Tales from the Attic – Volume 46

Tales from the attic

Volume XLVI

Revolutions of a 45 kind and 33 kind….

Third instalment of the ‘look we know it’s late but…..’ end of year rounding up the gubbins missive…..featuring…

Wizards tell lies, mnipk, melmoth the wanderer, palace of swords, tereshkova sees us from above, minggy pagi, hunck, my cat is an alien, robert opalio, l’augmentation, steve rothery, jo Bartlett, deth omen, eliza ambrogio, caught in the wake forever, goodnight lenin, c Duncan, kuage, axon n, happy orange balloon, hulaboy, safe distance, boyracer, red snapper, morgan delt, hills, psychic ills, white fence, damaged bug, prayer meeting, yellow6, roadside picnic, taps, st agnes, wolf girl, witching waves, blood of the bull, Andrew r hill, autumns, theoretical girl

our favourite album last year was the wilfully all over the shop ‘surrender to the fantasy’ by the magik markers – a noise pop sore thumb which listening wise was akin to be on the mousetrap ride – moments of niceness twinned with curveballs of frazzled forays that shunted you here, there and somewhere else one minute cooing the next minute gnashing – a most pleasing schizophrenic sonic pleasure. Seems the band are on a bit of a sabbatical leaving one of their impish number to sneak away and whittle out a solo effort by the name ‘the immoralist’. From that set for drag city ‘superstitious’ has been sent forth to beguile your ear space in addition to welcoming you to the strangely crooked and oft off radar mindset of the bands self-proclaimed guitar g’rilla Elisa Ambrogio. ‘superstitious’ is your softly drifting dream weave of psych peppered purr pop, delicately dimpled in forever sunny hazes the type of which that emit the subtle spray of sun burns with each repeat listen, the sounds within demurred  in the slow to burn stateliness that used to attach to the grooves of platters by the Spacemen 3 albeit here as those slyly haloed in the feel good cocoon of the Pale Saints and repatriated by an on smoulder setting Shangri-La’s  – really be honest is there anything else you could possibly add to make this head in the clouds carefree love note anymore scrumptious-‘ fraid not.

This had us stopping in our tracks and drawing up close, to the wallowing disconsolate souring of the bruised chord work both broken and forlorn, its ache and quivering tremble cradled by the pensive delivery of a voice long since forgotten of sunnier days and weathered by a lifelong struggle and an ever fading sense of optimism, this is emotionally draining stuff done to its most pensively sparse and minimalist and come pulled from a new EP set from Caught in the Wake Forever entitled ‘evidence of fractures’ this here being track 2 going by the name ‘the passing’ – very much for admirers of a withdrawn the declining winter, low, black heart procession and to a certain extent damon and Naomi. https://caughtinthewakeforever.bandcamp.com/album/evidence-of-fractures-ep

Bloody hell, now I know you must be sick to the back teeth at our adoration of all things Static Caravan but I think they may just have excelled themselves with this forthcoming beauty from Goodnight Lenin, what you are hearing now (and watching or at least you should be) is the lead out single from the bands forthcoming debut full length ‘in the fullness of time’ – this softly murmured slice of cool smoulder pop entitled ‘you were always waiting’. In short the best thing we’ve heard of this ilk – and by this ilk we mean rolled gold 70’s vintage – since that quite dumfounding black ink track ‘tangerine’ from this time last year except while the latter appeared acutely patched into a Jeff Lynne radar, Goodnight Lenin seem more at home lolling around in the softly basking company of Crosby Still Nash and Young given that this honey sounds for all the world as though it’s been time tunnelled straight out of a classic early 70’s Americana seduced West Coast – all at once hazily lazy and brimming in breezy sunburns and blessed with an alluring faraway glazing oozing uber cooled MOR motifs.

Our moods were buoyed a little while back by a message received from Dave Fat Cat wherein he was waxing lyrical about the resurfacing of the legendary Split Series, promises of promos perked our ears and details where duly dispatched by return of post. Alas our moods subsided somewhat upon no further responses and darts where hitherto aimed at woodcut images in varying degrees of likeness, we joked about the last bit we actually had an early bonfire soiree fuelled by the amassed ranks of old Fat Cat platters sitting atop a prettily arranged funeral pyre. So we grumbled and went about our business promising ourselves that never again would Fat Cat tuneage sully our listening space. Ah but grudges, we’ve never really got the hang of them at least not since as a mere five year old in a death or glory marbles match Brian from Class 2c appeared with what, from the tiny eyes of a child not predisposed as yet to the horrors of the wide world, appeared like a boulder sized meteor and smashed to smithereens my prized killer crystal, if I’d enacted for real the images in my head just at that very moment of what I was going to do to him there and then then I’m afraid the only record I would have had would have been a criminal one, still half an hour later we were happily chewing the fat by the gobstopper dispenser Brian mourning the loss of his first love – Kazza  -whose promise of her ice cream stick she’d given to someone else was a defining moment of heartbreak rarely seen outside of a Bronte novel, shame to say the recipient was thyself, the kindly gesture and significance of such being lost on me for several years. So where were we before we went all reminiscent and maudlin on you, ah yes Fat Cat. You see the only problem with idle threats and grudges is that the opposing party always have a knack of testing your resolve – in Fat Cat’s case that would be C Duncan. Discovered by the label on their demo page, Christopher Duncan was quickly snapped up by Fat Cat following several impressive postings. A debut full length has been pencilled in for next summer though not before ‘for’ gets its moment in the sun being released as a pre teaser at the fall of November. A sub four minute sleepy headed hypnotic listening experience, clock working looped motifs undulate dreamily along pastoral paths demurred and decorated in the soft allure of flowering folk florets emitting sprays of beguilement, the vocals revolve to overlap and converge in so doing create an intricate tapestry of delicate bewitchment spoken in the kind of lost archaic tongues that once upon a time occasioned the grooves of platters by Tunng, songs of green pheasant and plainsong. Alas no sound links just yet. 

Must admit to being mildly smitten by this ‘un, super chilled sultry night pop from the hotly tipped French duo Kuage, this extended mix being pulled from the soon to be released ‘a part of you’ EP. A lilting lovely peppered in all manner of Balearic breezes and demurring down tempo dialects all diluted with a seductive stirring of lights lowered sophistication and a dinking of frost framed vocal coos, quite teasingly tasty if you ask me. https://soundcloud.com/kuage/a-part-of-you

I can tell you now that AxxoN N’s debuting double disc ‘heal’ for the domestic imprint is up for closer inspection these coming days having arrived safely in our gaff and proceeding to give us the evils. For now though here’s a little taster of what you can expect from this mysterious sound twiddling boffin. ‘petri dish’ pulled from that set – hell this is skedaddled and schizoid stuff – a bit like being time tunnelled back to a late 90’s Peel playlist featuring strange mutoid creations bleached in the left of centre essences of drum  n bass and hot-wired by some frazzled species of techno that oft reached these shores from Germany and the surrounding locales. Manic, unrelenting and in your face laser loaded groove that verges on moments of critical mass, put this on the decks at the local darby and joan club and I guarantee feet will fry that said more than  makes up for the underwhelming recent visitations of thom yorke and Aphex Twin to our turntables. https://soundcloud.com/domestic/1-02-petri-dish/s-OejNg 

Next week marks the tenth anniversary of John Peel’s passing. By way of remembrance and celebration of the great man BBC4 Extra are hosting a 2 and a half hour special hosted by Jarvis Cocker featuring Peel’s widow Sheila, a broadcast of his everyday folk Saturday morning colour supplement ‘home truths’ and his Desert Island Discs. The show is available to hear on the BBC iplayer for 30 days somewhere here….. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04lstp5

Conspiracy theorists and urban myth lovers gather together for an old chestnut raises its head, again available on the BBC iplayer Radio 4 unearths one of the most lasting rumours in pop music in ‘Paul is dead’, starting with a seemingly innocuous phone call to a local radio station and web of secret messages, cover ups and tales of doppelgangers quickly unravels, but did Paul die in ’66 or ’69 if he died at all – quite possibly explains why the writer of ‘eleanor rigby’ would years later consort with frogs – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04l0tvb – that said those with a passion for this things might want to check out ‘the winged beetle’ which establishes some seriously weird theories such as McCartney moonlighting as the mysterious Ian Iachimoe and connections to Alastair Crowley…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsPCQ932vlU

With the new album ‘unique’ wrapped, ready and just awaiting for a release date pop purists happyorangeballoon appear content at present to keeping admirers firmly on the back foot musically wise operating in mediums both light and dark that defy easy pigeon holing. Case in point is this latest sneak peek treat literally just released onto the inter web. ‘Sanatorium’ features guest appearances by FJ Harmon and Nick Munt and slinky beauty it is to that freefalls into the kind of high end pristine pop flashing that once adorned the grooves of Grace Jones the mantle of which these days is assumed admirably by Noblesse Oblige as their own, a suave and seductive cosmic lunar dance mirror ball swooned in cosmic wisps and chill tipped into the kind of dreamy after hours sophistication that has you imagining it arrived here hitchhiking its way via the shimmer toned tail smoke of an orbital ROC with Musetta at the controls.  https://soundcloud.com/happyorangeballoon-happyorangeballoon/sanatorium-w-fj-harmon-nick  

First of three new 7’s from the emotional response imprint a label headed up by Jen Turrell and Stewart Anderson of 555 recordings and red square fame – the latter of whom happens to feature on all three releases as boyracer mainstay). So far Hulaboy have thus far managed to escape our ever watchful eye, a forging of alliances between Eric Hula Hoop and Stewart Boyracer marking a friendship going back some twenty years. Now we were expecting all manner of edgy and schizoid hijinks – at least that’s what the press release was hinting at, instead ‘exes and enemies’ is an impishly tasty slice of acutely cool bracing beat pop that literally beams and radiates with the kind of sweetly cured power pop purr that littered frequently the grooves of classic twee platters shimmying out of the Sarah, bus stop and summershine sound houses of years long past. More punch you out hook heavy ear snaring melodies adorn the grooves of ‘nepalm heart’ a kind of punked popped Teen Anthems blessed with a turn of musical phrase so catchy that jabs ought to accompany it. Best of the trio by some distance ‘kids under stars’ is a bit of curio that manages to freewheel in all manner of 60’s psych beat pop haziness whilst equally fuzzing out to a mind wiping and stoned heavy blues freaksome key swirled white out.

Talking of boyracer – the attached guide note makes mention of over two decades of indie cool totalling (what?) over 800 release appearances and all this whilst taking a sabbatical which they are now returned and re-energised from. The ‘pete shelley’ EP features four grizzled power pop nuggets dragged from their lo-fi basement. Lead out track ‘Pete Shelley’ brief and blistered comes awkwardly frazzled out of the traps like some beaten around edges slab of skewed bubble groove taking to its heart a wannabe Monkees vibe lovingly roughed up and rippling in the anti-pop skin of an Albini overseen Wedding Present. As you’d rightly expect from a track titled ‘2nd wave mod’ the ‘Racers go rummaging around 60’s compilations and don their finest Carnaby St threads for some nifty beat grooved swagger and swoon, the aloofness and edginess of the Who burns its trademark footprint across the grooves though scratch a little deeper and the subtle investment of ears pinned listening to the Action reaps its reward. Ripped in oodles of spikiness and hatefulness ‘the kind of man you are’ is your short and bitter slap to the head comeuppance drilled through at a manic pace which ought to have admirers of the pooh sticks and the violent femmes cooing from the side lines and leaves ‘jump’ to round up matters, alas not the Van Halen version but instead an addictively infectious daft and carefree jab of sunny sided effervescent lo-fi loveliness which had I not known would have hazarded a guess was by those lovable souls Helen Love – kind of makes it a required purchase.

Best of the three by a whisker width is the four- track offering from the Safe Distance – a super group of sorts featuring various members of boyracer, the cannanes, sarandon and Crayola all gathering together to etch all manner of skewed and skedaddled pop discordance upon the finite grooves of this limited coloured wax 7. The press release makes mention of a shared pissing pool with the likes of Bogshed and Adam and the Ants – a good call because there’s a sense of dishevelment and pop discordance at work here that through the shambling haze emerges without word of warning moments of ear candy lucidity and yes while opener ‘hey you’ does hint at a new wave psychosis once honed to wax platters by a youthful Wire however it was the furiously unrepentant wiring and warped ‘sandpit’ that had us all agog here mainlining on  a manic melee of moments rifled from the nightingales and the tv personalities and having them set upon a deathly dust draped crossroads outland for the Fall to indelibly scratch their trademark skewif signature. Between all this you’ll find ‘a bigger splash’ doing some nifty lolloping Pavement meets Garlic groove while ‘soap’ is your classic era ‘dirk’ era Adam after sleep deprivation tests listening to the entire Beefheart back catalogue.

Quite something else, ripped from their recent ‘Hyena’ which I’m sad to say we appear to be a little light on, Red Snapper’s ‘mambety’ gets the dream weaving softly purred sophistication touch from DJ Food who remodels the original mix and gives it something of a string seduced darkly stirred noir romanticism to add to its beguiled bow, add to that the maze like weave of delicate mesmeric motifs and the warmly chill tipped arrest of the suave melodic contours collectively gather to adore it in the kind smoked out soft sensuality that ripe for afterhours lights lowered appreciation, admirers of the Broadway Project will be a swooning. Moist is called upon to trim ‘walking man’ in his own chosen likeness and swiftly returns with the ‘stumbling’ mix of said track from whose grooves emerges a darkly set rain swept electro epic braced in a deeply pensive brooding all threaded with a seductively soul fried noir traced bleakness that for all the world sounds like the Aloof forging alliances with a super group collective drawn from an early 90’s Bristol scene. Rounding off matters ‘dock running’ from the aforementioned ‘Hyena’ set enters stage left to get all wiggy and freakishly funky into the bargain serving up a thumping tropicalia jazz prog ju ju tableau of rampantly fetching strut kissed motifs and squirreling brass routines which to these ears sounds like a funk struck Ayler getting down with Embryo. Available via lo recordings.

Here’s the original album mix of ‘mambety’..

 

Regular observers of these missives will be all too aware of our affection for anything falling out of the Sonic Cathedral sound bunker. Not content at frying your ear space with some of the finest releases this year – the Vacant Lots, Gulp, Lorelle meets the obsolete and of course that recent Cheval Sombre remix 10 inch – to name just a few, the label are readying themselves up to releasing the second volume of their critically acclaimed ‘psych for sore eyes’ series. Already previewed at the recent psychedelia festival in Liverpool this ultra limited release comes pressed up in a double 7 inch pack featuring artwork by the Heretic while within gathering together six of the finest exponents of mind expanding melodica around in sound space right now. The previously unknown to us Morgan Delt open proceedings serving up the dream dipped ‘elastic – ID’ – an ethereal cosmic carousel of chiming corteges and jubilantly serenading hushed murmurs, the result is a bliss kissed happening wherein realities dissipate and dissolve into sprays of trip wiring gaseous garlands. Drag City starlets White Fence trip in with the hazily glazed ‘before he met her (decomposing lime)’ – a woozy paisley pop happening that catches itself upon the lysergic breeze of a youthful Of Montreal and  comes peppered in the subtle washes of demurred dialects drawn from an early 70’s glam scene albeit ostensibly tie dyed in a warming west coast colouring. As kooky as it may first seem Damaged Bug’s (an Thee Oh Sees solo offshoot) ‘pet programs and games’ what first appears schizoid electro microwaved Devo mirages soon terraform and warp to begin transmitting on Syd ‘madcap laughs’ wavelengths. Psychic Ills have been known in times long passed to swoon our listening space in all manner of woozy lock grooved mind melts, ‘come around’ proves no exception to the rule  though these days they appear to have emerged from their trademark drone dipped mind wires to opt for some coolly strut grooved shades adorned psych pop shimmying. Hills provide the sets best moment with ‘montelius vag’ for what is a deeply entrancing head trip rooted in a 70’s vintage and sounding like some  acid fried flashback happening cooked up by a gathering of Mountain and Dungen types. Newbies Prayer Meeting round out matters with ‘black echo (white mountain)’ and with it allure all in the spectral shoe gaze shimmer of lazy eyed lunar lilts and coalescing chiming chord cosmicalia which unless our ears do deceive should be high on the watch list of those much admiring of Kitchens of Distinction.

A welcoming return to these pages of an old friend, Yellow6 has been part of the very fabric of these missives from their earliest days, emerging from the post rock / space rock / ambient scene Jon Atwood (nee Yellow6) has established himself as one of the foremost purveyors in the art of crafting mood moving widescreen soundscapes. Countless albums and compilation appearances totalling into three figures most mainly ridiculously limited in nature – have ensured him the noteworthy reputation of being every completest worst nightmare. With the obligatory year ending festive release ‘merry6mas’ almost upon us and expected shortly, Silber records have just released ‘closer to the sea without moving’. Limited to just 150 copies this ten track suite was inspired by a trip to Norfolk, staying at the doomed Happisburgh Lighthouse, itself like some 200 year old silent guardian observing all around disappearing, this landmark site has all but given up and resigned itself to its coming fate with the seas around reclaiming the surrounding areas at an alarming rate, such is the rate of erosion that the area has been flagged up of major concern in the European communities. Jon and his family stayed at the lighthouse earlier this year, part holiday part research – tapping into the moods and observing the slow destruction and the victory of nature with most of the albums sketch notes completed whilst sitting on the steps of this monolith looking out to sea. ‘closer to the sea without moving’ is a study in reflection, traced in moments of beauty and dulled by sadness it presents a thoughtful and touching epitaph to this landmark monument drawing heavily on the loneliness of its 200 year old task and the sorrow of the once vibrant community built around it now lost and fallen silent whilst considering its own eventual demise and the nothingness beyond to come.  Music wise as ever the string strokes exude a touch of finite serene elegance, opening track ‘looking back towards the sea’ providing a sketch map as to where we are, its thoughtful contours etching out a ‘true’ era Roy Montgomery canvas base from which to work. ‘lighthouse’ takes the perspective from the landmarks point of view, a sense of the calm before the storm sullies and steals it in a crushing mournful sadness. The set though is dominated beautifully by the five part ‘closer to the sea’ suite, here Atwood comes into his own rifling through as where the lighthouse’s old memories, the centre point being the delicately harnessed ‘part 2’ – it’s here that Atwood’s mastery of intimacy and the channelling of moods comes into exacting focus, from the opining grace and carefree motifs that speckle its introduction to the storm lashed brutality of the conversation between the victim and perpetrator at 8.27 wherein the onset of feedback ruptures suddenly threaten with dooming consequence, between these polar extremes the lighthouse’s sense of pride, its solace and solitary watch are met in expressive detail with ‘part 3’ reminiscing upon happier safe times observing the ebb and flow of the passing day and the mournful end game recital that is ‘part 5’. All said we here are quite smitten by the demurring beauty of the Mancini meets Vini O’Reilly spectral detailing that dapples the fragile grooves of the mellowed ‘red candy’ which only falls into runners up spot at the emergence of the gorgeously serene Fahey schooled ‘sleet day’ – exquisite as you’d rightly expect. http://yellow6.bandcamp.com/album/closer-to-the-sea-without-moving

i suspect that we may have opened up a small can of worms with our recent mentioning of ‘Paul is Dead’ documentaries and the various conspiracy theorist videos posted up on you tube – the most notable being ‘the winged beetle’. In truth I’m not a geek neither a conspiracy theorist I’ve often considered these mediums being mainly for people who shall we agree to say just don’t want to play nicely with the rest of society. Furthermore I’m not particularly taken by the Beatles. So I’m guessing that the coincidence of these two factors make me an anti Christ in so people’s eyes, or worse still, normal. That said the weight of material here, the clinical examination and okay not quite – shall we say – strength of evidence, does beg the question of even the most devout sceptic – what if? Such conversation came to be today resulting several hours later in this. From Roadside Picnic comes ‘Faul (the blackest pepper)’- crafted together following a return ticket trip on the time tunnelling travel express – a sonic séance threaded together from the remnants of lost Beatles melody echoes dipped in celestial recitals and sun bursting sprays of euphoria peppered in ghostly apparitions of Strawberry Fields carousels and gouged in harsh white noise treatments upon an axis  where the age old struggle between good / light and evil / dark perpetually plays out, not I hasten to add for the faint of heart. https://soundcloud.com/justin-wiggan/faul-the-blackest-pepper – in addition those Roadside dudes also dug this caustic offering out for our listening pleasure it’s by the Taps a Dorchester based collective of extreme noise niks – the amusingly the titled ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Harsh Noise Band’ is – we warn you – best heard with the volume reduced to as low level as possible – a pure in your face acid bath of sound, absolutely mental stuff and disturbing with all backlashed loops processed through at speeds that bend dimensions and at a sonic velocity that melts speakers, the Beatles incidentally sounding through the sheer metallic skree storm  like a demonic Pinky n’ Perky – absoloutely essential listening.  https://soundcloud.com/thetaps – we feel a twisted Pepper compilation hatching.   

One of the most expressive and beautiful of song craft committed to tape, the poise, the elegance and the parting heartache

 

A harmonica lashed wildcat giving way to some of the finest vintage scowled foot slamming bluesian bad boogie you’ll hear in a long while, this bitchin’ beauty you’ll find lurking on the flip grooves of the debuting ‘a beautiful day for murder’ dark pop sortie by duo Saint Agnes which if I rightly recall we mentioned in passing a wee short back. Anyhow ‘where the lightning strikes’ is ye full on crossroads juju voodoo that coming swaggering up to your turntable with a beaten suitcase primed and loaded in the kind of feral and primitive hoedown grooving that has lips a curling, fringes a flopping and hips a wiggling.

Not that we need much excuse for the hurling and hoisting of bunting around the gaff, but I must admit missives reporting promised future happenings from those loveable people over at Soft Power records do have us happily purring and bringing out the table heading party cake with candles to boot in celebration. Incoming – next month as it happens – a limited 100 only cassette primed packed with lo-fi longing loveliness from London based Wolf Girl entitled ‘Mama’s boy’. Within sit five divinely dinked delights that sigh with C-86 affection and swoon misty eyed with a Sarah styled feistiness for here loved and lost Peel playlists of years passed are remodelled anew by these teen spirited scamps where fond reminiscent moments of ears a pressed  close to transistors adoring of the skewed sub two minute dramas penned and opined by such fondly recalled souls as Helen Love, Heavenly, Shop Assistants, Marine Research, Talulah Gosh and many more besides all come readily to mind. Though that said the frenetic and abrasive teen anthem opener ‘good for nothing’ comes rattling out of the speakers like some agit adorned spike fuelled youthful pooh sticks while catching our affection the softly dinked 50’s bubble grooving demurring ‘I will be’ arrives sweetly spliced and sprayed in honey trimmed harmonies and shuffling riff shimmers. Best of the set though is the parting Heavenly hued ‘Samson’ as it shyly coos with a longing love noted fascination for those Belle and Sebastian types.  http://softpowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mamas-boy      

Staying with Soft Power records a little while longer, if your fast enough you might be able to secure as your very own one of the limited to only 50 copies two track CD sampler featuring the much adored around these here parts Witching Waves whose ultra limited RSD14 outing earlier this year had us all a swooning like a young ‘un again. ‘outline’ features two cuts that missed the final tracklist for their soon to be released debut full length ‘fear of falling down’ – also – incidentally due soon via soft power. We do admit to being smitten by the frailly skewed ‘outline’ – a subtle psych pop gemstone honey glazed in the after burns of a faintly speckled Strawberry Switchblade and seductively cooed in Lush-esque chill tips however its ‘under the stairs’ that had us a swooning, a brittle and shambling psych pop lovely crookedly crafted in a Belly-esque dinking albeit much versed in the likeness of all things emerging from the loved k records record stable.  http://softpowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/outline-mini-cd

If that wasn’t bad enough we feel a sense of heartbreak coming on at the realisation that we’ve somehow missed out on this, again sneaked beneath our radar another 50 only cassette release from Soft Power – this one a 6 track compilation entitled ‘under the net’ featuring new, forthcoming and unreleased material from a specially invited gathering of souls who’ve all featured at some point on the label thus far. Treats a plenty here not least the opening cut from blood of the bull whose ‘comeback’ arrives seductively steeled in the kind of sun crushed soft psych wooziness oft found on releases bearing the name Haight Ashbury tattooed to their backsides. Something of an off guarded nugget next with the appearance amid our ear waves of Andrew R Hill’s ‘I won’t come back’ which aside having you dumbfounded and wiping the occasional trickling tear from your cheek sounds for all the world as though its just walked straight out of a 50’s teen crush flick, reflective and heart breaking and dare we say much adorned in the kind of tender craftmanship occasioned by that dude Kevin Tihista. Those lying awake at night struggling for rest with thoughts of what if Gallon Drunk, Shadowy Men from a Shadowy Planet and the Flaming Stars found themselves holed up together in a locked studio – and what would they sound like – might do well to take a wee gander at ‘commitment’ by the Autumns – post punked out garage psych oozing in Lynchian noir swamp dragging the Creepers carcass and frankly doing good bad things all over your hi-fi. More Witching Waves groove courtesy of the acutely angular ‘creeping’ – a psychosis seeped dark heart that nods ever so slightly to ‘the scream’ era Banshees before decamping themselves into the softly psych shimmer of the Heartthrobs. Wolf Girl follow in hot pursuit with ‘Samson’ mentioned elsewhere here and still sounding as good as it did half an hour ago when we first heard it (new 5 track tape release ‘mama’s boy’ due to land very soon). All said – and by a close call I don’t mind saying-  is Theoretical Girls ‘thorn in my side’ here given the lush and tender treatment by way of a string quartet treatment – seriously this will blow you away dressed in all its baroque pastoral finery and sweetly arrested with angelic arcs and to die for honey cut harmonies.  http://softpowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/under-the-net-2

While we try our level best to nab downloads / promos for these – news of two very special releases from those warped and weird trip-a-delicists My Cat is an Alien – first up a triple album set that finds the Opalio brothers forging alliances with C Stevens – no not the Cat which I dare say would have been interesting not least to say apt – but rather more the Belgium based electronic composer Cedric Stevens who for those in the know might be readily more recognised under his Acid Kirk moniker and his recent collaboration with Fennesz. Limited to just 300 copies – across the six sides ‘Abstract expressionism for the ears’ finds these sound art titans sparring to craft an intoxicating listening experience that shifts and shimmers amid serenely snoozing glassy dream weaves to full on deep and heavy galactic dronal tidal which reference wise have them perched upon a sonic axis inhabited by all manner of woozy psychedelics, futurist soundtracks and meditative mosaics whilst simultaneously operating in out there minimalist left field boundary pushing frontiers. In addition – and strictly limited to just 50 art edition double disc copies and available as a standard but lushly packaged 200 only private press, Robert Opalio steps out on his own some with ‘Aurora Coelestis’. Comprising two elongated suites this set promises an experience like no other, applying his self-patented alientronics software and glockenspiels, Mr Opalio etches to wax what the press blurb describes as ’ghostly holy music’. The set as said comes as both your standard 200 private press edition comes housed in a tri fold sleeve and comes hand numbered and stamped replete with three 4×6 photographs taken by Opalio. As to the strictly limited 50 only art edition – incorporates an additional disc (Art Object LP) featuring an acrylic painting by Opalio on one side all hand numbered and signed. Essential I guess.

One release being eagerly anticipated in our gaff, well a re-release if you must – is L’Augmentation’s utterly beautiful and criminally overlooked ‘Pigalle’. Getting a much deserved limited expanded repackaging by those nice people at Reverb Worship, L’Augmentation were part of a celebrated Birmingham scene that bubbled beneath the radar in the late 90’s that included such notable names as Pram, Avrocar, Plone, Magnetophone, Novak and of course Broadcast to name just a small select few, regularly championed by Mr Peel, their sound drew upon a sepia glazed 60’s vintage that served as the midway point between Keenan and Co and Stereolab (or more so Monade), drizzled in a Francophile flavouring they wore their Gainsbourg / Dutronc fondness on their sleeves crafting out pristine sub three minute noir pop soundtracks. This new packaging simply titled ‘L’Augmentation’ gathers together the long out of print ‘Pigalle’ album along with all the attending Kooky discs singles and their ‘Soleil’ debut for the much missed Pickled Egg imprint (including all the flip sides), bonus session material as well as the rare as hen’s teeth ‘flourish’ which appeared on the limited issue of the St Dunstans Experiment compilation…these days various ex members have been known to appear occasionally as the Bee Men and Betty and the ID….for those with failing memories or previously unaware as to their existence here’s a little nugget from the day entitled ‘Soleil’ which made that years end of year Peel Festive 50……

 

Of course this year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of Elvis’ ‘that’s all right’ and with it the career start of one of the – if not the – finest performer (s) in rock pop history (something we will come back to ponder later this missive). For now though another anniversary looms for this November – the 2nd to be precise – it will have been 60 years since Hancock’s Half Hour first took to the airwaves. Galton and Simpsons finest creation ran for six series running to over 100 episodes, the scourge of publicans the length and breadth of the nation it was oft reputed that public houses delayed opening hours waiting for the show to finish its transmission. Amid the immortal settings of East Cheam, 23 Railway Cuttings to be precise, the played upon absurdist and gullible middle Englander Tony Hancock headed an all-star cast that included Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Williams and the recently departed Bill Kerr, applying a sit com style as opposed to the trademark radio variety that was prevalent among other noted broadcasts of the day, the Lad would on a weekly basis befall mishaps and disasters with one of Sid’s money making scams playing a not so helpful guiding hand. In our humbled opinion the being ‘the last bus home’, ‘the jewel robbery’ and this gem ‘a Sunday afternoon at home’- which utilised pauses and silence to great effect – you can hear the episode here  –

To date some twenty episodes still remain lost of the original radio series including all those featuring Harry Seacombe in the lead role – this as a result of the BBC’s policy to wipe tapes – see Doctor Who, not only…but also, quatermass, top of the pops and many more besides. To celebrate the shows 60th anniversary the BBC commissioned five of those lost episodes not heard since their original broadcast to be recreated anew for transmission – the first due to be aired this Halloween will feature ‘the matador’ and star Kevin McNally in the lead role . for more information go to – http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2014/43/missing-hancocks-directors

Shh – keep it under you hat and don’t tell anyone but aside being closet Rush admirer as a callow youth, this occurring whilst running with the punk / new wave pack, I was also a tad taken by Marillion, I think if pressed to cough an explanation as to why I’d have happily admitted it was because they sounded so much like Gabriel era Genesis which clearly the Genesis at the time did not this being down to the fact that they were fronted by Collins. Are you keeping up at the back? Anyhow ‘script for a jester’s tear’ still remains a much loved nostalgic trip whenever it comes by our way, so that said there was a raised eyebrow or two when we strayed by sheer accident across this today, the solo outing for Marillion founder member Steve Rothery entitled ‘the ghosts of pripyat’. The album boasts guest appearances from Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson, alas only one track is available to freely hear – the opening cut ‘Morpheus’- a tasty thing it is to which unless ears do deceive should at the very least have those subscribing to the ‘PROG’ magazine literally drooling. 8 minutes of serenely dreamy sonic sculpturing initially shimmering in the gaseous tail smoke of Floydian wooziness before jettisoning off radar to reveal itself something more overtly tender and ripe for after lights lowered listening seduction all classically tethered, intricately crafted and gouged in progian surges which if truth be told had us with an itch to dig out a few lost nuggets by the Enid.   http://steverothery.bandcamp.com/album/the-ghosts-of-pripyat  

Hitting something of a richly alluring pop seam, if opening track ‘dying kiss’ is anything to judge by then the forthcoming full length ‘9×7’ by Jo Bartlett for strikeback records (and surprisingly not Static Caravan which has been her home for many a year) will have many raising an admiring ear for a closer peek. Mind you that said her previous charges Yellow Moon Band were no slouches when it came to crafting mercurial folk fancifulness with prog / cosmic infusions. ‘dying kiss’ finds Bartlett in more romantic inclines and supported by a crystal clear crystal tipped production, breezily caught upon flutter by pastoral posies swirled in spectral trims that demur, blossom and radiate with a shy eyed tenderness, it’s hard to resist and find yourself not succumbing to the spell crafting souring ache yearning throughout – alas no sound links just yet. 

With titles like ‘a dream within a nightmare’, ‘diabolic forces’ and ‘pitch black emotions’ you’d be right in thinking that this isn’t promising to be the kind of stuff played at an under 5’s end of semester disco not unless of course the school kids in question happened to either look like twins of those from the village of the damned or worse still went by names such as Deth Omen which as it happens is the name of the creator of this brooding dark dystopia who must have cast an interesting spectacle among the town folk as the youngsters of the neighbourhood tripped up to the door and knocking at the Omen household and asking ‘hello Mrs Omen is Deth coming to Sunday choir service?’. Anyhow we suspect that Mr Omen is the name he / she was born with and that they may reside in Greece, what’s for certain is that this is out via werkstatt recordings and comes pressed upon a cassette of which there are only 5 copies – and two of those have been snapped up. Flavoured in the horrorphonic / sci-fonic landscapes that bookended cult cinematic shockers of the 70’s and 80’s and here we are thinking of the ilk Maniac Cop / they live, Omen cultures a dark side of the Vangelis vibe re-routing the cosmic screenplays of Zombi into brooding noir scarred glimpses into grim futurist visions. From the shadow lined psychosis of the opening ‘a dream within a nightmare’ with its Goblin-esque Fulci scoring to the scorched road oblivion of the cosmic psych ‘death rider’ and the bleak minimalist post punk electronic engineering of ‘pitch black emotions’ with its chilling industrial drudgery drawing a mid way point between Hunan League Mk 1, Front 242 and DAF – there’s much here to engage the most self respecting dark wave purist though that said we here are quite smitten by the parting ‘sentinel’ – the sets sore thumb coming on like a seriously ill intentioned Minty. http://synthesizer.bandcamp.com/album/174-deth-omen-deth-omen

And before you ask, no we have absolutely no information about this next band / musician, so scant is the information that we are hard pressed to say where exactly they hail from, kinda sounds oriental yet laced through in an Icelandic sounding tongue though I’m suspecting it emanates from neither region. Anyhow it’s by Minggu Pagi, ‘mimpi’ be its name prized from an album originally released way back in the summer called ‘Sunday morning EP #1’ – anyhow seductively shoehorned into a delightfully frail and fragile sub three minute sound space, this honey chirps and chimes threaded to a delicately demurred rustic clockwork motif that twinkles with a shy eyed recline over which a sultry recital locks upon your listening lobes and slowly draws you in with its love noted  spell crafted gaze which reference wise – in case you needed them as a starting point – may well be adored by those much admiring of Haruko.  https://soundcloud.com/minggupagi/mimpi-minggu-pagi

i must admit there wasn’t a lot of hope for this when it fell from its mailing bag to reveal a CD with a nazi stormstrooper idly standing in the background observing from a safe distance a rather buxom and er – naked lady astride the canon of a tank. Not that we here are prudes or part of the PC brigade we just got the sense that this was going to go all horribly Anti Nowhere League / GG Allin on us and not altogether in a good way. Baited breath was the order of the day. Goes to show you that the old adage about judging books and covers is a tried and tested fact for this three track sortie is a bit of a gem. By Hunck the ‘something missing’ EP is to shortly emerge in digital format with a ultra limited cassette version to come early December – a copy of which I want – cough hint cough cough hint hint….each of the trio here reveals a little something different, each giving hint to the wide spectrum and multi generic craft at play in the Hunck sound bunker -opening cut ‘toy trucks’ freewheels to the kind of sublime vintage unworldliness as that engaged by Goodnight Lenin and black ink in recent times, softly stirred in progian undertones subtly spaced out in swirling mirrorballs of cosmicalia there’s much here to have any self-respecting admirer of sepia stained star pop literally all of a swoon – perhaps the finest thing we’ve heard since Pullumair’s ‘Iris’ occasioned our decks some years back.. better still is the quite divine EP title track ‘something missing’ which to these ears had us recalling a super chilled Teenage Fanclub in cahoots with a ‘durable dream’ era Moviola staking out smoked ‘yerself is steam’ era Mercury Rev poses leaving the parting ‘moerbeke’ to round up matters vying for your affections whilst modelling itself on some kind of ultra cool Fantomas meets Shadowy Man on a Shadowy Planet soiree cutting studio shapes to Mancini / Barry mosaics.

i can wholeheartedly say without fear of being corrected that thus far to date we’ve never had the honour – nay pleasure – of featuring anything tripping out of the locale of Nizhniy Novgorod – in fact up until a day a go I was even aware this Russian locale existed – formerly Gorky until it was rebranded 20 years ago it is – according to the web the fifth major city of mother Russia. And so let us introduce you to Tereshkova Sees us from Above – while I say introduce, we are admittedly winging things here as this collective are pretty much as mysterious as the place they hail from alas providing no information with which to regale you with. Undeterred we suggest you stick with this and let it do its stuff on your hi-fidelity sound system, for their five track debuting ‘EP1’ is a bit of a treat, which mostly defies easy categorization though largely manifests upon a strangely intricate axis piped through with variants of the post rock, jazz and math core species that seriously goes off into left field orbital trajectories that capture the atmospheric kookiness of Bebe and Louis Barron this being best portrayed on the realities dissolving woozy fragmenting psychosis of ‘the shining’ (or is it ‘you don’t look modern enough for me’ as the downloads seem to be out of sequence with the actual soundcloud links) whose abstract psych detailing and general all around unhinged disquiet ventures loosely upon the hallowed grounds of the Banshees’ ‘the scream’ – here emerging from twilight netherworlds an eerie lullaby-esque chill descends woozily pervading the listening spaces in a dislocated gauzing much recalling this heat and the more experimental noodling of Bauhaus’ David J in his younger days. The mathian ‘time for cool stories’ opens the set, a rain drizzled jazz noir gem that would find an easy home on both the foolproof projects and pickled egg imprints, all dissipating sepia tweaked wooziness daubed in dreamlike mirages that had us for the best part recalling the very early loose improv workouts of Japan’s psych prog blues wierdos green milk from the planet orange albeit in some studio face off with kellar with billy mahonie on hand to referee the mellee. ‘carpathian burial party’ follows in similar fashion though this time hooked upon a deliciously obstinate snake winding riff which aside calling to mind Left Hand’s debuting ‘minus 8’ builds with slow purposeful intent until it achieves white hot blister states sounding not unlike some Quickspace sortie rethreading old nuggets from an early Kranky records back catalogue. Elsewhere ‘the shining’ here peppered with the teasingly seldom heard didgeridoo is framed in the kind of splintered art rock crookedness of fracturing time signatures and general all round mischief that one wonders if members of the collective have had their collective headspaces fried having been exposed for long periods to the sounds of a late 80’s New Zealand free noise scene. Frankly we need to hear more.  https://soundcloud.com/tsufaband/sets/ep-1

Some seriously trippy happenings as future disguises arrive in the orbit of Palace of Swords to dock alongside ‘live at the Aberdeen Witch trials 1597’to daub all in woozy dreamlike drapes infusing to the originals lunar swirls ghostly fore tellings of future visions suffused in hypnosis inducing dream machine motifs for what is a brief but undeniably super chilled cosmic fantasia… https://soundcloud.com/megaloid-industries/palace-of-swords-live-at-the-aberdeen-witch-trials-1597-future-disguises-remix

A veritable feast of subliminal supernatural surrealism stalks your stereophonic Samhain delights with the emergence of the latest transmission from Melmoth the Wanderer courtesy of the 52 minute cauldron gathering that is ‘hiding in the shadows of the churchyard’. Ice dripped in stilled atmospherics sometimes eerie sometimes ethereal at others decidedly haunting, this fantasia of disturbia features an assortment of messages from the beyond, ghostly lullaby recitals, EVP mosaics, phonic residues and path straying weirdness, a world beyond the twilight zone where dreams and nightmares blur in view of the sleeping eye. Amid this unearthly sonic séance the holy see’s infernal ghostly rapping on ‘the playroom’ descends into the kind of glassy spectral environs once upon a time visited upon by Barry Gray not least by way of the end credits to 70’s cult TV classic ‘UFO’ though not before instilling something the dread of every parent. Keith seatman – whose stuff we really must track down given this is the second pod on the bounce to be featured here wherein his strange sound serenades have pricked the ear – with  ‘playing hop the scotch’ appearing from a ghostly haze gauzed in delightfully odd lunar carousels. I’m fairly certain we’ve welcomed the work of the psychogeographical commission in an earlier incarnation of these missives several years ago, here found on this occasion plaguing your listening space with the stilled deathly chill of the sombrely minimalist macabre of ‘the ones who went before’. Purveyors of the strange and unearthly, Wizards tell lies craft imagined soundtracks of doomed Kneale inspired parallel dimension, post apocalyptic visions of events forgotten or more sinisterly hidden from the believing eye, ‘we are in your house’ comes primed and petrified in foreboding terror and bleak grandness (expect lengthy mentions very soon of their last two albums). Those preferring a moment of salvation from the looming horrors will do well to visit the sepia trimmed neo classicist noir of Leyland Kirby’s simply serene porcelain cut ‘wdtftcs’ while horrorphonic alchemists the unseen step in to lower temperatures with the sparsely set chill shimmer of ‘the empty tube station’ and the implicit order delve into the dark side of Carpenter with the creepy ‘third mind’.  http://www.mixcloud.com/Melmoth_The_Wanderer/hiding-in-the-shadows-of-the-churchyard/ 

Yes I know we’ve been promising Wizards Tell Lies action for longer than I care to remember – mentions for their last two albums are imminent (this week as it happens) – for now though care for some, shall we say dread dipped  calm before the storm eeriness, course you do. A horror-phonic Halloween delight, ‘gone’ comes draped in what is becoming something of a trade mark sonic flavouring in the WTL camp, that ability to melodically manifest and freewheel between doomed apocalyptic epitaphs and twilight visitations soured in aching macabre beauty, accentuated by a panoramic crafting, a ghostly shimmer forges and flickers in the dimensional fractures keeping the realities and parallel worlds in stasis, from its core funereal opines glower with a head bowed stillness that howl to the thaw and fall of ancient glacial structures, an overture crafted in  mournful bowed chimes and the hollowing arc of ethereal noise core sheens subdue  the sense of damning despair from which through the spectral haze emerges a delicate drone folk motif stricken in a tear stained resonance which to these well worn ears put us much in mind of such exalted company as godspeed, alphane moon  and a slo-mo version of Flying Saucer Attack.  http://simimansound.bandcamp.com/track/gone 

None too sure whether this is commercially available, there’s a download link for the track that much we do know and its culled from a recent appearance at the experimental festival 6 last month, entitled ‘FM4’ its by duo Mnipk who’ve featured too much admiring applause in these very pages in recent times. The collaborative head to head of Alrealon Musique’s Philippe Gerber and Christophe Gilmore forged over a love for electronic music ‘FM4’ finds them delving deep into sub tronic sonics to craft a positive ju-ju jamboree of sound swirled in hypnotic kaleidoscopia and mind warping psychotropics arriving glazed in the rare essences of deep house / trance substances all coiled upon a tick molasses like driving dub drilled underpin rippled in bonged out tribal motifs which in truth sound as though they’ve emerged from the dark side of Tloaton though not before firstly getting a brain spin from the Magic Mushroom Band and a tie dye from the Shamen. https://soundcloud.com/mnipk/fm4-live-at-experi-mental-festival-6

 We love records, cassettes and even CD’s so should you feel the desire to contact you can get in touch in the following ways –

For archives and other happening gubbins – http://www.marklosingtoday.wordpress.com

For email – marklosingtoday@gmail.com

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Or finally – good old fashioned snail mail –

71 Pennsylvania Road, Liverpool, L13 9BA, UK

We’re also on sound cloud and twitter but I’ll be buggered I know the address that said if you really need them then send an interesting record or tape and we’ll root out the details.

As ever take care of yourselves…..xx

All rights reserved – Marklosingtoday ©

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