Posts Tagged ‘suede’

features, music

The Stones at Glasto. The Roses on tour. Is rock and roll now an old man’s game?

By Stefano on March 28th, 2013

stones

Well it wasn’t me who said it. The words actually came from the lips of one Robyn Hitchcock. But then again he has a new album to promote – which is very, very good – and it is his 60th birthday.

But it does strike me that there might be a grain of truth in his words, what with those hip young gunslingers The Rolling Stones headlining Glastonbury and the summer full of reunions of 80s and 90s bands hoping for one last big pay day.

And this week I had a bit of an epiphany in comparing the latest releases from NME’s flavour of the month Peace and the new album from 80s indie rock legends The House Of Love.

The Peace album has its moments, but it clearly isn’t anywhere near as good as the hyped review from the NME and others makes it out to be. It sounds like B list Brit Pop – and not in a good way.

As for The House of Love’s She Paints Words In Red, it boasts lots of crafted tunes, inspired guitar and intelligent lyrics. It lacks a little of the oomph of the band in its heyday – especially on their epic pair of first two albums, but it is way better than the Peace album.

It also strikes me that the latest crop of hyped bands – like Peace, the Palma Violets etc aren’t that great. Last year’s mob – Jake Bugg, Toy, Temples etc were a lot more interesting.

However before you write me off as an ageing curmudgeon with a Suede fetish, I actually listen to more new music than at any point in my life courtesy of the wonder that is Spotify.

What is wrong with British music fans?

My theory is that rock music has become an old man’s game – but only in the UK and that is because of the weird legacy of the old music press and the way it shaped how we saw new bands.

In the UK we are still suckers for the concept of the package – the band with the personalities, clothes, images and haircuts – as much as the music. Trouble is they don’t come along very often. The last band to perfectly fit the bill were The Strokes (who took off in the UK long before they mean anything in the US) and they made, well one great album and one good one, and the new one is horrendous. Maybe The Arctic Monkeys too, though before Alexa rocked up they looked like a few northern plumbers on a Thursday night pub crawl. It is why we are still obsessed with The Libertines too, who were a great soap opera, but musically nowhere near as good as their heroes.

So the great stars of yesterday – who had the image and the music and something to say too – the Stones, Roses, Bowie etc still fit the bill of what we except from our rock stars.

It feels like the rest of the world doesn’t share our obsession with the package. Tame Impala are a huge global band now and they are clearly way more passionate about their music than they are about their trousers. As are countless of other American, Australian and European bands.

So maybe it is time us Brits stopped fretting about outdated notions of what rock stars should and shouldn’t be. It really is all about the music now. And until we embrace that hundreds of really great British bands and artists like The Horrors, Ulysses, The Clientele, Magic Theatre, The Real Tuesday Weld, Darren Hayman and The Soundcarriers to name but a few, aren’t going to get the attention their superb music truly deserves.



music

New Suede album Bloodsports: suprisingly good shocker – listen to it here

By Stefano on March 12th, 2013

SuedeBand reunions don’t tend to end too well now do they? Sure that mammoth one off gig in front of adoring fans is a win for both band and its devotees. It is when the band decides to regroup in the studio that the fun seems to end as invariably the band create music that adds very little to their legend.

There was however one key band reunion in the mid noughties that not only generated some amazing gigs, but yielded one of the best albums of that decade.

Here Come The Tears, the reunion album that teamed up Brett Anderson and Bernard Bulter for the first time since Dog Man Star was an absolute triumph. Joyful uplifting songs, sensitive thoughtful lyrics and that incendiary wall of sound guitar effect that was pure Butler. It was a work of genius and had they recorded it in the mid nineties it would be seen as the jewel of the Suede canon – along with Dog Man Star. But because they were older and wiser and apparently still at each other’s throats, it bombed.

Which brings me neatly onto yet another reunion album – Suede’s Bloodsports. Due in the store next week it is the band’s first since their ‘not as terrible as everyone makes out’ 2002 swansong A New Morning and while it is no Here Come The Tears it is a very strong record.

It seems like Brett has once again got ants in his pants. New Morning and its predecessor Head Music was low on the classic shoot for the skies anthemic pop songs that made the band special in the first place. By the time you get to the single Its Starts And Ends With You on Bloodsports you will have already heard three stratospheric pop songs. This is the sound of a band with its Mojo in tact. Bloodsports may even be the long lost follow up to Coming Up.

Barriers, you probably know. It might owe a little to mid period U2 with all that yelping, but the way the tune twists and turns is inspired. It Starts And Ends With You is classic Suede and possibly the best single since Beautiful Ones. This song is just wonderfully crafted. It all fits together so perfectly from its angsty guitar riffs through to Brett’s high notes at the end of the chorus.

Then there’s Sabotage which starts modestly enough but blossoms into a wonderfully anthemic tune (U2 again folks) with another glorious Oakes guitar coda. Its finale is magnificent.

For the Strangers is yet another gem, if anything it is the track that sounds most like The Tears, while Hit Me in the old days would probably have been their first single from the album – immediate, anthemic (that word again) and with plenty of Brett’s trademark la, la, la’s.

Then we get on to the ballads. Here Come The tears has a quartet of classic slowies, and on Bloodsports Brett shows us that he still has the knack of creating delicate melodies that tug on the heart strings. What Are You Not Telling Me nails that self-pitying whimper that Anderson has perfected over the years. But even that dramatic tune is put in the shade by the double killer punch of Always and Faultines. Think Asphalt World and Still Life as the template and you won’t be too far off. They might not be as epic as those two songs, but the distance isn’t as great as you might think.

So Bloodsports is great. A wonderful statement of all that was great about Suede first time round before the drugs and egos kicked in.

It isn’t Dog Man Star, it isn’t Here Come The Tears – but then again not much is. For now though this will do brilliantly.

Listen to it here.



music

Why the new Suede track Barriers makes me yearn for The Tears

By Stefano on January 23rd, 2013

In case you missed it in the post Christmas and New Year comedown (and the fact that David Bowie announced his album the day after) glam popsters Suede are back with a new album in March and Brett Anderson is very excited about its potential.

He told the NME

“[It's] called ‘Bloodsports’. It’s about lust, it’s about the chase, it’s about the endless carnal game of love. It was possibly the hardest we ever made but certainly is the most satisfying. It’s 10 furious songs have reclaimed for me what Suede was always about: drama, melody and noise.”

Preceding even the official single ‘It Starts And Ends With You’, which is due in February, the band have unveiled a new track called Barriers, which is getting loads of plays on BBC Radio Six.

I must admit I wasn’t too impressed the first few times I heard it – Killers-lite came to mind, but I stuck with it and it sure has a catchy chorus and oddly it reminds me of The Manic Street Preachers in their early 90s heyday. And as for that whoop it is straight out of the Bono handbook.

More than anything else though it has me scuttling back not to Suede’s 90s albums but the orphan of the band’s catalogue 2005′s brilliant Here Come The Tears.

The Tears was the reunion band that featured both Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler who played a series of gigs and recorded a very special album in 2005. Both Anderson and Butler were seemingly at a bit of a loose end and to be fair after the project both would be energised and go on to incredible things – Anderson with the triumphant Suede reunion tour and Butler with his production duties for Duffy et al.

In 2005 the band’s status was at its lowest ebb, it wasn’t long enough away from the weaker albums that they band made at the end of their career, Butler hadn’t yet found his muse and Anderson was months away from his solo career. So when Here Come The Tears was released it was met by mainly polite reviews (it got very few bad ones) and a great deal of indifference.

Sure hardcore Suede fans, excited by the of the coming together of the two main protagonists of the band – who basically hadn’t spoken to each other since Butler walked out of the Dog Man Star sessions – cherished the album, but it was quickly forgotten. The fact that Anderson seemed very keen to bury The Tears almost as quickly as the band had got going, didn’t help either.

If you approach it with fresh ears I am sure you will conclude Here Come The Tears is an absolute glam pop masterpiece. It might not be Dog Man Star but, boy it runs it close. Personally I rate it as one of the best five or so albums of the last decade and believe that one day it will be hailed as a masterpiece.

If ever two musicians were meant to be together it is these two. On the album Butler takes some gorgeous Anderson-penned tunes and kicks them off into the stratosphere with that incendiary multi tracked guitar/wall of sound that made the early Suede records so special. The tunes seem to have an oomph and a drive sadly missing in almost all their post-Coming Up Recordings.

Just like Coming Up, its nearest equivalent in the Suede canon, Here Come The Tears is a like a greatest hits album. Potential single follows potential single each one packing the type of hooks, harmonies, killer guitar moments and glammy drama that their rivals at the time could only dream about.

Highlights? Every track has something special. If you want Trash-like anthems than take Lovers, Refugees and Autograph. If you love Dog Man Star style brilliantly executed dramatic ballads then how about Apollo 13 and The Ghost of You. There’s even a big finale in vein of The Next Life – the difference is that the minor key piano-driven A Love As Strong As Death is even more memorable than the album codas that precede it.

Finally Brett is on fine form lyrically. Sure there’s the odd cheesy rhyme, but the tale of clearing a dead mother’s house in The Ghost Of You and the contagious you and me against the world vibe of Two People and Lovers are much sharper and more resonant than anything he has written in a while.

Here Come The Tears is a joyous celebration of life, love and death. It is the sound of two souls who reunited and re-discovered themselves. If Bloodsports is a fifth as good as this it will be a wonderful album.

 



Footwear

New Puma Suede

By jsmith on July 16th, 2009

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Puma have been digging around in the dead stock closet and come out with a butt load of new Suede colours hitting the shelves at the end of the summer. Puma Suedes akin to the Reebok Pump, the Adidas Shell Toes and the Nike Air Max1 are mega players in the sneaker world, never looking dated and always being refreshed with new colourways.

If you really like to draw attention then why not team a pair of these with some bleached denim when they drop late August. Available from Wellgosh and other top retailers.

Jump through for more images.

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Accessories, Brand Spotlight, Footwear

Opening Ceremony shoes: Do Androids Dream of Electric (Blue) Feet?

By SLaw on June 16th, 2009

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New York & Los Angeles-based boutique Opening Ceremony is already a favourite with fashion insiders, with a wide-ranging selection of fine labels, cuts and accessories; much like to London’s b Store, but with added vintage finds. Like that Savile Row emporium, their own-brand shoes have become staples with footwear connoisseurs.

And it’s easy to see why. Understatedly simple design, well put together and beautifully finished; they are shoes that are designed to last beyond one season. Originally seen in the post-war US airforce, the classic blue suede shoe has been updated in an electric indigo (Some call it International Klein Blue, some call it Celia Blue), which should by rights pigeonhole them as one-hit wonders, but is striking rather than fashion-victim. They also exist in a clean, desert boot style, and in a darker suede, with a Lanvinesque patent leather toe. Suede isn’t exactly the most practical of materials (just ask Elvis), but when it’s executed this well, frankly, who cares?

Available from online fashion oasis, Farfetch (via the V-Store in Copenhagen), and French retailer Tres Bien Shop.



Footwear, Sales

Aquascutum orange desert boots from Farfetch

By admin on January 16th, 2009

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Click image to enlarge

Splashing out on a pair of brightly coloured suede boots might not be your biggest priority at the moment but Aquascutum’s desert boots are pretty appealing.

Orange is one of the big colour trends to come out of womenswear this season and it’s a great shade to pep up staple menswear items like beige khakis, grey cardigans and jeans. What’s more the boots are on sale with 30% off at Farfetch so you’ve got a great excuse should you wish to treat yourself to something to perk up the post-Christmas slump.



pick of the blogs

Pick of the Blogs: purple suede moccasins, fish shoes and Jeff Buckley

By admin on August 8th, 2008

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Purple moccasins are where it’s at, no seriously. Actually I totally see what Bon Vivant means. [SavoirVivre]
Jeff Buckley is such an great style icon for this season, why didn’t I think of it first?! No go and listen to Grace. [Style Salvage]
Fund the design, get Jimyo’s t-shirt. Simple as that. [Hide Your Arms]
The fish print on Tretorn’s pumps is so beautiful it almost brings tears to my eyes. Almost! That’s just a er… A dusty eyelash in my contact lens. [Nylon for Guys]



Uncategorized

Nike Considered Terra CI

By admin on May 9th, 2008

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Nike have released a new model of their Considered range of trainers, the Terra CI which they call an earth-friendly adventure must-have. Never mind that when I go on an adventure the first thing I bring with me is some booze these trainers have got a certain lego-like appeal. Kinda Balenciaga at a stretch?

They’re made from recycled mesh and a mysterious material called Phylon but the best/worst thing about them depending on your opinion is the shoelace fastened sole which makes them look like a Michel Gondry creation.



Uncategorized

Clarks Originals Re Heat shoe

By ShinyMedia on April 23rd, 2007

Clarksoriginals

I love Clarks Originals, I may hate pie-crust shoes more than anything but some of their less copied styles are lovely. These shoes feature an all-important punched leather part which is very trendy at the moment, but more importantly keeps you cool. The Re heat name might be a reference to the crepe sole, which can easily rejuvenated by heating in a oven, but please don’t take my word for it. They come in easily dirtied greige suede but see after the jump for a slightly more wearable "mackerel" suede and white leather combo.

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