Sunday, 19 May 2019

Datura4 – Blessed Is The Boogie


West Aussie rockers get deep down in the groove on their third long-player.


“Who are your main musical influences?” - It's a simple question to ask but a truly honest answer would offer much more than just a list of famous bands. It's a point made in Joe Jackson's autobiography A Cure For Gravity, where he says his biggest influences were the people he spent time making music with in his early pre-fame bands – players who may not be famous names but were in a position to offer insights about technique and taste, about how to play sympathetically, and about band dynamics.

I was reminded about this when reading the press release for this third album from Datura4, where bandleader Dom Mariani pays homage to the local bands and musicians he grew up hearing in the pubs and clubs of Perth and Freemantle on Australia's west coast during the 1970s. Bands such as The Aztecs, The Coloured Balls, Sitting Bull, The Master Apprentices, Daddy Cool and Carson. Household names they may not be, but they must have been pretty special to have inspired Mariani's lifelong dedication to making kick-ass rock.

Blessed Is The Boogie is Datura4's third album, following Hairy Mountain (2016) and Demon Blues (2015). It's an album that will appeal to those who like their music to be heavy, but not at the expense of tunes or funk-filled grooves. Taking the foundations like by boogie godfathers such as John Lee Hooker and cranking the amps up to eleven, Datura4's sound has all the hallmarks of classic heavy rock – twin lead guitar lines, a hard-working rhythm section laying down chunky solid riffs and beats. Throw in the heavy textured chords of a Hammond B3 organ, and right there you have some serious sonic chemistry going on.

Aside from the no-nonsense boogie rock alluded to in the album title we also find polished and sentimental FM rock on 'Not For Me', along with a nod to their musical roots with a cover of R&B classic 'Oop Poo Pah Doo', a song written by Jesse Hill in 1960, later covered by the likes of Ike and Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett and garage bands such as The Standells and The Kingsmen.

An interesting twist and side story to this album is that Mariani now owns the black 1969 Les Paul guitar previously owned by Sitting Bull's now sadly-departed guitarist Paul Fulton. The guitar was used throughout the album. Funny how things come full circle , it's a nice story and fitting dedication to Mariani's primary influences. And the guitar is in safe hands - Mariani knows how to play it, drenching this record with pure-toned guitar solos throughout.

In rock music terms Blessed Is The Boogie has a sound as old as the hills but hey, it still sounds great to me. Tags such as retro or contemporary are rendered meaningless when you crank up the volume of your stereo and tune in to the tunes, and nuanced songwriting. For those who like their rock heavy and deep grooved. Good work fellas.


Click here for Datura4 on Twitter.
Click here for Datura4 on Facebook.
Click here for Alive Records.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Moon Goose - Source Code


Can meets the KLF on the Welsh borders.

Has there been a record label over the last ten years that's done more in the service of psychedelia than Fruits de Mer? I'd say not. One of the label's latest releases is this cracking debut album from Moon Goose. A new band for for the label but one that shares the ethos for exploring music's outer reaches and your head's inner spaces. Source Code is a double colour vinyl offering featuring twelve shape-shifting instrumentals. It's an expansive affair as you'd expect for a 2LP set, with many of the tracks over the seven and eight minute mark. But the band never lapse into needless noodling or give any dull filler.

There's a definite trace of Can in their musical influences, but their mindset owes more to the surreal, the daftly mysterious and ancient historical references as espoused by the KLF. Don't go thinking they take themselves too seriously, there's plenty of playfulness and humour about this album as evidenced in the track titles – ' Goldfish In A Bag', 'Dark Shit' or 'Fist Fight At The Bingo'. Source Code is a musical journey that takes in motorik beats, funky '70s spy movie instrumentals, surfadelic guitar wig-outs, slow-burning moody passages and shimmering electronic textures. All delivered with brio, passion and panache. A joy to listen to in one sitting, we think you'll like it.

There's scant biographical detail about the band but we do know that Source Code is the result of weekly rehearsals in a barn in Herefordshire near the Welsh border. If any of our dear readers know more about these mysterious music mavericks perhaps they can enlighten us in the comments section below. If you want to hear these tracks in a live setting the band will be playing at FdM's summer festival. See the label website for more details.


Clickhere for Moon Goose.
Click here for Moon Goose on Twitter. 
Click here for Moon Goose on Facebook.
Click here for Moon Goose on Instagram.
Clickhere for Fruits de Mer Records.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Stubbleman – Mountains and Plains


An electronic travelogue though the American landscape. An understated subtle success.


Journeys across America have long held a fascination for those of us on this side of the pond and have also inspired great art. Cinema gave us the golden age of western films and along with a number of classic road-trip movies. Musicians have taken been similarly taken with travels across the USA. 'Route 66' is the first song that springs to mind. Then there's The Beach Boys' SMiLE which was was conceived as a musical journey across America, east to west, beginning at Plymouth Rock and ending in Hawaii.

Romanticised visions of history can be misleading. Contemporary realities more nuanced, stranger and ultimately more interesting. It's this modern, complicated America that's inspired this debut album from Stubbleman, the alter-ego of composer Pascal Gabriel. Mountains and Plains is an eleven track album that took root during a ten-week journey across the States, Pascal starting each track using found sounds and field recordings as the basis of each track, taking in such locations as Northern New Mexico, Mesa Verde in Colorado, the Mississippi river, Highways 61 and 66. Along the way there were meetings with artistic communities and makers of outsider art, and inspiration taken from the endless wide-open plains, train tracks, crumbling towns and the curious juxtaposition of rural poverty against giant corporate wealth.

Mountains and Plains is a wide-screen cinematic journey at times dark and ominous, sometimes full of joy, wonder and optimism. The ambient instrumentals, akin to Sigor Rós and Brian Eno transported to the American mid-west, are always evocative, with an understated subtle power that never fails to engage and emotionally resonate. The music is at times sparse, elsewhere dense with electronic pulses made on Modular synths, but what holds it all together is the humanistic warmth which comes with the addition of plaintive piano chords and melodies that sit atop of the arrangements. It's impressionist, cliché-free and parsimonious music at its best.

Though this is his debut album as Stubbleman, Pascal has had plenty of previous musical success. He was one of the co-writers behind both 'Theme From S'Express' (S'Express) and 'Beat Dis' (Bomb The Bass) and has been the go-to production and writing choice for a wide array of artists ever since. This wealth of experience has no doubt informed Mountains and Plains as much as the journey across America. Gig goers will be able to experience the music in a live setting as Pascal will be performing a selection of live dates starting this Spring. For more details along with some excellent photographs to accompany the music, follow the links below.

Click here for more the Stubbleman website.
Click here for Stubbleman on Twitter.
Click here for Stubbleman on Facebook.
Click here for Stubbleman on Instagram
Click here for Crammed Discs.


Friday, 19 April 2019

The Bordellos - Crabs EP


An antidote to the anodyne.

Music lovers will be aware that last Saturday was Record Store Day. The annual event that drives nominally sane middle aged men to queue in the cold and dark early hours for fear of missing out on overpriced limited edition vinyl records that they probably won't play anyway. I'll bet most of these items get filed away alphabetically in the hope that one day they'll increase in monetary value.

Don't get me wrong, I love vinyl records, have always bought them and will continue to do so. It's also great that the shops, labels and bands are supported. Yeah can't fault that. What I object to is the fetishisation of vinyl, along with the “investment” aspect of buying records that seems to be of equal if not more important these days than the music. So RSD is the one day I guarantee I won't be anywhere near a record shop. This year? I whitewashed the wall in the back yard. A long overdue chore and I have to say, the wall looks bloody good!

I mention all this because last Saturday saw the release of a new EP from the Bordellos, a bunch of independently-minded, lo—fi leaning proud misfits from England's Northwest who each year on RSD release new music as a refreshing antidote to its madness. Their Crabs EP is refreshingly not available on vinyl. It's a five-track all instrumental affair on download/stream only available from Metal Postcards Records. As you'd expect from the Bordellos, this new music delights, challenges, amuses and takes you to places you didn't know you wanted to go. It's a journey that takes in acidic folk, found sounds, industrial noise and the open-minded possibilities of post-punk. Oh and there's some whistling too. If John Peel were alive today he'd no doubt be broadcasting tracks off the Crabs EP each night.

Interestingly Brian from the Bordellos also shares my reservations about Record Store Day. You can read his thoughts about it on his wonderful blog, along with his thoughts about pop music, both good and bad. His writing is always insightful, bang on the money, and damn entertaining too. Check it out. Now I'm off to buy a couple of fence panels. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Beau - Damascus Road


Back with a new album! Fifty years on from his eponymous debut Beau remains as sharp and insightful as ever.

If I asked you to name a musician who epitomised the word prolific, who would spring to mind? Prince? Billy Childish maybe? Each genre would have its own nominations but when it comes to folk-based singer-songwriters a name I'd definitely propose would be Beau. Consistently impressive and with a back catalogue that continues to grow, Beau (AKA Trevor Midgeley) has a new album released this week. Damascus Road is out on Friday, a full fifty years to the day since the release of his 1969 eponymous debut album.

Regular readers of this blog (I hope they exist!) may already be familiar with Beau but if not here's a very brief potted history – His debut album was one the first releases on DJ John Peel's Dandelion label back in 1969. With his trusty 12-string acoustic guitar and sole voice Beau's music is always simply recorded, it doesn't rely on the smoke and mirrors of effects or studio trickery. Nor does it attempt to forge or follow fashion. And it's all the better for that. What does characterise Beau's songs is his commitment to write about the things what move, frustrate or amuse him, be it the shortcomings of our politicians, modern day celebratory foibles, or lessons that ought to have been learnt from history.

His latest album shows no signs of his talent diminishing. Its thirteen songs include juxtapositions of suffragettes with YouTubers and Instagram influencers ('Lacey Fayre'), critiques of populism ('Demagogue Rules') and an informed analysis of 'soft' guerrilla war tactics ('The Quiet Ones'). In our era of fake news and social media manipulation it's reassuring to know that are still songwriters that can cut through with truth. One of the album's most poignant songs is 'Child of Aberfan'. In the liner notes that accompany the promo CD, Beau makes the point that lessons surrounding public accountability may not have been learnt. A heartbreaking thought in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. In addition there are songs with subjects as diverse as Masonic Lodges ('Men of the World'), the casting couch ('Kitten Caboodle') and the ill effects of collective amnesia ('Rear-View Mirror').

Beau's music may not be currently commercial but it is uniquely interesting, engaging and enjoyable. I very much recommend you make time to listen to Damascus Road. Beau is committed to the muse as ever and remains as sharp a commentator on contemporary society's mores as it's possible to be. Long may that continue.


http://beausrecordings.blogspot.com/ 

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Thee Telepaths – The Velvet Night


Kettering space-rockers explore drone and dynamics on their full-length debut!


There seems to something of an underground renaissance at the moment for exploratory psychedelic space-rock. Bands such as Eyeball in the US, and on our own shore the likes of Psychic Lemon and Moon Goose all digging deep intro astral rock. The latest addition to the growing army is Thee Telepaths, a quartet from Kettering who formed in 2014 and have since gone on to release a couple of vinyl EPs.

The extra time available on a full-length album allowed the band to stretch out and given them full rein to explore the joys of drone, dynamics and free-form ensemble playing associated with the genre along with the excitement of not quite knowing where you're you're going to end up. The album is neatly divided up into three segments – Alpha, Epsilon and Delta, which are in the keys of A, E and D accordingly. Each of these sections is then sub-divided into parts which allow for changes in tempo and feel. It's a neat conceit and that highlights the importance of limitations and framework in exploratory music.

So what does it sound like? A mixture of driving motorik beats, electronic keyboard textures and hooks with guitar work that sounds like the MC5 one minute, Ron Asheton the next. All topped with vocals that help steer the improvised music towards something more song-like. It's an interesting journey on which it's possible to hear a whole host of influences – Kosmiche Muisk acts such as Neu!, new wave bands such and Public Image Limited, along with later sonic explorers such as Loop, Thee Hypnotics. There's also a hint of afro-beat and post-punk in there too. A veritable gumbo of left-field music. You can check it out yourselves via the video the band have released for 'Epsilon Parts I-III'. The band will be playing a select string of live dates over the next few weeks. Check out the video and list of dates below.


Live Dates
April 5th – The White Hart, Corby
April 26th – Hot Box Skate Shop, Chelmsford
May 5th – The Blue Moon, Cambridge
May 17th The Lamplighter, Northampton
May 25th – The Jolly Brewer, Lincoln
July 5th – Tannerfest, Northampton


Clickhere for Thee Telepaths on Bandcamp.
Clickhere for Thee Telepaths on Twitter.
Clickhere for Thee Telepaths on Facebook.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Willie Gibson - Saint-Ex


Reach for the stars. A synth-driven tribute to aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Out now on CD and 10” vinyl. 


We hear a lot of talk these days about society “dumbing down”. I'm not sure if that's truly the case – all the young people I meet these days seem impressively well-informed and give me much to be optimistic about. And while recent events have highlighted the dangerous combination of low-information voters and lower-information politicians, it's reassuring to find that the musicians the planet over continue to embrace the cerebral. One recent release that educates as well as entertains is this here disc from Willie Gibson. It's inspired by Wind Sand And Stars, a book by aviator and author Antoine de Saint Exupéry, who's perhaps best known for writing children's book The Little Prince.

Saint-Ex is a self-penned eighteen minute instrumental journey broken down in five distinct sections. As on Gibson's previous work, Vivaldi:Seasons Change, modular-synths are used throughout though there are additional live drums and the occasional vocal lines from Deerful's Emma Winston. The overall effect is meditative and calming with the modular synths lending a mid '70s feel – think Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk's Autobahn or side two of David Bowie's Low. It's fair to say however that these artists would not be at the forefront of Gibson's mind when composing or recording these works, this being a tribute to Saint-Exupéry.

Each of the five distinct sections is a musical representation of an aspect of Saint-Exupéry's life or work. There's the propulsive opening section titled 'Wind, Sand And Stars' where one man's conquering of the elements is rendered in musical form, followed by more tranquil sections recalling childhood memories and joy-filled flights. Sadly Saint-Exupéry went missing over the Mediterranean on a routine reconnaissance flight in July 1944, with neither the aircraft or his body ever recovered. The final section 'July '44' closes the album in a suitably climactic way, filled with both drama and celebration.

I have to admit to not being very familiar with the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, my knowledge extends only to having watched the recent film version of The Little Prince. Thankfully there are musicians and composers around like Willie Gibson who continue to broaden our horizons where others would have them shut down.


Click here for Willie Gibson on Bandcamp
Click here for Willie Gibson on Twitter.
Click here for the Gare Du Nord Records website.

Friday, 8 March 2019

The Electric Stars – Sonic Candy Soul


(This originally appeared on Subba Cultcha way back in 2012)

Manchester quintet release their broad-sweeping, mod-friendly debut album. 


No one accuse Mancunian quintet The Electric Stars of being cutting edge, that's not where they're at. And neither are they an out and out retro act. The truth is they take what they like from music's past for their own ends. What the band's really about is the quality of their songs, and playing and serving them well. It's this sense of craftsmanship that runs through all eleven tracks on Sonic Candy Soul, their debut album for Detour Records.

From the fake vinyl crackle of album opener '136' onwards it's the attention to detail that impresses. Though essentially a guitar band they're not afraid of adding other touches, such as the trumpet solo on Stoned Again, and the dramatic piano and synths on the dark, sinister Bedtime Stories. Singer Jason Edge proves himself a fine singer and decent lyricist, perhaps best shown on Alison Williams,a modern day kitchen sink tale.

Though their main influences are the '60s beat era, the poppier side of psych, and some of brit-pop's confident swagger, there's a subtler strand of US influences that help add some soul to the English pop classicism. Not least the finger-snapping grooves of Between The Streets And The Stars, the stoned country-soul verses and Bo Diddley beat coda on Blind, and the gospel backing vocals on Stoned Again (courtesy of sometime Primal Scream member Denise Johnson).

The album is produced by fellow Mancunians Martin Coogan (Mock Turtles) and Yves Altana (Wonky Alice), with all the soft-psych tricks in their armoury – flange, gentle stereo panning, the occasional backwards cymbal. There are also clues as to the band's true live sound via the amp-crunching, rocking out of Not Man Enough.


Click here for The Electric Stars' website.

Wide Hive Players – Players II Guitar


(This originally appeared on Subba Cultcha way back in 2013)


In-house label band draft in some top guitarists for an album where jazz meets soul, funk, rock and blues.

Wide Hive Players are truly an in-house affair for their California based record label, comprised as they are by musicians from across the label's roster. Label owner Gregory Howe also makes a big contribution with the compositions as well as on production and engineering duties. The band began as a live sessions project in 2009 and went on to release a well-received eponymous album of soulful, funky modern jazz.

For Players II Guitar, their second album release they've secured the talents of four guitar playing greats to come in and add some special magic to the tracks. And what an impressive line-up it is, with Larry Coryell (famed for his solo albums as well as having worked with Charlie Mingus and John McLaughlin), Calvin Keys (toured and recorded with Ray Charles as well as successful solo releases on Black Jazz Records), Harvey Mandell (Canned Heat, John Mayall), and Barry Finnerty (Miles Davis, Chico Hamilton, The Crusaders).

The result is a musical version of a four seasons pizza, each guitarists' individual style adding its own flavour to the album; there's Calvin Keys' fluid and intricate solos, Larry Coryell's expressive playing on the contemplative 'Sworn Statement', Harvey Mandell getting soulful and funky on 'Preachers Pistol', and Barry Finnerty's dexterous mastery as evidenced on 'The Paladin'.

At times laid back and languid, other times with an up-and-on-it dance floor groove, there's shades of both David Axelrod and Acid Jazz across the tracks. Despite the guitarists taking top billing, this is a definite group effort with the brass and rhythm sections in fine supporting mode. If such a collaboration had happened in an era when jazz was a more popular, less niche musical form no doubt this album would be big news. As it is, it may just be a secret waiting to be rediscovered.


Click here for Wide Hive Records website.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Embrooks - We Who Are


The freakbeat goes on! Limited edition LP out now on State Records!


Bands have down-time or even split up for a while, but when the time feels right to make a new record the good ones will deliver. Case in point is this new record from The Embrooks. The band originally formed in 1996, split in 2005 and reconvened a couple of years back to record a new 45, the success and positive reaction to which led to this brand new album. We Who Are is the fourth album from the band who comprise of Alessandro Cozzi-Lepri (guitar, vocals), Mole (bass, vocals) and Lois Tozer (drums).

Whether or not the title is a cheeky reference to Messrs Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon is unclear. The two bands may share the same three-piece instrumental line-up and much like the mid-'60s Who, The Embrooks make music that mixes hard-driving R&B with a slight experimental edge, but there the similarities and sly references end. This is most definitely an Embrooks album, not a slavish pastiche.

It features the previously mentioned 2016 single 'Nightmare' along with eleven brand new tracks. 'Going But Not Gone' and 'Don't Look At Me' find the band at their garage rock finest, their sound embellished by some nicely reedy keyboards on the former and inspired addition of woodwind on the latter. 'Human Living Vampire' has more of a moody US-garage sound, twelve-string twang and minor chords. 'Have You Ever Loved Somebody' is the album's strongest contender for a single - the sort of track that pirate radio stations would have traded lifeboats for back in the day. It has a chorus that's stickier than Unibond's No More Nails.

'Riot On Kingsland Road' places the action firmly back on terra firma and in 21st century London. It features, flutes, police sirens and the sound of breaking glass along with lyrics about the 2011 riots. 'Baby From The South' is stomper that both highlights the band's debt to R&B and allows Alessandro to indulge in some wild guitar solos. Other standouts include 'Peace Of Mind' which finds the band locked into a hypnotic psych-rock groove, and album-closer 'You Can If You Want' which signs off the record in fine freakbeat style, complete with clattering drums, crashing guitar chords and a wailing harmonica.

It's been a long wait since the band's last album (2004's Yellow Glass Perspections), but in the interim they have been active elsewhere – The Galileo 7, Thee Jezebels, The Baron Four, The Jack Cades are just some of the combos to have benefited from some Embrooks input. As special as each of those bands are, the unique chemistry of The Embrooks is undeniable on We Who Are.

A note for vinyl fans - I'm not sure which pressing plant the label has used but the vinyl copy is a real beauty. Weighing in at a reassuringly chunky 180g and with a quality cut and pressing that labels ten times the size rarely attain. Not only that, the record is housed in a gatefold sleeve and comes with a CD version and download for those that like to listen on the move. Nice work. The Embrooks, we salute you!


Click here for The Embrooks on Facebook.
Click here for The Embrooks on Twitter.
Click here for State Records on Facebook.
Click here North Down Sound Studio on Facebook.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Interview with Jonas Waaben from The Sonic Dawn


(This feature first appeared in issue #87 of Shindig! magazine. For the full unpublished interview click over the jump at the bottom.)

The Sonic Dawn's new album is a graceful psych-rock odyssey. Drummer Jonas Waaben talks songs, sound and vision with Duncan Fletcher


“A lot of the album is about the end of the world, the idea that everything is coming to an end, we're fucked with the climate crisis, there won't be enough food around in a few generations, all those doomsday ideas which have a rational foundation,” says Jonas of 'Forever 1969', the lead single from The Sonic Dawn's new album Eclipse. “But change on a major level is possible if people come together. In 1969 you had Woodstock, also the largest peace marches against the Vietnam War, all that stuff. It's possible to turn the shit around, that's the message of the song.”

Drummer Jonas along with childhood friends Emil Bureau (vocals/guitar) and Niels 'Bird' Fuglede (bass) formed the band in Copenhagen in 2013. Eclipse is their third album, one which focuses on the art of the song. “We tried to really sharpen the concept for each song, make it sharp and shorter. On the previous albums we definitely had longer escapades whereas here we tried to go where we wanted to go immediately... Eclipse is in a way back to the roots of our own inspiration, a lot of that is sixties music. We admire that strange combination of a short, three-minute pop format song that can be trippy as fuck!”

The influences of The 13th Floor Elevators, Red Krayola, Country Joe & The Fish and more can all be heard on the album. Another defining feature is its subtlety and grace, achieved in part due to the tastes shared with producer Thomas Vang. “We tried to accomplish something far removed from a stadium rock sound or a modern, hard-hitting, bass-driven rock sound. It's much easier to work with someone like Thomas, he's a trained jazz musician and has produced a lot of jazz records out of his studio. He has a much better natural feel for how the group sounds in the room and how to capture that. Then we will try to push it further production-wise - 'hey man we need way more echo here' or 'it needs to get crazier.' But a good natural sound for the drums, he has an ear for that.”

The band are hitting the road hard in 2019 but a word of warning to anyone who hitches a lift with the trio - “If we see a hitch-hiker we will pick them up and continue playing stuff like Trout Mask Replica or Red Krayola or Beat Of The Earth. Just insane music and nobody will say anything. The hitch-hiker will just sit there frozen - 'who are these maniacs!?' haha! It's a very delicate form of torture, one that I take great pleasure in I must admit!”


Eclipse is out on February 1st on Heavy Psych Sounds

Click here for The Sonic Dawn's website.

Click here for Heavy Psych Sounds Records.
 

The Sonic Dawn are :-
Jonas Waaben – drums 

Emil Bureau – Vox/guitar
Niels 'Bird' Fuglede- bass



(Click over the jump to read the full unpublished interview)

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Deep Cut - Different Planet


Long-awaited third album! A superb distillation of psychedelic rock, dream-pop and indie!


I have to admit I've only recently become aware of Deep Cut despite this being their third album, but my interest is more than piqued! A quick history - the band formed in 2006 since when they've put out a couple of long-players – the excellently-titled My Thoughts Light Fires (2009) and Disorientation (2011). The band's main songwriters are Mat Flint (ex-Revolver) and Emma Bailey. Mat's brother Simon plays bass and Ian Button (Death In Vegas, Papernut Cambridge) is on the drums. After an extended break the band are back with a new album. Different Planet came out a couple of weeks ago on the Gare du Nord label.

I've had the album as soundtrack for my commute to and from work on these recent cold dark days and it's helped keep any seasonal affective disorder at bay. The band's influences are many, easy to detect and proudly worn on their sleeves so to speak. There are traces of The Byrds, Velvet Underground, Cocteau Twins, early Primal Scream, House Of Love, Phil Spector, Sarah Records, Lush, Motown and The Jesus And Mary Chain. But as we all know influences are only half the story, it's how they're mixed and presented that matters. Different Planet contains ten tracks that are catchy, infectious, energetic and engaging.

Take their track 'No' which opens the album. Cheeky little steals from either The Byrds 'Eight Miles High' or Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme', and the VU's 'I Can't Stand It' underpinned by pounding beats, jangling guitars before building into a wall of noise containing riffing guitars, handclaps, and those awesome boy/girl harmonies.

If you want to pigeonhole the record Indie, Dreampop or Shoegaze would be most apt given the shimmering textures and effect-driven sounds that permeate the album, though categorisation is only half the story. What really impresses is the distillation of influences, bold production and strong songs. Neat work indeed.

Click here for Deep Cut on Twitter
Click here for Deep Cut on Facebook.
Click here for Gare du Nord Records.

The Sunchymes - Emily Layne


The Sunchymes strike again! New track from Northampton's sunshine popsters!

Always good to have new music from HD faves The Sunchymes. While the title may strike you as a mash up of two of Syd Barrett's finest tracks the music owes more to Brian Wilson. Full of melodic twists, harmonies, neat guitar solo and that quirky chorus. It's a ray of sunshine for a cold February day. Yes I guess you could say I like it!

The Sunchymes is the brainchild of Aaron Hemmington, a Northampton-based music maker. 'Emily Layne' is the latest creation in an ever-growing catalogue of breezy yet intelligent, highly catchy psychedelic pop. You'll be pleased to know this is just the tip of a very cool iceberg (haha!), head over to The Sunchymes Bandcamp page to check out plenty of other great tunes. You'll be glad you did. Happy listening peeps!

The LOVE Band - Farewell UK Tour

 
Celebrating the music of Arthur Lee and LOVE
THE FAREWELL UK TOUR

 
The LOVE band featuring Johnny Echols sees Arthur Lee’s longest serving band return to the UK to perform classic songs from LOVE’s first three albums LOVE, DA CAPO and FOREVER CHANGES as well as some special deep cuts for the last time.

From 1993 until Arthur’s death in 2006, the band Baby Lemonade performed with him, being an essential part of the renaissance of LOVE’s music. This iteration of LOVE saw many sold out tours, as well as back to back Glastonbury performances and an appearance on Later With Jools Holland.

Joining Baby Lemonade is LOVE’s original lead guitar player and founding member Johnny Echols, who was part of the classic line-up that recorded the seminal FOREVER CHANGES.
Johnny Echols and Arthur Lee were childhood friends whose families both moved from Memphis to Los Angeles. Teenage Johnny & Arthur teamed up to form the groups Arthur Lee & The LAG’s and The American Four before they formed LOVE in 1965. The classic LOVE line up featuring Johnny disbanded in ’68. Johnny reunited with Arthur Lee in 2005 to perform with LOVE once more.
 

Baby Lemonade formed in 1992 by Rusty Squeezebox, Mike Randle, David “Daddy-O” Green, later adding Dave Chapple to the mix. In ’93 the band landed the gig of a lifetime opening up for LOVE. That show was the last for that incarnation of LOVE as Arthur replaced them with the four Baby Lemonade members. Baby Lemonade released records on Sympathy For The Record Industry, Munster and Big Deal between ’93 and 2001.

Upon their return from a LOVE tour of Europe, in 1996, Baby Lemonade was shocked to find that Arthur had been sentenced to 12 years in prison on a weapons charge.

After nearly six years in prison, Arthur’s case was overturned and shortly after, at his request, Baby Lemonade began rehearsing for what would be non-stop LOVE touring throughout North America, UK, Europe and Australia between 2002 and 2005 where they enjoyed unprecedented success with sold-out tours, back to back Glastonbury performances, Roskilde and Benicassim festival, two sold out shows at The Royal Festival Hall that spawned a live album, and an appearance on the Later With Jools Holland TV Show.

In 2005 the LOVE line up once again featured Arthur’s childhood friend and founding member Johnny Echols on lead guitar who returned after a 37 year absence.

In July of 2005, Arthur was diagnosed with Leukaemia and after a brave battle he passed away one year later. Arthur’s last show was with Baby Lemonade and Johnny Echols on June 23rd at San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord. The world had lost a true music legend.

In 2019 The LOVE band featuring Johnny Echols will return for one last UK tour to celebrate the music of Arthur Lee & LOVE.

 
www.love-revisited.com                      facebook                               twitter

Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Magnetic Tape Band - The Subtle Art Of Distraction


(This review first appeared in issue #80 of Shindig! magazine.)

ATA LP

Pete Williams and Neil Innes are the men behind ATA Records, a soul and jazz label based in Leeds. A disused garage on the outskirts of the city serves as their recording space, housing Mellotrons and Clavinets among its vintage gear. It was here that the pair, along with vocalist Rachel Modest, recorded this fascinating LP which draws on spaced-out psychedelic soul, Library music and deep-rooted Gospel.

Modest is a gifted and versatile singer whose background singing in church is explored on the album opener 'Let The Church Say'. A fine start but there's more to come. As the album expands she proves to be an extremely gifted and versatile vocalist. Soft and pleading one minute then soaring into enchanting falsetto the next. All the while the band are laying down grooves that echo Rotary Connection and Shuggie Otis along with textures more often found on current hauntological records than on deep-cut '70s soul.


Friday, 25 January 2019

The Essex Green - Hardly Electronic


(This review first appeared in issue #80 of Shindig! magazine.)

Merge CD / LP

It's twelve years since The Essex Green's released their fourth and apparently final album Cannibal Sea. Since then all three principal members left Brooklyn, dispersed and concentrated on real life rather than harmony-infused indiepop. It's this experience of mid-life and its accompanying trials and tribulations that informs much of their new and unlikely comeback. With moods ranging from quirky and twee, to serious, sad and poignant, Hardly Electronic is proof that each member can still write catchy and engaging pop songs.

Highlights include 'In the Key of Me', a piano based track complete with Left Banke baroque woodwind, the melancholy yearning of 'January Says' and the chiming guitars and harmonies on 'Waikiki'. With Sasha Bell, Jeff Baron and Christopher Ziter now all living in different states it's not surprising that themes of losing touch, old friendships and connectivity make up a large part of this unexpected but highly enjoyable collection.


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Aquaserge - déjà-vous?


(This review first appeared in issue #80 of Shindig! magazine.)

Crammed Disc CD / LP

This revelatory live album from Toulouse's sonic explorers follows last year's Laisse ça être and is as playful and arty as its title suggests, mixing French film music with afrobeat, free-jazz art-rock and whatever else takes their fancy. Played live with an “optional” horn section the tracks have a dynamic and improvised possibility that the previously released studio versions only hinted at. If the precise groove, unique vocal phrasing and wild guitar solo on 'C'est Pas Tout Mais' isn't enough to blow your mind check out 'Travelling' which hurtles along like a runaway train before morphing into a wash of drone and white noise.

Also worth hearing is their impromptu take on the jazz standard 'My Funny Valentine' and 'Tintin On Est Bien Mon Loulou' which reveals itself as a heavy duty rock monster. Anyone with jaded ears needing musical refreshment should immerse themselves in this gloriously audacious album.


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Dylan Rodrigue - Cat's Game


California calling! An empathetic fusion of country, indie and alt-rock.


The “singer-songwriter” tag often carries a lot of baggage and can provoke a bunch of unwarranted assumptions. Bob Dylan's protest years and the sensitive, confessional musings of James Taylor and Jackson Browne, as good as they were, have left a mark on expectations from the term. But the truth is that singer-songwriters, much like folk music itself, represent an extremely broad church. It's a point encapsulated on Cat's Game, the debut album by Dylan Rodrigue.

Forget the cliché of one bloke with an acoustic guitar singing of personal pain (though Rodrigue is adept at that too). Cat's Game is a record that moves from full-steam indie-rock, punkish rampages, a few alt-rock shapes and even throws in a charming acoustic duet. All in all a varied musical selection box and like some of those chocolates consumed over the winter holidays it's a album with hard outer edges but with a soft emotional centre. Empathetic post-rock may be the most apt description if you're looking for caterogisation, most strongly evidenced on 'Living In Color', a call for more nuanced understanding and less polarisation. Other standouts include 'Some Kind Of Heaven' which sounds like a long-lost acoustic track by Big Star, and the downbeat indie rock of 'Minimize The Damage'.

So that's the songwriting but what about the singing? Rodrigue's voice is a distinct and unique instrument in itself. Lived-in without being overly gravelly, very likable and utterly convincing. His is a voice that favours passion over perfection. Fans of Pavement, Elliott Smith and Kurt Cobain will find in Rodrigue a similarly talented and distinctive artist.

To become a songwriter when your name is Dylan is a tough gig – after all there's a lot to live up to there! Which may or not have been at the back of Rodrigue's mind when making the video for 'Self-Love'. There's a sly nod to his Bob-ness in the video with Rodrigue using the card and caption technique pioneered by the-artist-formerly-known-as-Zimmerman on the promo film for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'. You can enjoy the video below. Enjoy!


Click here for Dylan Rodrigue's website.
Click here for Dylan Rodrigue on Facebook.
Click here for Dylan Rodrigue on Instagram
Clickhere for Bad Paintings Records.



Thursday, 10 January 2019

Nick Nicely - All Along The Watchtower


Nicely does new stuff to Hendrix doing Dylan! And then presses it onto 7” vinyl!


Another ace 7” single in the latest batch of releases from Fruits de Mer is this newie from Nick Nicely, the dude behind '49 Cigars' which we wrote about some time ago. Not one for doing covers this take on 'All Along The Watchtower' comes as a surprise albeit a very welcome and rewarding one. Take a sneaky preview via the video below. And here's Nick with a summary of how it came to pass...

“I don't do covers generally, but for one of Pete Bingham (Sendelica) and Keith FdM's festivals I thought something familiar might prevent people drifting off and be an opportunity to swap guitar licks with ol' mucka Paul Simmons from The Bevis Frond, on a twin lead section. Never made the festival and anyway the Frond were there on a different day, so all dreams turned to ashes...til Keith suggested releasing the 'irreverent' Watchtower backing tapes plus studio vocals, guitar and effects. 'Doors Of Perception' is similarly constructed with tapes from my current live show plus studio vocals and guitar, so the pair connect well. We all have boundaries but when it comes to making Fruits de Mer Records I feel duty bound to go to the edges of mine...two tracks born out of live, flying their freak flags along my sonic borders!”

When you think of the stature that artists such as Dylan and Hendrix have, you'd have to be either very foolish, brave, talented or secure in your own artistic vision. Fortunately it's the latter two traits for Nicely. His re-imagining of 'Watchtower' owes little to either the Dylan or Hendrix version, is heavy on textures and effects and comes with features stellar guitar wig-outs and vocoder vocals.

The single's flipside is a similarly glorious sonic excursion. 'The Doors Of Perception' is like a gospel song given an electronic makeover, if you can imagine such a thing. Best listened to loud with headphones on and the lights low. Nicely does it indeed!


Click here for Nick Nicely on Facebook.
Click here for Fruits de Mer Records.