MICHAL BONCZA and IAN SINCLAIR cock an ear to latest from Spike, Sinkane and Wire
Spike 100% Frankie Miller (Cargo Records)
This tribute recording took years to put together and the results are awesome.
Glaswegian Miller is a bona fide rock legend — over the years his songs were covered by Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Waylon Jennings, Bonnie Tyler, Roy Orbison, Joe Cocker and The Eagles.
In 1994, while recording with Joe Walsh, he suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since
Now his bosom mate and Quireboys’ frontman Spike has assembled the great and the good, including Ronnie Wood, acclaimed Free rhythm section of Andy Fraser and Simon Kirke, Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter and Bonnie Tyler, to remind us of what a great songwriter Miller is.
Songs never recorded before are delivered with guts and measured energy. Spike and Tyler’s rasping voices are in impressive form. Every song is a gem — miss it not.
Sinkane Mean Love (City Slang)
The fourth album from Sinkane — aka American-Sudanese multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab — is a soul-drenched affair.
The touchstone that comes to mind most for me is Beck’s melancholic Sea Change. But while Beck mined alt-country for his suite of lovelorn songs, Sinkane channels classic funk, hip-hop, jazz and electronica to work through his angst.
Yacha’s retro synths and falsetto vocals echo peak-period Stevie Wonder while Moonstruck is the slightly cooler, breezy sister of Astrud Gilberto’s The Girl from Ipanema.
The title track slows things down, the song’s lap steel-infused country-soul hinting at what Gram Parsons might be singing today, before the joyous Omdurman closes the album.
Richly experimental with an inviting emotional core, like Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange and the music of Outkast’s Andre 3000, Mean Love is evidence of a particularly talented artist at work. Dazzling stuff.
Wire Document & Eyewitness (Pink Flag)
Originally released on vinyl in 1981, Wire’s infamous live album is now re-released as a double-CD.
The critics’ choice since their taut punk debut Pink Flag in 1977, it’s clear the English four-piece had tired of their musical career by the time they played London’s Electric Ballroom in February 1980 — the focus of the record.
Playing mostly unhinged-sounding new material and few hits, it’s a difficult, abrasive listen.
Zegk Hoqp is a five-minute headache of random yelps and discordant percussive noises while fan favourite 12XU is cut short after 15 seconds.
With the band baiting them between songs, parts of the crowd were clearly very hostile and bottles were thrown.
The second disc is of slightly more accessible odds and sods.
Part live document, part experimental performance art, this is for die-hard fans only.