New York Stories

I’ve been reacquainting myself with the prose of Paul Auster recently.  Always an obsession, I even named one of my musical projects after him, he is one of a handful of authors I can definitively say has had a major influence on me. His initial work centered around New York City, and his rich and complex prose always conjured up detailed images of that metropolis in my head. I’ve still not managed to pluck up the courage to read his latest 700+ page opus “4321” mind you.

Coincidentally, other Brooklyn connections also emerged recently, firstly with Jesse “Cannonball” Statman.  When over here for a gig in Salford he revealed he had shared the same apartment complex as Auster. Jesse’s performance at the Eagle, Salford, on April 8th,  had broadly smiling  punters using the word genius as they left the gig room. He wasn’t to everyone’s taste but for the majority of the audience the admiration for his performance was huge, with some of the best praise I have heard for gigs we have promoted. I’m also pleased he is allowing us to release more of his material soon on German Shepherd records. His set was a whirling dervish of words and a completely unique guitar style,  unconventional and mesmerising. Some people have compared him Daniel Johnston, and I can see that, but Jesse works at a much faster pace and his use of language is more complex, and conjures up literary comparisons like Auster, Thomas Pynchon and Bill Burroughs.

Check out his sizeable catalogue of work at http://www.cannonballstatman.bandcamp.com/

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Cannonball Statman (Photograph courtesy of John Montague)

The other Brookyln connection is a duo called Lusterlit. And they have literary association also. With their songs created for Bushwick Book Club,  whose founder, Susan Hwang and contributor and producer, Charlie Nieland, have joined forces to perform as a new, literature-inspired duo. Both vocalists and multi-instrumentalists, Charlie and Susan alternate lead vocals and harmonies while supporting each other on guitar, bass, synth, traditional Korean drum and accordion.  Charlie sent me their most recent release “List of Equipment” a couple of days back and I was  utterly blown away by the quality and richness of their songs. Inspired by authors  Cormac McCarthy, Julia Child, John Wyndham, and Johnathon Lethem, the five songs on the EP are mature musical explorations which immediately stand out as superior quality material in the context of the other music that gets sent my way on daily basis. Both artists are clearly hugely talented  and their song-craft and production is exceptional, offering atmospheric, cinematic, aural journeys. Both soulful and sexy, this is an EP you can listen to on repeat and uncover multiple levels of delight from. The duo says there is a hint of Polly Jean and Melbourne Nick in what they do, I’d venture that this music is as exciting to me as the first time I heard “Countdown To Ecstasy” – it’s that damn good. I commend it to you without reservation.

 

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Charlie and Susan – Photo by Lisa Barnstone

 

The duo also released two previous albums last year as “solo” offerings but Charlie advises that material is also part of the current  Lusterlit live experience. Both are also excellent song collections and, as a whole, the three releases combined are a fantastic introduction to some great music.

LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/lusterlit/
https://twitter.com/lusterlitnyc
https://www.instagram.com/lusterlit/
https://lusterlit.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/lusterlit

No Lampshades Sold Here

A new album from the utterly fabulous Monkeys in Love.

Joy abounds.

It’s called “Live In New Stoke Newington” and to quote the band “It’s a non-linear concept LP about gentrification and that sort of thing”. It comprises nine tracks in total, all of them corkers. It’s not a live album, to make things clear.

The twin vocal line up of Laura and Steve, as usual, are the focus of matters. It’s relentless, enjoyable “alternative pop”, crammed with hooks and ear-worms, no doubt influenced, in part, by the bands’ love of library music. The easy narrative style is backed by  rolling and tumbling rhythms and jangling guitars topped off by cheeky little synths. It feels like all those great tunes that came with pre-millennial TV adverts mixed with superior song craft.

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This is the Monkeys in Love sound growing into something new and reaching a maturity that was promised by their previous releases. The attention to detail and the honing of their music into quality product makes this their best work to date.

We kick off with the excellent “Infantalised Man” which puts a strong marker down for what is to follow, Laura pulls you in a with lovely melody, and Steve grabs you by the ears and shakes you around with his trademark  biting rap/rant vocalising.  “In Stoke Newington” is all 70s rhythms, think Norman Greenbaum backing Adam the Ants, fronted by The Carpenters, but fed through a blender to take it to a different time continuum

“Validate Me” is pure Monkeys, with Laura cracking up over the lyrics half way through, and sexy little synth arpeggiating in the background, with some beautifully placed drum drops. Pure pop heaven. “At New Vortex” is a tale of experiences in music/art venues which should be recognisable to those who have experienced the worst excesses of some performance spaces, a close neighbour, sonically, to Curved Airs seminal”Back Street Luv” the track is rich with lots of little musical tricks. Indifference and lack of wages is the bane of some of the best bands out there, this tune captures that sense of despair admirably.

The exceptional “Cocaine Radius” is the high point for me and feels like something from the 60s, dreamed up by Bert Bacharach, that would fit in with a hip road movie. Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, or someone of that ilk, driving around L.A. in fancy car, with the Mamas and Papas singing in the back seat, in a glorious sunset, came to mind as I was listening. The perfect placement of Danielle’s flute and Steve and Laura’s  vocals is simply glorious. At their best Monkeys in Love make me smile, and their very best they bring tears of joy to my eyes. This is one of the latter. Steely Dan were nearly as good as this once.

“Bar Furniture Solutions” allows Eamonn’s full guitar sound to take the lead, lyrically clearly the influence of listening to hours of corporate advertising music have had some influence, with the rolling narrative taking you on a journey around eponymous subject matter, and yes you can make a tale about bar furniture interesting. They don’t sell lampshades in this particular emporium apparently. Only this band can do this and make it something special.

Things get more serious with the heavier sound of “How The Scene Was Blown” which is insistent and the one track on the album which takes a little longer to get into, but once you are there it works. The sumptuous “Stasi Broke The Hive Mind” is back to Bacharach country, easy on the ear, and gentle on the mind.

Matters conclude with “New Stoke Newington Has Been Transformed” clocking in at just under six minutes it’s a memorable epic piece which requires a lot of attention to absorb the detailed narrative. The thing that captivates me about this album is the use of the vocals as instrumentation. Yes the lyrics, and there are plenty of them, are important, but just as vital is the placement of the vocals as part of the overall musical palette.  With no overall discernible lead instrument they take on a unique, non-traditional role in a rock ‘n’ roll context, which could be compared with the use of voices in classical operatic works as both vehicles of the narrative but also part of the complex interplay of instruments.

2016 has proved to be a year of excellent music and this is one of the high points. There was one front runner for album of the year before this arrived. There are now two.

If you get it before the release date on 25th November you can get it at a reduced price with some goodies thrown in – go here

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Previous writing on this band can be found here and here and here

 

Of Mice, Men and Lumps

In this modern world where the bland and the safe seem to be more commercially acceptable than the cutting edge, and thought provoking work gets little traction, it’s hard to maintain a positive perspective on the music industry. Operating outside of the norms of that industry is one action which gives blessed relief from the mundane. Self releasing and self promoting is hard work, it will cost you money, and time, and it may not reap the financial results that might be deserved, but you will at least get your music out there. When we set up German Shepherd records nearly three years ago now we had no real plan, we had some ground rules, and some small objectives, but we didn’t have an end game. Perhaps that was a good thing. Expectations might have been too high. There is frustration in this. A sense of disappointment that music we genuinely feel deserves to be heard and enjoyed isn’t getting the sort of exposure that others are. But we carry on.  By Christmas we will have released 53 albums, EPs and singles this year. Some will say that is too much, they might be right, but it came in, we liked it and so we sent it out into the world.

The 49th of those releases is from Moss Skellington. Those who know what we do will realise that this is a partnership between Ian “Moet” Moss (aka House Mouse) and Moff Skellington. The two have collaborated on two previous singles, and two live events, in the last 18 months. The time was right for an album.

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The methodology is fairly simple. Ian writes some words, and sometimes narrates them into a sound file. Moff builds a musical world around them with his battery of unique instruments. The component parts are then sent over to me for a degree of cutting, pasting, and fettling, and then Ian and Moff may add more vocals. The resulting whole is then mixed and mastered for sending out into the world. This eschews the need for expensive recording studios and other such trammels of the music industry. Most of it is done on a home studio, a phone, and a lap-top. These things are possible nowadays.

The album is called “The Lump” and comprises seven tracks. It represents two artists at their creative peak who are both cutting edge and thought provoking. The music is grounded in traditional folk forms but don’t be put off by that genre description. This is the folk of Comus and that ilk, not some chap in a woolly jumper with a finger in his ear. it is folk with bits added, a hint of Tom Waits, a smattering of Pere Ubu, a dusting of Fripp and Eno, an echo of Faust, a whimsy of Kevin Ayers, and nod towards modern urban forms like grime.  Moss’s well renowned vocals and lyrics are of course the centre piece, but the added value is Moff’s particular use of music to create new and vivid backdrops for the words.

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The subject matter is intriguing, the title track appears to be medical in it’s nature but on closer examination is revealed to have much deeper meaning. The combination of dark urban synth sounds, blues harmonica and squeeze box is utterly unique. “Chalk and Cheese”, which has a great call and response between the two protagonists, describes relationships in a honest way. “Look at the Fool”, with african rhythms from Moff,  is a piece of Moss biting wit which requires close hearing. “Posh Nosh” derides the current obsession with food in the “Masterchef” era. “Serial Killing” is a dark tale of murder and mayhem on the underground. The 17 minute “The Mouse Engine” is a magnum opus which takes you through a word-scape which Lewis Carroll would have been proud off, rich with imagery, and utterly marvellous. The album closes with the plaintive waltz “The Other Side of the Looking Glass” which offers a glimmer of hope for the future.

Exceptional , unique and stunning. It should be listened to and is a primer for outsider music. it is released via German Shepherd Records on 25th November 2016.

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The Last Fall : perfect Agit-Pop

“This is social commentary in rock at it’s very best. You can dance to it and it makes you think.”

The ascension bow out with a posthumous album called “Hierarchy” on 28th November via German Shepherd Records. The duo have crowned an eight year career with an excellent final statement of their work.

As one of the first bands I interviewed on Salford City Radio the pair have always had a special place in my music collection both for the quality of their musical output but for their political/polemical approach to the lyrical content of their releases. I described them as “brutally frank, angry, and politically astute” some years back and things have not changed with this final set of songs.

Mining their back  catalogue to some degree with reworkings of earlier songs the album is an apposite articulation of the Cameron/May era with commentary about Zero Hours contracts, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and an acerbic look at modern urban planning via New Town Utopias.

photo by Craige Barker
photo by Craige Barker

The album kicks off with Neil’s pungent bass riff grabbing the ears on the excellent “Last Fall”, originally on the debut single of the same name from 2009. The circular piano riff and the call and response vocals mark this out as one of the band’s signature tunes. Venomous, driven, and wholly enjoyable, and yes, you can dance to it.

“Precipice” from the 2nd EP Blood Upon The Rose is up next and demonstrates the more measured side of their work, well I say measured, it’s still pretty in your face with layers of synths and guitars carrying the tune to an epic conclusion. There’s post punk, electronica, dance music, industrial music and post-rock all working together in a heady mix.

The excellent “Modern Life Crisis” melds a Jamaican beat with excellent descending picking and chorus which catches the ear. Back to the post punk world for “New Town Utopia” which describes accurately the despair of forgotten communities in modern Britain. Doug’s plaintive piano figures and organic synth sounds are excellent.

“Illusory Nights” is simply beautiful, a testament to their writing ability, with surging synths and a moreish piano riff which is almost Barryesque. The reverb is turned up to ten for a classic tune. “Positivity”, from the bands last release, is all arpeggiators and dance beats, and begs the listener to get up and throw some serious shapes, with a cheeky acid house synth squelch breakdown in the middle for good measure. It’s back to the Jamaican beats for the rather wonderful “Zero Hours” – the stand out line on the album “people who spend more on a bottle of wine than the money I get to live off for one month” sticks in my head given, as I was listening the album I saw the news that Buck House is going to get a £370m make over, at a time when people are sleeping rough on the streets of Salford. People need to listen to these lyrics and start thinking about mobilising to get some changes in this country. Probably the stand out track on the album for me with the boys coalescing what they are about into a perfect piece of agit-pop.

“PTSD” is something different with a fractured counterpoint between vocals/drums and guitar morphing into a wall of sound with a hypnotic industrial feel, perhaps Bauhaus would have sounded like this if they had come from Macclesfield. An exciting music development perhaps indicating where Doug and Neil are going next with  tumbling bass and drums anchoring shards of guitar.

“Tomorrow’s A Conspiracy” feels like a mutant waltz but soon jumps Zappa-like into a different structure and then goes back again to the waltz. Like “PTSD” this is developing new angles and elements to the bands’ work. It gets quite proggy in places and the highest compliment I can give is that I was reminded of Van Der Graaf Generator at their best. The differentiated structure doesn’t cause the momentum to be lost. A triumph.

The lengthy “Captives” concludes this chapter of Doug and Neil’s career. They always say you should close the album on a high and they certainly achieve that with an epic piece which contains all of the best elements of their work.

The album will be available from 28th November at German Shepherd Records Bandcamp page.  All proceeds from the sale of the release will go towards supporting coffee4craig homelessness charity.

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I asked Doug  a few questions about this final release and the way ahead

Why did you decide to end the band?

The time was right to end on a high after the success of our European tour with Mr Heart. The ascension had existed for 8 years and creatively me and Neil felt the need to move on from this format and these songs, the history attached to it, baggage etc. As most people out there making any kind of art will know you live with your endeavours every day and they are a part of your being, your existence, or whatever. We’d changed as people and our music is changing so here ‘The ascension’ ends…….next chapter now!

Will you be working together in the future?

Yes work is in progress as we speak!

Are you planning any other projects in the future individually?

Yes Neil has an acoustic track out under the name ‘The Sombre Watcher’ which I have recorded and mixed. It’s up on Soundcloud . I personally have a lot of heavily electronic experimental dance material I did before The ascension which may be remixed and put out at a later date.

The album is a mixture of older and newer tracks – what was the thinking behind that?

We thought it should reflect our entire catalogue as it’s a posthumous release. Also as the line-up changed from trio to duo the songs and our approach to them changed. The new recordings reflect this. For anyone who’s interested the original versions of songs like ‘Last Fall and ‘Precipice’ are available to download via our bandcamp page. Physical copies (CDs with artwork, lyrics etc) still exist but stocks are running low and we have no intention of pressing anymore.

I heartily recommend you check out this excellent album and contribute to a worthwhile cause at the same time. For my part i’m anticipating what Doug and Neil will come up with next.

PREVIOUS ARTICLES ON THE BAND

Review of the Positivity release

Review of Drowning In The Drought

Interview – 2013

Article in Salford Advertiser

Review of Blood Upon The Rose

Unfortunately my early articles on the band have been lost due to computer malfunction.

LINKS

Facebook

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Howards Way

Three albums in and Harry Howard and the NDE have hit a creative peak.

The new one, entitled “Sleepless Girls”, is the best yet  from a band that has progressively improved since the debut eponymous release in 2012. With Dave Graney and Clare Moore as the tighter than tight rhythm section, and Edwina Preston’s signature keyboard, plus Harry’s crunching guitar and laconic garage rock snarl, you have the perfect post-punk sound .

Opening with the memorable “The Only One”, which hits you between the eyes like a particularly powerful musical cocktail, the stage is set for an eleven song collection full of hooks, riffs, and rhythms that should get you up and shimmying across the dance-floor with frug like intensity.

The pressure is relentless, the sound soars ,and the riffs roll across the soundscape.  The repetitious “Votes for Women”, for example, is an exercise in pure garage wall of sound. Preston’s clever use of tones is a perfect counterpoint to Howard’s bluesy riffs and expressive vocal style, a sort of yin and yang relationship, with the bitter sweet keyboard sounds marrying with the scabrous guitar attack. Harry’s wordplay has a mystical feel evoking dark corners and illicit memories and experiences.

The majestic “Sleepless Girls” allows a brief respite from the garage rock rollin’ and tumblin’,  however the peace is soon shattered by the glorious “Grim Disposition”, which emerges from a dirty riff, with such swagger that this listener was left breathless,  and the speedy “She Doesn’t Like It”,  which features a dual vocal attack from Edwina and Harry.

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There’s usually a slow one on an NDE album, notably the exceptional “History Is Linear” on the debut album. This album’s offering is the stately “25 Cent Paperback” which ends an excellent release on a memorable high.

Harry Howard toured and wrote with the Birthday Party, Crime & the City Solution and These Immortal Souls,  he has hit a career high with the three NDE albums released to date.

Some bands try to do this type of thing and fail miserably, Harry Howard and the NDE have cracked the garage-punk code and moved it on to be  fresh and modern, and it can be argued they are one the best bands around delivering of this type of sound.

The Sound of Salford

Blaney

Urban Nature

Yerrrr Records

27th May 2016

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The most listened to track on the German Shepherd bandcamp page is “Cheers Mate” by Trigger Happy from that labels “Salford Streets” compilation. It outperforms the next best track by around 250%. That fact is a testament to, and a confirmation of, the good music that Ed Blaney can and has delivered over the years.  Blaney has, of course, other than his first band, the aforementioned Trigger Happy, had a long association with Mark E. Smith and The Fall, whether in his role as band member, manager, or his joint work with Smith. This new release is the culmination of a long desired wish to produce and release his own material, and continues that solid working relationship with Mark. Other key partners in this release are Jim Watts,  who many will remember as a key writer in The Fall, as well as local legends The Inflictors and other notable bands like Ugly Radio; the exceptional Jenny Shuttleworth aka Girl Peculiar, and Ed’s daughter Bianca, a successful artist in her own right.

Across 33 minutes and 10 songs Blaney delivers a fascinating range of material.  Starting with the anthemic “High On You”, a track which echoes the working class rock and roll of Trigger Happy, with busy drums and bass, searing guitar and real Salford muscle. Blaney is the LS Lowry of rock, reflecting the area he grew up in, and lives in, through his art. The opener is a positive reflection of the city of Salford,  its vitality and variety. Next up is “Poison Fishes” a glam rock stomper with a strong political message and instantly recognisable interjections from MES.

“Thinking of You”, lead by Smith, is pure proto-punk in a Velvet Underground/Seeds style with a searing keyboard , a nod to Sky Saxon, and one of those guitar breaks which is magical because it is not overplayed. “The Coat” harks back to the original Smith and Blaney releases as the two protagonists discuss various matters over a rolling, punchy post punk/rock sound, before moving into one of Smith’s spoken word pieces. Fascinating stuff.

“Diamond” is a rock and roll love song with a great chorus. Things get a little more pop oriented with the more reflective “Time For You To Go”, Smith adopts his more recent gnarled vocal style for this tune, which has that 60s Nuggets vibe about it. Jenny takes the front seat for the ever excellent “Secrets” which has appeared previously as a Girl Peculiar release. Pure pop magic with a beautiful ear-worm of a chorus, a song which deserves a huge audience and great success.

The Blaney trademark tune “Rude All The Time” is up next, in a slightly different form, but still keeping it’s punk/rock core. It’s full of Pendleton swagger, good time vibes, and dynamic changes. The experimental “Mettle Claw” harks back to the initial “Smith and Blaney” albums and has an ethereal other worldly feel to it. The rich layering of vocals and guitars is hypnotic. Matters conclude, as they should, on a high, with the stunning “Winner”, a funky little number which is rich with emotional content and brutal candour. Along with “Secrets” this is the highlight of a fine album.

This release is proof positive, yet again, of the richness of the music scene around these parts – notably Eccles, Salford and Greater Manchester, and a further testament to the no nonsense hard work that Ed and his friends put into the local music scene.

Order the album now at www.blaney.co or grab it from your favourite local record dealer or on-line store from 27th May. The album is launched at my local chinese nosherie the excellent Pacifica Cantonese in the heart of beautiful down town Eccles on 27th May, a mere five minute walk from this computer.

Highly recommended!

Fascinating Things : Issue 57

I was engaged in one of those “list your ten favourite albums without thinking about it too much” things on Facebook the other day and I asked a like minded group of souls to do the same thing, as you do. The surprising , and perhaps concerning, result from this swapping of ideas was, in the most part, there were not many current/contemporary releases in the lists submitted by my chums. I was also a culprit in this regard, which got my thinking about my current listening patterns, and maybe the digital revolution had somehow, altered the way I absorb and remember music. Maybe it’s an age thing? Anyhow that’s another discussion….

The other notable thing was the lack of music from Australia in all of the lists except my own, I  had two albums – Night of the Wolverine by Dave Graney  ‘n’ The Coral Snakes, and Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express by The Go-Betweens. I considered the lack of Aussie material to be a matter of some concern given the quality of  both historic and current music emerging from the other side of the planet that I am aware of. So I set myself the task of exploring some recent music with a view to sharing some of the albums I consider deserve a wider audience.

I’d guess for the unenlightened Aussie “rock” music begins and ends with AC-DC,  with the occasional thought for the likes of  Men at Work. Midnight Oil and INXS. The more enlightened might have cause to mention The Birthday Party, and consequentially Nick Cave, together with The Go-Betweens, and The Triffids. Beyond that initial list of “well known” bands there is a vast array of exceptional talent in Australia both current and historic. Last years break through of Courtney Barnett, merely scratched the surface of what is, if you do enough work researching what is out there, a very impressive scene. Like the UK the scenes are disparate and different between the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne. Bands like The Holy Soul and singers like Jess Ribiero have been featured on my podcasts but I am lightly dipping my toe into a huge musical stew, there is a lot more out there.

It is no coincidence of course that I have been somewhat engaged with matters Antipodean over the last few months, what with Mr Graney and his band of merry troubadours paying a visit to Salford/Manchester. As is my custom when these things present themselves a detailed  examination of the wider  Melbourne music scene followed. Which lead to many hours pouring over arcane links between musicians and bands and many pennies spent acquiring material for consumption.

As discussed with the Graney band pre-sound check at the Eagle as couple of weeks back there are direct parallels between Manchester and Melbourne in that they are both music cities. The population of Melbourne is substantially larger than the Greater Manchester conurbation but there are comparative spreads of townships and settlements with their own disparate scenes across the geographies of both city regions, and both have dock land developments. There was mention when Dave was chatting to Marc Riley on Radio 6 the night before that the view was Sydney echoed London, in that it was more corporate, in music terms, whereas Melbourne was more like (Greater) Manchester.  There is a real sense of that “underground” “diy” “screw the system” approach in both of the latter cities. It appears from a distance, as unfortunately I have never visited, that Melbourne has a greater variety of choice of venues and that the pub/club scene there is more geared towards breaking new and established musicians, compared to the increasingly worrying trend here of venues closing or “tribute” bands dominating. Maybe it’s the economy, or maybe we need a cultural kick up the backside, but Melbourne seems to be a model of music provision we need to aspire to up here in the North?

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Harry Howard and the NDE

So where does this take us?

As I am always in search of new and interesting music, I thought I would explore some of the better releases that I have come across, and starting with Dave Graney, one can map a series of links across to some fascinating music indeed. Although they’ve had albums out for a while, I’ll begin  with the band that Dave and Clare Moore play bass and drums in, that being Harry Howard and the NDE. Harry was notably in Crime and the City Solution with his brother the late Rowland S. Howard, and These Immortal Souls. Harry writes a mean tune and his two releases to date are highly recommended for lovers of post-punk styled garage rock. There are some certified bona fide ear worms on both albums and notably, on the 2012 released “Near Death Experience”, the epic closer ‘History is Linear’.

2013’s “Pretty” is jam packed full of great tunes, and builds on the first release to create a memorable listening experience. The music is delivered with a great swagger and deserved confidence. It makes me smile when I listen to it and it has that inspirational rock and roll feel. The unique sound of Edwina Preston’s Acetone Organ gives the music that extra edge which sets it apart from others in this genre.  I wait with some anticipation for future recordings from Harry and Co.

Stu Thomas has occupied the bass seat in Dave Graney’s bands since the early 2000’s, as well as that he is a busy man with his own projects, notably The Stu Thomas Paradox which he describes as “voodoo surf”.  Stu has formed and fronted many musical units, as well as  The Stu Thomas Paradox there are  Stu & The Celestials, The Brass Bed, Crumpet and Organism, all of which will need investigating at some point of course. Pending that, the 2010 album “Escape from Algebra”, which features Graney alumni Billy Miller (and I must get around to listening to his stuff) and amply demonstrates Thomas’s excellent song-writing prowess. There’s a joyful playfulness running through all of the music on this release.

Aside from the about Stu has, more recently, released a couple of Lee Hazelwood tribute albums which I  haven’t got around to as yet, pending that I would point out his 2007 solo debut which is a more introspective affair than the Paradox work. It’s an acoustic focused set of songs with a series of duets from notable female vocalists –  Charlotte Thomas, Clare Moore , Anna Burley (Killjoys), Barb Waters, Amanda Rochford (Gusset Rustlers), Emilie Martin (Luxedo).  There are also some notable guest musicians featured Mike Noga (The Drones), Delaney Davidson (Dead Brothers), Chris Hughes (These Immortal Souls, Hugo Race), and Lemmi Schwarz (Neon Dorn).  Another fine album which I strongly recommend, and a pile of other bands to look into due to the associations. The Gusset Rustlers are intriguing to say the least!

Following the continuity trail, Stu has also played bass with Kim Salmon, in the band The Surrealists. Salmon has been described as  as one of the first Australians to “embrace wholeheartedly the emergent punk phenomenon of the mid-to-late 1970s” with The Scientists. He described a later band Beasts of Bourbon as “masters of uncompromising gutbucket blues and hard-edged rock’n’roll”. He has a massive back catalogue which will need some time to absorb, including the need for a retrospective on the excellent Scientists. Pending that notably, the 2010 album “Grand Unifying Theory” from the Surrealists, brings together Salmon’s love of Sun Ra, Miles Davis and Can, in a melange of music described as “polyrhythmic beats, its atonal keys, its heavy funk/punk grooves “. To keep the conceptual continuity of this piece alive,  Kim’s vocals were tracked by Dave Graney at the Ponderosa (his home recording studio), and Clare Moore provides backing vocals. Stu Thomas plays bass, and Phil Collings, from the Paradox band, is the drummer. This is the least commercial of this selection of albums, and the most challenging, as Salmon merges free funk, jazz and scabrous rock improv workouts into a curates egg  of a collection of material, with the stunning “Predate” standing out. It is sadly short at 23 minutes but packs enough into that time to keep the mind alive and the attention grabbed. On the basis of this album I shall be diving head first into Mr Salmon’s back catalogue with some vigour.

Material from the above will featured in Aural Delights Podcasts 178 and 179, and of course going forward as more emerges.

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Dave Graney and the mistLY : Live in Salford