Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Artist Of The Month - Johnny Foreigner


My next artist of the month is the wonderful Johnny Foreigner:

Originally from Birmingham (something which is almost immediately apparent from their accents) they are Alexei on guitar and vocals, Kelly on bass and vocals and Junior on the drums.
They have released two albums and as many EPs…plus several of their songs for free.

Many bands try to achieve the depth of emotion and energy that Johnny Foreigner achieve, without it being something truly relevant to them, therefore ending up sounding try-hard or just plain rubbish. With Johnny Foreigner...from reading their blog and listening to their music, you know they make their music because it, and the things they write about, matter to them. Meaning they are consistently great and continue to have numerable releases.

Their latest album ‘Grace And The Bigger Picture is fifteen songs long, each one under three minutes (apart from the final song ‘The Coast Was Always Clear’ which is in a slight contrast, eleven minutes long, but that’s because of a hidden track) The album has an interesting symmetry with titles like, “More Heart Less Tongue and “More Tongue Less Heart” exploring lyrical ideas further, yet keeping to their direct nature.

Apologies that it is now almost the end of April, and I've only just posted, but from next month I will hopefully be updating this feature regularly in the first week or two of every month.

Tune into my radio show from Thursday 29th at 8 until 9pm (no show this week) to hear Johnny Foreigner and more excellent music.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Artist Of The Month - Sparky Deathcap


Sparky Death
cap, just one man and a guitar/ukulele. A fairly average way of making music you might assume at first. Most bands feature a guitar and singer, and many artists just sing over chords - nothing wrong with that I should add...but when I listened to some of Sparky Deathcap's music, I soon realised this was something a bit different.

Almost painfully personal, his lyrics tell very detailed stories; his Tear Jerky EP was apparently written after a break-up, and you can almost imagine watching the inevitable unfold as you listen. He also writes from a more fictional perspective (watch his ukulele rock opera on Youtube for an example of this, the story of Misty and Mouffette, snow, organ donation and love) but somehow everything seems intensely private, and hearing it feels a real privilege.

The music itself, backing those excellent lyrics, is a mixture of heart wrenching guitar and layers of his own distinctive vocals.

The Tea
r Jerky EP is only five tracks long; every song is carefully formed, written with a sense of humour and awareness, it is enjoyable and beautiful, by the end you will be wishing it were at least twice as long.

You can buy it online from Nettlejam Records, which Sparky himself set up to release his own music.

My personal favourite track is currently 'Early Spring' although it unfortunately isn't on the EP (You can hear it on Youtube though: Early Spring)...some of the lyrics in this song are also used in 'Glasgow Is A Punk Rock Town' which you can download for free, I assume that's why it wasn't released as well.

Sparky Deathcap is currently touring as the 8th member of Los Campesinos! But more releases are expected.

Hope you have enjoyed reading about my first proper artist of the month, I'm going to be interviewing him fairly soon, so return here/listen to my radio show (every Thursday 8-9pm on Spark Radio, www.sparksite.co.uk) to hear that.

Any suggestions for questions are welcome.

Friday, 9 April 2010