Fascinating Things : Issue 37

The last few days has been dominated by bringing together, for German Shepherd records,  the much needed and anticipated release of the collected works of Southend’s Stripey Zebras. A  band that just about survived 1980/1, they were heavily influenced by The Fall,  and the album “We Are Mighty, We Are Stripey” combines the bulk of their historical recordings (and I use that word loosely as they are mostly mastered from a cassette). It will be released in January. It’s the sort of lo-fi post-punk DIY music that was around in those days and has a timeless charm. Musos will no doubt moan about lack of fidelity or “chops”, but I think it is wonderful. You should expect a more fulsome review in due course. It’s a 24 track release combining home and live recordings, with a hidden bonus for those who purchase.

stripey1

The announcement from Relapse records about the new three track 25 minute release from Agoraphobic Nosebleed, complete with teaser video, is very tempting. Hopefully i’ll get a review copy. There work to date has been well above average and the snippets sound very exciting indeed. It’s called “Arc”.

Gordy Duncan Jr who happens also to be a member of the excellent Girobabies has a new solo album out – from the sampler track it sounds excellent.

The new Sugarmen single is good in a bouncy, indie, jagged guitar sort of way. It came out on Rooftop Records on December 4th.

Blackpool based instrumental rock band Goonies Never Say Die have finally released a mini album of material. Recorded from October 2012 to February 2013 the project was abandoned by the band who felt they were retreading old ground too much. The recording was recently listened back to and was deemed not to be as bad as they thought. The recording was made by one of the numerous previous line-ups of the band, the current line up are half way through writing a new album that will probably also be held back for 10 years and released on cassette tape delivered by pigeon one random rainy day!

Diminished Men – featuring Steve Schmitt on guitars, drummer Dave Abramson (Master Musicians of Bukkake, Eyvind Kang, Secret Chiefs 3, Climax Golden Twins, Grails, etc.), and Simon Henneman on bass, release a new album on February 26th. Titled Vision In Crime, the latest record from the three piece is a full length album that moves through jazz, ethnic  and soundtrack territories. Here is a taster:

The first German Shepherd release for 2016 will be a single from Loop-aznavour. Bury’s finest purveyor of theremin soaked punk will be delighting your ears with “The Dance of the Chicken Lady” and “Charles’ Neurotic Fear of Giraffes”.

Recommended newish releases received during  the last week are:

  • The Holy Soul – Fortean Times  – Sydney band with a stunning new album……really like this a lot, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a specific style by the first track it gets seriously different and interesting as it goes along. As heard on Dave Graney’s excellent Banana Lounge Broadcasting Radio Show this one immediately goes into the “Best of 2015” list
  • The Cavemen – The Cavemen  – WIld Cramps style garage rock with a punk edge, good for head-banging after six pints of industrial strength cider.
  • Kharlos – Don’t think about dying – more wild garage stuff…..pretty intense stuff!
  • Peacers – Peacers – Mike Donovan out of Sic Alps doing his usual slacker lo-fi pop thing, there’s a nod towards Don Van Vliet somewhere in the DNA of this type of music.
  • Holy – Stabs – Swedish band – lo-fi aesthetics, garage sensibilites, and soaring psychedelia it says in one review i’ve read. It’s  OK but it won’t change the world.
  • Heather Leigh – I Abused Animal – you’ll either love this or hate it. One woman with a pedal steel guitar and a voice doing amazing things. Heather is well known on the avant garde jazz improv circuit and to some extent this seeps into a remarkable album which combines acapella folk, mesmerising songs  and loud distorted guitar noodlings. A challenging listen but well worth it.

The last German Shepherd release of the year will be a single from the ever excellent Staggs  called “Funk Me Jesus” which includes a remix from Space Museum.  The band were recently described (by me) somewhat like this:

“Small fractures in the space-time continuum create sonic leakages leading to the release of snippets from the cultural whirlpool of late 20th/early 21st century music, art, film, politics, and television. Ridley and Scott curate a melting pot of these snippets of sound, add a tablespoon full of irony, an ounce of righteous anger, a liberal dose of self-deprecation, and a splash of good humour. They create an aural feast of unique and yet familiar sound. No one is safe from Scott’s viperish wit as the peccadillos of the great and good, and those who should know better are exposed, eviscerated and served with a delicious brandy butter sauce. The music of Staggs is socially relevant, robust, makes you laugh and what’s more you can dance the Watusi to it. Be safe and warm and listen to Staggs!”

Whereas The Shend came up with the more pithy  “Guaranteed floor-fillers at the Hieronymus Bosch Disco Fun Night”. Whatever they are best described as  their new single is great and I commend it to you.

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