Tales from the Attic – Volume 56

Tales from the Attic

Volume LVI

Revolutions of a 45 and 33 kind…..

Even more odd sods and odds n’ sods.

Another missive that somewhat fell down the cyber sofa and again a thesis like musing littered with releases no doubt long sold out, some from last Christmas, others from record store day and all featuring links that are probably (if the last missive is anything to judge by) obsolete, still a few more of these I’m afraid so expect more haunting visitations of forgotten moments from the early part of the year…….

This edition features sounds by…..

Plastic animals, passion pusher, grubby mitts, melmoth the wanderer, john j presley, matthew sooner, go go penguin, mr oizo, the luck of eden hall, crystal jacqueline, icarus peel, astralasia, the loons, the crawlin hex, the thanes, the blue giant zeta puppies, past tense, rokkurro, roadside picnic, justin wiggan, francesco de gallo, charles barabe, maurizio bianchi, rob clarke and the brown bears, ariel kalma, william s burroughs, jet wintzer, schizo fun addict, the bordellos, nightingales, sleaford mods, david woodcock, papermut cambridge, garden of elks, le thug, digitalanalogue, numbers are futile, paul roland, the orielles, persian claws, mnipk, the Tuesday club, cool ghouls, ylanglang, paperhead, concretism, mark fry, julies haircut, moonsicles, united bible studies, the unseen, pearthq, bent cousin, half earth, get the blessing, seahawks, snide rhythms, father murphy, katie gately, tlaotlon, cousin silas, rocketnumbernine, arms, goat, postcode, the see see, sideshow sound theatre, hallshug, taxi taxi, vacant lots, see no evils, invaderband, adam leonard, cranio, sendelica, chloe march, silver screen orchestra, vienna ditto, new southern electrikk, holy, surf city, dengue fever, dead wolf club, sospetto, videogram, orgasmo sonore, stealing sheep, palace of swords, those unfortunates, menace beaches, stuart turner and the flat earth society, camouflage, contrast, 100%, lalic, bis, oscillopeisia, impure ha ha, arnold fish, mort garson, cats eye, maiians, young knives, a place to bury strangers, the telescopes, taffy, cathode ray eyes, a pretty lightning, oscillation, white manna, falseheads, rubik, night school, dott, les bonbons, sara lowes, singing loins, broderick and barnes, ennio morricone, shit and shine, pins, du blonde, tauchsieder, two ragged soldiers, detox twins, groupuscule, we float, the incredible magpie band, novanta, satellite stories, hyperslob and the goat meat explosion, mittenfields, autobahn, niteo, dead for a minute, passenpied, m sage, keith seatman, j d meatyard, raketkanon, polypores, erotic elk, peter ulrich collaboration, babou, theatre royal  

Am I the only person who thinks that notions of doing Misfits covers ought to come with a big bold ‘beware’ neon signage. Alluding to the old adage to do with fixing things that aren’t broken, the classic Misfits back catalogue is rested upon hallowed ground, what these horrorphonic psych-o-rama dudes didn’t do or say on a particular cut probably wasn’t worth being there at all in the first place, each escapee from their darkly twisted b-movie obsessed vault was signed by a trademark finality. It therefore takes a certain amount of nerve or foolhardy naivety to embark upon such a studio venture. PINS you’ll be happy to hear sit squarely in the former camp. You’ll find ‘hybrid moments’ staking out the groove lines on the flipside of their new single ‘too little too late’ released just ahead of a new full length for bella union entitled ‘wildnights’ – a ramped up slab of rowdy retro ram-a-lama purred and shimmied in a killer 50’s pogoing popsicle candy cute grooving all haloed by honey tipped harmonies and awash in an impishly infectious three chord blitzing that doffs its collective hat to the Ramones whilst echoing the femme fatalism of the Shangri La’s and Shonen Knife. https://soundcloud.com/bella-union/pins-hybrid-moments/s-3RjJl

I swear the last time Beth Jeans Houghton sought to trouble these pages, which if I’m recalling rightly was via a brace of well-heeled releases for both static caravan and bird, then I’m certain she never sounded this strung out and in your face. Perhaps that’s what a change of identity does for you, these days signed to Mute, boy they must have wet themselves when she sauntered in declaring a change of name, style and sound, you can see the executives now huddled worryingly around their tablets nervously eyeing old world news reports of Prince’s slavery accusations and wondering where exactly all this was leading. Du Blonde is her newly acquired persona, ‘mind is on my mind’ is her first sonic fruits and there is an album hurtling down the line entitled ‘welcome back to milk’. Well those mute dudes needn’t have worried. Need they? ‘Mind is on my mind’ is, how do we put it mildly, a bit schizophrenic and features guest vocals spots for Samuel T. Herring and in brief sounds not unlike a sermon on initial greeting, the vibe stripped bare to the bone avoiding the usual trappings afforded by the standardised verse chorus verse formatting just assumes a life of its own as the frantic stream of consciousness stumbles, struts and snarls possessed of all the subtlety of a Chieftain Tank as its freewheels through an edgy aural whiplash flavoured in punked out progressive motifs and softly warped psyche tracings.  https://soundcloud.com/dublondemusic/mindisonmymind-featuring-samuel-t-herring

Right – we were going to park this until we had a chance to cobble together an exciting featurette about vinyl only labels, but in truth curiosity got the better of us and like impish nippers on the hunt for birthday presents well we quite frankly couldn’t hold our peace any longer. There will still be the aforementioned vinyl label special of course wherein we’ll revisit these particular gems in more detail, but for now a heads up of what to expect. Castles in Space is a bespoke vinyl only label borne out of the ashes of the celebrated music blog of the same name (now alas defunct). Three releases primed to go live shortly to which we have downloads for the first two, the first of which is by Tauchsieder who head up the labels debut release with three tracks all pressed upon 7 inches of limited wax (300 we believe) all intriguingly on a utilitarian grey splatter colouring and featuring guest appearances by Wire’s Colin Newman on vocals. Drenched in dronal swathes, opening salvo ‘herd the shadows’ courts a stately and stilled bleak beauty, to the rear the calm rage of apocalyptic sunbursts cast out woozy sky torched backdrops framed in a hazy euphoria to the fore in peaceful thought and resigned to his fate, Newman sits squarely at its epicentre diarising the moments to oblivion. Sound wise an essential ear gear happening for those attuned to the likes of Flying Saucer Attack and Hood.

http://tauchsieder.bandcamp.com/album/herd-the-shadows-e-p

Second planned release from Castles in Space comes from duo Two Ragged Soldiers, another proposed 7 inch serving of wax colour not yet decidedly upon as far as we can gather. Two cuts occupy the groove lines, both of which are pencilled in for inclusion on the duo’s forthcoming long player ‘the mass’. Not sure which is the lead out track though I’m guessing ‘water’ if there is any justice in this world. A touchingly frail and tear stained heart string puller, the soft serenade of genuflecting strings teased in Autumnal arrangements and the neo classical elegance of the genteel key canters endow it with a truly lush majestic air whose perfect poise pirouettes with such disarming charm as it slowly unfurls and defrosts to reveal its unguarded vulnerability to then slowly fall away back into its bruised beautified shadows which all said should appeal first hand to those finding themselves perched on a teetering listening ledge with Michael Nyman at one end and Hauschka and Set Fire to Flames perched at the other.  http://www.tworaggedsoldiers.com/music/ 

For more label details and ordering info go to – http://www.castlesinspace.com/

Are we right in saying that the micro label boutique that is the polytechnic youth imprint has something to do or at the very least related somehow to those dudes over at Great Pop Supplement and Deep Distance. Again more bespoke release type loveliness these coming in ultra-limited editions numbered so few that describing them as scarce does little justice, the vibe very much tuned into the minimalist cold wave electronic scene of the late 70’s / early 80’s and the kind of minimalist groove that pretty much set Weird records up as one of the key note scene makers a few years back. Being prepped on their future listings a 55 only edition of a Colin Potter 8 inch release which we’ll try and get links for – no promises you understand. For now a few golden oldies from the labels imprint……first up the Detox Twins whose ‘einhorn suicide’ really does sound as though its fallen off a Peel playlist c.1981 and imagines a strangely playful DAF re-soldering old Kraftwerk circuit boards and calibrating them with a sparse post nuclear cold electro funk grooving that recalls both SPK and Front 242 with members of Cobra Killer and a youthful Noblesse Oblige on-board doing cool seduction whilst aloofly purring to decadently daubed Minty backdrops.

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Same label and again something else we here are kicking ourselves silly at missing, this is the unbelievably perfect ‘je suis Marxiste’ by Groupuscule. Long since sold out and commanding premium prices amid bouts of online auction fisticuffs, starts all radio-phonically, very woozy Vision On-esque which ought first point of reference appeal to those trunk and ghost box aficionados among you before jettisoning off to vintage world and getting all lounge-tronic and sassy in a kind of lunar-esque kooky smooching session where sound tracking backdrops for ‘the forbidden planet’ and ‘barbarella’ are found being re-wired by pre-school lullaby alchemist and electronic sound boffin Raymond Scott for some primitive Moroder grooving, all this whilst drawing political affinity and the occasional loose dots (and loops) with Stereolab. How could we resist. Certainly the best thing we’ve heard around these here parts since that long distant day when a filthy little animals released EP by Colt 45 wandered into our life and ‘stockholm syndrome’ took our affections prisoner.

http://ahref= <p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/123029001“>Je Suis Marxiste by Groupuscule</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user24992389“>Messiers 54</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com“>Vimeo</a>.</p>   

If I was to say that this lot are from Sweden – then I’m guessing you know exactly where we are going with this, especially given the fact that anything remotely interesting sound wise of late seems to hurtling out of Scandinavia with seemingly no end in sight. Not that we here are complaining especially if it sounds as irresistible as this somewhat beguiled gem. This by the way is by We Float who are about to release their debut full length ‘silence’ from which ‘mysticeti’ has been prised and sent ahead to demur passing patrons. One of those releases whereby you might feel obliged to shuffle up close to not least because its touched by a quietly reserved resonance that’s hushed and light headedly tranquil. What first could easily be mistaken for some re-envisaged melodic mosaic back dropping some dream sequence in ‘twin peaks’ albeit as though recoded and transposed in a ‘wicker man’-esque tongue soon melts and evaporates to reveal and noir jazz tutored sophistication that easily lends itself to being best appreciated late at night with the lights lowered by those among you with a curious listening love for the likes of tortoise and pram with a smidgeon of musetta for good company.  https://soundcloud.com/we-float-band/mysticeti   

Oh yes, now we here are running out of boxes for this little honey to tick. From the excellently named the incredible magpie band – okay a fair amount of liberally used licence there but we forgive them, an album due soon entitled ‘introducing’ from which ‘straight lines’ has been pulled. These dudes have been favourably compared to both the Byrds and the La’s which is a good call and having heard and indeed been smitten by this little nugget we can easily see why, summer shimmered melodies, honey cut harmonies and the purring jangle of breezily feel good 60’s mosaics radiating a hope fuelled spring fresh effervescence upon a Mersey delta beat pop wave crest, that said since arriving into earshot here we’ve been a tad bit compelled to rifle through our collection trying to re-familiarise ourselves with the criminally overlooked and largely forgotten late 80’s pop casualties the High who as it happens this lot sound damn fine ringers for.

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Before our laptop goes on another prolonged sulk best try and get this one in unscathed. New thing from Mittenfields entitled ‘optimists’ from an album of the same name due to hit record emporiums shortly. By rights should be the cause of much swooning fits in the aisles not least for those who get all misty eyed when a sub two minute poppet comes their way and manages to shoehorn an array of references that sound like a glam tagged mix n’ match smoothie condensing your favourite moments of 90’s indie pop into one short brief heart bursting mixtape that nods to gumball, teenage fanclub, pavement and the dandy warhols to name but a few and has the nerve to bookend the bubble grooved buffet with the detectable cool kiss of the Tubes and Sweet Apples. Not a bad trick to pull out of the bag.

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Incoming on the tough love imprint who I must admit we’ve scarcely heard from in recent times (which I’d like to say as a result of has made life a little less worth getting up in the morning for), this is autobahn’s quite epic and deceptively morbidly titled ‘beautiful place to die’ which was sold to us by their press people as sounding not a million miles from prime time Interpol and Tubeway Army. Of course being the contrary souls that we are we immediately honed in on the fact that it rather more pisses in the kind of panoramic turbulent sonic pool that finds it occupying space with the likes of Rose of Avalanche and the Mission. A brooding bastard tensely taught and blistered in a reflective beauty harnessed and shackled by a thunderously bruised but not down Chameleons-esque underpin whilst howling head tilted upturned at the gathering apocalyptic storm clouds. Sound cloud links here tomorrow – embargoed I’m afraid. 

So damn sexy this, new thing from the Actions via Niteo records and pulled from an EP entitled ‘indefensible’, this is the quite frankly sublime ‘counting all days’ – a shadowy noir dream draped ethereal beauty crafted from out of body mirages where fleeting atmospherics are swirled in ‘pornography’ era Cure-esque whispers to dissolve seductively into shifting surreal Lynchian landscapes all teased in the woozily sultry hazed monochrome of a youthful Broadcast whilst piloted by No Ceremony and astral circling an orbital trajectory inhabited by the spectral lilt of portishead – bliss.

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We here have been a little off roaded shall we say with what we promised would be first up here, fear not all those will be hurtling into cyberspace a little later. For now here’s a few things via the Metz based Specific label whose wares are the subject of a dandy free to enter Fruits de Mer competition details of which we’ve momentarily mislaid – but rest assured we’ll locate and copy n’ paste somewhere about these parts as and when we trip of it. Anyway a quick mention for two releases on the label both of which I’m suspecting where not quite exactly what they had in mind when they came armed with the celebratory bunting. Alas no detailed information on any of these dudes, safe to say though that the sounds speak for themselves for Dead for a Minute do the kind cranial trepanning that we here so adore and love of Nails, ripped from – what we assume is – a debut 5 track EP, ‘Fetiche’ is gouged with the kind of up close and personal sonic assault and bludgeoning butchery that you fear it might at any time soon lunge without warning from the grooves and throttle the life out of you, that said it’s not all speed freaking speaker dismemberment for at the 1.40 mark matters get a little odd and disturbing with the emergence of floaty femme lullabies and a good deal of trippy noodling which around here put us in mind of green milk from the planet orange with the noisy bits certainly ripe for admirers of the much missed brew imprint. http://specific.bandcamp.com/album/dead-for-a-minute-di-g-se

Additional footnote – message from label head honcho florian schall to correct us and say this was first released way back in 2002 by way of a 10 inch outing and that the band are about to play a one time reunion show this coming May – the album incidentally is called ‘diegese’.

In sharp contrast Passepied also via the specific imprint tumble and summersault through the musical generic divides blending effervescent j-twee possessed of a ridiculously cute sun glowed effervescence with a pop progish ambition, ‘makunouchi-ism’ literally radiates with feel good positivity not least is this the case than on perkily flighty buzz bopped kookiness found adoring the grooves of the excitable ‘tokyo city underground’ while for us ‘ano ao to ao to ao’ had us a tad becoming given it’s demurred with a love noted 80’s styled misty eyed-ness that courts an intricate Prince-esque noodling and the kind of pulse racing attractiveness and obtusely zig-zagged riffola to have many a passing ear stopping to draw a little closer for more. http://specific.bandcamp.com/album/passepied-makunouchi-ism

This one comes prised from a rather sterling set by M Sage entitled ‘a singular continent’. Admittedly it’s been out for a while but indeed caught our passing fancy when we were having a muse around bandcamp world, there is in fact a by all accounts beautifully packaged double vinyl set that includes all manner of atlases, fragments, books and collages via patient sounds though I’m suspecting they’ve all long since flown the coup. Incidentally the album goes by the title ‘a singular continent’ from which is culled ‘three bashful stallions’ – a beautifully serene sonic snow drop framed in ice sculptured garlands all trimmed in tranquilly petrified porcelain opines flanked by shimmering haloes of sleepy headed defrosts where to the onset of daybreak these lovelorn melodies awake, stretch and arc with a becoming pastoral calm that’s not unlike the early outings engaged upon grooves by the likes of Cheju and Inch Time…

As to that aforementioned album – you can tune into it here – well worth the time I suggest…. http://msage.bandcamp.com/album/a-singular-continent

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If my memory serves we’ve featured Keith Seatman previously in passing despatches quite possibly by way of one of those excellently turned out melmoth the wanderer podcasts (which reminds me – we must have a root around as surely there have been more transmissions from the wandering one in recent times). Anyhow Mr Seatman is currently sporting an album (well we say currently – it’s been out for nearly a year now) entitled ‘around the folly and down hill’ a copy of which we feel our lives will be radically less worth living should we not snaffle up one as our own very soon, indeed for now we’ve had a brief little flutter over the twelve pastoral psych posies locked within this hauntologist recipe book and been much adoring of its strangely fracturing playfulness not withstanding having been more than a tad taken by ‘old pepperbox’ as it drapes your listening space in a curiously chilled blend of disturbia that peek-a-boo’s between hollowing macabre and child-like wonder at one point it glooming shadows clearing in momentary gasps of jubilance whereupon harpsichord recitals and celestial chorals play tag before being spirited away in dream draped dissipates. That said those familiar with mid career FortDax happenings and ‘scene 30’ electroid Echoboy will do well to check out the Foxx-ian ‘the binocular boy’ while you’re at it.   http://keithseatman.bandcamp.com/album/around-the-folly-and-down-hill

Must say that we owe a debt of thanks to Brian Bordello for passing this our way. Pulled from an imminent Probe Plus released set entitled ‘taking the asylum’ this is JD Meatyard who I suspect we may have vaguely featured in these pages once or twice before which if I’m recalling rightly may well have been by way of a Bordellos cover as it happens. With more than a passing hint of Lou Reed with a smidgeon of Arab Strap for good measure ‘Anna had a kid’ is one of those bruising encounters that’s liable to have you a tad tearful, hollowed and by its end somewhat grateful for your lot – that said what makes it such a sure fire listening pleasure is the way the sympathetic sour of strings bitter sweetly sigh to a forceful lo-fi strum giving a maudlin and somewhat forlorn sombre gravitas to proceedings which slowly amass in tension, depth and density until by its end they combine to forge an impacting crescendo of fracturing and howling anguish and hysteria which by these ears shifts ever so subtly into sonic terrains occupied by the hillfields.

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Is it me or is this video distracting and disturbing, more so in fact than the actual track itself and hilarious with it in its portrayal of discofied goonery. This, young folk, is ‘florent’ – a track ripped from the core of Raketkanon’s impending second full length ‘RKTKN#2’ via KKK records and finds Belgium’s infamous sludge gouged stoner groove dudes under the beady eyed tutelage of Steve Albini. This slab of sonic shock therapy growls and spews forth the kind of melodic magma that once curdled the grooves of platters by the Melvins and Jesus Lizard not to mention Albini’s own Shellac and wires upon it a claustrophobic seizure stricken agit greasing that weaves manically between moments of disquieting storm looming lulls and primordially slavish cranial crushing fury.

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RSD 15 special from the Graveface imprint pressed up on 12 inches of wax and featuring 4 tracks on one side and an etched mosaic on t’other, the grooves shared by Dott and Night School the release collectively entitled ‘Carousel’ should, if there’s any justice in this world, fly off the racks in nano seconds if ‘car song’ is anything to judge by. One of the two contributions from Ireland’s Dott who’ve graced these pages to much adoring salutes by way of musings long since passed, this honey assuming something of a delicate Teenage Fanclub fancifulness a la ’everything flows’ at its opening greeting before being swept off on crests of swoon tripped feedback swathes to morph into lilting lysergia woozed sun glazed dreamy after burns the type of which pitch a point of reference somewhere between the Heartthrobs,  lily and madeleine and the haight ashbury which as far as we’re concerned kinda does it for us…… https://soundcloud.com/graveface/dott-car-song

Being the kind and thoughtful souls that we are we’re signing out for the evening and leaving you in the disquieting company of polypores – an analogue and flea market sourced cannibalised 70’s keys studio boffin sometimes going under the name Stephen James Buckley whose just released a debuting set entitled ‘the investigation’ which we will – er – investigate in the very near future. For now though something cooked up as recently as last week in a creative flurry all housed and filed away as ‘the sleep department’ project from out of which we’ve taken a shine to ‘labyrinthine corridors’ – a slice of stilled futuro chilled disturbia hinting of worlds mind controlled by super brained artificial intelligence and sterilised of humanity, looped minimalist murmurs drilled in hypnotic Dadaist brain wiping motifs which serve as mesmeric trance toned synthetic symphonia to keep the slave drones in sleep states no doubt – a bit like party political broadcasts but without the ego, lies and painted smiles.  https://soundcloud.com/stephenjamesbuckley/sets/the-sleep-department  

Slight listening detour time for this, in truth we happened across this one by sheer accident when musing over the latest from Peter Ulrich (arriving here soon) after which finishing listening this damn fine dandy reared into ear space via a podcast put together by the communion after dark radio folk among whose playlist cuts from neurotic fish, para normal, velvet acid Christ, frozen plasma and more had us nodding appreciatively. All said nothing quite touched like Erotic Elk’s cold wave cover of Chris Isaac’s ‘wicked game’ who are we believe from Sweden with this honey coming peeled from a new full length entitled ‘III’. In truth this gives the original a fair run for its money and comes wrapped in a deliciously frost speckled euro pop grooving that’s been hot washed in a suave and seductive chic charming and then given a 90’s styled new romo spin dry which ought to first port of call be on the radar of those admiring Noblesse Oblige whilst cashing its chips in ‘pure’ era Numan and Animotion currencies.  

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And just for the record, you can locate that aforementioned communion after dark pod here….

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As promised that Peter Ulrich release or more specifically a new release from the Peter Ulrich Collaboration. Of course Mr Ulrich should scarce need introductions here – Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, just ahead of the release of his new full length ‘tempus fugitives’, ‘dark daddy’ has just be sent ahead to serve as a herald as to what to expect and finds him accompanied by Erin Hill on what is a beautifully daydreaming pastoral posy tenderly traced in crooning slides and delicately willowed in the breezy spring hue of prairie peppercorns not to mention caressed in beguiling folk flurries spoken in an tongue whose vintage digs deep through the generations into the English countryside psyche, amid all this Erin Hill lost in this moment of magicalia found crafting love noted daisy chains. What is there not to adore.

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I don’t mind telling you that, barring any unforeseen mishaps and with the obliging assistance of an of late decidedly cranky and on its last legs laptop, this weekend will be littered by all manner of strangeness from those dudes over at Arte Tetra who last adored these pages with that essential debuting cassette compilation ‘exotic esoterique – volume 1’ . To get you warmed up and perhaps more so acclimatised as to forthcoming happenings to come this is a newly peeled video to accompany the Babau track ‘lla no kuaili’ which you can find on the recently released ‘papalagi’ set from the duo. Something of a transcendental nugget for scratch beneath the misty drones that greet its entrance and the dream draped sound of a woozily warped laid back lounge lilt trip the listening space oozing it in atmospheric calms and weird ear retro flotillas to which are attached the softly dissolving shimmer of husk dry middle eastern mystics and ancient old hymnals all haloed in primitive earth beat and stoned out psych drone mosaics.

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This blighter just beams feel good radiance like it’s rapidly going out of fashion, sadly only 200 of these babies kicking around and it’s not for me to say the music world is in a sorry state if any are still hanging around. This is a new 7 inch heading out of the Canberra based moontown imprint who I must say are todays great new find and who have in recent times put out some killer must limited releases not least with this dandy heading up the pack. Contrast – for that be their name – appear adept at doing that stratospheric riffola cool groove thing with the strut gouged ‘sidewalk’ steering headlong into distant star constellations courting the kind of thrust powered dream pop shimmer toning that hints of a fondness for early hazily glazed 90’s Creation platters and an adoration for the likes of ultra vivid scene, ride and Catherine wheel. That said it’s the reflective flip side that’ll floor you for the bitter sweetly teased ‘construction’ is draped in all manner of crystalline reverbs and celestial haloing as to have you all a swoon that someone has had the nerve to fuse the majestic artistry of the Church with the seductive choral sereneness of the kitchens of distinction and from it whittled out a misty eyed and lovelorn chiming cortege. http://moontown.bandcamp.com/album/contrast-sidewalk-7

Staying with the moontown imprint for another must have outing this time a self-titled 25 only cassette from 100% who appear to be three ladies Grace, Lena and Chloe and have a thing for the kind of cold / dark wave landscapes that would have one time or another littered various playlists of a certain John Peel whilst plugging directly into the sparse post punk minimalism that was celebrated by the whole c81 scene moreover with a healthy (or unhealthy depending on your perspective) fascination for the Banshees’ oft overlooked ‘kaleidoscope’ album. The shadowy lilt that graces opener ‘castle’ hints at a more demurring and less edgy Xmal Deutschland being rewired by Pink Industry while the chill crested Nico-esque meets Dietrich ‘progress’ views at distance bleak futuro wilderness’ populated by a servile ‘blade runner’ bleakness. Best of the set comes in the shape of ‘sour’ – disquietingly beautiful as it free falls into the kind of late 70’s vintage that a mere few years back the Weird label sought to reclaim as its own while those among with an acute ear for such things may hear the distant echo of Ex Post Facto seducing the groove lines. Elsewhere ‘prisoner’ has all the sparse wherewithal to suggest its template has been swiped from a Joy Division workbench to be recalibrated with reference to a Suicide manual for Cobra Killer to covet while both ‘phantom game’ and ‘eagle street’ will find more than an affectionate nod from those among you admiring of the sounds of controller.controller and a very youthful Sisters of Mercy and March Violets. http://moontown.bandcamp.com/album/100

Alas no information on Lalic with which to regale you with though safe to say that his limited set (50 cassette edition) for moontown entitled ‘broken foot rabbit hole’ is possessed of a sentiment that isn’t lost on us for here there’s a fair old speckling of lackadaisical dreaminess that quite frankly wouldn’t look amiss on a platter bearing the tell-tale hallmark of Aritomo here as it stumbles and staggers blurry eyed across the grooves. An album best described as a slow burner, spiritual kinships with the early Elephant 6 collective settlers aside, Lalic adeptly tunes loosely into the kind of artistry that once upon a time graced our turntable from the likes of doleful lions and june panic a fact best appreciated on the parting ‘garden dream’ while somewhere else the fracturing ghostliness attaching to the hollowed beauty that is ‘way out’ reveals at least two cuts here indelibly referencing, conscious or not, a youthful Tex La Homa – the other being ‘alone again always’ which by its parting comes sumptuously tailgated in sheens of feedback dissipates. Well worth some considered investigation methinks.   http://moontown.bandcamp.com/album/broken-foot-rabbit-hole 

More essential record store day ear gear this time from the acutely cute buzz bopping bubble gum popsicle groovers Bis. With a new album promised sometime this year and Sci Fi Steven’s extra curricula activities Batteries due to release a debut full length summer time, the 1000 only deluxe double red vinyl ‘I love Bis’ set gathers together lost treasures from the Bis vaults showcasing the bands enviable knack at knocking out sub three minute day-glo ditties at the drop of a hat that blended an insanely infectious cocktail of candy tipped buzz sawing sonic paint bombs fusing teen spirited riot grrrl abruptness with electro punk abrasiveness. Across four sides of wax an array of hard to find turntable jolts spanning their opening quartet of releases ‘transmissions on the teen c tip’ to ‘bis vs the diy corps’ with this very version (the same compilation appeared stateside several years ago) coming bolstered by a previous unreleased 24 minute medley ‘nation go yeah!’ that shoehorns a selection of early career 4 track home recordings giving insight of the impish creative hub at the bands core. As said the album is due to appear on RSD a subject which Sci-Fi Steven comments….

“I’m proud to be part of Record Store Day as I still believe the initial concept revived the ailing music retail sector. I also firmly believe that the records bis have released as part of Record Store Day are in the mould of the original concept – either new unreleased material, hard-to-find back catalogue or deluxe vinyl editions with previously unreleased recordings. What has turned many against RSD is the pointless picture disc editions of songs released a million times that hammer at the hardcore collector’s lust for completion, usually released by one of the big labels stamping their boots all over the day. It should be independent music on independent labels for independent stores, not an overnight endurance test followed by disappointment and harrowing ebay discoveries. All we have done is put together a nice package of our old EP’s plus some unreleased demo’s and pressed as many copies as we think we could sell. That was surely the idea of the day in the first place.”

….for now here’s the radio hugging ‘kandy pop’ – https://soundcloud.com/butilikeyou/bis-kandy-pop

On another of those sojourns around bandcamp we happily eyed upon this nugget. The aptly titled ‘cosmica’ EP by Oscillopeisia is the work of John Lee Richardson who describes in passing his aural adventures as ‘70’s brain dance’ which is a neat description we’ve had trouble bettering especially since these four star twinkled suites appear to navigate celestial quadrants once occupied and ventured by the likes of tangerine Dream, Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre. That said we here are more than a little smitten by the parting shot ‘voyage’ which aside somewhat embarking on a lunar seafaring odyssey into terrains these days so ably navigated by Craig Padilla is also kissed with the trance toned trimming of a mid-career future sound of London while elsewhere pride of the pack the lushly lilted future-retro grooving of ‘cosmica’ imagines tropical alien beaches arrested in the twilight glow of waking twin sunrises and might prove a perfect listening partner for those rare moments occasioned to vinyl by Zombi’s Steve Moore. http://indifferentspace.bandcamp.com/album/cosmica-ep

Long-time observers of these musings will no doubt remember fondly our want for – shall we settle for – the more stranger and disturbing sounds occupying the ever expanding environs of pop world and so it was that these pages oft found themselves populated by the much welcomed appearances in our listening lives of outings released by bijou labels such as scotch tapes and love torture which is why the debuting platter – well cassette as it happens (which just to confound matters further comes in an edition of 10) from Impure Ha Ha appealed so much. Vanessa and Beth hail from Hamilton where things must be really f***** up if these twelve sonic scabs are born out of a reference to. ‘fuzzy buddy ears’ emerges fractured and fried from a one hour improve session and from those recordings oozes a whole heap of bad ju-ju that’s scarred and loitered in brooding passages and a frayed off its box fracturing. Here nightmares come alive and funereal mosaics gather and twist to daub and dead head the listening space, amid it all a woozy ghost light trimmed in no wave eeriness and steeled in darkly drawn psych and swamp drawn tribalism wrestles itself from some mind fractured pit, not one I hasten to add for those among you preferring your sonic experiences easy on the ear and traced in the standard bearing verse chorus verse formula. Instead you get a petrified species of the blues coveted in psychosis, tracks like ‘no more buckets’ find themselves locking with precision to the darker more shadow toned found looming on the early work of Virgin Passages while amid ‘sooty melt’ the ceremonial clang assumes a maddening sense of cold detachment wearily extending its bony fingers to strangle you in its oppressive blackness. Reference wise ‘fuzzy buddy ears’ draws its lineage into terrains occasioned by Lydia Lunch whilst freed of its doom draped dronal disquiet, elements of Birthday Party man Rowland S Howard are unquestionable marks of admiration. That said those finding themselves escaping the grim torturous trials emanating from the dungeon like ‘kaidahide’ have yet to face the test of the harrowing 12 minute black hole that is ‘guac’n’za’ – a horrorphonic odyssey tripping to the very edges of the minds dark interiors where lurk a wasteland of arid dry mosaics and earthbeat mischief squirrelled in obtuse art gouged motifs. http://impurehaha.bandcamp.com/album/fuzzy-buddy-ears

A little something that’s been messing with our head space in the last day or so, the kooky kaleidoscopic funk delights of French psychedelicist Arnold Fish whose ‘in the land of the elephant blues’ may just be the kind of ju ju jamboree that ought to be on the wants list of all those who swoon to the hippy chic lysergia of the 60’s for this set blossoms to a colourful cornucopia of lightly speckled sun harvested psych pop radiance that’s teased upon a creative master class that’s traced in the kind of dreamy pastorals and paisley pop happenings that may well suggest to you that you root out your copy of the Zombies ‘odessey and oracle’ for handy reference. A set so addictive and infectiously affectionate that it will get revisited later in the week here, however for now we suggest you allow for the redecorating of your listening space in florescent sunbursts courtesy of the acutely dippy and dizzy beaming brass fanfares and wigged out keys sortie ‘Jeffrey’ which unless our ears do deceive manages to hop, skip and jump into the kind of swirly feel good delirium of a classic era Sly and the Family Stone albeit rephrased through the wonky viewfinder of Epicycle. The album incidentally is getting a full on wax treatment (April 30th) – sadly limited to just 100 copies – via the Garden Of Dreams imprint.

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Those of a certain vintage or / and a keen ear for strange sounds surely need no introduction to the Elektra released ‘the Zodiac : cosmic sounds’ set put out in the late 60’s, I happily stumbled across this curio courtesy of John Peel playing it in full over the course of several Saturday afternoon shows in the early 90’s (if that is I recall rightly). An album or more so an aural experience of its time that in these enlightened times and the internets want for dredging the archives and giving a second life to the lost and forgotten of yesteryear, still manages to hold its own and stay the test of time. A brave and eccentric move by Elektra at the time, the albums authors Mort Garson and Jacques Wilson would go on repeat the formula a year later relocating ‘wizard of Oz’ into a head warping hippy idealistic 60’s freak beat electro opera entitled ‘the wozard of iz’ (his landmark release incidentally was ‘black mass’ under the pseudonym Lucifer – which admirers of Goblin / bebe and Louis barron et al should check out sooner rather than later). Several years on however ‘mother earth’s plantasia’ appeared, now getting a much deserved repackage via fifth dimension it affords listeners and strange sound completists the chance to reappraise the work of this oft unheralded electronic pioneer. Described as ‘warm earth music for plants…and the people who love them….’, ‘plantasia’ originally appeared in 1976, by that time the advent of electronic sounds where not nearly as much of an novelty / oddity as they had been in the 60’s but were now seen as making sizeable creative footprints and shifting popular sound into new spheres (kosmiche, progressive rock et al). ‘plantasia’ is essentially easy listening groove providing a lulling dream draped collage of Moog’s in various lunar configurations, dinked in shimmering swirls and seductively teased in lounge exotica (‘Baby’s tears blues’ being the highlight here sounding as it does like pirouetting promenade recitals orbiting strange moons while a strange noir attachment to the mellower mosaics cut by Stereolab ooze lazily through ‘a mellow mood for maidenhair’) the sounds are delicate and lush not to say minimally murmured in the kind of twinkling sparseness that those admiring of the early visitations of ISAN (c. ‘digitalis’) may find much to adore.

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Incidentally for those previously unaware of its existence here’s ‘black mass’ in it full entirety….

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….and ‘the wozard of iz’…..

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Simply pure seduction. Out around now – fear not we’ve already issued forth begging missives with immediate effect, this is a cut from the latest Cat’s Eyes release ‘the duke of Burgundy’ – an original soundtrack back dropping the latest filmic release from director Peter Strickland whose plot line is briefly billed as – ahem – ‘two women (who) take their carnal desires to the extreme in this kinky, deliciously twisted tale of sex and butterflies’. Cat’s Eye for the uninitiated are duo Faris Badwan of Horrors fame and Rachel Zeffira who together have crafted a most beguiling listening spectacle that sumptuously fuses together elements of baroque psych, pastoral folk and choral requiems and have sprinkled the resulting gathering with the kind of magic dust that used to bewitch the grooves of Broadcast platters albeit as though visited upon by the ghostly romance of Komeda as perfectly exemplified by the sneak peek title track selection below. A softly whispered folk fairy dreamily dinked in shimmering summer fresh bouquets all breathlessly ghosted by the genteel faraway undulate of willowy rustics and the spectral call of lovelorn spell charms. Most bewitching.  https://soundcloud.com/cats_eyes/the-duke-of-burgundy

You can hear a compilation put together by the duo featuring their all-time favourite soundtracks here…..

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Here’s the newly minted video for that imminent Maiians single ‘sionara’ which we mentioned way back at https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/maiians/

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Here’s something a little tasty to keep eyes peeled for this coming RSD15. Coming pressed up on 10 inches of coloured wax and including a fanzine collated by the band with invited contributions from Marc Riley, Maximo Park, Jad Fair and many more. The ‘something awful’ EP sees Young Knives make a return appearance to these pages after what seems like an eternity, a cleverly conceived set that deals with the varying facets of loss whether that be of mind, of trust, in faith or in belief with each of the four featured cuts expanding, morphing and diverging direction wise from one key central theme. ‘something awful’ opens the proceedings, originally appearing on 2013’s ‘sick octave’ this brooding slab of unhinged art pop shape shifts picking wearily through a wasteland of austere post punk motifs and kraut gouged pulsars all the time forming and building in obliquely edgy intensity fracturing and fraying amid conflicting paranoiac mind sets which from a listener perspective swamps you in a heaving mass of decidedly confused and twisted messages. Matters assume darker consequence on ‘something sweet’, here set to Dadaist dinks and clawed in a howling psychosis the ever blackening chamber tones attach an ice cold fraught abandonment that finds itself encircling the inner dark psych of Magazine albeit scarred and hollowed by Marc and the Mambas. ‘something tragic’ provides the sets sore thumb so to speak and by far the best moment here if only for the fact that everything is stripped back with the intensity and sense of bleak detachment ratcheted up to levels way off the reading marker, here minimalist insectoid clicks and whirrs suck in the light leaving emotional husks in their wake which reference wise might have you of a mind to reacquaint yourself with your Edward Ka-Spel record stash for comfort. ‘something cheap’ wraps up the set looped upon a locked grooving motif and brutalised by an agit grooved dialect whose jabbing riffola had us much in mind of a head locking tussle between the playwrights and Wire. 

Those of you plugged in to both the feeds of twitter and facebook over the last day or so may have been concerned at news of fisticuffs at Shindig towers with a coup being mounted by the publishers Volcano and the intended #47 of Shindig sporting a Sandy Denny cover having been re-drafted with the Shindig name now relegated as part of a rebranding exercise with the magazine now being retitled as Kaleidoscope incorporating Shindig. Now I’m probably not the first to note that in recent times that Shindig has been losing its shine, its frequency has somewhat found it struggling to maintain its early career high standard and well sometimes it has to be said that their over reliance on re-issues and the past has by and large usurped their championing of the now, happily though it’s one of only a handful of titles currently ploughing the same furrows that doesn’t mention the Beatles at every given opportunity (hello Mojo, hello Record Collector) – so I suppose small mercy’s etc…etc….

We should have spotted something was afoot for last month we picked up our Shindig at a local WH Smith (sshh don’t tell Probe) on presenting at the counter for scanning the helpful shop assistant had problems getting the reader to correctly input the title, several attempts wherein Kaleidoscopic flashed up instead of Shindig which at the time he commented was highly strange and concerning as this is how Smiths recorded order quantities based from sales and that if this was being attributed to a title they didn’t stock then there could be issues. All said if reports are to be believed it appears that the actions of the publishers are nothing less than tantamount to tyranny. With no hint as to what’s actually happening with the title – a new edition under the Kaleidoscope billing is due to surface this Thursday, but what of the original crew – will there be a rebel faction – shindig back to its zine days. Time will tell. For now this might go some way as to explaining various developments these last few days…… http://www.djfood.org/shindig-magazine-takeover-and-rebranding/

Fuzz freaked psych heads among you might want to divvy up your record store day cash stash and earmark some of it to securing one of the 1000 only split 10 inch releases from the cool as f*** fuzz club imprint, a killer release and 6th instalment in their ongoing face off series which this time sets up a no holds barred confrontation between a place to bury strangers and the legendary Telescopes, and yes I know that recent pairings have seen the gathering of titans such as Alan Vega with Vacant Lots and the Black Angels with Sonic Jesus but this twinset just wipes the floor with the previous competition. Fresh from their recent ‘transfixation’ set – which I’m sad to report that we are yet to hear – a place to bury strangers stump up the previously unreleased ‘down the stairs’ – a freakin’ three and a half minute scuzz storm which to these ears sounds not unlike a prime time and dare we say seriously zoned out ‘psychocandy’ era Jesus and Mary Chain heading a full steer into some psychosis shrieked oblivion whilst haloed in all manner of speaker melting feedback howls. The telescopes in recent times have been off navigating hitherto unchartered territories and discovering new sonic worlds by way of their extended odyssey into noise, drone and beyond returning now to reclaim their vacated seat as one of the key note purveyors of psyche in recent memory with a frankly head trashing cover of the Stooges hallowed ‘I wanna be your dog’ – in short an uber cooled slab of hazily haloed loss of reality stirred in frenzied blurs of garage blues dissipates and so shitfaced, stoned, ravaged, wired, dirty and decadent your synapses will think they’ve undergone some kind of psychoactive shock therapy. 

Nicely hitting the spot, this is the cut that sees out the fading grooves of Taffy’s forthcoming ‘darkle’ EP for the esteemed Club AC30 and finds the Japanese dream poppers under the watchful eye of Anton Brian Jonestown Massacre here on remix duties for the seductively slinky ‘young tines’. A breathlessly affectionate cutie swooned upon bliss kissed My Bloody Valentine mosaics and sugar crushed in the demurring sigh of pristine pop posies softly led from the fore by the honeyed caress of a head in the clouds lost in loved up thoughtfulness Sarah Cracknell, very entrancing.  https://soundcloud.com/club-ac30/taffy-young-tines-brian-jonestown-massacre-remix/s-abSUF  

Heading out of Cardinal Fuzz over the course of the next few weeks four head melting slabs of freaksome vinyl groove…all of which will getting plenty of listening attention in coming postings…for now though a quick round up of what you can expect t be doing damage on your adored dansette……

Well the press release boasts a darker and more brooding spectacle lurking amid the grooves of the Cathode Ray Eyes debut full length – (who be the Cathode Ray Eyes I hear you cry – why it be Ryan of the Cult of Dom Keller fame) which I must admit i’m of a mind to disagree wholeheartedly with given this reveals a lighter more playful persona than the ravaged blues gloop of CoDK. Anyhow the album is entitled ‘eyes in the melancholic palm’ via cardinal fuzz in conjunction with captcha records, there are 500 of them and they all come drilled on white vinyl. We’ve tried to pick our way through a few tracks due to time constraints and the fact that our zip / MP3 converter software is being a bit belligerent in what it chooses to open / play – believe you me we will be revisiting these in full at a later date. For now ‘grim reaper on my back’ has wormed its way into our affections and psyche – a jaw dropping star glazed mind wiring hypnotic mantra emerging from some dust ravaged haze much like a thought lost flag bearing cavalry battalion of the Spacemen 3 fan club headed up by a self-appointed preacher casting magical spells and recitals to a mesmeric backdrop of locked groove fanfares and psychotropic wooziness the likes of which taps into the very core of the black angels and brian Jonestown massacre.

More cardinal fuzz happenings this time from a pretty lightning in the shape of ‘a magic lane of light and rain’ which is primed to dock next month and finds the delta blues adoring duo found somewhat time tunnelling into terrains that in recent memory have seen the amazing tokolosh having us all light headed and a tad dizzy. Again as with the cathode ray eyes release our zip file software is playing funny buggers so we are having to perform something of a salvage operation in trying to access the nuggets stirring within, that said ‘the rainbow machine’ on first encounter appears to be ticking all the boxes not least for the fact that it initially comes on all gruff and stoner with a distinctly beard stroking beatnik grooving attaching to its early 70’s framing before without warning or a so much as a by your leave jettisoning off into mystical orbits taking you by the hand upon an astral carpet ride to star hop and dreamily glide amid the twinkle toned cosmic realms of the kosmiche cornucopia that is the dark side of Stereolab’s ‘cobra and phases’ set.

Whilst the Oscillation where still an aural adventure yet to be stumbled on, a youthful Demian Castellanos in solitude crafted ambient dreamscapes, in the absence of a wealth of effects pedals and todays computerised gimmicks he bastardised, bent and distorted the sounds emanating from his electric guitar using the most basic of aids at his disposal recording the results to four track. Until now these sonic suites have remained silently hidden away gathering dust. Until now. ‘the kyvu tapes – volume 1 (1990 -1998)’ (Kyvu being the name of the house he grew up in) gives insight into the creative mind-set of the young Castellanos and his early obsession and fascination for the aural outer margins of the psych universe. Again as with previous Cardinal Fuzz happenings about to surface we will be re-visiting this in due course for a lengthier stay though for now maintain a deep affection for the eerie pulsar shimmer of the aptly named ‘time slip’ – a quite unsettling cosmic visitation that imagines the future worlds of Wizards Tell Lies teleported to the landscapes of Wally k Daly’s ‘before the screaming starts’ by a dream machine camouflaged Tardis piloted by Sonic Boom in his EAR apparel.

And so to the last of the Cardinal Fuzz spring collection. It proved no surprise to us to eye mention in the press release that these dudes are to shortly be found sharing stage spots with Mugstar and thee oh sees at the forthcoming Austin Psyche Fest happenings for White Manna appear to sit squarely at the balancing point of a sonic seesaw that finds both the aforementioned titans occupying the stools at the opposing ends. The wig flipping ‘Pan’ due June time is a volcanic goliath that features six white hot slabs of cosmic magma not least the opening title track whose trip-a-delic kaleidoscopia veers into a mind evaporating vortex ripped upon a mass accelerating groove so dense that your head will feel as though it’s been warp driven through a Hadron Collider.   

mentioned this here – https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/false-heads-2/ – when we had visuals – now here’s the sound cloud links – in fact the whole EP – still sounds a peach – out very soon (next week) – and while the lead out track is the obvious dansette dandy we suggest you tune into the brooding shadow lines of ‘nothing in there’ which had us much in mind of a darkly woven slice of spell craft from thee hypnotics spooking the back drops of Lynchian landscape. https://soundcloud.com/falseheads/sets/wear-and-tear

Regular visitors to these pages will be all too aware of our affection for the strange sounding, throw in the occasional surreal descriptor and – well – we are literally putty in your hands. ‘Duet’ the latest from Rubik and taken from a forthcoming set for domestic entitled ‘tone poem’ is a bit of a reviewers worst nightmare for it refuses to kowtow the usual pop party line and instead tinkers, turns and twists its sonic fabric into a defy you to categorize blurring of the genre divides which unless my ears do deceive to us at least sounds not unlike a loop grooved terraforming tapestry of noir chamber pop operatics replete with a scuttering neo classical piano tremble and squirrelling string arrangements all dinked with haunting pastoral posies, really is quite enjoyably bizarre and something that admirers of Momus and La STPO would do well to plug into at their earliest convenience. The video – equally kooky incidentally – is by Milton Melvin Croissant.

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Those fancying their listening space sprinkled in all manner of affectionate love noted pop purrs might do well to check out Night School’s ‘unkind’ which comes pilled from a specially cobbled together split 12 inch for RSD15 which finds them sharing groove space with Dott who some of you may recall we mentioned in passing just a few days ago. Anyhow this sugar rushing honey comes shimmered in the kind of dream dripped soft psych effervescence that used to attach to releases by the Strawberry Switchblade albeit as though lovingly kissed in the twee tingled love crush of the pains at being pure at heart – bliss…..

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And to even up the tally here’s one of the Dott cuts lurking on that aforementioned split (the other – ‘car song’ we happened to mention in passing a little while back) with night school via Graveface. Is it just me and / or my laptop but this sounds very quiet – glitches aside ‘Glue’ freewheels seductively into spaces once occupied by Lush replete with sumptuous crest waving chorus hooks…does it for us. https://soundcloud.com/graveface/dott-glue?mc_cid=04ac5ef3e3&mc_eid=a245be6d3c

Think I’m right in saying that the last time the excellently named ciao ketchup imprint came along troubling our sound system was by way of a rather nifty les bonbons cut – alas no amount of begging letters and pleas could wrestle a copy of the bands album from the labels grasp which set an ominous precedent when upon our viewfinder appeared the latest from the Vultures via the same outlet. Not being ones to bear a grudge, though in our spare time we have been known to whittle evil dolls in various likenesses out of enchanted wood for us to randomly shove pins into, but hey it’s good to have a hobby. And so before we forget why we were penning this in the first place or else digress any further this is the Vultures and a new thing called ‘weakest storm’ which I must admit has been growing on us with each passing play, best described as an art noir collective who delight in peppering their neo classical salvos in a brooding seasoning of a species of chamber pop that’s filtered in equal measures of renaissance chic, gypsy regalia and eastern European elegance whilst found here particularly traced to a regal heraldry bleached in a strangely becoming gothic folk casing drifting downstream from the Medway and much recalling of Lupen Crook and Furniture.

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I will be honest in saying that there where mild tremors of concern when we eyed the worrying word couplet ‘power ballad’ in their press release introduction. We had dread visions of Tyler, T’Pau and Heart converging ominously at once with the frightening big hair little substance and all the gauche of 80’s hell. Thankfully not so. Hailing from Scandinavia, well Sweden to be precise – home of perfect pop in case you didn’t know, Taxi Taxi are twins Johanna and Miriam who in recent times have seen their wares released on the considerably cool Rumraket label headed up by Efterklang and are now preparing to brave the world at large on their own two (well four) feet with their own delicious demon imprint which all things being well should see the release of a new album. Before that though there is the small but oh so important detail of that ‘power ballad’ to concern oneself with. ‘floating forever’ is seductively ghosted in a becoming sepia trimmed carousel of chiming corteges that upon first listens aligns itself to the kind of mercurial pop formations that once upon a time adored the grooving of Shakespeare’s sister releases. But then scratch a little deeper and amid the reflective vulnerability, the arcing and genuflecting arrangements  that gracefully soar and sigh and love noted lilts swooned and caressed in spectral electro swathes, there’s a blissful pageantry unfurling that’s softly haloed in teen crushed 50’s murmurs that’s channelled and dimpled in the arrest and delicately forlorn pop stature of haight ashbury.

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New groove from the admired around these here parts Vacant Lots, two cuts stamped upon limited 7 inch slabs of mind wiping wax that feature very special guest remixes by Alan Vega and Anton Newcombe of a brace of babes that initially appeared on their debuting long playing platter ‘departure’. ‘6am’ comes smoked by a sitar starting sequence before charging head long into a would be imploding black sun, a motorik mosaic head tripped in all manner of lysergic flavourings looped upon a white hot psych pulsar insanely grooved by a dead eyed Dadaist shock therapy that’s all hooked up to demented lock grooved dream machine – think that covers the blighter.

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Ripped this from the buried muse twitter feed – indeed get us all fancy footed and teccy savvy not ‘arf – this babe struts up to the plate sounding as though its tripped off the grooves of one of those back from the grave / pebbles sorties, this is the see no evils who I believe hail from Leeds and whose limited 7 inch set (a copy of which we’ll sleep restlessly until we can call our own) ‘hanging around’ comes swooned in the vintage aura of mid 60’s garage grooved cool which unless our ears do deceive also appears to be channelling heavy on the spirit of Wimple Winch and comes despatched with the kind of smoking swagger that might well be the cause of some enviable glances from their peers whilst not to mention shaking its stuff to a deeply dandy soul scowled beat blues gouging. Absolutely essential.

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Definitely free basing on an aural axis that freewheels between Roxy Music and Magazine albeit as though headed up by a proto dystopian electro punk’d John Foxx, this skinny thing will be finding its way to selected stores this comes Record Store Day on very limited issue, by the Invaderband – who feature among their select spikey topped number – one Adam Leonard, this is ‘implausible man’ which for the two and a half minutes of its slickly drilled post punk biff, bang pow has you immediately transported back to the days of political distrust and corruption, strikes and the working class struggle and the betrayal of the youth – so that’ll be yesterday then – of course we jest (or do we) – instead a swift hello to your younger self as pictured huddled up to the transistor listening to Peel late night before the Radio 1 closedown sometime late 70’s, this nugget whiffing a little of a day-glo Dadaism all kissed with a television personalities cool not to mention trace elements of the Stranglers, better than a poke in the eye which you’ll be self-administering on one self should you fail to check in. http://adamleonard.bandcamp.com/album/the-implausible-man-single

Adam Leonard who we mentioned last review out sees the completion of his ‘Octopus’ project with the release of the eighth and therein final part of this extensive and dare we say excellent trawl through the archives. As ever a delicious smattering of covers, live renditions and lost cuts from long deleted physical happenings – oh where to begin, perhaps best with the cover which for the Lennon / McCartney completists among you is a frazzled, fried and wiringly unhinged rephrasing of the Fab Four’s ‘good morning, good morning’ found here relocated as were to a noise core late 80’s New Zealand landscape and oozing in psychosis – always a good thing. Elsewhere there’s ‘elbow of termites’ – a very Robyn Hitchcock styled title it has to be said which is just as well given that this shadowy babe sounds as though its fallen from the grooves of the Soft Boys immortal ‘underwater moonlight’. ‘Napoleon’ here delivered as an acoustic variant is dimpled in the kind of lo-fi wooziness and mildly trippy dreaminess that occasioned lost releases by the likes of sadly missed Southall Riot and Freed Unit, the latter mentioned especially recalled on the delicately sea breezed wistfulness of ‘Wendy sends me’. Somewhere else lurks the unravelling ‘at right angles’ again recalling Hitchcock though here upended by the Egyptians and bliss kissed in lysergic tremors and something which on any other day would have won the award for prized cut of the set where it not for ‘see how the time is flying’ knocking it off its perch, this bitter sweet slice of reflection chiming with the same sweet melancholia traced upon McCartney’s near perfected and willowy mournfulness of ‘fool on the hill’ whilst grieved by the sympathetic swoon of lightly dusted strings a la Nick Drake / Robert Kirby. Word has it that the ‘octopus’ set in its entirety will be making a limited issue physical appearance in box set form entitled ‘octo-box’ soon – frankly we want one – hint hint.  http://adamleonard.bandcamp.com/album/octopus-part-8

those among you with memories extending beyond gold fish limitations might well recall us falling head over heels at the arrival in our gaff of a collection from .cranio a little while back. Well it seems that .cranio head man Luca Collivasone has of late decamped to his sound shed and under the cover of darkness has been doing a spot of extra curricula work under the guise doc looksharp wherein he’s assembled all manner of non-musical paraphernalia to assemble a curious left of centre collage under the gathering title ‘cacophonator’ which can only be best described as a musique concrete carousel. Now agreed I’m fully aware that there are some of you out there who when faced with those adjoining words ‘musique’ + ‘concrete’ have a tendency to have their blood running cold, but believe you me stay with this because obviously loosely ticking the Scott, Henry, Moondog and Stockhausen boxes vaguely, among this cleverly assembled clock working carnival those admiring of Herbie Hancock’s ‘future shock’ may find themselves pleasantly surprised and succumbed by the seemingly stop motion symphonics impishly at play here. All said don’t be too surprised to find us touching base with this in future despatches.

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New from Wales’ answer to the Acid Mothers for what appears to be the first of a series of planned face offs featuring Sendelica here pitted up against the cream of the psych / prog cognoscenti. This limited item – incidentally entitled ‘psychedelic battles – Volume 1’ finds them going head to head with Italian psychedelicists da captain trips with the Sendelica ones bringing with them the mammoth mind morphing 23 minute ‘day of the locust’ while the captains populate the reverse grooves with three fried out riff riddled recipes of their own. ‘day of the locust (Geoff Chase mix)’ is a furious flame hot head trip that navigates the kind of white out space rock happenings that the likes of Hawkwind devotees Mugstar have been known to frequently fry head spaces with, strictly for those who adore their aural experiences akin to deeply immersed full on astral voyages, this hulking babe terraforms amid moments of mutant stoner groove and bonged out oblivion. Here realities dissolve and heads melt to the subtle bliss kissed ghosting of eastern spirituals rising from the sonic haze, initial moments recall the intricate detailing of the oft derided and out of step psych prog alchemists Levitation before evaporating and re-forging sonic skin anew to emerge as  a lengthy wasted and freakish wig flipped and dare we say trip-a-delic acid blues segment which should you survive faculties intact from ends with a stoned out white hot laser eclipse of burning feedback squalls that aside wiping the last vestiges of your headspace might well give those brooding titans Sunn 0))) pause for thought whilst they enviably keep eyes peeled over their shoulder at the ongoing threat of an approaching storm. And so da captain trips, three cuts included here as previously advertised, first of which ‘the repentant blacksmith’ slowly burns to a softly psyched cosmic groove before shifting without warning through the gears to shed its skin for a spot of damn fine woozily coiled stoned blues grind before going off radar and smoking your listening space in some deliciously lazy eyed 60’s sourced shenanigans. ‘horizon’ – shortest cut of the trio is sumptuously rippled in a beatnik gouging fusing in crystalline stratospheric haloes that coalesce to nod ever so subtly in the general direction of Mountain while best of the three is the parting ‘space tide’ which once untethered of its mellowing Porcupine Tree styled mooring soon unfurls to reveal a reverb racked post rockian shoegazed underbelly that trips in the kind of aural interstellar quadrants as that occupied by Explosions in the Sky. The split is available via vincebus eruptum in all formats including an ultra-limited CD and a yellow wax variant, whilst one for your diaries as word has it there’s a mooted Sendelica split with The Luck of Eden Hall for the LMS imprint pencilled in for later in the year. https://sendelica.bandcamp.com/album/sendelica-vs-da-captain-trips-psychedelic-battles-volume-one

http://sendelica.bandcamp.com/album/sendelica-vs-da-captain-trips-psychedelic-battles-volume-one

we here are more than a mite distressed to find that we’ve somehow mislaid an email received from Chloe March pointing us in the general direction of a new single for I believe – that is if memory serves me right – the much loved Hidden Shoal imprint. Described as ‘sensual dream pop’ – a description so perfect we’ve struggled to better, ‘Orpheus Head’ is one of those rare sublime occasions where the configurations collide and converge in elegiac grace to craft something both enchanting and spellbinding where sophisticat night pop blended upon the distantly vague vestiges of folk, soft soul and down tempo electronica gather to arrest and seduce, for here elements of Linda Perhacs, Serafina Steer, Musetta and Stereolab intertwine with the emotional hush of a youthful Goldfrapp to engage something truly captivating, celestial and magical. Utter bliss in a word. https://soundcloud.com/hidden_shoal/chloe-march-orpheus-head

and back with silber – just briefly – where we’ve just eyed a new compilation entitled ‘broken hearts broken sounds’ which gathers together 18 of the finest purveyors of shoegaze, paisley pop, drone, Americana and experimental sounds currently navigating the waters of pop’s multi generic aural ocean. Of course time permitting we’ll be revisiting this in greater detail but for now catching our ear lobes the immense and monolithic tones of silver screen orchestra see out the set in jaw dropping statue-esque style for what is a 15 minute head phonic slab of bliss fuelled drone dipped loveliness in the shape of ‘glassera’ which unless our ears do us mischief sounds not unlike some heaven sent fantasy band head to head twinning together Flying Saucer Attack, set fire to flames and Bill Horist to find them gathered at some mystical stone site orchestrating the very spirits and vibes of mother nature into an intoxicating harmony of the spheres. https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/broken-hearts-broken-sounds

had Goldfrapp gone down the Stetson donning western route rather than the lushly elegiac carnival-esque music hall cabaret landscapes for ‘felt mountain’ they would have no doubt sounded, we suspect, not a million miles away from the kind of tuneage rising from the grooves of Vienna Ditto’s ‘hammer and a nail’. Taken from a forthcoming debut full length and sent out as a taster single, this haunting honey comes shimmered in a funky 60’s smoked rubdown to sound like Nancy Sinatra doing her best Eartha Kitt impressions across discarded tapes of abandoned sessions by John Leyton under the watchful eye of Joe Meek for a spot of moonshine swigging ghostly gospel. https://soundcloud.com/viennaditto/hammer-and-a-nail

like some lost treasure unearthed from a forgotten Spector vault, the New Southern Electrikk return to the fray following a heap load of adoration bestowed on their stunning re-visit of Gun Club’s ‘mother of earth’ way back at the tail end of last year with a newly peeled heartbreaker ‘brown eyes’. Ached in the delicate swirl of a 60’s styled piping, this bubble grooved honey bruises beautifully etched in the crushing glow of the Shangri-La’s at their most vulnerable, wide open and forlorn – scarcely a dry eye in the place.

Don’t mind admitting that we here are a little more than fond of ‘demon’s hand’ by Swedish lo-fi alchemist Holy. The handiwork of Umea resident Hannes Ferm who it must be said appears an old hand in the crafting of brittle sun fading minimalist soft psych ear candy for the lost that first and foremost ought to appeal to those still digging the very youthful outings by a certain Teardrop Explodes, like a disconsolate Avi Buffalo removed of his effects pedals and radiant west coast warmth, Holy wallows and weaves a most delightful and insidiously skewed earworm that might just have you sneakily thumbing through your record collection for your prized Another Sunny Day classics. An album looms entitled ‘Stabs’ via the pnkslm and ny vag imprints, we suggest you get your pre orders in right now. https://soundcloud.com/pnkslm/holy-demons-hand/   

Strictly for those having lain awake suffering sleepless nights disturbed by jangling pre-occupations creating fantasy super groups from turntable heroes, fear no more for ripped from a forthcoming set for fire entitled ‘Jekyll Island’, New Zealand imps Surf City have served up ‘hollow veins’ as a pre course taster and into the bargain melodically mix n’ matched a three plus minute power popped zapping fuzz buzzed bubble groover that to these ears sounds like Joey Ramone fronting the Pistols themselves rewiring the coda from ‘Silly Thing’ into an uber cooled shades shimmered locked grooving slab of glam nuanced white noise surfadelica ghosted by Eddie Cochran visitations.  https://soundcloud.com/firerecords/surf-city-hollow-veins   

I won’t deny there have been strange happenings around our listening space of late not least mainly down to Dengue Fever who you might recall us mentioning a little while ago when we were found tripping over our jaws in utter adoration at the track ‘Uku’ peeled from their ‘cannibal courtship’ set from sometime the year before which admittedly too much disturbed horror we found our lives somewhat the lesser for not owning. Out via tuk tuk very shortly emerges ‘the deepest lake’ from which the ridiculously dinky and insidiously addictive ‘rom say sok’ is primed as an early warning shot to the senses for this honey wiggles with the kind of fruity pop panache that has you wondering whether it’s the offspring of some Os Mutantes meets Baccara fusion replete with a subtle side serving of Moroder motifs and a distant tweaking of Lipps Inc’s ‘funky town’ – whatever the case there’s no denying that it’s a welcomed retro pop pill joyously buzzy and beaming with jiggy wiggy effervescence.

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Last seen parading the drop dead gorgeous ‘healer’ EP on big tea, it’s been such an age that these dudes dared to worry our sound system that we were of a mind to circulate missing person notices. Such fears are at an end with the arrival of ultra cool uber hip happenings emanating from the Dead Wolf Club sound house with an imminent album about to cause deserved frenzied at record emporiums across the nation as well as (we do suspect) incurring moments of heart skipping admiration amongst the underground cognoscenti. Before that though the small though nonetheless consequential detail of a lead out single which finds ‘you’re a hit on the internet’ attracting centre stage attention. Out via the frogcar imprint this wiring babe veers straight into mid 80’s Brix era Fall environs albeit as though led from the fore by a particularly animated John Cooper Clarke no doubt receiving electric shock jolts by an impish off stage and out of sight Mark E Smith, as to the actual song itself an edgy pulse racing and frantic slab of tension taught angular bop that’s liable to set your turntables teeth on edge and give it cause for panic tremors. Essential in case you hadn’t worked it out for yourselves. The band will be touring the UK this month see listings for live experiences. https://soundcloud.com/deadwolfclub/youreahit 

Next up two superb releases heading out of the Italo imprint Cineploit who as it happens came highly recommended by those dudes the Holy See…..

First up a new double album from Sospetto entitled ‘quattro specchi opachi’ from which the teaser ‘condanna a morte’ below is posted for your discerning listening enjoyment. A superbly wiggy key drenched dream coat daubed in late 60’s / early 70’s retro motifs out of which emerges mind expanding kaleidoscopic head sounds lush in tripped out dissipating big bearded progian psych mosaics that even find time for some detours into classic era funked out Blaxploitation grooving – totally far out and wasted and essential listening accoutrement for space kids and bonged out beatniks. https://soundcloud.com/sospetto-music/condanna-a-morte

same label – cineploit – in case you’ve forgotten already or else were so freaked by the previous happening that you and your consciousness have somehow parted company on some mystical astral axis, more tastiness comes in the shape of a forthcoming self titled set from Videogram who for the uninitiated – us included – is Swedish musician Magnus Sellergren – whom it seems has something of a fondness for horrorphonic minimalism and vintage keys most notably those that one time or another adorned soundtracks frequenting cult b-movie screens of the 70’s and 80’s, elements of Carpenter (not least as evidenced on ‘subway stalker’ – very ‘assault on precinct 13’) and Zombi populate his futuristic chill trimmed soundscapes while moments of acutely crooked playfulness occasion the grooves not least on ‘scavolini’s nightmare’ where the worlds of a ‘Zombie’ era Goblin collide with the sparsely macabre lullabies of Landscape. All said showcasing cut ‘2077: raiders of the apocalypse’ is blessed it should be said with a distinct 50’s sci-fi flavouring that imagines Dominic Frontiere channelling the spirit of Pepe and Bebe Barron with the baton being passed to a ‘Scene 30’ era Echoboy’ to apply a distinct dread drilled Tubeway Army styled futile morbidity to proceedings. http://videogram.bandcamp.com/album/videogram

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I know I said there were two visitations from the cineploit imprint but the blighters went and sneaked this one in and we just could not resist its charms. This will be the next cineploit release, by orgasmo sonore entitled ‘revisiting obscure library music’ – it does exactly what it says on the tin in re-appraising lost works from Italy’s forgotten film soundtrack past among the selected few with the spotlight shone upon – Les Baxter, Jacky Giordano, Bruno Nicolai, Alessandro Allesandroni and many more are paid homage to in what on first brief listens appears a stunningly chic and beautifully crafted set. For now by way of a teaser the harpsichord heavy ‘theme 1 – Giallo’ smokes seductively between sweeping string romance and faded shadow lined spy noir, switching between seduction and suspense there’s a very distinct Mancini stylising at work albeit as though in symphonic cahoots with Roy Budd.  https://soundcloud.com/orgasmo-sonore/theme01-giallo

There’s also a specially dedicated web page whereby OS focuses on those lost past masters of the soundtrack and the musical generic houses within – to date ‘Giallo’ and Francois de Roubaix have been spotlighted….. http://orgasmo-sonore.blogspot.ca/2015/01/theme-02-francois-de-roubaix.html

Oh really, so you make a brief ghost like appearance, a twenty six second visitation that from its sounds promises something mystical and magical, strange though seductive, eastern and ethereal and set it upon a surreal moving picture montage before swiftly disappearing in a puff of smoke leaving us in its wake jaws agape needing more and then you tell us we have to wait until April. Now perhaps it’s just me but I’m of the thinking, and I could be wrong, that there are European conventions outlawing such practices. I fear spontaneous combustion might curb the expectancy. This dear readers is the video teaser heralding new happenings in the Stealing Sheep camp with the announcement of a new full length entitled ‘not real’ through heavenly……expected April…..

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There’s rumours abound of a limited white vinyl seven inch heading record emporiums way via reverb worship from palace of words featuring mixes by the hare and the moon and joe foster with an additional CD enclosed with reworked happenings from snide rhythms, future disguises and midwich youth club the latter of whom who’ve just sent over downloads for their latest full length. For now though here’s some rich pickings from the POS vaults courtesy of ‘I am Peter the Hermit’ which aside having all the requisite head expanding swirls of a Spectrum cloaked Sonic Boom manages to dreamweave its way into the kaleidoscopic netherworlds of the Walking Seeds’ much underrated and criminally overlooked ‘bad orb…..whirling ball’.

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I fear our sound system is going to be in need of some serious counselling after having briefly encountered the opening track of the forthcoming Shit and Shine set for rocket recordings. Never one to make your listening life easy Craig Clouse – for it is he who is Shit and Shine now goes off sonic radar traversing unchartered subterranean sound worlds for the excellently titled ’54 synth-brass, 38 metal guitar 65 cathedrals’ set and in the offing producing perhaps his most user friendly offering to date. Lead out track ‘electric pony 2’ provides the sets gleeful sore thumb, minimalist krautoid hypno groove is perhaps the best way to describe this opening charge, in some respects a step back to the days of tigerbeat6, wobblyhead and those inspired wig flipped happenings from twisted nerve (more pertinently those with head honcho Andy Votel with a side serving of Pimmon seeking to dissolve your head space) albeit with a forward thinking looking over the next hill mind set wired into place, here mutant Tron-esque cold steel shimmers chunner and chatter in blip bleached binary birthing strange dubtronic species and a desolate industrial disquieting chill the likes of which – should you be looking for reference markers – align themselves to the outer axis’ of bureau b’s ahead of the curve  multi-generic environs. 

And talking of bureau b, latest from the hippest Hamburg sound house is a download only outing from Camouflage whose uplifting electro pop anthem ‘shine’ swoons and swerves in the retro vapour trails of a mid-career sounding Comsat Angels albeit as though subsumed in some shimmying sonic face off with the Church to emerge all purred in a quietly assured coalescing majesty rippled in crystal cut riff struts and 80’s vibing lunar swirls. Alas no sound links just yet – rest assured we are working on them.

Fruits de mer records update – details of forthcoming happenings coming via this boutique prog psych power popping platter pressing imprint….

http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/sideeffects.html

http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/momentaryvinyl.html

https://soundcloud.com/rocket-recordings/sets/shit-shine-54-synth-brass-38-metal-guitar-65-cathedral/s-DboRz

Bugger me this is grizzled stuff, teaser terroriser from speed freaked doom lords halshug entitled ‘total destruktion’ – these Danish dudes have just been confirmed for temples festival action – though between now and then there’ll be the traumatic delivery of a debut full length via southern lord entitled ‘blodets band’ from which this bad boy comes ripped. A fat and furious apocalyptic flame thrower, there are no niceties around here so don’t even go looking for them for from the moment the stylus connects to the curdling wax unseen hands are about your throat choking life, hope and light from your very being. Brutal stuff. https://soundcloud.com/earsplit/halshug-total-destruktion

I can tell you instantly why this initially caught our earlobes and had us a moment poised and perched in adoration, it’s the hollowing bass timbre shadow playing to the rear much reminiscent of Radiohead’s ‘all I need’ from ‘in rainbows’ that struck us stuck to the spot, that same solemn yearning ache for something out of reach and improbable though here sparsely set in a minimalist silent hymnal grace delicately dispatched in a quiet though becoming frosted grandeur. Incidentally its by novanta who when emerged from his isolationist studio and off on walk about around his neighbourhood is better known to the public at large as Manfredi Lamartini – the track before we forget to say is entitled ‘a fever’. Over on the flip you’ll find an ummagma remix of ‘best-selling dreams’ which initially comes demurred in the kind of crystalline dream hazed mellowness you’d normally expect to hear heading out of the speakers once your stylus had made contact with the grooves of  a gem from Manual before going off road and hyperactive re-positing itself in the kind of electro wooziness that older listeners may well find themselves thumbing through record collections trying to prize out lost nuggets by tex la homa and the more chilled moments from star fighter pilots back catalogue. http://novanta.bandcamp.com/album/a-fever-single

now if this doesn’t have warming rays of life affirming sun beams emanating from your earlobes then frankly there’s just no hope  for you, new single from Satellite Stories entitled ‘heartbeat’ serves as an early warning call as to what you can expect from their forthcoming third set ‘vagabonds’ due March time. Huge, anthemic and quite frankly irresistibly oozing feel good effervescence from its very pores, this honey comes smothered in the kind of rarefied euphoric blaze that you’d be forgiven for thinking was the by product and onset of a charging cavalry coming over the hill on their way to the nearest crowd swelling festival brandishing and waving aloft a sea of lighters.   https://soundcloud.com/satellitestories/heartbeat-1

Those in need of a little ear wax removing need look no further than a brief moment in the company of an imminent set from Hyperslob and the Goat Meat Explosion entitled ‘infectious yarn’ – though we do feel obliged to add in the obligatory health warning that this may well not only melt your ears clean off but no doubt be the cause of your hi-fi spontaneously combusting. Now we here are currently attempting to download an early heads up of the set – should be done in a week or three – yea thanks BT – super quick broadband my backside, that said if the two preview cuts currently moonlighting on their band camp page are anything to judge by then we are in for a whole heap of impishly raucous unruliness. Frankly you need to hear ‘pink meet’ – an insane slab of discordant and damaged skin blistering noise gored punk-a-rama, whacked out, wired and wilfully wild – and dare we say the most beautifully barmy bad assed and schizoid turntable trasher that we’ve had the pleasure of scorching our lobes in a fair old while. Rather than kowtow to a prescribed form or structure hyperslob and co appear to lunge from the chaotic to the down right deranged with much aplomb all the time going about their way laying waste to all before them in a searing schizophrenic head but that’s as threatening as it is borderline psychotic. ‘little claus’ grimly ascends at different path that’s nevertheless fraught and frenzied in a brooding almost stalker like menace that scowls, prowls and growls with a decidedly acute angular detailing that hints at a darker and youthful Pixies carcass being picked at by a particularly rabid slacker slouching evil twin of Pavement headed up by Simple Kid – essential of course. https://hyperslob.bandcamp.com/

Radio wise – we suggest you tune in on the BBC iplayer for a chance to re-visit Sir Christopher Frayling’s profile on one of the greatest living composers – Ennio Morricone. Recorded and first aired in 2008 to coincide with the great man’s 80th birthday, Frayling gets a very rare audience with this most elusive of workaholics capturing the thoughts and contributions of Alison Goldfrapp and Chris Rea and grappling with Morricone’s own personal struggle for acceptance by the classical community and his concerns as to his own legacy whilst simultaneously posing the question ‘why doesn’t Italy celebrate Morricone as its greatest living composer?’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00f65l8

and no sooner do we despatch one slice of ear candy and along comes another to force its way into our affections. Debut release for the midnight bell imprint comes courtesy of an ultra limited 250 only 7 inch split that pairs together those unfortunates and walk uprights on opposing slabs of wax. Those Unfortunates headed up last year’s Unlondon festival – a festival celebration of music, literature and art inspired by the unloved imaginary and lost underground of London, here stumping up ‘Arthur Lowe’ (he of Dad’s Army fame) which assumes something of a breathless and deliriously see sawing brew of speed freaked fuzz fuelled nag nag nag punkoid music hall revelry that finds itself sitting impishly somewhere between this nations saving grace Half Man Half Biscuit and the riotous tongue in cheek three chord bop of Peter and the Test Tube babies. As to walk uprights over on the flip ‘no control’ emerges as something of a sweetie loosely finding it voice amid the classic yesteryear sounds of the Attractions and the Blockheads and welding upon that sonic chassis an ear candy cocktail of 60’s styled swirling Hammonds undercut by a flirty rock steady motif which morphs at moments to cut a nifty dash of coolly cut beat grooved mosaics.

Here’s those unfortunates capturing live performing ‘Arthur Lowe’ on a recent soiree at the Braaahhlitz festival….

Disturbingly faultless and impeccably perfect, if both ‘I find you’ and the latest Sara Lowes track to slope off and demur and dazzle ‘JB Priestley’ are anything to judge then quite frankly February can’t come fast enough for that when the Railing records imprint unveil ‘the joy of waiting’ to the greater public it has all the early indicators to suggest it being one of the early benchmark sets for the chasing pack to follow. ‘JB Priestley’ is clever, crafted and kooky not to mention playful and deeply set in the revealing of a boundless free spirited artistry that seductively weaves daintily dimpled folk mirages into love noted mini symphonies that are dinked in a timeless vintage and swirling in a light headed dizzy euphoria to which the press release hints at a feint dusting of Divine Comedy nods, indeed we’d agree if it weren’t for the subtle ghosting of Bacharach and David and Van Dyke Parks lurking at its shoulders giving way to a fondness for an early career Oddfellows Casino. But then scratch a little deeper and amid the breathless motion of the chuffing and puffing rhythms Ms Lowes’ kinship is all too obvious to see aligned with fondness to that of the Carpenters.  https://soundcloud.com/sara-lowes/jb-priestley

think i’m in love, well as in love with a musical track as you can be, incoming by the menace beaches who I’m suspecting we’ve featured in previous lives, this track incidentally titled tastes like medicine’ comes pulled from their forthcoming debut long player for Memphis industries ‘ratworld’. A bit of a babe it is to all stutter strum shimmers and honey dripped harmonies that very much veer into the kind fizzing ear candy so often dropped by the Manhattan Love Suicides and all shoehorned into three minutes of acutely cute shade adorned buzz pop that imagines a studio love in between the Heartthrobs and Another Sunny Day. https://soundcloud.com/memphisindustries/menace-beach-tastes-like/

Fancy a tree gathering of piping good cheer seems the Vacilando68 imprint thought you might so they assembled the labels finest musical players for a season greeting soiree around the tinsel trimmed turntable….

First up to the Christmas plate the Singing Loins whose hearty rendition of the yuletide classic ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ had us a swaying in the aisles not least because the blighter is engagingly fashioned in a lolloping motif festooned by brigades of banjos and sleigh bells – sounds like a whole heap of Medway merriment to us.

We mentioned Theatre Royal’s ‘I believe in Father Christmas (I don’t want socks)’ this time last when it was released as a limited download only single, it so happens – and only because it’s you mind – that we’ve saved you all the time, effort and patience in trying to root out our fond write up by doing it for you – see hear https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/theatre-royal-and-friends/

Likewise with Broderick and Barnes’ seasonal offering ‘December’ which we only mentioned this time last week and with that still maintain it’s the stuff of aching beauty that’s liable to have you smiling through tear stained cheeks….anyway to save you rummaging for our wordy bits just go here – and pronto….. https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/broderick-and-barnes-2/

Finally shuffling up to the centre stage Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society serve up the gruff gospel blues cutie ‘walking through snow (to get to you)’ which in truth sounds as though it’s been on a Christmas night out at the local drinking well with an assorted crowd made up of Tom Waits, Wild Billy Childish and the Pogues all gathered to turn in a hulking humdinger of a cut that’s sure to have you tearfully welling up your scotch glass at the Christmas lonely hearts salon. 

New Active Listener sampler has just landed – well it landed about two weeks ago but hey who’s splitting hairs. Volume 26 retains the blog sites impeccable high standard which alas as much as we’d like to cover and give mention to all seventeen tracks on parade, time is of a pretty rarefied essence at present. That said plenty of familiar faces feature here all of whom readers here should be well versed with (paperhead, concretism, mark fry, ummagma, jouis and more so we’ll keep this mention a little low key and let your ears feast upon the treats within. That said we won’t leave it just there for there were several cuts that caught our attention notably Julie’s Haircut whose ‘Karlsruhe’ had us somewhat sedated and chilled not least because amid it woozy mind weaves and cosmically trip-a-delic smokiness there’s a kind of super blissed dream drift aspect afoot that circling around the outer rings of the great kraut universe and simultaneously manages to sound like a bonged out ‘Bad Orb….’ era Walking Seeds. Elsewhere ‘crystal spy’ by Moonsicles was the happy recipient of admiring nods in our gaff not least because deep within its bleakly beautifully frost framed mosaics you suspect lurks the imagining of an early 70’s styled spy noir screenplay awaits on a paper strewn lamp illuminated desk for the filming green light – those admiring of all things early Gnac will adore. Something else worthy of investing your listening time is ‘clay in my hand’ by United Bible Studies which may well strike a heaven sent ear gear chord among those of you who’ve ever lain awake at night restlessly dogged by imaginings of what if and what would a chance meeting in a recording studio between Tunng and Porcupine Tree sound like. Last up for this brief mention dare we depart without a quick call for the Unseen who will – unless some cataclysmic event befalls us – be featuring in these pages aplenty before we hit Christmas day – here with the creepy ‘her father’s voice’ taken from the ‘Mary’ soundtrack, its creepy not for the music as such but for the interspersing of filmic dialogue with the overbearing father laying the seeds to Mary’s fractured and twisted mind set, the clarity in the juxtaposition pitting innocence in polar opposition to abuse  is undercut throughout by the lullaby chill of child-like playroom electro-chimes which soon dissolve into something more revealing of the dark portent ahead, in short it is classic 70’s Giallo horror chic especially the type flying out of the Fulci / Argento vaults to which those well versed and adoring of scores by Goblin, Carpenter and more latterly Zombi will find much to swoon about. http://theactivelistener.bandcamp.com/     

Those intrinsically familiar with these musings will no doubt be all too aware of our love for things dinked and dimpled in playful TV testcard styled lullaby motifs so you can imagine that when this dozy eyed slice of dreaminess came into earshot we’d felt as though we’d died and gone to the big playroom in the sky. Hailing from Vietnam (a territory you’ll be hearing more about in the coming days – music wise – when we get around to mentioning Sound Awakener from whom we receive a rather nice email message from – see http://soundawakener.bandcamp.com/ – one for Roadside Picnic / Justin Wiggan we suspect) pearthq have recently released ‘binary harmony sunrise’ which he / she / they describe in passing as ‘colourful energy enriched fun harmony light sunrise’ which I think in short translates as happy music to which it is given it playfully skirts around the outer spheres of the vintage idents so oft escaping from the ghost box sound lab and then colours the shy eyed minimalist spectrum in the kind of clockwork charmed lull of a youthful ISAN and Plone and then puts it all to bed to rest to the lilt of Raymond Scott’s ‘soothing sounds for baby’. http://pearthq.bandcamp.com/track/binary-harmony-sunrise

If there’s just one incy wincy complaint to be made about this particular Christmas hangover it’s the title. I mean calling your seasonal winter warmer ‘fuck you it’s Christmas’ was always going to get us sitting up on our hind quarters begging to hear, but then there are those who – shall we say – are a little less tolerant and a little 1930’s who perhaps understandably when faced with such blatant attention grabbling use of anglo saxon language might well cry foul – hello BBC. Which is a shame really because this cutie is a bit of merry miserablism that finds Pat and Amelia (better known as Bent Cousin) lobbing verbal snowballs at each other over a very un-neighbourly fence as a result of a rain drizzled and rather awkward teen break up which in truth cleverly echoes Kirsty and Shane’s yuletide woe (best Christmas record ever. Discuss.) albeit re-imagined as were by a very young ‘Tigermilk’ era Belle and Sebastian – essential ear gear for those with ears frequently tuned to imprints such as matinee, fortuna pop, elefant etc….  – believe it’s a free download – (are you sure)…. https://soundcloud.com/bentcousin/fuck-you-its-christmas

Blimey another release that caught us on the hop earlier today though I must admit finding it was a cover of ‘walking in the air’ (a record that I have to say I have never really cared for) didn’t have us at once scampering up to it, we did in fact consider options, walk around it pensively stroking our chin for a little while before finally being resolved to the fact that we should at least give it a go. Boy were we mistaken, in the hands of the Half Earth a new (palatable for us at least) persona is revealed, choral rustics enchant to shower it in spectral shimmers of fairy dust, its fragile sparseness nods to the much admired Low Anthem, the falsetto vocals, the poise, the measured application and the somewhat silent majesty all brush up cosy toed to the delicately picked fretwork to craft something wood crafted, ghostly and ached in introspection. A humbling experience. The track incidentally comes peeled from a compilation entitled ‘it’s coming on Christmas’ put out by Daisy Digital with all proceeds raised going to the Coppafeel charity – an organisation responsible for the educating of young people on the importance of checking themselves out. The collection gathers together 28 specially invited musicians all detailed with imparting their own little bit of Christmas melodic magic among the roll call – the Districts, Layla, robyn sherwell, the lake poets, newton Faulkner and shy nature – hopefully we’ll revisit it again in a few days for a closer inspection – for now though go here (for the Half Earth standalone)  https://soundcloud.com/thehalfearth/walkingintheair and here (for the relevant bandcamp ordering site) https://soundcloud.com/thehalfearth/walkingintheair

Another quality release in the offing from the critically cool Naim Jazz imprint whose wares last featured in these musings serving up a superb set from Get the Blessing. Sometime February will see the third full length from Troyka doing hopefully brisk business at record counters the length and breadth of the nation. ‘Ornithophobia’ be its name titled such after Chris the guitarists’ fear of birds the band and label have issued forth by way of a teaser ‘life was transient’ showcases the collectives unique ability to freewheel the generic cracks moving with a kooky rhythmic vibe incorporating jazz, exotic, lounge, down tempo minimalism, classic trip hop beats, subtle psych prog accents and playful electro squiggles which in truth sound like some Radiophonic rewiring of ‘Vision On’ TV indents on an though on an Oriental soiree and which all said shares a kinship with the Winston Giles Orchestra had they decided to try out for that excellent ‘Monsterism’ compilation put together by (if i recall rightly) Pete Fowler from a few years. https://soundcloud.com/naimedge/troyka-life-was-transient

And talking of Mr Fowler – these days when he’s not busy doing arty things and all manner of other creative gubbins he’s also one half of the Seahawks – must adored I don’t need to tell you around this here parish. Anyway on their sound cloud page  you’ll find a downloadable 60 minute mix tape entitled ‘it’s the beginning of a new age’ – alas no track listing but what we can guarantee is an aural head message in the safe comfort of those Seahawks pilots as they take your mind for a spot of astral gliding – wig flipping chill-a-rama perfect for those of you of a Craig Padilla, Magic Mushroom Band, and Tangerine Dream-y lunar lounge persuasion..  https://soundcloud.com/squonjax/seahawksits-the-beginning-again-of-a-new-age-mixtape-60min

blast from the past time – been ages since we heard this – the words drop dead gorgeous don’t do it adequate justice…..

I’m fairly certain we’ve got various Snide Rhythms grooves lurking in our in box which thus far we’ve haplessly overlooked due to the release traffic of late, but here they are set the task of pitting their remixing talents upon Palace of Swords ‘Aesthete Cured’ – this honey coming pulled from an EP featuring POS ear gear re-imagined whose title for now escapes as we’ve lost the link. Anyway I’m definitely picking up 23 Skidoo meets AR Kane vibes from somewhere which is all a bit mystifying given we’ve also got a curious mantra like Spacemen 3 slice of Dadaism at work that sounds as though it’s been put through some kind of cosmically maxima minima dream machine all nibbled and shaped into a hypnotic weird hair technoid moocher by a particularly stoned Quando Quango.

In recent years no artist has come close to both tantalising and terrorising our turntable than the duo Father Murphy, existing outside the accepted sonic spectrum, they are the classic sore thumbs confounding and confusing their listenership whilst firmly pushing the envelope in your direction constantly forcing you to change the way you view / assimilate and appreciate music not merely as an art form or sound resource but further still into something approaching an arcane ritual or rather more an exorcism forcing you to  confront your own demons and question your sanity. Next chapter in what has been thus far a challenging back catalogue, blue tapes are about to release ‘Cavalry’ on cassette, a herald as were marking the coming a ‘concept’ full length. A guest appearance by Ezra Buchla formerly Gowns (a regular occurrence on latterly releases), ‘Cavalry’ may yet prove to be Father Murphy’s most confrontational release to date, described as ‘sound art set to a poem depicting the crucifixion of Dismas, Gestas and Jesus of Nazareth’ this sombrely toned 11 minute suite features field recordings aimed to replicate the construction of the crosses and the hammering of the nails, bleakly dead headed and chillingly stilled there’s a desolate detachment grimly biting away at the wretched grimness revealing itself within, at once uncomfortable and disquieting, the harrowing chill of the groaning cries and the impassioned howls align their morbid tension to the grating desperation oppressively gnawing away throughout. Not I fear for those of a feint hearted nature.

I can tell without a shadow of doubt that since arriving in our gaff this particular release has been the recipient of many a fondly in awe glance. The latest release in Fat Cat’s legendary split series – which just to recap for those among you not previously familiar – was / is a series showcasing talents consider by the Fat Cat office to be seriously ahead of the musical curve whilst traversing new previously unexplored musical continents. The series admittedly an on / off affair since its critical high point in 2000 was initiated way back in 1997 with the limited issue of a 12 inch pairing together third eye foundation and V/VM, each release arriving housed in distinctly eye catching drill hole sleeves and giving much needed and deserved exposure to a formidable roll call of talent that has included AMM, James Plotkin, Pimmon, Kid 606, Matmos, Fennesz, Avey Tare, Sunroof, Astral Social Club and many more. For release #23 they assembled and pitted together on opposing sides of wax the rarefied talents of Katie Gately and Tlaotlon, both ought to be familiar to regular observers of these missives given we adored to bits the formers appearance on the aforementioned Blue Tapes imprint a year or more ago and likewise with the latter for a superb head turning showing on the esteemed Trensmat (who I should point out we will be re-engaging with at the earliest convenience in the new year). You can immediately see why Fat Cat fell for Katie Gately – her abstract uncoordinated coordination and ethereal playfulness, the way she bends sonic shapes to craft mini symphonies within symphonies ensures that repeat listens always offer up new previously unrealised passages or sub stratas on each repeat revisit, there’s definitely that same impish free spirit coursing throughout that first waywardly emerged dizzily from out of the grooves of Animal Collective’s first two FC releases. ‘pivot’ is in short a 15 minute enchanted odyssey, a frosted trip-a-delic garland terraforming sumptuously by way of a creative mindset predisposed to the clever, the kooky and the wilfully abstract albeit crookedly so, this sepia trimmed ghost light shimmers and shifts without fair warning or inkling across demurring aural landscapes that stop for rest intervals tweaked in minimalist electronics whilst subtly dimpled in essences of gospel, monastic, radiant lunar fanfares, nursery rhyme mantras, campfire cosmedelic cuteness and perky skip-a-long pop which should you need reference markers to help in your guidance then we suggest you brush up on your knowledge and familiarity of Laurie Anderson. In a nutshell ‘pivot’ is an ethereal cosmic hymn. As to Tlaotlon over on the flip side, in sharp contrast to his erstwhile wax sharing sparring partner four cuts that pretty much find New Zealand based sound alchemist Jeremy Coughbrough wading through mesmeric waters to create what can only be best described as a Dadaist dreamscape with ‘myriade’ opening the proceedings immersing your headspace in a glorious confusion of sonic messages that swirl and swarm like brain burning transmissions from some as were critical meltdown suffering mind wiping dram machine. No sooner do you escape with faculties barely intact before ‘Ascensis’ is upon you, micro sonic sculpturing rippled in dubtronic tropicalia and a sub-tronic minimalistic trance funk, the textures tight, taut and intricate buzz and bop to the kind of hypnotic engineering that was once the given remit of releases often bearing the names Casino vs. Japan or the hallmark Tigerbeat6 stamped upon their hides. ‘odys’ the most expansive cut here is your ice sculptured styled alien tropical oddness which manages to morph upon a subtle funk lineage that imagines Louis and Bebe Barron strange out there futuro visions being robo-funked by Herbie Hancock and then fed through an Autechre shredder. However that said it’s the parting ‘Siade’ that in truth won our hearts, a dreamy lunar waltz playfully gurgling and cooing in the twinkled night sky all of whose lo-fi tronic lilt ought to arrest those of you adoring the early work of maps and diagrams and ISAN. 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/113537396“>Katie Gately – Pivot (Official Music Video)</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/louisjmorton“>Louis Morton</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com“>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Something of a head bowed nugget from the Rob Clarke who on this occasion instead of being with his usual Wooltones band mates appears to have absconded to play with the Brown Bears for a (that is if we’ve gotten this right as we’ve lost the reference note from which we picked this up) set called ‘the basement tapes’ from off which this little gem has been turned. A cover of Dylan’s ‘I pity the poor immigrant’ no less may well have you pausing for thought and consideration to take your mind, if only for 2.48 minutes, away from the commercial trappings of this season time to consider your lot and relate to those a little less fortunate and the forgotten who spend their lives staring at society from the bitter cold of the outside, here delicately drawn as a sweetly drifting country folk ramble etched in bitterness, pity and a sense of regret. As to the track itself much debate and uncertainty has come to pass amid Dylan scholars over its meaning – was it a commentary on America’s heritage, perhaps a religious parable of sorts or maybe a simple road song with much column inches lent to the central critique as to the context of the description immigrant – for me personally one of the great outsider songs.

 

Again I must apologise as I do seem to recall seeing this particular news item mentioning a coinciding album release, alas I’ve lost the details so you might have to scramble around t’internet to check for yourselves – power to the people – huzzah – call it an age thing or just seriously bad housekeeping but one thing is for certain this is a must see documentary about Ariel Kalma entitled ‘an evolutionary music’. Billed as a day in the life of Ariel Kalma it portrays the legendary musician talking about music and what it means to him, his early experiences in the 70’s, the factors that have shaped his unique style and musical tongue – in this case Indian music and its transcendental qualities along with the use of field recordings of nature’s songs (birds etc…..) – a very rare treat – should you need reference points with which to start your journey into Ariel’s musical world so lazily described as world music yet in truth it’s the joining of the great divide between the ancient East and the modernist West being crafted into something bordering on spiritual at times then we suggest making your way towards his extraordinary ‘les temps des moissons’ which found the subject of a limited re-issue on the ever admired beta lactam ring imprint a few years – more from beta lactam ring a little later.

 

A strange seasonal warmer from the late William S Burroughs which I’m assuming most are familiar, here’s the full unedited version of ‘the junky’s Christmas’ – a tale about an addict Danny paving the streets looking for a chance to get a fix, when he does he retires home to peace and solitude only to come upon someone in greater need and despite his dire need and craving in an act of selflessness and pity for the young man he passes up his chance to imbibe and as a result dies and goes on the trip of his life. The film was produced by Francis Ford Coppola and is a short  Claymation featurette whose minimalist dark noir content should provoke a reminiscent fondness for Gerry Anderson’s cult PI Dick Spanner.

 

In space no one can hear you scream – so read the emblazoned trailer posters accompanying Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ in 1979 – neither it seems can anyone hear you banging a hammer or driving a moon buggy which makes it all the more puzzling as to why NASA footage of the moon landings is accompanied by all manner sound activity where in fact there should be none at all, your basic physics – no particles exist in a vacuum, sound waves are made through the vibration of particles – therefore no particles means no vibrations = no sound waves = no sound. Could it be then that NASA added in the sounds post production to liven up what would have been a fairly dry visual – the equivalent, if you like, of the drama sweeping tinkling ivories under scoring the old monochrome celluloid films from the silent era – a cosmic custard pie. Conspiracy theorists have for years questioned the authenticity of the Apollo landings what with forensic evidence suggesting that the photographic material was suspect – but what of the sound recordings. Award winning film maker Jet Wintzer of Schizo Fun Addict fame goes searching for a smoking gun posing the question as to why the moon landings suddenly stopped in 1972 after three years of busying space activity, was it really as some suggest faked and if so why the elaborate trick which once under scrutiny would reveal the lie or at least give food to endless speculation – was it a piece of one up man ship in the bitter cold war or something far more sinister. Through the piecing together of found archive footage comprised of interviews with various key figures including astronauts, acoustic scientists and various specialists in the field of space and sound in an attempt to lay to rest once and for all and offer some form of plausible answer. (All this comes augmented incidentally by sneak peeks of Schizo Fun Addict hippy chick dreaminess) 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/114090787“>NASA NOT SOUND – Official Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/jetwintzer“>jet wintzer</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com“>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Staying with Schizo Fun Addict a little while longer, it seems that long awaited split cassette with the Bordellos has been made available for preview and digital purchase with four tracks being posted up on band camp as teasers. Available in conjunction with Small Bear records – a little more from them shortly, this four track showcase features two cuts apiece from each of the bands. The Schizo’s side of the bargain opens with ‘AM story’ which emerges haloed in the crystalline hush of softly sedated lysergic opines which in the blink of a starry eye morph seductively into wells of caressing wooziness the type of which whose honey glazed hues and harmonic discordance mirrors that of a youthful ‘Jack’ era Moose before rupturing and fracturing in hazes of ‘Sister’ sourced Sonic Youth glazes. ‘Endorphin Portal’ is your 6 minute head expanding spin cycle trance toned cerebral brain feed that imagines a seriously freaked and kraut cruised mid-career Primal Scream having lost touch with reality following a marathon mind wiping sleep deprived experiment enacted upon by Flowchart whereby Gillespie and co find themselves tied up and trussed and forced to listen to the trip-a-delic back catalogue of Delirium records from start to finish in its entirety. As to the Bordellos ‘hit it’ which was at one time mooted as an ear candy featurette on a proposed split teaser 7 inch for the cassette release, this is the Bordellos persona that reveals itself warped, twisted and dysfunctional laying garage grizzled fuzz scuffed souring earworms in your headspace as though some wig flipped mutation scratching its way out of the Mark E Smith’s dark psyche cobbling out wired lo-fi dark odes to the forgotten. We were pre-warned that ‘a little sadness’ would floor us, they weren’t kidding, its frayed and bruised vulnerability comes dinked and augmented by a melody so frail, fragile and broken that you fear just the slightest movement on the part of the listener might prompt it to shatter into a forlorn heap, still aside the obvious nods to the likes of (Simon) Joyner and (Elliott) Smith beneath the happy sad mournful celebration we do swear we hear – too much joy incidentally – echoes of Hefner in cahoots with a ‘gigglegoo’ Freed Unit which in short kind of does it for us. The release is available as a name your price download with requests that you make a donation to your favourite charity. http://schizofunaddictvsthebordellos.bandcamp.com/releases

Schizo Fun Addict also head up the kicker of elves best of 2014 podcast put up by the trust the wizards blog which you can hear by tapping on the link somewhere to the foot of this ramble, their frankly gob smacking cover treatment of Goblin’s immortal theme from ‘suspiria’ was among our favourite listening moments of the year and certainly out there on its todd-ney as the best rephrasing we’d had the pleasure of getting our lugs around and this being serviced through a label – Fruits de Mer who just went from strength to strength blowing minds and dazzling eyes with a formidable release roster that this year was capped off by a boxed 10 flexi disc frenzy and a double disc Floyd cover set which rumours abound is due to be graced by a limited vinyl pressing available to all who attend their all dayer with mega dodo records spring time next year. Elsewhere on this here kicker of elves podcast year end best of podcast some superb Times and Denim meets Mott glammed out pub rocked groove from David Woodcock with ‘the adventures of me and you’ culled from his self titled full length – a copy I fear we need as soon as. Elsewhere some sterling gnarled Fatima Mansions flavoured agit rock-a-hula from the nightingales courtesy of ‘bullet for Gove’ while Sleaford Mods who due to a glaring oversight we meant to feature earlier in the month enact a spot of minimalist post punk edginess that’s straight out of the songbook of John Cooper Clarke with ‘tweet tweet tweet’ and really how could you pass up on papernut cambridge’s ‘nutflake social’ one of our favourite releases of the year not that they sent over copies of the album or the single now I come to think of it – ho hum. Anyhow fill your boots here…. http://trustthewizards.com/2014/12/20/podcast-number-31-kicker-of-elves-best-of-2014/

Those believing in such things seems that Santa though delayed finally made it to fill seasonal stockings full to brimming with a free to download EP from the highly enthused about Song, by Toad imprint which according to the gift note aside being a little thank you Christmas gift of sorts also gives a little sneak peak as to the artists / musicians currently being prepped for release action by the label next year. Entitled ‘magic beanz’ the EP is a hearty gathering of 6 acts who should  radios fail to pick up and fall adored to you’ll at least certainly be guaranteed to hear more from here. Opening the proceedings Garden of Elks who’ve actually featured in these pages earlier this year when we hooked up to their demo cut via the esteemed Fat Cat web site wherein fond words and comparisons to the Fall and the Turbines where uttered in a rather long sentence which given we received no hearty thanks let alone the thunderous rush up to our door to shake hands on a script well penned we then ought to conclude did not go down well. Anyhow now along comes ‘this morning we are astronauts’ – this babe comes etched in a pulse tightening tension that radiates white hot  ripped ablaze in swathes of feedback cyclones which to these ears sounds not so dissimilar to the trademark grooving of the much missed Skywave. Up next Le Thug with ‘basketball land’ which I should say had we been in the market for doing end of year lists might right now be making a very last minute bid to nick the top spot, frankly to gorgeous for its own good and one of those rare wow moments like the first time we heard Bang Bang Machine’s ‘geek love’ traipsing out of the transistor for this arresting gem comes sweetly gilded upon a frost tipped choruses of celestial sirens demurred and haloed in ethereal glazes to sound not unlike a heavenly no ceremony or a super chilled MBV styled super glider on cruise control transmitting love noted distress calls into the beyond – certainly in terms of affection stakes up there with that frankly unreal release from the Harrow via everything is chemical (which had we been doing lists would have stolen it ahead of Goodnight Lenin as single of the year). Again previously unknown to us digitalanalogue stump up the genteel choker ‘café royal’ – 4 minutes of beautified silent majesty caressed and dinked in a fragile neo classical framing whose frost chiselled poise should prove to be something of interest to those much admiring of the Aussie imprint hidden shoal and the home grown cathedral transmissions label. Numbers are futile certainly know their way around a slice of ear candy with ‘vice over reason’ curiously emerging showered in dream pop trimmings powered by stuttering mathian motors traced upon a calypso dinked chassis that might well have those tokolosh dudes over at static caravan raising an enviable eye. Plastic animals appear to do a neat line in the delivery of quietly stately shimmer pop with the not so happily titled ‘burial party’ fizzing and cooing like some wallowing Decembrists cut left out in the cold and unloved and tendered by the Church. Last up on this pre teaser feast passion pusher who like the aforementioned garden of elks has in recent times blown us away somewhat and now returns to finish the job with the acute ache of ‘BLT’. Now despite all attempts to muster up an alternative reference marker Passion Pusher still sounds to these ears like some dark clouds descending pessimist bedevilled by love’s car crashes who for arguments sake we’ll call Gary Wilson being backed by an assortment of happy jangly strummy chaps who to save disagreement we’ll call Micro Disney or should that be Decoration, anyhow what is certain is the small detail that the cut is bit of a gem, agreed morose and miserable – but still nonetheless a gem.  https://soundcloud.com/songbytoad/sets/song-by-toads-magic-beanz

up for a spot of yuletide creepiness then feast ears upon the Dickens’ chiller ‘the signalman’ current to found on the BBC iplayer……. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00pdkdp

somehow and too much bewildered befuddlement we must have missed the occasion of the grubby mitts debut album, not quite sure how the hell it happened but I can tell you now that questions are being asked and the use of such memory jogging techniques involving tweezers, strategically enabled electrodes and itching powder have been worrying rumoured. Still all is not lost because we have this with which to grace your head space with – ((woah hang on lads go easy on the Chinese burns we’ve just had an update (in other words read the PR email properly) the album is out in March)) – which from said forthcoming platter the band / label have just sneaked out a re-mastered album version ‘to a friend’s house the way is never long’ (is this making sense everyone at the back?). Anyhow this playful spot of softly stretching, thawing and blossoming cuteness will I guarantee arrest the most reticent of souls not least for the way its blessed with the kind of chalky innocence of a pre-school playroom all deliciously wrapped up snugly warmed against the winter chill outside, in my mind’s eye I see a snow flecked cosy toed fire around which a merry mulled wine cheer of shady bard and iliketrains souls sigh, serenade and sooth the frosted night air to the glowing embrace of wonky Vernon Elliott brass fanfares. Quite adorable. https://soundcloud.com/losttoysrecords/to-a-friends-house-the-way-is-never-long

staying with the grubby mitts for some yearning yuletide hopefulness recorded for BBC Radio 6’s Tom Ravenscroft recently, this is ‘come on home for Christmas’ which comes all festooned in twinkling shimmers, hushed vocals, choral harmonies and a fair amount of fairy dust for what is essentially forlornly lilting love note which should you so wish – and we heartily recommend that you do – you can grab a download of by going here https://soundcloud.com/losttoysrecords/come-on-home-for-christmas-by-the-grubby-mitts – the album is incidentally out on lost toy this coming spring time.

We get easily confused here, call it an age thing or put it down to the fact that we read messages in a rather piecemeal fashion honing in on the stuff we need and forgetting everything else. Now if you are impatiently wondering where exactly we are going with this it’s simply to say that in my confused headspace I’m fairly certain that Melmoth the Wanderer – the purveyor of finely crafted, albeit a tad eerie, podcasts oft featured here too much undying affection and praise and Septimus Keen – clearly not his birth name – are in fact one and the same. Anyway before missives start flashing to and forth cyberspace denying such here’s a bonafide creep out in the guise of the free to download 13 minute ‘the voice experiment’. Taking its initial remit in delving into the scientific worlds of EVP research this chiller manages to hauntingly manifest from the eerie to the macabre what first sounds like a controlled laboratory exercise soon shifts into unearthly environs where amid the darkest recesses of the unknown malevolent inhabitants from behind the veil to perpetrate a disquietingly morbid and dread filled dark ceremony – something I hasten to add best heard in daylight and not the choking still of the witching hour. https://soundcloud.com/septimus-keen/the-voice-experiment#t=0:00

Pulled these from the Melmoth the Wanderer facebook site, four spoken word Christmas chillers from those dark n’er do well dudes over at hypnogoria. All available to download for free and each sampling the haunting handicraft of a select quartet of literary visionaries – HG Wells, MR James, EF Benson and WW Jacobs as read by your master of ceremonies Jim Moon…. http://hypnogoria.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/christmas-ghost-stories-first-night.html

i guess you won’t be too surprised to hear that somewhere from jumping out of our in box and into our lap we’ve managed to mislay said email from Matthew Sooner who recently penned a note to us asking if we’d care to grab an earful of his latest single ‘wrote of a life’ which I must admit due to reading the title and missive too fast we misread as ‘wrote for luck’. Ah a cover of an old much loved chestnut from the Happy Mondays we thought. And so armed in this misguided belief we were all a ready to for a spot of baggyist retro even doing our best Bez poses in readiness. Alas not so for within mere seconds we had realised our error and were soon found serenaded by a fleet footed jangling jamboree to which ought to appeal and be the cause of much aisle swooning from those tuned into the kind of perky pop platters heading out of such esteemed imprints as fortuna pop, matinee and elefant for this three minute Sarah tweaked lovely comes trimmed in the handiwork of the Springfields and the Sea Urchins not to say etched with a spot of Hey Paulette for good measure albeit demurred in the bitter sweet flashings of a youthful Smiths. What’s not to love we ask. https://matthewsooner.bandcamp.com/track/wrote-of-a-life

coming on like some renegade once fallen from the magic bus and now reformed and reborn anew as a some grizzled preacher gathering souls whilst flipping through the pages of some blistered blues scripture, this is the flip side to John J Presley’s frankly awesome ‘honeybee’ single for killing moon records entitled ‘all that’s inbetween’ – moody, edgy, brooding and almost pathological in its prowler like primitive lust, this bad boy comes hook up upon a fuzz stricken flatlining side wind riffola that comes a knocking much recalling that dude John Spencer. https://soundcloud.com/john-j-presley/all-thats-inbetween-radio-edit/s-4wEJN 

I’m sure we’ve happened across the latest GoGo Penguin full length ‘v2.o’ in our to hear pile, so while we rifle through the CD’s trying to rescue it for closer inspection, here’s a little teaser of what you can expect from this Mercury Nominated set in the shape of the delightfully demurring ‘wash’. An exquisite slice of neo classicist noir seductively dimpled in skittering trip hop trims and lushly fanned with a deceptively minimalist widescreen aspect that gracefully arcs, peaks and falls with sublime tear stained beauty, something we feel that ought to provoke the odd skipping beat of the heart to those admiring of latter day Magnetophone and Plaid while similarly causing flutters among those admiring of Sakamoto’s more intimate soiree’s.

   

I’ll be the first to admit that there are glaring gaps in our sound listening education all of which on occasion we regret and often get frustrated by, but hey there are only so many hours in the day and until the time when the geeks of the world create an app to clone yourself arrives then I’m sorry but you’re stuck with just one of me. I say all this because I’m suspecting, in fact I’m certain of the fact that Mr Oizo is one such artist who has somewhat disappeared between the cracks and has so far remained absent on our radar. Mr Dupieux has by all accounts carved out for himself something of a reputation on the technoid electronic scene as well as a filmmaker. ‘machyne’ comes culled from his forthcoming set ‘the church’ and is a whole slab of old school cold war techno that pitches itself far past the minimalist electro groove prevalent on the 90’s scene – and here we are talking tigerbeat6 et al and frank and wobbly – and into head blocking hypnotic terrains more  commonly threaded by a mid 80’s Cabaret Voltaire with Yello add on’s – guaranteed to send you gaga. https://soundcloud.com/brainfeeder/mr-oizo-machyne

Okay I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but of the forthcoming Fruit de Mer year end release roster surely the ‘postcards from the deep’ set (which for the FdM purists its essentially a bumper 2015 annual) must be the most sought after – of course goes without saying you still need those Chemistry Set and Coltrane 7’s – but on looks, packaging, concept and bands featured alone this surely ranks as the primo essential FdM outing to date. Of course this comes hot on the heels of the lavish ‘7 and 7 is…’ box set (sold out we believe in nanoseconds) and frankly we here are seriously trying to come to terms as to how the hell they are going to top this. Okay let’s get the semantics out of the way – looks and packaging. A clam shaped box of which are contained 10 flexi discs, upon the flexis one track from each of the gathered contributors, each flexi disc coming housed with its own unique postcard with the entire set bundled together with a full colour poster and to wrap it up all a bonus CD featuring (for those of you without turntables) all the tracks within along with a few extended edits and various rehashes of the featured tracks. The concept – simple – get your favourite bands and give them all the simple remit to cut a cover of their own choosing and give it a freakbeat wig trim, according to FdM head honcho Keith things didn’t quite go to plan – the covers part was fine but style wise what you have is an ever widening head expanding spectrum of sound that blends and cross wires tonalities drawn mainly from surf, fuzz, garage freakouts and the occasional voyage into kosmiche so that what you get is a broad church of weirdness with the likes of familiar mainstays Count Five, the pretty things, brain ticket and the sorrows being revisited and mixing it up with the lesser known lost nuggets from Satori, Calico Wall, Dragonfly and the Hippies. The bands – 10 in all – with firm FdM favourites Schizo Fun Addict, the Luck of Eden Hall, Crystal Jacqueline, Icarus Peel and Astralasia rubbing shoulders up against psych torch bearers the Loons, the Crawlin Hex, the Thanes, the Blue Giant Zeta Puppies and the Past Tense. As to the tracks – in truth each and every one a certified nugget – so good you can’t separate them, the quality is that sublime, one thing is certain this compilation offers a stone cold head trip of some measure. First up to the plate the Luck of Eden Hall who go all feral and primitive for what is a stonking wild and wired n’ faithful rephrasing of the Count 5’s garage beat cornerstone ‘psychotic reaction’ –possessed of an in your face fuzzy bite the type of which you rarely hear this edgy on a TLoEH platter this shade adorned winkle picker tapping strut cool comes niftily done to pristine primitive perfection replete with head scrambling unravelling easy action. More fringe flipping groove this time headed up by Ugly Things mainman Mike Stax, the Loons have carved themselves a niche in all things 60’s garage beat, bastard offspring of the 13th floor elevators these dudes / dudettes cook up a hippy shimmied kaleidoscopic power pop pout courtesy of their re-wiring of Dragonfly’s ‘celestial empire’ and into the bargain pack in more soul savvy psych blues in three and a half minutes than most bands do in a whole lifetime. The crawlin’ hex I suspect will be frequent visitors to these pages if their voodoo grooved re-visioning of Calico Wall’s ‘I’m a living sickness’ is anything to judge by, a kind of dark Doors-ian slab of shadowy psych beat albeit fractured through the frazzled mind set of Joe Meek’s dark half all sparsely spared and gouged in ghostly atmospherics – quite stunning if you ask me. The pretty things’ ‘lsd’ get some shock treated action from the fuzz twanged daddios the Thanes, this honey coming tripped out in all manner of woozy mind morphing lysergia by way of some far out Sitar spirals, seriously freakish riffola and the wild blast of harmonica shrieks – very Walking Seeds. Adored here was their recently debuting full length platter ’12 theories of time travel’ – a cornucopia of twanged out sci fi tweaked b-movie grooviness, now along comes the blue giant zeta puppies ttake on Satori’s ‘time machine’ – a 60’s key drenched swinging party pack, a kind of cosmically fried Trashmen on an astral Arabian retreat is you like and with a deeply trippy and wiggy romp. Dabbling on a similar aural curve are the Past Tense whose re-treatment of the Hippies obscure groove ‘soul fiction’ is swirled in all manner of acutely cute kosmiche carousel motifs that imagines echoboy hanging out at a milky way bar with those dudes over at Fly. Admired – nay adored around these here parts Schizo Fun Addict have in recent times hit such an acute musical groove in so far as the crafting of turntable turn ons that sounds emanating from their sonic bunker have been known to be considered too hot for wax, this dandy take on the Sorrows ‘take a heart’ is no exception, a smoking cool mind trip of woozy freak pop tousled in all manner of kaleidoscopic cosmicalia freebasing on elements of shimmying soft psych bubble groove and oodles of stoned out there sexiness. Sassiest cut of the set is the sub three minute straight to the point spring heeled sunshine psychedelia pouting from the grooves of Crystal Jacqueline’s rebranding of ‘you just gotta know my mind’ which aside radiating transistor tempting feel good vibes also has the unnerving habit of having your listening space transformed into a lysergic lightshow. That said those expecting some kind of tranced out ambient vapour ride in the company of Astralasia better just stop right there right now given they cook up a frothy and funky progian juju shakedown out of Brainticket’s ‘brainticket’ which in truth takes your mind to places you never thought a record could take it, a full on surround sound freaksome tropicalia in short. Last up and by no means least Icarus Peel goes to town on ‘the avengers theme’ – that’ll Steed et al not the Marvel noddies, now I’ll be the first to admit that this TV cult show had some seriously warped moments during the Tara King reign – in my view still the best period (now watch for the complaints from fans of Diana Rigg), I mention this not as an aside but merely to point out that this wired and fractured retooling perfectly compliments that era…oh and its zany, the song and the series. Final assessment time – ‘postcards from the deep’ is a faultless can do no wrong compilation, an essential happening, FdM’s own ‘Nuggets’ anyone?

Unreal, I know we’ve said it before but we firmly believe that some secret factory is afoot in Icelandic and Scandinavian waters secretly hatching some kind of future world domination – the weapon of choice being music to allure you with. Once upon a time Fat Cat where savvy enough to tap into its deepening wells, a decade or more later and anything emerging from that region is served up with a quality assurance of perfection unmatched by any other community or record making territory the world over.so step up Rokkurro making a serious play for both hearts and minds courtesy of the release of a second set entitled ‘innra’. Mum and Samaris easily call to mind, as does a very youthful and innocent Ms Bush while you are there you may as well add Serafina Steer and Hafdis Huld (see the heart heavy ‘killing time’) to the list, we could go on – but the essence of the point I’m slowly and painfully approaching is that this lot defy easy categorisation. We’ve been – and I guess you won’t be all too surprised to hear this- have been a tad seduce at the disarming spectacle unfolding amid our ear space for Rokkurro’s ethereal ghostlights slenderly slipstream between passages of glacial folk and sepia dimpled noir sophistication (as on the slick cool seduction of the shadow adored ‘borders’ which along with the spectral ‘weightless’ had us in mind of Musetta). The magic of rokkurro is their ability to take you to some other place, a secret place hidden in the twilight hazes where enchantment and fairy tales are real, it where exists such treasures as the wood carved ‘sigling’ where softly turned subtle Japanese motifs are found woven into their broad style spectrum while the quite divine ‘the backbone’ is shimmered in the kind of sighing romantic intensity that used to visit upon the grooves of platters by the beangrowers. Somewhere else traces of atmospheric majesty daub ‘the in between’ as it cautiously follows in the hallowed and stately footsteps once pressed upon by Sigur Ros while those foolishly thinking this is all frost tipped spectral pop perfection ought to swoon in your dancing shoes for the floor throbbing disco demurring ‘hunger’ and as for ‘white mountain’ – absolutely monumental and blistered in euphoria.

Video for ‘borders’…..

Some extreme noise terrorism by way of sound sculpturist Justin Wiggan under his roadside picnic ident….5 ultra limited cassettes have just heaved their way through our normally well-guarded defences….so while we immerse ourselves into deep oblivion here’s a few brief words with sound cloud links to enable you to navigate your way through these uncharted out there worlds….

First up a double tape release for the autistic campaign imprint, just 40 of these (ours is #33 in case you are of a note taking disposition). Entitled ‘failed frankenstein’ – set across 4 sides comprising of 51 minutes of sound, Wiggan sets out annihilating your turntable applying a shock treated aural autopsy that for the main has you cowering for cover amid a fierce unrelenting blizzard of excruciating white noise, this is bleach hot noise core pushed to the very extremities which reference wise is not so far from the harsh sonic dynamics once ploughed with much aplomb by the likes of sissy spacek and kylie minoise not to mention  the much missed Tayside mental health, incorporating all the usual Roadside Picnic trademarks – severe manipulation and frequency bending hijinks this collection arrives both brutal and bludgeoning, amid the sound degrading emerge moments of disquieting dark ambi-hiss as though the recording has been pulled from communications from the deep beyond.  https://soundcloud.com/autistic-campaign/ac25-a1-failed-frankenstein

‘tones to disappear to’ via Jehu and Chinaman – home to scammers, beachers and of course wizards tell lies (who incidentally pop up here later on) and the revenant sea – finds Mr Wiggan in collaborative cahoots with Francesco de Gallo – better known to the more informed as Hobo Cubes and head honcho of the Hobo Cults imprint. Described by one of the protagonists as ‘a hazy exploration of the mind…..slow, intimate, molecular fragments….’- in truth fairly accurate for the set features two extended 11 minute work outs entitled simply ‘tone one’ and ‘tone two’. This release follows the labels splinter imprint plastic tonez first foray into a planned 10 album remix program courtesy of an ultra-limited Justin Wiggan retuning of Queen’s ‘sheer heart attack’ – more about that in a second. As to ‘tones’ – fairly intense stuff though for obviously different reasons than the ‘Frankenstein’ release with this(‘tone one’ – you suspecting is the two parties feeling around each other and getting acquainted) emerging from the opposite end of the sound spectrum and arriving cocooned in all manner of stilled transcendental atmospherics, chamber electronic recitals and mind altering dronal tides which aside providing a deft exercise in mood changes if anything reference wise align themselves in to the sound camps of the Baron’s and Schickele. It’s however the subterranean sounding ‘tone two’ that holds the cards here, sparse chill forming Radiophonic Worship doing strange Jap-horror soundtracks eeriness, the sounds extrapolated uneasily putting you in mind of some strange and sadistic underground laboratory facility where secret government sponsored studies into thought manipulations and brain washing, where extra terrestrial hybrids are incubated and all manner of subtle torture techniques and attempts to make contact with those behind the veil are housed – disconnected, schizoid yet very much tuned onto a vague Aphexian frequency. Available in an edition of just 40 with numbers near sold out at source. http://jehuandchinaman.bandcamp.com/album/tones-to-disappear-to

Best described as epic, ‘worn paths in crown dust’ finds the workaholic Mr Wiggan forging alliances with La Cohu head man Charles Barabe, again limited, again on cassette this time on the much fancied A Giant Fern imprint, this 60 minute plus face off sees these two unique alchemists of sound going toe to toe across two sides of chrome, each side sub divided into several mini-suites that pretty much freewheel around the full gamut of abstract electronica, admirers of fat cat’s early days forays into  split series will be suitably satiated as will those whose record buying preferences were buoyed by the rummaging through the records racks of the esteemed Smallfish for here memories of Pan Sonic and old school Autechre find their way flittering to the surface albeit as though rephrased by a particularly chilled Pimmon, like found artefacts abandoned and lost, the last preserve of a dead civilisation if you will, these ghostly apertures loosely play out like a sonic photograph album with moments of serene bliss. Never once threatening or scary its instead playful and impish to which in all truth I’d have  to admit the last time I had this much listening fun was tuned  to some strange unpronounceable platter unearthed by those Mixing It dudes more often than not from an Eastern Europe locale. Add to that the attractive proposition that you’ll rarely hear Wiggan sounding so ‘pop’ here for once you suspect with wings a clipped by Barabe and pressed into melodic mediums. Amid this sonic scrap heap – by the way that’s meant to complimentary – assortments of cannibalised cosmic transmissions and kooky frequency squiggles play merrily to strangely obtuse Stockhausenian codas cooking up along the way an updated radiophonic workshop vista. Side two is the more expressive, where dreamy frost tipped mirages tiptoe delicately into mind tripping trance montages, the sleepy tones and the subterranean Clangers routines oddly connect to lost childhoods immersed in weird and wonky East European animations and fleeting future peaks from dawn of space explorations silver age. That’s not to say that it’s all light and fluffy for there are brief passages of gloopy doom draped drone overtures spiked with momentary detours into overt sparseness and detachment- that said overall a pleasurable romp particular loving the psychotropic Echoboy like daubs at the 22 minute marks very ‘Scene 30’-   http://agiantfern.bandcamp.com/album/worn-paths-in-crown-dust  

Those of you however who prefer their Roadside Picnic listening wares somewhat scored into the oblique, the eerie and set in stilled creepiness are advised to proceed at pace for something of a re-forging of alliances. Following last year’s quite superb split face off with Maurizio Bianchi via 4iB records entitled ‘dictatorship of dead labour’ now comes the heartening prospect of a three release collaboration pitting these two alchemists together with the arrival of the first part of the trilogy in the shape of a limited to 120 only exquisitely packed cassette ‘the wind is an ancient capital’ via los discos enfantasmes – expect more detailed adoration for this in future missives – for now though a brief teaser courtesy of ‘sleeper ship towards the void’- a strangely becalming and ghostly trip-a-delic inner sound exploration, a drone suite trimmed in cavernous echoes of wildlife chirps trapped on frosted loops punctuated by tiny blisters of sonic impact ruptures – quite eerie and shiversome even in the daylight with the lights on.

Alas one roadside picnic release to which as yet we are unable to source sound links for – so I guess you’ll need to wait a tad longer while we fire up the tape machines – is a 60 only tape release for the Seattle based cassette crew Masters Chemical Society – a great name don’t you think. Entitled ‘Criggion’ this particular outing – per the press blurb – promised to be a feast of ‘haunted collages, broken glass, howling electronics, growling winds and remote whispers’ all of which by all accounts was recorded in an abandoned naval communications base used in the cold war situated in Wales.

Hang on – news update – we’ve sourced preview sounds at https://soundcloud.com/masters-chemical-society/roadside-picnic-criggion-preview – sounds very disquieting, insectoid scrapes, unearthly sounds from beyond and ghosts of trapped visions emerging ghostlight like through the chrome coating, more than your mere hauntologist recital this positions itself nearer to ‘stone tape’ manifestations where residual memories are locked forevermore in abandoned structures.

At present Justin Wiggan is about to commence a lengthy project titled ‘Life Echo’ – in essence a collaboration with both the Ikon Gallery and the John Taylor Hospice with a viewpoint to enhancing studies into the creating of phonic maps with the ultimate aim of providing personalised aural photo albums documenting feelings, memories, narrative recollections and thoughts left by deceased loved ones for future generations. For more details go to  http://life-echo.com/

Loosely related to the life echo project and in collaboration with jehu and chinaman’s splinter imprint plastic tonez set up purely for this particular project, Mr Wiggan has embarked on a 10 album odyssey which as the author himself describes is’ about the phonic residue of memory’. Beyond that he gives little all else away except to say that each of these chosen albums – all records that have inspired or moved Wiggan at some point – have been treated to a seriously limited run – all pressed up in cassette format each in a pressing of just 10 with no plans to reprint. ‘hounds of love’ and ‘unknown pleasures’ have – we are reliably told – been completed and are awaiting their turn in the light, which neatly leads me to ‘suddenly burn so pale’ which without warning or fanfare has literally just appeared on his face book page. Of course if like me, title alone is ringing bells of a ‘bright eyes’ kind you’d be right – though for its 5 minute duration you’d scarcely be able to recognise it as such for it is very loosely that same song here twisted and stretched into a deeply mesmeric hymnal fugue which to these ears sounds as though it’s been shaped through the clever manipulation of the vocals / chorals which give it an almost glassy like celestial visitation aura.  https://soundcloud.com/justin-wiggan/suddenly-burn-so-pale

And as we’ve gone this far we may as well mention ‘shrhrtattck’ which for those who understand / decipher text speak in its dis-envowelled state is short for ‘sheer heart attack’ – oh yes – ‘sheer heart attack’ as in Queen’s finest hour. Remodelled, rephrased and well – quite frankly – turned in out upside down so that it comes back re-channelled anew. This is the first release in the plastic tones series – all gone I’m afraid there were just 10 cassettes pressed – even I haven’t got one – and I’m wounded. Now don’t quote me on this but I’m suspecting that this has been loosely influenced or at the very least triggered by Phillip Glass’ revisioning of Bowie’s ‘low’ – a total rebranding blessed by a modern classical treatment with operatic overtones stirred in Stockhausen / Moondog motifs and traced at times to the kind of symphonic eloquence that you usually find coursing through the grooves of Sakamoto’s more minimalist suites- of course you do have to render that with a large of Wiggan-esque craft which of course in turn me it’s all despatched in his own uniquely out there subterannic creative hand. But its hearing Mercury’s vocals from ‘tenement funster’ isolated that that proves the game changer and as such sends a chill and sets this particular project into the realms of something else, of course you get the slyly subtle clicks of ‘killer queen’, occasional dronal tide, (is the start the oddly out of sequenced intro to ‘save me’ we wonder), the application of phased celestial bell chimes add gravitas while the Cornelius like fantasia accentuating the sound collage around the 16 minute mark instil a trippy playfully teased lightness. Word is afoot that re-animations of Joy Division’s ‘unknown pleasures’ and Kate Bush’s ‘hounds of love’ are in the bag and ready to go.  http://jehuandchinaman-plastiktonez.bandcamp.com/releases

We don’t do this very often but on this occasion feel it deserves a heads up, a rare interview conducted by Grey Malkin with psych alchemist Paul Roland is currently transmitting via Active Listener, Mr Roland has a new compilation set ‘professor moriarty’s jukebox’ doing the rounds via German label Sirena which gathers together rare out takes and demos – step this way into mysterious worlds of enchantment and Lovecraft….. http://active-listener.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/interview-paul-roland.html

Now I might get accused quite often – music wise –  of being forgetful more than occasionally not so much breaking promises but falling below expectations, it’s not deliberate its more the nature of the beast doing this write up lark. That said while we might forget names, titles etc…sounds and information tit bits we do not, they are in there somewhere – deep in the grey matter – it’s just finding the key to unlock them and drag them back. So we get an email, as it happens from swirly records, they have a release imminent by a young band by the name the Orielles. So far so good – or so you’d think. Only it goes on to say they are a trio – 2 sisters – one bloke hailing from Halifax / Liverpool. A feint but audible bell rings and somewhere in my head space a light goes on. We try thumbing through old reviews. Can we find a reference, can we hell as like. We are not easily beaten. I swear we’ve happened upon these dudes before. A little bit of digging reveals they used to be the Oreoh’s and this time last year we had the pleasure of falling head over heels in adoration of a 4 track demo in particular its parting shot ‘midnight in Paris’. Fast forward 12 months and the trio, now with new name are about to release a ridiculously limited 100 only cassette via Swirly featuring two new cuts ‘yawn’ and ‘deduce’ (a version of which featured on that aforementioned demo set). Clipped in bitter sweet after glows and softly shimmered in the kind of delicately sensitive riff opines that used to speckle releases by the Sunday’s and Frente, there’s a subtle and desirably demurring tropical sea breeze coursing through the whole of ‘yawn’ that’s both sultry and seducing, breathlessly light and traced in an affectionately lazy lilt the sweet hazy recollection of Peel favourites the Sidleys are called to mind albeit dappled deceptively in a dainty 60’s glazing to which admirers of both the Heartthrobs and Strawberry Switchblade may well have cause to have flashbacks. We want one do you hear. https://soundcloud.com/theorielles/yawn

ready for some kick ass tail feather torching uber groove – this honey came recommended by Brian Bordello so I’m not quite sure whether it’s old or something new, but hell doesn’t this swing. Much reminiscent of the much missed Brand Violet this slice of throbbing 50’s twang-a-rama comes from the adored Persian claws who’ve graced these pages previously with their surf a delic b-movie boog-a-loo – now comes ‘vitamin dee’ a kind of x-rated variant of the TV21 silver age space vibe – this literally oozes sensuality and is by far the horniest thing on planet pop right and something we reckon that’ll leave you requiring cold showers after each listening….

We’ve gone a little off radar with all things Alrealon Musique of late, fear not the label is on our to do list for ear action in the coming days, for now though we happened across this little cutie. From duo Philippe Gerber and Chris Gilmore collectively trading as mnipk this is the duo’s cosmic retreatment of Anja Schneider’s ‘dubmission’ – an exquisite 7 minute voyage into what can only be described as dream drifting neuron nectar, trance tec at its most super chilled, all lunar swirls framed in gaseous celestial wisps softly shimmered in a deeply entrancing and mesmerising listening experience emerging from the outer voids of the kraut groove ambi spectrum – one for Cheju, smallfish and rednetic purists we reckon.  https://soundcloud.com/mnipk/anja-schneiders-dubmission-mnipk-remix#t=0:00

Again another release to which in some bout of inane stupidity or thoughtlessness – or both as the case may be – we’ve managed to separate from its accompanying press release. The Tuesday Club who we’ve not heard around these here parts for a considerable while, missing persons ads in the broadsheets aside are back with a new three track CD – and its quite dandy. Been honest where you really expecting anything less. The first in a series of 4 planned releases I seem to recall from the press release before we lost it, something about collecting coupons and stuff – oh ask the band or visit their website for more info. Anyway we love the Tuesday Club not least because Andy from the band – formerly of the Scratch who these days are on prolonged sabbatical – actually takes time out to send handwritten notes usually along the lines of ‘oi bollocks play this or else’….of course we jest though I do recall one time being advised that refusals to play said discs would result in Chas n’ Dave being sent around to our gaff to play which I must admit did have us dropping an extra pair of the aforementioned man wear in sheer alarm. Obviously we’ve digressed somewhat – anyway these days Andy heads up the poptastic 7 piece The Tuesday Club who where so called originally because they practiced on Tuesday’s though these days on Monday’s – getting like an episode of Soap now isn’t it. New sing-a-ling is called the ‘my consciousness’ EP and incorporates – as advertised three dandified tracks the lead out title cut being a killer sortie prime packed in the kind of punch you out purring pop effervescence that you rarely hear these days, power popping motifs bedded upon a retro new wave throb seductively teased by femme harmonies all shoehorned into an attractively addictive bubble grooving that zig zags, swoons, sighs and soars its way into your affections like some slab of late 70’s teen dreamed rock-a-hula cobbled up by an afterhours studio party attended by members of Blondie, Jags and the Motors. ‘something major’ slyly nods to former charges the Scratch’s dayglo punk pop nuances coming clipped in an acutely cute seasoning of Ant-esque kookiness albeit as though stage crashing a Rezillos gig – just love the ‘Banana Splits’ like harmonies. Rounding out the grooves and upping the pop kudos quotient several notches is ‘harsh tales of ancient news’ which as kooky, dippy and off the wall as it is sounds to these ears like its fell off the final cut for ‘dirk wears white sox’ after suffering Devo-esque flashbacks. www.thisisthetuesdayclub.co.uk 

Oh this is just doing insane things on our stereo right now, teaser cut from the forthcoming second set ‘a swirling fire burning through the rye’ by the Cool Ghouls entitled ‘and it grows’ is frankly one of those wow moments. Shimmered in the subtle strains of husky Americana and slyly nodding ever so delicately to the elephant 6 collective, this sun dripped chilled and breezy honey has all the trapping of a road trip movie soundtrack, the woody essences and the fuzzy acid riff ruptures a la count 5 and the seeds has it tuning into the late 60’s ‘easy rider’ vibe, but scratch a little deeper and the casual nature of it all hints at something more becoming of a youthful ‘yerself is steam’ era Mercury Rev. https://soundcloud.com/emptycellarrecords/a1-and-it-grows/s-ouEbp?in=emptycellarrecords/sets/cool-ghouls-a-swirling-fire-burning-through-the-rye

Enchanting lunar folk pulled from her new full length set for Ailanthus records entitled ‘am I being overdramatic?’, ‘million eyes’ is the heavenly visitation that greets you on this divine release from ylangylang, better known to kith n’ kin as Catherine Debard. Of course it’s not the first time ylangylang has featured in these pages and certainly not the last if this ethereal ghost light is anything to judge by. Possessed of an undaunted artistry adept at crafting outer worldly ambient overtures, Debard operates on the very outer edges of the pop cosmos negotiating frail terrains harnessing whispers from the beyond and lost love noted distress calls transmitted from the far voids into celestial spectral symphonies. Dimpled in a hushed sereneness and threaded by glacial chorals, floaty mirages and that sense of being projected onto fabled astral planes are the sum parts that delicately demure the grooves of ‘million eyes’ – we suggest you surrender and fall headlong into its bewitched beguilement, the album incidentally is available  as a free download – I kid you not.  http://ailanthusrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/am-i-being-overdramatic

If we think on (I say this as a cautionary note because the amount of stuff we get flying past our way there are always releases we bookmark to come back to at a later moment but somehow regretful forget to) we will revisit this for fuller inspection. Frankly you need to get onto this. Now I’m fairly certain that thus far Cousin Silas hasn’t as yet troubled our ear space which given he’s been plying his trade for some ten years has troubled us considerably. However he is currently being celebrated by a double disc set from the we are all ghosts imprint – their first physical outing by all accounts. Simply titled ‘the sound of silas’ it gathers together a side of rare releases and pairs them up with a full disc worth of new ambient symphonies. So far we’ve just had time to sample a brief smattering of what’s on offer and it’s safe to say this is perfect for all those who subscribe to the delicate tonalities of the Cathedral Transmissions and Hidden Shoal families, shortest cut here – the opening salvo ‘in one corner of the sky’ is a key twinkled bitter sweet neo classical sleeper intimately drawn and beautifully crafted not to say delicately possessed of a mellowing sepia daubed majesty that tenderly freefalls into the soft spectral ache of Antonymes. Breathlessly beguiling.  http://weareallghosts.bandcamp.com/album/the-sound-of-silas-waag-cdr001

There was something oddly strange and ill-fitting hearing this at 4am in the morning, struggling to engage with the day after a fitful night’s sleep, there was something of the dark about its curvatures that were more suited to sun fading evening than the twilight haze greeting the advent of new morn, and any way still being sleepy headed desperate for that spark to bring me to, the last thing we needed was divine dream draped dub doped raptures. That was this morning, now the evening of the same day we ready ourselves to do battle with rocketnumbernine’s hypno-delic re-routing of Michelle Mininni’s ‘endless ceremony’ – a killer slab of head drifting it is to, once past the frazzled and freakish opening this soon blossoms and opens up both groove and mystic eye wise into a glorious trip wired mesmeric mosaic much recalling the kind of cool cuts eked out by the uncharted audio crew albeit demurred in an after hours sophisticat class – its out via curle recordings should you wish to enquire further, I suggest you do just that. https://soundcloud.com/curlerec/endless-ceremony-rocketnumber  

Yes okay I’ve lost the press gubbins that came attached to an email which I’ve also managed to mislay. But hey what you really want to know is whether it’s any cop and not what the band had for tea and other incidental titbits unless of course one of them is a clairvoyant and has the numbers to the lottery in which case we wouldn’t be telling y’all at all. A slight departure from the usual space rocking star gazing cute groove we have come to love from the adored rocket girl imprint, a debuting release no less from Arms. Featuring four tracks possessed of ridiculous acute diversity so that the EP opener ‘are we all in this together’ – a gorgeously dinked slice of breezily airy lazy eyed drift pop that hints of the Sunday’s in smoulder phase and comes cocooned in all manner of desirably affectionate honk-tonked opines purred to the kind of slender bittersweet riffola that used to seduce the grooves of hey paulette platters sits shyly aside the rollicking hoedown that is clearly the Violent Femme influenced ‘Graham Greene’. Somewhere else parting shot the frantic and schizoid road rumble ‘you’re on the right track’ imagines a kick arse studio fisticuffs between the Turbines, the men they couldn’t hang and a youthfully wild and at the edge Pixies. Best moment of the quartet though in our humbled view is the head bowed and forlornly smoking ‘Syria’ – a tasty slice of drifting hymnally hued Americana gospel that nibbles ever so delicately around the more bruised personas of Neil Young’s back catalogue albeit translating Dylan / the Band vibes, achingly beautiful redemption pop in short.

Ah Goat, a review of their ‘commune’ is currently simmering on the to do review back plate, yes I know everyone and their pet has been all over it like a rash but hey we were late to the party and anyway we’ve been so blown away that frankly we had begun to forget the point of having it on our turntable in the first place. So to kind of make amends here’s the official video for the Swede psych alchemists ‘hide from the sun’ cut, a full on Technicolor trip awash in swarthy sitars carving snake charmed swirls in your headspace atop fried and freaky flashbacks daubed in oodles of mystical mosaics which gathered together to radiate  seductively like some kind of celebratory psych new dawn, the video’s equally weird and wired, animal masks and people jumping around in effervescently coloured onesies, very mighty boosh on a tripadelic wicker man pagan retreat type thing…….

I must admit we’ve kind of lost touch with what’s happening with all things Postcode related of late, it’s a slight oversight which with a degree of prodding we’ll rectify in future happenings beginning as it happens with a mention of this nugget. Pulled – I think I’m right in saying from their ‘Zebratonic’ full length (in fact it is because I’ve just read so on the credits – do we have a copy of this – I suspect not). Anyhow ‘losing the battle’ is your certified shot of stereophonic shock treatment, all frazzled riffs and schizoid ram-a-lama masking what is essentially a bitter sweetly blistered slice of throw yourself around the room bubble groove effervescence which manages to shoehorn an array of musical memories of nights idling away listening to late night Peel transmissions with the likes of a pre Loveless era My Bloody Valentine, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Bearsuit all in a squabbling melee with the adored and much missed Melys overseeing proceedings and holding the towels. Keep the video running to the very end and there are monkeys to that is when everyone’s packed and gone.

 

New from Spring records and limited to just 300 7’s and sure to sell faster than it takes someone to say ‘new hopes of psych pop’ (okay that might be a little nip and tuck), the See See return with a new album – their third – ‘once, forever and again’ from whose grooves ‘song for Billy Nova’ gets an early call. A softly drifting slice of delicately sea breezed and shimmered paisley pop longingly dipped in mellowing dreamy hazes showered by crystalline riff sirens  that hint at endless summers, sound wise caught upon an intimacy and pristine craftsmanship that initially takes its cue from the slo-core perfection of the Clientele and the Relict before daubing your listening bliss with traces of Clock Strikes 13 and Oddfellows Casino to ultimately recline in the kind of classicism tucked amid the grooves of such legends as the Byrds and Left Banke.

   

Discovered on one of those sojourns through bandcamp world that we oft feel obliged to undertake, we discovered this delightful slice of kooky horror-phonia. Now I’m suspecting that this should be up the street at a reasonably quickened pace for all those among you who delighted in the back dropping score composed by Danny Elfman for ‘the nightmare before Christmas’. ‘greenhill manor’ is a highly listenable 17 strong suite gathered together by the Sideshow Sound Theatre information about whom is sadly lacking in our preliminary notes except to say we believe they / he / she are UK based. The sounds lurking here  so expressively crafted they have little need for words or imagery as they dance their macabre merriment around your ear space, okay admittedly it gets a bit obvious in as much as we’ve been playing close your eyes and guess the titles – so that the sound of a huffing and puffing locomotive greets – let me see – ah ‘ghost train’ – the onset of tribal tonalities – okay a little bit harder – emerges as ‘jungle jeebies’ which all said is a bit of a corker especially when mid way through without warning it assumes something of a Winston Giles Orchestra meets veering in Mancini styled cult tv montages. Somewhere else lurks ‘the park comes to life’ is spirited away by a deeply intoxicating carousel of ghostly pastorals and impish playcraft that sits somewhere between the dreamy incidentals of Edwin Astley’s sonic choreography for ‘randall and hopkirk’ and the theme signatures of Alfred Hitchcock. ‘tunnel of fear’ perhaps our second favourite moment here is traced to the kind obscure groove occasioned by the Trunk label and here I refer to Basil Kirchin while ‘Chasing Frankenstein’ is pure Raymond Scott orchestra in his pre electronic powerhouse pomp and ‘the dance of the Jaxk O’Lanterns’ enters the domain of ‘the sugar plum fairy’. So what’s your favourite moment I hear you ask – tis be the parting ‘….and then there was THIS’  a gorgeous wind and harpsichord flavoured fantasia daubed in mystery and enchantment trimmed in a sepia gauzing and subtly stressed in divine noir essences. A rare joyful experience and something that should prove of invaluable interest to admirers of the Magic Theatre.  http://sideshowsoundtheatre.bandcamp.com/album/greenhill-manor

As ever thanks for tuning in, more to come in the arriving days, by the way we love records, over and out.

Take care,

Mark

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