Steve Pitts Picks The Hits (Best Of 2014)

Throughout December friends of the blog will be selecting their 3 favourite records of 2014 (OK, I will be doing it too). Steve Pittaway joined loosehandlebars back in August for a review of The Everlasting Yeah’s gig at the Dirty Water Club in that London. As Steve was the first of the invitees to get his act together & reply. He has first dibs on an LP that many people I know would want to include in the records of the year.

1. Anima Rising” – The Everlasting Yeah. The Event of the Year. Purveyors of great taste put all their influences into the mix and come out with the LP of their careers. The songs have more hooks than is surely legal for one band to have. It has everything from Krautrock to Glam, from Punk to Funk, yet somehow breathes a fresh perspective on it all. Hell it was only 21 years in the making, lets hope it’s not another 21 year wait to the next.

2. .“Way Out Weather – Steve Gunn. Steve Gunn is a man who knows his way around a guitar. That isn’t to say he is one of those flash git’s like Steve Vai. This man writes good tunes around complex guitar melodies. Most people cite Television and The Grateful Dead as his influences, they are in there, for sure but so too is Steve’s spin on it all. He came to play in my hometown last month & seeing him  live he was a wonder to watch as his fingers effortlessly made there way around the neck of the guitar and never once did he look down at his fingers! The LP is a joy from start to finish and not one track is filler, not many LP’s you can say that about.


3. .“Invisible Hour” – Joe Henry. If you know Joe Henry at all it will because of either his production duties on the likes of Solomon Burke, Billy Bragg or Hugh Laurie’s LPs or the fact that he is Madonna’s brother in law. He has been releasing LP’s in his own right since 1986 .He has drifted through a number of styles but, with the last few LP’s has really hit his stride. Using a very small band it is the strength of the song and the lyrics that grab your attention. I suppose he inhabits a style somewhere between Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Whilst he has a background in what is termed these days as Americana he manages to mix in jazzy touches that delightfully embellish the songs. “Invisible Hour” is an LP that I have found myself lost in whilst on my constitutionals with our faithful hound, little realising what time has passed.

I know that Joe Henry record, I hope that Steve’s dog knows the way home, the music is certainly reverie inducing stuff. Mr Pittaway keeps his discerning eye out for some tasty gigs & I will be on his case to share his evenings out with us in 2015.

A Good Night Out In Glasgow (The Everlasting Yeah Live)

Last Thursday the Everlasting Yeah were back on the road (well, the rails) making the 800 mile round trip from London to Glasgow to play their first gig as a band with an album, the magnetic “Anima Rising” to promote. Loosehandlebars has  friends in Scottish places, all of them at double rainbow excitement to be making the scene. We asked one of those good folk, Peter Lamont, a connoisseur of 1960s footballers & 1970s German rock bands, to tell us how it was….

The weekend came early and started with the old tale of four Derrymen walking into a Glasgow bar , only this time the tale has a new spin . We gathered at our subterranean venue, the lower floor of the Stereo cafe bar in Glasgow on Thursday 27th November,  witness how the Everlasting Yeah’s dazzling album, “Anima Rising” would translate live , like there could have been any doubts.

It’s probably impossible at this early stage not to mention the band’s earlier incarnation That Petrol Emotion, a band peerless in their day who left behind a body of work too monumental to be discounted , culminating in a live document , “Final Flame” which stands comparison with any guitar-oriented live album . The flame was not so final however and has flared again not from ashes but still-glowing embers. The Everlasting Yeah’s four members comprise 80% of TPE’S former line up but this is a new band. New rules , new songs. No heritage act this.

From the moment Ciaran McLaughlin’s drums shuffle in with Brendan Kelly’s picked bass notes of the set-opening (Whatever Happened to the) Hoodlum Angels , you’re bouncing on your heels . It’s not possible to stand still to funk this masterful. The lead vocal is sung at an upper register but Raymond Gorman delivers with ease .Sound man Dino Galasso’s good work is appreciable from the outset and throughout. What becomes apparent is how much of the album went down in the studio under live conditions. Onstage the band reproduce this but imbued with a life no studio can give – that said , “Anima Rising” on a decent system cranked to a good level gives the impression of the band in the room with you .

The Everlasting Yeah pitch their first Glasgow show perfectly , this is, to all intents, an album launch and “Anima Rising”, a record with no fat on it , not a wasted minute , is wonderfully showcased here . We cannot help but think of the comments by a jaded Time Out (how appropriate) hack . Basing his spiteful and ill-conceived observation (anonymously) on one or two sound bytes from the mobile handsets of those desperate to take a little of a great band home , he spoke of “middle aged men pursuing their Clash fantasies”, or some such. This is so spectacularly wide of the mark as to be perfectly ridiculous, demonstrating the truth of the old axiom that a very little knowledge is a dangerous thing .

Back at the gig , “ A Little bit of Uh-Huh…” is affecting , effective and infectious with its Stonesy/Ronson riffage and four part vocal harmonies – no one misses , missus . The band dance around . This is a joyful thing to watch, their enjoyment in what they do is palpable. The record is the sound of a band confident of what they’ve got and having a blast getting it on tape .

“New Beat on Shakin’ Street “ with its titular nod to the MC5 , gets the same treatment and has a nice restrained swagger before the pace is upped even further with the driving (pun intended) “ Taking That Damn Again “ . Live, we don’t get the great sax of the record but the pulsating delivery of the rhythm section and terrific vocal harmonies force you to submit – let’s not forget the chiming , chopping guitars – this is just thrilling .

It almost comes as relief when the band ease into the ravishingly pretty “Everything’s Beautiful”. The lyric is sincere, the melody enchanting and the live delivery immaculate. “All Around the World” is perhaps Damian O’Neill’s showcase with his Johnny Thunders inflections and (dare we say , out-blurring Graham Coxon?)

Best to last? Yes, very possibly with album and set closer, “The Grind” . The habit of the three/four minute song rarely broken by the band of old, is rested here with this twelve minute-plus wig-out .

The song has, in the words of Holger Czukay and the late,great Miki Karoli , “ a Can attitude .” It has the insanely exciting pace of say, “Father Cannot Yell” by that band . As with so many tracks built on the kosmische tradition (refuse to say “krautrock”), this is economical , takes nothing from Anglo-American rock and is rhythm driven . Again Brendan and even more so Ciaran are high in the mix. The term applied to this ferocious, metronomic beat , “motorik” is vastly overused so perhaps Iggy’s description from his discussing Neu! /Klaus Dinger better applies when he spoke of a “pastoral psychedelicism”. In any case, the recorded track stuns and the live rendition is mesmeric.

Two unrecorded songs wind up our evening, “Say Nothing”(?) and “Hurricane Nation” , these augur well for a second Yeah release in the year ahead and we like as not will have to wait for that to hear anything as potent as the classic “Anima Rising” .

To summate, The Everlasting Yeah were devastating in Glasgow, each man and the sum of the parts.

Do they wanna be famous? Do they wanna be heard and loved by everyone ? They should be.

A great night then. The show was filmed by Maggie Davis & we have lifted these clips, the best yet of the band, from the Y-tube where you can find the rest of the performance. “Anima Rising” will, hopefully, be getting a wider distribution soon. Hit The Everlasting Yeah’s F-book page for news on how to get the record & for news of further gigs. Thanks to Peter for a great job & welcome to the blog mate. I know you have plenty to say about plenty so why not say it here.

Moving To The 21st Century Pulsebeat (The Everlasting Yeah)

Last Friday the debut LP from The Everlasting Yeah, “Anima Rising” arrived in my computer. 7 tracks to be downloaded, sized up, then listened to again at annoy-the-neighbours volume because that’s how great guitar music is best listened to. It was a momentous morning because here at loosehandlebars we have been bigging up TEY since their first gig in 2012 & this was the finished product, how those songs we had seen on the Y-tube clips were meant to sound. There are people I know who have been waiting for 21 years for this record, good folk, pillars of the community, not at all obsessive…The Everlasting Yeah were 4/5ths of That Petrol Emotion whose 5 LPs, a fine legacy of hook-laden songs, an energetic mix of tradition & innovation, left an impression on these Petrolheads that has lasted a long time. Last Friday was a great day for the whole clan.

That was then & this is the 21st century. 2014 is the Year of the Yeah & “Anima Rising” is a sparkling take on the 2 guitars, bass & drums rock template that we thought had been all played out. From the urgent opener, “A Little Bit of Uh-huh A Whole Lot of Oh Yeah” to the closing epic “The Grind” the guitar interplay, rumbling bass, relentless percussion is bright, shiny & new, reminding you just how exciting rock music is when it’s done properly. Be careful of “A Little Bit…”, it’s not just listener-friendly, it’s got a hand on your thigh, about to ask what you are doing later & you’re liking it. Hear it once & you’re smitten. Phew…& the hits just keep on coming. Now I’m not the guy to give away other people’s music on the Internet (even if I knew how to) so here is an early demo of “New Beat On Shaking Street”. The finished version…well, I need a word to describe flashes of light & still sounds tough, so that word is coruscating.

I am also not going to throw about a bunch of cool names from back then to make you want to listen to The Everlasting Yeah. “Anima Rising” is no retromance. Ciaran, Damian, Brendan & Raymond have the talent & the acumen to incorporate their influences into their own sound. They have been doing this music thing long enough to know what works &, more importantly, what doesn’t. The only guest musician is saxophonist Terry Edwards on the hypnotic “Taking That Damn Train Again” & it’s a perfect seasoning. The thing about “Anima Rising”  is the groove, not a fake funk furrow but insistent, irresistible like “Exile…” (Oh crap…I did it !). The shimmering “Everything’s Beautiful” slows things down nicely but the rest takes a hold & just does not let go. Even the 12 minute long “The Grind” is not really long enough. The Everlasting Yeah are Neoteric Motorik…it’s a thing, well it is now.

Photo: this is the design for the pledge tshirt - pretty cool eh?The only people who have this music are those kind enough & smart enough to join the Pledge to get the record finished properly. The hard copies should be here soon. The geeks can sniff their new vinyl while I will slap the CD into the car’s system, head out on the highway looking for adventure, it’s that kind of sound. The band’s website is not yet  up & running, just in time to miss the lucrative Xmas market. If you really need a copy (& you do need one) of “Anima Rising”, a nailed-on Album of the Year, then head on over to The Everlasting Yeah’s Facebook page, say hello & a very nice man will do his best to sort you out.He may even have 1 of these cool T-shirts lying around.

It’s A Guitar Thing. (The Pitts, The Petrols And The Yeah !)

I was looking for some fresh voices for my last post on The Everlasting Yeah’s current Pledge for “Anima Rising”, their upcoming LP (go on, click it). Around my computer I know Steve Pittaway to be a man of few words, all of them apposite & accurate. He was attending TEY’s gig at the Dirty Water Club in London on the 25th of July so I commissioned (Get Me !) a review if he would be so kind. Well…Steve is, praise Odin, a man who is passionate & effusive about things that matter to him. One of these things is the music made now & then by the members of The Everlasting Yeah. So could we have a warm hand on the entrance (oo-er !) of a new & welcome correspondent to loosehandlebars.

“”Road trips to London from the Midlands for big city gigs were a regular thing in my teens & twenties. These treks started to diminish & now I’m in my forties they are almost non-existent. It takes a special band to get me back on the road on a Friday after a full week at work, knowing full well that there’s a long journey back up the M1 before the night’s end. A special band that are only on their fifth gig (We wont count the low key acoustic gig under a different name but, for the sake of one-upmanship, I was there !). I had already made an earlier trip to London, another to Oxford to see this band. So last Friday I was back on the road again.

I should state that members of this band and I have a history. Our paths first crossed back in 1985 when, in a previous incarnation, That Petrol Emotion played at Warwick University. From that first gig I never  saw them do a below par show. Petrol’s gigs were always exhilarating, life affirming, just what you want & need from live music. I was gutted when they called it a day back in 1994 (Even worse I could not make their last ever gig).

One of the great things about the Internet is it can put you in touch with people from bands that you followed, whose music you collected. Back in 1999 I was able to hook up with one Raymond Gorman, guitar slinger with That Petrol Emotion. I learned that he was still making music and was willing to share it. I liked, no, loved what he sent me and offered words of encouragement when I could. I didn’t  realise back then that it would take 15 more years for him to actually be in a position to release new material on CD/ Vinyl. Now that day is fast approaching. Excited much am I. 

Raymond, along with former TPE band mates Ciaran McLaughlin, Damien O’Neill & Brendan Kelly re-incarnated as The Everlasting Yeah 2 years ago. From the outset a demo recorded in drummer Ciaran’s lounge made clear that this was a new band, one not content to trade on former glories, pushing things in a different direction. So here I am, Friday 25th of July in the Dirty Water Club, The Boston Arms, Tufnell Park, North London and that special band take to the stage. We are told from the off that what is about to happen is the band are going to perform all of the newly recorded LP “Anima Rising” in full, with a pause in the middle while the LP is turned over to side two!

Bang !… side 1 track 1, “A Little Bit of Uh-Huh, A Whole Lot of Oh Yeah”, an earworm since I first heard it at that low key gig, setting the scene for what is to come. Duelling guitars, a locked in rhythm section, shared vocal duties mainly by Ray and Ciaran, the others chipping in when needed. I am one of the few lucky people to have heard Raymond’s early instrumental demo of the song. Back then it was a wild psychedelic guitar fest, now it is a sing along anthem one that  engages from the off. Track 2 “Hoodlum Angels”, again a song given a good kick up it’s A since it was first demoed. There’s now more meat on those bones, Ciaran & Ray’s vocals mesh wonderfully together, Brendan’s bass line holds the whole groove, while Damien’s guitar phrases glides above it.

“New Beat on Shakin’ Street”, chock full of hooks,an instant singalong. At this point I realise, as a drumstick splinters, that Ciaran is playing out of his skin. How he manages to put such intensity and passion into his drumming and vocals is beyond me. “Yeah Yeah Yeah”. Track 4 “Takin’ That Damn Train Again” a song  built on a Krautrock foundation, the whole feel of the song  one of built up frustration that spills out not only in the lyrics but the whole musical accompaniment . I for one cannot wait to hear the recorded version of this with Mr Terry Edwards on saxophone.

Time to pause and flip the record. Side 2 Track 1, “Everything Is Beautiful”, is a song I first heard Ciaran doing solo (One day this man will release his singer/songwriter LP to the acclaim it deserves.). It is a change of pace in the set, slower than the other tunes. This full blooded version takes the song to another level; wonderful dual harmonies that raise my spirit. “All around the World” is new to me and it is during this song that I realise that this band is more than the sum of its parts. I cannot imagine that the band would sound the same if one member was to leave and be replaced (a good analogy would be the Bunnymen, did they ever really sound the same without Pete Defreitas?).

Track 3, the 12 minute long “The Grind” rocked the Roundhouse at last year’s show and tonight is no different. This tour de force shows The Everlasting Yeah to be a fine tuned machine, their relentless energy spreads to fill the room. “Anima Rising” ends on these high notes. That Petrol Emotion’s encores were usually surprising & spectacular cover versions. This is a new band, things are going to be different. They decide to do a song that they have rehearsed just the once, a brave if a little mad move. Lots of nervous glances between band members but they carry it off..just about !

With that the evening is over and Raymond professes his love for us all. That’s a thing about this band, there is a lot of love around them. In the room you can feel that same love reciprocated. When I try to explain to people why I go to gigs a lot it is for that feeling when band and audience are at one. It doesn’t happen all the time but tonight it did and was worth the trip & will be worth it again for the next time.”

Big thanks to Steve for taking the time to share his passion about this special band. If you click here you can soon be in on the The Everlasting Yeah’s debut LP “Anima Rising” & that’s a good thing.

I Pledge Allegiance To The Everlasting Yeah

The wait for The Everlasting Yeah to unveil “Anima Rising” has only seemed to be a long one because we knew this thing was going to be good  The band, 4 former members of That Petrol Emotion, have, rightfully, been taking all the time they need in the studio to get their new songs sounding exactly how they want them to sound. It has been 21 years since TPE released the last of their dynamic, often ground-breaking music. There is, of course, a legacy to uphold but this is no rewind revival, no nostalgic ramble. “Anima Rising” is how guitar music should sound in 2014. Here’s the Soundcloud Sampler of 4 tracks to whet your appetite.

 

Joe Brown, bass player off of the Gatefolds, friend of this blog, pulled some strings, twisted an arm & called in some favours from the Derry old boy network to get the drop on  the rest of us. On a recent trip to that Babylon he got his pre-release listen to the debut album by The Everlasting Yeah. His reaction, & I quote, was…”Its been twenty something years since the guys have released any material and I can only say this incredible record has made the wait worthwhile. I wasn’t surprised, it was always going to be something special but I was completely blown away by its sheer class…Sonically amazing with the power of the fantastic guitar sounds and pulsating rhythm…it really does deliver a knockout punch, so why not do the thing and give the band a pledge..you really are in for a treat”. Joe Brown is a man to be trusted, he would not lie to you.

So…the pledge…The band, Raymond, Ciaran, Damien & Brendan, want to ensure that the release of “Anima Rising” in download, CD & vinyl format is to the highest quality. They are asking for the kindness of strangers, the strangeness of kind people, to pre-order this music so that everything can be just so. However you listen to music nowadays this rocking good way of playing it will improve your collection. It will shake you, wake you in the morning. On a commuter journey you will be cruising while the rest are snoozing. A run in the park is all gain, less pain. Heck, even doing the washing up will be more fun. Head over to The Everlasting Yeah’s Pledge page, check out these good people & help yourself to some essential modern music. There are plenty of special offers. If you promise enough they may even come around to your house. If you don’t then they may come around…you get me !

The band played in London last Friday (review coming up next) & a big shout to Kate Greaves for her kind permission to use her dynamic photographs of this gig in this post. There will, hopefully, be more shows around the time of the release of “Anima Rising”. Right, some more music…this fantastic rehearsal tape is just the job. “Hurricane Nation” is a tune that did not make the cut on to the LP. Not because of any lack of quality but because these guys know that when a job is worth doing then you do that job right…maybe next time. Once again, just click here, do the right thing, get yourself some of 2014’s best music then…Pass It On !