The return of The Parish Church Fire

The Parish Church Fire are an Alternative Rock band from Manchester, UK fronted by Sam Smith. As loud as they are soft, the band have carved a unique dynamic with elements of heavy metal, trip hop, punk, jazz and blues. Comparable to Afghan Whigs, Radiohead & Pearl Jam. They have a new single out on May 10th called “Hunger” followed by two high profile gigs at Strummercamp and The Eagle, Salford in May and June.

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Here is a recent interview with band front man Sam Smith……..  

Hi Sam, can you give us a brief history of The Parish Church Fire?

I put together the band in July 2014 after the disbanding my previous outfit ‘Sam Smith & Company’. Although The Parish Church Fire has solely been a studio project for the last 5 years an original live band was assembled upon formation but were only together for just 21 days. The line-up was myself, Chris Gilman & Rick Jarvis (and also Dave Wooley, Jack Farnworth and Peter Toner briefly). In that time Chris, Rick and I rehearsed relentlessly almost every day to get the wealth of material I had written up to standard for a busy gig schedule which had been booked for autumn of 2014. We had even managed to complete a studio session, recording 5 songs. Unfortunately, shortly after the sessions, the band split very abruptly due to the sudden departure of Rick Jarvis and my own ongoing health problems.

What have you been up to since 2014?

In 2015, I signed to German Shepherd Records and adopted the moniker ‘Franco Bandini’ as a result of increasing discomfort using my birth name due to the global rise of Universal Music Group artist Sam Smith. I released a solo EP as Bandini, entitled  ‘2014 Was a Bad Year’ and supported Australian rock legend Dave Graney at The Eagle Inn, Salford. I also did a radio session with Stephen Doyle at Salford City Radio and that was also released by German Shepherd. The ‘The Parish Church Fire EP’ which contained 3 of the 5 songs recorded with the original Parish Church Fire line up was self released at around the same time.

You pursued your vision of the Parish Church Fire band though?

The idea of assembling a band of musicians to represent the vision of The Parish Church Fire and also the desire to perform the songs written specifically for that band never went away. Whilst continuing to work as Franco Bandini, I met drummer Joe Roberts when we both rehearsed with a metal band which sadly never quite got off the ground. We stayed in touch after that band disbanded and we would occasionally meet to discuss the downfall of Manchester United, brewing methods and music production whilst sometimes exchanging demos via email. In 2016, we released the first Parish Church Fire single ‘Locamente’ on German Shepherd Records which was largely well received and we discussed putting together a live band, however as a result of personal circumstances for both of us getting in the way, this would not happen for another 2 and a half years.


Things picked up a little in 2017 though?

Yes! I returned to using my birth name in early 2017, releasing two singles and a live album along the way whilst performing live as a solo artist across the UK with just a guitar and piano. However I always felt that the Parish Church Fire band would come together as a live entity when the time was right. I was booked to appear at Strummercamp Festival in 2019 on the strength of my solo material and the time seemed right to assemble a band.  I contacted former Sam Smith & Company bassist John Bardsley, who is currently one of the key forces behind The Ombudsmen, and asked him if he would be interested in joining the band in its early stages of rebirth. Joe contacted friend and former Confucius Saint guitarist Timothy Hughes to see if he was interested and an initial rehearsal was soon set up.

So where are we up to now?

From the get go, due to various difficulties each of the four of us was dealing with in our personal lives, the rehearsals took place on the provision that they would always remain light hearted, humour would be at the forefront, and ,that a large amount of beer would be drank during each session!  Building on this foundation, a bond was carved between the four of us and despite the alcohol, professionalism ensued and a set of new material I had written was soon ready to perform, leading to a second gig being added for summer 2019 at The Eagle Inn in Salford.

On Initial listening to the new release I found a newly reborn Sam Smith, an artist with the potential I always knew was there, bursting through  With this new band drawing on the strengths of each individual member whilst always respecting the composition of Sam’s songs, there is a unique dynamic sound, emerging through this rebirth, which can be as heavy as it can be soft.  I took the view that there was a perfect marriage of the rock and punk ethos, exciting! A video of the lead song is due soon and will be incorporated in this review.

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Fascinating Things : Issue 75

Well chums there’s been an extremely eclectic mix of things in this week so without further ado lets look at some of the exciting new music coming your way….

Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records and artist-run cassette label Practical Records present Rachel Mason‘s new album ‘Das Ram’ LP on November 18th…

Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche release their second studio album “Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much on January 20, 2017″…

Keeping up my Antipodean musical obsession I was recently contacted about Fraudband. They are a duo from Melbourne with their own, rhythm based take on psychedelic-rock. They steer clear of the typical sounds within this genre by leaning on influences such as Sonic Youth, Dirty Three and The Birthday Party and they sound like this…

Berlin-based trio The History of Colour TV is back with new music, presenting ‘Wreck’, the first single from their forthcoming third album ‘Something Like Eternity’. You can stream the single here.

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Hiphop pioneers Dälek will be touring this month for a week of live shows, following on from the release of their 2016 comeback LP, Asphalt For Eden (Profound Lore), the first new record from the NYC trio since 2009. Ahead of these shows, they have released a brand new track, ‘Molten’, and the wind-tunnel production and furious wordsmith delivery that have become the group’s calling card have been amped up to reflect the song’s theme… dates are

22/11 – The Louisiana, Bristol
23/11 – Saint Lukes, Glasgow
24/11 – Chunk, Leeds
25/11 – Thomas House, Dublin
26/11 – Corsica Studios, London
27/11 – Islington Mill, Sunny Salford

The Comet is Coming have released a new single, “Final Eclipse”, which you can stream and purchase now via Bandcamp. It is the first new music from the three-piece since the release of their critically acclaimed, Mercury Prize-nominated LP Channel The Spirits, though the band had also shared some remixes since it’s release. They are playing Band on the Wall on December 11th.

Lawrence English, composer, artist and Room40 curator returns with a brand new record “Cruel Optimism” on  17th February 2017, here’s a taster….

Camilla George is set to release “Isang” on Ubuntu Music early next year. This will be her debut album – the MOBO nominated saxophonist, composer and teacher is already an established musician on the jazz circuit ….not sure if this track is on the album but I’m having to use this rather than the ones I’ve been sent as they are can’t be shared at this stage. What i’ve heard sounds excellent so watch out for this artist…

Dallas shoegazers Bloodhounds On My Trail have released a single ‘Places Like This’ and announced  their ‘Haunted Isles’ EP….

Southern Lord are  reviving the music of Philadelphia’s lost punk heroes, Ruin. Long considered a treasured local delicacy of the city’s earlier hardcore scene, Ruin released two albums during their original run, 1984’s He-Ho and 1986’s Fiat Lux, both of which will be combined for a vinyl release this December.  The LP will see release on December 9th and pre orders are now live via the Southern Lord store.

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Photo Credit : Dan Long

Canada’s budding Label Obscura has announced that it will release a limited run vinyl reissue of ‘The Coastaline Fire’ LP – the final album by Ontario indie rockers Chore before they disbanded in the early 2000s. All tracks have been remastered for vinyl. It’s a damn fine album and is well worth checking out…

And finally, Friday 18th sees the release of the latest collaboration from Ian Moss and Andy Quayle as Moss Skellington. Following on from two well received singles the duo have now completed their first album “The Lump”. Characterised by Moff’s unique musical vision and Ian’s sharp polemic and biting wit with words, the album brings together two iconoclasts to create a unique musical vision. With subjects as diverse as posh food, murderers and sibling relationships the album provides a heady mix and includes the magnum opus the 17 minute “The Mouse Engine” which was premiered in Leeds earlier this year. The album was mixed by Space Museum who also contributed to the title track.

You’ll be able to download the album from midnight 18th November via Bandcamp

 

 

 

Fascinating Things : Issue 74

Time is escaping me at a rapid rate due to lots of other workloads,  with no time for considered prose. So this time it’s  just a series of videos and soundclouds  of things that I reckon you should wrap your ears around. They are  out now or due soon. Plus there’s  a list of current favourite listens at the end of the post showing what’s on rotation on the I-Pod at the moment….and a bit of shameless self-publication at the bottom. Enjoy!

MESMER DISCIPLES – REAL LOUD (Leeds,UK)

CHORE – THE HITCHHIKER (Ontario, Canada)

THE FRANKLYS – CASTAWAY (London, UK)

PAPA M – BLOOM (Louisville, USA)

FLIES ON YOU – DARKENING MY DOOR (Leeds, UK)

BOWERY ELECTRIC – FEAR OF FLYING (New York City, USA)

WE ARE BANDICOOT – TEMPER (Kent, UK)

THE STRESS OF LEISURE – GIRL ON A LILO (Brisbane, Australia)

 

CURRENTLY ON THE I-POD

  • Fistula – The Shape Of Doom To Cumm )))
  • Loser Life – …And I Am Going To Live This Way , Things Will Never Change, I Want The World, My Hell, Life Number Two, Burning Fields/Hard To Please (complete back catalogue being released)
  • Chore – The Coastaline Fire
  • Papa M -Highway Songs
  • Donny McCaslin – Beyond Now
  • Chads Tree – Crossing Off The Miles
  • Harry Howard and the NDE – Sleepless Girls
  • The Stress of Leisure – Achievement
  • Kristin Hersh – Wyatt at the Coyote Palace
  • Moss Skellington- The Lump
  • The Get – The Private Men EP
  • Miles Davis – Freedom Jazz Dance
  • The Triffids – Born Sandy Devotional

AND SOME GIGS COMING UP (which is why I have been otherwise engaged)

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Fascinating Things : Issue 45

It seems inevitable that this will be the year of the Graney. he is over for a short UK (and then French) tour, including a little gig that Una Baines and I have put together at the Eagle in the heart of Salford in April. Dave’s been busy of late, including a new single (out today) recorded by himself and Clare at the Ponderosa. It’s Dave being witty, and ironic, and wonderfully laid back.  I’m still waiting for the second volume of Play Mistly For Me mind you.

Details of the aforementioned gig, which is limited to 75 tickets so if you want to catch Dave, Clare, Stu Thomas and former Josef K and Orange Juice guitarist Malcolm Ross i’d book early if I were you, are on the flier below. Get your tickets here

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While listening to Dave’s radio show I was, as mentioned before, impressed by Jess Ribeiro, i’ve since invested in one of her Bone Collectors releases, which is more alt.country, and I will be sharing that in future weeks, but here is the stand out track from the most recent album recorded by Mick Harvey.

Talking of Mick Harvey, Dave and Clare posted a series of pictures of Mick, David McClymont and themselves working on a single with Georgio ‘the Dove’ Valentino. Intrigued I investigated Mr Valentino and was impressed by his output. If you track him down on the tax averse search engine you can get his excellent “Mille Plateaux” double album for free and also this offering from 2011, which has recently been repackaged

Away from matters Dave for a bit, now then, I’m a sucker for girls with guitars and drums making a lot of noise, and this lot caught my eye in a recent mail-out.  Of course they have been around for ages and I am, as usual, playing catch-up, They  a sister duo from Oklahoma made up of Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse, formed in 2009 after a jam session at the girls’ Halloween party. They describe themselves as “like Babes in Toyland, Bikini Kill, Beat Happening, Regina Spektor, Kimya Dawson and Nirvana”. Skating Polly make a good noise and are worthy of further investigation.

I’ve just received the final mixes for the new KIt B EP which is will be out towards the end of March, called “Weird Water” it’s a remarkably good trio of songs, with the title track being particularly fine. Also arrived is the new West Coast Sick Line album called “Europee” which will certainly surprise some people. I reckon it’s better than Billinge in terms of song writing strength/maturity and variety of content. At the same time I was sent the debut album by Saint Lawrence Verge, called “Ashram”. They are a quartet from Modena in Northern Italy who play an interesting amalgam of post punk and progressive rock with strong cinematic elements. Here’s a live version of one of the album tracks, it’s not the highest fidelity, but you can get a good feel for the music. I guess we will surprise a few people with this release but Ian and I both agree it’s special.

Bubbling away for release is the debut single from The Sideshow which I have posted before but I am minded to include again as it deserves a lot of attention.

 

Fascinating Things : Issue 40

After what seemed like an endless Christmas/New Year break in which hardly any new music arrived suddenly I am besieged by virtual piles of new things to report on.

Mention, before we start with the new stuff, must be made of the passing of Mr Bowie. Oddly I don’t actually own much stuff by the great man, which is strange as there are several key releases in his body of work which have had a lasting impact. He was the soundtrack to late adolescence/student years and seemed to bridge the gap between “legitimate” rock music and the “pop” music of the day – the run of albums between Hunky Dory and Diamond Dogs remain essential listening to any one who professes to love music. That he could follow that with the Berlin stuff is remarkable and that he could give-away “Dudes” to Mott shows his generosity.

And so onto 2016……

The Norwegian multi- Grammy Award Nominee (Best Female, Best Composer) called Marie Munroe is soon to release her much-anticipated LP Under My Skin. Scandinavia’s answer to electro poppy Imogen Heap and Jessie Ware has already sold out the entire upcoming tour in her home country, and has just shared the official video to her latest single Can’t Go Back.

Chicago’s celebrated torchbearers of instrumental metal, Pelican, return to Europe for a string of dates this spring. This marks the band’s first European tour since the successes of their  2013 LP Forever Becoming and 2015’s 4-track EP, The Cliff (both released via Southern Lord) and their 2014 Arktika live 2xLP.

UK Dates are:

30/04/16 – Desertfest @ Electric Ballroom – London, UK
01/05/16 – The Fleece – Bristol, UK
02/05/16 – Audio – Glasgow, UK
03/05/16 – Gorilla – Manchester, UK

 

Photo credit : Mark Dawursk

The upcoming new track by the Grammy-award winning Scandi Teddybears featuring Gorilla Zoe (Boyz n da Hood, Joel Ortiz, Lupe Fiasco) proves to be an interesting ear-worm. After Teddys’ eventful 2015 which consisted of: writing hits such as Diamonds by Giorgio Moroder and Charli XCX, working on new tracks with Sia, John Newman, Ellie Goulding, Max Martin and Petite Meller as well as having tracks featured on FIFA, Peugeot and being the worldwide official Marshall Hedphones soundtrack, Teddybears have not forgotten about their “anti-pop though we make pop” vibe.

Bradford’s (UK) experimental/electro act ‘They Called Him Zone’ offers his debut album creation as an entirely free download. Self-produced in a psychedelic studio basement in West Yorkshire, TCHZ produces cinematic sound-scapes incorporating a fusion of dark electronica and acoustic instruments wrapped up with lo-fi integrity and electro -pop overtones.

 

Fascinating Things : Issue 30

Some meandering thoughts this time around….I do have a pile of new things to go through but I have been otherwise distracted on getting things sorted for the forthcoming Hamsters EP, which is rather good.  Not many pictures or sounds this week either but plenty of vague utterances……

I don’t know about you but I get confused by genres. I’ve mentioned this before of course, when I was moaning on about the incorrect labelling of MP3s. But if you take a wider look at things there is a propensity these days toward over-elaborate genre classification, Bands get tagged with multiple descriptors which vary between the common place and the obscure.  I struggle to put some bands into genre boxes, for example where would you put Dave Graney in terms of genres?  “Alternative” is such a wide catch-all that it completely fails to describe his wide body of work on any number of levels. “Lounge” merely touches on some aspects of what he does. “Rock” or “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is what he does sometimes, and occasionally a bit of “Jazz” sneaks in as does some “Blues” and “Soul” and “Country”.  So with one artist you could apply so many differing tags and still not get close to the essence of what the man does. The “Fearful Wiggings” album is a case in point, how the hell do you describe what he is doing on that release? It’s utterly unique, and Dave steadfastly refuses to be shoe-horned into any convenient box, good for him say I. So in attempting to catalogue the myriad of new music that comes my way I’ve given up with genre labels as all they do is confuse and annoy.

I was thinking of Dave Graney in the context of both his forthcoming Demos album, and in that context the city of Melbourne,  which seems to have a disproportionately large amount of excellent output coming from its’ music scene. Every week I seem to come across a fine band from the city, this week, courtesy of the always reliable Tony Thornborough, I was introduced to Empat Lima

Anyhow, back to this genre thing, and what sparked off the ramblings at the start of all this, I noted that the new EP from Rodney Cromwell was described as a  “futuristic feast of analogue synth disco”, and elsewhere in the same promo his last album “Age of Anxiety” was described as “the best new New Order album this year”. All of that is fair enough, other than the “futuristic” tag,  it’s more retro than futurist with clear nods towards Moroder arpeggios, Guy Called Gerald vocal samples, Hooky like bass lines and song structures that would not have been out of place on Factory in the mid to late-80s. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not a big nostalgia buff, I can’t see the point of tribute bands and I do like it when musicians try to strike out on their own and create a new sound,  so,  whilst I like listening to the Cromwell EP,  i’m also left with a slight niggle that maybe he could have tried pushing the envelope a little more, I love filter sweeps but perhaps someone could try and do something different with them? The remix of “Barry Was An Arms Dealer” on the EP is so very Kraftwerk morphing into OMD  that it would fit easily into either one of their albums. Mr Cromwell is obviously a very talented guy, and there is nothing offensive about this release but I hope he turns his talents to creating his own sound in future releases.

Now then, talking of creating your own sound I was mightily impressed by the new single from ex-Stereolabber Morgane Lhote who is operating under the pseudonym Hologram Teen for a two tracker released on Deep Distance on 9th November. Whilst there are clear electronica tropes (airy Kawai K1M choirs for example) there are also so fascinating new ideas mingling under a series of synth layers. The dreamy “Post Apocalyptic Teacakes” cleverly uses differing elements to  create a unique sound. The other track “Tracksuit Minotaur” is a little more obvious with a sort of heavy Kraftwerk vibe mingled with a Goldfrapp rhythm to give it a sort of Tom Ellard/Severed Heads feel. The vocoder repetition is a bit clunky but generally this cuts the mustard as something new to listen to.

Disappears  embark on a European tour during November and December. The tour will see the band perform at Utrecht’s Le Guess Who Festival, before travelling through Belgium, the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy. London fans will be in for a special treat as – for one night only – Disappears will perform David Bowie’s Low in its entirety at the 100 Club. This corresponds to their upcoming live release, their reinterpretation of this classic album,  on 20th November via Sonic Cathedral. You can find more information and pre-order links for this release over at the Sonic Cathedral website. The only other UK  date is in Manchester at the Soup Kitchen on 24th November. Always an excellent band and well worth seeing live I would suggest.

Explosive, unapologetic and infectious, Mickey 9s are four friends from Glasgow who have been playing together since their school days. They describe seeing Daft Punk’s Alive Tour as “a spiritual-like encounter” that inspired them to try to make dance music without synths. After much experimentation, the band found their sound and everything else soon fell into place, right down to the enigmatic image of their masked lead singer, known as St. Cool. Having always chosen the unconventional route, Mickey 9s launched themselves by releasing fun music videos and comic strips to accompany their music as well as organising secret gigs, raves, and all-day pop-up festivals. Word soon spread about their blistering live performances, leading to Mickey 9s winning the 2014 Scottish Alternative Music Award for Best Live Act. After two years of gigging and unorthodox releases, the time has come for them to launch their highly anticipated debut album ‘The Party Manifesto’. The second single to come from the album is ‘Computer Inventor’, a perfect introduction to Mickey 9s’ big basslines, four to the floor pounding drums, cool riffs and intelligent, sharp vocals.

The Sneaky Nixons describe themselves as an angry, semi-political, semi-religious, part-feminist sloppy activist group who play riotous, steam-train guitar music. They have declared war on electronic dance music, guns, promoters, and non-believers of their Rock-n-Roll terrorism. Flashy, arrogant and with a startling superiority complex , the band say they have no time whatsoever for humdrum normality, preferring the out of control, dangerous and volatile, in order to live their lives in a brutal, riotous and rock-n-roll fashion. The Sneaky Nixons’ ‘Sex’ is taken from the forthcoming eponymous compliation album from Across the Ocean Waves Productions, which features the most exciting bands active on Liverpool’s vibrant music scene. All the tracks on the album have been produced by label owner Carlo Variola .

After a fast-paced year touring the UK and Europe, Hull (UK) based Counting Coins are to release ‘All That I Need’ as the second single from their forthcoming self-titled album on the 23rd of November.
The previous single ‘Don’t Look Down’ received airplay both in Europe and the U.S, with rave reviews from a range of music magazines and blogs. Follow-up ‘All That I Need’ is an infectiously upbeat ska/punk song with a bouncy feel and singalong chorus. It will be available across a global range of digital platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer. Counting Coins are set to continue spreading their music with their forthcoming European tour in late October followed by further UK dates being booked in for 2015 and into 2016.

….and that’s your lot for this week

Fascinating Things : Issue 26

I suggest you make a brew and get comfy for this one, it has been an extremely busy week. For those out there that say that there is  no good new music out there, I beg to differ. A seriously eclectic selection awaits your visual and aural pleasure:

Father Murphy, the Italian duo comprised by Rev. Murphy and Chiara Lee who are troubling the underground since the early Noughties with a series of dark, disturbing recordings, this time team up with producer Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (Larsen) for a 10” EP aptly titled Lamentations to be released by the avant-garde label Backwards on 20th November 2015. The release completes Father Murphy’s 2015 Trilogy of The Cross, which started with Calvary (a 10 minute long introductory piece released by Blue Tapes in January) and was followed by Croce (Father Murphy’s fifth album and first release for the San Francisco based label The Flenser, released back in March).

Recorded in Turin under the supervision of sound engineer Paul Beauchamp, Lamentations finds Father Murphy at a crossroad of sorts: instigated with the guidance of Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, the core duo of Chiara and the Reverend opted for a slight alteration of their signature squalor-sound, whilst still remaining cheerfully focused on their thematic obsessions (namely: death, God, pain, forgiveness). Inspired by a tongue-in-cheek reading of the Book of Jeremiah, as well as the traditions that mark the orthodox Holy Week Lamentations, the band have produced two long compositions that Iam advised feel like classic Father Murphy material, yet are substantially enriched in respect to their usually spare sonic palette.

I will share this with you on the podcast when a review copy arrives.

Photo credit: Sara Xiayu
Photo credit: Sara Xiayu

Ritual Productions have announced the signing of The Poisoned Glass, a duo comprised of two members of the legendary doom band Burning Witch; vocalist Edgy59 and bassist G.Stuart Dahlquist.

After the demise of Burning Witch in 1998 and going their separate ways, the two kept in touch, occasionally making overtures towards working together and knowing that they would when it felt natural. The Poisoned Glass started with the song ‘Silent Vigil’, a twelve-tone progression Dahlquist had originally intended as a tonal bass solo. After experimenting, he felt that the resulting sound was heavier, more despondent and unforgiving than any of his existing projects and sent the rough mix to Edgy, who understood immediately that this music represented perfectly both voices as a unit. It came naturally, as though it was meant to be, and with that, the duo formed, and set out to record as The Poisoned Glass.

The instrumentation is exclusively centred around bass guitar, organ, and voice – nothing more. In spite of seemingly limiting instrumentation The Poisoned Glass is far from minimalist; the atmosphere is bleak but so dense it is virtually without air. Dahlquist’s unison bass and organ is massive, building, evolving and expanding, punctuated by Edgy’s unbridled tenor and the irregular jarring of one or two note dissonant harmonies.

The Poisoned Glass will release their self titled LP on Ritual Productions in spring of 2016. More details of that to follow in the coming months.

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Philadelphia psychedelic rock trio, Wizard Eye, release a self-titled new full-length on October 10th via Black Monk Records. Recorded in three days at Haddon Heights, New Jersey’s Gradwell House Studios with  Steve Poponi producing and mastering by Dave Downham, the  follow-up to the band’s 2010 Orbital Rites debut includes their signature brand of mind-bending riffs , bottom-heavy grooves, churning bass, otherworldly effects and raw vocals.  Their roots are planted firmly into the lysergic soil of ‘70s acts like Hawkwind, Budgie, Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond, Motörhead and Black Sabbath, Wizard Eye shows the band operating at the pinnacle of its creative and musical abilities.

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Paris’ based duo AaRON return with ‘Blouson Noir’, the first track to be lifted from their upcoming, self produced, third album ‘We Cut The Night’.  The duo’s debut ‘Artificials Animals Riding on Neverland’ came out in 2007, it sold over 400, 000 copies and is considered a classic by many. Years to follow saw the accolade of another chart topping album (Birds in the Storm) and the pair being awarded with a European Border Breaker Award followed by a sold out tour. ‘Blouson Noir’ tells a tale of a late, sleepless and very much lovelorn night in New York City; walking alone in the cutting darkness through the concrete, the buildings, the sirens and the overpowering nature of it all with nothing but the sounds of Grace Jones “Strange I’ve Seen That Face Before” playing. “

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The Insight deliver a stong post-punk sound with a Gallic tinge.  They release album White Noise on 25th September. Manc/Scouse influences are strong throughout, lots of flanged guitars and reverby drums with dramatic vocals. You can pre-order on Bandcamp.

Written whilst under the influence, the stomping new single “Kicking the Habit” out 12th October, finds Greg Hooper and Gordo Francis of The Lost Art in a playful, raucous mood.  The single comes from pair’s Special Edition version of their self-titled debut album set for release 2nd November. Included with the albumrelease are special remixed songs along with a fully notated score allowing fans to enjoy the duo’s music in a new and unique way. Mixing the old with the new, the varying cocktail of quirky remixes add extra flavour to this inspired thirst quencher of an album. It’s very good in a teetering on the edge of collapse way, sdaly however I have nothing to embed for you as the promo people seem to have neglected to send a link other than for the last single which seems a trifle odd. Anyhow it will be on next weeks Aural Delights so you can hear it then.

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To celebrate her signing to First Word Records and announce her forthcoming mini-album ‘Of The New World’ Sarah Williams White has released ‘Winter Sun’ as a free download.

Here’s a little background to the track from Sarah herself:

I wrote this track to gratify all these images from films I had in my mind like Empire of The Sun, Fist of The North Star… imagery of a post apocalyptic/war-torn world, but nature with it’s strength and beauty just standing it’s ground! The Sun, or that something at the end of the tunnel that gives hope through darker times..

All my new music seems to have this underlying theme of time and repair, and the awesomeness of earth. Its a bit of a theme throughout my upcoming record Of The New World.

‘Winter Sun’ started out as a li’l instrumental idea with my Hohner Pianet over a beat of Timmy’s (Timmy Rickard is the drummer and engineer I work with) – I’d been listening to a lot of Roy Ayers! Then it kinda filled itself out over time into a more spacey harmonic piece with the poem and vocals, new b-boy drum grooves from timmy and my juno 106 playing the glaring Sun.’
It was released on 17 September 2015 and is an inventive jazzy tune which improves on repeat listening.

SWW

Cheeky London chappies The Black Sparrows release a new single , they describe themselves as punk n roll, dapper flat caps and waistcoats would normally be a turn-off but this lot manage to grab my attention wth a sort of Libertines/Heartbreakers looseness.

Gabrielle Papillon is a Canadian singer-songwriter with a fantastic voice.  Her upcoming album The Tempest Of Old captures the pick-up-and-play honesty in her song writing with each track being beautifully produced alongside a yielding sense of time and place. The album , will be available for sale and download Friday 25th September 2015. Get You Well is the first single from the album.  This is her fifth album so I think a check on the back catalogue will be worthwhile given the quality of the new one.

The Melvins, who are currently in the midst of a European tour, flash back to their 2012 attempt at a world record setting tour of the United States (plus DC) with the Noember. 13th DVD release of Across The USA in 51 Days: The Movie! The tour launched on September .5th, 2012 from Anchorage, Alaska and wrapped up fifty-one days later, October. 25th, on the sunny shores of Honolulu, Hawaii. “We figured it was time for us to do something REALLY crazy,” Buzz Osborne said at the time of the band’s transcontinental trek. The band documented the outing via Spin (http://www.spin.com/tag/melvins-tour-diary/) and also through a collection of never-before-seen video footage. I’m putting together an Aural Delights special podcast on the Melvins to coincide with their Manchester appearance (October 9th at Gorilla)

Melvins

To be brutally honest I’m not sure Ben Chasney’s head is at these days.  Drag City release Six Organs Of Admittance‘s latest Hexadic II on November 20th.   The album appears to be an acoustic variation on the tunes on the preceding album, athough it’s best described as a transformational process rather than a faithful reinterpretation. It  took me a few listens but I began to get into this enjoy what he is up to. He ploughs his own furrow and does it well.

…and finally, I am most overjoyed to find that the ever excellent Monster Island have a seven song EP out hopefully later this year. They are down in that there London on 10th October for a gig at The Windmill Brixton for International John Peel day. Here’s a little reminder of how wonderful they are.

 

 

Transcension

Jazz gig of the week in Manchester is at the Band on the Wall and features Transcension.

Transcension is a new group formed by Canadian drummer Franklin Kiermyer and  UK saxophonist Nat Birchall, drawn together by the similarities in their respective approaches, the two musicians have joined forces in this special collaboration. Both artists have been influenced by spiritual, devotional and folk music from all over the world, and especially the music of the John Coltrane quartet.

This new quartet also features two of the strongest young players from the New York and Philadelphia jazz scenes, pianist Davis Whitfield and bassist Nimrod Speaks.

The group appears at Band on the Wall Manchester on 15th September. The quartet will be playing specially composed music for this project, written by the two co-leaders.

Kiermyer first came to prominence following the release of Solomon’s Daughter, his third album that features Coltrane alumnus Pharoah Sanders. Widely regarded for his intense passionate energy, spiritual feeling and distinctive sound, his nine albums and many performances have brought his music international recognition. His 2014 album Further, features saxophonist Azar Lawrence.

Nat Birchall’s many albums on the Gondwana record label and his own Sound Soul & Spirit label have contributed to his acclaim as one of the UK’s finest jazz musicians. Well known for his heartfelt playing and spiritual compositions, he is a natural heir to Coltrane’s  modal throne.  His latest album “Invocations” will be released by Jazzman Records this month.

Expect some fine modal;blowing and transformative spirital jazzl. Tickets available are here

Fascinating Things Issue 23

Lo-fi pop from Sweden, Summer Heart releases a new single on 16th October

Prolific jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas has announced a new album Brazen Heart – the quintet for this recording is Dave Douglas – trumpet and compositions, Jon Irabagon – saxophones , Matt Mitchell – piano , Linda Oh – bass and Rudy Royston – drums.

London based We-Are-Z have a new single called Knucklehead out on 16th October

Grievances is the forthcoming new full-length from San Francisco’s Kowloon Walled City. Set for release next month, the band’s first offering under the Neurot Recordings banner and third studio recording overall finds the eclectic collective at their artistic apex, shifting even further from their sludgy post-hardcore roots towards a sparser, more melancholic heaviness. Nothing to embed at this stage but stay tuned. Grievances will be released worldwide on October 9, 2015 on Neurot Recordings, with vinyl on Gilead Media. Preorder bundles are currently available avia Neurot Recordings.

On September 21, UK shoegazer The Virgance will be releasing Paradigm 3, his third LP in a little over 18 months, on the El Vals del Conejo label.  The Virgance is Nathan Smith, formerly guitarist with nineties UK indie band Ripley, which saw BBC Radio 1 and MTV Europe airplay, and co-producer of noughties electronica outfit Loveless. Smith’s first solo LP as The Virgance was ‘Lost Continent’, which was released in February 2014, followed by the ‘Hiko Shrine’ LP in January 2015. Both received critical acclaim in the shoegaze community and blogosphere.

German Shepherd have re-issued Seedhill Bruiser’s Granite Fists and Seedhill Folk Songs albums with improved mixes and clearer sound. Highly recommended!

Glasgow band The Deadline Shakes release their debut album ‘Zealots’ this November. The result of two years of recording and production by Greg Dingwall in the band’s “Den” studio, the album is preceded by a double A side single ‘Frozen Out / Sweeten the Deal’.

The irrepressible trio Le Butcherettes will be embarking on a headlining tour across Europe this autumn, in support of their upcoming album A Raw Youth which sees release on September 18th via Ipecac Recordings. The only UK date is London, Underworld, Camden on 16th November.

(Photo credit: Monica Lozano)
(Photo credit: Monica Lozano)

The latest single to be taken from The Cathode Ray’s highly acclaimed “Infinite Variety” album is “This Force of Nature“, which is due out on 14th September. It will also exclusively feature DJ Tony McQue’s radical remix of “Resist” as a bonus track and will be available from all good download sites including iTunes, Amazon, eMusic and Bandcamp. A glorious pop song.

…and the new album from Ought is excellent, expect a seperate and glowing review soon!

Fascinating Things : Issue 18

American Wrestlers – American Wrestlers (Fat Possum -2015)

Bruut! – Mad Pack (Music On Vinyl – 2015)

Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida (Chapter Music, Trouble In Mind Records – 2015)

Larry Gus – Years Not Living (DFA -2015)

The Kramford Look – Telepaths (Wonderful Sound – 2013)

The Ramsgate Hovercraft – Arcane Empire Redux 1 ( Bandcamp – 2013)

Cryin’ Queerwolf – Diva (Self Released – 2015)

A lot of new (and not so new) things arrived today so I thought it would be good to consider them all together. It is quite frightening to consider the large amount of new music arriving during 2015. For the most part it has all be of a very high standard. It does make me wonder whether some sort of paradigm shift is emerging which takes us away from corporate Cowell world and back to the grass roots.  Practically speaking I have the time at the moment, due to lack of mobility to sit and listen to this with some degree of attention. In more mobile times, which hopefully will be back soon, the modus operandi has been applied with the 30 second rule – i.e. if it has not grabbed my attention within the requisite time period the finger moves swiftly to the delete button. When I have the time I can usually tend to listen to the first track on the release and to be fair this does allow for more critical appraisal.

There is a constant moan in the DJ/Podcast community about the inaccurate labelling of MP3s/WAVS what have you. The moan is well made with today’s batch of goodies. It may be, to some degree, down to limitations with the tagging software, especially in the genre category, but today there were some obvious misnomers in regard to  the alleged “style” of the music. All will be become clear in due course.

So we start with American Wrestlers, which piqued my interest given my weekly diet of “sports entertainment” from the McMahon family. Googling reveals that this is Gary McClure from Working For A Nuclear Free City and a home Tascam recording which has been picked up by a label, and a touring band has emerged from it. McClure has relocated to the States and to some degree the WFANFC sound has been mildly americanised, although his trademark vocal remains intact. The ID3 tagging on this one is fairly accurate with the use of the ubiquitous “Alternative” being applied. It’s a very pleasant to listen to but I am afraid I can’t get into McClure’s vocal which feels too thin, which detracts from the listening experience. I managed three tracks before pressing the stop button.

Bruut! are from Amsterdam and described themselves as “jazz”. That’s stretching things a bit. Remember those 60s films where they go to the beat club and there are lots of hip young things frugging to a band of loveable mop-tops. It’s more a form of R ‘n’ B than it is jazz. The first track was sufficiently up tempo to grab my attention but after that it got a bit too wacky and mainstream for my liking. I’m sure it would go down well with festival crowds etc but i’m too much of a purist to regard this as “proper” jazz.

Dick Diver is an Australian four-piece indie pop band from Melbourne. The band consists of Rupert Edwards (guitar) and Alistair McKay (guitar), Steph Hughes (drums) and Al Montfort (bass). I have to say that, being a bit of a lover of Antipodean music,  I have oddly missed this combo out of my music experience to date. They’ve been around since 2008 and releasing albums since 2011, this new one is the third to date. There is enough going on here to grab the attention and listen the whole way through but there’s nothing that grabs the listener immediately, no killer hooks or choruses, and nothing ground-breaking.

Larry Gus’ is a play on the Greek word for ‘larynx’, pronounced ‘lareegas’. The chap behind it all is Panagiotis Melidis who uses airy vocals to add texture to the multi-genre experiments on this second album, ‘Years Not Living’. It rumbles along nicely mixing a variety of multi-cultural influences, and there are some interesting jumps in style, within and between songs,  but it’s just a little too safe sounding for my liking.

The Kramford Look – Daniel Wood and Pierre Duplan returned in 2013 with an album under The Kramford Look moniker. It has finally made it’s way to me. Jazzy bass lines, laid back funky drums, lush strings and wind instrumentation, plus analogue synth textures, and John Barry rhodes/clavinet sounds echo classic tv themes and film soundtrack.  The ID3 tag says “Reggae” which I find a little strange. There’s nothing particularly new here, but it’s slick and cool.

The Ramsgate Hovercroft – Mark Bandola (The Lucy Show, Typewriter ) contributes his guitars, keyboards, plus a smattering of bass and percussive rhythms. . Kit Jolly plays  keyboards, as well as saxophone. It floats between Tangerine Dream ambience and In A Silent Way jazz textures. At times I could have been listening to Tim Blake interludes on the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy or something from the Bill Laswell back catalogue.  One of the better selections in today’s pile of goodies.

Cryin’ Queerwolf has been forwarding the developing versions of the tracks on his new release “Diva” over the last few months and it has been a rewarding experience contributing ideas and suggestions back to him.  Fast Lane Steve, the Queerwolf’s manager, says “Loosely ‘Diva’ is the story of a gender neutral “showbizz” star, who used to be big, but they are on the wane. He compares the protagonists fans basking in the warmth of the nova like fade out of their idol. The Diva is quite deluded and believes they are ‘still big’ very much along the lines of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and Kathy Kirby.” The latent humour of this work, combined with the usual  darker, sinister, sub-text to CQs output is in full effect here. There is also a coy playfulness to the delivery and lyrics that edges towards the bawdy, but manages to keep it’s trousers on throughout. CQs sino-centric sound emerges occasionally from the dark disco electronica which dominates the album, and there are occasional glimpses of a post-punk pop moodiness. The Queerwolf’s best work to date. A limited CD run has been despatched so any chances of getting this are slim – but CQ has mentioned the possibility of a live performance sometime in the near future.

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