What Lisa Did Next…..

Las Lanas

The Blind Year

Bandcamp

2nd April 2014

Las Lanas - The Blind Year Cover

When  I first started doing the radio lark back in 2009  one of the first “new” bands I chanced upon was an excellent New York combo called Renminbi, who I featured at the time. They then morphed into Magnetic Island who also produced some excellent material, and then, as it ever was in the busy world of listening to new music, I sort of lost track of what they were up to. So today, when I got an e-mail from Lisa Liu – the guitarist in the aforementioned  – who was introducing her new solo album to me, I was keen to find out what she has been up to in the intervening period.

Her biog on her website is quite illuminating and adds some context:

Lisa Liu grew up in sunny Southern California. At the age of 6, she started taking classical piano lessons and fell in love with Debussy and Brahms. At 13 she picked up the guitar and hasn’t looked back.

In 1999, LL moved to NYC and started playing in various indie/pop/post-punk/experimental bands including Danger, Giant Ranger!, Renminbi, and Le Rug. In 2005, she went back to music school and got her degree in jazz studies from Long Island University, Brooklyn. There, she studied with Robert Aquino, Sam Newsome,Tony Romano, and Carlo De Rosa.

LL has worked with venerable producer Don Fleming, scored a performance art piece for artist Mateo Tannatt, has written and released over 10 albums, and has toured the U.S. and Europe.

Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Lisa plays guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums. Her current projects include Las Lanas, Magnetic Island, Mixed Doubles, a solo noise guitar project and two jazz projects. Her musical interests vary widely from folk, post-punk, indie, noise, and gypsy jazz to fingerstyle.

Because I hardly throw any music away that I get in, and in order to get some context,  I trawled the hard discs for the Renminbi material (2009) and rediscovered the excellent “Surface” EP which sounds as good as it did five years ago – with a nod towards to Sonic Youth guitar/rhythm Lisa’s compelling and warm vocal style stands out as well as her fleet chord work. The Magnetic Island back catalogue proved to be more fulsome with a selection of singles and a debut album (2011) all of which still sound excellent. It was good to refresh my memory of these fine bands.

On then to this new album – Lisa is calling the project Las Lanas and the album is called “The Blind Year”. The trademark  Liu song structures and beautiful vocals are still here, but the hard post-punk/rock of the previous bands is replaced by altogether more measured and ambient soundscape. The stage is set with the stunning opener “Lie and Sow” which is a confection of arpeggio finger style guitar rolling under a dreamy vocal from Lisa. Songs are predominantly solo vocal and guitar pieces, with  solo vocal and piano or some keyboards added as texture in places. There is an effortless dreamy quality to the material, the recording is warm and natural with a strong positive feel to it.

Lisa cites Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, & Tori Amos as influencers for the album, and specifically the Drake reference comes through strongly – strong guitar work and moody, delicate, and hearfelt tunes. Of the album Lisa says “The album is called “The Blind Year” as a reference to a Chinese year that does not encompass a spring. In 2013, it was the year of the snake and a blind year. The superstition is that when it is a blind year, things don’t go quite right. My album is a response to it.”  

This is one of the most delightful albums that I have heard this year and I recommend it to you unreservedly.

Lisa L

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Aural Delights Radio Show – 29th February 2012

This weeks show is pretty much a continuation of last weeks with many of the bands previously featured – however a big focus on Ektoise and related off-shot bands forms the  core of the show, plus a new artist – Ben Whitehead. There’s the usual Farley Fumble and a new feature the Gibbo Nomination – both selections made by chums for material to include in the show…….so here we go again and you can listen to it here.…..

1 Bacchanal Party We Missed Half The Night Single
2 Ben Whitehead The Hook Album
3 Departures Surrender Departures
4 Ektoise The Shoreline By Midnight Live at Beetle Bar
5 Et Tu Bruce Dress Me Up In Bruises Suburban Sunshine
6 Hero and Leander Kettle Collider EP
7 Iggy Pop Fire Engine Fire Engine
8 Moff Skellington Four Peg Wooden Unit Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
9 Subsea Anenome En La Lejania
10 The Coke Authority Strange Orange Demo
11 The Finest Hour Janey Single
12 The Walkabouts Soul Thief Travels in the Outland
13 Kick to Kill Avalance Single
14 West Coast Sick Line Vunt Demo
15 Magnetic Island Morning Feedback Magnetic Island
16 Magnetic Island Whatever You Wanted Magnetic Island

Music Diary #18 – 18th January 2012 & Aural Delights Radio Show

So i’m currently wending my way through the massive slab of music that is the new Crippled Black Phoenix  album ((Mankind) The Crafty Ape and I’m wondering why it’s sounding so much like “Dark Side of the Moon”  at the beginning – pleased to advise though it sorts itself out from track three onwards and turns out to be a rather interesting slab of progressive post-rock.  There are two CDs worth here so if you are going to take the plunge then I suggest you set aside an evening to give it a good chance of being heard in totality as that’s the best way to do it.

Also being listened to is Dale Cooper Quartet with the Dictaphones  whose new album is called “Metamanoir” ; again the influence of mid period Floyd tends to bubble under the floating synthesis – this is being described by those in the know as Dark Jazz whatever the hell that means? – there is a definite laminal ambient ECM feel to it with its breathy tenor and shimmering guitar chords – the vocals echo ’50s cool jazz……albeit the lyrics are a tad maudlin in places (I suppose that’s the dark part of the jazz?).  Bit of a grower this one I think.

Note that Mr Springsteen has a new album due (and tour) which is described by Rolling Stone as “wild” —– hmmm, we will see.

Anyway on this weeks Aural Delights Radio Show  we have an interesting balance of indie, rock and prog (some of it nu-prog) – you can check out more information about the artists on their varicose Farcebook pages as linked below, and we conclude as usual with a Kiwi Farley Fumble…….listen here

1 Hong Kong in the 60s Footprints Willow Pattern Songs
2 Streaming Lights it’s a Mystery Single
3 Aperture Good to Know You Demo
4 Disappears Hibernation Sickness Pre Language
5 Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton Phasers Set to Stunning EP
6 The Mike Gatto Band The Phone Box Single
7 Burning Buildings Knowing, Not Knowing The Sleep Tapes
8 The Tapestry Take Turns Single
9 Magnetic Island The Thing Itself and Not the Myth Magnetic Island
10 Van Der Graaf Generator Ship of Fools I Prophecy Disaster
11 Limbs What Will Happen Olympics
12 Trojan Horse and the lights went down…. Trojan Horse
13 Blood Ceremony I’m Coming With You Blood Ceremony
14 Peter Gutteridge Don’t Catch Fire Stroke – Songs for Chris Knox

Music Diary #11 – 11th January 2012 – Aural Delights Radio Show

A relatively quiet day on the new things in box so I will concentrate on this day’s show….which is notable for the large proportion of new things being played.

I would single out the new Disappears album (Pre-Language)  as something to look forward to – now with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums this new release has moved on considerably from last years “Guider”. Also pleased to see at last the album from Limbs (Olympics) which further demonstrates Mike Chadwick’s exceptional compositional skill – for fans of quirkly English music this is one to check out. The second part of Earths two-fer “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light” moves into a far more improvisational area – this is considered music, painfully slow at times, but rich with ideas and sentiment. With the exception of the closing Farley Kiwi Fumble and a classic from The Walkabouts the bulk of the rest is new and unsigned work from around the country. You can find all of these people on Facebook easily.

The playlist is…..and you can hear it here

1 The Cosmonauts The Howl EP
2 Limbs The Worms Want Blood Olympics
3 Streaming Lights Wait A Minute Single
4 Comet Sands The Beautiful and Damned Recordings and Live Demos
5 Curry Quiche Love Went With All The Rest Demo
6 Earth The Corascene Dog Angels of Darkness Demons of Light II
7 Disappears All Gone White Pre Language
8 Invoke Nothings Changed Single
9 Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton Forbidden Fruit EP
10 The Walkabouts Lazarus Heart Ended Up A Stranger
11 After The Ordeal We Divide Single
12 The Coke Authority Great Expectations Demo
13 Magnetic Island Acadia Magnetic Island
14 The Sunshine Fix Last Night I Had A Dream The Future History of the Sunshine Fix

Aural Delights Radio Show – 4th January 2012

I’ll do the diary on another post as I’ve been a bit busy today – all of  which will be explained on the diary …

Anyway the first Aural Delights of 2012 is jammed packed with new stuff and some great stuff from last year……a few links and such but I’m a bit busy to do too much info…..

  • Unquiet Nights – Burning The Tracks – 21st Century Redemption Songs
  • The Cubical  –  Dirty Shame – It Aint Human
  • Cults – You Know What I Mean – Cults
  • Comet Sands – Andromeda – I predict greatness for this lot……
  • Curry Quiche –  Social Barrier Thing
  • Simon Waldram – Gravity
  • Paul J Riley – Blue
  • Magnetic island – Don’t Need I Now – from the new album. The latest message from the band says “January is going to be a busy month in Magnetic Island land. Our debut full-length drops on January 17, and we’ll be celebrating its release the following week at Death By Audio in Brooklyn with friends HHR, Bambara and Trabajo.Until then, we wanted to let you know that three tracks from the new album can now be heard in their full mastered glory thanks to Verbal Rocket and QRO Magazine. Grab “Don’t Need It Now” from the latest Verbal Rocket mixtape at http://verbalrocket.bandcamp.com and stream “Whatever You Wanted” and “When You’re Finished” via QRO Mag athttp://www.qromag.com/mp3s/Magnetic-Island-Whatever-You-Wanted-/.

    Expect at least one more song to drop before album release. And if you haven’t already, you can still reserve your copy of the LP and some special goodies ahead of time via our album pre-order at http://magneticisland.bandcamp.com/.”

  • Gang Gang Dance – Romance Layers – from the Eye Contact album
  • All India Radio – Bollywood Nights (Remix)
  • Dave Graney – I Am Your Humble Servant – from the Supermodified album
  • Vaudeville and Bad Omens – Bean Song – from Ravenna – kind of quirky
  • Calling All Astronauts – Someone Like You – from Western London – neu-Goth….???
  • The Statler Project – Plenty –  an Indie Dance Rudewave tune with a wee bit of what someone called Rocktronica from Glasgow.
  • Dadamah – Papa Doc – a Farley fumble from New Zealand

To listen go here

Music Diary – 1st January 2012

New Years Resolution – as the New Year starts – keep a daily diary of new music received so as to have some sort of record – not a bad idea given my memory…..so to kick of…and from the last week or so ….

  • Five new demo tracks from Kill Pretty – which will form part of a twelve track album coming out in January – all rather marvellous. Recorded in Stockport. Some classic Ian Moss lyrics and great playing from the Duttons and Mr Leigh. The band to watch in 2012 I prophesy somewhat giddily.
  • Got some new demos from The Coke Authority just before Christmas which are all rather good – and include a new version of the rather excellent Act A Fool. Another band to keep an eye out for.
  • Three tracks from various members of Day For Airtrikes (all getting a bit Animal Collective this lads!!) viz Little Idiot, Mi Amo Simmy (as featured earlier in 2011) and Claw The Thin Ice (aka Ian Breen) – all great especially the Breen track. Perversely, released on the edge of Xmas, meaning calling it an Xmas release was a little odd, the music transcends any seasonal association. Catch the seperate Little Idiot release on Bandcamp,  an interesting ambient work-out, plus the EPs etc from the other two – all good stuff. Fascinating how the various elements of DFA sound totally different from the combined sound.
  • New music from Toska Wilde received – now working with Luis Drayton. Three tunes which mix sci-fi melodrama, oriental melodies and electro-pop. The menacing blend of Drayton’s deeper voice and Wilde’s lighter tones with the ambient sounds are interesting indeed.
  • New album received from Lisa of Magnetic Island – rather fine – will definitely get some serious airplay – able to mix dream pop with a harder New York sound with ease.
  • Very impressed by Comet Sands who gave me a link to the their Bandcamp stuff – definately a band to watch out for in 2012. Their tune Andromeda has an immediacy and quirky likeability that demands hearing.
  • The interestingly named Curry Quiche sent me some tunes……..they have an acceptably listenable blend of 60s garage sensibility and psychedelic weirdness that sets them apart from the rest.
  • And at a local level the new single from John Herring has arrived (starts in the usual JH reflective fashion and then builds into a memorable piece of motorik melodicism) , also  have new tunes from Turrentine Jones and Hunting Bears. All great!
  • Marcus Miller has “revisited” Miles Davis first Warners album “Tutu” – two CDs of live stuff wherein the original vignettes are extended to overlong funky jams – also includes music not on Tutu – e.g. Jean Pierre (wherein we get three or four minutes of slap bass before the theme kicks in) – quite impressed with the ambient reworkings of some of the source material – nice loose feel – and Christian Scott does a passable Miles impression, but generally I guess I wish it was one CD shorter and he had got a producer in who knows when less is more. Can’t fault the production which is as sharp as you can get.

You can hear most of these, if not all, on my shows week beginning January 4th and 9th.