Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds EP's from 2012
Noel Gallagher, the former guitarist and songwriter for the legendary Britpop band Oasis, left that band in August 2009, after constant feuding with his younger brother Liam Gallagher (the Oasis lead singer) finally took its toll. Noel has since begun a solo career, with a backing band called High Flying Birds, while Liam formed a new band called Beady Eye with other members of the final Oasis lineup. When you hear the separate works that have since been created by the estranged Gallagher brothers, their musical differences become more noticeable than ever. Liam's two albums with Beady Eye show him still playing the rock and roll bad boy who's unabashedly in love with vintage British rock. Meanwhile, Noel's 2011 album Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds is a more stately work, favoring subtle artistry over rock and roll bombast.
Although Noel is the more musically talented of the two brothers, Liam arguably has the current edge in their post-Oasis sibling rivalry. The immediate-gratification rock and roll music of the Beady Eye albums leaves a stronger impression than Gallagher's album with High Flying Birds, even though the Beady Eye songwriting is less memorable than Noel's songwriting was for Oasis. The more controlled music of Noel's High Flying Birds is respectable and mature, but generates a bit less excitement than his brother's more visceral output.
Fans who are awaiting the follow-up to Noel's solo debut may want to discover his two EP’s released in 2012, one of them vinyl-only, the other one digital-only.
Songs From The Great White North was a 12-inch EP pressed in white vinyl, limited to 2,000 copies for release on Record Store Day in April 2012. The EP collected four non-album B-sides from the singles released to promote the debut album. It starts with “The Good Rebel”, a track that sounds more Oasis-like than most High Flying Birds songs do; Noel even sounds like he is mimicking his brother Liam’s singing style. It’s a decent tune, though I can’t help but think it would have been better as an Oasis song. The other three songs have more unexpected sounds. “Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me” uses ambient sounds for an ethereal effect, and adds Gospel elements into the mix, coming close to achieving the transcendence it aims for. “I’d Pick You Every Time” is a charming two-minute ballad that uses a banjo to create an underlying bluegrass vibe. The last track is the oddest: “Shoot A Hole Into The Sun” is a surviving track from Gallagher’s collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous (aka The Future Sound Of London). It’s an eight-minute variation on “If I Had A Gun…”, full of neo-psychedelic experimentalism. It holds attention, but it’s less spectacular than Noel made it out to be in interviews. It was intended to be released later as part of a full album that Gallagher recorded with the ambient-electronic duo, but the album was scrapped. That may be just as well, because such an album would probably not have been the ideal follow-up to the debut album.
There was a fifth single released from the album after this EP was issued. The A-side was “Everybody’s On The Run”; the B-side was a trippy 15-minute Amorphous Androgynous remix of “AKA…What A Life!”. That lengthy experiment is also fairly interesting, but it still doesn’t make me want to hear the entire abandoned album.
iTunes Festival: London 2012 was only sold digitally on iTunes. It was originally only available in the U.K., then it was also made available in the U.S. in January 2013. It featured six solid selections from the concert performed by Gallagher and company at the iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse in London on September 12th of 2012. The band was in fine form throughout, with a background choir giving the songs extra feeling. The four High Flying Birds selections on the EP are all performed very well, with Gallagher and the band displaying plenty of discipline and professionalism. Also included are equally respectable performances of two Oasis songs which Noel had sung the lead vocal on: the obscure B-side “D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman”, and the grand concert closer “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. Good stuff. iTunes Festival: London 2012 originally included videos of the performances of “Everybody’s On The Run” and “AKA…What A Life!”. If you have time to watch the full 99-minute concert in its entirety, the whole show is quite good.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “Songs From The Great White North” EP (Sour Mash JDNC14T) 2012
1. The Good Rebel – (originally the B-side for “The Death of You and Me”)
2. Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me – (originally the B-side for “AKA…What A Life!”)
3. I’d Pick You Every Time – (originally the B-side for “If I Had A Gun…”)
4. Shoot A Hole Into The Sun – (originally the B-side for “Dream On”)
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds "Everybody's On The Run" (single) (Sour Mash JDNC15T) 2012
1. Everybody's On The Run
2. AKA...What A Life! (The Amorphous Androgynous Remix)
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “iTunes Festival: London 2012” EP (Sour Mash, no number) 2012
1. Everybody’s On The Run
2. If I Had A Gun…
3. D’yer Wanna Be A Spaceman
4. (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine
5. AKA…What A Life!
6. Don’t Look Back In Anger