Roger Waters, ex-Pink Floyd bassist, songwriter and heavy-handed social commentator, released his third solo album, the rather grand ‘Amused To Death’ in 1992. A concept piece about media propaganda and news coverage, the album was one of the best sounding records of the year. It blended a few familiar Floydian motifs with the more atmospheric elements of his own ‘Pros & Cons of Hitch-Hiking’ and resulted in a cult classic. From then on, very little was heard from Waters with regard to studio material. It was perhaps wise to take some time out, of course, for to follow such a near-perfect record (at least for the style) would have been a fools errand.
In the summer of 2015, singer-songwriter Jot Green (aka Rum Thief) released ‘Reach For The Weather Man‘, an EP of hard jangling tunes coupled with social commentary and an unavoidable sense of Englishness. Like a northern Frank Turner, an underground Alex Turner or perhaps a Mike Skinner with actual tunes and talent, he showed a strong ability to couple grass roots messages with a gruff but fairly timeless indie-rock backdrop. A fair while passed and nothing more was heard. Had the Rum Thief been swallowed up by his day job, or even run out of things to tell the world? It would seem so.
Miles Read is a blues oriented singer songwriter from sunny San Francisco. With his band The Trip, he exhibits a broad spectrum of talents on his 2017 release and the six tracks on ‘Ofertas’ are steeped in tradition. In just over half an hour, Read explores various types of blues, a little Americana and sometimes even a deep and spooky sound that echoes the both the heartbreak of UK performer Charlotte Carpenter and the moodier aspects of Old House Playground warming up. Right from first listen, this release asserts itself as a fantastic one.
Fiona Brown is a singer-songwriter songwriter whom – by her own admission – absorbs many influences into her work. On her 2016 EP ‘Demons’, there’s a little rock and pop, nods to things of a more soulful nature and more besides, but never in a way that makes the release sound like a directionless show reel of her talents. She prefers instead not to separate the influences too much. You could experience any one of them at any time and often within just one track. but perhaps best of all, though, her songs are cloaked in a shroud of darkness. Never a “woe is me” self pity, but a genuinely dark quality that informs the heart of her best tunes.
In the first quarter of 2011 Universal Music released a five disc super-deluxe edition of Elton John’s multi-million selling, career defining ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. While huge chunks of the album are undeniably great, did we really need another deluxe edition of this when an excellent three disc edition was released (complete with SACD compatible material) ten years previously? There are other parts of Elton’s huge body of works worthy of expanding.