December 19, 2007

The Stereophonics at Kelly’s mum’s house in Wales

The Stereophonics recently played a set for the BBC 1′s Live Lounge series, starting with an interview at Kelly’s childhood home in Wales, followed by a show at the Cwmaman (no, I don’t know how to say that) Men’s Club where the band had played their first show way back in the day.

The band covered the Foo Fighters song “Best of You” during the set, and after hours of fighting with the stream on the BBC site, I finally found this unofficial blog that had just the tune I was gunning for. Tonight this just seems like one of the saddest, most melancholy songs I’ve heard in a long time; Kelly sings like he’s a staring off a million miles away. Each lyric gets at me tonight. Clearly that’s also by virtue of the strength of the original songwriting here that glows through the ache.

On this version you don’t get the Grohl-screaming but you get at the core in a new way.

Best of You (Foo Fighters cover) – Stereophonics

That site also has an mp3 of their performance of “Local Boy In The Photograph,” which feels fitting for the setting. And on a lighter note, here are a few more pics from the whole silly junket:

Beryl and Oscar (aka Mum and Dad) charmingly have a few Stereophonics videos in their collection, behind the ceramic elephant and the piano school tote bag.

Kelly’s mum telling interviewer Jo Whiley about the mullet that Kelly rocked when he was younger . . .

Said mullet in the sunset. Hot.

Their live set at the Cwmaman Men’s Club.

The full photo slideshow is here

October 4, 2007

Just a bunch of ab fab covers, thanks to Radio One

In honor of their big 40 year birthday bacchanalia, first BBC Radio One staged that Beatles coverfest back in July, and this week they’ve released an ace double-disc collection chock full of Heather’s Favorite Things – more cover songs! Radio One, Established 1967 pulls 40 hits (one from each year) and pairs them with often unlikely artists. Most of these are ones I’ve never heard before — Hard-Fi covering Britney Spears’ Toxic? The Fray take on R.E.M., Lily Allen does her best sassy Chrissie Hynde, Keane rhymes with Queen & David Bowie under pressure, Kasabian play the Specials. It’s fresh and fun for the most part; even if there are some horrific failures, I appreciate the relative inventiveness in the choices here –

Band On The Run (Paul McCartney/Wings cover) – Foo Fighters
This starts out pretty mellow and faithful to the original — all Laurel Canyon sunsets and lots of weed. But stay tuned to a 1:16 mark that made me yelp a little in delight when the Foos kick in with all their ferocious glory. I cannot wait to drive somewhere, fast, listening to this. LOVE IT.

You Sexy Thing (Hot Chocolate cover) – Stereophonics
As if Kelly Jones didn’t already strike me as enough of a wee sexy bastard, hearing the playful charm and come-on camp of this cover, where he sounds for all the world like he’s channeling his inner Rod Stewart, does it for me.

All That She Wants (Ace of Base cover) – The Kooks
The original version of this song evokes a reaction in me that is akin to stabbing a razor blade into my eye. Hate it, hate the Swedish ’90s pop of Ace of Base and have been subjected to this story-song of our unmoored heroine (trying to . . . get pregnant on a one-night stand?) way too many times. The Kooks, however, do elicit a few begrudging props from me for trying to salvage it, and doing so in a winsome way. But ugh — too little, too late. This song is beyond salvation.

BUY: Radio One, Established 1967

August 27, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

“Mom, I find it interesting that you refer to the Weekly World News as . . . ‘The Paper.’ The paper contains facts.”

(Scottish accent) “This paper contains facts. And this paper has the eighth highest circulation in the whole wide world. Right? Plenty of facts. ‘Pregnant man gives birth.’ That’s a fact.”

The Weekly World News published its swansong final issue today, and of course when I read about it this morning, I fondly thought of one of my favorite Nineties movies — the San Francisco-filmed, Mike Myers acted, boppy-indie-rock soundtracked, So I Married An Axe Murderer. If you’ve seen it, you likely remember that quote above between Charlie McKenzie and his momma.

With the WWN gone, where will I turn now for my checkout line perusal needs? I guess it’s all news of Lohan and Britney for me from here on out. I kind of prefer stories of alien babies and massive political/religious conspiracies. Bah.

Here’s your recommended weekly musical allowance:

Toad The Wet Sprocket
Since we’re talking about So I Married An Axe Murderer, here’s my vote for the best dang song off that soundtrack. Maybe you are singing, “There sheeeeee goes…” in your head right now (The underrated La’s), or maybe “One two princes kneel before you – that’s what I said now” (the not-underrated Spin Doctors). But this Toad The Wet Sprocket tune from the soundtrack remains a superb Toad b-side, possibly the best track off this album and also off the In Light Syrup rarities compilation. “Brother” always makes me feel really happy inside, from that ebullient opening melody through the heartfelt lyrics of brotherly love. A great one – put it on your next mixtape.

Pass The Buck

The new Stereophonics album Pull The Pin is an absolute supernova. I’ve been listening to the forthcoming album from these Welsh rockers all weekend and I woke up with this particular track in my head. Whenever that happens — a song rising unbidden to my mental jukebox player first thing in the morning — that means it’s gotten inside me and I need to write something about it. This is a cocky, flippant, unyielding tune that just makes you feel like the coolest person in the room, with backing vocals on the verses that invoke a surprising bit of catchy bubblegum goodness. Maybe I’m the only one who hears this, but the chorus of this track reminds me a bit of Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady).” They’re not the same, but they enjoy standing next to each other.

Parker Mosli
I was catching up with Fuel-favorite Bay Area musician Jake Troth, and was really pleased by the danceable melodies and late-night beats of his new side project, Parker Mosli. This project is a collaboration between Jake (who’s also been busy writing a melody featured on the new album of pals Rogue Wave) and fellow relocated Charlotte, NC native Joshua Panda. Recommended for fans of !!! and Mark Ronson, but with some indulgent hand-clappy goodness – love it. They’ve got some more tunes on their MySpace and an EP available.

100 Days 100 Nights
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
Remember my rant on Dreamgirls a few weeks ago? This song is exactly what I would have loved to see in that film, except this tune is a modern day confection that just sounds like it was made in the ’50s. Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings (what a fun band name) hit the Brooklyn music scene in 2002 with their own brand of swinging retro funk and soul, sounding like no one else right now. They’re also the backing band on Amy Winehouse‘s Back to Black album and (stalled) tour. Retro is so hot right now. Their latest full length album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, will be out October 2nd on Daptone Records, and is worth buying just for the subtle fun of that cover alone.

Collective Soul
My sister is moaning in agony right now that I am writing about Collective Soul. We kind of had an unspoken pact growing up in the “Shine” era that if either of us ever liked Collective Soul, then the other person should immediately kill us. Sorry, but that song got pretty dang annoying in the summer of 1994. I’ve been out of the loop on the rest of their output, so I could be very, very wrong — because I will freely admit that I find this song absolutely irresistible. I am looking forward to hearing the rest of their new album Afterwords, out tomorrow on El Records and, somehow, through Target.

June 8, 2007

Another new one from Stereophonics :: “It Means Nothing”

Thusly securing Kelly Jones’ place as one of the easiest rockstars on the eyes, this is a recent performance from BBC Radio 1′s Big Weekend. The song is from upcoming Stereophonics album Pull The Pin, due this fall.

It Means Nothing (live on BBC 1) – Stereophonics

You can also hear snippets of each song on the new album with commentary from the band on this video-that-really-isn’t-a-video.

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May 3, 2007

New from Stereophonics :: “Bank Holiday Monday”

Welsh rockers Stereophonics have a new album called Pull The Pin due out in the fall, and premiered their first song from it on May Day on BBC Radio 1. The single is called “Bank Holiday Monday” and will be available to download online on May 28th, which is indeed a bank holiday Monday in the UK (we don’t really get those in the U.S., not sure if I completely understand them but okay).

This is a radio rip I meticulously culled from some Russian site with lots of George Michael mp3s. Ordinarily I’d rip and edit it down myself (this mp3 has a lot of DJ chatter) but I am still out of commission with my laptop. If anyone wants to snip out some of the chatter and email me back an edited mp3, I’ll repost it with lots of gratitude and less singing along by DJ Chris Moyles.

This song is big and blistering right out of the cage from the opening “Whoooo!” and the relentless drums. I have no idea what Kelly is wailing on about in that fantastic rocker gravel other than “Mondaaaaaay….,” but I really like it. It makes me tingle.

Bank Holiday Monday (on BBC Radio 1) – Stereophonics

Pull The Pin will be out this autumn, and is set to feature 12 tracks, co-produced by Kelly Jones and Jim Lowe.

This follows the re-release back in March of their debut album, 1997′s Word Gets Around. That album was reissued for the ten year anniversary as a double disc with some Stereophonics b-sides from the mid/late ’90s, including a punk version of ‘She Takes Her Clothes Off,’ which was one of the band’s earliest known tracks.

Stereophonics also continues their love affair with BBC Radio 1 and will co-headline their “Big Weekend” festival in Moor Park, Preston on May 20th, and also play two other shows this month in the UK.
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March 21, 2007

New tour documentary from Stereophonics: Rewind

The Stereophonics have completed a new 2-disc DVD, Rewind, with some cool features:

Disc One is a documentary featuring conversations with some of these guys: Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, the Bono, Jools Holland, Roger Daltrey, the Black Crowes and Tom Jones, as well as band interviews and a preview of album #6 which the boys are just putting the finishing touches on (the follow-up to 2005′s Language. Sex. Violence. Other?).

Regarding the new album, their recent blog post says, “We’ve been spending the last few weeks at Spike Stent’s studio mixing it, as Kelly would say: ‘is sounding fuckin’ mega’, haha. We are very pleased with the results so far, just a few tweaks here and there, and then to the next thing, mastering it. After that, we’ll start working on the artwork, photos, and all that jazz. We’ll let you know how things are going.”

Disc Two is a live performance DVD which includes some old and rare footage, including home movies of their very first gigs as early incarnations Zephyr and Tragic Love Company. They had a bunch of screenings of Rewind in the UK, and they say if you want the film to be shown near you, then get at least 20 people together and email: with the subject line: ‘Phonics Cinemas’. Now there’s a unique party idea for the music fan.

The Rewind DVD comes out April 2nd.

Also of note: Kelly Jones‘ eighty-eight lines about forty-four women is in stores now (Only The Names Have Been Changed), and drummer Javier Weyler also has a Spanish electronica side-project going now too.

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February 6, 2007

That’s why I live in Fulham

StereophonicsKelly Jones was arrested recently for urinating on the street, in the ongoing saga of classic quotes while intoxicated:

“Last night Kelly, who was celebrating his solo album Only The Names Have Been Changed going in at No 1 on iTunes, saw the funny side when I spoke to him. He told me: “I said to the copper, ‘You telling me you never had a piss in the street?’

[The policeman] said that the people of Camden wouldn’t appreciate me urinating on their streets.

I said, ‘I know that. That’s why I live in Fulham.’

He said, ‘I’m taking you in.’ “

This post is second in a series.

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January 25, 2007

A few days notice: New solo album from Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones

According to a blog post on the Stereophonics‘ site last week, Wales’ favorite son Kelly Jones has stealthily recorded a solo album which will be released January 29th.

Kelly writes:

It’s been a good Christmas break. Went back to Wales and caught up with the old mob, the place is fucking mental!

I’ve got a bit of news you may be interested in. In between takes of making the new album I began recording some new songs with just an electric guitar. It began as something very off the cuff then within a couple of days, in the early hours, an album consisting of ten songs was finished. Every song is a girl’s name and the album is gonna be called ‘Only The Names Have Been Changed.’

It’s pretty dark, filmic, story based, very mellow and in no means a reflection on the new Stereophonics album. It’s sparse, some songs with string arrangements and the voice is way up front in the mix.

The record will be online under my name from Monday 29th January followed by a very limited hard copy release in March. Not enough copies for charts or reviews, it’s purely being released as spontaneously as it was recorded.

I’ve never wanted to do a solo record or go solo, this is far from a vanity project. I just wanted to do something that would break the cycle of a Stereophonics record and do something that had nothing to do with commercial success, radio playlists, marketing etc etc. Something purely about expressing music and releasing it as quickly as its apposed to waiting a year as usual.

I wanted it out there quickly for fans only with no chance of going anywhere near a chart show. I’m going to do a small tour in March to play the songs live and am very much looking forward to making a completely mellow, filmic stage environment to do so.

So keep ya eyes peeled if ya interested and I will see you on the road!

Love and colours

Kelly x

Updated: The album will be available digitally from Monday 29th January from major online services, with a limited edition hard copy release on the 26th March. The limited edition release will include a bonus DVD of a live studio performance of 5 songs recorded at SARM studios in London.

These songs won’t be on there, but go to show that gravel-voiced Jones already has a head start on the subject matter of what sounds like a fascinating concept for an album:

Lolita – Stereophonics

Madame Helga – Stereophonics

Angie (Rolling Stones cover) – Stereophonics

Thanks to my favorite tipster!

[rad photo credit]

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March 30, 2006

Stereophonics: Fire burning in their chests

Cymru am byth. My people hearken from Wales way back, and although I have not been there (yet), something inside compels me to listen to the Stereophonics, arguably Wales’ best-known export of recent years (not counting Tom Jones, whose tan kind of scares me).

Stereophonics formed in 1992, with the three original members (Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, and Stuart Cable) growing up together in the small Welsh village of Cwmaman. They were originally known as Tragic Love Company, a name inspired by three of their favorite bands Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone and Bad Company (that is awesome). One of the first groups signed to Richard Branson’s fledgling V2 Records label, the Stereophonics have released five studio albums in the last 10 years, with the four most recent all going to the top of the UK charts, including their first #1 single – “Dakota” – off their 2005 release Language. Sex. Violence. Other?.

The gravelly-voiced melodic rockers are coming out with a new live album on April 21 called Live From Dakota. The 2-disc set will feature:

1. Superman 2. Doorman 3. A Thousand Trees 4. Devil 5. Mr Writer 6. Pedalpusher 7. Deadhead 8. Maybe Tomorrow 9. The Bartender and the Thief 10. Local Boy in the Photograph

1. Hurry Up and Wait 2. Madame Helga 3. Vegas Two Times 4. Carrot Cake and Wine 5. I’m Alright (You Gotta Go There To Come Back) 6. Jayne 7. Too Many Sandwiches 8. Traffic 9. Just Looking 10. Dakota

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt as comfortable onstage as I have done recently,” says frontman Kelly Jones (on their MySpace page). “We’ve got a lot more confidence than we’ve ever had before too. Getting back to playing as a three piece onstage – as opposed to having extra musicians there – has really worked, it’s what we were originally and we feel stronger for going back to it. We’ve been really fucking energized too.”

“We’ve got that raw feel back too,” adds bassist Richard Jones. “Even just when we were rehearsing it felt really energetic, gritty and in-your-face. As soon as we started playing with [new drummer] Javier [Weyler] it felt so natural. We felt like a unit onstage – it was like the old gang mentality. It was just the three of us and we knew we all had to pull together. The shows last year were among the best we’ve ever played. The energy and excitement was similar to when we first started playing big shows. We have the same fire burning in our chests now as we did then.”

Kelly adds, “We wanted to do a live album because it feels like a celebration of the year we’ve had and also of the ten years that this band has been going. It is hard to re-create the buzz of being at a gig — when you’re out, you’re tanked up and having a good time with your mates. Hopefully this is as close to being at one of our gigs as you can get.”

For a little preview of their blistering live vibe in recent days, here is the urgent & rocking 4-song set they did at the Live 8 concert in London (July 2, 2005, pictured above):

Bartender and the Thief” (live) – Stereophonics

Dakota” (live) – Stereophonics

Maybe Tomorrow” (live) – Stereophonics

Local Boy in the Photograph” (live) – Stereophonics

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December 19, 2005

Monday Music Roundup

Time for the weekly fix. Here is some new music for you to enjoy. Let me know what you think. If something really tickles your eardrums I’d love to hear about it.

“For The Turnstiles”
Josh Rouse

This is another great track emailed to me by Adam, my new musical drug dealer. It is a beautiful cover of the Neil Young song, performed live on KCRW 2. It is a lovely rendition. I am digging Josh Rouse more and more of late.

“You Only Live Once”
The Strokes
I know that the new Strokes album First Impressions of Earth has been leaked and posted on practically every possible place on the internet, and that they have been on every magazine cover possible in recent days (exhibit A to right) but if perchance you HAVE NOT heard this song, I am posting it here because YOU MUST. This is one of my favorite tracks of the year, period. I love drummer Fabrizio Moretti, and on this track you can see why. Oh, to be like him someday. His loose and laid-back improvisations blow my mind all over this track. He’s just havin fun, doing his own thing, meandering back to the regular beat when he feels like it. Very fresh and compelling and infectious.

“On My Mind”
Upon first listening to this, Kalai sounds like James Taylor or Ben Harper. This is a simple, agreeable little song that always makes me happy, and I love to sing along cuz it is right in my perfect range. It was released on Kalai’s 2001 album Acoustacism. Kalai is only in his late-twenties, born in Hawaii and raised in Alaska. He has an excellent grasp of the new-folk genre and has quite a fine little album here. His dad is Danson, a Hawaiian music legend. In addition to making good music, Kalai is also an expert fly-fisherman and enjoys the simple life. Wow, that sounded like a personal ad. Anyway, check out his website at

“Nothing Compares 2 U”
Well, Sinead O’Rebellion. This is a cover of another song that distinctly reminds me of my elementary past, this one of the fifth grade and my best friend Britt. We would sit around and listen to Sinead belt it over and over. (Wait, did you hear that? That was the sound of my street cred dissipating.) Anyway, this gruff cover by the Stereophonics is irreverent and surprisingly heartfelt. I heard this on KEPC, a local community college radio station which plays a superb selection of music. Yay KEPC!

“Which One Of The Two Of Us Is Gonna Burn This House Down?”
The Star Spangles
Gritty garage rock, baby. The Star Spangles are out of New York City and in the vein of the NY Dolls and the Ramones, with some Stooges thrown in. It is clear who their influences are, not that that makes this cut any less enjoyable. I also find the vocals distinctly reminiscent of Paul Westerberg. This is off 2003′s Bazooka!!.

Speaking of The Replacements/Westerberg, I have been blessed with a largesse of rare tracks from them (2 CDs worth!) from a kind musical e-pal named Jerry, and I will be posting all the tracks here in the next few days, once I get time to upload the zip files! So if you are a Westerberg fan, stay tuned.

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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