Fascinating Things : Issue 49

As you will be well aware,  if you read this nonsense on a regular basis, there is a lot of new music out there which barely gets the recognition it deserves. It is a sad indictment of the increasingly polarised music mainstream that a handful of artists dominate the media when arguably more talented folk don’t get a look in. The so called arbiters of taste peddle the promo gubbins that pluggers and labels zap their way. When I listen to some of the dross that gets peddled on so called hip radio or red buttons I get a tad grumpy.

I’m also acutely aware of the passage of time and the regular repackaging of formats so that material from across the long history of my music listening regularly reappears in what is the latest “hip” format. Following the deification of vinyl over the last year or so the CD lovers (of which I am one) have started the inevitable fight back against what must be the biggest con job the music industry have foisted on the public since 8-track cartridges. There will be several friends and acquaintances that will vilify me for calling out the great god Vinyl but I remain convinced that the great listening public have been tricked into purchasing music in a format that has inherent built in obsolescence and is horribly overpriced as well as being bad for the environment and taking up far to much space. Whatever, it’s all about opinion, if you want to  collect vinyl because it fills you with misty eyed nostalgia of a time, in the vast majority of cases when you were not  even born,  and where music was more legitimate because it was played on a  dansette, that’s fine with me. I don’t recall it being much fun picking up a copy of “Selling England By The Pound” at the shop on Piccadilly Station approach and having to take it back several times because of the skips, jumps and crackles. As things stand I couldn’t possibly afford a home that could house all the vinyl versions of the music I have collected over the years, CDs are pushing it a bit space wise but I can just about accommodate them, MP3s on external hard discs are the most convenient option as the moment.

I must reference the sad death of Keith Emerson. ELP have got a bad press over the years, and I would be the first to admit that after “Brain Salad Surgery” my interest in them waned, not helped by that completely over the top BBC feature on them and their touring excesses. Notwithstanding that Emerson’s early work with The Nice still stands up well and the first four ELP releases had some fine moments. I saw the band twice. The first time was at the Oval in 1972 when “Tarkus” had just been released; on the day they stole a march on Genesis with Peter Gabriel in his red dress and foxes head (Foxtrot had just come out), with two giant Tarkuses appearing on stage. The second gig was in 1974 -ish I think  at a cavernous Wembley Arena where the band were reduced to mere cyphers and which more or less put me off stadium gigs for life. Emerson, for all the faults of ELP at their worst, was a fine showman and his marriage of classical music, jazz and rock was innovative.

Enough of my ramblings what can I share with you this week which you may not have heard elsewhere, or isn’t getting the wider attention it deserves? :

  • Southern Lord will be bringing back the early work of Wolfbrigade (then Wolfpack) in a trilogy of reissues encompassing the Swedish d-beat hard core goups first three LPs (A New Dawn Fades, Lycanthro Punk and Allday Hell), which will be available from April 15th, as well as a boxset including the remaining two EPs released before their name change. This marks 20 years since the release of their first two records Bloodstained Dreams and A New Dawn Fades. Expect a new album from the band later in 2016.
  • Formed in Liverpool in 2014, Indie Pop/Rock band Seprona practice in an abandoned pub on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre where they have locked themselves away, writing profically. Each band member brings their own influences to Seprona’s sound, but the band agree that the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Interpol and Radiohead are their common denominators. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seprona
  • I got sent the below with absolutely no information other than the soundcloud link, which would normally put me off, but I was impressed by the sounds so I thought I would share it and let you have the fun of finding out more. It reminded me of early Phillip Glass in places, which is no bad thing.
  • Lauren from the ever excellent Rarely Unable says “The collaboration between Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Bitchin Bajas shares a passion for arresting the moment in the process of now. Their ability to stretch time, coupled with their ability to explore and meditate on words, make them the most pertinent of partners. On Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties, they combine forces to travel down a celestial path that knows no bounds – won’t you follow?” You can watch a video at another site as I have nothing I can embed for you. It’s Will Oldham cast in a new light, which is no bad thing, and there are echoes of Neil Young in some of it, but the Bajas influence is strong and good. It’s out on March 18th and you can pre-order it here.
  • After a bit of a hiatus the eclecticians at Superstar Detroyer as back with their unique brand of math and madness. They have just released I.I.A.H.S.W.E.S EP by BRITNEY which is a riotous melange of chunky red zone bass and heavy percussion in a Beastie Boys punk soup with a sprinkling of post punk overkill and the occasional dip into manic piano distress. Fascinating and slightly disturbing. Also new on the label, on April 11th, but with nowt to embed from it, is  the excellent Polymath with an album entitled “Melencholia”..
  • The refreshingly heavy duo Rusty G’s are back with a full length album and a new single. Having got quite excited about them last year I can confirm that the band have continued their fine run of form with some blistering rock noise. A hell of a bg sound for a pair of people and well worth some of your time. They have a small tour coming up and are well worth checking out.
  • Ghold return  with a new album PYR (Ritual Productions, 7th May), which also marks the band’s first recording as a trio with multi-instrumentalist/guitarist Oliver Martin. They play Islington Mill, Salford on May 11th as part of a run of dates. More info to follow on the release but its out 7th May on LP, DIGI and CD formats, the latter comes with a bonus track.
  • I have been featuring the new Rangda release (as well as working my way though their back catalogue) over the last few podcast. I was pleased to get an interesting video of The Sin Eaters from the new one “The Heretics Bargain”.  I’ve seen a couple of bad reviews of the album which I thought were a tad mealy mouthed, this is good stuff and continues the work of some fine exponents of multi guitar rock.
  • As previously mentioned Moulettes are a Brighton based British band of Björk, Frank Zappa and Gentle Giant loving multi-instrumentalists that weave in and out of several genres with 3 part harmony female vocals, amplified Cello, distorted Bassoon, Auto-Harp, Guitar, Drums, Bass and Synths into an incomparable alt.pop/rock/folk universe. Since the success of ‘Constellations’ (No.7 Indie Charts, Spiral Earth Best Album 2014), Bajian Irish Londoner Raevennan Husbandes has joined the band on Vocals and Electric Guitar. With this new line-up the band have made their fourth Album ‘Preternatural.’ Sadly they have failed to send anything through to share but you can pre-order it in several formats over at their website.
  • Seven years on from 2009’s Afterlife EP, Amenra are to release a new collection of songs, titled “Alive”, a counterpoint to the band’s Mass series, featuring brand new compositions and cover songs, as well as appearances from special guests and additional musicians. This marks their second acoustic release, and first live release.It was recorded at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels by Hein Devos, and mastered by Frederic Alstadt. You can hear a track in advance of its release below. More details regarding tracklisting and release dates will be shared in the near future. Alive is set for release at Roadburn Festival, with all pre-orders scheduled to ship in the week following the festival. Pre-orders will be available via Consouling Sounds. Hypnotic stuff.
  • Almost three years in the making, ‘Soundtrack Doom’ band Merrin have  released their follow up to 2013’s “Doom Cinema”. “Midnight Movies! is a 6 track collection of songs inspired by late night movies. Everything from horror, to kung fu, to post apocalyptic action movies and the plain bizarre, the band have broadened their scope beyond simply rehashing Goblin scores  to deliver something more unique, unpredictable, cinematic and very much in the spirit of the films they take inspiration from. It is also the first release to be recorded with a full band present for the entire session. The result is an album that sounds heavier and more driven than before, featuring Chris Purdie on all guitars, Arturs Reirs on Drums and Misha Hering on Synth, the band sounds bigger and more epic.
  • Joy abounds with news of a new Melvins album and it sounds like a cracker. The band, who have a history of imaginative line-up changes, feature not one, but six different bass players on their appropriately titled new album, “Basses Loaded” (June 3, Ipecac Recordings).  The collection features Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover joined by Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald, Butthole Surfers’ J.D. Pinkus, Big Business’ Jared Warren, Mr. Bungle/Fantomas’ Trevor Dunn (aka Melvins Lite) and Crover swapping the drum kit for bass in the Melvins 1983 iteration. Here is a taster via Rolling Stone. They will be back in Europe in the summer, the only date pencilled in so far is in Bristol but hopefully more will follow.
  • The duo of Stuart Dahlquist and Edgy59, under the banner of The Poisoned Glass, have released the video for ‘Toil And Trouble’ ahead of the launch of their debut album 10 SWORDS on April 22nd via Ritual Productions. The video uses footage of a performance of the work of Bauhaus artist and choreographer Oskar Schlemmer – the surreal costume design and faceless dancers mesh with The Poisoned Glass’ aesthetic, which echoes Peter Hammill at his most cinematic and intense. I’m looking forward to the album based on this teaser.
  • ……..and to close Richard Citroen & Stephanie B, aka Lola Dutronic are back with a new video from the excellent “Lost In Translation” album – a marvellous band.
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Fascinating Things : Issue 14

An eclectic melange of new stuff this time around with everything from intense death metal to shoegaze pop. Well they do say variety is the spice of life.

Black Breath release a new album “Slaves Beyond Death” on 25th September via Southern Lord

Photo Credit : Invisible Hour
Photo Credit : Invisible Hour

Gillian Glover was born in England in 1976. Circa 1981, she wandered on stage from the side of a Deep Purple concert, watching her father Roger play bass. Mesmerised by the audience before her. She was promptly removed.

A few years after moving to the United States in 1984, she completed her first known recording, produced by her father in his basement studio; It was a rap song written with a friend, featuring synthesizers, silly sound effects and samples and has thankfully since been lost. She attended New York University 1994-1998, with a brief stint in Florence, Italy. She studied painting and got her hands very dirty.

Having a musician for a father strangely made her shy away from performing until this point in her life. But perhaps it was just in her blood? She was 22 and was far, far away when she first sang in front of other people. In 1998 Gillian bought a one-way ticket to Egypt to become a professional divemaster. Though she spent her days scuba diving, music crept up and bit her at night. She joined her first band there in 1999. After oscillating between Egypt, New York and London, she settled in the latter in 2001.

Red Handed: Gillian’s debut solo album, Red Handed, was recorded in 2005. The album was completed and released in 2006 and in France in 2007. In 2009 Gillian and bass player, Travis, had a son. So far, his drumming skills look quite promising. The couple had a daughter, Aranea, in late 2011.  She appears to have a good set of vocal chords…A trilogy!

Roger Glover released another solo album If Life Was Easy in 2012, on which Gillian has co-written and sung two tracks.

Gillian also designs jewellery using recycled guitar strings.

She releases her double A single Fitful Night / Heart on my Sleeve in September.

Influenced by everything from vaudeville, visual art, early Hollywood movies, Nordicana, wine, trip-hop, music boxes, speakeasy’s, Paris and whiskey bars, Liverpool based 8 piece The Science Of The Lamps will be sharing the stage with Alt-folk heroes Moulettes this summer in a short run of UK dates concluding at Ramsbottom Festival in Bury.

The bands new release is the backdrop to feature film ‘My Lonely Me’ a vaudevillesque musical mystery movie, “filmed with adventure, uncertainty and isolation”.

Richard Citroen & Stephanie B., better known as Lola  Dutronic are pleased to announce the release of their new album, “Lost In Translation” . The follow-up to their well-received “Everyone’s A Star” album, which featured the All-Star supported single “Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead” and their Peruvian Top 10 radio hit, “Happy Birthday”, this is their best work to date, often transcending their Saint Etienne & Ladytron influences.

Nadia Nair’s way of blending genres, experimenting with styles and mixing sonic fields together runs in her veins… literally… This multi-cultural, half Swedish half Malaysian- Indian songstress, combines the many sides of herself and richly pours them into her music.

In the era of “It’s all been done before” Nadia comfortably manages to achieve a level of distinctiveness by utterly remaining truthful to her vision. She’s neither Swedish nor Asian. She’s neither pop nor psychedelic. She’s neither world nor electronic. In fact, she’s ALL those things at once, as they are being merged immaculately into her latest single Hardships.

Hardships begins with a bang… Nadia’s powerful vocal instantly demands attention, whilst building a steady sonic structure, influenced by the likes of Ravi Shankar, Björk, and M.I.A. Taking the minimalistic, almost Lorde-like approach in the production, the voice and the lyrics take the stand and remain in the fore-front from start to finish, as the track keeps growing and cultivating tension with every bar.

Backed by the courageous harmonies and unique arrangement, Hardships is a track worth listening to, and it will be available for sale and download 28th August.

And finally…..

Pure Phase Ensemble is an international music collective, created especially for the SpaceFest festival in Gdansk, which takes place annually in December and is organised by the Nasiono Association. The city of Gdansk plays host to this blossoming music festival each year in the first week of December, at which time numerous select musicians from Poland and abroad gather to take part in a special workshop series. They collectively compose a concert’s worth of music, which they then present live to the festival-goers. Each year, this unique performance is recorded live and subsequently released as an LP.

The programme for each workshop is jointly curated by Ray Dickaty, a British saxophonist improviser and former member of Spiritualized (1997-2002), and Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who also manages Nasiono Records. Along with these two key figures, every festival involves a new musical director – a legendary, internationally recognised musician, who is invited to co-curate the workshop.

During the latest SpaceFest, Mark Gardener, the frontman of celebrated shoegaze pioneers RIDE who also recently released an LP with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), occupied this seat of honour. Past participants include Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Chris Olley (Six By Seven), Steve Hewitt (ex Placebo), and Jaime Harding (Marion).

Pure Phase Ensemble 4 ‘Live at SpaceFest!’ is currently available on Bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify and the CD is also available on the Nasiono Records website.

Aural Delights Radio Show – 17th October 2012

You can listen to it here

And this is what I played……

1 Curry Quiche Social Barrier Thing Demo
2 The Cornelius Crane Don’t Blame This Heart of Mine E.P. Too
3 Damn Vandals This Amazing Done for Desire
4 Eugene Twist If There’s Love Where I’m Going The Boy Who Had Everything
5 Devilman 93 Devilman
6 Curry Quiche Phonaphobia Demo
7 Flies On You The Last Pop Song Nothing To Write Home About
8 Lola Dutronic L’Amour Est Bleu Everyone’s a star
9 Man Kerosene Winos, Rhinos and Lunatics
10 Me and My Friends Green Back Dollar Breath A Level Head
11 Moff Skellington Said Naughty Norman Gravy On A Plate of Food
12 Journal-Keepers Still Here Demo
13 Curry Quiche Love Went with the rest Demo
14 Peter Hammill Red Shift The Peel Session

New Stuff – mid-October 2012 or “I should never have had that flu jab” ……

A general round-up as I have not done one for a while…….mainly due to the fact I’ve been busy plus at the moment I have the time as I am confined to the domicile due to the post flu jab nastiness that always besets me at this time of year……anyway enough of my medical nonsense , this is what has come in through the ether lately…..

  • Chelsea Wolfe has released a set of Rudimentary Peni covers – “Prayer for the Unborn” –  as part of Southern Records “Latitudes” series……similarly Bardo Pond have released a set of three improvs as part of the samepromo packshot series…..both very entertaining but Chelsea just about wins the race in terms of content and delivery…..
  • At the same time Chelsea has released a set of acoustic songs called “Unknown  Rooms” which compliments the “Live at Roadburn” album and demonstrates the quieter and more reflective side of her work.
  • Factory Acts are releasing their second self-released single “Senseless” (nice bit of alliteration there) on October 25th and rather marvellous it is too. No one else hitherto has quite managed to mingle electronica with dance and a post-punk feel in such a unique and arresting style. Excellent live and worthy of your listening time I would suggest.
  • The new Godspeed You Black Emperor album “‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” is immense – well worth the ten year wait ……
  • The new album from Leeds band Me and My Friends is called “Breath A Level Head” is an excellent cornucopia of styles and influences – breathtakingly quirky and highly entertaining.
  • We’ve all been getting extremely excited about Flies on You and their album “Nothing to write home about” which is best described as a “modern post punk primer” packed with ideas and variety and loveliness.
  • In a similar vein Lost Cassettes from Huddersfield have released, on Bandcamp, a remarkably listenable EP called “What We Doing After?”. It’s free so why no have a gander? Punky and full energy – toe tappingly good say I.
  • Lola Dutronic’s album “Everyone’s A Star” is as perfect a slice of electro-pop you will hear all year – and the single Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead has some of the best lyrics i’ve heard all year.
  • Streetswimmers are Lee Goulden, John Hamlin, and Jay Hughes and blend various musical styles together to create a marvellous fresh sound with nods towards folk, rock and indie – check them out on Bandcamp.
  • Skeleton Suite appear to have emerged from the ashes of Hans Island and have posted a couple of tracks to date on Facebook – very good indie sound.
  • Very impressed by Uncle Paul  from Blackpool who have a unique and rather compelling sound – their EP is rather good and takes its’ title from a Fall lyric so they obviously know what they are on about.
  • Kit B  continue to deliver excellent tunes – someone find them a drummer so we can catch them live – the latest two are up to the high standard we expect.