Fascinating Things : Issue 66

July already, where is the year going?

There’s some exciting things coming up over the next few months including a brand new Van Der Graaf Generator album which I have naturally pre-ordered and a raft of gigs associated with our little record label including a show case event at the Eagle in Salford on 12th August which will feature, all the way from Modena Italy, the sensational Saint Lawrence Verge , the debut of Ian “Moet” Moss’s new band Four Candles (who look very promising from rehearsal recordings) , from Cambridge an acoustic set from the exceptional Bouquet of Dead Crows, and the remarkable Poppycock  as headliners. The Italian boys will be travelling down to Cambridge the following day for a gig at the Corner House with the Dead Crows and a visit from The Junta. We also have a presence at The Eagle on the Saturday with an EP launch from Rose and the Diamond Hand  and a guest appearance from the very talented Alana Bondi.

Anyway enough of this manic self-publication here some new things that might pique your interest……

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez  of At The Drive In/Mars Volta fame is to release a series of solo albums via Ipecac Recordings, with the first release, Sworn Virgins, available digitally on July 15. The previously unreleased albums were recorded from 2008 to 2013, while Rodriguez-Lopez lived in Zapopan, Mexico and  El Paso. The titles will be released on a bi-weekly basis with the first spate of albums running through the end of the year. Each album will see a digital release with a limited number of physical copies (CD) available on Rodriguez-Lopez’s various live outings. Following the initial run of releases, a limited edition CD/LP box set will become available.

Photo credit : Robin Laananen

Pixies have  announced a new album, “Head Carrier” which is available for pre-order at http://www.pixiesmusic.com. ‘Head Carrier’ is released on September 30th, 2016, on
Limited Edition Box Set, Heavyweight Vinyl in Gatefold Sleeve, and CD Digipack.  They have also announced a new continental European tour for November 2016 with UK dates to be announced very soon. Here’s the single ‘Um Chagga Lagga’.

It appears that Indie is making a comeback, did it ever go away I ask myself. with the new single from Blush. It has all the intensity of The Wedding Present with a transatlantic vocal shtick which sticks in the mind.

Hovering somewhere between Ray Davies, Dylan and The Byrds Glasgow’s The Echo Session have a new single. ‘But I’m Scared’ out. It is a live studio recording from the Echo Session vaults, mastered by Dave Cook. The single will be available from all the usual digital outlets, including the Flowers in the Dustbin bandcamp store. It’s seven years since their last single apparently.

Having burst wild-eyed from the stalls of a buzzing monthly club residency in deepest Hackney and with a lot of interest for debut single ‘Shakin’ Like the Leaves on the Trees’, blues-tinged tearaways Mollys Daggers are gearing up for the release of their debut album “Prima Materia” alongside 2nd single ‘Zin-uru’. It kicks off sounding like Rory Gallagher, which is fine by me, and a welcome respite from the Mumford clones that litter my in-box of late. Expect to hear cuts from the album on Aural Delights Podcast over the next few weeks.

If my Tardis was working (sadly the temporal synchro-mesh is off line) I’d be hopping over to the Corner Hotel in Melbourne round about now to catch Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes. I’ll have to make do with the excellent PBS radio session from a couple of days back which was stuffed with classic Snakes tunes like Warren Oates. I’m pleased to be able to share this video from the session. What a band!

Wolverine Redux

Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes

Night of the Wolverine (Expanded)

Digital Outlets

Out Now

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Regular readers will be aware of my fondness for the work of Mr Graney. The 1993 album that set him off on a three year musical journey, that eventually garnered him his Aria award, is the acclaimed “Night of the Wolverine”.  It has recently been re-released for the third time with additional tracks, comprising demos Dave made for the original album.

With Graney on vocals, the Coral Snakes line-up for the album includes Clare Moore on drums and percussion; Robin Casinader on keyboards, violin and mandolin; Rob Hayward on lead guitar, and Andrew Picouleau on bass guitar. Tex Perkins of The Cruel Sea, guests on lead vocals for “Night of the Wolverine II” with Amanda Mitchell on backing vocals. The title track and “You’re Just Too Hip, Baby” both made into the top 100 tracks of 1993 in the JJJ chart. The album was re-released in 1996 in Australia with a different cover, and in the U.K. on the This Way Up label. Two singles, “Three Dead Passengers” and “You’re Just Too Hip, Baby” were released at that time. It was also subsequently re-released on Graney and Moore’s own Cockaigne label in 2004 with extra tracks from post Coral Snakes sessions.

If you have not had the pleasure of listening to the album then I strongly recommend it to you.  The original twelve tracks are some of Graney’s best work, and the additional material adds context, and amply demonstrate the transition from song-writing to studio.

In parallel to the release Dave has brought the Coral Snakes band back together for a series of dates across Australia, and reports of the first outing in Melbourne last week are very positive.

The song craft and delivery on the album are exemplary, and the transition to a newer, possibly more accessible, sound was made without the loss of any of the trademark humour and sideways look at the world which characterises Graney’s work.  The mood of the album is laid back, reflective and effortless.  It moves from funky pop, via country, through lounge, to the cool jazz tinged journey of the title track, which  now appears in four different versions on the expanded version, If you wanted any proof that Graney is indeed the nabob of coolness then all you have to do is listen to his effortless delivery on Wolverine.

In terms of the Graney timeline  of Coral Snakes work it sits between the memorable live album “Lure of the Tropics” and the creative peak of “You Wanna Be There But You  Don’t Wanna Travel” and the two albums that followed (see my review of the Coral Snakes box set  The Mercury Years). If you want a perfect way to enter the world of Dave Graney this is a good place to start.

Material from the album has made it’s way into Dave’s live work over the years. The video selections below give you a sample of the content from the album and recent live versions.

 

Edinburgh, Melbourne and Brisbane

The Nectarine No 9

Nebraska Falls (Postcard/Shake)

Fried for Blue Material (Creeping Bent)

Dave Graney ‘n The Coral Snakes 

The Mercury Years 1994-1997 (Universal)

The Go-Betweens

G stands  for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (Domino)

The recent news that the Sexual Objects were releasing a one item only album with the added attraction of the purchaser getting the rights to distribute it as they see fit struck me as a suitable comment on the state of the music industry.

Around the same time of catching that news my friend Bob Stow wrote me a series of e-mails to me around the subject of catching Dave Graney and Clare Moore in London during 2014. Bob’s always potent writing brought to life three gigs I had sadly had to miss.

Coincidentally towards the end of last week I had been prowling the nether regions of Amazon and I chanced upon some reasonably priced copies of two Nectarine No 9. albums I hadn’t got,  and the recent Mercury Set of Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes albums from ’94 to ’97.  Synchronicity and all that.

Add to that the recent release of part one of The Go-Betweens retrospective which apart from the thee original albums from the 1978-84 period has the early singles on vinyl and  four CDs worth of rare, unreleased material and you have on your hands a wonderful few hours of listening.

I spent a lot of the early 90s working too hard and developing a career and most of my disposable income was spent on the rather large collection of jazz  and music by The Fall which surrounds me as I type.  It was only Mr Stow, and fellow Northamptonian Mr Gibbins, that kept me up to speed with what should have been listening to in the slightly off the mainstream world of rock and pop. Three memorable recommendations from that period were The Go-Betweens “Springhill Fair”, the Nectarines “A C with three Stars” and Dave ‘n’ The Coral Snakes “The Lure of the Tropics” all of which eventually lead to the lifetime appreciation and collection of the work of Messrs Forster, McLennan, Henderson and Graney.

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With Mr Graney’s “Fearful Wiggings” fresh in my mind as one of the outstanding albums of last year I was pleased to receive my collection of albums from Amazon this week, time to bask in the heady days of the latter end of the last century and bring back some happy musical memories.

Of course I really wanted to find a copy of the Nectarines  “Guitar Thieves” or a reasonably priced copy of one of Henderson’s Win albums (£99 for the first one I thought was a tad steep) but I’ve made do with the Canadian imprint “Niagara Falls” which includes versions of most of “A C With 3 Stars” and one or two rarities including a cover of VUs “Inside of Your Heart”. The companion Nectarine disc “Fried for Blue Material” takes the more esoteric element of the debut album and builds on them to create a combination of songs, incidences and impressions. Another hidden gem in Mr Henderson’s impressive canon.

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The Dave Graney box set encompasses three crucial albums from the great man’s career between 1994-1997. The first “You Wanna Be There But You Don’t Wanna Travel” is stuffed to the gills with Graney treasures from the triumphant “Warren Oates” to the exquisite and nostalgic “There Was A Time”  and many more between. The writing. musically and lyrically on the this album is Dave at his very best. The second “The Soft ‘N’ Sexy Sound” was the one that got Dave his Aria and it’s easy to understand why. He moves from the tongue in cheek near-pop of “Apollo 69” through the soulful “I’m Not Afraid to Be Heavy” to the intense “Scorched Love Affair” to the utterly marvellous “Morrison Floorshow”.  The third album “The Devil Drives” was a strong hint of Dave’s future direction post ‘Snakes, the songs becoming less pop and more unique musical narratives, fascinating in their construction and subject matter. A remarkable collection of music.

It does beg the question why Mercury didn’t go for the whole DG & CS canon and include the outstanding “Night of the Wolverine” and the unforgettable live album “The Lure of the Tropics” – but what would I know I don’t run a record label now do I? (I’m being ironic)  A pity really having all of that in one place would have been great and they could have included the tracks from the Bonus Disc from The Soft ‘N Sexy Sound that are not on Crayfish Palace Royalty disc which forms part of the four piece box set. The set of rarities includes a raft of rare tracks including the nascent version of “Morrison Floorshow” in the form of “It’s Your Crowd That  I Hate”.

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And so to the Go-Betweens.  Now then, I have the bulk of their stuff in one form or another and it’s all marvellous,  but the recent Domino box set does allow the opportunity to hear the complete development of their early work in one place. Particularly interesting is the compact disc of earliest material from 1978/9 and the nascent sound of the song-writing duo that would build into incomparable team that delivered so many fine albums and songs.

The box set includes the first vinyl re-pressings of their first three studio albums in over thirty years (Send Me A Lullaby, Before Hollywood & Spring Hill Fair), all re-mastered from the original analogue tapes.  However it is the rarities and live sets that uncover a band developing from stripped down angular post-punkers into a fully fledged unique and incomparable band.

I can’t think of many bands or musicians who have consistently given me listening pleasure over the last forty years as much as The Go-Betweens, plus Davy Henderson and Dave Graney in their variations incarnations. They rank alongside Beefheart, Zappa, Miles and Trane, and of course The Fall as people who enriched my life.

I recommend all of these releases to you unequivocally, but then I would wouldn’t I?

aural delights – 16th March 2011

A mixture of the old and the new on this show….

  1. Trevor Sensitive and the Locals – Kaliedoscope Pop – Show Exclusive – originally planned as part of a session that has had to be postponed because of other commitments…..Birmingham’s true masters of pure pop in fine fettle……
  2. The Counterpoints – Catalyst – Promo – I played this last week and I like it so much i’m doing it again.
  3. Shy and The Fight – How to Stop an Imploding Man – Self Released EP – local indie folk heroes from round these parts who appear to be getting a bit of a name for themselves.
  4. The Wookies – Black Dotted Devils – Demo – Warrington noise merchants having fun in the only way they can.
  5. Danny Short – Boat – Love Has Gone – from the new album which is out next month…..don’t forget the free download EP which you can get from http://www.salfordcityradio.org here…..
  6. Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers – Death By Chocolate – Yelling Boil – as interviewed earlier in the evening by Stephen Doyle on his Sonic Diaries – the fabulous new album is another masterpiece. It will be available soon I’m advised.
  7. Mogwai – Mexican Grand Prix – Hardcore Will Never Die – a return to form after the disappointment of Hawk is Howling. The true progenitors of post-rock.
  8. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Anxiety –  Rush to Relax – thanks to the Great Gibbo for pointing out this noisy garage outfit. A great band with a unique sound.
  9. The Narrows – WTC7 – Through Constant Decay – local band with a new EP which is very good indeed – get it from Bandcamp.
  10. Covenant – Wir Sind Sie Nacht (Edit) – Soundtrack – swedish electro masters do a soundtrack from a new vampire movie.
  11. The Go-Betweens – German Farmhouse – The Friends  of Rachel Worth – one of the greatest songwriting duos ever…..the sadly missed Australian pair were masters of their craft as evidenced from this rocky Robert Forster tune from one their greatest albums. Some would argue that they were not as good when they returned from their hiatus – I have to disagree.
  12. Van Der Graaf Generator – Pilgrims – Still Life – new album out this week but back to the masterpiece second phase album. I saw them perform this at UMIST at the time of the release – a memorable evening – a packed room with sweat dripping off the ceiling. Hammill is in fine voice here in one of the bands most evocative songs…..is it a love song? Most of them are but you wouldn’t know it.
  13. Dave Graney ‘N’ The Coral Snakes  – Morrison Floorshow – The Baddest – the great man has a new album out soon but i’ve been meaning to play this excellent Coral Snakes track which has amazing lyrics and a great four to floor funky feel – Dave rips into tribute bands with his usual insouciant swagger.

To listen to the show……click the link below