Alex Rex returns with the melancholic and redemptive ‘Latest Regret’


Alex Rex is the moniker used by Alex Neilson of (now defunct) Trembling Bells. He has released one album under guise before, 2017’s Vermillion, but will be returning on March 29th with a follow up called Otterburn. It’s set to be a deep and heavy record, largely informed by the surprise and untimely passing of his brother in 2017.

Today we bring you the first single and video to be shared from Otterburn, the rainy-day contemplation of ‘Latest Regret’. It’s a song that finds Alex Rex weaving among dark thoughts, both comic and earnest, carried by loping and wistful rock. ‘Latest Regret’ finds Rex reunited with Trembling Bells members Lavinia Blackwall (who gives the song a soulful lift with divine backing vocals and crisp organ) and Mike Hastings (whose electric guitar shines like a silvery trail in the mist), and together they capture gently rousing a snapshot of repentance and forgiveness.

‘Latest Regret’ also comes with a video by Tom Chick, which Alex Rex introduces, saying: “”Latest Regret” was written in one sitting in Regents Park during an unhappy stay in London. It’s basically “La Bamba” reimagined by a deranged art squirrel. It was filmed by Tom Chick on the M8 motorway and in the Glad Café, Glasgow. It is our homage to the Cassavetes film “Killing Of A Chinese Bookie” It stars Becca Harrison, Sophie Sexon, Rory Haye, Mike Hastings & Lew Porteous.”

Alex Rex’s Otterburn comes out through Tin Angel on March 29th. He’s got these tour dates planned in April:

02/04- Glasgow- Blue Arrow
03/04- Edinburgh- Sneaky Pete’s
04/04- Bradford- Shipley Triangle
05/04- Leeds- The Abbey Pub
06/04- Bristol- The Cube
07/04- Bath- The Bell
08/04- Leicester- The Musician
09/04- Brighton- Rosie Hill
10/04- London- SET
11/04- Birmingham- Hare & Hounds
13/04- Todmorden- Golden Lion
14/04- Sheffield- Bishops House


You Tell Me: You Tell Me review – eclectic delights and countless pleasures

You Tell Me …. what?

Peter Brewis of Field Music and Sarah Hayes of Admiral Fallow met at a Kate Bush celebration show and began working together with the intention of him producing her. That their collaboration evolved into a band is cause for a little midwinter celebration. You Tell Me is a record of countless pleasures, one that manages to jump between different points without ever sounding jumpy for the sake of it. It’s delightfully eclectic rather than irritatingly restless.

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Album review: Karine Polwart – Tabling a political motion

Karine Polwart

Sometimes, the life of a musician on tour is seen as a exotic one. But although she’s excited to be playing live again, Karine Polwart dispels the myth of private jets and champagne-filled jacuzzis.

“We’ve got an Arnold Clark transit – less glamorous than a bus,” she laughs. Home, and her two children couldn’t be farther away as their ‘tourbus’ heads from Portsmouth to Wales – far from her central Scottish home.

“I guess any musician making a living is largely dependent on touring in England, because that’s where the people are,” she explains. But, as a multiple winner at the BBC Folk Awards, it’s clear that she is unlikely to be a stranger to audiences outside her native Scotland.

And family is close at hand, with brother Steven plus Inge Thompson joining her band for the first time in four years.

In this gap Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year rather spread her wings, working with pop musicians, as well as releasing album ‘A Pocket Of Wind Resistance’ with its award-winning theatre companion piece.

“All those things fed into this album – there’s a couple of spoken word pieces that I’d not have had the brassneck to try if I’d not had the piece of theatre.”

“I’m enjoying this period in my life where I get to try a bunch of things out, so it’s good fun… I’m never bored, put it that way!”

And it’s not folk music in the traditional sense, she agrees. “There are textures at the back of the songs, definitely inspired by working with Pippa (Murphy), who’s more of a sound designer.”

“I’ve maybe bust my elbows out of the folk singer jacket,” she admits. “Folk’s a massive influence and I love folk, it’s where my career began, but I see myself as a songwriter, my influences are folk, but there’s also pop, spoken word, storytelling, all into the pot.”

She’s even launching a picture book for kids she reveals, so her oeuvre is “a little confused”.

“If you do your byline for what you are now, the list gets quite long. But it suits me and I’m enjoying this period in my life where I get to try a bunch of things out and see where they affect each other, so it’s good fun… I’m never bored, put it that way!”

And that applies to new album ‘Laws of Motion’ – a collection of “kind of odd songs, a bit like little mini movies.” [ . . . ]

Continue at : Album review: Karine Polwart – Tabling a political motion – is this music?

Review: Furrow Collective “Fathoms”

Pop-up groups (let’s avoid saying ‘supergroups’) have been, well, popping up all over the place in recent years, presenting familiar artists in different combinations, line-ups and themes; the cynical might suggest this trend merely to be a convenient method of renewable energy – and marketing – to sustain interest in the artists concerned to counter the threat of fatiguing audiences who see the same names over and over again at all those festivals.

But chemistry is a wondrous and elusive thing and this Anglo/Scots alliance of Emily Portman, Lucy Farrell, Rachel Newton and Alasdair Roberts clearly have a natural empathy that works organically, seemingly without excessive effort. Now into their third album after five years and a BBC Folk Best Group Award in the locker, they’ve certainly earned their spurs as rather more than a passing fancy.

Sticking resolutely to traditional ballads from both sides of the Tweed, they have a very clear sense of identity, each approaching the music with a sort of easy yet cunning guile, while individually bringing something distinctive to the party; be it Emily Portman’s deceptively homely vocals and occasional banjo, Rachel Newton’s lyrical harp and fiddle or Lucy Farrell’s warm voice and viola (and, of course, let’s not forget that famous musical saw). All lure you into a disarming sense of cosiness as tales of blood, death, treachery and heartbreak emerge on powerful songs like My Son David [hear it on this issue’s fRoots 71compilation]The Cruel Grave and Down By The Greenwoodside while they musically skip between jaunty charm and disquieting weirdness.

The glue that holds them all together and provides much of the quirkiness that underlines them is surely the mighty Alasdair Roberts who, whether through persuasive voice or flowing guitar, emphasises the rare intimacy and occasional ghostliness of their sound, which is immeasurably enhanced by Andy Bell’s empathetic production. The songs are as old as the hills, the stories timeless and the treatment as fresh as the day.

None better than The Dark-Eyed Gypsies, arranged with the sort of backing harmony vocal arrangement that comes close to sounding absurdly twee, yet here raises a smile, the right sort of smile. I’m not entirely sure about their clippety-clop treatment of Come Write Me Down, but that may be due to over-fondness for the Copper Family version and you’ve got to love a banjo. There is much to commend them – Lucy Farrell’s unaccompanied opening to Davy Lowston introducing the sort of harmony singing in which they specialise and show again on Our Ship She’s Ready; the powerfully sparse arrangement that adds so much fuel to False True Love; Rachel Newton’s storytelling qualities on False Lover Won Back.

A rare band of distinctively individual singers and musicians who knit perfectly. It’s proper folk music – what’s not to like?

Source: Fathoms | Furrow Collective – fRoots Magazine

Folk Radio UK Review: “Through the Wild” by The Willows

In the five years since they released their debut album Beneath Our Humble Soil, the Cambridge-based band The Willows have built up a reputation as a richly talented collective, a shape-shifting musical entity with a magpie approach to genre and an exhilarating line in live performances. Even at this early stage in their career, it is tempting to draw comparisons with bands like Fairport Convention, who made a career out of adapting to new forms of music and new band members while keeping a sound that was always both fresh and instantly recognisable. And while comparisons like these may seem like overstatements, a few minutes in the company of The Willows’ new album ‘Through the Wild’ should be more than enough to convince you otherwise, for there is more than a passing resemblance between them and their illustrious predecessors.


They take their influences from both sides of the Atlantic, they have a rambunctious, danceable approach to traditional music, and they are not afraid to turn up the amps and sacrifice a few sacred cows along the way [ . . . ]

Continue this review at FRUK: The Willows: Through the Wild (Featured Album Review) | Folk Radio UK