Look what we sneaked online while you were sleeping……..part 4….
an end of year soiree while we clear the decks for the coming new year, no end of year lists, no one’s to watch next year, but plenty of typos, good sounds and badly written gubbins….
Culled from a live appearance at the Islington Mill, Salford last year, this is the Hookworms tearing through a version of the Velvets’ ‘I’m not a young man anymore’. Ripped from a digital only ‘live vol III’ set through weird world, this collection follows the ultra rare cassette outings volumes 1 and 2 through cardinal fuzz a few years back. This cut finds Leeds’ favourite sons in uber strut grooved shade adorned mode cutting it up loose and dirty across a smoked out garage grizzled psych bluesy blister kiss. Rumours abound they are currently holed up in the studio nailing down material for an early new year slated album release. https://soundcloud.com/weirdworldrecordco/hookworms-im-not-a-young-man-anymore-live-at-islington-mill-salford/s-jchD8
Frankly sounds to us like these dudes are having way too much fun. This is Soldiers of Fortune who are a band who don’t want to be a band, signed to a label when in reality they didn’t want tying down but after a quick chat with the labels owners kind of liked the company they were in with so tagged along for the ride and these days find themselves hauled into the recording studio when said record label remembers it’s been a while since they checked in. they feature various members of Interpol, Oneida and Chavez among others and have been known in the very recent past to have a penchant for press ganging passing musicians – Cass McCombs, Stephen Malkmus, Ethan Miller, Matt McAuley, Clark Bronson and Dan Melchior being the latest draftees. Their press people refer to their sound as ‘super loose psych rock’ while the band themselves open admit – impishly – they have no idea whether they like it or not. They have an album coming out soon. Very soon. In fact next week (if that is you are reading this at the start of November, if not, then in that case last week or quite possibly last year). The album is called ‘early risers’ it’s out through Mexican Summer and from it this is ‘Campus Swagger’ featuring Stephen Malkmus – in short three minutes of super cooled moonshine swigging prairie road blues that to these ears sounds as though its mainlining on a diet of Modern Lovers and Mojo Nixon with the spirit of the good Captain Beefheart sitting on its shoulder.
Musical interlude – Steptoe and Son Vs. the Doors
Caught this on a face book listing earlier today, your head tells you it won’t work but your ears tell you otherwise, hilariously clever mash up of Jim Morrison doing ‘light my fire’ over the theme from Steptoe and Son…..enjoy….
Must admit to being a tad taken by the intricate colouring applied to this delightful micro-sonic happening, one of those tracks ripe for headphonic experience if only not to just allow yourself the freedom to explore its immersive sound palette but more importantly in order that you tap into multi faceted traits and foibles. Teaming with busying vibrancy ‘half retaken by nature’ comes primed from a forthcoming set entitled ‘potential worlds’, the work of Dimitar Dodovski under whose incisive eye, ear and handiwork is shaped and carved a frost murmured miniaturised minimalist landscape peppered in bowed rhythmic shimmers and thawing glitch grooved garlands which converge and collide to turn what was an initial aural undergrowth of restful sleep into a chunnering hive of playful activity. Perfect for admirers of inch time I suspect. http://womblabel.bandcamp.com/track/half-retaken-by-nature
Way back in the 90’s before the onset of Brit pop and after the fall of baggy, amid a fascination for grunge and the cult of American underground, these fair isles had something of a predilection for what one wit famously called shoegaze, a shape shifting generic marker that incorporated everything from dream pop to psych covering all points between just so long as at any given point during the performance a would be hapless guitarist happened for more five seconds to stare downwards in the general direction of his / her footwear. Enter Butterfly Child though not shoegazers per say they shared common attributes in so much as creating haze shimmering pop gems that excelled in the kind of majestic panoramic detailing that left many of their peers gasping in their vapour trail. Several Peel sessions served to affirm their status with their three albums despite ascending in depth, detailing and maturity in terms of musicality peaking perfectly with ‘98’s ‘soft explosives’ where painfully rewarded in a converse cycle of diminishing returns. The band at this point, pretty much just Joe Cassidy would dissolve and disappear into the realms reserved for those select few who were just ahead of their time or perhaps just simply misunderstood and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fast forward 17 years, broken by an un-trumpeted single in 2012 and signed to Dell’Orso , Cassidy / Butterfly Child are about to break cover with a new album ‘futures’ slated for late November release. From that album ‘lost in these machines’ has been sneaked out on reconnaissance, a quietly lilted dream draped sortie gracefully metered and purred in a crystalline texturing and a softy demurred symphonic glazing that appears to drift in almost freefall all the time clipped in a yearning forlorn melancholia that’s extenuated by the sighing turn away of the gently genuflecting hazy ripple effects which all said coalesce to ask the same nagging question forming on my lips – if this is hello, then how come it feel like goodbye.
Unless you’ve had occasion to amble through these musings then you’d been forgiven for being unaware of the micro label Polytechnic Youth. From the same family headed up by Great Pop Supplement and ably assisted by Deep Distance, this secretive imprint specialise in ‘minimal synths, primitive electronics and library sounds’. Much like the extended family of Fruits de Mer, this collective of imprints ascribe to the preservation, importance and quality afforded by vinyl with each release appearing in various sizes, colours and variants – each label distinctive from the other so that while Great Pop Supplement corners the plaudits for being in their own special way pieces of eye catching art, Deep Distance for its sins is graced with its own bespoke sleeves and vintage currency and lays claim to a specific sonic styling rooted in analogue environs. Polytechnic Youth on the other hand sits between the two in terms of both presentation and sonic styling with the added quotient of attracting a specific fan, that being the die-hard collector, for these obscurest melodic mysterios are pressed up in ultra limited numbers – usually around 50, all of which are typically snapped up before the ink on their sleeves has had a chance to dry and all hand numbered and housed in bags as minimal in detail as the sounds sitting within on the groove etched wax. Latest signee to this most rarefied roster are the Home Current who from what we can gather is the sonic alter ego of Martin Jensen. Limited to just 44 hand numbered copies, this two track sortie is headed up by ‘Wix’ – a pulsing modular magicalia somewhat downed by a kind of tear stained solace that courses throughout the core of this twinkling mirror balling orbital, playfully light and acutely affectionate in terms of tonality it hints of a youthfully inquisitive ISAN flirting with Metrotone and Landshipping – two of the many guises of John Brenton who incidentally will be popping up later in these pages, yet its bitter sweet ache betrays something likened to the Tornados ‘Telstar’ running on fumes reverting to resting mode to preserve its life support as it scrambles desperately to transmit its love noting goodbye. Scarcely a dry eye around here I can tell you. However that said, for us the preferred cut sits over on the flip. ‘well silence fell quiet’ is a darker affair, a kosmiche karousel orbiting some distant star rock just to the dark side of Orbital and Plaid and within viewing sight of Magnetophone, for here a hulking majestic monolith prowls all the time shifting ever more to gather in density and definition with each passing turntable revolution whilst shrouded in mystery, just love the bass-y shimmer-tones mid way through – quite frankly we deserve to hear more.
And here’s the errant flip side to that rather spiffing ‘post apocalypteacakes’ 7 inch current doing bad things on the deep distance imprint. The handiwork of ex Stereolab-er Morgane Lhote who these days ghosts around cloaked under the mysterious guise as Hologram Teen. Pressed up on limited quantities of clear wax ‘tracksuit minotaur’ is a pretty wigged out affair that sounds for all the world as though its fallen straight out of the 70’s clouded in a weird’d haze helped on by a self medicated mushroom episode and found curiously blurring the lines and spacing out on a diet of prog, horrorphonics, kraut krooked electronics, disco and futuristic car chase soundtracks which enhanced by vocoder phasing and blessed with a floor fracturing throb hints of an obsessive White Noise infatuation spliced by lost Supersister platters all of which I guess you could file as a kind of psychotropic ‘wizard of Odd’.
Back with the Tara Experiment who we mentioned a little earlier, seems he has a track on an excellently compiled, well I suppose you could call it a rough guide of some sort, portfolio series that explores the experimental sound constituents of the populated territories of the globe. Collectively named the ‘experimental underground survey’, this series has over the last few months trained its ear lobes upon the underground scenes across the world with an aim to sourcing its finest movers and shakers operating on the ambient / electronic / strange sound axis. In some respects a more contemporary addendum to Sub Rosa’s critically essential ‘an anthology of noise and electronic music’ series, this extensive resource library comes courtesy of the Italian based Unexplained Sounds Group and is headed up by Sonologyst an aural alchemist in his / her own right with a vast body of self released work of their own. To date the ‘experimental underground survey’ series has produced 8 such volumes training its eye over the Spanish, Italian, French, Eastern European, Scandinavian, British and of course American scenes – all of which in the coming weeks we hope to be visiting on various occasions. For now though as originally advertised ‘between the wires’ finds the Tara Experiment in alien waters culturing minimalist terrains, holding a microscopic ear to the busying chatter and binary murmur of the information highway, the skittering jostle of the harmonic hums and the twitching bleeps opine to create a strange communicative sound world that’s as eerily detached as it is alienated and somewhat foreboding for here amid the glassy and silvery shimmering orbs ghostly footprints blur the lines in an ethereal haze that owes as much to the studio invention of the Radiophonic Workshop as it does the mysterious dystopian future worlds as envisaged by Louis and Bebe Baron. And while we are here can we direct you to the decidedly chilling and disquieting ‘sham’ by bedtime for robots who by way of utilising and manipulating backward loops and all manner of phasing and speed techniques, crafts a truly behind the sofa moment that replicates disembodied EVP transmission with a white noise scratchiness which as odd and ominous as it would first seem begins to shape up to reveal a strangely alluring though ostensibly morosely minimalist gloomed pop sortie once that is, the ears have adjusted to it fragmenting frequency.. that said lest we forget to mention Ligeia Mare’s quiet wonderfully warped ‘the lost tapes’ whose distractively woozy jazz dissipates and complete disregard for timing, structure and footing might well even have those Volcano the Bear chaps momentarily stroking their chins whilst scratching their head and into the bargain redefine the descriptive notion of odd and out there. Rest assured we will be back. http://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/album/usa-experimental-underground-015-survey-2
And talking of sonologyst, a new set entitled ‘the conspiracy theory dossiers’ has just been sneaked into cyberspace, as it says on the tin this collection takes a peak behind the veil into a world of subterfuge, misinformation and secrecy to explore societies within societies, hidden agendas and global government deception, it’s that age old notion of things being played out in plain sight to such audacious effect that you dismiss such thoughts as beyond, not so much the unbelievable, but the ridiculous by way of a patiently careful process of conditioning whether that be through schooling, advertising or our upbringing to adhere to a skewed perhaps flawed code of morality and belief set or much more insidious methods aside. Per the liner notes, ‘the conspiracy theory dossiers’ nods to Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel’s tome ‘AD – after disclosure’ and provides a chilling sound scape rippled in pure cold war paranoia that’s gouged into the kind of bleak dystopian landscapes alluded to by the likes of writer Nigel Kneale, sound wise it dove tails into darker personas of Concretism, the Ghost Box family and Roadside Picnic, ‘secret societies – the kennedy speech’ proving to be particularly eerie for atop eye witness recordings and whirring and flat lining electronic pulsar purrs with cold disconnection whilst ‘NASA classified tapes’ comes submerged in the minimalist detailing of hypno grooving subliminal frequencies pierced momentarily on occasion by ghost light transmissions.
excerpts from the aforementioned ‘AD – After Disclosure’ tome can be accessed here – http://www.afterdisclosure.com/2011/04/breakaway.html
those of you with recently distant memories might well recall us falling head over heels for a forthcoming double A platter from Glasgow’s Holy Esque, ‘Hexx’ was the subject of our infatuation however here’s it’s groove sharing sparring partner ‘silences’ – a towering slab of pulse racing anthem gouged stratospheric euphoria kissed in emotion rushing shimmer toning effect pedal symphonia that much minded us of the criminally overlooked Kitchens of Distinction albeit haloed in the muscular afterglow of 80’s fallen heroes Cactus World News whilst led from the fore by members of the Crimea. Think that tells you all you to know – go forth and seek out.
That earlier mention is here….. https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/holy-esque/
Don’t mind admitting that we are quite adoring of this shivering little shy eyed slice of wood land cuteness so much so in fact that each time it comes within earshot we half expect the advent of flurries of snow to occur as though hypnotically regaling at its frost tipped fragile beauty. The latest from Italian ambi-duo Shirley Said then, entitled ‘crash’, is teased in a most delightfully demurring spectacle of twilight tingles and ice sculptured floral bouquets led down, or so it would seem, secret footpaths that unearth at their end hidden magic hidey holes by a softly serenading pageantry murmured in trip hoppy glitch after glows, sleepy headed coos and dreamily dozy dub inclines. Gem like. https://soundcloud.com/shirleysaid/crash
This one comes from a very dark place. A place where the lines between reality and nightmare converge and where legend, folklore and fact eerily blur. Are these future echoes or forgotten primitive memories trapped and locked deep in our DNA. Whatever the case there’s no doubting that this casts a long chilling shadow across the listening space, an excerpt from a incoming EP outing for the Inward Circles entitled ‘I have heard a music and it is delirious’ through the corbel stone press imprint. Even in daylight you can’t help but feel its oppressive tension sucking away the life and light from all around like some forbidding black hole, Wizards Tell Lies may similarly conjure such apocalyptic foretelling, but even they have the sense of preservation to stop and stall at the edge of the void, whereas this goes forth into the beyond, the dark and the unknown. https://soundcloud.com/c-s-p/the-inward-circles-i-have-heard-a-music-and-it-is-delirious-preview
Keep it to yourselves and don’t tell the other releases because they’ll get jealous, but this has to be one of the finest outings of the year even despite the fact that we’re a little grumblesome at the label not sending out promos. Even if Saint Sister never release another record or else spend the rest of their career releasing turkey’s, ‘castles’ will always find a softly arrested spot in my heart. Prized from a debuting EP headed up by ‘Madrid’ that’s out very shortly via Trout, ‘Castles’ steals the show, in short it’s just simply immaculate traced as it is in a most becoming beguilement, a love noted folk spiritual divinely hushed and softly shimmered in a cosy toed winter-esque glow. So beautiful that I may just cry.
Admit it, this is quite something else. Poised, measured, elegantly majesty and distractively alluring. We’d like to say that now we understand the effect that snakes hold upon their prey or why moths feel inexplicably drawn to the kitchen light, it’s something unsaid, innate and within us to be attracted and mollified by the bitter sweet lonesome melancholy of the sea, its endless, tireless yet persistent and insistent ebb and flow. I mention this because for 13 minutes we’ve been similarly engaged, mesmerised and lulled by ‘as the stars change places with the falling snow’ a teaser track from a forthcoming set for fluid audio entitled ‘branded by constellations’ by David Colohan and Richard Moult. With its sighing seafaring inclines and drifting opines, this bruised beauty emerges from the fog, caught in its trailing wash memory echoes are stirred from its deep to momentary gasp with freedom before returning once more lost and forgotten into the darkness, the intricate melodic detailing and the sense of space afforded instil a bleakly resonant and tearfully stilled statuesque aura throughout that fleetingly nods to Roy Budd’s solemn ‘get carter’ score and chimes with the lonesome spectral beauty occasioned on releases by Yellow6 and David A Jaycock.. https://soundcloud.com/fluid-radio/david-colohan-as-the-stars-change-places-with-the-falling-snow
Fairly certain I haven’t gotten this far through life without never having had cause to mention these dudes. They describe themselves or rather more their sound as ‘drunken experimental industrial drone’ and they have a 50 only cassette release out right now doing,, one hopes, brisk-ish business. Sly and the Family Drone – great name eh – are destined to never be noted for their subtlety and finesse neither to for their musicality, instead ‘a fiesta of skin and tears’ – incidentally recorded Brighton way last year – is a crudely feral trepanning marathon that one suspects isn’t merely done as an exercise in testing your audiences patience and nerve but more a case of the band undergoing a kind of bop till they drop routine, a skittish twist on both no wave and stoner noise that’s bashed into the kind of loose freeform tribal like chaos that might have you of the mind that aside having way too much fun that this collective care little as to whether you’re enjoying or hating the spectacle currently bleaching your ears. Goes without saying we here are much liking of the discordant and demented disharmony especially the point at 15 minutes in and thereon wherein everything goes pretty shit faced, fractured and a tad off piste even by their own skedaddled standards. https://familydrone.bandcamp.com/album/a-fiesta-of-skin-tears
More Swedish uber cool, seriously I swear its some secret Government agenda to make Scandinavia some kind of cultural epicentre for the turning out of pristine pop, in which case you can add Delores Haze to that ever growing enviable list of exports. ‘touch me’ comes peeled from an imminent debut full length ‘the haze is forever’ – a sublimely wasted vision of dream pop bleached, bruised and bliss kissed in vapour trailing Pixies-esque glazes led by a lost in the moment Kim Deal dazed and lulled by a side serving haloing of Ultra Vivid Scene and Cranes fuzz fumed shimmer toning.
Fairly certain that this may be the new thang from Bonfire Nights, it’s called ‘low’ and quite frankly it’s the business. I’m going to stick my neck out by saying this has everything including the kaleidoscopic kitchen psink. A coolly coalesced slice of outsider psych that prowls and purrs with equal measure, hypnotically snake winding to the rumbling ripple of riffing reverbs that cast long looming lysergic shadows all graced to a hushed desert dry gospel mantra, that subtly echoes to a reclining west coast vibe that momentarily ruptures amid sultry arabesque after burns. Much like a stoned and smoked out high council psych summit meeting gathering black angels and brian Jonestown massacre dudes.
You might have to bear with me here and just roll with things while I dig myself into a rather large hole and then proceed to scamper out of it, hopefully unscathed. But get this. We’ve heard the Chemistry Set’s new album ‘the endless more and more’ once or twice and without wishing to put too fine a point on matters, it’s a colossal heavyweight that does justice to the bands brand name and cements their legend and relevance upon the psych scene. To give you an example of how good it is the band have chosen opening salvo ‘the splendour of the universe’ as a teaser trailer even going as far as commissioning a video to accompany it. Truth is, it’s nowhere near being the best track on the album, in fact if you had to award points and draw up a league table, it would at this moment be in a relegation dog fight. Now before you all start having hissy fits, remember I did say earlier the album is a colossus and this is a band who certainly know their way around the nailing of a killer hook and quite frankly the bar has been raised to such a degree that had this been the heralding track from any other band you’d have been having swooning fits aplenty and preparing for the bestowing of crowns, bouquets and plaudits declaring an undying love like no one’s business. Still ‘the splendour of the universe’ is still a dandy that arrives draped in all manner of swirling paisley preened 60’s threads all soothed and smoked with the kind of soft svelte auto pilot mercurial astuteness and pop panache that you’d expect of a band of such class and repute. Braided by the oncoming march of a sun blistered piping of feel good flag waving brass fanfares and to a subtle nod to the Monkees not to mention the Chocolate Watch Band mid way through, there’s no denying that this blossoming optimistic pop pill of love all hippy happiness comes on like a kaleidoscopically mushrooming magic carpet ride.
Maybe it’s just me but listening to this I feel somewhat under furnished in some much I sense I’m missing a porch, a rocking chair and a pipe. This sweetheart has literally just dropped in our lap, the latest offering from Sean O’Hagan and the High Llamas though you’ll have to wait until January for ‘here come the rattling trees’. A new album no less through drag city which the press release describes as, according to Mr O’Hagan, a suite of sound where the ‘music was driven by narratives, a collection of stories that would have to be firstly performed as theatre and reshaped blending stories, songs and soundtrack’. And so they were, in June of 2014 whereupon they took to their debuting performance at the Montpelier Theatre pub in Peckham and again the following October for a week long engagement at Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden. From that set the title track has been lifted to engage, endear and enthral all, a lilting carousel of softly demurred 60’s lounge lulled easy pop affectionately trimmed in a vintage framing of silky twinkling softness that eases down ever so gently on the sophisticat pedal to daub the listening space in milky flotillas of sun fresh lysergic pastorals that to these ears yearn, swoon and play tick with the likes of Burt Bacharach, Van Dyke Parks, Ooberman and Ashley Parks.
fancy some potently raw rumble, then in truth the sounds emanating from this seismic onward charging spike topped anthem might take some shifting in the chest beating fist clenching stakes. This is the new thing from punk veterans Naked Raygun who if I rightly recall have been around in one form another since dinosaurs roamed the earth. With an as yet untitled album parked and ready to do brisk business after the coming silly season, ‘broken things’ provides for a blistering calling card announcing its imminence, a straight up and in your face no nonsense euphoric growl blessed with ear jangling hooks aplenty and a radio hugging chorus to boot, all this packed into a sub 4 minute groove space, c’mon what’s not to love. https://soundcloud.com/nakedraygun/broken-things
Memory is a strange thing, there are bits you remember that you’d rather forget and conversely bits you forget that you’d rather remember. Doing these missives we stumble across oodles of stuff, we’d love to write about everything we hear but things like sleep, work and sleep get annoyingly in the way, I can recall and indeed pinch myself when I do, for not nabbing the recent Sex Witch album and Concetism’s debut on limited vinyl when I had the chance. Similarly, I often forget that I have all the Nick Drake albums and yet mysteriously find myself gravitating towards the D section of the racks whenever I enter a record shop to have a curious nose. Or how good Southall Riot where. Let’s not get bogged down with the fact that they sold around 45 copies of each release,, appeared in various guises on some of the finest labels of the day – earworm, static caravan and enraptured and even ran their own label – Victory Gardens – although ran might be pushing the description of notions of their business acumen. They were often referred and likened to Guided by Voices though this probably had more to do with the fact that they recorded short symphonies of sound that featured guitars, sounded like no one else and played and recorded lo-fi home made pop, yet while GBV’s bedroom was serenaded by regular visits by the sun, Phil and Stu shivered their way through demo sessions holed up in a bulb-less pantry space beneath the stairs. Rock n’ roll right on. And so after occasional visits to these pages in varying guises – the last being as Phil M on a rare as hen’s teeth cassette put out by Static Caravan in 2009, Phil acquired a lathe cutting machine and set up the 454545 imprint whilst taking in orders to cut lathe pressings for other labels such as fruits de mer, static caravan and pretty much everyone who has released a limited lathe edition in recent months. These days the lathe vinyl isn’t as troublesome as it used to be, they actually play straight through – which is a bonus, they don’t stick, jump or have that heart stopping effect of watching the stylus slide across the disc in some sort of ice skating routine. I must admit I’ve gotten to love them.
And so to the 454545 label side of things, those familiar and remembering the hilarious dispatches issued forth by Victory Gardens by their in house receptionist and the almost devil may care issuing of releases on SOUL – might well recall that these were labels that issued releases in limited issue on 8 track cartridges, spliced pieces of the original master tape and cassette – one of which was mummified in candle wax. 454545 therefore smacked of career suicide, rummaging through his extensive vault of recordings, forgotten releases and lost out takes, Phil M hit upon the notion of putting out 45 records in editions of 45 to be played at 45 rpm – hence the idea 454545 – why editions of 45 – well the mere fact that the band oft sold around 45 records is a lie – and that they have all our names is merely a coincidence and something which the label have assured us of. How they knew where I lived did however worry me.
Latest to the 454545 roster – release number #27 – is a little known gem that originally appeared on Enraptured’s occasional Bedroom Ambience compilation, more pertinently – Volume 3. Southall Riot’s ‘rugby players make good businessmen’ was one of the sets highlights – I should know because I seem to recall cobbling up the press release – I say press release – it was bordering on War and Peace and in certain schools across the length and breadth of these fine lands is used specifically as a means of studying the relevance of punctuation and creative flow both of which were on ration at the time. Anyhow let’s get serious for there has been thus far too much frivolity. A crafty earworm that slowly veers into view bruised by a bitter sweet casting that possessed of a ghosting of early Kranky heroes such as LaBradford and Stars of the Lid flickering and flittering in and out of the ethereal haze. Amid the shimmering vapour trailing signatures, the negligible bruising of a forlorn howl weaves wearily throughout gently ascending to some hitherto unseen peaking point and dovetail and arc along a sonic trajectory very much recalling a crushed Godspeed / Grails a la the 28 days later soundtrack. Over on the flip you get the stripped down demo version – this time more quickened in pace and solidified by the percussive patterns, less dreamy and cosmically inclined and somewhat daubed in a post rockist aura that dips and nods to billy mahonie yet curiously name-checks a very youthful Cure with a smidgeon tasting of the Workhouse. For my own sins I can’t recall ever hearing Azimuth Co-Ordinator, one of Phil M’s many guises ‘the jr control’ is a hypno grooved slice of immersive kraut kosmiche freewheeling in the same kind of sonic states as Slipstream, this version dating back to 2001 has so far remained previously unreleased and should be high on the radar of those among you attuned to classic era Delirium outings from the early 90’s not to mention well versed in the spacey and wigged out moments found on the Walking Seeds ‘bad orb, whirling ball….’. Over on the flip ‘the les walk-in’ features a compendium of demo out takes recorded throughout the 90’s parts of which initially appeared on the Victory Gardens sub cassette imprint SOUL, there scratchy lo-fi aura ought to appeal to those admiring of Half Japanese / Jad Fair though more importantly for observers of these pages to fans of the Bordellos. I am Voyager reveals another facet to Phil M’s persona and finds him navigating the surreal dream like crookedness of Syd Barrett and the partly theatrical / part pop primed ‘Deram’ era playfulness of Bowie, ‘better than chase and status’ found here reworked recently by the fog is in the fir tree arrives possessed with a curiously impish Donovan dialect, albeit that’ll be Donovan after a night out with the Freed Unit. Over on the flip the same track deconstructed in recent months as ‘chasen’ with the beats, the looping motifs and a reading by TS Elliott of ‘the journey of the magi’ coalescing to craft something not a million miles away in feel from Stylus’ ‘pluen eira’. Go to http://www.345rpm.co.uk/catalogue-1.html for further info on the label and following the links to the lathe cutting services over at http://www.345rpm.co.uk/about.html
Musical Interlude – the Shaggs….
A bit like having all your Christmases parked up at once and then having the electricity switched off and being told last minute it’s been cancelled. There was yesterday sometime a momentary flutter of the heart at the prospect of viewing rare live footage posted up on the internet of outsider pop combo the Shaggs. Apparently only a brief spot pulled from a low key appearance from 1972, but just enough to satiate curious notions as to this largely unsung and most obscure of trios. Alas some blighter has pulled the content on the grounds of copyright protection – we will – when it re-appears – be fleecing these pages with regaling words should we nail the blighter on a future mooch around that there you tube. Anyhow some words are here – http://dangerousminds.net/comments/unbelievable_holy_grail_footage_of_the_shaggs_from_1972_found#fA7hxW2iYjCPEKyc.01
Just laid our hands on this little nugget, issued by Finders Keepers a label prized in their unearthing of the strange, the obscure and the curious, which is just as well as they don’t come any stranger, obscurer or indeed as curious as Lamartine’s ‘reportage’. One of those truly near lost and forever forgotten soundtracks that until this particular pressing remained previously unreleased and largely unknown. The back story as to its coming to be is as strangely wired and almost fantastical as the sounds gouged within on the grooves. Extensive liner notes penned by Andy Votel to the rear of the sleeve navigate their way through tales of misfiled boxes of recordings, it’s accidental near destruction and puzzled discovery not to mention confusion over the author’s nationality and even identity. Alas we’ve not had a chance to play the blighter straight through just yet, our copy coming annoyingly light on the promised download code within, so while we fire up the gramophonic beast we’ve dashed over to the Finders Keepers web page to sample sound clips in order to determine exactly what strange thing we’ve actually purchased. In truth a welcome addition to the labels seeming obsession with all things Italian electronics, Lamartine is to put not too fine a point on matters, absolutely wigged out and fried with ‘Fame e orgoglio’ proving to be impishly skedaddled and coming on like ‘shroomed seaside styled music hall recital headed up by a psychedelic Phantom of the Opera clearly under the influence and gone. That said we must admit to being a tad fond of the kookily snake charming bizarre that is ‘Sceicchi a congresso’ which to these ears sounds not unlike Radiophonic Workshops’ Malcolm Clarke tootling around on the latest piece of EMS gadgetry to arrive at the Vale and seeing fit to re-score the soundtrack to ‘Dr Phibes rises again’. Fear not this won’t be the last time this collection visits these pages, kinda warms the cockles of your heart to know, don’t you think. http://www.finderskeepersrecords.com/shop/lamartine-reportage/
Staying with curious things, a quick flick through the latest issue of Wire, issue #381 with the latest Wire Tapper CD glued to the cover – as if you needed any hints of encouragement, we spotted in the letters page a missive from young Master Jonny Trunk of London town whose excitement at acquiring the rights to some of Ernest Berk’s recordings was somewhat dimmed upon learning of Berk’s collaboration with Basil Kirchin. That said he goes further on to say that any day soon there’ll be a Trunk outings for some rare Berk morsels and well to whet your appetites here’s some rare soundtrack work cobbled together by the man for a film made by David Gladwell for the BFI in 1964. Far from easy listening – this suite manages to incorporate a sense of doomed ominous dread upon which elements of neo classicism, drone, musique concrete and weird ear electronic manipulations are misshapen into some nightmarish Stockhausen-ian chamber gloom that mirrors perfectly the visuals beauty and violence. You have been warned.
Staying with Trunk records, a quick wander over to their website had us eyeing the latest from this peculiar pantry of weird ear gear, a 12 inch set that according to the brief descriptor notes, was only ever available to nab by readers of various computer and Sci-Fi periodicals in the 80’s. the work of Alan Jefferson, by all accounts recorded over a 6 year period in his Hull bedroom and made available on a C-90 cassette, ‘Galactic Nightmare’ is as it hints on the tin lid and progian cosmic head trip into the unknown. Clearly influenced by Jeff Wayne’s ‘war of the worlds’ score, ‘galactic nightmare’ is awash with Tangerine Dream, Goblin and the Enid references whilst no doubt simultaneously getting fat on a sofa diet of dark dystopian cold war TV a la Quatermass and threads (with a touch of Metal Mickey – or perhaps that a little uncharitable) and a host of VHS visuals spanning the dark side of horror and sci-fi all woven into a strangely alluring swash buckling light sabre toting Studio 54 meets Radiophonic Workshop futuristic adventure. https://trunkrecords.greedbag.com/buy/galactic-nightmare-0/
Another release where I’m afraid to say I can’t recall where or how we stumbled upon. Agreeably dark and doom draped, this is Interpretace who hail from the Czech Republic and have been plying their trade, according to their very brief almost non-existent press liner notes, since the early 80’s. ‘Mistra Jana Leta Pane XV’ their latest opus through the meteorismo imprint, is for the large part a four track chill pill whose glassy orbs and stilled nightmarish atmospherics as evidenced largely throughout ‘I’, ‘II’ and ‘III’ dovetail with foreboding eerie across the kind of apocalyptic happenings occurring in the twilight parallel time lines of Wizards Tell Lies, a harrowing account as were of future visions bleakened by the aftermath of some cataclysmic event presided over by an alien visitation, or so it would seem. Devoid of humanity, Interpretace’s starkly brooding sonic landscape is overcast by deathly pulsars, mechanoid opines and a forbidding bleak emptiness all occasioned by moments of shrieking sonic scraping brutality. It’s only when ‘IV’ rears silently into tear stained view that a hithero unseen and unaware beauty opines delicately into the smoky void casting a weeping epitaph by way of the majestic arc of oceanic swathes. http://meteorismo.bandcamp.com/album/mistra-jana-le-ta-pa-ne-xv
Just dropped in our lap which is rather fortuitous given we’ve just eyed a review of their new long player platter ‘Sore’ in the latest issue of Loud and Quiet. Ripped from that set, this is ‘the touch’ by Dilly Dally – a raw, feral slice of wasted groove gouged in the irregular angular riffing scabs that used to on occasion, scar the grooves of wax discs bearing the names the Breeders and Dinosaur Jr upon their hide albeit here soured and scowled by the fuck you kiss of Kat Bjelland.
Okay I’ll own up that this one has been causing a fair amount of affectionate consternation in our gaff since rearing up on the player a little while ago, a gorgeously woven tapestry of kaleidoscopic delights delicately spun in yarns of lazy eyed classic era west coast demurred mid 70’s Americana that hints on first listening tasters like something forged in a blissfully hazed Elephant 6 Collective afterglow by a gathering of Minders, Kingsbury Manx and Neutral Milk Hotel types. It’s by Here We Go Magic and the track in question is ‘be small’ and it comes pulled from an album of the same name through Secretly Canadian – we suggest essential ear fodder for those so admiring of Goodnight Lenin, Moviola and forgotten Anxious records should have beens the Soft Parade.
Okay, you can expect oodles of Fruits de Mer releases to feature here in the coming days with outings for Jack Ellister, Michael Padilla and a quite frankly colossal full length from the Chemistry Set. For now though it’s the turn of the now seasonal year end subscriber freebie release, though for reasons not quite explained, perhaps set to coincide with Mr Jones’ birthday, this particular release will arrive on welcoming doormats across the land sometime early January rather than before the silly season celebrations. A tribute no less to David Bowie, ‘Fashion’ is as you’d no doubt gather finds the Thin White Duke’s earlier catalogue rummaged and rifled through and given the typically freaked and flowery Fruits de Mer make over by a gathering assortment the of the labels A listers along with a few hazily dazed debutants. Seems a little fitting to have this serenading our listening space given we happened across and picked up a copy of the Deram set ‘David Bowie’ – a double disc set superbly packaged and featuring both mono and stereo versions of such gems as ‘love you till Tuesday’ and ‘maids of bond street’ both I regret to find amiss here as is ‘please mr.gravedigger’. Still be honest is it really possible to score the definitive Bowie compilation in 15 cuts without the cries but what about this, that and whatever. Of particular note here, ‘Heroes’ centres on Bowie’s most fertile and creative era, the most recent cover originally out in 1980 – that being ‘fashion’ – is as late as the Fruit de Mer sphere of influence strays which is just as well given the 80’s were unforgettable (which can I go on record here in saying not because of Tin Machine whose concept I quite admired) and well the 90’s, for all your attempts to convince me otherwise, be truthful, all the best moments, and I’ll agree there were a few eyebrow raisers, could in truth be fitted on one CD – single mind – while as to the 00’s Mr Bowie’s has seen fit to withdraw quietly from music only to occasionally brush past by way of a fleeting touching base appearance. ‘Heroes’ opens in fine style with a cover of a rare old flip cut from his ‘do anything you say’ sortie from the mid 60’s, left in the hands of the Past Tense ‘good morning girl’ shapes up to being a modd’d out nuggets shimmer toned and suited and booted in a hip wiggling garage soul beat all snazzily grooved in a key kissed funkiness. New recruits to the Fruits de Mer family, the Noman might, one would happily suspect, have something of a fondness for the Fall which certainly oozes through their cleverly deconstructed take on ‘the gospel according to Tony Day’ – a lost flip cut tucked away on the reverse of the gnome record and here re-imagined as a mooching worse for wear after hours face off between boy Smthy and Half Man Half Biscuit.
Now I’ll be truthful in owning up to the fact that we’ve nearly worn the part of the CD clean through where Sidewalk Society’s superbly up to mark and spanking take on ‘can’t help thinking about me’ sits, a dandified slab of swaggering Who-fied sneering aloofness. Much like her last appearance on one of these FdM compilations, was it that excellent Pink Floyd gathering, Ilona V ghosts in with a beautifully spectral retelling, this time of asking it’s of Bowie’s distant and thoughtful Drake-esque ‘tired of my life’, this dreamy porcelain psych portrayal falling somewhere between the cracks separating Broadcast and Dean and Britta. And apologies are overdue to Cary Grace whose recent album is burning holes in our psyche, words are coming I assure you, for now though this quite pickled progressive psyched slice of mind expanding freak beat eccentricity on their cover of ‘black country rock which admittedly retains the originals Zep adored nods and rephrases them through the head tripping cosmic viewfinders of Van der Graaf Generator and the mighty Crimson. Can’t recall whether this is the debuting, or at the very least, second appearance of Mooch on the esteemed FdM catalogue, but ‘Andy Warhol’ is faithfully framed and given the kind of woozy and ethereal ghost like acid folk treatment that one might expect to be applied by Crystal Jacqueline – I’m suspecting the result of which we need to hear more – and soon. Seems only fitting that one of Bowie’s more off centred and surreally hip trippy moments should find its crookedly kooky path admirably navigated by chief alchemist of the fried Moredecai Smyth whose fanciful fuzz trimmed fairytale pastoral pruning of ‘kooks’ chirps distractively dizzily as though the result of an off guard studio soiree between Marc Bolan and the Syd. On a personal level I’ve a soft spot for ‘life on mars’ which counting aside various record buying purchases as a junior that included Pinky and Perky, various TV21 EP’s particular attention paid to anything Captain Scarlet related and the ‘paint your wagon’ OST has always held a secret spot in our hearts due to the fact it was the first ‘proper’ record we ever bought, the covering of which is a mammoth task to even first consider let alone have the brass balls to actually commit to. Happily Sheepshanks do it admirable service, okay they may lack the svelte pop gravitas of the original, but ethereal chorals and the fact that they impishly apply a redux quality that’s akin to a kind of like musical version of the reduced Shakespeare company means not only do they manage to avoid going all Queen and ELO but that, with some aplomb, they manage to lasso it from the celestials and tie it to a more earthbound mooring. Again another ‘well I’ll think I’ll give that a miss’ fraught with hazardous dangers is any attempt to manoeuvre around ‘drive-in Saturday’ which call him foolhardy Jack Ellister commits himself the task of scaling the result of which he hooks the blighter up to a passing star and takes it on a astral dream voyage of pure cosmic cool. There’s something decidedly decadent and vaguely damaged about ZX+’s all too brief though unravelling visiting upon ‘breaking glass’, that as it flashes from moments of fuzzing funkiness to unhinged isolationism in the blink of an eye, a previously unseen dark side to their persona is revealed. One of those forgotten tracks over on the better side of ‘heroes’ which I always felt got smothered in the vapour trail of ‘V-2 schneider’, ‘sense of doubt’ is here realised of its amorphous ambient beauty by Rob Gould who affords it a stately almost reverential glacial majesty that literally catches you frozen and adoring in its tractor beam like vision. Almost forgot about ‘african night flight’ one of many sore thumbs to be found loitering in the backwaters of ‘lodger’ here removed of its ad hoc time signature crookedness and angular tribal patterning and stripped bare, rebuilt and superbly fashioned into a kind of warping Elephant 6 Collective stew as though an alt pop studio happening drawn from a mind meeting experience of they might be giants and Of Montreal types, seriously even the most die-hard Bowie enthusiast will take a side glance or three trying to spot its original template, oh incidentally before we forget its by the Seventh Ring of Saturn and features some nifty arabesque mosaics. Another ensemble much admired around these here parts and playing a spot of name that tune are blue giant zeta puppies whose totally wigged out retooling of ‘Fashion’ is frankly off the radar and here sent out of orbit on what can only be described as a sun spotting slab of twang toned Trashmen-esque cosmic garage grooviness which ought to cover matters in which case if it doesn’t you can add at will Meek, Man or Astro Man, freakish and fuzzy into your own review rewrite. Best moment of the set – and in truth this was a struggle trying to choose between such a formidable showing was in the end thrown over to Consterdine’s twinklesome refashioning of ‘sound and vision’, initially starts with what sounds like the click and turn of a pinball game before the emerging of a celestial carousel veers into view, all promenade pirouettes and lunar music hall murmurs all playfully dressed in sepia twists and sounding to these ears not unlike a snow tipped ISAN culturing sleepy headed snoozing recitals for the Clangers – a cosy toed dainty lullaby then. Sendelica Acoustica round up matters with a track we’ve mentioned previously in these pages, the acoustica variant of the bands hive operation finds them somewhat removed of their mind frying tendencies and one suspects affirming our belief that these are Wales’ hydra headed answer to the Acid Mothers, here in sedate mood serving up a slice of wood crafted folk wooziness whilst applying sumptuously a mellow candle like woven tapestry to ‘ziggy stardust’.
Just out via Sub Rosa, this delightful murmur toned gem from Lilly Joel taken from a recently released set entitled ‘what lies in the sea’, this is the quite alluringly beguiling ‘I can see you from afar’, something which had us minded distantly of that criminally overlooked Heather Duby debut from a few years ago and certainly something emerging from the shyly shadow tracing demurred dark side of Grimes albeit as though partaking in a spot of twilight spirituals with Mum for this hushed honey comes teasingly traced in the soft serene dream drift of frost tipped chorals and a sleepy eyed minimalist electronic sculpturing, https://soundcloud.com/jozef-dumoulin/i-can-see-you-from-afar
Can I just say at this point that the video accompanying this track, as bizarre as it might seem to involve – er – how can we put this mildly – intimacy with a plate of jelly. There, done, subject matter closed, so kindly get the giggling out of the way so we can get on with the music. This is the Evil Usses who I believe hail from Bristol, another band who had the city’s once fine and alas no more Sink and Stove imprint still been around, would have been welcomed with opened arms and no doubt been signed up and instantly recognised as the lost blood brothers of the Playwrights. Anyhow this is the strangely absorbing ‘Jelly’ which between moments of hip wiggling saxophonic wigginess and time slowed dreamy draped mosaics of crystalline ethereal post rock-esque smokiness the kind of which you’re liable to trip over with a more than mild frequency these days via thrill jockey, in truth like imagining John Lurie doing Phillip Glass whilst under the influence of Beefheart, quite dandy all said.
Christmas single no less though where the felicitations of yuletide cheer are to be found here has had us scratching our heads in bouts of perplexing puzzlement. Boasting a new album ‘Dull’ which we are yet to hear – hint, hint, this is a head bowing homage to ‘George Jenkins’ and the forgotten builders, makers and old guard of this once fine nation whose graft, sweat and tears restored the country’s industrial heartlands only to be crushed underfoot by the cruel cutting political hand of the Thatcher era and left to decay, ruin and ultimately be forgotten in an era of capitalist greed and bankers blithering. As to the actual track, veteran agit pop dandies I, Ludicrous cut a dash amid a ghostly conscience pricking tale of betrayal and hollowed gratitude atop a sonic landscapes that veers on the dial to settle somewhere between Billy Childish and the Small Faces.
In response to our mentioning of that forthcoming ‘fashion’ set from fruits de mer, Brian Bordello got in touch with their own Bowie cover which alas missed the final cut, not on quality control grounds we suspect but more so because the chosen track in question comes pulled – and was intended for inclusion – on the Thin White Duke’s first post Tin Machine outing and 90’s release, the decidedly patchy and ill fitting ‘black tie white noise’ though after several rewrites finally emerged on ’reality’ some ten years later. The point being here that ‘fashion’ as concept cast it radar eye on Bowie’s critically accepted creative period – up to and including ‘Scary Monsters’. Left in the hands of the Bordellos, ‘bring me the disco king’ assumes a darkly bruised and weary persona, amid a shadowy noir framing and the blurring afterglow revealed through a down tempo motif that frankly wouldn’t look to out of place with a made in Bristol c. 1993 sticker on its hide all sumptuously spirited away in spectral ghost lights along the way briefly nodding to Joy Division whilst serviced with a crookedly crippled croon that sounds not unlike a seriously out of it Stuart Staples. Alas no sound links but we are asking right this minute…..
Can’t remember where exactly on cyberspace we picked this up from but safe to say that mentions for Anla Courtis have been a long time coming in these pages not least because earlier in the year he sent over downloads for a quite frankly awesome slab of out there groove which alas got stranded and lost on a hard drive that saw fit to spontaneously combust and with a shed load of sound files and variously cobbled together missives. Latest to the extensive catalogue of this prolific Argentine sound alchemist is a limited cassette through obsolete units entitled ‘el raspiarero’ which features two elongated suites that find Mr Courtis cutting up some seriously zonked out swamp strangled primordial chamber blues. For now we’ve only an extract of side 1 to go by but enough of an earful to detect a sonic trajectory that channels the outer spheres of Father Murphy and my cat is an alien to name but two, not for the faint of heart for ‘rp1’ comes shrieked in a glooming array of twisted chord scalps, looming groans and the disquieting guttural howl of disfigured fret board manipulations which aligned together give an acute warping feeling to the proceedings as though your teetering uncomfortably on a warning ledge whose pathway leads to some indescribably dark abyss. Admirers of Fred Frith and Bill Horist will not go unrewarded. https://soundcloud.com/obsolete-units/anla-courtis-rp1-excerpt
Staying with obsolete units a little while longer, for while we were here sampling the delights of Anla Courtis’ latest opus we also happened across the labels most recent outing by former Hells Hills / Rorschach man Nick Forte. ‘overdoes it’ finds Mr Forte operating in the same sonic micro worlds as visited upon in these pages by the likes of Roadside Picnic and in recent memory the Insect Explosion. Unsettling, skedaddled and a tad chaotic, ‘overdoes it’ is brimming with subterranean textures, processed cut ups, riff ruptured noise impacts, insectoid chattering, binary blips and wiring frequency modulations who all gather impatiently to collude to craft a decidedly schizoid soundtrack that veers from moments of busy frenzy to ominous lulls of mutant drone. https://soundcloud.com/obsolete-units/nick-forte-overdoes-it-excerpts
There’s been a fair amount of activity on the ghost box sound player of late as they prep themselves for a little record store love in the shape of two new releases in their ongoing Other Voices series. First up ToiToiToi, pressed up on limited quantities of heavy duty seven inch slabs of wax housed in specially designed die cut card sleeves and featuring two delightfully dinky cuts the first of which ‘odins jungle’ beats a decidedly crooked path to emerge dizzily from the sleepy headed percussive clatter and chatter adorned in dreamy oriental mosaics and set adrift in a kaleidoscopic pea green boat. In truth put us much in mind of some secret and thought lost Metrotone happening with Magnetophone from way back in the foggy mists of time being unearthed and kookily re-calibrated by a gathering of wonky souls from the Bearsuit records collective.. over on the flip its all aboard the wonky wurlitzer that is the serenely toned ‘golden green’ for a cosy toed spot of dreamy 70’s time travelled pastoral kosmiche. Does it for us. https://soundcloud.com/ghost-box/sets/other-voices-07
Cavern of Anti Matter – who I’m certain we’ve had cause to mention previously in these pages – provide the completing piece of this Other Voices soiree, if I recall rightly these dudes feature various Strereolab-ers who’ve since left the planet and no doubt the solar system to undertake an exploratory voyage into the deep voids of cosmic milky way, occasionally stopping by at various celestial out posts to transmit lunar love notes back home – on this occasion courtesy of ‘pulsing river velvet phase’ and ‘phototones’ – the former sounding not unlike some hitherto softly surrendered star sedating suite intended for the ‘Lab’s lost classic ‘cobra and phases’ set that fell through a dimensional fracture in time and space and was happened upon and locked onto by their sonic shuttle tractor beams on their recent travels. As to ‘phototones’ – a nifty slice of hypno grooving motorik boogie from an alternative sound space where the boy Hook armed with trademark low strung bass is found dandifying a kosmich kooled kollective of fuxa and slipstream types. https://soundcloud.com/ghost-box/sets/other-voices-06
Oh and how we adore these impish rascals. Here’s a little slice of tenderly baked shroom dazed pickled pop psychedelic surrealism courtesy of the recently peeled video for the current Lovely Eggs cutie ‘goofin around (in Lancashire)’ which we mentioned yonks ago – see link below because we are nice like that, anyhow zany and zonked out doesn’t begin to cut the kooky tomfoolery at play here, I blame the Banana Splits, the Monkess and the ingestion of mild lysergic additives – record out very soon on fried egg wax, getting more bonkers with each passing day……
visual interlude – the sandman…..
listening to a few old tapes and came across a Christmas related Mark Radcliffe and the boy Lard show featuring Mark Kermode doing his occasional film spot in this seasonal instance the subject matter was Tim Burton’s hugely enjoyable ‘the nightmare before Christmas’ – which while openly commenting that Burton had cited ‘mad monster party’ as an reference marker and bout of studio discussion ensued whereupon this little gem was preferred as a contributory influence. From 1992, this is Paul Berry’s quite magical and at the same time eerily macabre ‘the sandman’ – spoiler alert – no happy endings here…….
mad monster party…..trailer
Isn’t this just something else, the mushrooming mosaics and the trip toned softly purred psychedelics dissipating and dissolving each other, not to mention the flotillas of hazily glazed pastorals and that sense of being on a magic carpet ride, this is the newly cut video to accompany the wonderfully woozy ‘Victoria’s garden’ by the Smoking Trees gently picked from their summer bouquet ‘TST’ out now via ample play……..
A very brief shout for this one, those with a vague recall, and let us be honest you should because their side to the proceedings was rather spiffing, might recall Arcade Messiah’s last visitation to these pages wherein they occupied one of the allotted spaces on that quite superb ‘Side effects’ box set through fruits de mer. There’s a new album looming November end entitled ‘II’ from which ‘read the sky’ has been ripped and sent out on a heralding scout trip. I’ll be honest we’ve prepared and manicured a finely sculptured looking set of face furniture in readiness of this doing business on our player and we suggest you might want to consider doing likewise for this storm raging progian cyclone literally consumes the air space sitting amid a dot forming sonic triangle that links Mountain, Explosions in the Sky and Porcupine Tree whilst melodically speared between a revealing extreme of seething volcanic impatience and scorched beautified majesty.
Back ever so briefly with ghost box, we were going to mention this earlier but we felt that the overload of loveliness brought to bear by the toitoitoi and cavern of anti-matter were liable to have you swooning yourselves into fainting spells and in truth if they hadn’t sent to the edge of delirium then this would have surely done so. Upon rummaging through the ghost box sound cloud page we eyed three extended mixes by the Pattern Forms – atmosphere optimistic ambience, pastoral romantic nature and bucolic intrigue romance – all doing as they hint / promise on the tin lid and all available as free downloads except for the latter mentioned which as it happens is the one we are smitten with, typical isn’t don’t you find. Anyhow as the description rightly hints the ‘bucolic intrigue romance’ is dimpled in demurring pastoral mosaics that gently turn to the seasonal cycle from autumnal rustic rambles to the chirping choreograph of springs romance as ventured around the seven minute mark, it’s all very easy pop and quite removed from the usual ghost box grooving not to mention peppered in moments of spy noir sophistication and silken 60’s symphonic chic which while we remember to note very much traverses a path once upon time much trekked by the likes of Edwin Astley, Douglas Gamley and Laurie Johnson. Particularly love the youthful Owl Service moments around the 13 and a half minute mark while it should be said that admirers of 60’s vintage lounge sounds the type of which emanated from out of the Italian imprint SHADO about 10 or so years ago will not be found wanting. All said best moment is the final two minutes where everything goes very Bernard Hermann-esque a la the surreal dream sequence ‘Vertigo’- utterly perfect…..
okay we were going to mention this tomorrow, I mean Christmas record reviews in November, I might start giving people the false impression that I’ve somehow missed my chosen vocation as some kind of Santa’s helper or whatever and what with us already priming up a Nick Lowe seasonal jolly, there was the fear that people would start sending us festive cardigans – you know the ones I mean – garish looking things with bells on that look like the result of a speedy stomach evacuation following an optimistic mug of the families festive punch. It was only when we were stood here, waist deep in Christmas decorations between watching ‘santa clause – the movie’ for the third time on the trot and observing out of corner of our eye a suspiciously worrying object made up of sparkly tree lights darting across the room, something we later discovered (once we’d summoned up the courage to come out from behind the sofa) to be Dylan the house cat getting in the spirit and tangling himself up. Of course we jest – what do you take us for – Christmas decorations in November – no Sir. That said we do have a special switching on of the lights celebration in our gaff which ordinarily involves the flipping off a coin to whose turn it is this year to give it legs up the stairs in order to switch the landing light on and off four times in quick succession, a task which aside causing certain risks to life and limb with the electrics not so much as old as the ark but actually used on the Ark, always causes bouts of hilarity in the household for we haven’t got a landing light. Ah well, where were we, Rob Clarke and the Wooltones, it’s been a while since the Wooltones have troubled these pages given that Mr Clarke had been seen fit to do a midnight flit and start a new country / cowboy combo with the Brown Bears, however after truce talks and the occasioning of an incidental (we deliberately avoided accidental as there seems to be a divergence of opinion between parties) black eye for Rob in an extraordinarily bizarre hand shake mishap, the rest of the band have now agreed to take down the wanted posters from various police establishment, drinking bars and local lamp-posts. So to the single, out tomorrow (9th) and featuring three tracks all available as a rather nifty download package that includes obviously, the single, a badge – not real but paper, a card and a commemorative welcome home celebratory press release. As said three tracks loom on the release with ‘another Wooltones Xmas record’ starting the festive cheer which with its honey toned harmonies finds them much courting of the kind of oddly tuneful dash that some brash bunch of ne’er do well beat popular scaly-wags by the ridiculous name the Beatles cobble out though here additionally haloed in the kind of breezily arrested lazy eye tonalities that was once upon a time the given forte of the Milltown Brothers albeit liberally sprinkled with a Mersey-delic meets west coast incline that much called to our mind the Mayflies. Over on the flip a lounge psych instrumental of the lead cut lushly grooved in all manner of shimmer toning tropicalia flotillas and twang tweaked oceanic opines which to these ears put us in mind of secret cool J Xaverre flip sides not to mention adoring our listening space in hazily glazed echoes of Toshack Highway’s debuting full length.. ‘Another wooltones fireside armchair’ despite running out at over 3 minutes is in reality a 12 second Christmas message that apes the seasonal flexi disc idents of you know who even down to the Ringo deadpan delivery, ho hum. https://robclarkeandthewooltones.bandcamp.com/album/another-wooltones-xmas-record
Another release we tripped across whilst routinely rummaging around on bandcamp and something that we here reckon ought to appeal to those among you fancying some darkly delightful b-movie garage soul. This is Detroit based combo Barelyon with the shadowy ‘the tale of bakemono-chan’ – a buzz-sawing hip shimmying fuzzy psych cutie whose cool kudos have it veering and lurking with prowling intent amid the chamber chic vaults of the Addams Family as though a monsterland incarnation of Nancy and Lee dragging in their wake something seductively smoking and slinky with it. http://barelyonmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-tale-of-bakemono-chan-single
Can’t beat a bit of scorched harmonica don’t you find. Back with Rob Clarke and the Wooltones who sent over a sound file (alas no links just yet) which we believe is at present being prepped to feature on a forthcoming Active Listener psych out sampler set. A cover of the Monkees’ ‘(I’m not your) Steppin’ Stone’ here found exquisitely carved and trimmed of its fat not to mention kissed upon a tightly coiled vintage garage beat gouging all blessed with the calculating narrowing of a fixing aloof gaze and a dismissive sneer to swagger, shimmy and strut with untouchable cool. The danders all said.
Currently prepping an album or three, one in particular at present labouring under the working title ‘how to lose friends and influence no-one’, the Bordellos by our reckoning, teeter a curious line that finds them veering from the sublime to the just merely great, it’s something we’ve had cause to comment upon in previous mentions whereby had Mr Peel still been alive then we’d like to suppose that this lot would have been swiftly seized upon and ensconced in the hallowed hall of fame that is the Peel house band. Why do I think this you might rightly ask, well simply because they appear to exemplify that rarefied quality or – to use a term in its purest value before Cowell and Co killed off Saturday night TV with their modern day equivalent of the stocks – that indescribable / invisible X factor, that unknown quality that appeared to single out certain tracks and certain bands as being primed and perfect for Peel. No doubt disappointingly destined for obscurity and we all know where this might be leading given that the curious hand of fate oft has a few tricks up her sleeve – hello Velvet Underground, the band are shortly to share cassette space with New York psychedelic pop practitioners Schizo Fun Addict, a band equally adored in these pages and again another who are alarmingly unsung on an underground scene bloated by chancers and bands with friends in strategic places. So while we wait for that and following on from our mentioning of their ‘missed the final cut’ Bowie cover – featured earlier – Brian Bordello sent over – what he foolishly refers to – as a rough cut of a track that may or may not – depending one suspects on how the wind lies, blows or indeed turns up – be appearing on that aforementioned ‘how to lose friends…..’ work in progress. ‘starcrossed radio’ is one of those defining moments in the bands career, it’s a rare moment whereupon things take on an altogether different aura, the type that sees them elevated to dizzying heights and something which one suspects, that with enough cleverly considered and shrewdly marketed airplay might, where it given a green light for Christmas consideration, have you turning your heads and ears steering you clear of the vacuous manufactured and formulaic nonsense that the majors and television conspire to rot your listening space in. All at once homely and hymnal, the soft haloing of ghosts from pop’s past endow it with a misty eyed resonance that’s delicately traced in the crackles of sentimentality and the fizzing of nostalgia, illuminated by the warming glow of burning valves, the spirit of radio echoes amid a sepia laced rerun of fading memories and while we feel a tad reticent in sullying the beauty with mention of ‘Radio Ga-Ga’ we’ll just say this wipes the floor with it which given the authors in question are Queen is no mean feat. At its worst, ‘Starcrossed radio’ is the epitome of all things that make a classic Festive 50 chart topper and it best, time will tell, one thing we are certain of though, is that it’s a bit of a tear tugger.
Whatever happened to Baby Woodrose? Sorry just couldn’t resist it, oh that we are feeling a tad mischief making. Seriously though here’s a rare treat courtesy of a recently unearthed video primed at the time to accompany a track from the bands 2009 self titled set yet abandoned and iced at the last minute where it was left to languish unfinished in the depths of the directors hard drive. Until now that is. Six years on and viewed through distantly familiar eyes, Adam Olsson set to work completing this lost moment which has now been unveiled for visual adoration. ‘countdown to breakdown’ finds Baby Woodrose at their most mercurial, a trip wiring tapestry softly daubed and spirited in late 60’s lysergia and trimmed in a becoming bitter sweet beauty that arcs and swoons to a distant Cream-esque call sign though strangely by way of these ears had us recalling the head bowed howl of Neil Young’s ‘Eldorado’ – quite something else all said.
We really must stop with this obsessive knack of rummaging through the internet on the lookout for dandy slabs of stereophonic cool. Mind you if we did then we wouldn’t have tripped over this little nugget. Admittedly our life appears somewhat lesser without the regular fix of garage beat swooning our ear space, so you can imagine our interests piqued somewhat when we eyed this gem like split release. All the way from Spain’s new h imprint this is a riff rumbling face off that pairs together thee gravemen and charm bag. Both bands previously unknown to us both sound like orphans of the missing in action Estrus and Sympathy for the Record Industry labels, thee gravemen found here kicking up the kind of grizzled groove that sounds to these ears as though it’s been lying in some cryo chamber for the last 50 years only to be recently awoken and emerge into a vividly coloured world all bleary eyed and itching to boogie, either that or something that’s fallen through the cracks of a classic Pebbles / back to the grave vault unearthing find, for these dudes do bad things courtesy of ‘it wasn’t me’ in a Gories doing Wimple Winch type way all very raw, very feral and very uber cool. Charm Bag lurk over on the flip with ‘1234 Diddley one more time’ – a freaky homage to the Bo sumptuously beaten around the edges and kissed with the kind of impish mindset and primitive DIY production values that would make the Mummies green with envy whilst simultaneously cutting up a riotous rumble of reverb ravaged surf swinging twang-a-rama. Don’t know about you but I need this in my life and record collection right now. https://newhrecords.bandcamp.com/album/charm-bag-thee-gravemen-split-sg7-h-records-hr082
It’s been a fairly quiet year by Vacilando ’68 standards, it’s not like they’ve been sitting on their hands and having a lazy year off whilst pretending to hoodwink the alarmed masses of music heads that they’ve just been simply hibernating. Perish the thought, more so they’ve just been giving you guys and little time and space before bringing to your listening step a new bag of bop till you drop beauties all of which pencilled upon a near future schedule ought to see outings from the likes of piper’s son, stuart turner and the flat earth society and pete Molinari – though the latter is in fact a book type thing – but you get the picture all the same. However all that comes after this. A new thang from Simon and the Pope, and yes we did say thang as opposed to thing. Gathering together Simon Charterton and John Pope, the former appearing on two of the finest singles to emerge from the Thatcherite chill of the 80’s British alternative scene namely the Higsons’ frankly infectious ‘I don’t want to live with the monkeys’ and Serious Drinking’s ‘love on the terraces’ whilst the latter an self confessed improve bassist and occasional geek whose appeared variously on platters and performances by the likes of the odd little group and Mustek. Out shortly – next week in fact, a three track seven emerges led from the fore by ‘beats workin’’- a strangely curious and, goes without saying, alarmingly listenable turntable treat blessed with a dandy rhythmically pushing piping that might well signal a lost soundtrack leader for a modern day slacker rewrite of ‘Ferris Bueller’ had anybody bothered to check in on him some thirty years later, here all framed to a tightly coiled jazznobabble crookedness that impishly nibbles around the edges of a John Lurie musical mind. In truth we here are a tad taken by the second cut ‘fella’ which finds the ghosts of wordy wordsmith Ian Dury sitting on its shoulder even aping perfectly his vocal inflections whilst perched upon a muted jazz funk cool that we guarantee will drive you to distraction in trying to think of words ending in ‘ella’ that the blighters have overseen. Parting shot ‘swallow’ is all intricately groovy noodling across some serious chin stroking jazz beardyness that in some respects has the surreal sense of a circle forming 90’s comedy meets studious muso cool in so much as a brief revisiting of the Fast Show lampooning the tank top, slippers and pipe faux intellectualist snobbery of a pre punk Old Grey Whistle Test though here relocated to the no wave late 70’s hipster stateside vibe of James Chance and the Contortions. Whatever the case this is a release that ought to be on the radar of those so adoring of the platters flung out at will by those wonderfully detuned mischief makers over at fioolproof projects in Brighton.