Gaz Coombes' second and most recent solo album, Matador, is a mature and accomplished work characterised by a kind of wired tension miles away from the carefree cheekiness which permeated his output as frontman of Britpop darlings Supergrass. 'I'm an acrobat on the wire', he croons on opener 'Buffalo' over staggering, stuttering drums, and the perpetual sense of teetering on the edge pervades the whole album.
When he takes to the stage at a packed-out Roundhouse - hair grown out, the famous sideburns broadened into a bushy beard - for a rare solo performance, it seems that this darker, more serious Coombes Mk#II is what we're going to be getting. But despite the set heavily favouring newer material, this is a light-hearted performance which relies more on Coombes' ebullient delivery, friendly stage presence, and strong songwriting than on the arrangements and production which so enhance Matador's darker recesses.
The gig begins with Gaz on his tod, with only an acoustic guitar for company on opener 'Oscillate', switching back and forth to keyboard, with the occasional help of a drum machine, for the next few tracks. This accompaniment is the only shade of the electronica which pervades Matador, and that record's sense of paranoia is consequently overpowered here by the same atmosphere of friendly exuberance which characterised Coombes' earlier work with Supergrass. This has mixed results. 'The Needle's Eye' suffers for the substitution of its bleeps and bloops for a straight performance of vocal and strummed electric guitar, removing the nuances of the production but allowing the strength of the songwriting and Coombes' voice to shine through.
Continue reading: Gaz Coombes - Live at The Roundhouse, London - 28th January 2016
The 12 Mercury Music 'Albums of the Year' were announced on Friday morning.
The Mercury Music Prize nominations for 2015 have been announced, and it’s a list with quite a few surprising omissions and inclusions.
The twelve artists fortunate enough to make the select list were announced over the course of Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6Music Radio show on Friday (October 16th), with Florence + The Machine and Wolf Alice being the biggest names among the dozen.
Florence’s third album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which reached Number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic earlier this year, is her second nomination after her debut Lungs in 2009, which was beaten by Speech Debelle. Wolf Alice’s first album My Love Is Cool came out in the same month and made Number 2 in the UK, winning rave reviews in the process.
Continue reading: Mercury Music Prize 2015 Nominations - Who's On The List?
What else does the city of Leeds have to offer this May?
So, Live At Leeds is but two weeks away from bringing some of the country's best music veterans and up and coming stars to one of its greatest cities. But while you're there, you may as well enjoy the rest of what this incredible Yorkshire city has to offer.
Home to two universites, an extraodinary library, a colossal shopping centre and some of the best restaurants in the nation, Leeds is the place to be to kick off festival season even without taking the music into account. While the weekend of May 1st to 4th may boast a line-up including The Cribs, Gaz Coombes, George The Poet, MNEK, Gengahr, The Strypes and more, there's plenty of places to sit and let it all soak in while enjoying a decent meal and a pint.
Continue reading: Live At Leeds 2015: Great For Music, Great For Life In General
Gaz Coombes and Lion Babe among final additions.
The Great Escape Festival is set to return to Brighton for its 10th anniversary, bringing with it yet another year of remarkable up and coming bands. The final 150 acts have now been announced, and there's plenty to look forward to.
The SXSW of the UK, Great Escape has played host to some of the best bands the world has to offer, and this year is no different. Across more than 30 venues, the festival will be showcasing hundreds of acts with a massive 18,000 fans expected to show up to experience the meaning of music. So just who's turning out to celebrate 10 years of awesome sounds?
"It was a really weird split", said my friend. "They don't hate each other, they just felt that no-one cared any more".
The band in question were Supergrass, the Oxford trio who landed smack bang on the nose of Brit Pop via the chirpy aceness of Alright and who went on to earn a clutch of awards before disbanding in 2010. I'm yet to check how accurate my companion's statement was - the official version is the classic "Musical differences" - but you did feel that, despite the critical adulation and some brilliant singles, Gaz Coombes, Mick Quinn and Danny Goffey were always chasing a niche that was never quite there.
Since then, the former has carved out a solo career, from which in 2012 sprang his début album, 'Here Come The Bombs'. One of the benefits of his new found single status as it were is the ability to avoid the treadmill of a highly risk averse music industry, which for stars of his vintage is forever packaging up Best Of or Heritage album tours, and this freedom brings us tonight to the Trinity Church in Leeds. Nestling underneath the gargantuan new shopping centre that took its name from the place of worship, as well as a venue it's also a respite from the snow outside; the thirty something audience likely weren't the first group of people to find refuge there.
Continue reading: Gaz Coombes - Holy Trinity Church, Leeds 20th November 2013 Live Review