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Album: Neils Children – Dimly Lit

Dimly LitMusic in 2013 is sometimes hard to get a fix on. Thanks to the internet, sampling and an attitude which is far less reverent to ‘sacred cows’, labels can be hard to make stick as bands beg, borrow and steal and often change sound or direction within a song let alone an album.

But I will stick my neck out and claim Neils Children for the English Pastoral Psych/Folk Revival. Yes, along with such disparate acts as Jacco Gardner, Belbury Poly and Matt Berry, their world moves to Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd, the Wickerman soundtrack, whooshing noises from Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’, and a modern sheen in terms of production, samples and rhythm. They are the names which rattle around your brain while listening to Dimly Lit.

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Adele overtakes Pink Floyd on UK all-time albums sale chart

There are some things which have stayed the same for so long that you just sort of assume they were always that way. Your brain can’t really remember when you didn’t have a computer on your desk at work. It’s almost beyond comprehension that there was a time when you couldn’t get a hold of somebody on the phone pretty much 24/7. And yes, there once really only were 3 channels. But while all those changes seemed strangely organic, the UK Top 10 album sales of all-time would surely never change. Queen. Pink Floyd. Dire Straits. Abba. The Beatles. There they were and there they’d stay. Especially seeing how no-one buys albums any more, do they?

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The Friday 5 – Dressing Up

Would you go out tonight if you only had a stitch to wear? Well, the world of music wants to help. There’s no shortage of sartorial options available. From the outlandish to the plain, we’re bound to found something which suits you, sir. Let’s have a look:

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In the City 2010

In the City was the late Tony Wilson’s gift to the British music industry, featuring guest speakers and a whole host of unsigned bands competing to be awarded the unofficial title of ‘boys or girls most likely to.’ This year’s event is in Manchester and features panellists including Elbow’s Guy Garvey and The Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess. It runs from the 13th to 15th and this year focuses on technology.

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News Nuggets – Fully nutritional

A week is a long time in politics. And also in jail. But not in rock music, where trends rise and fall with the regularity of a prune-loving health freak. A day can irrevocably alter the landscape. Everything changes, as Gary Barlow and the boys were at pains to point out. Who are we to argue? We just look at the biggest events and report them to you, dear reader. We seek no thanks. Reward-in-heaven, that’s us. Continue reading

New to You – Juniper Leaf

There’s something uniquely English about pastoral rock. Roy Harper, the Incredible String Band (who were Scottish, but we’ll ignore that) and even the less bombastic Led Zeppelin tracks all spring to mind. It’s the sound of getting it together in the country, of forging beauty from something whimsical, of centuries of tradition. Juniper Leaf come from this section of the rock spectrum. Continue reading

Elbow and the idea of the album

It may be archaic and even somewhat quaint to younger readers, but musicians used to spend a long time deciding the make-up of an album. Deciding what songs were selected wasn’t simply about which ones were best; many acts often left storming tracks go out as b-sides because they didn’t fit the concept of the album as a whole. Oasis’ ‘Masterplan’, R.E.M.’s ‘Ages of You’ and The Smiths magnum opus ‘How Soon Is Now?’ all made their way to the public as back-up to a single rather than an album track.

Similarly, it was important to get the track listing right. The album had to flow, it couldn’t be loaded up with the singles at the front, it had to be organic. Why? Because the audience would be listening to it as a whole, as one collective work of art.
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