1 – (new) Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club 2 – (new) Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension 3 – Idles – Ultra Mono 4 – Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? 5 – (new) The Stone Roses – The Remixes 6 – (new) Melanie C – Melanie C 7 – (new) Denise Johnson – Where Does It Go 8 – Thurston Moore – By The Fire 9 – (new) Queen & Adam Lambert – Live Around The World 10 – (new) Lana Del Rey – Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass 11 – (new) Roisin Murphy – Roisin Machine 12 – (new) Hunna – I’d Rather Die Than Let You In 13 – (new) Pan Amsterdam – Ha Chu 14 – Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA 15 – (new) Stone Foundation – Is Love Enough 16 – (new) Roger Waters – Us + Them 17 – Deftones – Ohms 18 – New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies 19 – (new) Jonsi – Shiver 20 – (new) The Jaded Hearts Club – You’ve Always Been Here
The Official Charts Company launched the UK Record Store Chart in 2012 to reflect the last decade’s drive to support independent music outlets and the concurrent surge in vinyl sales. It is compiled from the best selling albums at 100 of Britain’s leading independent music shops.
French-born Graffiti Artist, Akse has painted a tribute to Denise Johnson in Hulme, Manchester just before the release of her posthumous album ‘Where Does It Go’ on Friday 2 October.
Denise’s family said: “We’re totally stunned into silence. Really cannot find words for how brilliant this is. We’re genuinely lost for words in the nicest sense”.
BBC producer and close friend of Denise, Natalie-Eve Williams tweeted: “Our girl is on the streets where she grew up. Cannot thank you enough @Akse_P19 for your kindness and generosity”.
Akse is a French-born Graffiti Artist of Vietnamese heritage, based in Manchester since 1997. Akse started painting in 1992 and is a member of the P19 Graffiti Crew. Over the last few years, Akse has focused on freehand High-Definition HD photo-realism graffiti portraits. His work around Manchester always commands people’s attention and often reflects the social, political and cultural mood of the city. His highly acclaimed work is featured in other cities including Liverpool and London.
When the news broke on July 27 that Denise Johnson ~ one of Manchester’s most talented and cherished singers ~ had died, so much love poured out for her from across the world.
Her stunning voice can be heard on many iconic singles and albums over the last 30 years. Denise is best known for the two albums she recorded and toured with Primal Scream in the 1990s, Screamadelica and Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Others include New Order, Johnny Marr, The Charlatans, Michael Hutchence, 808 State, Electronic, Bernard Butler, Ian Brown, The Waterboys and A Certain Ratio – whose album released later this month will also feature Denise.
Denise had been working on her debut album before she passed away, which means it will now be a posthumous release when it comes out on Friday, October 2. The album is acoustic, just Denise’s vocals and an acoustic guitar – apart from Steal Me Easy which has an organ – it was near completion, mastering and cover images and design were signed off. Denise’s delight at finally getting it to the point of release was immense. She was hugely proud of this album, and responses to her twitter comments about it show that this was going to be an incredibly well-received record.
Working with Manchester-based guitarist Thomas ‘Twem’ Twemlow since 2013, Denise had found the perfect accompaniment for her astounding voice. Their arrangements of covers had already seen two single releases: 10CC‘s I’m Not In Love (2017) followed by New Order‘s True Faith in 2018. Both tracks earned great reviews and – most importantly to Denise – approval from both 10CC and New Order.
Twem first met Denise in 2003 and she sang on a couple of his tracks as he describes:
“Denise got back in touch a few years after we’d first worked together, asking if I’d play acoustic guitar for her. We set about doing our own version of her favourite songs from various Manchester acts. One of the first she asked me to play around with was True Faith: my first thought was “how the hell can I make an electronic track work on acoustic?” But, to be honest, when you’ve got someone like Denise singing, you can make anything work!”
Where Does It Go was recorded at Hope Mill Recording Studios in Ancoats, Manchester. Alongside Denise’s previous singles – and Well I Wonder by The Smiths – is Evangeline, a song by one of her favourite writers, Simon Aldred of Cherry Ghost. Another song Denise wanted to include on the album is her version of Ellie Greenwich‘s Sunshine After The Rain, a song Denise performed in her role as Mary, in the BBC’s incredible live staging of The Manchester Passion in 2006. Denise always cited this event as one of the highlights of her career, for the simple reason that she knew it had made her mother incredibly proud.
The album also features Nothing You Can Do, written by Denise, and Steal Me Easywhich was penned with former collaborator, the French guitarist Fabien Lefrançois.
With the exception of Steal Me Easy, the recording of the album is completely live and features no studio tricks or computer wizardry. It was engineered by Twem and produced by Denise.
The desire to capture the essence of their live sound was borne from the joy of performing. Early sets at Denise’s friend Terry Christian‘s ‘Mad Manc Cabaret’ events led to one-off shows, appearances at several UK festivals, and a number of intimate acoustic performances at wider events such as Tim Burgess‘s ‘North by Northwich’. Festival No 6 in 2018 saw a joyful mass singalong to their set finale, an acoustic version of Primal Scream’s Don’t Fight It Feel It, with Twem playing bass guitar for a change. And at Bluedot 2019 Denise and Twem opened with The Carpenters’Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft – a fitting nod to a stage in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory.
Weather The Storm by Skylark and the Scorpion is both a record of majestic folk beauty and a breathtaking cinematic experience from Skylark aka Petra Jean Phillipson (David Holmes/Martina Topley Bird/Marianne Faithful) andthe Scorpion aka Nick J Webb (The Lea Shores/Nadine Shah).
The ambitious musical odyssey tells the tale of two haunted souls on their search for re-connection. It’s a conceptual project formed around the pairing of creator, producer, songwriter Nick and vocalist Petra. The album finds the duo assume the roles of two ill-fated lovers as they traverse through a turbulent story arc told through the album’s captivating song cycle. A real labour of love, the record arrives at the end of a journey almost as epic in reality as it is in its fiction.
To mark the album’s announcement, Skylark and the Scorpion are revealing the first two chapters of a 40-minute short film that accompanies the entire record. The film follows the emotional journey of the two lovers. Viewers will be able to tune into a progressive narrative that will gradually unfurl their destiny with a string of videos, each soundtracked by a song featured on the album with a new instalment set to be unveiled every week leading up to the full release in autumn.
You can watch the videos for ‘Hey Lover‘ – the first track for radio – and the film trailer for ‘Weather The Storm’ below.
Guided by Petra’s inimitable siren song, the lead single (and fittingly the first song Petra and Nick ever recorded together), ’Hey Lover’ flows through layers of languid orchestrations and rippling acoustic arpeggios, with a glorious opening salvo.
Nick and Petra were joined by a talented array of hand-picked musicians and friends. Contributions from ambient music composer Roger Eno (brother of Brian Eno, who added piano and accordion to the mix) and orchestral arranger Nell Catchpole (on violin/viola), with additional contributions from Tim Harries (double bass), Jamie Spencer Smith (guitars), Fontane Liang (harp) and Nick Foot (percussion). Webb, who also plays the cornet, then completed the album by adding brass arrangements, before sending the results to celebrated producer Ben Hillierfor mixing the elegant finished article we hear today.
‘Little Green Light’ by James Holt is the followup to ‘Come Out to Play’ and continues in a similar vein while exploring new sounds and drawing from different influences.
“It’s probably the most upbeat track I’ve released so far,” says singer/songwriter. “It’s a hybrid of sorts, fusing elements of disco, Latin American rhythms, and Johnny Marr jangly guitar lines, all with hints of The Beatles throughout.“
James provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments apart from drums and saxophone on ‘Little Green Light’ and has continued to use the production skills of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans) that has proved successful on his previous single releases.
Describing the lyrical themes James said, “Lyrically, it explores the fading glow of the American Dream from an outsider perspective, a central theme in The Great Gatsby (symbolised by a green light at the end of a dock). It traces the early-American ideals of freedom of opportunity, which encouraged many to emigrate there in the early 20th century, to the fulfilled dream of the moon landing (the event celebrates its 50th anniversary this year).”
James plays headline shows at the Deaf Institute, Manchester on Friday 4October and Hope & Anchor, London (Islington) on Thursday 17 October.
“Powerful” – EMINA LUKARCANIN, BILLBOARD.COM “Her most empowering anthem yet” – TRIPLE J RADIO
Already a star in her native Australia, Meg Mac has set her sights on the UK with her new album, Hope. The first track is the synth-infused ‘Give Me My Name Back’, a song about reclaiming dignity and self-worth in the face of emotional and physical abuse and upon its worldwide release, Meg received hundreds of private messages of thanks through social media.
“There were lots of messages from people who had come out to their friends or their family. People feeling like, that was their way of gaining their identity and their name back,” she says. “There were also a lot of [stories about] abuse and victims who had come through sexual assault; I would be crying reading some of them.”
Directed by Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, the video serves as a rallying cry about reclaiming identity, dignity and self-worth in a post-#MeToo era.
“This is a song for everyone who has lost an important part of themselves, which they need to reclaim in order to move forward with their life,” says Meg of the track. “It’s for the women who are standing up and speaking out, those discriminated against in the LGBTQI community, the indigenous people of Australia and the children abused by the church”
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, James Holt releases the powerful, lyric-driven anthem in ‘Alone Again’.
The 24-year-old Boltonian provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments (excluding drums) on ‘Alone Again’. James has once again, brought in the production wizardry of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans) to create layers of reverb and different filters, allowing each part in the song to have a stark contrast to each section as James explains:
“I really enjoy subverting people’s expectations in songs through sudden tempo changes, similar to Brian Wilson’s production method of splicing together of different sections, which gives ‘Alone Again’ an angular quality. I’ve always loved the classic songs of the 60/70s and – drawing inspiration from The Beatles (the Rubber Soul / Revolver years) and the dramatic variety of early Scott Walker – I aimed to write a song that pays homage to that golden era of songwriting.
“There are three separate narratives in ‘Alone Again’ with the underlying theme of loneliness and regret. In the first verse, the character loses his love in death (‘never-ending dream’). In the second he never told his love of his feelings (‘I should have screamed when I was whispering’) and in the final verse he blames himself for suffocating their passions (‘like fire clings to a burning man I have smothered you’).”
Quotes “Feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno
“Love James’ voice on that new single. Sounding great”. John Kennedy Radio X
BBC Introducing Manchester have been huge supporters of James. Co-presenter/producer, and Michelle Hussey commented, “It’s beautiful with definite echoes of Cherry Ghost.“
“It sounds very Beatles-esque and – here’s a massive compliment – vocally it sounds very John Lennon.” Jim Salveson from XS Manchester
“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.” NatalieBBC Introducing Manchester.
“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” Louise Dodgson, The Unsigned Guide.
“It is the very spirit of Manchester in music.” (Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester).
Prose and Manchester Survivors Choir have teamed up to raise money for the those affected by the Manchester Arena bomb. They have released a responsive piece of music entitled, A City United to mark one year since the terror attack.
A City United was recorded by Mike Murray and Lee Royle from Prose at their studio the day after the bomb. Elbow‘s Craig Potter has mixed it, it was mastered by Peter Hewitt Dutton at Metropolis, and the video was filmed by James Killeen – all in a matter of days! Mike explains how it all came about:
“Like everyone, we felt devastated after the Manchester bomb attack. The following day we were in our studio and there were still a lot of people searching for missing family members and we were talking about how awful it must be for the families of the victims. The whole city was in complete shock that something like this had happened here and at a music concert with so many innocent people just trying to have a good time. We both felt very emotional and just started expressing how we felt. Lee started playing the piano, I started singing and without realising it we had the basis of a song, but we didn’t know what to do with it!”
Prose played the tune to friends and family, who all loved it, so they decided to make a live video just for their fans on their Facebook page.
Months later Prose were playing at a homeless benefit event in Manchester city centre for the Skullfades Foundation. Mike had himself been homeless in the past, so it’s something he feels strongly about. It was at this event where the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham heard the song, as he recounts:
“I first heard Prose perform this song in Piccadilly Gardens last year. It cut straight through the noise of the city and stopped me in my tracks. It captures exactly how we all felt last year when we heard the terrible news, but also how the character of this place pulled us through. It is the very spirit of Manchester in music.”
Andy approached Prose to see if they would be up for releasing A City United with the proceeds going to Manchester Emergency Fund and Peace Foundation. Lee and Mike said they’d be honoured, but only if they could ensure that the families and people involved were happy with them doing this. In fact, all the families are behind the project and have endorsed it completely. Saffie Rousso was the youngest victim out of the 22 people killed that day. Her father, Andrew posted this message on Prose’s Facebook page: “Heartfelt song from a great city.”
After it was approved, Andy Burnham got the ball rolling and tweeted a link to Prose’s Facebook video and announced the plan to release it and they were inundated with support and positive messages. Then Prose received a tweet from Manchester Survivors Choir who asked if they’d be up for having some choral vocals on the song. Cath Hill from the choir explains:
“When we saw Andy Burnham’s tweet about the single, we knew we had to get in touch with Prose. We loved the song, the lyrics and everything it stood for and really hoped we could be part of it. They were singing about us, so it just felt right.
“It has been an amazing experience for the choir to collaborate with the lads from Prose. The young people in the choir were so excited to get the opportunity to go to a professional recording studio. It was wonderful to see them all smiling, laughing and having the confidence to sing and be recorded. It is a tough song for us to sing, the lyrics are so moving and take us back to that night. However, we are determined to show the world that with a bit of northern spirit and resilience we can create something that people can enjoy listening to and hopefully raise some money for the charities who helped us and others affected. It is a positive end to a very difficult year.”
Andy Burnham sums things up:
“I am so proud of the band and the respectful way they have dealt with everything and also their generous commitment to use the proceeds to support those most affected and I hope people will get behind this song.”
“Brisk, funny, exciting… this track feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno
Manchester-born singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, James Holt has just released the impressive video for his new single ‘Whatever Happened to John?’
The 24-year-old – who was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss at the age of four – has overcome his disability to release a pulsating and raucous rock’n’roll track. Speaking candidly about the record’s inception, James explained:
“The inspiration came from a Sky Arts TV programme set in an alternate reality in which John Lennon walked out of the Beatles before their fame in the mid-60s. It’s a fusion of thoughts and ideas and also bears references to George Orwell‘s 1984. Some people say that it sounds very Dylan-esque in the verses (especially with the harmonica), but I think the Indian-fused Beatles’ Revolver creeps in the bridge.”
Music legend, Brian Eno – who has long championed James – invited the young luminary to meet him at his John Peel Lecture for BBC Radio 6 Music. The former Roxy Music keyboard player, record producer and revered ambient pioneer also chose James’s song to use as part of an arts festival last year.
James – who graduated with a BA Music 1st class honours and MA in Music Composition (distinction) provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments on the track, highlighting his immense talent as a musician and his resilience in the face of adversity.
‘Whatever Happened to John?’ follows several well-received releases from James, including his critically acclaimed second EP ‘Sanguine On the Rocks’, and ‘Butterfly’- a charity single for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, which has raised over £1100. James performed the single at the Royal Albert Hall for the Music for Youth Proms.
James continues to gain exposure, with a number of industry insiders tipping the young troubadour for great things. Watch this space.
Premiere on Louder Than War: http://louderthanwar.com/james-holt-whatever-happened-to-john-single-review-video-premiere/
“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.” – BBC Introducing Manchester
“Sounds so great on the radio.” – Chris Douridas KCRW
“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” – Manchester Evening News