Posts Tagged James

new music: James

james new alubm

One of my favorite British bands, James, releases its 15th studio album, Living in Extraordinary Times, tomorrow, August 3, 2018. I haven’t had a chance to hear the entire album but expect to like it as much as the past release Girl at the End of the World. Vocalist Tim Booth explained the title: “We knew something was up when Leicester city won the league then Brexit, then Trump. It is as if we’d slipped into an alternate reality, a Philip K Dick reality. We are living in extraordinary times.”

After signing to Factory Records in 1982, James went on to release popular singles such as “Sit Down,” She’s a Star” and “Laid” over the past three decades. James has sold 25 million albums worldwide and has performed all over the world. The band continues to tour although hasn’t toured the United States in a while.

track list:

Hank
Coming Home (Pt.2)
Leviathan
Heads
Many Faces
How Hard The Day
Extraordinary Times
Picture Of This Place
Hope To Sleep
Better Than That
Mask
What’s It All About

On new single “Hank,” Tim criticizes American politics and sings: “A jester prancing like a fool/In jest digest the monster/This president’s a dangerous tool”.

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STEELE PICKS: Best Albums of 2016

here’s the music in heavy rotation or that intrigued me or moved me in 2016. we need music and the arts now more than ever. music heals.

chairlift

 

 

Chairlift, Moth [Columbia]
–the duo aptly describes its music as “25th-century folktronica.” infectious beats, sweet vocals. the Brooklyn band just announced its break-up on Twitter.

 

Bat for Lashes, The Bride [Parlophone]
— concept album. all the songs on this album= perfection. dark humor, dark melodies with gorgeous arrangements, provocative lyrics and lilting, rich vocals.

 

Warpaint, Heads Up [Rough Trade]
–the all-female Los Angeles indie band plays soothing, swirling, pretty, contemplative, dreamy, free-spirited music. Warpaint is Emily Kokal (guitar, vocals), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, vocals), Stella Mozgawa (drums, vocals) and Theresa Wayman (guitar, vocals). The new album sounds a bit more pop, a bit more loud and loose without departing from the loveliness that makes up Warpaint’s current musical catalogue.

 

Daughter, Not to Disappear [4AD]
–haunting vocals, swirly moodiness and thoughtful lyrics

 

Tindersticks, The Waiting Room [City Slang]
–sexy, dark music. Singer Stuart Staples oozes romance with that brooding baritone and the varied instrumentation of violin, keyboards, percussion and guitar leads to gorgeous layered arrangements.

 

Band of Horses, Why Are You OK [Interscope]
–this band makes me feel slightly warm and fuzzy. also one of the best shows this year.

 

Julianna Barwick, Will [Dead Oceans]
–this album soothes and calms. I often listen to it while I’m at acupuncture. my review.

 

The Julie Ruin, Hit Reset [Hardly Art]
–edgy brilliance. The spectacular album bursts with a tangible emotiveness, unapologetic lyrics and a collective embrace for individual truth and identity.

 

Basia Bulat, Good Advice [Secret City]
–there’s an earthy loveliness in the Canadian folk singer-songwriter’s vocals. her captivating and honest lyrics get buoyed by layered melodies.

 

James, Girl at the End of the World [BMG]
–one of my favorite 90s Britpop bands. this electronica/ indie-rock album does not disappoint. my review.

 

Suede, Night Thoughts [Warner Bros.]
–another one of my favorite British bands from the 90s still at it.

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best albums of of 2016 so far

chairlift

Chairlift, Moth [Columbia]

–the band aptly describes its music as “25th-century folktronica.” there’s a creepiness and blandness to moths. when a moth flies at me, I’m not going to embrace it as I would a butterfly although they’re in the same family.  moths don’t glide and look beautiful but fly like they’re on an escalator. moving forward in place. that suits Chairlift. a bit muddled. definitely engaging.

Bat for Lashes, The Bride [Parlophone]

–even though this album only came out on July 1, the songs on this album= perfection. dark humor, dark melodies, gorgeous arrangements and provocative lyrics. one of my absolute favorite artists.

Julianna Barwick, Will [Dead Oceans]

–this album soothes and calms. I often listen to it while I’m at acupuncture. my review.

Daughter, Not to Disappear [4AD]

–in heavy rotation. haunting vocals, swirly moodiness and thoughtful lyrics.

James, Girl at the End of the World [BMG]

my review

Band of Horses, Why Are You OK [Interscope]

–this band makes me feel slightly warm and fuzzy.

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music review: James

james girl

In 1994, James catapulted into the U.S. spotlight with the cheeky, yet layered single “Laid” from the album of the same name. The band formed in the 80s in Manchester, England. Part of the 90s Britpop wave along with The Stone Roses, Charlatans UK, Blur, Oasis, Happy Monday, Pulp and The Wonder Stuff. I adored Britpop back in the 90s. It was my heart. In 1997 the band released its seventh album Whiplash with the wonderful songs “She’s a Star” and “Tomorrow.” I giddily interviewed bassist James Glennie in 1997 as contributing editor/writer for the Boston zine Instant Magazine.

In the 90s James was one of my favorite bands. When one of my favorite bands returns with new music, I become nostalgic and also apprehensive. I analyzed the words to every song. Cerebral lyrics ranged from self-improvement to politics [google “Sit Down”] . Heartbreaking, comforting, making me feel less a one-off weirdo. If you could wear out a CD I did. Several times over. Seven remains my favorite James album. Favorite songs [many of them!] include: “Sometimes”/ “Say Something”/ “Born of Frustration”/ “Sit Down”/ “You Can’t Tell How Much Suffering (On A Face That’s Always Smiling)” / “How Was It For You?”/ ”Out to Get You”/ She’s a Star.”

Many bands will remain synonymous with the 90s alternative/ indiepop/indierock/Britpop days, many popular 90s-era bands and artists are touring [Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Belly, Jesus Jones, Radiohead] and some never stopped. Some put out new material sporadically. Is it a comeback or a continuation after a brief hiatus? That’s difficult to say. Musicians generally keep writing, keep recording, keep performing. I thought that James hadn’t released anything since 1997. But that’s not true. The band took a break in 2001 and reformed in 2007. Somehow I missed some of those other James albums such as Millionaires [1999] and The Night Before [2010]. My relationships with music publicists vacillate. Also we know how fickle music consumers can be. Marketing and music sales have dramatically. I still like [or appreciate] many bands I liked in the 90s but it was a different time, a different decade and will always remind me of my 20s when I was insecure and figuring out a path. I’m still questioning myself and my choices.

So now, over 32 years after signing to Factory Records in 1982, James released its fourteenth album Girl at the End of The World on March 18, 2016. This electronica/ indie-rock album soars on the opener “Bitch” with its wah-wah guitar and the slow-burning “Attention” — a call to arms with its bold urgency—as well as the optimistic “Nothing But Love.” Then “To My Surprise” rouses and burns. Gentleness and Tim Booth’s subtler vocals blend with a funkadelic keyboard-based beat on “Dear John.” The best song “Catapult” features an upbeat attitude, deep riffs and a vaudeville arrangement. The current single “Girl at the End of the World” is a good one with its distinctive James-y wave. Another stand-out is “Move Down South” with its haunting beats and thoughtful lyrics about our relationship to the environment—“too late we’re all responsible/ too late to hold a wake/ we’re all drilled out..” Ah James. Be still my heart. Shatter my soul.

–review by Amy Steele

Girl at the End of the World
BMG
release date: March 18, 2016

purchase at Amazon: Girl At The End Of The World

James Discography:

• Stutter (1986)
• Strip-mine (1988)
• Gold Mother (1990) (re-released in 1991 as James)
• Seven (1992)
• Laid (1993)
• Wah Wah (1994)
• Whiplash (1997)
• Millionaires (1999)
• Pleased to Meet You (2001)
• Hey Ma (2008)
• The Night Before (2010)
• The Morning After (2010)
• La Petite Mort (2014)
• Girl at the End of the World (2016)

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