Scott Heim, acclaimed author of “Mysterious Skin”, “We Disappear” and other novels has been editing a terrific series of e-books that focus on musicians telling about their “first time” hearing specific iconic artists. There are five in the initial series, including David Bowie, Cocteau Twins, Joy Division/New Order, The Smiths and of course Kate Bush. Scott says: “Some amazing people have written for the Kate book, including John Grant, Simon from Engineers, Anka from Clan of Xymox, Louise Rutkowski (This Mortal Coil), Paul from Trash Can Sinatras, and many other musicians & writers.”
When he began The First Time I Heard project, he simply wrote letters and e-mails to musicians and other writers whose work he admired. The response was overwhelming; after only four months, he’d already received personal essays from nearly 200 people including Throwing Muses, Mercury Rev, Gang Gang Dance, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Stereolab, and Spiritualized.
‘“I wanted to edit a book where musicians and writers tell their brief, first-person stories about those pivotal moments in their lives: where they were, how they felt, and how this “first hearing” really changed the way they listen to, and appreciate, music,” Heim says. “For many years, I’d been fascinated with hearing people talk about their strongest memories of particular bands, albums, or songs. I’d become especially intrigued with how music lovers remember the first time they heard the music of bands or singers that “shaped” them. A “casual” music listener often doesn’t remember those powerful, life-changing moments—but the true music fan always seems to have a special, nostalgic, lovingly detailed memory of, say, the first time they heard Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ or David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ or The Smiths’ ‘This Charming Man’.” Read more at the book project’s Facebook page.
Rolling Stone reports that rapper Big Boi seriously likes Kate’s new album: “The album, to me, is just very somber and very chill,” he says. “Knowing her music and being a fan, it’s very, very deep Kate Bush for me. It’s concentrated. It’s raw emotion. It’s almost like a scene from her diary – she seems to be in love like a motherfucker. Really, really, really in love.” RS reports that Big Boi’s favorite song on the album is Snowed in at Wheeler Street: “It’s like a story between her and the guy, how they were in love from the beginning of time, how they never want to let each other go,” he says.”It just really builds. I think it’s really deep. I dig it…”
Look out for the next edition of Mojo magazine. It should be out as early as next week. It will feature a brand new interview with Kate about 50 Words For Snow and the first actual review of the album! More at the Mojo website here.
EDIT: The review awards 50 Words for Snow four stars. Thanks to DecemberWillBeMagic, SkyVibes and Ian.
“At 53 the thrill of seeing the world transformed by a pearlescent icy blanket is not only intact; it’s the Narnian portal through which 50 Words for Snow beckons us …”
UPDATE: The review is illustrated with the following art by Lisa Evans. (Read more at her blog here.)
“To stick around for the conclusion is to realise that the spiritual source of these songs comes from a deeper place. ‘I can see angels around you’ she sings … sounding as delerious with love as only she can.”
Writer Aimee Bender was asked by Granta Magazine to choose five songs or pieces of music which are important to her, and which bring back particularly salient memories. Her fifth choice was Kate’s ‘A Coral Room’ from Aerial. From Granta Online:
“Well. I remembered this last night at one a.m, lying in bed, thinking of the assignment, going over CDs in my mind. It is the most profound song about memory and loss, and how memory works, and the way it sweeps over us, and how elusive it is, that I’ve ever heard. As with many of her songs, only after multiple listenings did it kick in for me. It’s an elegy to her mother, but with the first line – ‘there is a city, draped in net’ – it feels like she is trying to actually articulate the process of living at once in memory and the present, and how the two collide. It is really, really, not fun pub music at all! but it is a masterpiece of a song. The city, and the spider – they are first characters in a dream world, in the land of symbols, of myth, but then later they change, they become firm and strong, grounded with specific items, in a moment, in a life, and with that move, we are hammered down by the finality of loss. Kate Bush has many unbelievable songs, but this, one of her most recent, is as good as any that came before.”
The current edition of Classic Rock magazine has a Q&A with Kate. The magazine describes this interview as follows: “The first lady of art-rock on resurrecting the past, reclusiveness and the royal family.”
Apparently Kate mentions that she is using old equipment to make her next album, aka KB10 (and now also affectionately known to fans as ‘Bonemeal’ due to Kate’s recent interview with Mark Radcliffe in which she praised the song-enhancing properties of leaving a bag of bonemeal sitting on her piano!).
Kate says: “I’m using the most archaic gear I could get my hands on. I’m working with analogue tape and old bits of valve equipment, a lot of that old stuff has a great sound.”
Spin magazine in the US has given Kate’s new album a glowing review and 9 out of 10 stars. We particularly love this summing up: “…the lustiest record in this ever-bodacious cougar’s canon.” We hope Spin is looking forward to this ever-bodacious cougar’s next album as much as we are! Read the full review here. (thanks to Ross Drucker)
Hello! We’re back to the land of KB updates after our two week hangover from The Sensual Walk! We’ve missed out on telling you about a few happenings so here’s the first of several catch up posts!
Kate has been interviewed by Interview Magazine as part of the North American promotional push for Director’s Cut. As well as talking about the album, Kate recalls the influence of her late father, Dr Robert Bush: “My father was always playing the piano. He played all kinds of music—Gershwin, all kinds of stuff. He was really a hugely encouraging force to me when I was little. I used to write loads of songs when I was really young, and he was always there to listen to them for me. And it was a really wonderful thing that he did because he made me feel that they had some worth, even when they didn’t really. And he was always very honest with me. He’d say if he didn’t think perhaps one song was that good, or he liked that one. What was great was that he’d give me that time, and would always come and listen when we’d written something. So, you know, he was fantastic because he gave me the sense that he believed in me.”
Find out what Kate thinks of Ricky Gervais, Lady Gaga and more, the full interview is here!
“Radical reinvention and unfettered weirdness.” Graeme Thomson has written an enthusiastic review of Director’s Cut for Word Magazine. He has provided a scan of the article at his blog here. Graeme wrote the well-received 2010 biography of Kate, ‘Under The Ivy‘. He calls the album a “vibrant act of restoration.” Very nice read. UPDATE: 12th May Graeme Thomson also writes a new article on Kate in the Telegraphhere.
Here’s a bit of an exclusive for you all. Dave Cross (yup, that guy who you see in the ‘About Us’ pics) has put together this nice feature on Kate and the new album for the UK gay magazine Boyz which is out tomorrow. You get to read it here first! Also find the bigger version of Paul Bowen’s accompanying illustration here.
But in a new interview with Mojo magazine to mark her comeback, the 52-year-old put her years of silence on the touring circuit down to the sheer exertion of the ordeal.
“It was enormously enjoyable. But physically it was absolutely exhausting,” she said.
“I still don’t give up hope completely that I’ll be able to do some live work, but it’s certainly not in the picture at the moment because I just don’t quite know how that would work with how my life is now,” said Bush, who has largely withdrawn from public life to bring up her son Bertie, 12. “Maybe I will do some shows some day. I’d like to think so before I get too ancient – turn up with me Zimmer frame.”
She continued: “I enjoy singing but with the albums it’s the whole process I find so interesting. If I was going to do some shows it would be the same thing. Let’s just see, shall we?” More about MOJO Magazine here.
The June issue of Q Magazine (out in May) features a four-star review of Director’s Cut by Paul Moody.
“…even for this most unpredictable of artists, the follow-up to 2005’s Aerial is a creative curveball. A reworking of 11 tracks from 1989’s The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, each with a brand new vocal, it seems a curious move for an artist who has made a virtue of never looking back (her solitary greatest hits album, The Whole Story, was released in 1986). Director’s Cut succeeds, however, by axing the star cameos (The Red Shoes originally included contributions from Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Nigel Kennedy) and thrusting some of her most powerful songs back into the spotlight.” (thanks to Louise and Menju56 on our forum)
Thanks for the feedback on the new site, I’m glad you’ve been enjoying it. The video section has been very popular, I find myself spending time there too! It’s nice that you’ve been using the site to check out bands like Syd Arthur and Beck Sian as well as those superior tribute shows currently touring the UK and Europe, and my site stats (another new toy) tell me you’ve been checking out the latest news on Paddy, John and Del too. See? It’s not all about Kate around here! We had a great response to the Audio Fidelity competition, and congratulations again to the five winners. The good news is that we will be arranging further giveaways with the impending release of The Sensual World in the same format, so keep an eye on the site. The gatefold vinyl edition of Hounds of Love which Kate authorised in time for the album’s 25th anniversary has been a big success, and I’m hoping more of Kate’s albums will get the same treatment. The site forum continues to be a never-ending source of interesting tidbits and hidden gems – if only for the rare photos threads – amazing. Just today we had the following incredible clip (Wuthering Heights, 800% slower!) linked on the forum and I thought I’d share it with you:
Other than that I keep coming across very positive reviews and mentions for Graeme Thomson’s new biography of Kate, “Under The Ivy”. Most recently Thomson gave a radio interview to Phantom FM here in Dublin, as they celebrated the 25th anniversary of Running Up That Hill (nice in-studio version of the song by the band Ham Sandwich too!) A book like this presents a slight dilemma for me. On the one hand, we know very well that Kate doesn’t approve of books like this about her and finds them intrusive, and as far as their veracity is concerned, anecdotal at best. As such, those closest to Kate and Kate herself have never co-operated with the writers of biographies. On the other hand, this is clearly the best written, most well researched and critically applauded biography of Kate yet released. There is nothing mean-spirited within its pages and the book respects and celebrates Kate’s work without losing perspective. I found it intelligent and very fair. As a teenager it was the “Visual Documentary” book by Kevin Cann and Sean Mayes that first opened my eyes to the story and influences behind Kate’s work. I lapped it up. I think that similarly, someone discovering Kate’s music for the first time or the casual music fan wanting to know more will be filled with nothing but admiration for Kate once they’ve read this book. Make up your own minds, and let me know what you think if you decide to read it. More at the author’s blog here.
Finally, since I already posted the eerily distorted version of Wuthering Heights above, here’s a video clip of a live club mix of Wuthering Heights you may enjoy, I got a kick out of it anyway!
Graeme Thompson has published the first extract from his new biography of Kate,“Under the Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush” on the book’s blog page. This very interesting extract covers the Aerial recording sessions with insights from Peter Erskine, Steve Sanger, Chris Hall and Susanna Pell, among others. More extracts will be added to this blog in the near future. Also, a large article taken from this new book will be featured as the cover story of the June edition of Uncut Magazine, in stores this week. The Uncut piece will focus on the Hounds of Love album, as it approaches its 25th anniversary this year. For more on the book, out May 4th, see the 13th March news below.
Older news I missed, sorry! Kate pays tribute to her friend Peter Gabriel in the April edition of MOJO magazine. “The art-rock guru looks back on his astonishing 40-year career. From fronting progressive masters Genesis to solo pop success, his is a story of restless toil and adventure. With a new album set for release in March, Gabriel guides us through a unique life in music. PLUS! Kate Bush, Elbow and Vampire Weekend salute the legend!”
I have huge amounts of respect for Peter and his work. He is one of the rare artists who is instantly recognisable through his music, with his stunning voice and his individual style of writing and arranging. ‘Ah yes, I know who that is, that’s Peter!’ He is a great humanitarian and is involved in so many projects outside of music, which is also part of why he’s so interesting. Always delightful to work with, a really lovely person who knows exactly what he wants, it’s fun just being with him. I think the most intriguing thing about him is his transformation when he is on-stage. Off-stage, on more than one occasion, I have seen Peter walk across a room where lines of invisible trip wires have mysteriously appeared across the floor. Perhaps it’s just a cup of coffee or a pile of magazines that have flown across the carpet, with Peter looking slightly bewildered as to why all this stuff has taken off around him. This is part of his charm and I think it’s adorable. He then steps onto a stage and becomes an alarmingly powerful, confident, sexy and enormously charismatic performer. Playful, brave and absolutely fascinating. I really love Peter, he’s one of my favourite human beings.
Mojo’s writers voted on a Peter Gabriel Top Ten songs and present them on the Mojo site here. Kate features on two of the tracks selected, no prizes for guessing they are Games Without Frontiers and Don’t Give Up. “Now imbued with a strange post-Glasnost nostalgia, Games Without Frontiers sounds especially melancholy, Gabriel’s sinister child-catcher delivery and Kate Bush’s eerie “jeux sans frontières” all underscored by that heartbreaking River Kwai whistling” Mojo on Don’t Give Up: “Modernized folk ballad inherits crazy jazz chords, fretless bass and Fairlight, becomes ’80s high-concept pop fantasia. Peter’s a proud working man facing economic catastrophe, the voice cracking as shame and anguish crash over him (how relevant isthis?); Kate Bush is unbowed wifey, injecting hope with every tremor one of the most poignant vocal performances in pop history. If Sting had done this… oh, it doesn’t bear thinking about.” If you haven’t got your hands on a copy of the magazine yet, there’s a taster feature here which streams Gabriel’s new album. Liz Fraser is on the cover of the free cover CD by the way, and Midlake and Rufus Wainwright are featured. Yeah, I’ll be getting this 🙂
Hi all, I’m still trying to find the time to get the site re-launched, getting to grips with a number of options right now, please bear with me, I’ve been posting bits of news in the Twitter feed which you’ll find above, I’d urge you to check out the Paddy Bush radio programme from BBC Radio in particular, stirring stuff. In the meantime I’ve realised it’s a busy time for your Kate Bush bookshelf so here’s some upcoming releases you may want to get your mitts on!
HomeGround, The Book – An anthology of the Best of the Kate Bush MagazineUpdate: Work continues apace on this huge project by Peter & Krys. Up to 800 pages, yes, you read that right, have been completed and a first draft should be ready in a month or so. The plan will be to have the book available on Amazon, and the HomeGround editors are aiming for a publication date in the second half of 2010. Judging by the anticipation I’ve been reading so far, many, many bookshelves out there are looking forward to this book. As I’ve said before, whether you’ve subscribed to HomeGround in the past or were always curious what all the fuss was about, now you can look forward to the ULTIMATE anthology of this iconic publication, and an incredible resource for anyone interested in Kate’s career. All updates will be on this site and on the HomeGround pages here.
Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory by Deborah M. Withers (HammerOn Press).Published March 15th 2010. From the Press Release: “A new book providing the first ever indepth engagement with the philosophy of Kate Bush’s music. It will be published on March 15th 2010. Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory will present Kate Bush as you have never seen her before. Here is the polymorphously perverse Kate, the witchy Kate, the queer Kate; the Kate who moves beyond the mime. Since Bush burst into the public eye in 1978, her fans and admirers have been fascinated by the endless mysteries of her music. She is a pop star whose brain and imagination have inspired, delighted and comforted millions. Former Sex Pistol John Lydon recently said that Bush ‘supplies me with all the clues and it’s up to me put the answers together.’ Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory is one personal response to these clues. Written by a queer woman in her late 20s, its answers are delivered in a unique way. Drawing on cutting edge feminist philosophy, critical theory and queer studies, Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory makes theory accessible to new audiences. Through analysis of the music, film, video and dance of Kate Bush, it breaks down boundaries between the academic and popular, showing that theory can be sordid, funny and relevant – despite what most people think.
The book has been described by Radio DJ Mark Radcliffe as “an in-depth labour of love from a genuine Bush fanatic” and acclaimed international artist and scholar Allyson Mitchell as “a weaving of theory, historical data, imagination and activism tied with astute observation and wry wit… Cultural Studies has met its match in a readable stretch of the boundaries of theory and genres”. Deborah M. Withers has been interpreting and telling stories about Kate Bush’s music for most of the noughties. She even has a PhD on the subject. Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory is her first book. As Deborah says: “Undoubtedly including “theory” in the title will immediately suggests to people that the book is a weighty tome, but I can assure you that this is not the case. It is important to remember that “adventures” is also in the title. I want readers to roam with me through Kate Bush’s music, unlocking the codes that are within them. Theory is one of the instruments I use to crack these codes. It is a tool that should be available for everyone to use.”
I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, so I asked longtime fan Ian McLauchlan to give me his impressions after reading it. Ian writes: “My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose – J Haldane 1928.” It could be said that there is nothing more to write about with regard to Kate Bush and her music to the present date. There have been thousands of articles written, countless interviews, reviews and numerous books. And yet here is a forum where we still write about Kate, her art (in between discussion about the weather, cake and each other.) and hopefully we take a little time to listen to each other’s views, opinions with good humour. So here is yet another book about Kate. But it’s not about Kate. And it’s not another male journalist behind the pen. It’s an alternative viewpoint, opinion, and is full of humour. This is a book about the BFS. The subject of the book changes shape, gender, sound; taking on an ever shifting guise on its journey through each album and zeitgeist of each release. The cyclical nature of The Ninth Wave and A Sky of Honey are expanded throughout the story of the BFS. The birth, life, continuity, change, breakdown, death and rebirth are explored with reference to folklore and fairy tales, colonialism, nationalism, gender, oh and a little bit of Orientalism thrown in for good measure. Brave, funny, silly, informative, and probably the best book written about Kate and yet not about Kate. Utterly QUEER.” Thanks Ian. Read more about this book at the publishers website here and the book is available to order here. Perhaps most fun of all, we have a Youtube trailer for the book for you to enjoy!
Under The Ivy – The Life & Music of Kate Bush by Graeme Thomson. (Omnibus Press). Published May 4th 2010. 350 pages with 3×8 plate sections. Graeme Thomson is the author of biographies of Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello and a regular contributor to The Guardian, Observer, the New Statesman, The Word and The Herald. I spoke to Graeme in 2008 as he was setting out to write this book. A fan himself, he clearly had a good grasp of the previous biographies of Kate and what their strengths and failings were. He was not interested in exploring Kate’s personal life but rather to take a fresh look at her body of work, without following the chronological framework used so often before. He told me he wanted to write something insightful and elegant, a book which is genuinely revealing in terms of her working process. He wanted to redress his own disappointment that nothing so far had been published which did her justice (although we both agreed that the 1988 Kate Bush: A Visual Documentary book by Kevin Cann and the late Sean Mayes was the best so far published). So, I have a lot of reasons to look forward with interest to this book. Graeme tells me that the book has lots and lots of new information, a wealth of new first-hand accounts, and in-depth critical analysis of all aspects of her work.
From the Press Release: “This is the first ever in-depth study of Kate Bush’s life and career. “Under the Ivy” features over 70 unique and revealing new interviews with those who have viewed from up close both the public artist and the private woman: old school friends, early band mates, long-term studio collaborators, former managers, producers, musicians, video directors, dance instructors and record company executives. “Under the Ivy” undertakes a full analysis of Bush’s art. From her pre-teen forays into poetry, through scores of unreleased songs. Every crucial aspect of her music is discussed from her ground-breaking series of albums to her solo live tour. Her pioneering forays into dance, video, film and performance. Combining a wealth of new research with rigorous critical scrutiny, “Under the Ivy” offers a string of fresh insights and perspectives on her unusual upbringing in South London, the blossoming of her talent, her enduring influences and unique working methods, her rejection of live performance, her pioneering use of the studio, her key relationships and her gradual retreat into a semi-mythical privacy.” The book is available to pre-order from Amazon here
Kate Bush’s The Dreaming by Ann Powers. (Continuum Books). Published December 2011. Ann Powers is a veteran and highly acclaimed rock critic who has also written extensively on feminism, spirituality, and contemporary culture. From 1997-2001 she was a pop critic at the New York Times. She is currently senior critic at Blender magazine. 33⅓ (Thirty-Three and a Third) is a series of books written about music albums, featuring one author per album. The series is published by Continuum Books. They stagger the releases of this popular series and have published 70 volumes of the series with another 24 titles forthcoming. Thus, this is early word on this one, it’s released in December 2011! The books are very well done and the publisher’s blog makes for interesting reading. From the Press Release: “This book is imagistically rich and prismatically structured, interweaving the old tales of she-bears and werewolves, Donkeyskin and Coyote, with historical accounts of Houdini’s wife, bank robbers like Machine Gun Molly and warriors like the revolutionary war hero Deborah Sampson. Some of these tales directly inspired Bush’s lyrics, others illuminate them; all are part of the tapestry of truth and exaggeration that Bush took up with The Dreaming.” The book is available to pre-order from Amazon here