Marianne Faithful sings of this age as a “candyfloss techno hell” in her “Sparrows will Sing,” a tune written by Roger Waters for Faithfull. It begins with a sound very similar to what we hear from the underground on the platform when the cars come in—and it sounds good. “Sparrows Will Sing” is actually quite a nod to this generation and its ability to overcome what it was given, complete with the chorus from Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter” out of Alice Through the Looking Glass. Whatever your interpretation of that nonsense poem from the Victorian era (whether it be Marxist, Buddha and Christ, or some gut sense of it), there are many references to the oysters here. And that’s what we get with Marianne Faithfull’s Give My Love to London. It’s a pensive, lyric-heavy album—absolutely one of her best if you are in the mood to think.
Putting out a version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has not often proved to be a good undertaking by those bands brash enough to think they can improve upon, or imbue with their style at least, the B.C./A.D. moment in rock n’ roll. We all know how that Bee Gee-Frampton-Alice Cooper bit of nonsense plopped onto the scene back in the 70s and some of us know the live Cheap Trick version and so forth. It is usually like choosing to paint a guy with a blue guitar or an Italian woman with an enigmatic smile—it’s been done better before. So what the heck are The Flaming Lips up to with the release of With a Little Help from My Fwends? Great fun, first of all, with collaborators such as Dr. Dog, Moby, and...Miley Cyrus. That’s right, Miley Cyrus sings “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life.”
Sallie Ford is back with a new album and a new band, no more Sound Outside it seems. So this is about a birth and a death. Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside was an amazing team (our first “Newer Bands That Don’t Sound Bad” on this site!) and hopefully there can be something from that grouping in the future. The new Sallie Ford crew has a different sound, complete with strings in certain places. Sallie Ford and her new band mates (Amanda Spring on drums, Cristina Cano on keyboards, and Anita Lee Eliot on bass/guitar, with Ford on vocals and guitar) form a solid quartet that often sounds like The Runaways—in a good way. A peculiar thing happens though, when you pair Sallie Ford with a rock and roll sound.
John Mayall is one of those British guys who liked American blues enough to try to replicate it in the UK. It may not be as well known as the return the US got on its exportation of rock and roll (Beatles, Kinks, Hollies etc.), but the States got back a lot from its exportation of its blues as well. Keb Mo did a radio program on the roots of Led Zeppelin’s songs and it’s hard to listen to them after you hear what they owe to the blues, to specific songs especially. This is so to a lesser extent for some other acts who straddled that blues-rock border back in the 60s and 70s, not so with John Mayall; John Mayall sounds like...John Mayall.