In the wake of Coronavirus many albums being released are cited as “an album of the times” or “the soundtrack to lockdown”, yet most were written and recorded before lockdown was even a thing. It seems some musicians are just clued in to the right frequency for the times. One such band is Brighton folk heroes the Levellers.

Now, Levellers have been releasing “an album of the times” since their first album ‘A Weapon Called The Word’ was released on an unsuspecting world in 1990. Taking their name from the political movement, the band have always been outspoken with their left-wing political views and voicing change with their lyrics and in interviews.

They outgrew their humble, crusty beginnings, headlined Glastonbury in 1994 and even bothered the charts a few years later with the likes of ‘Just The One’ and ‘What A Beautiful Day’. The mid nineties saw the band go it alone, becoming independent with their own self-contained headquarters called The Metway. There they have their offices, where they run the fan club, it houses a rehearsal space and recording studio. And they continue to be self-sufficient to this day with their On The Fiddle record label.

 

While ‘Peace’ is their first new studio album in 8 years, the band has not been sitting on their laurels. 2008’s ‘We The Collective’ saw the band re-imagine an album of their songs acoustically, with an orchestra at Abbey Road. They continue to tour extensively and host their own Beautiful Days Festival. The recent deluxe vinyl reissues of their discography have kept fans content in the lead up to album number 11.

And album number 11 is a throwback to what the band does best. Produced by long time collaborator Sean Lakeman, ‘Peace’ sees the band in fine form, delivering the perfect mix of Celtic, guitar-driven anthems and folk-tinged balladry.

3 singles have whetted the fans appetites over the past months in lockdown. Opener and first single ‘Food Roof Family’ is an energised burst of noise, with driving bass and frantic fiddle and the same thought provoking lyricism that captures the same vibe as their early recordings. An instant anthem. With its retro keyboard refrain ‘Generation Fear’ sees a different, edgy direction. Still bold, brazen and relevant in 2020, it will surely become a future live favourite, guaranteed to get your inner crusty bouncing. ‘Calling Out’ sees guitarist Simon Friend take to the mic for a raspy tale of escaping the rat race. All 3 have their own merits but are very much Levellers in sound and feel.

Friend appears for lead vocals on several occasions, as he has done in the past. The emotive ‘Four Boys Lost’ is a sea shanty recalling the tragic tale of sailors lost at sea. ‘The Men Who Would Be King’ is raucous, punk fuelled noise-mongery, and for the first time he duets with singer Mark Chadwick on the marvellous ‘Albion and Phoenix’. The latter references the bands beginnings, Albion being a hill in Brighton and The Phoenix is the squat they used to hang out at. Full of choppy riffs and melodious fiddle, the juxtaposition of Chadwick and Friend’s vocals work perfectly on a song of reflection and sentimentality.

Elsewhere, the likes of Chadwick’s ‘Born That Way’ with its Clash-lite riff and fiddle refrain, along with Friend’s upbeat stomper ‘Our New Day’ show the more commercial mid-nineties Levellers along with the more poignant traditional laments of ‘Ghost In The Water’ and album closer ‘Our Future’.

 

 

Choc-a-bloc with their trademark observational lyricism and Celtic punk vibes, ‘Peace’ preaches a message of hope, which is nothing new for this band, but in these trying times the message seems just as relevant, if not more so than it was in the early nineties. They may be older, wiser and not the angry young punks they once were, but the Levellers still have something to say and in the current political and social climate, ‘Peace’ could well be the perfect soundtrack to our times.

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Buy ‘Peace’ Here

Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

Adding a little ray of sunshine as lockdowns are ignored across the western world how about we get lost in some great rock n roll music? This Monday we bring you one from the fantastic Low Cut Connie from their new album ‘Private Lives’ we bring the title track.

 

 

One taken off the bands forthcoming album ‘Peace’ Levellers dream up an amazing video for ‘Our New Day’ well the first interview piece is original, enjoy.

Finally a new track from The Blinders album  ‘Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath’. Out next month.  You can however, Pre-order it Here – check out ‘Mule Track’ which reminds me of classic Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, any way enjoy. Facebook

And now for something completely different.  Death By Unga Bunga.  If you don’t like these and it doesn’t put a smile on yer kisser then check for a pulse. DBUB Here

It’s been a couple of years since my last visit to a gig in Blackwood, and for yours truly more is the shame with it being a simple 20minute drive away. The last band I caught over there were the Meat Puppets doing their first ever Welsh gig at the short lived Velvet Coalmine Festivals.

 

At the time I was stunned that more bands aren’t booked in and it becomes part of a natural gig itinery, being probably the best middle sized venue within a 30mile radius. The sound system is immense, the lay out spot on and access is so easy, makes you wonder who is actually doing the booking it could be a real gem and reignite the valleys music scene.

 

But on to tonight, opening up the show a couple of acoustic acts and first up Maelor Hughes a new artist for me, and to be fair a real surprise. When it comes to acoustica, I like it to grab my attention, to be a bit different, and the voice has to hold you and become the primary instrument, there’s nowhere to hide in this setting. Maelor Hughes certainly has that, the voice weaves around the guitar, each, taking its turn and the songwriting and lyrics of a travelling musician show real depths and understanding of the lifestyle and sacrifices to be made. Tracks like Morning Sun, Lullabies and Cards dealt stood out for me in a set with each song as strong as the next.

 

Now I have to say I’m beginning to think that the shall we say “not” regular gig goers are really beginning to piss me off at gigs, especially the ones that talk over an artist on stage, it’s even worse when as the music rises in depth and intensity they take it as a given to speak louder, “Really sorry you idiot if the music is getting in the way of your nite out!!!!!”

 

Second up a guy I caught on the last Levellers tour, Sean McGowan, bringing a very different style of acoustic performance, now if I was a rap fan and down with the kids I’d even say vocally there’s a lot in line with “Spitting bars” there’s an edge vocally, but a real sense of fun and identity and again doing something really different with the genre.

 

The crowd in fairness were there for both opening acts and with it being a sell out you could feel the atmosphere rise before the main act hit the stage and the Levellers were on fire tonight, opening up with the double shot of Liberty Song and Fifteen Years, they proceeded to raise the roof and bring the party, and the crowd responded accordingly. There was no let up through the night the sweat was dripping down the walls and it just got hotter and hotter as the night moved on. Levelling the land was well represented but there was also other snapshots of a band taken throughout their career, stand outs for me had to be the opener’s alongside stunning versions of The Game, Cholera Well, Riverflow, and a stunning One Way, absolutely one of those gigs where time flew and before you knew it we were at the end of the set, coming back with a jaw dropping encore of Another Mans cause, Carry me and the nights closer Beautiful Day, you couldn’t really have asked for more. Going back to where I started this review I just don’t get why this venue isn’t used more often there are so many bands out there who would really benefit from such a fantastic sound system and the experience of playing in this size venue.

Author: Nev Brooks

 

 


After their incredible performance at the London Palladium last month, Levellers have now announced UK and European tour dates for 2020.

Still going strong after 30 years in the game, they have long been, and still are, one of the best live bands around and they will be returning next year with a brand new studio album, alongside an extensive tour taking in double nights at some of their favourite towns and cities.

Over the years, Brighton folk-rock band Levellers have worn many masks; most self-made, some imposed upon them. But while their status has evolved over the decades, the basic humanity underpinning their music has remained constant.

Tickets on sale 8th November at 10am and will be available HERE.

LEVELLERS 2020 UK TOUR
FEBRUARY
12        Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
13        Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
14        Falmouth, Princess Pavilion
15        Falmouth, Princess Pavillion
26        Brecon, Theatre Brycheiniog
27        Port Talbot, Princess Theatre
28        Blackwood, Miners Institute
29        Llandudno, Venue Cymru

MARCH
01        Liverpool, Grand Central
19        Guildford, G Live
20        Norwich, Uea
21        Margate, Dreamland

APRIL
29        Sheffield, Leadmill
30        Coventry, Empire

MAY
01        Holmfirth, Picturedrome
02        Holmfirth, Picturedrome
13        Hastings, White Rock Theatre
14        Frome, Cheese & Grain
15        Aylesbury, Waterside Theatre
16        Southampton, O2 Guildhall

OCTOBER
07        Eindhoven, Effenaar (Nl)
08        Amsterdam, Paradiso (Nl)
09        Koln Gloria, (De)
10        St Niklaas, Casino (Be)
11        Depot, Leuven (Be)

NOVEMBER
04        York, Barbican
05        Dundee, Fat Sams
06        Stirling, Albert Halls
07        Edinburgh, Liquid Rooms
08        Aberdeen, Lemon Tree
18        St Albans, Arena
19        Scunthorpe, The Baths Hall
20        Manchester, Albert Hall
21        Manchester, Albert Hall

DECEMBER
03        Lancaster, Town Hall
04        Nottingham, Rock City
05        Nottingham, Rock City