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)

harry-a4-poster

gtdv-poster

 

 

 

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Fascinating Things : Issue 70

A bit of a long gap between this blog and the last one – mostly due to being busy organising gigs and releases for German Shepherd . We are doing two stages at this years Salford Music Festival, on Friday 30th September and 1st October,  and there’s been a touch of fettling required due to various unforseens. It’s all settled now and we have four bands on the first night – The Junta, Bouquet of Dead Crows, The Scissors and Kit B, and five bands on the second – Rose & The Diamond Hand, Taser Puppets, Poppycock, JD Meatyard and West Coast Sick Line. The line-up is very attractive and it’s free so i’m hoping a few will turn up at the Eagle Inn in Sunny Salford. The major issue at the moment is the great amount going on in Greater Mancunia and the challenge is to get those hardy souls who like cutting edge music out into the night to watch the bands. There may be further antipodean adventures later in the year, but i’ll keep my powder dry on that one. Anyhow the cricket season is nearly over which means I should have some spare time. One more match to go………

So, as I have not done anything on the blog for a couple of weeks, things have mounted up. Of necessity therefore here are some brief notes to whet your musical whistle……

Et Tu Brucé return with a new video for “Laska”, which is on their eponymous album. A band which manages the clever balancing act between a recognisable sound and being innovative without resorting to genre cliches and industry cloning. A delightful tune well worthy of a listen.

Following the release of their self-titled debut album in 2011, and 2014’s Mutations, Obake are back. Their third LP, entitled “Draugr”, signals both a return to the origins of the band “and a purification of their sound” whatever that means. It is  released on October 28th via Rare Noise Records. No material as yet but I will share on receipt.

Cardiff’s Slowly Rolling Camera have announced the release of a new one called “All Things” on 4th November…….soulful vocally with some interesting stuff going on behind it by the sounds of it….one to watch out for I would venture.

Cinematic post-rock, a bit Sigur Ros but less ethereal, is the order of the day from Floating In Space. New album “The Edge of Light ” is out on October 14th, You get some glimpses of the  content here below. A rich confection of sounds…..

So the promo on this next one says “Honesty comes in many forms, with DUNT, it’s a clattering blow to the consciousness via an Edinburgh-based genre-melding punk/speed metal four-piece.” My immediate reaction revolved around what the hell the drummer was up to in the video…..i’m not sure on this one, i’ll leave you to make your own mind up, i’ve never been a big skate punk fan….but it will get some airplay on one of the podcasts.

Graney and Moore are back with a new one, as part of the “one release a month” project for 2016, and it’s a bit special. When DG goes for the jugular on “political” issues he does it with some style and class. The object of his ire on this one is fairly clear and more power to his elbow for that. Musically Dave and Clare never fail to disappoint and the variety of material in this run of singles has been pretty damn fine. I love the cover image ……..

Talking of matters Melbournian, a plea to the chaps at Witch Hats to release their latest album “Deliverance” in digital or indeed CD form so that those of us who don’t do vinyl can have a copy. Unless I am missing something I can’t find a non-vinyl version anywhere.If you aren’t blown away by the opening track “Weekend Holocauster” then I fear for your mortal soul.

And to conclude our diversions in Melbourne, shoe-gazers, Bloodhounds on My Trail, have a new single out called  ‘Over The Wall’ via Texas-based Moon Sounds Records. Reverb drenched stuff which has a timely autumnal feel. Vocally it touches on Barney Albrecht in my head for some reason. Real wall of sound stuff.

Back to the nothern hemisphere and northern britain and I am contractually obliged to advise you of the release of a new one by Moff Skellington, his 31st album. Moff’s been making Mark E. Smith look like a bit of a slacker of late, with his fourth album this year. Sublimely titled “The Gloating Mustards of Error” the bard of Abstercot is in fine fettle exploring, as he does, that strange place between dreams and reality embodied by Eddodi. I live in eternal hope that the rest of the known universe will eventually catch on to what this guy is up to, his unique use of language and musical instruments deserves recognition in an “entertainment” business stuffed with tribute bands and industry clones.

Sofia Härdig‘s new one appears to be about maps and car parks at least in video terms. Musically it sort of hovers between Banshees and PJH, the promo people aim to draw a Sonic Youth comparison which I don’t get, and a Pixies comparison, which I sort of get…..good stuff

The promo says “Newcastle based alternative five piece Bernaccia mix choral and tribal rhythms together with sweeping soundscapes and neo-psychedelic guitars. September 2016 sees the release of their next single “Angel””. I say,  the revolving door of post-punk, pre-goth, pre-shoegaze comes around again with a nod towards the noir cinemania of say Crime and the City Solution, and one or two other things of that ilk, it reminds me of a cold November night in a half empty Hacienda in 1983 , you know before youth culture finally cottoned on……said track is featured on the most recent Aural Delights Podcast – see how I slipped the shameless self promotion there whilst you were not looking…..?

To conclude, following on from the  recent “Bath White” EP by 50FOOTWAVE , a further release from indie music legend Kristin Hersh, renowned for her solo work and as frontwoman of  Throwing Muses. Called ‘Wyatt at the Coyote Palace’, the double CD and book combination releases in the UK on October 28, 2016 . Ms Hersh is on tour in UK and Eire during November landing at Gorilla,Manchester on November 13th for those of you who live around these parts. I’ve asked for a review copy of the new album for which I wait with baited breath….

Kristin_Hersh_3_color_-_photo_credit_Peter_Mellekas
Credit : Peter Mellekas

Fascinating Things : Issue 63

Apologies for the lack of posts recently but it has been a rather busy time with all sorts of German Shepherd Records stuff going on in the background and with some exciting gig news coming soon…..so inevitably there is a backlog of things to bring to your attention, better get straight to it…..

Continuing his run of “one single a month” releases in 2016 Dave Graney is back with Clare Moore, of course,  plus guests Will Hindmarsh and Emily Jarrett  of Go Go Sapien on backing vocals. This one is pretty short for a DG tune but manages to pack in enough cool sounds within it’s 2:59 to satisfy any lover of fine music. It’s undoubtedly Dave and Clare with it’s smoky late night vibe but there’s a freshness to this one indicating yet another variation in direction and development. This run of singles from Graney and Moore has been exceptional, can’t wait to hear the next one….

The new EP from 50FOOTWAVE is absolutely stunning. Rob Ahlers, Bernard Georges and Kristin Hersh are in fine muscular form powering through six new tunes. Kristin’s raw emotional vocals are at their very best and the band delivers intelligent, well crafted tunes. It’s called “Bath White” and you really should listen…..plus a crowdfunding drive has kicked off to support the publication of ‘Nerve Endings’, a book featuring selected lyrics from across her career as a musician and songwriter. For more information on the book and available pledge levels, visit the project page at Unbound: https://unbound.co.uk/books/Kristin-Hersh.

Nefarious Industries release the self-titled debut EP from Chicago-based Mine Collapse ton July 22nd. Formed in the autumn of 2015 by two-thirds of now defunct punk/metal band Arbogast, the new band picks things up where the old one left off, with Aaron Roemig and Mike Rataj continuing a nearly decade-long collaboration.  The sound is characterised by  a heavy, jagged, sludge-punk sound featuring reverb-soaked vocals. At twenty-two minutes, the four-song EP includes of frantic noise rock and doom riffage stacked atop Rataj’s unique jazz-infused pummeling drum style. Influences range from contemporary heavy bands like  Torche, Queens Of The Stone Age, Don Caballero, Boris, and The Austerity Program and old-school nineties AmRep bands à la Helmet, Jesus Lizard, and Unsane. Pre-order now here https://minecollapse.bandcamp.com/releases.

The excellent Yob are embarking on a European Tour in September/October with a raft of UK/Eire dates. The support for the six dates is Black Cobra.

Fri 07/10/2016 – Bristol, The Fleece
Sat 08/10/2016  – Glasgow, G2 Garage
Sun 09/10/2016  – Birmingham, The Rainbow Club
Mon 10/10/2016 – Manchester, Ruby Lounge
Tue 11/10/2016  – Dublin, Whelans
Thu 13/10/2016  – London, The Scala

Here’s a reminder of their remarkable album from 2014:

‘Church of Rock n Roll’ is taken from the album We Are The Ones. The debut solo album from Cambridge musician Gavin Chappell-Bates. It features 12 tracks, including previously released songs ‘95’, ‘We Are The Ones’ and ‘Black Holes’. Other tracks include the aforementioned aggressive adolescent punk of ‘Church Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, the bright upbeat pop of ‘Dead End Disco Streets’, the shining sentimental ballad of ‘Starlight’, and ‘Refugee’ – a Manics-esque epic tinged with loneliness and loss. The album is the culmination of years of playing in bands, writing songs and gigging relentlessly. Friends, family and fans helped pick the final tracks to feature on the album. It was recorded and produced by James Coppolaro at Mix66 (Okiem Warmann, David Botrill, David Ellefson and Loretta Heywood) and features Rob Gibiaqui on drums (Sergey Lazarev, The Pinker Tones), Anna Scott on cello (Imogen Heap), Prue Ward on violin (The Willows) and the choir Full Score conducted by Ralph Woodward. For live purposes Gavin utilises German Shepherd’s very own Bouquet of Dead Crows. It’s a small world!.

Finally, for this issue, the Moss Brothers are back together again creating their left-field alt.pop with “Dark Snow” a dire warning to climate change deniers and self-serving politicians everywhere. With Neil’s wife Gaynor on backing vocals this is a step in a new direction for Ian and Neil. The single is pay what you want and all proceeds will go to Friends of The Earth.

dark snow 1

 

Band of the year 2010?

When I started the radio show (Reformation as it was then) back in 2009 I decided I would try and select one band each year which had caught my attention and I felt needed some exposure . At the time I had other things to fill my day so there was not the chance to absorb newer music – this year has proved different with a lot more material coming my way. With over 300 albums to take in, plus lots of gigs attended, it’s proved difficult to narrow things down to the 14 bands that made it on to the show for “Band of the Year”. Picking the top band was difficult, I sort of had in mind around October time who was going to get the “title” as it were, but there were one or two others who were making it difficult to settle the final order, the hard bit was  leaving out some of the great acts that were runners-up (for want of a better phrase). The solace is, I suppose, that some of them got played during the year, and I’ll be making a conscious effort in the first few shows of 2011 to catch up with some of the great albums which didn’t get anyairing, however that’s proving difficult, as there is already a pile of new demos which have been sent in which deserve some airplay.

What I found particularly puzzling during the year was the large amount of dross which purports to be “indie” music which seemed to captivate a lot of people. What I find irritating is that this material gets airplay to the detriment of genuinely talented artists out there. I was pondering on this the other day and I thought back to the early 1970s when I first started to listen to music properly, and it struck me that there is a definite parallel to those days where “safe” music is the stuff that is selling rather than more challenging and “interesting” music. What is clear is that there a lot more music available so the need for some sort of critical barometer is needed. The return of some sort of DIY Punk ethic which allows wider sharing of  good music is needed. The key problem is there is not a John Peel on the national stations who can act as a champion for these artists. The Nine O’Clock Alliance and Aural Delights at Salford City Radio will do it’s best to fill the great man’s shoes and bring you bands and artists which will challenge the existing moribund status quo.

I’ve posted a list of 50 albums that I liked the most during the year elsewhere on this blog a few weeks ago – that’s now horribly out of date as a number of other bands have been brought to my attention. Was it ever so, and I guess I will always be playing some sort of catch-up. I think, however, the music which has dominated this year has been the return of good garage rock, exciting new electronica, a surge of new psychedelia, and the maturing of post-rock into something more interesting.

Over the five weeks of Christmas Shows I’ve tried to play bands which I wouldn’t have time to get into the final best bands show and I have to give a special mention to Borland who I would have definately played had not their tracks have an average length exceeding 8 minutes which would eat far too much into at 60 minute show – in any event they got a good ten minute airing at the end of last weeks show. Rob and Ian constantly amaze me with the variety of sounds and textures they tease out of Fruity Loops 9 and I look forward to new material from them in 2011.

It was disappointing to see the break up of The Jannocks and the Planets – two great local bands – but other bands have emerged from the remains of those two great bands and you can expect to hear music from them on my show in the new year.

The top 14 sort of picked itself in the end as it was those bands who I found it impossible to leave out. So in the order of being played on the show my artists of the year for 2010 were

Charlie Barnes – Charlie did a great session for me, released his album, and guested on the new Amplifier album (more of which elsewhere). I hope he gets the recognition he deserves in the coming year. His album is called Geekk and is highly recommend.

Craig Scanlon – When Moet of Sicknurse told me he was going into the studio with Craig (the legendary guitarist from The Fall) I nearly fell over – many Fall fans were convinced Craig would never return to the music business and it was great to see him back again. I understand more material is being recorded but we were lucky to get three early rough demos of the material is compiling.

Trevor Sensitive and the Locals – at long last Trevor has started to produce material which he has long promised and his askance look at indie rock (with it’s smatterings of black country metal) and gentle irony provides a welcome respite. An album is due soon and I think he has promised to do a session for me.

Pearl Divers – last years best band had a turbulent year with a number of line-up changes and a strong change in direction. A fledgling EP is slowly making its way through the ether to us. This is a band that I saw a lot of last year and I hope to see more of them during 2011.

The Fall – remain the most important band ever for me and they had a great year, with a fantastic new album. With their most stable line-up ever the group goes from strength to strength.

The Black Knights – one of the most exciting live bands I have ever seen – Gary and Tom’s particular interpretation of the blues is both refreshing and compelling.

Mr. Heart – an exciting trio with a great sound – and the bass player also features later on….

Kristin Hersh – like The Fall I class Kristin as an essential artist. She has dominated my listening this year with her great songs. Check out the new Throwing Muses album.

AAAK – gig of the year, reunion of the year, and another duo which defies logic by making a hell of a noise.

Spencer Cloud and The Range Brothers – an exceptional debut album and great song-writing make this band a must listen.

Monster Island – a fantastic new EP called the Green Room and an approach to music which defies the conventional. Lyrically brilliant and unique.

Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers – a great year for Dave and Ian with a fantastic debut album, and then a marvellous EP. Also a great couple of session tracks for the show.

The Inflictors – without doubt album of the year, and pretty damn close to live act, and band of the year. A fantastic band.

and Band of the Year

 

Kin – fantastic live, great musicians who are locked into a mesmerising groove, brilliant song-writing and a totally modern approach to music. Probably the best rhythm section round these parts in Howard and Ding, great sounds emerging from Jonn’s tangle of wires and machines, and a front woman who has a simply amazing voice and plays a mean guitar.  Saw them twice last year and they are simply amazing. Album due soon and if the demo tracks are any sort of indication of the content then it will be incredible.

Click on the link below to listen to the music…….

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