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Album Review: Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg

 
By on Monday, 22nd October 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by guest reviewer Carrie Clancy

When I listened to the first track on Jake Bugg’s new self-titled album, I had two immediate thoughts: one, he doesn’t sound very British, and two, is he really only 18 years old? This album is full of Americana-type folk, but with a modern lyrical twist. Mix in some nifty guitar work and a surprisingly melodic singing voice, and there you have it, ‘Jake Bugg’.

Bugg’s musical style has already been widely compared to that of Bob Dylan, and while that comparison seems almost too obvious, it isn’t entirely inaccurate. Vocally, Bugg sounds more like Arlo Guthrie or Paul Simon, but he definitely has the down-and-dirty Dylan vibe going for him, even at his tender young age. In contrast to the grittiness of his music, Bugg’s singing voice has quite a pleasant tone, with good range and flexibility. The production on the album isn’t overdone, but I kept thinking that the songs would have an equally strong impact if they were stripped back to just guitar and vocals. (I hope to hear this firsthand next month, when Bugg tours America, opening for Snow Patrol and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.)

Bugg’s English accent does peek through through at times as the album progresses, and it comes almost as a surprise. The first few songs have a very definite American country sound. Fast-paced folk rockers ‘Lightning Bolt’ (reviewed by Tom here) and ‘Two Fingers’ that open the album will surely appeal to fans of Mumford and Sons. ‘Slide’ has more of a contemporary alt-rock sound, reminiscent of Oasis, whom Bugg claims as one of his major musical influences. Overall, the 14 songs on the album are cleverly sequenced, with pure folk-country songs like ‘Trouble Town’ situated next to the more contemporary sounding ‘Ballad of Mr. Jones’. The final track ‘Fire’ closes the circle back to the lo-fi, Americana folk sound, almost as if Bugg is bringing his listeners back to his own musical roots.

Listening more closely to Bugg’s lyrics, I found myself amazed that someone as young as he is can write songs with the kind of emotional maturity and musical depth found here, though some of the lyrics (“a friend took me aside, said ‘everyone here has a knife'”) are a little unnerving coming from, as it were, the mouth of a mere babe. Like his musical contemporary Ed Sheeran, Bugg seems to have wisdom beyond his years, and it shows in his songwriting. I will certainly be interested to see where his music evolves from this promising beginning.

8.5/10

Jake Bugg’s eponymous debut album is out now on Mercury. Catch the singer/songwriter next year on his UK/Irish tour. Tom’s interview with Bugg and his answers to our Quickfire Questions are here. Watch some studio footage related to ‘Two Fingers’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4cKnY87_qI[/youtube]

 

Jake Bugg / February 2013 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Monday, 1st October 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Jake Bugg and his ‘Two Fingers’ (don’t worry, they’re not at you; watch the video at the end of this post) will be out on tour in the UK and Ireland next February. Tickets are on sale now.

Bugg’s self-titled debut album is out the 15th of October on Mercury.

Saturday 2nd February 2013 – Sheffield Academy
Sunday 3rd February 2013 – Lincoln Engine Shed
Monday 4th February 2013 – Leeds Academy
Tuesday 5th February 2013 – Newcastle Academy
Thursday 7th February 2013 – Edinburgh Liquid Room
Friday 8th February 2013 – Glasgow ABC
Saturday 9th February 2013 – Belfast Mandela Hall
Sunday 10th February 2013 – Dublin Academy
Tuesday 12th February 2013 – Liverpool Academy
Wednesday 13th February 2013 – Preston 53 Degrees
Thursday 14th February 2013 – Manchester Academy
Friday 15th February 2013 – Nottingham Rock City
Sunday 17th February 2013 – Norwich UEA
Monday 18th February 2013 – Brighton Dome
Tuesday 19th February 2013 – Birmingham Institute
Thursday 21st February 2013 – Northampton Roadmenders
Friday 22nd February 2013 – Cardiff Solus
Saturday 23rd February 2013 – Yeovil Westlands
Monday 25th February 2013 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Tuesday 26th February 2013 – Southampton Guildhall
Wednesday 27th February 2013 – London Shepherds Bush

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9XwFecNXyU[/youtube]

 

Interview and Quickfire Questions #35: Jake Bugg

 
By on Wednesday, 29th August 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Jake ‘Lightning Bolt’ Bugg is a bit of an enigma, so Tom came up with some questions for him, like asking about his autumn support slot with the elder Gallagher brother, and below was the result. Ever the reticent one, isn’t he? You can see him live on tour this November.

You’ve recently recorded and released your first EP, ‘Taste It’. How was that experience?
It was bang on.

How different are the tracks on ‘Taste It’ compared to what we’ve already heard? I’m obsessed with ‘Country Song’ and my girlfriend won’t stop playing ‘Lightning Bolt’ (I also think she’s harbouring a bit of a crush).
I think ‘Taste’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’ are pretty similar but I think ‘Kentucky’ and ‘Love Me the Way You Do’ have a country element to them, and ‘Green Man’ has more of a psychedelic feel.

It’s just been announced that you will be supporting Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on their tour of North America this year. How did that come about?
I’m not too sure, I just found out from my management, but I’m excited to be going on Tour with Noel and Snow Patrol.

Has Noel given you any advice?
Ner, not yet with only met a couple times.

Were Oasis a band you’d listen to while growing up?
Yeah, Oasis are great.

I know all your fans are eagerly anticipation the release of your debut album, when will that hit our shelves?
It will be out on October 15th.

You’ve got a very distinct voice and an old-school style, how would you describe your music to those who haven’t heard you before?
Ermm…roots music with a contemporary twist? Not too sure.

Who would you consider a major influence on the music you write?
John Lennon, Donovan, Don McLean…..the list goes on.

Lastly, I’ve read a lot of critics praise you for your lyrics and subject matter; but which song by another artist do you wish you’d have written yourself?
Haha, there’s thousands. [For one] ‘Vincent’ by Don McLean.

And his answer to our TGTF Quickfire Questions:

1. What song is your earliest musical memory?
Don McLean’s – ‘Vincent’

2. What was your favourite song as a child?
Don McLean – ‘Vincent’

3. What song makes you laugh?
A really crap one.

4. What song makes you cry?
A really crap one.

5. What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
[Jake skipped this one.]

6. What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
It all depends what mood I’m in, to be honest.

7. Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Don McLean – ‘Vincent’.

8. Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I don’t have a favourite. I just like what sounds good.

9. If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Hmm, probably working in Pork Farms.

10. If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
I’d rather not bring one then, as I would just get bored of it.

 

Video of the Moment #885: Jake Bugg

 
By on Sunday, 15th July 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Jake Bugg‘s on a roll. His next single ‘Taste It’ will be out on the 12th of August, but it’s already hit radio stations and from the looks of it, it’ll get as much traction as debut single ‘Lightning Bolt’. Start your Sunday right by watching its promo video below.

Bugg will be touring the UK this November.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHLN6K640gQ[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Jake Bugg with Natalie Findlay at London 100 Club – 31st May 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 12th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Down in the foundations of Oxford Street, among the walls lined with pictures of 100 Club’s illustrious musical heritage, 18-year old folk singer Jake Bugg is set to continue his dizzying trajectory into the public consciousness. With his debut album set for release on the 22nd of October and having stolen the show at both Dot to Dot festival and on BBC’s ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ in the past fortnight, it is plain to see why so many critics have been quick to make hyperbolas comparisons to some of music’s biggest names.

Supporting is upcoming London soul songstress Natalie Findlay, who takes to the stage with an a capella intro, punctuated by percussive strikes on the microphone to create a dynamic reminiscent of blues legends Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday. Soon Natalie is joined by the final parts of her raw three-piece, who drop in to an upbeat Bo Diddley-style riff, as she ducks and winds provocatively while singing of ‘Gin on the Jukebox’.

The anticipation of the 200 or so gathered for this night is palpable as Jake Bugg fights his way through crowd to the stage. Rifling through his opening track – the as yet unreleased ‘Kentucky’ – he sets a swift pace and bare country tone that are continued throughout his burgeoning portfolio. He follows with a rare mellow punctuation that synchronises his characteristic vocal hum with expressive acoustic arpeggios in ‘Love Me the Way You Do’.

After a haunting solo rendition of early single ‘Someone Told Me’, Jake Bugg is joined by the rest of his minimalist three-piece for ‘2 Fingers’; an escapist number telling of joy at permanently leaving old haunts, his vacant stare and midlands patois add a sincerity to swamp country sounding ‘Ballad’, which belies his meagre years.

As his set progresses through the driving folk rhythm of ‘Seen It All’ and playfully absent lyrics of ‘Slide’, it begins to feel as though he is somehow reluctant (as with most great folk forefathers) to stick to the material that is currently fuelling his ascendancy. There is some relief in the crowd as he drifts seamlessly into the 21st century hobo ramblings of ‘Trouble Town’ and his organically simplistic solo on the much publicised ‘Country Song’ (currently the winning ingredient to brewer Greene King’s advertising campaign).

He tracks this rich vein through new single ‘Lightning Bolt’, which possesses an up tempo rhythm and transcendental lyrics that draw comparisons to both Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan circa 1965. While the innocence of lyrical love letter ‘Saffron’ wouldn’t jar the ears of ‘Abbey Road’-era Beatles fans (and is currently available free from his official Web site). He closes with the relatively unknown quantity of ‘Green Man’, whose shuffle has the crowd swinging, but a lack of depth and focus on regional charm may allude to a direction in which he may not wish to be pushed.

Having written solo material since age 14, it’s doubtless that a much larger back catalogue is propping up the peak of the iceberg we currently see, as his material matures into more adult worries. Tracking the success of Jake Bugg could turn in to a life long occupation, but the nature of such pure (and at times rebellious) form of music means us plebs will have to wait for him to do it on his terms. To use an agrarian analogy; a man who is so clearly making music out of natural compulsion should not be stressed until the milk turns sour.

 

Jake Bugg / November 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Sunday, 10th June 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Following on some very buzzy appearances including a much talked about one at this year’s Liverpool Sound City, Jake Bugg has announced he’ll be stepping out in November on his first big headlining tour of the UK. Tickets are on sale now and I suspect these dates will sell out quickly, so get on them if you’re keen!

Monday 12th November 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute Temple Room
Tuesday 13th November 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgwood Rooms
Wednesday 14th November 2012 – London Scala
Thursday 15th November 2012 – Bristol Thekla
Saturday 17th November 2012 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Sunday 18th November 2012 – Leeds Cockpit
Monday 19th November 2012 – York Fibbers
Wednesday 21st November 2012 – Glasgow King Tuts
Thursday 22nd November 2012 – Newcastle Academy 2
Friday 23rd November 2012 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms

 
 
 

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