Jake Bugg, Live at Silver PlattersEP
With a Beatles haircut, an Oasis swagger, and a Dylanesque delivery, folkie Jake Bugg was the darling of the UK press when his self-titled debut issued in 2012. He was just a teenager, and critics on both sides of the Atlantic immediately responded to the album’s urgency and authenticity. Rolling Stone declared him “fully formed,” and NME called him a “frighteningly talented songwriter”—high praise for an artist at any stage of their career, let alone one just barely out of high school.
Rick Rubin produced his follow-up, last year’s Shangri La, which injected a bit of rock into Bugg’s folk leanings, though the response to the record was less enthusiastic, even though it followed the same general template as his debut. “The songwriting here feels more evened-out, less appealingly pugnacious than it did last time,” declared the Los Angeles Times in its review.
While promoting that record in January, Bugg appeared at the Silver Platters in SoDo, where he recorded the four songs on this release. The track list includes two songs from each of his records: “There’s a Beast & We All Feed It,” “Trouble Town,” “Lightning Bolt,” and “Storm Passes Away.”
Though he hasn’t broken through in America as he has in the UK, this live EP is proof Bugg is working on it—he also recently appeared on American Idol at the request of judge Keith Urban. Despite expressing disdain for TV talent competitions in the past, the troubadour decided that since he’d never actually appeared on one, perhaps he should try it out. The appearance boosted sales of Shangri La by 551 percent, but it didn’t change his position. “It’s great exposure, of course,” he told Yahoo Music, “but even the people that win make one or two albums, and then they’re not seen again or heard again.”