Tales from the Attic – Volume 55

Tales from the Attic

Volume LV

Revolutions of a 45 and 33 kind…….

More  odd sods and odds n’ sods

More newly discovered – (groan) – thought lost musings from another time earlier in the year that nearly slipped down the cracks of obscurity, fear not we’ve found these in abundant plenty (more groans from the stalls) – as with the previous Volume – that’ll be Volume 54 / LIV – these may have broken / redundant links – in fact i’ve checked the links and it seems the video links have gone west-ish – no doubt all sold out yet surely worth an ear. This edition features the following – mainly – forgotten souls…..

The vigrance, moth effect, orgasmo sonore, the hazy cucumber, spokraket, alice artaud, tvam, jack dangers, wolfgang flur, art of the memory palace, lucid dream, vacant lots, anton newcombe, spectres, nervous twitch, animal daydream, happyness, nev cottee, tula, white hills, husky rescue, Stephen duffy, the late call, vuurwerk, the kuhls, death cinematic, schizo fun addict, jean Jacques perrey and david chasan, wizards tell lies, princess Chelsea, death and vanilla, grrl pal, john carpenter, alan Howarth, Richard moult, id and co, sagan youth, pd wilder, kirchenkampf, chvad sb, white arrows, beach beach, battlelines, fever dream, maiians, Thomas truax, cathode ray, wire, pinkshinyultrablast, illona v, max kinghorn mills, chemistry set, golly mccry, paperface, vpages, jon de rosa, kassassin street, toliesel, dark county, eztv, the tambourines, inventions, dan deacon, monotony, c duncan, black ryder, courtesy, throbblehead, holy serpent, nai harvest, blue giant zeta puppies, mystery crystals, cranium pie, hanging stars, Sylvie kreusch, simple minds, les limbes, round eye, klaus morlock, midwich youth club, crystal Jacqueline, claudio cataldi, tojan horse, zx+, cary grace, crawlin hex, jay Tausig, vert:x, magic mushroom band, todd Dillingham, rob gould, vostok, green telescopes, ben rath, snails, mike and cara gangloff, matricians

I’m fairly certain we’ve mentioned Happyness in passing in these musings at one time or another, quite possibly this one in fact given its overly long arduous gestation period. New album (well a repackaged affair with additions) due end of March via the celebrated Moshi Moshi imprint – well I say celebrated but then there’s been no cause for celebration or the hanging out of bunting here because the blighters never send us anything – but hey ho who are we to hold grudges when the occasional critical dig will do. Just for the record ‘weird little birthday’ is the name of the album and from it has been ripped ‘a whole new shape’ which finds the trio engaged in honing their sub four minute craft in the kind of lo-fi buzz sawing noise popping power throb once upon a time visited upon vinyl artefacts whose grooves where smudged by the sonic signatures of dinosaur JR, Velvet Crush and Teenage Fanclub to name but three albeit here sumptuously art bombed into a swoon kissed bliss ball of feel good effervescence.

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Omnipresent or just bloody nosy, but we happened to eye this on the Static Caravan facebook page. Described in passing as ‘lee hazelwood fronting spiritualized’ this is a new 10 inch heading out of the aficionado imprint (in Manchester I do believe) by Nev Cottee entitled ‘if I could tell you’ which ought to appeal to those among you who’ve been troubled by repeat nights of sleeplessness imagining in your mind’s eye some softly stirred lazy eyed lilt wherein the serene flyby sounds of the Superimposers had been somewhat pressganged and hoisted aboard a magic boat captained by the Seahawks for a 60’s shimmered astral ride voyaging to the kaleidoscopic woozy worlds of monsterism island though not before popping a few head expanding beyond the wizards sleeve supplied tabs to counter the momentary flashes of consciousness dissipating and realities going all floaty dizziness. And before you ask, yes you do need this in your life – pronto.  https://soundcloud.com/aficionado-recordings/nev-cottee-if-i-could-tell-you

Staying very loosely again with Static Caravan, this bright young things is the latest from Tula via telegram records who’ve previously been known to arrest our turntable in recent living memory following a brace of keenly acclaimed 7’s for Birmingham’s most eclectic imprint. ‘river’ finds their mercurial tonalities coalescing seductively to emerge from a twinklesome hidey hole to unfurl in a glorious rush of euphoric radiance, quite stunning if you ask me posited initially on a sparsely weaved funkily offset wood chipped folk motif of the type that Laura J Martin might eye enviously before defrosting and loosening itself of its shy skin to unfurl in a stirring and dare I say captivating full on vividly lush wave of emotion heightening rapture – dare you resist. https://soundcloud.com/tulamusic/river/

A damn fine whole heap of voodoo groove, an album ‘walks for motorists’ about to rise and from it the teaser single ‘no will’ to get the skin a crawling and the wigs a frying, psych heads White Hills return to the fray with a bag full o’ bad boogie. ‘no will’ is a maddening dark rapture fused in grizzled glam and etched in pulse racing psychosis all turned as though an imagining of a ritualistic pact forged by an at the height of their powers ‘Mask’ era Bauhaus with ne’er do welling garage freaks the Fuzztones.

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More returning old acquaintances, this time in the shape of new groove from Catskills with a double CD set imminent from the quite adorable Husky Rescue entitled ‘the long lost friend’. By way of a taster ‘deep forest green’ has loosened itself of its captive shackles and is currently swooning all on the sound cloud preview page all trimmed to a sublimely sensual minimalist purr that’s wood crafted in enchantment and opined in attractive love noted lilts not to mention finding itself free flowing in the same adorable pop fluency as that of Hafdis Huld. Does it for us then.  https://soundcloud.com/catskills-records/deep-forest-green

for those of you currently plugged into the whole public service broadcasts, sinister plots and the general weird surrealism of ‘Scarfolk’ might do well to tune into their BBC iplayer and trying snaffle this up while it’s still available. ‘earworm’ by Simon Passmore is a fictional tale of an abandoned horror film shoot whose soundtrack possessing a virus that enables its author to control those whose mind it takes over….very much channelling Nigel Kneale and well worth investing a spare 45 minutes listening to…… http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054qfj2

Next up a handful of download only releases via tapete deserving of immediate attention….

Heralding an imminent album in the shape of ‘no sad songs’ – incidentally arriving early April and his first for some seven years – Stephen Duffy emerges from the pops wilderness returning to turntables with the taster track ‘she writes a symphony’ under the long serving guise of the Lilac Time. Light, breezy and pimpled in a warming summer cool, ‘she writes a symphony’ is possessed of a classic Duffy casualness. And before you all take to pens readying to fire off dismissive missives – that wasn’t meant as a criticism but rather a compliment, for Duffy you feel has been for too long happy to flirt on and off with his musical muse hitting the kind of ease and comfort in his song craft that other less admired (here) and generally more feted so called nations saving graces might well raise an envious eyebrow. ‘she writes a symphony’ strikes a deceptive soft psych pose, trimmed with a pop prowess that harks back to Roddy Frame / Aztec Camera there’s a crisp radio friendly immediacy which in truth has never left the Duffy / Lilac Time work bench since their inception some thirty years ago though here coalescing succinctly to free flow in the vapour trails of a late 80’s sounding Bunnymen, this being all the more apparent by the crystalline arabesque riffage a la Will Sergeant. Add to the mix the sun kissed pastorals, the dreamy mirages and the irrefutable tug of 60’s shimmies and you have yourself something of a dansette dandy for the asking. https://soundcloud.com/tapete-records/the-lilac-time-she-writes-a-1?in=tapete-records/sets/the-lilac-time-no-sad-songs

again on tapete and pulled from a soon to arrive full length entitled ‘golden’ this is the Late Call with ‘carry’ – one of those ear attracting slices of tastiness that pipes waves of tiny sunbursts from the transistor into your listening space and makes the drabness of life transform in the blink of an eye to be colourised in shades of feel good effervescence. Apply to the sonic canvas the merest daubing of 80’s shimmies, it’s that lolloping expressiveness and the quick stepping cascade of open country pastoral purrs that endow it with an affectionate retro whiff that might well have you imagining some studio love in enacted upon by Bruce Hornsby and the World Party.  

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Hotly tipped and from Belgium which as far as I know the last time I checked wasn’t a criminal offence, this is the latest slab of loveliness from the adored lo recordings stable. Vuurwerk do that nocturnal smoochiness that blends shy eyed seductiveness with pouting ultra-cool much like a super chilled and amorphous ROC, three tracks sit within the grooves of the ‘warrior’ EP with the briefly sweet visitation that is ‘mirrors’ opening proceedings as though a teasingly glimpsed love noted lunar rapture. The smokily sultry ‘warrior’ strays from the rarefied regions from whence the frost thawed sublime sonic sculpturing of No Ceremony once emerged yet for all that it’s the parting ‘Lux’ that took our hearts a prisoner, honeyed in tropicalia tastings gouged in the dubtronic technoid flashings of Detroit there’s much to its mellowing after dark futuro funk grooving to have those of you attuned to the catalogues of smallfish, rednetic and uncharted audio. 

Now if I hadn’t have known better I’d have sworn this was a stoned out campfire chilling Smoke Fairies on some smoky mountain retreat getting leathered on moonshine whilst trying to outscore each other by the exchange of notes of failed loves. In fact it’s the second single from the Kuhls and comes ripped from a tip top recordings set entitled ‘holy rollin’ which by the fall of April should be doing brisk business across record store counters where it’ll appear on all the usual formats as well as a limited vinyl pressing. ‘a woman is like a man’ comes smoked and distilled in the finest vintage 70’s Americana essences, loose, mellowed and lazy eyed not to mention crooned in an exquisite detailing of lap slides.

Eyed on an alrealon musique posting, volume 1 of the ‘we are invisible now’ compilation promises to transmit the finest ambient, concrete noise and drone sounds by some of its lesser known alchemists across the globe currently to be found patrolling beneath the radar. Gathered together here are 16 like-minded souls onto what is promised to be a regular event, among the prize pickings we did spot a death cinematic who’ve featured via rare sightings in these very pages having first been mentioned back from the days in which we oft dipped into the backwaters of my space. ‘no longer do I impede darkness’ is a bit of a slow burner which across its near 10 minute visitation sheds its skin emerging from a sombre head bowed entrance wherein echoes of Roy Montgomery are sweetly smoothed by the gracefully tear stained noir scores of Roy Budd all the time gathering depth and dimension to terraform into a volcanic slab of sun bleached desert dry emotion rushing intensity that scowls with the burning of fury of a vengeful mean spirited godspeed – truly an inspired hollowing epic of some measure. As said (perhaps we forgot to mention) but we will time allowing revisit this collection soon though not before earmarking for your listening appreciation Sleep Orchestra’s ‘like sails to the wind’ upon whose mammoth six minute canvas is what appears to be some kind of orbiting pulsar emerging from eclipse formation dragging in its tail length a shimmer toned crescendo of vapour trailing white hot sonic shards and casting the kind of dark drone ambient net that many of us around here have comes to expect from the likes of Aidan Baker. http://weareinvisiblenow.bandcamp.com/releases

Those managing to grab early copies of the latest Cranium Pie set from Fruits de Mer will find their listening experiences somewhat psychedelically expanded by a bonus 18 track CD of wigged out happenings entitled ‘strange fruit and veg’. previously reported in earlier dispatches, the set gathers faces familiar and not so re-tuning lost sounds from the past, among the menu on offer the cosmedelic twang of the blue giant zeta puppies, a mind blistered version of ‘ace of spades’ by Jay Tausig and a surprising fuzz beat gouged offering from magic mushroom band all of whom will be mentioned in more detail in a full on spangled round up later this missive. For now though we frankly couldn’t leave the Schizo Fun Addict’s take on the Sorrows cult freak beat classic ‘take a heart’ a second longer for this babe lurks on the dark side of psychosis unravelling itself in freaked out detachment and isolation whilst wiping your mind and senses in a howling garage psych white out whose authentic primitive gouging leads one to suspect the blighters have access to strange time travelling paraphernalia, that said that’s the least of your concerns as you swerve, duck and dive to avoid the gripping desperation literally peeling from the grooves.    

We here are readying ourselves for the release of ‘Ela’ shortly via freaksville which sees long term collaborators Jean Jacques Perrey and David Chazam pitting their wits in pops playroom, the former an iconic figure in French electronics name checked by the likes of Air, DJ Shadow and Wagon Christ, the latter described as a ‘young French maverick’. Mixing old, new and previously unreleased and live renditions, ‘ELA’ gathers together ten sorties whose insanely skedaddled playfulness ought to first port of call be a must for those so admiring of both Raymond Scott’s vintage electro and big band powerhouse eras, pure children’s kitsch, here you’ll find skewed marching bands squelching and squealing amid a fried and frothy elephantine harking analogue keys whose lineage draws ever so teasingly to a land of children’s toybox television whilst irrefutably recommended as desired listening for those tuned into the more skittish and flock paper adorned surrealist corners of the trunk catalogue, among the selected ear candy on offer we suggest partaking in ‘chronophonie’ – a place where Moroder, digitised into a byte sized Morph and pursued by busying pac-man prowlers while ‘what’s up Duck’ is awash in sinister quacks and deliriously 60’s hippy chick seasoning. Absolutely goofy – now play nicely children….

Been such an age since we featured Wizards Tell Lies in these pages that we feel compelled to hang our heads in shame. It’s not for the fact that there have been no releases – there have – an abundance in fact including outings for isobel ccircle (an ongoing collaboration with April Larson) which we are now pencilling in for a separate missive. For now though something that piqued our interest and earlobes alike from WTL alter ego the Revenant Sea here with Wizards Tell Lies in fact (which given both are one and the same must prove a confusing choice in the which hat am I wearing at the moment stakes) and here found offering four multi-faceted sound spectrum bending perspectives on the Black Classical track ‘Communion’. In truth this collection offers perhaps the most accessible entry to the Wizards / Revenant secret lair and much like his previous limited issue face off with Roadside Picnic is awash in lighter tonalities kissed with a sense of grandeur, that said for old school Wizard aficionados the ‘cleaver shade’ mix is etched in shards of wind tunnelled howls and the kind of noise abstractia to which admiring devotees of Bruce Russell would do well to tune into at an instant whilst in sharp contrast ‘arc tract’ is ice sculptured in a sweetly bliss kissed definition whose lunar lilts and chiming cascades dissolve and dissipate to accentuate a majestic sonic salvo that’s pierced with the cool calm and ice dripped atmospherics of a youthful Echoboy. That said it’s the brace of cuts book ending the set that provide the finest moments, ‘first light’ appears gloriously bathed in a stately procession of sweetly demurred crystalline key flurries that waltz and genuflect to a Brontean motif softly shrouded in celestial whispers which on first encounter recall fort dax’s irresistibly immense ‘at bracken’ set though which on repeat listening gives up trace elements of the seductive forlorn romance peppering John Foxx’s back catalogue. ‘ghostshift’ though is something altogether special, a 12 minute curtain closer to which the full Revenant Sea craft is applied, shimmering orbs of ghostly timbres and dream like sequences that greet its entrance endow it with a statuesque slow burn resonance, both measured and monumental the elements slowly converge fall away and re-forge a new revealing sun peaked eclipses of celestial jubilance, breathless stuff. Available as a free download – http://simimansound.bandcamp.com/album/communion-ep

And now for the latest batch of 5×5 releases from the much admired Silber Media stable, you might recall that this is an ongoing project whereby selected artists are invited to contribute 5 one minute tracks for digital release, the current season of featurettes comprising of 5 (yes we are getting on to the 5 theme here) ear candy honed lovelies starting with ld&co who are headed up by moth wrangler LD Benghtol and excel in the kind of lo-fi’d power pop crookedness that was once the celebrate trademark of those who initially pioneered and defined the classic Elephant 6 sound (see of montreal, apples in stereo, Olivia tremor control et al). opening to the confusion of cross wiring messages ‘devices’ briefly emerges sparingly hinting at a brief glimpse of too cool for squares glam psych grooving while somewhere else ‘velocity in the bedroom’ comes marooned and traced upon a becoming 50’s teen ached bubble grooving recalling vaguely the short heart stopping acute prickling pop verve of the Pooh Sticks. The hollowing ‘stay forever, my love’ rounds out the set replete in a distressed sepia framing though all said it’s ‘the radiation isn’t an anomaly, it’s a clue’ that stole our hearts and minds with its dislocated fuzzing feedback kick to head – think upon it as bitter sweet dark variant of the much loved Morton valence.  https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/the-just-world-phenomenon

The second release of the latest Silber batch entitled ‘chem set’ finds Sagan Youth morphing and mutating an array of analogue synth banks to cook up a five suite set that initially obsesses with galactic platitudes to find itself deeply immersed in the mysteries, wonder and hope of space’s silver age (‘compression bulb’) before signing out with ‘tubings’ seemingly traversing into the very heart of the cosmic canvas’ of Zombi’s Steve Moore. Between these tonal transitions there are refuelling stops at Moroder (‘glass viewing chamber’) and the primitive proto technoid hypno groove of both ‘dri electric pack’ and ‘deionizer’ both of which are essentially cut from the same cloth but each offer a differing vibe perspective with the latter assumed as a heavily set dub draped pulsar while the lighter sibling arrives playfully tweaked in a more becoming club clipped toe tapping tampering that just might have your kitchen appliances getting a tad frisky. https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/chem-set

Next up from Silber something quite special, refined and glacially serene. PD Wilder has over the years been a mainstay of the Texan post rock scene notably under the guise more states and hotel hotel. The five track suite ‘o tokke hymns’ is sweetly soured in serene introspection, inspired or rather more prompted and documenting a trip through the mountains of Tennessee to attend an Aunt’s funeral, these frost framed oblique hymnals act as moments freeze framed in stilled tranquil elegance. Ripe for those more attuned to the glacial widescreen mosaics crafted by yellow6, these lonesome aural portraits are trimmed with majesty poise and ghostly introspection that turn from moments of hollowing tear stained detachment and desolation (‘hymn 2’), shadow lined ice sculptured murmurs (‘hymn 3’) to chiming peels of celestial radiance (‘hymn 1’) which all said ought to cater for those whose idealistic sonic cookbook is frequented with the array of aural ingredients hand-picked from the early back catalogue of kranky.  https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/o-tokke-hymns

Masquerading under his kirchenkampf guise, cohort records head honcho John Gore has been peppering the turntables and headphones of the electronic loving cognoscenti of the underground for some 30 years now. The arrival of the 5 track suite ‘the body electric’ sees him finally forging links with long standing friends Silber to craft something that for the best part appear to explore the largely untapped and unchartered inner space worlds of sounds expansive spectrum with opening ambit ‘EEG’ and ‘electroreceptor’ caressed in a sparsely weaved hallucinogenic wooziness that imagines an as yet unmade cult sci-fi montage sonically signed by Bebe and Louis Barron. ‘tms’ traverses darker territories ghosted eerily in binary whispers and technoid pulsars leaving ‘galvani’ hushed and haloed as though lost distress calls transmitted from long since departed civilisations at the far echelons of the galactic heavens. https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/the-body-electric

Fifth and final release of the current Silber ‘5 in 5’ salvos comes from Chvad SB found here opting for guitars as opposed to synths for the ice carved quintet that is ‘outside the shadow of an aliquot tree’ – perhaps all said our favourite of the batch not least because these bitter sweet murmurs come attached to the same fragile poise and glacially set treatment that accompanies the porcelain portraits conducted by yellow6. All at once reflective and introspective, echoes of Vini Reilly are found ghosting these mournful mosaics, both tender and tearful they haunt and bite between moments of regret (‘four’) and panoramic serene beauty (the opining sorrow of the seafaring ‘followed by one’) though for us brief as though it is we suggest you turn your roving ear towards the shimmer toned thaw of the shadowy ‘missing sprout’ for added noir eeriness. https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/outside-the-shadow-of-an-aliquot-tree

I’m guessing you won’t be too surprised in hearing that we’ve momentarily lost sight of the press release that accompanied this sound cloud link. Ah well not to worry because the music speaks for itself. This (‘creep on dreaming’) is in fact the flip side to a forthcoming White Arrows  single though if I recall rightly there are conflicting reports that it’s not a single but a cut lifted from the bands forthcoming set ‘in bardo’. Whatever the case it’s a stunning seven minute cosmic flotilla which okay yes, agreed, veers a little too closely into Floydian star space but then still manages to craft out a kind of spaced out kosmich-ian dream coat which to these ears sounds like bliss smoked astral ride upon an Ozric Tentacles lunar cruiser, very wasted and transcendental and liable to have you growing a big beard just for being in the merest earshot of its bonged out swirling psych dissolves. https://soundcloud.com/white-arrows/creep-on-dreaming/s-YL5EG

Swoontastic quick step shimmer toned indie groove from Majorcan beat pop combo Beach Beach. This bracing breezy slice of sun peeling radiance is culled from a forthcoming set entitled ‘the sea’ which should be finding itself causing counter action frenzy at your local record emporium when it arrives here May sometimes via the La Castanya imprint. Tuning itself into the golden era of Sarah, Bus Stop and Summershine and proving perfect eargear for those plugged into the wares of matinee, fortuna pop and elefant (to name just three), ‘just like before’ comes adored in an acutely infectious rash of chiming guitars and the kind of lazy eyed feel good recline that buzz saws to a needling twee trimmed power purred acuteness that’s flavoured in immediacy whilst all the time caressed in stop start panic inducing effervescence. Nuff said. https://soundcloud.com/lacastanya/beach-beach-just-like-before

being someone who has pretty much given up on a social life in preference to records – well be honest they rarely let you down unless they happen to be by U2 because of whom we’ve been frightened off hooking up to our i-tunes in fear that their album donations will be forced upon us. We’ve had a tendency to fall easily in love with records which on one hand reveals a worrying gap in one’s life but regularly has the added effect of us continually going wow at the appearance of each new track we hear thinking it’s the best thing since stylus’ where invented. Some say we are a little more forgiving than most, but then beauty is in the ear of the beholder. That said this ‘un is very, very special. Battle Lines latest, a split no less with the post war glamour girls and heading soon out of the secret bunker that is hide and seek records, is such a case in point. So adorable we’ve had to hold off sending little love notes expressing deep admiration and fondness for ‘hunting’ for aside ticking all the boxes all at once, it is perhaps this year to date the best thing we’ve heard by a crooked country mile. Four minutes of sheer seduction and lustful desire basked in the purring cloak of darkly dipped minimal electronics and fizzing feedback that’s all hushed and haloed in feverish nervous anticipation which by our ears sounds not unlike a surrendering and bewitched Siouxsie stumbling and stirring her way through a youthful pre chart bothering Eurythmics landscape cautiously clipped and tensed by the touch of Animotion and dusted and set upon a mercurial widescreen axis by the delicate though intuitive masterful touch of Alt-J. utterly enchanting. https://soundcloud.com/battlelines/hunting

hell I’m having flashbacks to late 80’s finger on the pulse indie video jukebox Snub TV, not that I am complaining – no siree – new from Fever Dream, (who I’m certain we’ve featured in past musings before), released ahead of a Club AC30 full length entitled ‘moyamoya’ due to dock in record orbit late April time, this is the tripadelic euphoric kick to head that is ‘serotonin hit’. Does exactly what it says on the tin a vividly sharp lysergic paint bomb dream weaved in shimmering kaleidoscopia and imbibing heavily on the vapour trail hazes brought to bear by the surging sirens of serenading effects pedals, which in short make essential listening for those attuned to the early catalogues of Boo Radleys, Chapterhouse and the Catherine Wheel whilst simultaneously caught in the breeze of the much missed Skywave.

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Out shortly, a day or so after RSD15 if I’ve got my dates right to be precise, this is the latest from Oxford cool groovers Maiians. I won’t deny that ‘Sionara’ is a bit of a slow burner, best experienced after dark with the lights lowered and the volume cranked up, that way it’s intricate layering and soft sophisticated intoxia is allowed to permeate your listening space and charm you almost Cobra with its hypnotic transient waveforms, seductive as hell and disarmingly genteel, there’s an almost sleight of hand ghostliness in the way it slyly weaves and caresses its apparition like enchantment as though a studio love in between Alt-J and No Ceremony.  https://soundcloud.com/maiians/sionara/s-kcGys  

New album arriving soon entitled ‘jet stream sunset’ from which ‘I was a teenage post punk’ which you’ll briefly find teasing the turntable (is linked somewhere below by way of a trailer) is culled. Never one for bandwagon chasing, Thomas Truax has more often than not been found going off road and furrowing less celebrated sonic fields and acquiring along the way not only a cult status but admiring glances and notices from the high table of pop, film and book writing. His eighth album finds Dresden Dolls / NiN/ Violent Femmes sticksman Brian Viglione on board for the road trip of what is a rock-a-hula rollercoaster ride with ‘teenage post punk’ stripped bare and back to basics channelling the big riff vintage cool of Fatima Mansions, the Godfathers and the Flaming Stars. Full album review to follow soon.  https://soundcloud.com/thomas-truax/i-was-a-teenage-post-punk-excerpt

I’m fairly certain we’ve a copy of the latest Cathode Ray full length ‘infinite variety’ lurking large in our to listen to pile the urgency of which is not lost on us not since having heard the lead-off single ‘resist’ and finding its incurably addictive kookiness prompting the hitting of the repeat button each and every time in looms into ear space. Chop chop riffs, acutely angular riffola and the kind of impish art pop panache that admirers of the fire engines, Wire and the Cardiacs may well find a common ground that is when they’re not pogoing themselves daft for ‘resist’ is groomed and grooved in the frenetic eye poking agit boogie that was once the mainstay of the much missed Playwrights though cross wire this with the day glo exuberance of a late 70’s Buzzcocks and you’ve a whole heap of panic stricken needling niceness.

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And talking of Wire-isms here’s the real deal. I’ll admit to being a tad embarrassed in saying we’ve somewhat lost touch with all things Wire in recent years, in fact if memory serves the last time they featured in these musings was by way of a limited 7 inch back at the turn of the century or thereabouts entitled ‘twelve times you’ with the addition of a few mentions for the Swim label in its early days (was it Swim or did I imagine that – if we were scribes of repute we’d be straight onto that Google and servicing you with oodles of information and key note releases, however our laptop is having a strop at present so the mere fact you are getting this at all is something of a bonus – stop tittering at the back). Anyway in case you were either beginning to lose the will or else puzzling as to where this was going – well its simple really – Wire have a new album imminent – it’s self-titled and there’s a nationwide tour to promote it and from it has been sneaked ‘split your ends’. Now Wire of course ought need no introduction, emerging during the first wave of punk they’ve since been regarded as forefathers of post punk. Like fellow outsiders XTC and Magazine, there was always something interesting going on beneath the Wire hood blending motorik pulse lines to a vague art pop variant spliced in Dadaist minimalism and the distant flavouring of psych their forward thinking craft was always ahead of the curve. And so to ‘split your ends’ – for a collective so ahead of themselves this un’ finds Wire meeting themselves on the way back, and before you think I’m being a tad critical, think again for this is classic Wire. Call it a cruise controlling Wire for all seasons given it touches base with so many long past Wire signposts – ‘154’ and ‘a bell is a cup…’ being the primary colourings here blissfully drilled upon a autumnally whirring pulsar framing etched in the kind of easy on the ear hypno-grooved motorik murmuring to which those schooled in the youthful outings of Swimmer One and Birdpen ought to swoon. https://soundcloud.com/wirehq/09-split-your-ends/

Last heard around these parts sporting the adorable ‘Umi’, we’ve long had pinkshinyultrablast on our watch list as far back as the days when we accidentally eyed the sublime ‘deer land’ on their sound cloud page sometime early last year. Alas we’ve yet to hear their debuting full length platter ‘everything else matters’ which recently surfaced via Club AC30 from which has been culled as a 7 inch single ‘ravestar supreme’. As though emitting love noted distress calls from some outlying celestial post, the angelic ‘ravestar supreme’ shimmers, burns and radiates with a warming feel good aura much like untethered crystal kissed vapour trails escaping from the heavens unto where converge the demurred chime corteges of the Cocteau Twins and the honey glazed kaleidoscopic swirls of Kitchens of Distinction.

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Just wipes the floor with you, one minute cutting you dead to the quick and then the next lifting you to peaks where your stilled with an I can do anything renewed self-assurance. A master class in vintage song craft from Jon de Rosa whose second full length ‘black halo’ is pencilled for late Spring release via the esteemed Rocket Girl imprint. It’s a set that features guest contributions from Carina Round and Stephen Merritt ahead of which comes  a double a-sided single pairing ‘Coyotes’ and ‘high and lonely’ (both taken from the album) serving to haunt and heal in equal measure. Immeasurably perfect, ‘Coyotes’ soars temptingly trip wired to the sultry weave of south sea shimmies that recall moments from Thunders ‘copycats set with Patti Palladin’, the artistry sumptuously turned to a slow burning epic resonance unto which whose precision and sense of wide screen persona has you imagining the kind of pitch perfect landscape ready made for Roy Orbison though here equally ventured by the sophisticat cool of Matt Munro. Proving the theory that less is more, over on the flip looms ‘high and lonely’  graced in intimacy and reflection all surrendered in arcing chorals that tenderly tease their way to a courtship with the whisper like toned down orchestrations. Bliss.  

Can this lot do no wrong? We do wonder – though not any day soon if this little sortie has anything to do with it. Latest stereo sweetheart from the adored Kassassin Street due to swoon turntables shortly is entitled ‘to be young’, this sugar crusted popinjay is traced in the infectious purr of subtle 80’s motifs all grooved upon a pulse racing star hopping cosmic cruising voyager that ripples and radiates all the time emitting tingling showers of feel good effervescence while hooked upon the kind of affectionate ear candy rush to the senses that you feel defenceless against its love noted charms.  https://soundcloud.com/kassassinstreet/to-be-young

Fancy some wild man rock-a-hula, then look no further than the big bearded and hairy groove of Toliesel’s ‘bones’ which as it happens actually features a big bearded hairy wild man and sounds as though its fallen down a magic time travelling tree hole and woken blurry eyed somewhere in the early 70’s. Summoning up the vintage spirit of Neil Young’s charges Crazy Horse who drag along with them a roving group of moonshine mullered misfits among whose number members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the flying burrito brothers are counted, this escape from it all retreat to mountain wilderness rumbles with a fire in its belly and a chest beating primitive grind that dare we forget to mention looms large to a gruff grizzled campfire spiritual that’s distilled in an age old Americana spirit.

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Just what the bad boogie doctor ordered. You might recall us waxing fondly many months ago about the appearance on our sound player of London’s dark county by way of a brace of cuts ‘watching them burn’ and ‘strange deranged’. Well it seems they are back and brandishing beneath their collective arm a hulking slab of stoned out fuzz flamed psych blues happening in the shape of ‘say to you’. Available as both a download and an ultra-limited cassette (gotta lay our hands on one of these) this howling dude comes pulled from a planned for summer self-titled debuting full length platter via their own slim vision imprint and emerges from the primordial fog gouged and grizzled in the kind of smoke choked blister grooved swagger that has you imagining some n’er do well advance formation of the Black Angels in a pact with High Plains Drifter cutting deals with the horned one at the crossroads whilst recalibrating old Sabbathian grooves – all said just wait for the head dissolving white out haze to rise at the close and you’ll scratch your chin wondering why those Cardinal Fuzz chaps haven’t been stalking them yet.  https://soundcloud.com/darkcounty

Now I’m fairly certain that I can’t be the only person in the world who when faced with platter whose smokily laid back tuneage immediately had us imagining in our minds eye some studio soiree wherein Moviola, the Summer Hymns and soft parade where fondly rummaging through boxes of raspberries, buffalo springfield and db’s grooves for adoring inspiration in order to cook up a lazy eyed recipe had us swooning and fainting in the aisles. I should sincerely hope not. This damn fine slice of drifting American pie is due for release on the captured tracks imprint as part of a twin pronged 7 inch with the promise of an album later in the year. The work of Stateside trio EZTV, ‘dust in the sky’ is sumptuously marooned to a power pop purr that rather than clobber you in face slapping high end riffola instead coolly shimmers and simmers to a smoky off road lilt that weaves open country to craft a widescreen aspect dimpled and dusted in an old school Americana tongue to which admirers of Kevin Tihista and the Mayflies might do well to check out sooner rather than later. https://soundcloud.com/capturedtracks/eztv-dust-in-the-sky/

I’ll be honest, I’m quite taken with this, perhaps it’s the way its swirls and blossoms with a strangely overcast dimpled summer breeziness or maybe it’s down to the cutely acute softly speckled psych flavouring so subtle that you are able to avoid the aftershocks of lysergic tremors routinely dissolving your listening space or then again it could simply be because its trimmed in a lulling bubble grooved affection that whispers doe eyed unlocking your defences finding its way to yank heavy on your heartstrings. Anyhow whatever it is you can’t deny its filing under the tear stained bitter sweet bliss pop section of your – one hopes – vastly amassed record library, and before we forget to mention it’s by the Tambourines and goes by the name ‘another day’ and be called your own by way of a carefully jotted note or for the exchange of a small amount of currency in the general direction of the duo’s Beat Mo imprint.

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Oh my, this is quite out there, off radar and outer worldly. New from Inventions – a titanic twinning of members from explosions in the sky and eluvium who’ve seen a second album ‘maze of woods’ recently outed by bella union – a copy of which we fear spontaneous combustion should we not secure soon – and from which ‘peregrine’ has been released. A ghostly cortege of whispered memories and fleeting apparitions surrendered upon a deeply entrancing wide screen melodic mosaic unto which within whose sepia twisted fabric the neo classical opine of choral haloes dissipate in hazes of dream dazed dronal overtures to bitter sweetly grace your listening experience in tear trimmed regrets of faded romances to which at the conclusion of its sub six minute wake converges beautifully in sun peeling streams of celebration before elegantly evaporating into the ether.

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I swear the last time we had occasion to find our heads expanding and ears a throbbing to the sounds of Dan Deacon that he was dishing up crooked and peculiar sun bleached pop psych outs. But then that was a fair few years back and well we were younger and time changes things including Mr Deacon for it seems these days his creative palette has morphed and matured to incorporate the strangely woozy tropicalia that feeds through the grooves of the ripped from ‘gliss riffer’ full length track ‘when I was done dying’. Intricate and hypnotic this curiously kaleidoscopically primal cosmic campfire folk soup is awash in interweaving loop motifs and lost spirituals, both maddening and dizzy all the time stealing itself upon an axis many moons ago occupied by the Animal Collective whilst assuming something akin to rare intoxicants from a sealed cask discovered on an archaeological find found evaporating in to air space in an accidental uncorking drama. 

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Essential split release happening featuring Sauna Youth in a melee with their errant off spring Monotony should find itself kicking its way out of the Upset the Rhythm stable soon. Formed whilst recording last year’s ‘distractions’ set, Monotony came to be sheltering under the ever expanding Sauna Youth umbrella which has seen in recent times harboured various players taking up extra curricula duties as Cold Pumas and Tense Men. Three tracks feature on the limited 7 inch due to scrap sometime May, Sauna Youth offering a cut from their forthcoming long player with Monotony spiking the flip with a brace of poke you in the eye edginess one of which ‘luxury flats’ has been sent ahead on a scouting mission. Brief, blistered and pretty much unforgiving, ‘luxury flats’ is your close up and personal two chord thrug, an agit nagging feral punk gouged and belched into an 88 second non nonsense wrong side of the town sore thumb of blank generation monotony, bleakness and high rise council estate nightmares.  https://soundcloud.com/upset-the-rhythm/monotony-luxury-flats

Did we dream that we eyed him on the schedules of some Clive Anderson hosted Radio 4 show t’other week wherein he was invited along to perform tracks from his frankly enviable and ridiculously sublime song book. To date we’ve been all a swoon at the mere mention of C Duncan, two singles having flown by primed for arrest with the cryptic promise of an albums worth to follow later in the Summer have somewhat buoyed our affection for music. Via fat cat shortly single number three finds this mercurial talent delicate voyaging terrains more commonly associated with the slo-mo seduction of Cheval Sombre as evidenced on the seafaring flip cut ‘ocean liner’ which carved in whisper kissed spectral celestial orbs demurs with the graceful love noted elegance that once upon a time attached itself to the grooves of releases bearing upon them the name The Earlies. That said nothing quite prepares for the spectacle that is ‘here to there’ – beautified baroque braids, hushed hymnal resonances and the purring pulse racing motorik tremors and softly daubed euphoric rushes find it seductively aligning itself to the upper most reaches of pop’s high table wherein the arrangements, the immediacy and that sense of jaw dropped awe has you imagining stumbling over some studio showdown between Van Dyke Parks, Dennis Wilson and the Left Banke.   https://soundcloud.com/mrduncan

by far one of the best albums we’ve heard this year so far, ‘the door behind the door’ by the Black Ryder has, I don’t mind admitting, been hogging our listening obsessions since looming loved up on our in house player whilst planting the occasional smacker upon our adoring stereo. So with that I dare say you can expect fondness aplenty in an extended album critique soon. For now though a little taste of what to expect for those of you so far out of ear shot. The hazily glazed dream coat that is ‘let me be your light’ shimmers into ear space like some celestial apparition leaving in its wake a vapour trailing love note that thaws, unfurls and gently smoulders with desire laden seduction. Traced upon a hushed aura of dissipating lunar swirls and the soft incline of radiant opines beckoning whispers lead the way through the mist dimpled nothingness with a sighing siren-esque beauty that trails into the ether to the affection sunburst of peeling church bells to seal this frankly angelic happening. I wouldn’t mind it’s not even the best track on the album for ‘seventh moon’ holds that honour.

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New from the ever essential moon glyph imprint, this ‘un will be heading out shortly on a limited pressed cassette entitled ‘slow bruises’ and finds duo Drew and Kirk – better known to the underground cognoscenti as Courtesy – buoyed by admiring glances and notices for their debuting full length ‘idmatic’ both holed up in the Windy city doing impish boog-a-loo and a hybrid mix of off kilter funky ju-ju. Alas no sound links just yet, methinks the label is keeping this proudly under wraps and frankly who can blame them. Lead out single ‘nite nite’ arrives replete in all manner of warping electronica, detuned riffola and out of step beats which coalesce to weave a strangely wiring earworm that scratches insidiously into your psych piping a strange dustily dream weaved mosaic where flea market symphonia crookedly masks a smoking cool ghostly crooned campfire ballad of the type that loosely nibbles around the edges of a youthful Clinic which all ssaid make the listening of that aforementioned album a little more tempting.

Update – Steve Moon Glyph has sorted those sound links…

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Now if we were a proper magazine with your actual readership we’d be getting sent groovy gear like this at such a rate we’d be having to move the bed and sofa into the front path to accommodate the trinkets and all round loveliness. Alas we aren’t and we don’t and so the best we can do is pine over them from afar and wish they were our own (now if that doesn’t get us freebies nothing will – ha ha). Mark Arm is the latest to be inducted in to the hall of Throbblehead fame. These intricately crafted and mounted ‘space age poly resin’ figurines stand 7 inches tall and have been something of a must have essential purchase among the underground punk cognoscenti (we of course occasionally assemble similar items in the likeness of one direction and that Bieber buffoon to shove pins in). These collector’s items come in a limited edition run of 1000 units through aggronautix and arrive housed in specially designed and attractive looking art boxes. Previous invitees to this exclusive club have included Captain Sensible, Devo, Mike Watt, GG Allin and more – you can get more information about these desirables along with ordering info by heading over to http://aggronautix.com/?utm_source=Mark+Arm+of+Mudhoney+Limited+Edition+Throbblehead+Pre-Order&utm_campaign=Mark+Arm&utm_medium=email

Imminent via riding easy shortly the grizzled groove of stoner psych dudes Holy Serpent’s self-titled debut opus from off which by way of a teaser ‘fool’s gold’ is currently doing bad things on the player. A hulking monolith it be, to the maddening death headed groan of howling riff grinds and the heavily hung bad acid trimmed slo-mo scowls you’d easily be forgiven for thinking you’d awoken in some terrifying nightmarish comedown without means of escape, yet emerging through the primordial fog an almost wasted and bonged out bliss kissed oblivion reverberates with hazily glazed head expanding casualness.  https://soundcloud.com/easyriderrecords/sets/holy-serpent

Ridiculously up close and personal not to mention adorably chiselled and acutely cut with the kind of jagged effervescent punch you out immediacy of the type that sets pulses racing and the cause of much swooning in the aisles, this is the trailer track from Nai Harvest’s forthcoming sonic paint bomb ‘hairball’. A sub three minute rollercoaster rush of drilled down frenetic shock pop so infectious it ought to come pre-packed with jabs whilst dragging with it hooks by the shedload, dollops of day-glo daubing and a touching of the brittle melodic mayhem that once upon a time attached to the celebrated grooves of platters squirrelled out by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin not to mention so frantic, energetic and frenetic you fear it may spontaneously combust before hitting the end grooving.  The track incidentally is entitled ‘sick on my heart’ and both it and the aforementioned album are due for record emporium counter fisticuffs shortly via topshelf records…..

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In all fairness, perhaps call it embarrassment on our part, but the last time anything new by Simple Minds troubled our player was around the mid 80’s, I think in truth we were going through a not listening to chart bothering tunes phase, which has pretty much stayed with us ever since, aside that we’ve never stuck around or pinned allegiances to brands and bands and anyway by the time ‘Belfast child’ conquered all we were off in search of sounds anew. That said Simple Minds played a somewhat small role in our formative listening years, you’ll oft hear us using the term ‘ahead of the curve’ and for Kerr and Co it was a justified description, early releases revealed an artiness and a willingness to experiment fusing generic sound species that like-minded peers of their era avoided or lacked the verve to carry out. By and large sitting outside the usual synth sound camp (appealing to both admiring tribes of Joy Division and mark 1 Human League), Simple Minds offered a cooler proposition, their sounds abstract and oft perplexed by the avoidance of your usual verse chorus verse format, even in their earliest days despite their left of centre poise they still possessed enough pop nous to catch the passing ear lobe, even before ‘sister feelings call’ / ‘sons of fascination’ (all said our favourite set) had signposted their statement of intent the ensemble had tucked beneath their arms a formidable back catalogue of forward thinking albums totalling three. Why I mention all this is because there was a slight trepidation in finding looming large on our player a new single, ‘midnight walking’ be its name, revisiting old heroes has, on many numerous occasions, been a harrowing let down, and so you can probably understand the anxiety we faced, should we give it a try or just simply skip ahead and pretend we never saw it. Only curiosity got the better. With a new album lurking in the guise of ‘big music’, ‘midnight walking’ arrives buttressed upon corteges of lunar florets and hyper driving strobe light pulsars powered upon motorik turbos, the sound epic and panoramic comes clipped and framed in a glassy futuristic iciness to recall Swimmer One’s ‘psychogeography’ from 2010’s essential landmark full length ‘dead orchestras’ and dwells upon themes of movement and migration and with it alienation and disconnection, in some respects it is the best and worst, rather more the ‘new gold dream’ in decay and reaching saturation level, a mirror opposite to the idealistic hope that rushed and ushered through the brightly futuristic viewfinder that was ‘theme for great cities’.

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We here are all over this like a rash, a quite frankly near perfect nugget from kraut kooled post rockian alchemists Les Limbes who hail from Bordeaux and are the latest invitees into Hidden Shoal’s enviable extended family. Alas we’ve momentarily lost sight of the press mail but we can assure you that this gridlocked grooving is entitled ‘hypersonic’ and comes boiled and curdled in all manner of tension, suspense and a degree of spy themed mystique that finds its ancestral lineage rooted on the Mancini / Barrry axis whilst circumventing the fiery sci-fi stratospheria gouging so admirably trademarked in recent times by the likes of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and Man..or Astro Man albeit as though atmospherically equipped  with the kind of consuming wide screen density of an at the height of their powers Workhouse before heading rampaging full fury into the dark heart of Mugstar.  https://soundcloud.com/leslimbes33

Be honest, a press release boasting ‘experimental freak punk from China’ – now I don’t know about you but to me that has to be worth a punt. Blighter damn well nearly melted our stereo and sent us flying off our listening perch. This is Round Eye who hail from Shanghai and who shortly will be sporting a self-titled debut full length via ripping records which if, by our reckoning, sounds anything like the teaser cut here (‘City livin’) ought to set tongues a wagging and heart rates a pounding. Absolutely mental stuff delivered at speeds where most surroundings either bend, warp or dissolve and all executed with such impishly chaotic verve that warrants persistent repeat listens. Freakishly all over the shop, ‘City livin’ is a car crash of reference points where you’ll find the insistent three chord throb of the Ramones routinely trashed and surreally turned on its head by the art pop derangement of the Cardiacs and then ransacked bagged and slung in day glo hot spin dryer and fried upon an audaciously pummelled white out oblivion that sounds like an at the edge speed freaking Supergrass with a hot poker up their collective back passage. More please. https://soundcloud.com/teamclermont/round-eye-city-livin?in=teamclermont/sets/team-clermont-2015-press

And now for something tasty from Klaus Morlock whose set ‘the bridmore lodge tapes’ you might well recall us mentioning a few months back on its way to a limited issue on reverb worship. More strangeness abound on their return for ‘the child garden’ is an aural photograph of a forgotten time in 1976 wherein macabre events are recalled during that years fiery summertime linked to the fabled happenings of the medieval cult in the 14th C. we’ve only had time to sample a selection of the sinister sweets on the table whilst we prepare to fire off begging missives for copies, but it’s the groove parting trio of suites that held our gaze and indeed our earlobes,  upon these grooves a prettified arrangement carefully picked, bowed and tied to create a classic Hammer House brit horror bouquet where pastoral folk murmurs peppered in fluke florets waltz and idly dreamily, the lulling rustics of ‘Jennifer’s Ascension’ being as beautiful as things get here, wonderfully undulating as it ushers in a breathy wide open panoramic shot of rolling green valleys and picturesque sleepily wooded hideaways. Similarly no slouch in the affectionately demurred stakes ‘sweet willow’ – as brief as it may first appear – serves as a mellowing and meekly traced slice of fading elegance trimmed in elegiac keys flurries and hushed in melancholia leaving ‘goodnight, little one’ to see matters out amid a part haunting part seductive carousel of lunar lullaby lilts that weave in as though caught upon some fleeting ghost light which aside things ought to appeal to those well versed in all things both Goblin and early 70’s Argento / Fulci inspired filmic soundtracks. https://klausmorlock.bandcamp.com/album/the-child-garden

We’ve just sent forth quickly despatched missives to Allan Murphy for download links for these releases, so while we wait just a brief mention for a handful of weird and warped moments of fractured crookedness from off the workbench of Midwich Youth Club. Methinks he spoils us for here not one but three releases to whet the listening appetite with the release of 2 volumes of the ‘orphans from the electronic landfill’ collection – in essence a library trawl through the Midwich archives gathering together the more fried and left off centre impish sound sculptures from the dark side of Mr Murphy’s hard drive described as not fitting easily on his usual Soft Bodies sets. These neglected gems reveal a playful side to the Midwich persona, ‘inspector knickers’ (Volume 1) is pure radiophonic absurdia skittering around a sonic playroom that melds 70’s children’s TV caricatures and beaten around the edges goofed out mischief mosaics upon wonky and frazzled kaleidoscopic head kicks. On Volume 2 you’ll be greeted to the hilariously titled ‘the OAP disco dancing championships 1978’ which aside being liable to incur the onset of heart attacks and seizures on said elderly contestants had it been for real, captures perfectly a melodic microcosm of that vintage years kitsch meets disco vibe, all spacey and futuristic and by and large hinting Studio 54 winks in a Cerronne meets moroder frisky wig flipped funked out way. https://midwichyouthclub.bandcamp.com/album/orphans-from-the-electronic-landfill-vol-2 and https://midwichyouthclub.bandcamp.com/album/orphans-from-the-electronic-landfill-vol-1

those however preferring their Midwich Youth Club sounds a little less e number concentrated might do well to seek his rebranding of the Fall’s ‘what you need’ which all said sounds so deliciously irregular and disconnected not to mention etched with a touch of Devo ought to prick the earlobes of those much admiring of the frank and wobbly sons imprint, certainly one to file under the more skedaddled and schizoid, and just for the record, more damaged sections of your prized listening library. https://midwichyouthclub.bandcamp.com/track/what-you-need

Those early birds among you exchanging prized hard earned tender of the realm for copies of Cranium Pie’s weird haired opus ‘mechanisms (part 2)’ may well have found tucked inside your parcel a freebie copy of ‘strange fruit and veg’. Typified by the kind of bespoke care and attention we’ve come to expect and adore from fruits de mer, ‘strange fruit and veg’ is a gathering of 18 specially selected covers re-tweaked, rebranded and reframed, a host of forgotten nuggets affectionately reclaimed and rescued from pop’s lost corners by the celebrated mass ranks of FdM regulars along with some recent adoptees to the imprints ever growing extended family. The CD, as ever with these freebie adventures is ultra-limited and comes with its own table menu, the sounds within as always – guaranteed to flip wigs and redecorate your listening space in all manner of kaleidoscopically progressiveness that may depending on the serving induce beard growth or skinny jeaned floppy fringeness or both should the fancy take it. Now elsewhere in these hastily scribbled wordy things you might recall us having previously paid special attention to Schizo Fun Addict’s re-take of the Sorrows’ ‘take a heart’ (incidentally as cool as **** and sexy with it) – therefore one down seventeen to go. Crystal Jacqueline open matters with the vibrantly effervescent ‘all over the world’ – originally by Strange Fruit and here found shimmered in all manner mystical mirages and head spinning cosmicalic jubilance while topos locos opt for a spot of late 60’s strut grooved uber psych grooving for their re-enactment of big bird and the steam shovel’s wiry ‘what’s happening at the psychiatrist’. I’m certain we’ve mentioned Claudio Cataldi’s smoking cool bliss kissed cover of ‘here she comes now’ – this ‘un hazily glazed in fuzzed arabesque snake charms which in truth aren’t a million miles from the kind of mellowed mirages crafted by Cheval Sombre. Next up to the plate Trojan Horse’s utterly adorable lolloping lilt parading through ‘Ohio’ really has to be heard to be appreciated distilled as it in the finest prairie reclined moonshine mosaics whilst somewhere else we must admit to being mildly fond of ZX+ and their tripped out version of ‘she’s a rainbow’ here radiating a frazzled and acid fried intoxica fused with the finest essences of grade A English psychedelia. And so to the curiously named mauve la biche featuring Cary Grace who if I recall rightly last appeared in these pages courtesy of an appearance on that pre Xmas Floyd freak out – enough of that here they are doing all manner of woozily cosmic freakiness to Amon Duul II’s ‘archangel thunderbird’ and emerging out of the other side like an astral riding Rush – which before you all start issuing forth letters of complaint threatening various offers to remove limbs – is no bad thing. Now among the rock / pop great pantheon there are cornerstones – which – well how can I put this bluntly – are untouchable and are always guaranteed to end in tears if you fail to heed the warning. Bo Diddley’s ‘who do you love’ is one such ground zero moment, Juicy Lucy got away with it, so when the Crawlin Hex reared their collective heads above the parapet there was a momentary intake of breath and a slight feeling of unease. Needn’t have worried for these dudes apply some nifty voodoo grooving to their treatment which the dearly departed Lux Interior would have purred not least because it swamp drags the kind of mutant blues rock-a-hula that was the trademark of the Cramps though here found casting bad juju spells in an after-hours studio soiree with Mojo Nixon. Much admired around these here parts Jay Tausig goes all interstellar cosmic overlord for his version of Motorhead’s landmark ‘ace of spades’ and emerges t’other side of the lunar eclipse equipping it with a what if imagining of how it would sound in the hands of Lemmy’s former charges Hawkwind. And talking of Hawkwind….ah aural alchemists Vert:x have upon previous visitations to these pages been known to trip minds with their brand of musical hallucinogenia and ‘circles’ proves no exception, a krautian white out rippled in reality altering swirls which frankly in short all you need to know is that it has the head expanding side effects of a cosmic chemistry set. Now who would have thought 25 years ago that the purveyors of shroomed out weird ear chemical trance would later in life be mainlining t-rex into their shape shifting sonic tapestry, long adored around here Magic Mushroom Band go all prog majestic for what can only be described as a totally unexpected growl gouged big boots and big hair stomper surfacing as their brief but blistered groove call ‘kings of the rumbling spires’ while Todd Dillingham does a pretty out there and shit faced take of ‘hey Joe’ which ought to send re-collective tremors among those around first time of asking when the Butthole Surfers went rummaging through Donovan’s back catalogue. Not being the greatest fans of the Beatles, there’s always an air of ‘must we’ when one of their sort makes the occasional appearance on a compilation, and so on this occasion the honour goes to Rob Gould, stand up take a bow why don’t you sir for his version of ‘tomorrow never knows’ – admittedly one of the better moments from the mop top musical carousel – is a gloriously bonged out happening replete with hazy haloes of hypno grooved eastern drones which unless our ears do deceive slyly circle the kind of way out wooziness that a certain Mr Boom encapsulated in his Spectrum guise. We suggest you kick back a spell, clear your headspace of all the to do jumble of modern day life and simply let yourself go for the sumptuous six minute astral ride that is Vostok’s ‘Drome’ – one of three cuts on this compilation that are not covers at all, this babe in particular imagining some blissed out studio campfire summit visited upon by a seriously mellowed flying saucer attack and roy Montgomery. Award for best moment of the set skinning both the Schizo’s and Cataldi just is the green telescope’s frazzled freakbeat re-reading of ‘I’m a living sickness’ a darkly haunting slab of sparsely gouged groove dragged from the shadowy recesses of a mind warped by loss and rejection and no doubt copious amount of chemical additives the type of which you’d be hard pushed to find readily available at the local pharmacy counter, anyhow this cool dude comes curdled in a primitive framing of shimmering reverbs and a vintage garage beat hollowing. Now for the obligatory apologies corner, this time it’s the turn of the blue giant zeta puppies who a little while back sent over a physical copy of a download only EP that they are currently collectively sporting and which will be getting due care and attention in a day or two – so sorry lads for the oversight. For now here they appear here doing a pretty neat and smoking Link-esque slab of twanged out psychotropic futurama grooved in all manner of TV21 styled sci-fi-riffic swirls and mind warps which all said should appeal to those much missing of Man…or Astro Man. Wrapping up the set something a little schizoid and special with it. There’s always been a keenly tuned affection here for the squillions of cover versions of Barrett’s ‘vegetable man’ that have come our way over the years, of course the most noted being the Soft Boys, however that said the previously unknown to us mystery crystals come close to stealing the vote for their perilous step in to the light sucking psychosis cloud amasses and descends overloading the senses to fracture your headspace in the kind nightmarish trip from reality that one fears many space cadets will not return and if they do they’ll be frazzled imitations of their former selves. It’s no wonder that the other track featured on the set that isn’t a cover at all but the A side to an ultra-limited 7 inch by the Telephones, their debut as it happens which those of you who keep abreast of Keith FdM’s facebook postings will be all too aware he’s been raving about and no wonder because this sly eyed mellow toned gem stone is succulently dimpled in the kind of laid back groove that attached to the Soft Parade’s ‘nobody told you anything’ albeit as though here impishly recalibrated by a gathering ensemble made up of members of Stairs and the Wicked Whispers and then smokily draped upon a deliriously chilled and hypnotic Eastern piping. Drop dead gorgeous if you ask me which reminds me we’ve happened across a moving picture show of it – anyhow its out via heavy soul and backed by the spiffing ‘Amsterdam’.

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And still with Fruits de Mer, it seems their planned label double heading Games for May extravaganza with mega dodo will be graced by two ultra-limited 7 inch releases exclusively available at the event (along with that previously mentioned Games for May 5 track 7 inch – a review of which you’ll find tagged at the end of this mention) – these being the long touted ‘momentary one’ and ‘momentary two’ outings. Only 300 of these babies of which 100 are being shared out among the artists involved with the remaining 200 up for grabs on attendance to this spring filled psyche soiree. All seven tracks featured on these two slabs of vinyl previously appeared on last year’s well received and much adored around here club members double disc freebie set ‘a momentary lapse of vinyl’ – an exhaustive feast that paid tribute to Barrett / Floyd. The selective criteria for these two volumes was it appears to prise together those tracks more readily associated and penned during the pre ‘Dark Side’ phase from a time when psychedelic pied piper Syd set the controls, the first of the two volumes gathering a femme fronted trio of beguiling delights. Ilona V opens proceedings with the quite sublime ‘golden hair’ – brief as it may first appear its ghost like presence is possessed of enough frail ethereal beauty to have the hardiest of souls standing jaw dropped and attentively adoring, its mistily emerged sparse ice draped stilled sereneness echoing the minimalist spell craft of Nico. What Crystal Jacqueline (album review coming incidentally) does with ‘grantchester meadows’ is surely the stuff of ancient spell books, a melodic mysterio shimmered in mystical murmurs and draped in fairy tale follies and arcane legends all beautifully entranced in dream weaved psych folk mirages. Rounding out matters to the groove end, Cary Grace’s ‘cirrus minor’ is beyond bewitchment, siren-esque whispers tremble and tease amid a wood crafted willowyness of bird song and petrified pastorals before ascending into astral pastures wherein a master class of bliss kissed overtures seduce and serenade.    

Volume II of the momentary twinset opens to the succulently prairie pining sounds of Max Kinghorn-Mills whose re-treatment of ‘dark globe’ is rephrased in a gorgeously honeyed and lazy eyed countrified bouquet to which hints at the genteel carefree lolloping artistry of the Soft Parade and similarly touches base with the yearn and tumble down tuneage of the kingsbury manx and a very youthful of montreal which by our reckoning makes for a delightfully dinked demurring dreamcoat. As previously reported Claudio Cataldi’s rewire of ‘she took a long cold look’ plugs itself directly into the melodic mainframe of a Robyn Hitchcock fronted Egyptians and emerges from the other side smoked in acute coolness. And talking of coolness surely its high time for a Chemistry Set full length following several highly regarded Fruits de Mer happenings they’re found here incidentally craftily weaving elements of the Beach Boys ‘heroes and villains’ along with their own ‘we live as we dream….alone’ into their reading of Floyd’s ‘see emily play’ to concoct a deeply alluring psych pop playground draped in baroque braids and head shrooming woozy flashbacks – just love the Bickers-esque riff opines at the close. Perhaps of the quartet the closest in artistic spirit to Barrett is Todd Dillingham and Golly McCry’s re-tweaking of ‘the gnome’ here recoded in a loon crooned childlike crookedness much recalling the eccentric English psych patronage of the much missed Murmurs of Irma whilst festooned in all manner of surrealist nursery rhyme fayre that taps very loudly on the door of those weird kaleidoscopic heads over at Elephant 6 collective.

https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/games-for-may/

https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/a-momentary-lapse-of-vinyl/

Staying with those fruits de mer chaps because around about now vinyl copies of the latest Cranium Pie album ‘mechanisms part 2’ should be landing on door mats of residences astute enough to order and heading at speed towards turntable sets across the land to time travel all back to a time in memories not so recent past wherein songs took up a life of their own, more works of art studiously crafted and turned fully formed upon unexpected listening soirees to lay seeds, okay there’s much over indulgence at play to the level that you scarce wonder who in their right mind label wise would take a punt and it’s because of just this that you oft find Fruits de Mer considered by many as the natural heirs of lost labels such as Charisma, Island, Vertigo et al, it’s that self-same free spirited attitude and expression giving head to ensembles so clearly out of step and off road with the usual musical tide to get heard that makes the label a vital and essential player in a cut throat market / medium so divorced from what people want to hear that they contrive to twist the stakes trying to control you into thinking what they have and serve up is what your listening lives desire. Pressed up on coloured wax, a double album limited to just 700 copies, ‘mechanisms part II’ is more than a mere record, it’s an event, an experience, a lesson given by a collective of shared minds left to twiddle, grow wild in a sonic shed 

Is this not the cutest button you’ve heard in a while, well for us the while in question was in truth about an hour ago when we heard the new Death and Vanilla single and something very tasty heading out of urtovox soon by a toys orchestra, dare we neglect to mention nu grooviness from Grrl Pal – but all that’s for later right. Long standing observers of these missives (indeed I pity you all) might well recall us falling heads over proverbial heels when Princess Chelsea loomed large on our sonic radar a year or more ago with ‘cigarette duet’. Now signed to flying nun / little chief new full length platter ‘the great cybernetic depression’ is due to descend early June and bathe all in amorphous loveliness at least that’s what lead out herald ‘no church on Sunday’ hints. Haloed in minimalist murmurs and delicately ice chiselled in ethereal auras, this breathlessly longing slice of celestial happening is seductively hushed in uplifting swathes of ghostly euphoria all sweetly dream-scaped in flotillas of altering states of grace, quite divine if you ask me.

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Another ensemble that we’ve had the pleasure of featuring in these pages many, many moons ago when we were ever so much younger are Death and Vanilla. Last time out they arrested our listening space and had us in surrendering states when at the time signed to the fledging though insistently forward thinking and acutely cool Moon Glyph imprint. These days picked up by Fire where shortly they’ll be adoring turntables with a new full length ‘to where the wild thing are’. Before that though and to prepare your listening palettes the quite something else ‘Arcana’ has been sent ahead on a scouting mission. As good a place to start in describing this shy eyed gem is to say it’s exquisite – scarcely a dry eye in the place for this beauty veers momentarily in to view all sepia trimmed, haloed and shaded in vintage 60’s noir toned baroque posies softly crushed in forlorn love noted opines, a heavenly honey falling headlong into sound worlds once inhabited by a very youthful Broadcast (and the Soundcarriers come to think of it) whilst found mournfully patrolling an orbital trajectory from inside a cocooned astral bubble transmitting fading distress calls to a silent and somewhat lost home world, transfixing and utterly captivating.  https://soundcloud.com/firerecords/arcana-1

Cast your minds back a little while to say – January, it was then we encountered duo Grrl Pal who by the time had gotten in touch with us where already three releases into a promised song a month year-long soiree. Not sure what happened to February’s or March’s selections but April’s is shaping up fine and dandy and I must admit has had us buoyed and somewhat bathed in a sunny feel good radiance which is a tad slightly disconcerting given its night-time and fairly miserable outside with the grip of winter hanging on grimly to what is meant to be summertime. But enough of the weather reporting and onward to the sounds, the acutely amorphous ‘radar’ comes demurringly dinked in all manner of affectionate lunar lilts teased in spectral seduction which had I not known better would have unquestionably accepted rumours of it being a dream pop tag team fused by the cross wiring of DNA’s belonging to Dollar and Noblesse Oblige aboard celestial surf boards sky hopping distant star formations ushering beautified Balearic mirages in their vapour trail. Alas no sound cloud links just yet but we are working on it. 

 Been a wee while since we had cause to hang out the bunting in child-like expectation of new tastiness from the Cathedral Transmissions imprint, so long in fact we were minded to send them a card. However we can rest and sleep at night having called off the proposed search party because there’s shortly to be an ultra-limited (in an issue of 40) outing for Ben Rath entitled ‘you’re making this sound’. Little is known about Mr Rath, or at least there is but the label aren’t cracking on, that said a short mission statement (I guess we’ll call it) describes the release and artist alike as ‘humble tries, cheap mics, amateur sound design, uncertain communiques’ – surely lights are well and truly hidden under proverbial bushels for from what we can garner from the sampler track on show. ‘one time for all time’ is sweetly garnished in glitch graced shimmer tones, crackling and distorting it blurrily focuses itself trying to make sense of its hazy twilight surroundings through sleepy headed eyes all the time gently cajoled and divinely bathed in dissipating pulsar orbs of heavenly murmurs, till at once through a clearing the rustle and rhyme of delicate rustics sweetly arrests the air in a momentary cloud parting sequence before trailing into silence. Only 40 available so you better get a wiggle on. http://cathedraltransmissions.bandcamp.com/

And so to the Great Pop Supplement. Much buoyed around these here parts by the arrival of a humungous parcel where gathered within the latest seasons flowerings to include some of the dandiest looking wax pressings that’ve come our way in such an age.

First up the Snails who we’ve mentioned in previous musings around here…..again limited and frankly quite desirable not least if it’s the tindersticks and the frail and fragile murmurs of a ‘tigermilk’ era Belle and Sebastian that do float your turntabling boat, certainly one of the finest releases we’ve so far had the pleasure of hearing the year so far. This one comes pressed up on clear vinyl all housed in a rather cute and fetching circular sleeve which on first sight we mistook for being a picture disc….

Our earlier mention in case you missed it is here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/snails-2/

While the video which goes a lot like this can be viewed here…..

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Those preferring their sonic delights distilled in traditional gaelic flavourings might well be advised to settle down a spell, kick off your shoes and the woes and trials of the day to be transported to picture postcard views of rolling green hills and the prettified colouring of Spring’s vivid and vibrant floral bouquets. Pressed up on 7 inches of limited wax – 500 to be precise, each coming adorned on – well dark cherry coloured vinyl – all housed in a rather eye catching fold around sleeve – the latest outing from husband and wife folk drone alchemists Mike and Cara Gangloff finds the duo carefully and diligently treating a brace of traditional tunes in the shape of ‘Durang’s hornpipe’ and ‘rake and rambling boy’, the former a flighty jig wherein violas and fiddles sweetly collide, caress and coo to craft a harmonious lilt that speaks in lost tongues to reclaim an artistry studiously alive in a vintage vibrancy rippled in a centuries old merry magicalia. That said we suggest you flip the disc for the bewitching spectacle that is ‘rake and rambling boy’, through the twilight mists a gloriously mesmeric mountain folk spiritual emerges into the clear light, both haunting and beautiful not to say transfixing and sparsely daubed there’s something primitive here channelling heavy upon an aural axis where at one end the youthful intonations of John Fahey are intrinsically tied by unseen apron strings to the Palace Brothers. Via great pop supplement.

Again mentioned earlier whereupon we cast a more than fond ear on the lead out track ‘golden vanity’ (links below), this is the latest Great Pop Supplement arrivals the much admired and keenly thought of the Hanging Stars with the previously unheard around here ‘floodbound’ which I must admit is the favourite of the two cuts pressed upon this again limited 7 inch set – this time on your standard black vinyl in case you are keeping a tally and something which opining slides, shimmer toned shuffles and the cosy toed distracting demur of its drifting head in the clouds lazy eyed inclines aside had us much recalling a readily more thoughtfully subdued and vulnerable Amsterdam albeit traced and softly bathed in the ghost light of a Stone Roses flip side, adorable if you ask me.  

https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/the-hanging-stars/  

A rare visit to the local record emporium secured us a copy of a much loved soundtrack which unless my memory fails has never before been released on vinyl (I could be wrong) until now. ‘Halloween III – the season of the witch’ has its admirers and detractors in equal number, its failing being that it was packaged in what is now seen as the Halloween franchise, to its credit it stands head and shoulders aloft of the whole 80’s horrorphonic / sci –fi canon, ‘blade runner’ and ‘the terminator’ excepting of course, and most importantly is, for this scribe at least, the best of the original trio of H releases. Released at a time when the notion of the film franchise as a cash cow to be exploited and abused was still a fledging silent lamb, ‘Halloween III’ sought to expand the shock / knife / man in a mask who won’t die template to incorporate the many myths, legends and horrors associated with All Hallows Eve, the idea that each would reset the formula as well as serving to start each additional project from scratch with an blank canvas. There were still masks and the occasional knives as well as some pretty novel and memorable scenes involving heads being crushed by vice pummelling hands and face smoking laser blasts. And then there was the soundtrack. Of course I won’t deny – it’d be churlish – that the original ‘Halloween’ theme isn’t now somehow synonymous with its namesakes festivities, but while the original portrayed the looming lullaby of the bogey man, ‘Halloween III’ was something altogether more penetrating – cold and detached with dread, this wasn’t merely some tunnel vision psychopath going through his little black book and unopened Christmas card lists cutting and pruning the family tree but an ancient blood-letting ritual served on a global genocide setting that featured a jolly old Irishman (Cochran), Stonehenge, cosmic star alignments, killer droids and swapped the slash / gore element of H1 and H2 for witchcraft and centred on the relatively taboo subject – at the time at least – of squarely aiming its attack on children. And okay granted the storyline was a little unfathomable and had more holes than Michael Myers hockey mask, but horror has no boundaries and makes no senses and given most had been sold on the concept of a super strong homicidal maniac who simply refused to die then then the notion of TV controlled activating micro-chips and cranium crushing masks was an idea sold on pre-order alone. And we haven’t even gotten around to mentioning the underlying anti commercialism commentary that bubbles beneath the surface throughout. However bleak visuals aside what makes Halloween III so compelling is its soundtrack. Scored and composed by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth (the former fresh from ‘the Thing’) from its opening through to its close the synthesizer based compositions craft something sparse, chilling and devoid of hope, it hinted of bleak futurism (more so no future – in truth far edgier and frightening than Vangelis’ ‘blade runner’ and perhaps a reference point and influence on Brad Fiedel’s T1 score) and a futile morbidity where a death headed edginess falls to sour and ghost the visuals with a winter grim choking dark cloak, even the chirping commercial ‘Silver Shamrock’ idents counting down the days and nights to the secret horror where creepily charmed in a disturbingly eerie unease that made gruesome play of Halloween’s trick or treat. Gone are H1’s simplistic minimal key phrases (though echoes of them ghost in at ‘drive to Santa Mira’) and in their place the tensely tight appearance of brooding silvery pulsar swathes, slowed dronal recitals and sombre sonic structures time sequenced against the visuals to maximise effect, the vibe unavoidably down and despaired in a void like apocalyptic cheerless nothingness that literally sucks in the light like some melodic black hole. Issued by Death Waltz, the packaging is faultless and quite frankly alone worth exchanging your hard earned readies for, full colourised eye catching sleeving, pumpkin coloured vinyl, huge poster and a superb information packed booklet explaining the films backstory and concept featuring commentary / interviews with both John Carpenter and Alan Howarth and including a critique by writer Kim Newman.     

Eyed this via an Adam Leonard facebook posting, a track which Mr Leonard appears contributing both vocals and guitar taken from a forthcoming album for wild science by Richard Moult this is the quite captivating ‘on receiving a box of spring flowers from London’. A baroque beautified Autumnal free spirit swooned in the lush seductive sigh of surrendering string arrangements and the tumbling tremor of key flurries whose becoming and beguiled noir folk flirtations ought to appeal to the more astute listener whose turntable is accustomed to the visitations of platters by the likes of Oddfellows Casino and the Shady Bard. https://soundcloud.com/wildsilence/richard-moult-on-receiving-a-box-of-spring-flowers-in-london

Well worth investigating further and again something we mentioned briefly in earlier despatches, this is, from what we can gather, the debuting release from Vuurwerk, the title track from their quite sublime EP entitled ‘warrior’ through the ever adored lo recordings stable. Featuring Sylvie Kreusch, ‘warrior’ comes from a place that imagines a clandestine meeting enacted upon by Alt-j and no ceremony, a spectral beauty shimmered in shy eyed nocturnal noir all delicately dimpled in hypno grooved dub traces all housed in a demurring glacial framing – irresistible in short.  

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A release that you suspect and fear may fall beneath the radar yet will remain long in the collective memory of all those touched by its sense of acute artistry and classically conceived execution, to grow in stature and affection. Simply entitled ‘the EP’ via daydream records by paperface, the attached press blurb only briefly hints of the wonders to be found locked within the releases secret grooves, the story telling sometimes funny otherwise bitter sweet comes teased in a 60’s classicism once upon a time reclaimed by Divine Comedy, from the lush string seduced opines of opening cut ‘Amsterdam’ something stirs drizzled in a twinkling grandeur that owes much to Bacharach and David to slyly nibble beneath your defences to sigh and swoon gracefully an aural tailoring tweaked in radiance and hinting of the Brigadier whilst seemingly providing a perfect hideaway for Robert Wyatt. The sweet soulful melancholia of the thoughtfully teased ‘out of time’ is softly caressed with the introspective grooving of Oddfellows Casino albeit as though buttressed longingly awash in the blissful beauty of the Panda Gang nee the BDI’s. The punch you out stutter stop go power pop throbbed ‘passer by’ has something of a youthful Elvis Costello cleverly wiring its way to hook into your psyche while the quietly epic and tear stained traced ‘holy water’ rounds out this quite attractive four track set on something of a downcast note swirled in mournful murmurs all kissed with a storm orchestrating finale.

Certain to fly off the racks in the blink of an eye when it appears early May as a limited 750 only clear vinyl 7 inch via electronic sound, this heavyweight meeting of minds finds Wolfgang Flur in a collaborative face off with Jack Dangers, both surely in need of introduction – the former part of the golden age era Kraftwerk whilst the latter part of the ahead of the curve forward thinking multi generic fusing visionaries Meat Beat Manifesto – began work on ‘staying in the shadow’ last December by way of swapping to and forth audio files from Dusseldorf to San Francisco with the final mixes and mastering completed in February. Alas we’ve only got a 40 second sound clip but I’d like to think we are right in saying there’s more than enough here to get the chattering classes suitably satiated though I must admit we here are getting a little accustomed and dare we say a tad intrigued at the current want of old school pioneers to start digs excavating their past under the auspices of the retro futuristic brolly. But tell me, is it just me who upon encountering ‘staying in the shadow’ detects the distant echo of ‘tour de France’ and ‘computer world’ both feverishly overheating their diodes and being lovingly transposed in the minimalist binary translator of an impishly Dadaist late 70’s experimental Cabaret Voltaire. https://soundcloud.com/electronicsoundmagazine/jack-dangers-wolfgang-flur-staying-in-the-shadow-clip

Arriving soon via the beloved Static Caravan imprint shortly a very special release due to hit stores in a limited cassette pressing of just 100 copies on Record Store Day. ‘this life is but a passing dream’ is the debut release from Art of the Memory Palace an Anglo Scottish meeting of minds between Raz Ullah and Andrew Mitchell both sharing an adoration for vintage analogue keys and for the craft of ethereal tonalities. Across these nine celestial callings the duo have lushly conceived a both beguiling and enchanting release that simply oozes in such crystal cut out of step artistry you’d rightly be cooing and adoring had you eyed upon its wares the finders keepers or wonderful sound hallmark stamp of excellence branded upon its being.  A divine dream weaved tapestry of astral gliding cosmicalia ushers throughout, hints of the floaty raptures found amid the legendary canons of Tangerine Dream, Goblin, Komeda and La Dusseldorf are subtly teased and echoed between the groove lines to coalesce and sublimely surrender to the turn of hazily glazed monastic murmurs swathed in a tropical lunar carousels to forge out something seductively ethereal and aglow in nocturnal noir. From the moment ‘sun blinded capsule memory haze’ ushers into view you instinctively get the feeling that you are passing through some unseen celestial veil unto which what lies behind is one of those most rare and treasured moments where a records ability to lend some form of escapism to the listener is richly rewarded by the sublime greeting of a graceful symphonia that arrests far more than the simply functional ear to sound relationship and instead has you of the sense of being touched by something far more resonant as though a visitation. For what Art of the Memory Palace do is in some way a purge of the rough edges found lying in your record collection for here elements of lounge, 60’s noir, 70’s library troves, a seasoning of star travelling kraut cadets and smoky chill tripped sophistication congregate to form a lush magicalia hooked upon the stuff that stars form from, in short a divine astral ride to which the aforementioned opener calibrates the flight settings swathed in arpeggio dimples and an orbital array of dream weaved whispered elegance. References are easy, there’s the minimalist lunar folk of ‘valley exit jets’ hinting at a readily more subdued and vulnerable dark captain light captain while ‘the ghost of benno ohnesorg (part 1)’ imagines futuristic winter lands filtered through the glacial aural viewfinder shared by a ‘blade runner’ in situ Vangelis and John Carpenter which mid way through suddenly stops in its tracks about turns and re-emerges kissed and shimmered in a romantically lulling half-light that owes to the more mellow moments found on Grails landmark ‘doomsdayer’s holiday’. Somewhere else the stately and spectral soft tonalities of ‘the Ancient Mariner’s Burden’ dreamily dissipate amid the hush of centuries old chorals as they weave their silent cosmic folk siren song to sweetly morph into the wave formed Mancini mosaic that is ‘Doxologized’.  Time tripping back to early 70’s ‘la Lumiere’ is blessed with more than a knowing nod to former Static Caravan acolyte fortdax albeit here eyed rewiring lost John Barry spy motifs and sculpturing them into orbital carousels, though all said and done forced to choose a favourite you can’t do no worse that the simply sumptuous electro pop swoon of ‘Waalhaven’ – an effervescent honey kissed with the airless seduction of a lovelorn star hopping Fuxa cutting shapes upon a celestial Studio 54 floor which leaves the parting ‘this life is but a passing dream’ to return you home to the cold comfort of reality serenely cruise controlling the navigatory circuits in sleepy headed willowy bliss trails. Essential.

And back with the Great Pop Supplement for the sophomore outing from the Lucid Dream, the eye catching limited to 750 split colour vinyl version (aqua marine / green) is worth the entrance fee alone (the standard CD variant coming via holy are you?). Upon the grooves are pressed 8 head shrooming kraut kooled white knuckle mind expanders that find the Lucid dudes hyper driving the cosmic divides in a bliss kissed haze of lock grooving loveliness to find them upping the ante on the chasing pack. ‘mona lisa’ opens matters with a pensive majesty and locates them exploring the more muscular psych pummelling territories of fellow cosmic cadets hookworms and eat lights become lights, a hulking 8 minute cosmic odyssey that soon rips free of its harnesses hurtling skywards adorned and draped in crystalline Will Bunnymen Sergeant-esque motifs and freewheeling with it a head caning nuts down foot to the pedal melodic magma swathed in trip-a-delic reverbs and snake charmed opines. Previously mentioned around these here parts when it was originally sent on reconnaissance manoeuvres by way as a herald, the uber cool ‘cold killer’ is so sexy it ought by rights to come certificated with a health warning and arrives dead eyed and shimmer toned in a seductively shadow lined strut gouged framing that finds it clipped in the kind of pulse racing frenzied motorik mantra that see it veering head first into the psychotropic white out of a particularly potently volatile Insect Guide whilst hooked upon a brain washing dream machine. Starting brightly the fractious ‘the darkest day – head musik’ is groomed and ached in Stones-esque ‘paint it black’ dissipates, the tightening grip of desperation slowly strangling with vice like tension to undergo a fracturing, anxiety amassing descent into darkening oblivion ablaze in a head melting swirling feedback inferno. Somewhere else ratcheting up the velocity the single ‘moonstruck’ flies straight into the epicentre of a Hawkwind black hole for a thunderous heart attack inducing cosmicalic ride while over on side 2 things get somewhat looser and decidedly mellow not least on the hypno grooved bliss kissed love charm ‘morning breeze’ wherein from out of the trance toned arabesque haze a white hot cauldron of frantic feedback fury encircles to a craft a cataclysmic finale. Methinks one for your festival playlists, just like it says on the tin ‘unchained dub’ is your smoking chill tipped mind morphing tab toking trip-a-hula, spaced out dubtronics give it a feel of a lunar shanty at times reminiscent of Discordia replete with laser strobes and wigged out psychotropics which inevitably falls into and leads onto ‘unchained’, a bubble grooved beauty trip wired to the subtle haze of west coast vibes and ghosted in the sunny ram-a-lama beat pop grooved aspect of Spectrum albeit as though tweaked by Joe Meek. All said though, for all the blurring effects pedal shimmers we here are more than a tad fond of the closing ‘you and I’ a gorgeously monochrome misty eyed homage to 50’s bubble grooved teen angst teased in forlorn showers of yearn all haloed in a golden age pop vintage as though the result of some ghostly visitation by way of lost transmissions piped across the galactic quadrants from long dead distant cosmic outposts. Bliss.    

Many thanks to Nat for sending over the recent batch of Sonic Cathedral smokers, you might well remember us a little while back taking a shine to the Alan Vega mix of the Vacant Lots’ ‘6am’, well the flipside is no slouch either and finds Brian Jonestown Massacre’s chief psych mystic Anton Newcombe doing woozy kaleidoscopic makeovers on ‘never satisfied’ for what can only be described as a mind locking mantra skinned up on Spacemen 3 flashbacks and a wigged flipped hypno grooved cocktail of blurry blissed out mosaics and hazy hallucinogenia which all said ought to appeal to those admiring of the early aural assaults of the black angels.

Latest invitees to the sonic cathedral inner circle Spectres fresh from acclaim deservedly heaped upon their debuting full length platter ‘dying’ recently courted column inches after issuing a joint statement with the label concerning issues relating to getting a planned label (with howling owl records) / band split outing with Lorelle meets the Obsolete pressed in time for a proposed release date which had proven nigh on impossible due to the deadline schedules on said pressing plants being set aside to getting ‘product’ ready for Record Store Day (a commentary upon which we’ll put our own two penn’orth into shortly for what it’s worth). Anyway a limited split release as advertised between Spectres and Lorelle meets the Obsolete (Spectres meet the Obsolete) each applying their sonic charms to eke out a cover of the other (Lorelle incidentally take to dream glazing Spectres’ ‘the sky of all places’) while Spectres impishly fuse together ‘sealed scene’ and ‘what’s holding you’ to morph ‘stealed scene’ and into bargain take the Mexicans’ radiant glam psych mantra into shadowy places for a beaten out of shape and blistered white hot head tripping 6 minute freak storm spoon fed on magic mushrooms and frankly off its box (in a good way I hasten to add) to court an opiated campfire psych seasoning that teeters unsteadily upon a finite line drawn between oblivion and s*** faced cool.

Here’s that joint statement…. http://www.soniccathedral.co.uk/why-record-store-day-is-dying/

I’ve said ‘product’ deliberately in the previous review, even housing it in eye catching apostrophes, and the point is this – RSD has become a tool for the majors too rid themselves of ‘product’, ‘product’ that where it to appear the rest of the year it’d be ignored and rightly junked but because it appears on the all-important RSD schedule sporting limited edition day special stickers and squarely aimed at a captive audience sometimes with more money than sense rather than a notion of loyalty to the record shop they purchase it from (like where are you for the other 364 days) it becomes open season to hike up the price. And while we are on the subject of price – the whole point of RSD was to ramp up interest in the local independent record emporium – to support them and perhaps give them a profitable payday the proceeds of which might just help a fair few of them get through the lean months and make it intact to next year’s day long soiree. However we’ve got it on good authority that several of these labels have been squeezing the margins with one 7 inch single commanding a retail price in excess of £20. I’m sorry but do I need a shed load of Bruce Springsteen represses – no sir – what I do want are releases from the likes of Bureau B and heavenly who are both putting out exclusive split releases the latter numbering 7 and all corkers and to be perfectly honest if I see one more regurgitating Pistols box set I fear I won’t be able to stop the enactment of record rage. In short, RSD has lost its message, its point and its relevance. It’s been hijacked by the type of industry executives who sought to crush the independent record shops in the first place. It’s now up to the independent dealers, shops and labels to reclaim the original spirit of RSD as their own.

This one nearly went amiss the recent house move fiasco nonsense, latest on the uber cool punk fox imprint in limited form wherein it comes stamped up on 7 inches of clear blue wax is a spanking three track spike topped lovely from Leeds quartet Nervous Twitch whose 50’s teen pop ram-a-lama infected surf twang is clearly attuned to the legendary femme fronted legends of the past. First up the rapid fire frenetic three chord thrug that is ‘jonny’s got a gun’ pogoes, pokes and punches its way into your affection with all the candy coated gusto of a Shonen Knife smooching session with Helen Love refereed by the Rezillos, short sharp straight to the point dayglo draped punk pouting of the type that much recalls the sorely missed Manhattan Love Suicides. Equally holding its own in the affection stakes ‘And we did’ finds them nodding to both the Shangri-La’s and the Shaggs for some seriously nifty vintage grooved 50’s throb pop whilst curled up to the speakers cooing and shimmying its surf trimmed Spector haloes. All said our favourite moment comes tucked away on the flip side, possessed of a killer corkscrewing riffola punctuated and gouged in stratospheric stabs the teeth baring ‘this modern world’ comes kissed in all manner of panoramic 80’s motifs aligned to the kind of super cooled swagger and smoulder that leaves you adoring in the aisles which if you’re none too careful might leave you open to being steamrollered by the oncoming killer crunch of its hook heaving chorus line. 

Moving pictures here…..

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Another release that suffered from the recent house move and nearly got lost as a result, arriving literally on the day we were shipping out and quickly stuffed into a spare bag that until this weekend has remained somewhat free from attention and manhandling. Therefore apologies are long overdue to both label and band – Jigsaw Records and Animal Daydream, the latter of whom arrive sporting a quite dandified feel good four track EP entitled ‘easy pleasures’ which should our ears deceive comes speckled and charmed in the shimmer hazed cool that used to adore the grooves of the Summer Hymns once upon a time when we were all oh so much younger. As advertised four sun-kissed treats await inside this 7 inch set, ‘Canyon Rose’ opens proceedings to the radiant greeting of ‘wild honey-esque’ fanfares before being blissfully trimmed in the delicate driftwood dusting of west coast flavours smoked and lilted in lazy eyed lulls desirably charmed and teased in the kind of country rock vintage that ought to have admirers of both Parsons and Nesmith literally jaws agape. The soulful shimmy of the breezily seafaring ‘glass ships’ arrives equipped with the subtle addition of star dripped cosmic swathes and motorik grooving while the wide eyed sugar rush of the love noted ‘easy pleasures’ is haloed in crushes of softly lulled jangling effervescence that one suspects fans of the Epstein. However for us the best moment of the set by far is the genteel and thoughtful parting floral posy that is ‘I knew you would come along before the fall’ wherein clear hints at a collective fondness for the Left Banke are revealed by way of the ghostly bewitchment of the string sighing baroque folk magicalia unfurling within. https://jigsawrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pzl065-animal-daydream-easy-pleasures-ep

Quite frankly I fear little sleep will pass until we secure a copy of this rarefied nugget. The latest heading out of the twin houses of freaksville and shiny beast is ‘ouroboros’ by Alice Artaud, a mysterious fairy tale of a giant snake who sends dreams to children and a dark hearted masked queen who wants to kill him all set upon an arresting and elegiac progressive psych folk tapestry sung in French that’s both disquietingly beautiful and disarmingly enchanting, seriously you’ll not encounter such a more mysterious and bewitching listening experience, musical reveries abridged by narrative interludes that swirl and shimmer like fleeting lullabies and hazy school yard nursery rhymes all ghosted in choral raptures and steeped in a melodic vintage that pre-dates modern day pop expressionism with the woozily waltzing ‘la danse du cycle’ being prime contender for moment of the set.  http://aliceartaud.bandcamp.com/album/ouroboros

Ps I should say that the parting ‘ouroboros (part 2)’ is very Goblin c. ‘suspiria’ albeit seductively kissed by a Komeda dreaminess.

Brief mention for this, eyed on the future Static Caravan listings schedule and due for release in what we assume to be a criminally limited edition that’ll find it sitting within a USB stick housed inside of a VHS case, this is TVAM who by all accounts of late have been gate crashing the most in demand parties in town having recently shared stages with the likes of Spectres, North Atlantic Oscillation, Eternal Tapestry and more besides. Ears were suitably a-pricked upon hearing this little nugget entitled ‘no explanations’ which in short manifests superbly into a manic frenz gouged psci-fi-tronic star surf twang-a-rama grooving that imagines some TV21 obsessed studio soiree between a zonked out speed freaking Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet party incorporating passing Man…or Astro Man extras forging dark deeds with a clearly at the edge pre chart bothering ‘keep the circle around’ era Inspiral Carpets. Any questions?

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Sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day, that way we could loll around soaking up the chilled intoxicating vibes escaping from the latest Active Listener sampler. Issue #30 maintains the webzines adept ear for sourcing the wheat from chaff, 16 selections and not a duff one in earshot inhabit this latest gathering, a set so vibrant in talent and oozed of tasty ear gear that quite frankly it’s almost impossible in trying to weed out a select platter to serve as a brief appraisal, I mean take for example, there was us adoring of the spacy tripped out psych blues mantra that is ‘in a witch forest’ by Spokraket, a dust dry dead eyed brooder manifesting like some bliss kissed kaleidoscopic high council summit meeting headed up by the Black Angels and Brian Jonestown Massacre. Only before we get to the writing and note scribbling stage the blighter is near finished, we hit the track selection and inadvertently encounter love, hippies and gangsters’ ‘this is what we want’ – a shimmering jangle ju-ju light headed with the hazy glazing of blurry radiant reverbs that in truth wouldn’t look out of place on an ultra vivid scene platter. Somewhere else vintage cucumber – great name eh – have us connecting with our younger selves crouched around the dansette and getting high tuning into the sheens of darkly spun minimalist atmospherics tapering off the groves of Danse Society’s ‘seduction’ albeit here agreeable rephrased through a krautian spin dryer via ‘muttergherz’. Familiar faces loom in the guise of Orgasmo Sonore who you might recall we mentioned a little while back – and yes you’re right they never sent CD’s or download links – another begging missive falling on deaf ears, that said we here are undeterred and not ones for holding grudges though we have whilst listening to ‘electric manages’ subconsciously whittled out a doll in his image – and where did this pin come from? Anyhow this little gem cuts back to the whole golden age of electronic sound heavily inspired don’t you know by that dude Jean Michel Jarre. Moth Effect have, I’m certain, featured many moons long since waxed and waned appearecin these pages at one time or another, ‘fingerbobs’ found here is a cleverly fused psychotropic slice of noir tropicalia that faintly draws the invisible dots between John Barry and the Seahawks while parting heroes the Vigrance here sporting ‘propulsion lab part 1’ do a very neat line in dream gazing fuzzy haloes of the type that once upon time the likes of Creation and Ultimate used to fall over themselves to release in rapid fire quantities for adoring floppy fringed young chaps and chapesses to buy by the bucket load. Those however among you who prefer their listening space somewhat shivered and shimmered in eerie porcelain beauty speckled in suspense and graced in sepia trimmed macabre might find the opening moments of matricians’ ‘things the waves would bring’ hitting the spot that is before matters go all ‘tin drum’ Japan like which in all fairness is no bad thing.   http://theactivelistener.bandcamp.com/ 

One of those ‘I’m smitten with this’ moments I’m afraid, this is the debut release from V Pages (pronounced five pages), a project headed up by Dom Morley and featuring guest vocals from Groove Armada-er Saint Saviour, ‘in and out’ is a teaser for a full length due soon, an ethereal beauty dimpled in glassy frost piped pulsars and vapour trailing lunar shimmers emerging as were from out of a twilight haze and with it revealing the kind of shy eyed and beguiled graceful unworldliness and stilled celestial poise that sees it demurring beneath the protective wing of the Cocteaus, utterly entrancing and adorable with it. https://soundcloud.com/v-pages/in-out/s-exUS3

As ever thanks for tuning in, incidentally we love records…..

Take care……

Mark

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