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Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms – An Appreciation

The fifth studio album for Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms has a decorated history. It is the seventh best-selling album in UK charts history and won two Grammy Awards in 1985: Best Rock Performance by a Group with Vocal for ‘Money for Nothing’ and Best Engineered Recording, Non Classical for the full album. Sting also appears on the record as a guest artist.

Brothers In Arms – An Appreciation

Looked at now with 20/20 vision of hindsight, the image on the sleeve of Brothers In Arms seems uncannily prophetic: that National steel guitar heading up into the clouds – a shiny 6 stringed rocket devoid of any obvious means of propulsion – describes, better than any words can, what happened to Dire Straits after the release of their 5th studio album. Up till the summer of 1985 success had, for them, come as a by-product of the music making process. They had never courted celebrity, chased fads or played safe. Dire Straits had been loved and respected as one of the few bands to have maintained strong and credible links with the multifarious roots of rock and roll at time – remember all the desperate pop posing of the early 80’s? – when roots were emphatically not a fashionable place to be.

At first hearing, Brothers In Arms didn’t sound like an album which was going to storm the barricades of global popular taste, much less one which would establish itself as the UK’s biggest selling album of all time. And there lay the surprising beauty of it. Where others shouted this album talked. Having little in the way of front, it offered instead a world of interiors. It opened not with a bang but with a gently ticking hi-hat and it faded away, 9 tracks later, on a defiantly untriumphant wash of moody keyboards and achy, echoey guitar. Many of the songs in between were quiet, reflective, sombre even: the soldierly themes contained in the title track, or “The Man’s Too Strong” or again in “Ride Across The River” were tinged with regret and remorse. The love songs were apt to begin and end in disappointment, with Mark Knopfler grumbling down the phone in a lonely hotel room or disconsolately reviewing a late night encounter with someone he hardly met. Like the sleeve again, the album was predominantly blue in tone.

Life being what it is, Brothers In Arms soon became celebrated for its lighter moments, notably the big hits “Money For Nothing” and “Walk Of Life”. Both of these tracks have intriguing behind-the-scenes tales to tell. Knopfler’s ode to blue collar dreams, “Money for Nothing”, eventually ended up with Sting singing the catchy “I want my MTV” refrain. The then lead singer of The Police happened to be on holiday nearby and received an invitation to contribute, which he did to great effect. “Walk Of Life” nearly didn’t make it as an album track at all but co-producer Neil Dorfsman was out-voted by the band, thereby ensuring that an album etched with several varieties of sadness also contained one of the most uplifting tunes Knopfler has ever written. Now wonder the world found, and continues to find this such an irresistible package.

– Robert Sandell (from the liner notes for the 20th anniversary edition of Brothers In Arms)

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Lay Low with Lou Doillon

I knew I was going to like Lou Doillon’s LP, ‘Lay Low’ from the moment her fingers delicately set the mood from the sound of the keys in opening track, ‘Left Behind.’

It is apparent that we have been left behind at Fresh Independence because we were not familiar with the success of Parisian Lou’s previous LP, ‘Places’ selling over three-hundred thousand copies worldwide.

LAY LOW AVAILABLE NOW

I don’t dare to compare, but upon first thought, it was a refreshing version of Adele meets Regina Spektor and Sia.

The ambience of the mind provokes a dim room overlooking the city lights with a glass of wine as the record player cues your new favourite album of repetitive measure.

Lou Dillon is a free flowing taste of sultry jazz and sweet afterthoughts.

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The Zilis – Hamilton, Ontario

” Not since The White Stripes has a band lit us up quite like The Zilis. With a sound that is distinctly nostalgic and rocking full of fun, these guys are proof that good things do come north of the border.  ”  – Fresh Independence

Name: Zander Lamothe, Justin Bozzo and Sean Royle

Age: Zander is 24. Justin and Sean are 26.

 Where are you writing this: Sean’s home.

photo 

How did The Zilis come to be?

We started playing together when we were in high school. We had a front man at first but we really started playing as a three-piece when we formed a cover band called the Led Hot Zili Peppers. We played three one-hour long sets a night to pay off the debts of our old band. When our front man left, we began writing originals as a trio and found that things were really clicking. Eventually, we decided to shorten the name to The Zilis for our original stuff.

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Behind (What’s The Story) with Oasis

This week in 1996 Oasis was No.1 with (What’s the Story) an album that lives on today.

Dan Hyman

The songs on (What’s the Story) were a direct counterpoint to those on the band’s 1994 debut album, Definitely Maybe.
“The whole of the first album is about escape,” Noel, the band’s principal songwriter, said in May, 1996, of ’94’s Definitely Maybe. “It’s about getting away from the shitty, boring life of Manchester. The first album is about dreaming of being a pop star in a band. The second album is about actually being a pop star in a band.”

“Wonderwall” takes its name from a George Harrison album, and was written for Noel’s then-girlfriend, Meg Matthews.
While it borrows its title from George Harrison’s debut solo release, Wonderwall Music, the soundtrack to the 1968 film Wonderwall, the Morning Glory track “Wonderwall” — the album’s oft-quoted breakout hit — was actually written for Noel’s girlfriend at the time, and later his wife, Meg Matthews. She was out of work, and he wanted her to know how important she was to him. For Matthews, having a famous song written about her was a bit odd. “You can’t go up to someone and say, ‘Hi, I’m Wonderwall,'” Matthews, who later would marry and then divorce Gallagher, told The Sunday Times in February, 1996. “It’s a joke between me and all my friends, but the average Joe Bloggs doesn’t know. George Harrison wrote the music to the film Wonderwall, so that’s the reference, but to me, it’s about being his wall of strength. His solidity.”

That didn’t stop Liam from downplaying the song’s significance. “A wonderwall can be anything,” Liam told Rolling Stone months after the song’s release. “It’s just a beautiful word. It’s like looking for that bus ticket, and you’re trying to fucking find it, that bastard, and you finally find it and you pull it out, ‘Fucking mega, that is me wonderwall.'”

Some of the album’s most popular songs — like “Roll With It” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger”— had little to no lyrical significance.
“‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ doesn’t mean anything, even though it’s a great song,” Noel told Rolling Stone. “When I’m sober, I think too much about the lyrics. I’m at my best when I’m pissed out of me head and I just write.” Liam, for his part, disputes this. Not that he could ever put it into words. “I don’t know what they mean, but there’s still meaning there. They mean things, but I just don’t exactly know what.”

Longtime Oasis drummer Alan White agreed to join the band only one week before recording began on (What’s the Story).
“We went out for a beer, came back and had a jam, and that was it,” White, who had previously walked out of an Oasis concert because he was unhappy with the drumming, told Rolling Stone in 1996. “I thought they’d be a bunch of nutses, but they weren’t
really.”‘

Noel admitted “Champagne Supernova” was his most egotistical endeavor on the album.
“‘Champagne Supernova’ — for Christ’s sake, how big is that title?” he told The Sunday Times. “It’s like I’m saying, ‘I am Mr. Noel Gallagher. Do you know who I am? I am the greatest. I’m like Muhammad Ali.’ When I’m straight, you get ‘Roll With It’ — little pop ditties. When I’m out of it on drugs, I get a seriously cocky bastard. Understand?”

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