Fascinating Things : Issue 33

First up, an all female band from Sweden who are described by the promo people as “punk” when they more probably “post-punk”. The video attempts to shock in an early 80s way, which seems appropriate given the music. There are a lot of bands around at the moment sounding a bit like this which means they must have been listening to their mums and dads record collection – it’s a generational thing folks. Which tends to imply their will be a “New Romantic” revival on the way, heaven forfend! Anyhow they are called Dolores Haze and their new album “The Haze Is Forever” which is described as “a brightly burning collection of top-heavy punk tracks that come with a sinister bite”,  will be  available for purchase and download from Friday 13th November.

“My Name is Dessie Warren” is the forthcoming single, taken from Ian Prowse’s new album “Companeros”. The promo says “An acoustic and sultry electric guitar hugging the vocals from the start with a restrained but pungent bass line of the Alun Parry classic.” If I knew who Alun Parry was I’d be a bit wiser I guess. Google tells me his is a folky from the other end of the M62 (no not Hull, the other place). Dessie Warren was of course one of the Shrewsbury Two alongside Ricky Tomlinson, and the tune is a Billy Braggish type polemical thing, It does make we wonder if the “left” needs to rethink the type of tune it uses to espouse causes, rather than continue in the Woody Guthrie “man with a guitar” methodology. A banging dance tune perchance as delivered here?

Anyway Ian has a tour on at the moment with Amsterdam, eleven dates in all, including the refurbished Gullivers in sunny Manchester on 14th November if you like that type of thing.

The previously trailed appearance of sound magician Loscil at the Eagle in the Blackfriars area of sunny Salford on 23rd November is nearly upon us so one not to be missed I would venture. As one of only three UK dates a bit of a coup for the city. kranky recently released his fourth album, “Plume”, for the first time on vinyl format. Next up, JAZ records will be releasing the second in the Sine Studies series of 7″ vinyl. Sine Studies II is Loscil’s continuation of the challenge set forth in Sine Studies 1- namely, to generate music derived from computer generated sine waves and no other sound source.   It will be available for mail order via the new JAZ site when it’s ready. Limited copies will be available on the tour, which is the first official European tour since the release of Loscil’s most recent album “Sea Island”:

(Photo credit: Krista Marshall)
(Photo credit: Krista Marshall)

.House of Mythology label will be releasing the new Ulver gatefold double album vinyl (also available on CD), with over 80 minutes worth of material on January 22nd. The  album consists of multitracked and studio-enhanced live, mostly improvisational, rock and electronic soundscapes, 2/3 of which has never been heard before.  The basis for the release which is called “ATGCLVLSSCAP” – which the band has been working with under the moniker ‘12’ – arrives from recordings made at twelve different live shows that Ulver performed in February 2014, in which they utilised an improvisatory approach to their performance. As Kristoffer Rygg, the prime mover of the band since its inception puts it wryly, “The tour was to be an experiment, kind of loose and scary for a band as ‘set in their ways’ as us.”

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Genre hopping sound manipulators IKMRAO release a single on November 13th. The double A-Side “Hedgehog/Gobstopper” delivers one tune of progressive electronic meandering and a brutal attack on homelessness and animal cruelty, the other is a bass driven funk workout about personal revenge. You can get it from German Shepherd records.

HEDGEHOG

All The King’s Men were formed 12 months ago by Matthew Holland, Tino Caine and Ben Robinson. Growing up together against the backdrop of Manchester’s “vibrant and world renowned music scene”  they were “quickly inspired to start making music spending time honing their skills by playing in various local bands”. Matthew left for California, returning a year later with a lyric book and his Les Paul. Joining forces with Tino on bass and Ben on drums they recruited fellow musicians on the Manchester circuit to help them lay tracks and fine tune their sound. Their EP “Making My Escape” is out on Angel Hill Records on 27th November 2015. Typical Manc brit-rock stuff as evidenced below.

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100 not out

Various Artists

100

German Shepherd Records

30th October 2015

100

So let’s be clear from the outset, this is shameful nepotism of the highest order, but I can’t find anyone else willing to review it so I may as well take up the cudgels and have a go. Given I have a rather thorough inside perspective on this compilation, as I actually compiled it, I am in a position to be both honest and accurate, and perhaps somewhat effusive. If I am breaking some sort of record industry kayfabe by doing this so be it, but German Shepherd was set up to be doggedy (pun intended) independent, and to operate outside of the norms of the music biz, so in that spirit here goes.

Set up in February 2014 the label was originally intended as a vehicle for the work of co-owner Ian Moss, who had vast library of unreleased material he wanted to share with the world. Once word had got around about the endeavour other like minded souls expressed interest or were dragged into the inner circle of the label.

The manifesto is very simple, if the music that is offered to the label is sufficiently different and does not ape current trends and fads then it will probably find a home in the German Shepherd kennel.

21 months in and the chance to mark the milestone with some of the current and future artist on the label. Requests were sent out and a delightful pot-pourri of styles and genres emerged.

For German Shepherd virgins and, for those DJs who need accurate information(you know who you are), here’s a run down of all the tracks and the artists.

Loop-aznavour – theremin toting Loop, also a member of the remarkable Adventures of Salvador. offers a single from earlier in 2015, a remarkable distiller of styles and influences Loop is a captivating live performer and a consummate songwriter. From – Bury, Greater Manchester.

Pearl Divers ; the first band I ever “discovered” in radio land they have been through many line-up changes since 2009 but always centre around leader Carl Lingard. The tune on the album is a radical -reworking/second cousin to the bands “I Love The Music” – mixing Barryesque chords with a cold war soundscape one could, and should, argue that this would be a far better Bond theme than the odious one being used for the latest movie. The band are currently working on an album. From – Eccles/Irlam, Greater Manchester.

The Get – we love this band. They are great live, they write memorable songs, and they have a unique, sometimes unashamedly ramshackle sound. From – Bournemouth, Leigh on Sea etc, down south somewhere

Bouquet of Dead Crows – some folk will have been surprised about this band being on German Shepherd, one of aims is not to be complacent around what we are about,  dealing with any preconceptions of our mode of operation by throwing a curve ball in every now and then.  On first hearing, Bouquet of Dead Crows are conventional rockers, on deeper exploration the nuances emerge, from Toni Cooper’s excellent vocals, through the great rhythm section, to the multi-guitar talents of Neil Bruce. This is a band with a lot of depth. A single and cut from the new album “Of The Night” due out soon. From – Cambridge, east of Northampton.

Loop-azznavour
Loop-aznavour

Poppycock – working with Una Baines and her collective of musicians is always a pleasure and she offered up a live recording of the band from The Crescent in Salford. Recorded by Jim “Jedi” Watts, thus perpetuating the “every other musician you meet in Manc-land used to be in The Fall” myth this lovely tune first appeared on Una’s The Fates “Furia”  album. From: Manchester.

Franco Bandini – the buzz about Franco’s recent release of the label “2014 was a bad year” is increasing daily. Perhaps slightly less dark than the tracks on the EP this offering is from the same sessions and indicates his ability to create an epic sound. We predict great things. From –  Atherton/Manchester.

IKMRAO – the two label owners don’ t consider themselves to be musicians as such, they play with words and sounds and sometimes it comes out as music. Always making a point whenever they can this one has a much needed dig at the scenesters that hang around in clumps reeking of their own self-importance. From – Ashton Under Lyne/Eccles, Greater Manchester.

The Junta
The Junta

Captain Black – once a member of the aforementioned Pearl Divers and the main writer behind the much missed Positronik, Captain “Jeff” Black is adept at creating perfect pop tunes, and this is a sublime example. From : Swindon/Manchester

The Junta – it’s obligatory to say “aah yeah” or “shabba” at this point. Also once in Pearl Divers but now in Kit B, John “Monty” Montague brings an encyclopaedic knowledge of electronica  into play for  his tunes. Also a DJ on Salford City Radio Monty is a very busy chap. From : Salford, Greater Manchester.

Staggs – probably the most fascinating duo on the label in that they continually create tunes that both amaze and confound. Main vocal man Michael T Scott has a wonderfully acerbic outlook on the world at large. Music man Ridley is able re-invent well known sounds and turn them into something new. Staggs Disco is from one of their releases before they joined German Shepherd. Deserving of international acclaim I reckon. From –  Newcastle Upon Tyne,

Passage of Time – sounds influenced by 1969 Miles Davis together with more contemporary electronic textures. The closest thing to jazz on the label. From – Eccles, Salford. Greater Manchester.

Rose Niland and Mark Corrin
Rose Niland and Mark Corrin

Ion-Morph with three albums of the man’s spoken word releases on the label it would have been remiss to exclude a performance. The featured tune is a reworking of an old song and a hearful paean to Manc-land. From – Ashton-Under-Lyne

Moff Skellington – a genius, an iconoclast and a dealer in optical creosote. Moff creates music which defies description other than to say it hangs precariously between The Residents, Tom Waits, Pere Ubu, The Fall and Hank Marvin. His wordplay is completely unique, the aural equivalent of Salvador Dali.  As I may have said before, on many occasions, my crusade is to get him much more exposure and recognition. From – Abstercot

Rose Niland – we love Rose. She has a magical voice, she writes breathtaking tunes, and her words are memorable. Soulful, psychedelic and bluesy. From – Manchester

Monkeys In Love
Monkeys In Love

The Electric Cheese – captivating alternative rock with a unique sound. This trio is gaining a growing reputation as a must see live act. From their first EP with the label.  From – Chorley, Lancashire

West Coast Sick Line – Dusty Moonan, another genius, a man who can write memorable songs. The band has recently undergone a line-up change and the track on the compilation is an indication of things to come perhaps, a more powerful more rock oriented sound. New album “Europee” is imminent i.e. when they get out of the pub. From – Deganwy, North Wales

Monkeys In Love – a special band, they have been with the label from the start, helping and supporting. The track on the album is, dare I say it, one of their best yet. A remarkable live act and a lovely bunch of people. From – Manchester.

The track-listing

  1. Loop-aznavour – Ed’s Place
  2. Pearl Divers – Smoking Gun
  3. The Get – Say You Love Me
  4. Bouquet of Dead Crows – Just A Little More
  5. Poppycock – Ceaseless Effort
  6. Franco Bandini – Side B
  7. IKMRAO – Art
  8. Captain Black – Lost All Sense
  9. The Junta – Carnival 80
  10. Staggs – Staggs Disco
  11. Passage of Time – Round About Now
  12. Ion-Morph – Manchester (Slight Return)
  13. Moff Skellington – Potato Pickers
  14. Rose Niland – 5 Times
  15. The Electric Cheese – Gold Divers Under The Ice
  16. West Coast Sick Line – Best Lost In Translation
  17. Monkeys In Love – Installation Song #1

The album is a digital only release, is priced at £5, and all proceeds will go towards the Emmaus Homelessness Facility in Salford.

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Bouquet of Dead Crows