While informed by the likes of Bacharach, Bolan and The Animals - as heard on The Moons' Jan 'Stan' Kybert-produced album Fables Of History (2012) - Crofts has taken a pop classicism and updated it without having mired himself in the black hole of revivalism.
Merrymouth's follow-up LP, Wenlock Hill, will be released on 5 May with Simon singing and writing, backed up by Dan Sealey of Ocean Colour Scene, Adam Barry and a host of distinguished collaborators.
Paul Weller cuts a lithe figure in a black crew neck sweater and dove grey slacks that ride a couple of inches off the ground. His round-toed calfskin Chelsea boots gleam under the lights. A flashgun snaps at his every move as his gimlet eye rakes the clothes rack that lines the far wall of the West End showroom.
With eclectic tastes that include folk, soul and funk and everything in between, they're a dynamic band whose forthcoming single Forever More is produced by Richard Hawley, while their debut single For You was produced by Bill Ryder-Jones.
We're lost in the crowd in the neon-soaked hotel bar down the road from the Shepherd's Bush Empire, and Steve Cradock has flown in under the radar, perhaps his parka the only give away of who he is.
It is here in Milan, far north in the Bel Paese [Italy, the "beautiful country"], that a cultural pragmatism has attracted those of a more refined musical streak. And it is at Biko, a club not far from the throng of the city centre, that Trio Valore has convened to play to a Milanese crowd intent on devouring live music as would they their mammas' pasta e fagioli. It's a crowd of stylists who want to dance, and they do.
Nip around the corner from the Elephant & Castle and walk on farther south where the air's a little calmer, and before you know it, you'll have arrived at the Threadneedleman, an unassuming shop caught in the crook of the road's arm.
Longsight M13. It's an area of Manchester immortalised by the Ian Brown song co-written by Aziz Ibrahim. It has taken us 15 minutes to drive here from Manchester's Piccadilly Station where Aziz collected me after the journey up from Euston. ..
The uncontrollable forelock of hair is still there, but time has remade Dr Robert. Today, as the frontman of The Blow Monkeys, he is older, wiser, and when he speaks he's quick to laugh. But when he listens, it's with a quiet focus.
This is Frith Street. Tony Coote sits cocooned is his chair, words flowing between drags on his Camel Light.
'No political or cultural figurehead has ever come up with the phrase "a British dream", so Mod appeals to me politically because it's the closest we've ever come to having an American Dream.' So says Richard Weight, author of Mod: A Very British Style.
Minchella learned the business the hard way - perhaps the best way - on the pub circuit, playing professionally for the first time in 1987, two years before the golden break with Ocean Colour Scene.
As The Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Knows' fades out over the PA, the feedback groan of Barrie Cadogan's Gibson splits the air, a white umbilical guitar lead coiling obscenely into the amp. Five minutes into the gig and the band has put a grip on a crowd who twist with delight in the dark womb of the club.
They're propping up the bar at The Blue Posts on Berwick Street in Soho, a duo enmeshed in a knockabout conversation about the politics of music.
The shop at 2 Marshall Street in Soho is something of an Aladdin's Cave, the headless mannequins in the window the sharpest
Their Britpop rivalry was legendary, but Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn have put their musical differences aside to perform
He's a strange brew, at once funny, then turning on a dime, as serious as a prophet. Born in Belfast in 1963, Michael Smiley grew up in a cultural atmosphere which fed his ire, and ultimately, his humour.
It has been 22 years since the release of the landmark album Road To Freedom. Jason Holmes speaks to Femi Williams (aka Femi Fem), one third of The Young Disciples, about how the record came into existence.
Bradley Wiggins is living up to his Mod image by recording with his hero Paul Weller on the new single by The Jam. The cyclist
A love of live music pervades the club, rather than the sweaty media ambition of the mainstream, whose godheads can be identified as the millionaire prefab boy bands who some of us have learned to avoid.