King Charles Update

As you’ve probably guessed by now we’re pretty big fans of King Charles. We aren’t sure whether that’s due to the refreshing songwriting, characteristic voice or unique look. Most probably it’s a combination of the three. As mentioned previously, we are  looking forward to the release of his debut album “LoveBlood” on the 7th May. Today we’ve got the track list for it:

1. LoveBlood
2. Mississippi Isabel
3. Bam Bam
4. Love Lust
5. Polar Bear
6. Lady Percy
7. Ivory Road
8. Brightest Lights
9. Beating Hearts
10. Coco Chitty
11. Wilde Love

A couple of Sundays back (March 11th) we also had the chance to catch the man/band live. They were playing the last stop of their UK tour. The venue was the Portland Arms, Cambridge. It was a small place with an incredible atmosphere. There was a wonderfully jovial and down to earth feel to the whole gig. The epitome of this came half way through We Were Evergreen’s set. The french band had been supporting King Charles throughout the entire tour. Their feel-good indie pop was certainly having the desired effect. All clever beat loops, yukele thrashing, honeyed vocals and sparkle. To cap it off, a voice over my left shoulder asked, “Is there any space at the front?” I turned with a “Yes” to which King Charles responded, “Why?! Move forward”. He soon claimed a spot just off stage and asked everyone to move that bit closer. It was great to see such support.

King Charles was up on stage as soon as We Were Evergreen finished. He proceeded to mess around with a basketball for the next quarter of an hour, whilst various soundchecks took place around him. Further evidence of someone simply enjoying the moment. It was pretty uplifting, which sounds far too sickly sweet. Such over-sweetness was soon shattered as King Charles opened up with the  medieval intensity of “Mr Flick”. It was an impassioned start that set the tone for the rest of the set. A set that was heavier than expected. The glossy glam-folk of “Love Blood” and the clever lyricism of “Love Lust” still featured prominently. There was also head-banging aplenty, “Coco Chitty” saw the beehive let loose as power chords dominated. “Polar Bear” was quirky brilliance of the highest order, the absurd lyricism juxtaposed with heavy, menacing instrumentation to great effect. The encore was an unquestionable highlight. It began with “Ivory Road”. A track we’ve drooled over enough times to make any further praise redundant. The finale was “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, with the stage descending into gloriously crowded chaos. King Charles summoned We Were Evergreen to rejoin him, along with half a dozen of the audience. He fervently launched into his cover of the Billy Joel classic, “Kate Moss, 50 Cent, Obama is the president, peace is scarce, no-one dares, Litvinenko”. Even better than the lyrics were the choruses. They consisted of King Charles giving it his all, a score or people singing at the top of their lungs and a man with a trumpet. What more could you want?

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Ben Howard – Live & Remixed

Got a bit of a Ben Howard special for you today folks, that wasn’t meant to be a pun, honest…

As you may well have gathered by this stage we here at HMCMB are huge fans of the Devonshire singer songwriter, his album, “Every Kingdom” being one of my favourites of 2011, more about that HERE. I was lucky enough to catch him live at The Junction, Cambridge last Thursday, in a show that more than exceeded already high expectations.

It was pleasing to see just how many people had turned up, from a relatively small and by this point student-less city, to see a guy who just a few months ago was very much unheard of.  To see such a crowd was to reassure as to the universal appeal of good music shining through the shallow pseudo-dance that is often too dominant in today’s charts. Ben seemed equally pleasantly surprised by the turn out and we were more than rewarded with a beautifully personal yet impassioned performance. Highlights being his cymbal slapping, amidst the powerful instrumental breakdowns that are now so characteristic of his sound, and his effusive charm evident in responding to “I want you on a Christmas tree” with “You’re going to be a fruitcake when you’re older”.

Credit should also go to the band as a whole, seeing them live really hit home just how versatile they are.  With Chris Bond on drums and bass and India Bourne playing the cello, bass and drums it suddenly became abundantly clear just how they had managed to create such an impressive and diverse soundscape on “Every Kingdom”. Seeing Ben in the flesh only helped to accentuate the deft subtlety that he displays on the guitar and the rich texture of his voice, the whole set was deeply atmospheric and memorable.

The final song of the encore was “The Fear”, but with a twist. With a confidence no doubt inspired by the success of his tour to date Ben jettisoned his trusty acoustic guitar in favour of an electric, to unleash an even more powerful and haunting a version of his latest single. It was great to hear a different take on his traditional sound, which is clearly something Ben is encouraging with the recent unveiling of Scott Nixon’s remix of “Black Flies”.

To attempt to take on an essentially folky and acoustic track from an electronic music perspective is no easy task. Yet with patience and a careful exaggerating of the tracks already heavier features Nixon excels himself, as you can hear below. The extra layers of bass that dominate the opening serve to enhance the already dark melancholy of the piece. As the song progresses subtle wobble gives way to hectic drums, with Bens haunting calls woven deftly into the beat, the very same calls that see the track to it’s minimalist close.

Ben Howard  -  Black Flies (Scott Nixon Remix)

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HMCMB Sessions :: Krakatoa

We met Krakatoa, or 3/5ths of them at least, at Waterloo station. We had been in London that morning filming another set of acoustic sessions with Buildings, they’ll be released in the coming days. The weather that morning had left rather a lot to be desired, but by the time the afernoon came around the clouds had cleared and glorious sunshine was the order of the afternoon.

We headed for a walk along Southbank, which was packed with tourists and street perfomers and sellers.  One of whom, a man dressed as a giant subway, took a fair bit of stick from Darien which kept us entertained. We decided to cross the Thames to find a quieter location and upon doing so stumbled across a very picturesque park. We spotted a gnarled, weeping willow that was having to be supported by stakes to just keep it up, so we thought we’d have Josh sit on it. With the sun just beginning to set through the upper bows of the tree we couldn’t really have asked for a better location nor indeed lighting. After filming 3 tracks, which involved everything from a harmonica to a melodica, we were approached by some fairly officious looking individuals who started harping on about licenses… Best leave it there then/after you’ve subscribed to HMCMB Sessions on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/heymancheckmyband

https://www.youtube.com/user/heymancheckmyband

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