Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone

Back in August 2017 I briefly commented on the Mercury Music Prize nominees and threw some out and added some in, this album was actually nominated and I kept it in because it is a fine album.

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Loyle Carner is a stage name, his actual name is Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, which means that his stage name is a spoonerism of his double barrelled surname, that amuses me.

Carner played his first official gig at The Button Factory in Dublin, Ireland in October 2012 supporting MF Doom. He released his first EP in September 2014, titled A Little Late, which was well received and he supported Joey Badass on his UK tour and went on to play the 2015 UK festival season, including Glastonbury Festival. He went on tour and collaborated with poet and spoken-word artist Kate Tempest in late 2015 and  In October 2015 he played on Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show as part of their Piano Sessions series. In late August 2016, he supported Nasin his show at the O2 Academy Bristol. Then, in 2017, he released his first album.

It wasn’t until I saw the Mercury Music Prize nominations that Carner came to my attention and it was the opening track of the album that was the first thing I heard. Isle Of Arran. 

The song title refers to island in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde known for its beautiful mountainous scenery. Carner explained to BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac: “I spent a lot of time there. It’s where my granddad grew up, it a little island off the top of Scotland and there’s not much to do there. It’s a very long journey (from London) but it’s beautiful, it’s secluded.” ’The track samples 60’s cut The Lord Will Make A Way by S.C.I Youth Choir in what must be perceived as an ironic way as the song counter lyrically with “Standby, didn’t need no help from no damn guy / Man by, I’ve been making waves all my damn life.” The track has emotional and philosophical depth as it discusses why today’s youths see religion as futile when their world is one of despair, inequality and lack of prospects. We can go all the way back to 1977 and God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols to hear:

There is no future in England’s dreaming
Don’t be told what you want, don’t be told what you need
There’s no future, no future, no future for you

Though more personal and contemplative, the message is the same 40 years on.

Listening to the album sequentially there is the sense of being let in to view a life, with conversations taking place between and during tracks and stories being told, also, it’s pretty catchy in places, exemplified below with No CD.

The knowledge that Carner has been diagnosed with ADHD and Dyslexia informs the listener when listening to this track, at least to some degree, but what comes across through the entire album and various bits of interviews I’ve watched is the authenticity of Carner. He is not shouting about bitches or gold chains or guns, but about the realities of his life and how they affect him and others like him, told in his own accent and with what feels like genuine sincerity.

No. Title Length
1. “The Isle of Arran” 3:34
2. “Mean It in the Morning” 2:39
3. “+44” 0:48
4. “Damselfly” (featuring Tom Misch) 2:52
5. “Ain’t Nothing Changed” 3:10
6. “Swear” 0:34
7. “Florence” (featuring Kwes) 3:04
8. “The Seamstress (Tooting Masala)” 2:31
9. “Stars & Shards” 3:04
10. “No Worries” (featuring Jehst and Rebel Kleff) 4:30
11. “Rebel 101” 0:28
12. “No CD” (featuring Rebel Kleff) 4:16
13. “Mrs. C” 3:22
14. “Sun of Jean” 5:14
15. “Yesterday’s Gone” 2:37

Sampha won the Mercury Music Prize for 2017 but in many ways that doesn’t mater as it brought this album exposure to a wider audience just by being nominated. I’m glad I made the decision to get a copy for myself as I’m pretty confident it is going to get a lot of spins.

Rating: 8.7

Dinosaur – Together, as one

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If you’ve been listening to the radio show at all then you’d have heard my take on the Mercury Music Prize and how much I liked the album by Dinosaur, well, proving that wasn’t just bullshit words I bought a copy of the album today. At £17 it was pretty reasonable for a new record in a gatefold sleeve, although it came with no extras, which is fine as I never use the download cards anyway, I much prefer a CD tucked in the sleeve.

It is a brilliant debut album and they really are exceptional musicians, as can be seen from their performance at the MMP awards the other week:

I’ve listened to the album several times now and it just keeps getting better and better.

Tracklist

A1 Awakening 8:33
A2 Robin 6:50
A3 Living, Breathing 6:37
B1 Underdog 2:50
B2 Extinct 9:29
B3 Primordial 7:46
B4 Interlude 2:56

I actually think the right person won the award itself, but for a band like Dinosaur the exposure it has provided them has been invaluable, not only for them but for myself as they wouldn’t have even been on my radar without being nominated. I really do love this album.

The official video for ‘Living, Breathing’ :

London Jazz News reviews the album below:

Laura Jurd – still in her mid-20s – is already on her third album. Both Human Spirit(2015) and her 2012 debut Landing Ground foregrounded Jurd’s ambitious compositions, drawing on a repertory company of young musicians. Together, As One presents a unified front from Jurd’s regular working quartet, now called Dinosaur. The Dinosaur sound and feel is perhaps best represented by the first track Awakening. This has a superb asymmetric (5/8) pulse out of which Jurd’s trumpet floats across echoplexed synthesizer washes before a fragile theme emerges from the sonic haze. Not an unusual way to begin a jazz fusion track, but Dinosaur make it feel authentic and fresh. After the long intro Conor Chaplin’s bass installs a long 5/4 riff into the piece followed by plangent electric piano by Elliot Galvin. This was not the only time during this album that I was reminded of Ian Carr’s Nucleus and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Mwandishi’ band (featuring Eddie Henderson), but that’s more because of mood and style than compositional and improvisational content. Dinosaur’s music sounds young and defiantly European – there’s a hint of Acoustic Ladyland – and its best moments stick in the mind with an easy grace. The nine-and-a-half-minute Extinct has a cunning groove that emerges slowly from the primordial audio swirl of its intro. A plainly stated middle section theme changes the mood for a while before the Sly-like groove returns for the remainder of the song. Primordial has a hammering, antsy fanfare that morphs into a triple-time lope for an eloquent solo by Jurd. I liked Galvin’s keyboard sounds best when they were idiomatic (electric piano, Rose Stone-like organ in Extinct) or heading for outer space (the twangling synths and electronic washes of Interlude). In Corrie Dick, Jurd has the empathetic, endlessly inventive drummer that every jazz composer dreams of, and occasionally deserves. Bassist Chaplin is a star. There’s a close empathy (which is not always reflected in the mix). Although it may win awards, Together, As One doesn’t come across as a self-consciously ‘award winning album’: the production is understated, the performances are straightforwardly good and no-one is trying too hard to impress, which makes it all the more impressive.

Mercury Music Prize Winner

and it’s Sampha with his debut album Process. Good choice I think.

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In a recent post I listened to all the nominees and was keen on this album as it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Thank goodness it wasn’t Ed Sheeran, that would have upset me quite a bit actually and there would almost certainly have been a rant.