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Album Review: Peter Doherty – Hamburg Demonstrations

 
By on Tuesday, 20th December 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Peter Doherty Hamburg Demonstrations album coverWhen it comes to Libertine and all round British poet/musician/artist Peter Doherty, you’ll often find divided opinion. There are those who are enamoured by his reckless yet gentlemanly demeanour, whilst the other side of the spectrum simply cannot stand him for both those reasons. Wherever you sit on this line, you can’t deny Doherty has written some of the most memorable songs of the last 10+ years with The Libertines. After the infamous splitting of said band, he then formed Babyshambles, a band that had almost as many ups and down as his prior, but without the immediate success. Now here we are with the second Doherty solo album, the follow-up to 2009’s ‘Grace/Wastelands’.

Doherty’s infatuation with Britannia always lends itself to his musical output. He does a sterling job of crafting songs filled with tales of the down and out, the shit on society’s shoe, but he also manages to romanticise it like no-one else. First track ‘Kolly Kibber’ is referencing a character from Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock – immediately we’re thrown into a picture of both woe and British romanticism. A much more folky sound – acoustic guitars, quiet drums, piano and bass – turns the song into a classic folk tale rather than a rock ditty, which he favours throughout the entire album. The choice of a folk direction allows the focus to fall upon his words, of which he certainly cannot be disputed at being a master of. On the occasion where electric instruments do make an appearance, they’re used with the same minimalist acoustic, with their only purpose to give a harsher edge to accommodate the darkness found in songs such as ‘Down for the Outing’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUUbpeBXse0[/youtube]

There’s certainly a sense that this solo album feels to have more of a focused, sober Doherty at the helm. ‘Birdcage’ is seemingly self-referencing, putting Doherty in a birdcage where the world is able to simple look and judge him, which is inevitably detrimental to his personal relationships. “Only love can bring the secrets of simplicity”: in so few words, Doherty manages to encapsulate a feeling that is impossible to recreate in anyway other than actually falling in love. This carefree and focused turn your mind takes in this state of bliss, where a serenity envelops you. Perhaps, in an almost satirical way, he next focuses upon the choices the youth of America have to make. “Come on boys, you gotta choose your weapon, J-45 or AK-47”. You can hear in his voice that he’s both fully invested in the message of peace and also in just having a good time.

Reaching a poignant moment, ‘Flags Of The Old Regime’ was previously heard back in 2011 after Doherty’s friend Amy Winehouse’s death. Reserved and fragile, the lyrics cut particularly deep when you consider the circus that enveloped and encouraged Winehouse and other celebrities who have gone down a road to ruin: “The fame they stone you with, you soldiered it, and made your fortune, but you broke inside”. Your emotions grow listening to this song, knowing that Doherty himself could’ve succumbed to the tragedy that befell Winehouse. His voice breaks through the gentle cadence he uses, with the final words supporting his recent sobriety, “let’s have it right, we all know the score, we’ve been up for nights, stood behind the door, sparkle on the floor, I don’t wanna die anytime”.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsHA3C1OK88[/youtube]

A heart on sleeve gentleness hits with early single ‘I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone)’. He uses mostly repetitive lyrics, though when he breaks out of this cycle, Doherty describes love in his unique way, with a raw and unbridled hurt. Perhaps most surprising is the third verse when American Civil war song ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ is introduced. ‘The Whole World is Our Playground’ is more of Doherty’s romantic yearn and hurt, but it’s on finale ‘She is Far’ where these topics take things to a whole new level. Quiet and reserved, he paints pictures of lovers and memories of London, memories that are fading away.

Doherty at a reserved level such as this is a blessing. It shows exactly why he is a gem to British music. Doherty proves on ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ he can play both erratic rockstar and forlorn folk singer with such ease that those who have sought to condemn him would do well to reconsider upon hearing this new album.

9/10

‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ is out now on BMG. To read more of TGTF’s coverage on Peter Doherty, follow this link

 

Review: Peter Doherty – Grace/Wastelands

 
By on Tuesday, 17th March 2009 at 4:00 pm
 

Peter Doherty album cover (side)If you’re a ‘Dohertyite’ chances are you’ve heard a couple of these songs already on gigapacks of his bootlegs, b-sides, studio sessions and laptop recordings, if you’re a virgin to these mixtapes then Grace/Wastelands will be an even bigger delight. Lead single ‘Last of The English Roses’ has done the rounds over the last couple weeks as Doherty presents his new clean image, the drugs and wastrel look is gone, now he shows up to gigs and ’09 has been free of relapses and such.. The album is an accumulation of this squeaky clean Doherty as music takes centre stage again.

The opener is all you would expect from Doherty; a soft mellow acoustic sing/strum-a-long, and if you are a keen disciple of everything Peter then you’d have heard this on one of the countless bootlegs etc. etc. His charm shines through the clever songwriting which is both witty and meaningful, I would go as far as to say that anyone who wants to see how a decent song looks on paper should google anything Doherty’s ever wrote (especially if it was with partner Carl Barat). Speaking of Carl, Peter knocks out ‘A Little Death Around The Eyes,’ a track that sat at the bottom of The Libertines recording list but finally found a release under Peter’s solo imprint.

‘1939 Returning’ is testament to his songwriting versitality as he tackles nazi Germany, alien to his usual topics (though ‘Arbeit Macht Frei is kind of close). The track ends with a nice guitar solo and as of yet there’s nothing too surprising about the music itself, Doherty sticking to what he knows best.

The Moss referances are plentiful on ‘Sheepskin Tearaway’ (where Doherty-Allison joint vocals are a joy) and ‘New Love Grown on Trees.’ This might give the anti-Doherty brigade a chance to criticise but the very obvious influence the supermodel’s had on him merits her a place on his debut. Coxon’s guitar adds an extra dimension to the LP as does the bass when expolited well (see: Last Of The English Roses..)

The record may become too the-same-sounding between tracks like ‘Salome’ and ‘Palace of Bone’ but there’s enough refreshment as the brilliant ‘Broken Love Song’ re-energises the record from any wear’n’tear and brings a fresh energy to the melancholy, again the spontaneous lyrics are a charm; “If you’re still alive/when you’re twenty five/should I kill you like you told me to?”

‘Lady, Don’t Fall Backwards’ is another song which has done the rounds in the Albert Hall bootlegs and Shaken & Withdrawn megamixes, but it finds a fully produced home on Grace/… and closes the LP with the soft acousticism for which we all know Doherty. It’s a good end to a remarkable debut, whilst it may not be origonal it serves as a good starting point for more albums to come (we hope) in the near future. The poetic songwriting and boyish charm win over the listener and it seems Doherty has been reborn, it’s an astounding effort and one which deserves the utmost praise.

8/10

 

Weekly Roundup: 18th January 2009

 
By on Sunday, 18th January 2009 at 11:13 pm
 

This week has certainly been jam packed with music news – here’s a roundup of the hot headlines hitting the press this week!

Russell Brand (side)Pete Doherty has announced his forthcoming solo album will be released on March 16th and will be titled ‘Grace/Wastelands’. A debut single from the twelve-track album will be released March 9th, called ‘Last of the English Roses’. Blur guitarist, Graham Coxon, and singer-songwriter, Dot Allison, are just some of the names Doherty has collaborated with on the new album.

Boy George was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Friday after being charged with false imprisonment. The former Culture Club singer is said to have handcuffed and beaten a male escort at his East London flat in April of 2007. Boy George, real name George O’Dowd, denies all charges.

Katy Perry (pictured top) and her smash hit ‘I Kissed A Girl’ were incorrectly awarded the gong for Best International Song at the NRJ Awards in Cannes. The trophy was actually intended for Rihanna and her hit song ‘Disturbia’, but Perry was mistakely announced as the winner at the famous French award show.

Famous London music venue, The Astoria, closed it’s doors for good this Friday to make way for the new Crossrail transportation project. The famous venue, which will be completely demolished, has hosted a range of iconic gigs from The Rolling Stones, to Nirvana, to Radiohead.

Lady GaGaRussell Brand (pictured top right) is rumoured to be releasing a novelty one-off single with the help of music mogul, Simon Cowell. The song, titled ‘The Chugga Chugga Song’, even comes complete with a supposed dance routine. Syco Records were apparently made aware of the song after Russell played the track on his now defunct Radio 2 show.

Damon Albarn has expressed concern over the upcoming Blur reunion gigs at Hyde Park this July. Following his playing of a 1997 live Blur session on Radio 1 this week, Damon said “I’m going to have to work hard to get back to that standard.”.

Lady GaGa (pictured left) is number one for the second week in a row this Sunday with hit track, ‘Just Dance’. The New York songstress is proving a big hit with music fans – her album, ‘The Fame’ is also notching at an impressive number three in this week’s album charts.

And finally, check out the new music video for the week – ‘Fonz’, by the brilliant Eugene McGuinness. The track, which is taken from his acclaimed self-titled album, is set to be released next month (February 23rd).

[youtube:http://ww.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_NOLBv0OlU]

Russell Brand photo is taken from The Street Circus’ flickr stream under the Creative Commons license.

 

Pete Doherty / March 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Sunday, 18th January 2009 at 9:43 pm
 

Pete Doherty (side)Pete Doherty is back in the public eye, getting ready to release a solo album in a matter of weeks. Along with the new album comes the obligitary tour (below), and documentary (in the post below).

The two week jaunt sees him playing some sizeable venues, however, as ever, the question is: how many of these shows will he actually turn up to?

Tickets go on sale at some point this week – I’ve seen some saying Wednesday (21st January) and others saying Friday (23rd January). Either way it’s somepoint this week!

Catch Pete Doherty at:

Friday 13th March 2009 – Cardiff Uni
Sunday 15th March 2009 – Southampton Guildhall
Monday 16th March 2009 – Norwich UEA
Tuesday 17th March 2009 – Lincoln Engine Shed
Wednesday 18th March 2009 – Nottingham Rock City
Thursday 19th March 2009 – Brighton Dome
Friday 20th March 2009 – Folkestone Leas Cliff
Monday 23rd March 2009 – Leeds Academy
Tuesday 24th March 2009 – Birmingham Academy
Wednesday 25th March 2009 – Grimsby Auditorium
Thursday 26th March 2009 – Newcastle Academy
Friday 27th March 2009 – Edinburgh Picture House

needtickets.com logoTo find tickets, we suggest you try using Needtickets. Needtickets.com offers you the most comprehensive ticket service in the UK. With one click you can search every nationwide online ticket agent and as a result you can find tickets for any live music event that can be booked online. Every ticket is 100% guaranteed as Needtickets.com only offers links to official agents.

 

Pete Doherty in 24 hours

 
By on Sunday, 18th January 2009 at 5:18 pm
 

Pete Doherty's house (side)I’m not going to lie. I used to think Pete Doherty was a bit of a twat. The drugs, prison spells and the Kate Moss stories meant that I only knew him to be a no-good layabout who once had some great songs, but whose best times were firmly behind him.

However, after managing to blag our way to see a preview of a new documentary about the former Libertines frontman, I must say I found my opinions about him changed. Yes, he has his issues (doesn’t everyone though?), but he is an incredibly articulate, intelligent and above all, funny man.

For the hour long show, MTV followed him for a day as he gears up to be the star attraction of a fashion show that evening in a London pub with trendy label Gio Goi which Pete appeared to know worryingly few details of. Along the way we got some really amusing sights to see: Pete hoovering whilst singing Queen’s “I want to break free”, how he thinks his house is haunted (Pete: “Hear that creaking? It’s a ghost…” Producer: “isn’t that you leaning on the chair?” Pete: “oh….”), and the comments of those he worked with: “It just wouldn’t be the same if Pete didn’t go missing…”. How true that is.

A snippet from the show. Main post continues after video.
[flv:http://theregoesthefear.com/media/fieldlb.flv 360 270]

I must say that since watching it, I can honestly say that I changed my opinions of the guy – I can sort of see now how the “cult of Pete” has drawn people in. Sure, he’s not your average guy, but he harks back to the days of old when artists weren’t just “musicians” or a “painter” – he combines all the talents together to become one of the most interesting and influential figures in the entertainment business today.

After the showing, a quick Q&A session with the director and producer raised some interesting questions and little extras about the show: surprisingly (to some) there was no drug use seen during the 24 hours they spent with Pete, the filming was all done with next to no planning, which just re-inforced what we’d seen – an interesting guy, battling his issues but ultimately winning.

If you’re in next Sunday night (and, let’s face it, who goes out on a Sunday night these days?) catch it on MTV One, and let us know your views.

Trailer:
[flv:http://theregoesthefear.com/media/trailerlb.flv 360 270]

Pete Doherty in 24 hours is shown next Sunday at 10pm on MTV One. More information (and more videos) about the show can be found here

 

Daily Roundup: Wednesday 7th January 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 7th January 2009 at 11:52 pm
 

The amount of emails we’ve been getting this past week has been quite something – so many new opportunities, great bands getting in touch, and some quite bizarre questions too (including one genius who asked if TGTF was a “music website”…. erm, last time we checked it was!)

First up, Daniel Merriweather (pictured top) has a new single out on February 2nd. Recognise the name? Yes, it’s him from “Stop Me”, Mark Ronson’s massive hit. He’s got a great voice, and he’s embarking on a solo career at the moment, starting with “Change”, the first single to be taken from his forthcoming “Love & War” album. I have a feeling I’m gonna have this stuck in my head, much like “Stop Me”. Watch the video below, and fall in love with him…

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPHkxw4t5Ng]

Some of you may have spotted that iTunes have announced a new flexible pricing scheme for their music, and (perhaps the biggest news story) have ditched the irritating copy protection from their songs (Guardian news story here). It seems to have been hailed by just about everyone, with Popjustice commenting “Does this DRM-free thing mean that people have now totally given up on the idea of revenue through music sales?” (Twitter). We7‘s CEO Steve Purdham (who we first mentioned last week) hailed the news by commenting that “the spectrum of choice for music lovers is now greater than ever before and the stage is set for 2009 to really open the boundaries of digital music consumption”. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Coming up on There Goes The Fear, we’re going to catch a preview screening next week of a new MTV show about Pete Doherty, and we’ll be bringing you a live review of the Kerrang! Relentless tour after the 20th when we catch the tour in Oxford. We may also be catching Keane in February, and possibly the Gaslight Anthem too. Yes, it’s all go.

As ever, if anyone wants to write for TGTF please don’t hesitate to contact us – tell us a bit about yourself, and we’ll take it from there.

 
 
 

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