Village Green Preservation Society

Pete Quaife the bassist with The Kinks sadly passed away during the week. He was a founding member of one of the greatest and most influential if slightly underrated bands of all time, playing on all of the early Kinks classics, including ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘All Day and All of the Night’ and ‘Waterloo Sunset’.

The Kinks have always been a special band for me, from the early years of hearing old crackley 45s being played by my da to going out and buying the records and CDs myself. Here’s two favorites from one of the great albums The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

The Kinks – Picture Book

The Kinks – Village Green Preservation Society

Cast Reform for 15-year Anniversary Tour

Hmmmmmm. Re-unions can be tricky things but at the hazard of being ridiculed I’m pleased to hear this one, they were after all one of my favourite bands as a young teenager.

We live in unusual and uncertain times or so we’re told and the surprising news that Cast will reunite for a string of UK shows to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their debut album certainly was unusual. All Change was one of the best albums from the co-called Britpop era but the often mocked Liverpool four-piece failed to deliver anything of this standard with three subsequent records before their eventual split in 2001.

It’s certainly a strange development as lead singer John Power had appeared to have fallen out of love with his old songs and moved down a folky route with three solo albums Happening For Love, Willow She Weeps and Stormbreaker.

The singer revealed [to the NME] that he made the decision to reunite his old band mates after he started working on a body of new material which he felt would be right for Cast saying “Something’s brewing in my mind and it’s ready to pop,” he enthused. “I’ve been writing a body of work that has made me feel at peace with the stuff I’ve done in the past and I don’t want to think too far ahead, but I thought it would probably work for Cast. So I thought, ‘Why don’t we get together?”.

All Change sold over one million records and spawned four Top 20 hit singles – ‘Fine Time’, ‘Alright’, ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Walkaway’.

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UK Dates:

Manchester Academy 2 (November 26)
Glasgow 02 ABC (27)
Liverpool 02 Academy (29)
London 02 Shepherds Bush Empire (December 3)

Introducing: The Lowly Knights

We seem to be currently witnessing a welcome revival of fortunes for folk music with Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Munford & Son et al proudly flying the flag but what of closer to home? Belfast’s The Lowly Knights look set to do the same and continue Ireland’s distinguished tradition in this genre.

Their journey began with humble beginnings, a one-off gig in their hometown led to further gigs (some sellouts), sharing the stage with numerous big names and critical acclaim for their expansive live shows and releases to date. They instil a real sense of optimism through their music which is hugely intricate and vastly layered with beautiful harmonies, soaring orchestral arrangements, and second to none melodic sensibilities – not leaving any of the ever-growing musical ensemble empty-handed.

While they broadly encompass much of what the folk fraternity is doing elsewhere their sound is very distinctive and has an authentic northern touch, due in no small to the instantly recognizable and endearing Belfast brogue – the final and key ingredient making them unique and familiar at the same time and one of the most exciting prospects on this island.

Make up your own mind below.

Mp3: The Lowly Knights – Devotion

The Lowly Knights – Miracle

[The Hollow EP is out now | The Lowly Knights play Castlepalooza 31st July/1st August]

Video: Gorillaz ‘On Melancholy Hill’

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‘Melancholy Hill’ is the second single from Gorillaz fantastic album Plastic Beach (if you haven’t checked it out do so now). There’s been a lot of care and thought put into what is a pretty expansive video which also features cartoon versions of Snoop Dogg , De la Soul and a bizarre Popeye.

This has fast become a favourite of mine due in no small way to the superb performance on Jools Holland.