Review: In Memory Of My Feelings – Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler

It has been a little over 10 years since Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler first decided to team up with each other and work on producing music together. They quickly felt they had the makings of an album together. Little by little things came together, building on their work together when time allowed. A few years down the track with Catherine working on her on solo career as The Anchoress, and then being part of the touring band with Simple Minds and in between those things juggling with continuing work with Butler on what would become In Memory Of My Feelings. Talk about multi-tasking!

The album was all but completed for a number of years. Davies and Butler suffered knock backs. Record companies would show an interest and then inexplicably go cold on the idea. But both Catherine and Bernard knew they had a diamond here! They just needed someone else to see, feel and hear it! Enter Pete Paphides and his newly established record label, Needle Mythology. He knew the gem that was before him. And so, with one last little hiccup along the way (the test pressing of the album causing a problem which meant a one month delay from the initial release date of September 18th), Friday – at last – saw the release of In Memory Of My Feelings, on vinyl, CD and in digital format and through streaming services.

Was it worth the wait? My opinion – a resounding YES!

The Breakdown: It’s beautiful melancholia. Catherine has a knack for that. Its sparse chords and mirrored vocal harmonies exude fear and regret but…there is light. The best melancholic songs always bring a hope with them. There is hope. It ends in hope. There is love. Strength. And the offering of courage.

Ten Good Reasons: It has been my earwarm all day! There is sass and sensuality and sultriness. Relationships when they hit the rocks and flatline. Do we push on? Is there any sense in doing so? That’s what I hear in this song. Again, impeccable harmonies and fabulous guitar work from Butler. The final 30 seconds of the song is just…perfection. That repetition of “what a mess we’re in” and then the ending piano chords. Geez…I know that is something. Or is a nod to something familiar but I can’t put my finger on it! (Catherine might tell me if she sees this?)

Sabotage (Looks So Easy): Rocking. Just – pow – straight in! Intelligent lyrics. Just punchy and ballsy. Again full of sass and attitude. We’re not gonna take deceit lying down.

In Memory Of My Feelings: It’s like three songs in one! What a break up song! Just, the musical weaving and blending, ducking and diving. The harmonies! My god, the harmonies on this album are flawless! Delivery on the lyrics “because you can’t take it back / you’ve done it now / and that is that” during the bridge breaks (right term?) are just beautiful. This could be my favourite track on the album. It just has such layers to it. And the dark and light of it. It interplays with mood and colour. Light and shade. It’s fabulous!

I Know: Or is THIS my favourite track? THE HARMONIES! I want to die! And with Butler’s guitar riding it all underneath…geez! It really is a beauty this one. Tenderness. Such tenderness to it! A love that is blossoming yet already faltering? Everything is all tentative. It’s beautiful, this. Just really beautiful.

Judas: LET’S ROCK! Just to dry up those tears shed from the beauty of the previous track. It’s a rollercoaster, this album! A rollercoaster of gems! Just absorb the sensuality and sultriness of this one. And just eat up that jangling guitar. Sell it to me, brother! (I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. Lol)

No More Tears To Cry: It’s almost a gospel tune. What fabulous lines “here in my mouth / here in my heart / is the place where the hunger starts”. And fabulous guitar work for BB. Esp. on this track. His guitar work is strongest on this. Great middle solo. Oh, it’s SSOOO good!

The Waiting Game: I don’t usually hear much of Manic Street Preachers influence on Catherine, but I hear it really strongly on this track. Abandonment? It’s the worst! It’s the daisy petal game, this song. “He loves me. He loves me not.” We’ve all done it, even if just metaphorically most times…picking them petals off the daisy. Life is a waiting game…for buses, trains, planes, people to tell you they love you and want to be with you. This song is catchy AF.

The Patron Saint Of The Last Cause: When you don’t feel you are worthy of anyone’s attention or interest or kindness. Melancholic again, but delivered to sound lighthearted. “Hey, I’m a fuck up. Don’t be bothering yourself with me” to an upbeat tune.

F.O.H.: Again, those bloody harmonies. Hell! And then…
To be honest…this is the only track I am kinda grappling with. I don’t know what to make of it still. I am not saying I don’t like it. I just don’t find it so easy to express how I feel about it/what I’m getting from it. The jury’s out a little…but that’s okay. If we say this is one only song I am really not gelling with that well with then, that gives this album a massive 9/10!

The Bonus tracks:
Live To Tell is a stellar version of the Madonna original. Much more emotional to me. Catherine’s vocal performance utterly perfect. Lovely space left on the track too. Excellently executed. Better than the original.
The Patron Saint Of The Lost Cause (Harmonium Version) the air of lightheartedness on the album version is diminished somewhat by the barebones harmonium sound. It isn’t a bad thing. I really like both versions.

Why this album was such a long push to get to be released is truly perplexing having listened to it several times now. The rejecting record company’s loss and Needle Mythology’s gain. Congratulations to Catherine and Bernard. And well done to the both of you for having the courage of your convictions to know that what you had produced here deserved to have an audience because you were both SSOO right!

In Memory Of My Feelings is a very strong album. Great lyrics, fabulous harmonies, musically “on point”. Everything just fits.

I can’t recommend this album enough!
It’s near faultless.
It has to be a 9/10!

BBC Radio 2 – Best Albums Of The 1980s – National Album Day

Tomorrow is National Album Day and it has a theme this year – the 1980s. Celebrations abound over the next 48 hours or so. Special limited edition albums and singles are to be released today, available in record stores across the country.

Tim Burgess is holding a day of themed listening parties via his “Tim’s Listening Party” Twitter account tomorrow – mostly involving the albums that have been released to celebrate the day.

BBC Radio 2 have joined in the celebration by asking fans and collating the results with a panel of judges (involved in the music business) for the Top 40 Best Albums of the 1980s. The Top 10 list was revealed in the early hours of the morning on the BBC News site in the Entertainment and Arts section. I won’t link to the Top 10 here just yet. I feel a bit peeved it got revealed before the broadcast of this (information below), in actual fact.

Gary Davies hosts the Sounds of the 80s on Radio 2 and tonight at 8pm BST, he’ll be doing a countdown of the Top 40 Best Albums of the 1980s.

Will New Gold Dream feature in THIS list? It bloody better! Well, at least ONE Simple Minds album should! I’d even be happy if it was LITCOL to be honest.

Anyway, I’ll be tuning in to see how the list pans out and what gets where.

Click on the image to go to the page that will get you tuned into Radio 2’s Sounds of the 80s.

The Magpie Looking For Glitter?

Someone I follow on Facebook shared a post by John Foxx’s page (actually officially labelled as “John Foxx and The Maths”) in which he posted this image of a letter from David Bowie to Tony Visconti. Foxx added – “Interesting to read this note from David Bowie to Tony Visconti from the 1970s – sending him on a mission for a copy of ‘any Ultravox album’.”

I’m taking by the things he’s asking for and esp. from the time of release on the singles that it is probably this time of year in 1977 this letter was written.

He’d be ramping up for the release of Heroes. The single comes out the same week as The Clash’s Complete Control – September 23rd, 1977. The album is released (“Heroes”) three weeks later. Episode one of the second series of So It Goes airs on October 9th.

As a “magpie” – he was always pretty quick on the uptake. It’s actually kind of intriguing to see him just…buying stuff like us normal plebs. You’d think he’d have extra know-how or would already be somehow exposed to these things and have “insider knowledge”.

There had already been one series of So It Goes by this point…but I guess it was regional and only airing on Granada in the Manchester area so…why would he know?

I love the off-handed almost disdain and disregard of punk – by his faffing about with it. Lol. But then maybe it was more his annoyance at yet another pigeonhole label for yet another genre of music that never seemed fitting? And well, I guess, for him, “punk” would be old. It had been a word used in the U.S. and New York in particular as a style of music for a few years by this point.

“Swizzleland”. Lol. He just sounds so…ordinary.

But he never was. Never ever.

It’s also brought home to me how very little I have listened to him in recent years. So caught up in all things Simple Minds and my….fixation with a certain Glaswegian fae Toryglen, that I have hardly given David’s music any of my time at all.

But I have still been avidly tuning in to the MainMan podcast every week and will be devouring the latest episode this evening. Perhaps even partaking in a listen of a Bowie album afterwards.

“Heroes” seems apt somehow.

Most appropriate tune off the album right now? Sense Of Doubt. For me. For the world. All of it.

A Chemical Reaction

Ever heard of Galaxians? Nope, me neither until Field Music’s David Brewis mentioned them on the Field Music Instagram account on Friday.

A new album of theirs (Galaxians) had been released and he was recommending it for your weekend listening pleasure. He said “our Leeds compadres Galaxians (he actually tagged their Insta a/c) have a new album out! Features the finest synthesizing this side of Bernie Worrell’s most-holy ghost.”

A person leaving a comment quoted that last part with a “SOLD!” at the end of their comment.

And I was really taken by the cover art. With me still in the middle of reading Lanark, there was something of the Alasdair Gray to the album cover art. So I thought “I need to give this a listen.

And for the past two nights I have done. Wow! Not just synths. Drums! E-drums. Linn drums maybe? I’m no expert. The vocals! Wow! And the style/genre – harking back to real PROPER funk, soul and r&b. I’m not sure about the Bernie Worrell reference. I am yet to see exactly what that pertains to. All I know is – THIS is a summer album! AND IT COMES FROM LEEDS?! It’s like that constant mindfuck of knowing that Average White Band hail from Dundee. Lol. You never expect these kind of sounds to spring forth from the UK.

Anyways, I am with David Brewis firmly on this one. You could do worse things on a rainy Sunday in Glasgow (or wherever else in the world you find yourself in currently) than listening to Galaxians new Chemical Reaction album.

Spotify link below…

You can buy their music from Bandcamp also. I’ve just gone and bought the album in vinyl. Bandcamp wording is a clickable link directly to their page.

Curious About Kenny

I have just been perusing the latest issue of Electronic Sound magazine and was taking a cursory glance through the reviews section. King Creosote has a new release out called KY-10 (I’m going to assume it has something to do with his postcode and not anything to do with lubricant – as I think he is a Michelle – aka a Fifer…see what I did there?).

The review given has me rather intrigued. I think I may have to give King Kenny’s latest a listen this evening…

Happy Release Day – Flight Of Ideas!

The day has arrived! Sadly, my copies are in lockdown as currently Monorail are only open as an online store and I ordered my Dinked LP and CD to collect from in the store itself. I’ll be waiting some time to collect, methinks! In the meantime, there is Spotify and the digital download copy to buy.

Check Warm Digits’ social media channels and website for details.

As a consequence, today’s music aperitif is Fools Tomorrow. Strangely timely for the perplexing time we find ourselves in.

Rare, Rarer, Rarest – Punk 45s

From the latest edition of Long Live Vinyl. A timely nod to Pripton. I guess he’s the reason this blog exists after all…

Personally, I still think Dead Vandals was the better song, but was obviously less ‘punk’ in the strictest musical notation terms. Thank god it was the B Side at least.

Record Store Day 2020

This year’s RSD takes place on Saturday April 18th. There are some things that have piqued my interest, pictured below.

There is also a Steven Wilson mixes edition of Roxy Music’s eponymous debut album. For me, Field Music and kd Lang’s All You Can Eat and Drag would be lovely on vinyl. I used to play those and the Ingenue album SSSOO much. I absolutely ADORE her voice.

There is also the tenuous Simple Minds connected offering of Corporation Of One’s The Real Life – which as I understand it, oddly enough samples the title track from SM’s 1991 album.

Something for the purist, I guess. I can’t say I am that enthusiastic about it, but now I’ve said that, I’ll probably by it. Lol

New Warm Digits Album – Flight Of Ideas -Released April 3rd!

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The best news today! Warm Digits have a new album coming our way on April 3rd. The new album is called Flight Of Ideas and an official video of a song from the album is up on YouTube.

The song is called The View From Nowhere and features guest vocalist, Emma Pollock. You can find a link to pre-order the album via the info on the YouTube clip. I’ve already ordered both the vinyl and CD. Can’t wait to hear the rest of it!

See you next week, boys!

Field Music – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – 01/02/2020

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Ticket stub from last night.

My first gig of 2020 may already be the gig of the year! I arrived in the West End around 4.30pm and had a bite to eat at Mario’s Cafe on the Byers Road. After the meal I took a meander down to the Kelvingrove thinking it might be open for the concert goers to go into and have a drink in the cafe or in a bar. I was there at 6pm but the doors didn’t open until 7pm.

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The band going through soundcheck.

At about 6.30 a couple showed up and we got chatting. We discussed gigs, my move from Sydney, to Luton, then on to Glasgow. It wiled away the time until doors opened. A friendly couple they were. Weegies are always up for a bit of a chinwag and some patter.

Once the doors opened to the museum hall space and to the seating, I got myself a seat about four rows back and fairly centre of stage. It was a good vantage point, with a clear view to the drum kit (always important for us would-be drummers).

The support act, Tenement and Temple, were on shortly after everyone was seated. The singer’s voice is very sweet and beautiful. They have quite a traditional folk/country sound to their music. Not usually the genre of music I would seek out, but I enjoyed their set. The natural reverb and echo the hall has really complimented the singer’s voice. It was lovely and soothing. I felt myself calmed by the music. Their set lasted about 35 minutes.

A quick set up by Field Music followed. Then just on 9pm, David Brewis walked onto the stage. He says “just to make you all aware. We are going to do something very scary this evening. We are going to play the new album in its entirety first – without a pause…and then we’ll play some of the back catalogue – the songs you’ll know. So bear with us, please. We’re really nervous.”

What followed was one of the most wonderful audio/visual experiences I have ever had at a live event. It was wonderful!

The album is a concept, based upon an audio recording done that captured the final minute of WWI and the first minute after the war ended. The band then put their own interpretation on aurally documenting the last 100 years since the end of WWI. They were asked to be involved with this concept by the Imperial War Museum. What they’ve done in producing this album is amazing. The way in which they have documented the past 100 years of human history, post WWI is concise and thought provoking. I sat there in a kind of audio/visual awe. Taking in the music and the visuals with a gleeful relish. Absolutely wonderfully staged. I cannot commend the band enough for the way they executed it.

Once the whole album had been performed, there was rest for the most deserved and stirring round of applause I’d heard any band ever receive. And you know the reputation of Glasgow crowds. Well, last night, they absolutely gave due respect for the audio/visual splendour that was just experienced. The applause went on for several minutes. Both Peter and David Brewis were almost embarrassed by how long it went on for, but so wonderfully humbled by it. It was so richly deserved.

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They both sighed. They swapped places (both the brothers took turns at drumming duties last night – David during the performance of Making A New World and then Peter through most of the back catalogue). Peter drew in a deep breath and smiled and said “Okay…you can take a few moments now. You can get up, grab a drink, go to the loo, stretch your legs.” A guy in the front row immediately got up and darted off. Peter watches him walk off… “Oh, okay. Erm, yeah, off you go…. He’s not coming back, is he?” Lol. “So, yes, anyway. Just take a few minutes, we’ll have a quick breather and perform the good stuff now. The songs you’ll know. So you can sing along, have a dance, do whatever you like.”

They played Count it Up which I was so happy about! I think they performed maybe 8 songs from the back catalogue. I wasn’t keeping count. And I admit my ignorance and declare I am not overly familiar with their back catalogue, but I will endeavour to change that after last night. They certainly gained a firm fan in me.

Afterwards I waited patiently for my time to just…engage with them both and thank them and congratulate them on such a wonderful gig. I spoke to Peter briefly first. Telling him that I got to know of them (Field Music) through Warm Digits and that I had seen him perform with them in 2018 on the Wireless World tour, as he’d done a guest vocal on their (Warm Digits) song End Times.

David was manning the merch stall and was taking card payments, but the WiFi inside the Kelvingrove was proving a bit temperamental. David split away from the main merch area to try and get a better connection, which he found standing in a different part of the foyer and set up a makeshift second merch stand to take the card payments. I bought the new album and asked if they would both sign it. I said to David “I really don’t know why you were so nervous. The show was absolutely amazing!” He went on to explain that he had to play the drum parts to a click track to keep to the tempo, and once the adrenalin starts pumping, you naturally just want to play faster and then the click track sounds really, REALLY slow and so the level of concentration just makes you anxious and it’s just an abundance of nervous energy and you get stressed with wanting to make sure you get it right.

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I’m so glad I stayed behind and got to chat with them. They are such lovely men. So talented, yet so down-to-earth and lovely.

I knew this gig was going to be something very special and it was exactly that. It actually went BEYOND my expectations. I don’t feel in anyway being premature in saying this could already be gig of the year. They really have set the bar high for whoever else I am seeing this year – Simple Minds included!

The Brewis brothers deserve every accolade that comes their way with this album. It’s wonderful. See them if you can! You won’t be disappointed. More dates are to come later in February.