edwards gave his bandmates a folder with a picture of Buggs Bunny on the front and the word “Opulence” emblazoned across it. As well as being home to a collection of their troubled frontmans assorted haiku’s, drawings and collages, the folder contained the basis of twenty-eight new songs. On February 1995, the day he was due to leave for a US promotional tour, Richey Edwards checked out of his London hotel and disappeared forever. In November of last year, after over a decade of holding on to his missing-persons status, Richey Edwards was finally presumed dead.

Journal For Plague Lovers, Manic Street Preachers ninth studio album is made up of songs taken from the twenty-eight Richey left behind. The record has garnered the kind of critical praise the Manics last enjoyed before their talismanic frontmans disappearance. Bursting into the UK album chart last week the bands interpretation of their former members final lyrics were kept from the top spot only by the co-inciding returns of US giants Eminem and Green Day.

Try out Jackie Collins Existential Question Time for size and head over to your usual record store to grab your copy of the LP.

Video: Manic Street Preachers - Jackie Collins Existential Question Time

Manic Street Preachers Links:
Homepage | MySpace | Last.fm | Spotify
Buy CDs | Buy MP3s


Melancholic indie stalwarts Doves were denied a momentus hat-trick last month when their latest (and possibly greatest) LP, Kingdom of Rust missed out on the UK Album Charts top spot, a prize claimed by both their previous efforts, 2005s Some Cities, and 2002s The Last Broadcast. Reports of the smallest winning margin in the album charts history will have felt like scant consolation. Lady GaGa’s uber-pop debut The Fame apparently crossed the line with just six more copies sold than the sultry Manchester three piece.

“What can you do?” drummer Jimi Goodwin told the BBC. "The funny thing about it is that the bigger story is that a lot of independent shops can't afford to pay for the gallop machine or whatever it's called these days - the machines which tally these things up."

In attempt to make ammends for forgetting to buy the album at the right time, I've bought three CDs, downloaded seven copies, and petitioned the local authorities to have Zen Avenue officially renamed Avenue of Rust as way of an apology. I ask you, what have you done?

Doves Links
Homepage | MySpace | Last.fm | Spotify
Buy CDs | Download MP3s


London trio Bleech boast a winning combination of hardwork, killer tunes, and good looks that seem set to see them clean up on the UK indie scene.

Managed by Andy Ross, the brains behind 90’s brit-pop legends Blur, Bleech are fronted by sisters Katherine and Jenifer O’Neil, both talented guitarists and on-stage visions of rock-chick perfection. Sticksman Matt Bick may be the only male presence but he provides enough bare-chested testosterone to provide an undercurrent of masculinity to their grunge tinged indie.

Their female-to-male ratio inevitably draws comparisons to Elastica and The Pixies, but Bleech’s real sound draws influences from altogether more male sources. Adrenalin Junkie is a salacious Verve meets The Libertines affair, and the gorgeous Flowerhands at times nods towards an early Radiohead. Recent well received shows at both Camden Crawl and Great Escape, and enthusiastic mentions in the mainstream press (NME called them ‘hard to resist’) will have done the bands chances no harm at all.

Debut single Is It True That Boys Don’t Cry is available now through Pure Groove records. I suggest you go buy it.

MP3 – Bleech - Weirdo

Bleech Links:
Zendar | MySpace | Last.fm


Anyone who’s spent anytime reading Winston’s Zen will already know of our profound love for punk-rocker turned solo troubadour Frank Turner. Frank writes heartfelt, deeply personal songs but packages them in a way that makes them feel wholly inclusive. His intelligent, down-to-earth lyrics are always a joy to these ears, and I can testify that his live show is consistently brilliant slice of surprisingly rocky fun.

Stateside music fans can get a taste of Turner this summer as Frank has been confirmed as the first support on the US Offspring Tour starting 30th June and taking in no less than fifteen venues accorss North America. If you’ve got tickets for the tour, get down early and you’ll be in for a treat.

Those dates are;

30th June @ CMAC, Rochester, NY, USA
1st July @ Mohawk Place, Buffalo, NY, USA (no Offspring)
2nd July @ Molson Amphitheater, Toronto, Canada
5th July @ Le Divan Orange, Montreal, Canada (no Offspring)
6th July @ Valentine's, Albany, NY, USA (no Offspring)
7th July @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ, USA
8th July @ Roseland, New York, NY, USA
10th July @ Tsongas Arena, Boston, MA, USA
11th July @ Meadowbrook, Gilford, NH, USA
13th July @ Talking Head, Baltimore, MD, USA (no Offspring)
14th July @ Charlotte Boutique Amphitheater, NC, USA
15th July @ House Of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC, USA (Sum 41, no Offspring)
16th July @ Hard Rock, Orlando, FL, USA
17th July @ St Augustine Amphitheater, Jacksonville, FL, USA
18th July @ Pompano Beach Amphitheater, Miami, FL, USA

Frank Turner links:
Homepage | MySpace | Last.fm | Spotify
Buy CDs | Buy MP3s

Back soon Ripple riders.

Winston's Zen

Good music brings inner peace...
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