Tales from the Attic
Revolutions of a 45 and 33 kind.
This particular missive features stereophonic delights from…..
Death, shield patterns, Chantal acda, tomorrow we sail, cheval sombre, black lips with boy george, the franklys, amen dunes, Richard fearless, the junipers, Cadbury sisters, astronauts, bonesift, veda rays, Vienna ditto, ballerina black, go wolf, labyrinth ear, icarus peel, octopus syng, green question mark, mordecai smyth, astralasia, tir na nog, tor-peders, craig padilla
Rock music is littered in what if’s and maybe’s, its map constantly redrawn and it artists / musicians work often re-appraised and brought in from the cold, in recent times perhaps the story of Rodriguez is the most well known. But Detroit was blessed with three other lost sons who emerging from a similar time frame would have been pretty much consigned to history where it not for their offspring and some strange quirks of fate. Now picture the scene – someone mentions a bands name – they are – for arguments sake – Death. By name alone and without hearing anything by them – describe the images forming in your mind. Morbid, Metal, Stoner might be three that first call to mind. Now hold that thought and imagine you are in that golden year of 1974 and some band strides in clutching a handful of demos insisting they call themselves Death. Again your initial first impressions – morbid, metal, stoner race to your headspace. Your first reaction may well be ’are you having a laugh’ followed by concerns of how exactly your going to market them. Though you try to reason with the trio their main man just isn’t having it. Its Death and that’s that. A bright career ended in an instant. However rather than being a what if and a maybe tale, this is in fact a true account. Enter the Hackney brothers – David, Bobby and Dannis. Three young lads in the early 60’s turned on by the Beatles they form a band playing r’n’b though soon start getting heavier having witnessed a Who show. At this point David convinces his brothers to change the band name to Death – his spin for this is to turn the negative into a positive, funded by Columbia records the band enter the studios in ’74 and cut 7 tracks of curve cruising funk boiled blues, things are looking good, Columbia know they can shift these tracks however the Death tag is an issue. No label, no funding the trio struggle on self funding a 7 inch single along the way in ’76 – it bombs. By this time soured by the experience they call it a day release two spiritual albums under a different name only to re-emerge for a brief get together as Death and then go their separate ways with David dying of lung cancer in 2000. From this point matters start to take a strange turn with Bobby’s sons forming a band whose repertoire is threaded with Death covers – apparently they turned these up through rifling through their parents record collection. A posting of the bands self released single garners enough interest for Drag City to get involved and establish contact and subsequently releasing what would have been the bands debut album (essentially the demos recorded in ’74) and fly it under the proto punk flag – a tag so defeatist and constricting that it somewhat devalues what the band are about – followed by another set of demos and archive takes ’spiritual, mental, physical’ in 2011 – alas both we’ve yet to hear in great detail. So that’s pretty much everything up to date, only it isn’t for now emerging into the light is ’III’ – another collection of out takes, demos and studio recordings that pretty much ransacks bare the 70’s vaults as well as including tracks dating back to 1980 and 1992 (here credited with two recordings from that brief reformation). As to the tracks themselves, lets put it this way – had these been dropped on us by a new fledging band I sorely suspect we’d be blanket bombing them with fond missives and no doubt considering a career in stalking. There is literally so much going on here, musically it’s a freewheeling and fluid melting pot drawn upon elements of garage blues (the edgy and shit faced ‘restlessness‘ with its hollowing strut clipped hot funk wiriness), funk, gospel (as on the delicately dimpled harmony haloed lazy eyed hymnal ’we are only people’ and the idly mellowed ‘yes he’s coming’ whose smoky easy listening purr might just loosen than phoney proto punk tagging given it sits more on the side of the Commodores and a latter career Funkadelic than it does the MC5) and psychedelia all underpinned by recurring themes of spiritualism. As collections go rather than merely try to bleed out every last vestige of interest through the gathering together of cheapened scraps from the bottom of the barrel ‘III’ instead reveals itself to competent, clever and above all visionary. Recorded in 1980 – opening cut ‘introduction by David Hackney’ turns on imagining Chuck Berry rephrased through the fractured kaleidoscopic lens of a solo Syd Barrett before falling away with the onset of the killer ‘North Street’ – a staccato shocked bollock dropping sassy bastard of a cut gouged in the kind of cool funked out street swagger of Hendrix and smoked in a bliss kissed smoking soul blues haze while there’s an almost wasted lysergic out there-ness spiked amid the Pretty Things-ish boogie running through the grooves of the hiccupping stop start ‘open road’. Both ‘first snowball in Detroit’ and ‘we’re gonna make it’ wrap up the set in fine style, both pulled from the final Death sessions in 1992 – they reveal a collective mindset matured and blessed with an intricately murmured intimacy the former a reflective sultry seafaring flotilla the latter a deliciously airy prairie tinged slice of breezily uplifting kitschy homely folk blues. A fitting tribute to a lost genius and a group of brothers reclaimed by rock.
Quite something else this and if past releases are anything to judge by this could, like last years utterly enchanting Chantal Acda outing, be making a bee line for a top 5 spot in our favourite albums of the year come 2014’s close. But that as they say is then and this is now. Forthcoming on the rather wonderful Gizeh imprint is the debuting full length from Shield Patterns entitled ‘contour lines’. shield patterns pair together the enviable talents of Claire Brentnall and Richard Knox, a collaborative project taking root in 2012 it has since then assumed a graceful maturity and the kind of quietly epic song craft that puts many bands and musicians ploughing similar territories in the shade. For now – while we try to wrangle physical copies of said set from the label for full review here’s the teaser single ’dust hung heavy’. an utterly enchanting experience that tip toes in and out of unworldly shadowy twilights murmured upon a fragile framing of sepia set noir minimalist electronics and seductive ghost light glacial folk apparitions traced upon a finite and bruised neo classicist schooling, which all said should find itself serving as an affectionate ally to that recent set thawed by Snowbird.
We were at this juncture going to regale you with the delights of a new video to accompany Chantal Acda’s latest ‘we must hold on’ but for one reason or another its fallen foul of you tube’s code of practice – so to make up for it here’s the sound link – albeit despairingly cut off in its prime at the end……still gorgeous all the same and prized from her must have ’let your hands be my guide’ full length via gizeh……
Staying with Gizeh, new video and free to download track from Tomorrow we sail who hail from Leeds and who upon encountering the simply beguiled ‘never goodbye’ I swear we were welling up, utterly destroys you with its bruising beauty, in short 5 minutes of pristinely poised elegant ache that hurts like nothing imagined outside of a gathering posse of Shady Bard, iliketrains and her name is calla types, you made need counselling after it passes.
Free download link here – http://www.soundcloud.com/gizeh/tomorrow-we-sail-never-goodbye
Many thanks to whoever rushed this over 1st class (from a New York address no less) alas no note or anything with which to reply. Inside the mailer envelope (which again many thanks to royal mail looks as though its been used as a football – I swear I see the feint trace of a footprint on it) the new ultra limited hard as hens teeth to find (we suggest you try Normans for the black one and Piccadilly for the green one) Cheval Sombre 7 inch via Australian label Slightly Delic Productions. There are only 250 of these around, 150 come pressed up on swirly green wax while the more limited variant (100 only) comes stamped on black vinyl (as is the case of my copy). Upon the grooves the first new Cheval Sombre recordings since his acclaimed ’mad love’ set for the esteemed Sonic Cathedral imprint backed by the earliest known demo take of ’it’s a shame’ dating back to 2006 – ’it’s a shame’ as you all should know got its first airing via an equally ultra limited lathe cut pressing on the adored Static Caravan label in 2008. This version ushers in invested with such ghostly reflective poise it sounds like a preciously unearthed spiritual from one of those rarefied Harry Smith or Alan Lomax archives and simultaneously manages to sound more like a lost in the moment Sonic Boom than yer actual Sonic Boom lost in a moment. All said taking centre stage here is lead out cut the hushed whisper toned hymnal ‘it’s not time’ – gorgeously frail and shy eyed beauty woven to a delightfully spectral motif that to these well worn ears sounds not unlike a reclining and blissed out John Fahey whittling out softly serenading love notes ghosted in the trimming of a sepia laced lullaby – quite crushing and arresting if you ask me and so demurred and willowy it makes Galaxie 500 sound like a support act for Extreme Noise Terror. Essential in case you hadn’t guessed by now.
Okay I’ll admit it doesn’t quite fill the hole brought about by missing out on the Trex singles box set but a most welcome surprise all the same of a guest appearance by Boy George gate crashing a short set by Black Lips for WXPN to perform a smoking version of Bolan and Co’s ‘get it on’……<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/92348689″>Boy George and Black Lips cover T. Rex’s “Bang A Gong (Get it On)” Live at WXPN</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/wxpn”>WXPN FM</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Those among you preferring your sounds scalped in the kind of savagely sassy 60’s beat gouged rock-a-hula you’d expect to fall off the grooves of some crucial crypt raiding lost nuggets compilation might do well to warm your lobes to the grizzled boogie of the Frankly’s. a femme quartet packing attitude, riffs and cool a go go and with it blessed with a pouting and purring waywardness sewn up in a searing and howling fuck you snarl. Out right now via electric woods records and on 7 inches of wax to boot is ‘puppet’ a twang spanking venom tipped slab of vintage grooving clipped in twisterama bubble grooves, packing potent pop smarties aplenty and pissing in pools more readily associated with the Sirens. Need any further prods – I’m guessing not.
One of life’s great grumbles for us is the despairing lack of Sacred Bones grooves on our turntable, since moving back up north a few years ago we’ve kind of lost touch with our SB contact. Its been a source of misery since so you can imagine our mood lifting when we eyed this across the ‘net. New album from Amen Dunes – who I’m certain we’ve had cause to mention in days long since past. Anyhow the set is called ‘love’ and according to the brief press word attaching is the sound of Damon McMahon channelling 60’s and 70’s styled spiritual jazz from songs about love, time and money. Well I can partly see where they are coming from for sample track ‘I can’t dig it’ does come shimmered in the kind of soft psych hymnal haloing that one might first suggest its author were a keen listener of Doleful Lions platters, yet scratch a little deeper through the primitive monophonic haze of the sound quality – itself well versed in an old school Elephant 6 collective – and something radiant in dayglo emerges like some beaten around edges and wasted west coast yearning Ariel Pink.
With the heady proliferation of dance acts emerging from the buoyant ambient / techno / house scene in the 90’s few you felt come near to matching the amorphous shape shifting stylising of Death in Vegas, always just ahead of the curve, they were one of few true pioneers in this multi-disciplined arena to navigate new horizons and blend old school templates to new sound frontiers. And so late last night there where we minding our business and in to our listening space shimmers ‘higher electronic states’ by Richard Fearless, a forthcoming 12 inch on Fearless’ own Drone imprint. Already greeted fondly by the likes of Avery, ghost culture and factory floor this 7 minute hypno grooved juggernaut provides for a head tripping experience and ushers forth dimpled in subtronic landscapes sculptured in mesmeric waveforms spared upon minimalist techno tides before slowly evolving and gaining density with the coalescing appearance of drop kicking funky jitters and shimmer toned orbital swathes only to rupture amid a blaze of sun spot euphoria at the 6.07 mark. Bliss. http://www.dummymag.com/newmusic/premiere-richard-fearless-higher-electronic-states
Many thanks to John at Mega Dodo for pointing us in the general direction of this, the new full length psych pop platter entitled ‘paint the ground’ from the Junipers – a 5 piece who hail from a modern day Leicester though obviously blessed with – you suspect – their heads and hearts firmly supplanted in the 60’s. if I was to say this is the best thing we’ve heard emerging from the psych / folk / kaleidoscopic pop scene since anything by the Woods then you’ll have an idea where we are going with this – all honeyed harmonies, Byrdsian lysergic chimes (as on the delicate turn the Clientele like ‘willow and water mill’) and breezily hushed west coast flavourings of hazily dreamy (’in my reverie’) while the lolloping ’pearly home’ is sumptuously sprayed in lulling Zombies hues whose sweetly cascading love rush will have you affectionately cooing for more – who knows the luckier among you might even be able to bag a limited vinyl pressing via sugarbush – on orange wax to boot – enquiries are being made as I write….www.thejunipers.bandcamp.com/album/paint-the-ground
We’d forgive you for thinking we’d entered the realms of the ridiculous and the surreal when chance happened upon us to mention an unlikely collaboration drawing together the houses of Rowntree and Cadbury’s – seriously we couldn’t make it up if we tried. Take three young sisters – granddaughters as it happens – of William Cadbury – aye him of the chocolate dynasty and one Blur type by the name of Rowntree as in Dave – stepping out into the pop’s great wilds to turn his hand to the mysteries and wonders of the remix. So why the Cadbury Sisters – well in a fit of comic pique its seems the Blur sticks man couldn’t resist the chance to bring together the chocolate empires for something aptly titled ‘the row tree Cadbury’s milk remix’ – ‘milk’ in case you hadn’t guessed being the track in questions name. hilarities aside and swiftly to the music. Well this charmer should be appearing on schedules first week in May courtesy of fear of fiction and precedes a planned June release EP entitled ‘close’. in short ‘milk’ is quite teasingly affectionate, lilting three part harmonies dimpled in lightly strewn and breezily dreamy folk mosaics much reminiscent of a woodland dwelling siren-esque variant of the Smoke Fairies at work whittling out a somewhat lost art of spell crafting lulling love notes. http://www.soundcloud.com/thecadburysisters/sets/the-cadbury-sisters-rowntree
I’ve a serious feeling that we’ve omitted to mention the last handful of EiC releases something which if we think on we’ll do our damnedest to remedy. However. And here we where about to power down for the evening when into our listening space veers the latest everything is chemical virtual 7 inch. Now I’ll be the first in saying that I normally greet each and every EIC release with the now obligatory ‘best thing they’ve put out to date’. but this is. In fact so good I can see this cropping up on our end of the year lists – if that is we make it that far. As ever no information with this, which in truth adds to the mystery because we’re not so sure we have the bands name right – in which case might – or might not – be bonesift. As said the info is really sketchy – so sketchy the only hint it gives away on the descriptor tag is that its ’dark experimental electronic’. four tracks appear within spirited from a place not of this world, all bleakly beautiful and assumed in a spectral nothingness clipped in the kind ghost light grandeur and minimalist glow that often seduced early releases emerging from the 4AD stable. Caressed in a bruising hymnal shelling and steeled in sparse pulsar swathes each of these ghostly apparitions resonate with a hallowed cavernous spell craft that comes ice sculptured in the dreamy night terror visitations of some sub species fused of Pink Industry and SPK DNA’s with ’static’ arriving particularly shimmered in the muted oceanic grace of Ex Post Facto. It takes ’INYD’ to thaw the inherent chill pervading throughout and dimple the remoteness with a chill tipped yearn much reminiscent of the adored No Ceremony but by that point your already hooked, seduced and transfixed by its frosted hypnotic glare. Perfection in a word. http://www.eicvirtual7inch.bandcamp.com/album/eic7-no-68
Literally just been dropkicked onto our radar, the spanking debut release from Brooklyn’s Veda Rays. Entitled ‘wait for the teeth to show’ this lot have already been the cause of critical palpitations with one scribe declaring the cut a ‘channelling of noir epic atmospheres of a post Vince Clarke Depeche Mode (twinned) with the romanticism of Duran Duran’s ’Rio’ – clearly how could we argue. But we will, for shrouded in dark glamour and positively electrified in pulse racing friction bleeds a throbbing floor trashing juggernaut whose shadow lined electro chic is indelibly shimmered in 80’s vibes chilled by the cold wave minimalism of B-Movie at the height of their powers and vampishly torn asunder by the uber cooled strut geared pop savvy of white rose movement.
Video features a guest appearance by Tarra Thiessen from Sharkmuffin….
You won’t be to surprised to hear that we’ve momentarily lost the press release for this un which in the greater scheme of things is a little – shall we say – redundant and superfluous just now because I’d like to think the music speaks for itself. All over this like a rash from the word go, the latest from Ballerina Black literally ticks all the boxes in terms of seduction, style and sensuality. ’Brixton Rain’ comes from a place that has stirred into the dark heart of Numan, initially awash in a curious sonic matrix that sees it fusing the dark gothic pop motifs a la mid career March violets with the strangely sparse electronica of say, a flock of seagulls ‘nightmare’ – a track which this cut takes as its reference marker – and from out of which it soon weaves its soft seduction amid swathes of ice tipped chime garlands and the ghostly lure of sepia set glazes to drill out a deliciously darkening euphoria that’s kissed with the pout of the Rubicks and the infectious impact of Salon Boris.
More ridiculous turntable tastiness this time from Vienna Ditto who by all accounts have been receiving admiring critical stares from the likes of Q and the Fly of late – but don’t let that put you off. We jest of course. With a seven track CD imminent on ubiquity project records shortly this lot may just fill the gap left with the passing of Brand Violet all those years ago for lead out cut ‘feeling good’ is a torch twanged slab of uber cooled sassiness that shakes, shimmies and struts to a ravenous and acutely addictive savage pop tongue that’s riddled in b-movie riffola and sci-fi kookiness and sounds to these ears like a noir-ist Sneaker Pimps captured in a surreal Lynchian dream bubble. http://www.soundcloud.com/viennaditto/feeling-good/s-nChi8
New thing by Go Wolf entitled ‘one more night’ has more than enough love noted indie disco pop seduction about its wares to have the most ‘80’s adored turntable purring with affection, admittedly a bit more sugary than the stuff we usually feature here but still attractively cocooned in the mellowing easy ear pristine pop fluffiness of a ‘technique’ era New Order shimmered beneath whirling mirror balls cutting a tasty two step with electronic. http://www.soundcloud.com/lovegowolf/one-more-light/s-OGjjY
For something shrouded in such fragile sparse minimalism on initial listens there’s a deceptive busyness afoot. Prized from their debut full length ‘the orchid room’ Labyrinth Ear’s latest single ’urchin’ is ghosted in a spectral half light that orbits the sound worlds of both Fever Ray and Grimes, fuse into that the subtle shimmer of oriental motifs and the delicate distress opine of celestial love notes sighing through astral apertures and slowly but surely the emergence of an ethereal snake charm rises into view inviting you to scratch a little deeper under its frosted top skin to be lulled to the sound of no ceremony at folly in the noir folds of the neighbourhood’s darkened playground. Gemlike.
Head over to Mega Dodo and you can – for your troubles – pick up a nifty four track sampler set gratis (entitled ‘evolver’) upon whose grooves you’ll find treats aplenty from Icarus Peel, Octopus Syng, Green Question Mark and the mysterious Dark Haired Douglas. Of course all should need no introduction here except the latter mentioned which in the absence of such information you can whistle all you like. Green Question Mark last spied here courtesy of that rather fine ‘cover of ‘Pegasus’ a little while back stump up ‘fortune teller’ here, a killer slice of fuzzy buzzy lysergic beat pop shimmered in easy eared Seeds motifs and strut riddled kick backs. Having already laid us a swoon with their current full length ‘reverberating garden no. 7’, Octopus Syng step up to the plate with the darkly woven Love like ’if you were a flower’ which by these ears we reckon sounds not unlike a studio collision between the adored Clientele and the Relict. those preferring their sound experiences kaleidoscopically dipped might be mindful to navigate headsets in the general direction of Icarus Peel’s ’museum of my mind’ for a mushroom mind expansion trip to love meets tomorrow meets july mirages as though here done by a particularly sane sounding flowered up while dark haired Douglas picks up the end groove threads for a spot of delicious Monkeyisms all kookified in dinky hammonds – reminds us of murmurs of Irma all said. http://www.megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/evolver
Staying with Mega Dodo a little while longer, next up for the imprint is a split face off between two of the labels heavyweights – Icarus Peel and Mordecai Smyth. The EP entitled ’barnburner’ comes in a strictly limited pressing of just 250 copies all on blue wax no less with the first 100 coming accompanied by an A3 poster and stickers. While we wait for promo copies it was the track ’plastic people’ by Mordecai Smyth that caught our ear first time out for adrift in a weathered weariness that sees the brightly hued glow of its psychedelic rainbow a tad tarnished and scratched as an impatient exasperation muses beneath the lazy eyed floral crookedness like some griping gathering of Syd, Freed Unit and the Beatnik Filmstars types taking veiled pot shots at the false ones. http://www.megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/barnburner
Meanwhile Mega Dodo friends Fruits de Mer have just outed a few sound samples sourced from their forthcoming Spring collection – all of course mentioned with fondness last missive out….first up Astralasia….
Next up Tor-Peders……
And then…..craig padilla..
And finally Tir na Nog……
The much welcomed returned of Dan Carney to these pages. Astronauts is the new project of the former Dark Captain Light Captain man. With a debuting full length ‘hollow ponds’ in tow awaiting launch date, the yearning softly mesmeric ‘slow dive’ has been sent ahead on a scouting detail. Of course old school Dark Captain admirers oughtn’t fear any great change in the stereophonic styling, crisp and lulling, Carney weaves a lazy eyed murmur to proceedings, softly glazed airy rustic psych shimmers pimpled in pastoral hypnotics delicately allure a cascading faraway bitter sweetly forlorn glow all softly thawed in a mercurial purr whose palette should find attractive nods from early career Swimmer One and Working for a Nuclear Free City types. In addition on the set are two remixes by rocketnumbernine and bit cloudy – the former a huge ever growing mind altering pulsar purring dub stepping dream tripping cosmic carousel the latter and psychotropic nugget that strips, junks and rebuilds from the original template to craft out a sparsely minimalist krautronik gem. Out via lo recordings early June.
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As ever take care of yourselves…..xx
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