aural delights #21 – the return of farley

After a run of Christmas “chart” shows, some catching-up and last weeks Beefheart tribute, I realised that I had been neglecting the recommendations of my good friend Farley – erstwhile randonneur and campanologist – who forwards me regular recommendations from his record collection to play on the show. I’ve also been deluged with lots of new music during January from both unsigned and signed bands so i’ve been trying to pick out tracks that would fit well together aurally in the show. I have to thank Tony Thornborough, Stephen Doyle, Monty, Stu Currie, Eddy Mann and Ian Rothwell – fellow DJs at Salford City Radio fior playing the tunes I do not have time to play. Thanks also to Eddie and Gemma Legge for giving Tony the time to play unsigned acts on thier show on Friday afternoons.  As an instance I got a new single from Spencer Cloud and the Range Brothers the other week which for reasons which are to complicated to go into I could not fit into my show so the wonderful chaps at the Nine O’Clock Alliance at SCR have been playing it. And very good it is to! It’s called “Hypnotise” and shows a rawer side of the band’s work – pure rock and roll! I’ll be playing that in a couple of weeks.

Anyway I digress – lets talk about this weeks show. I kick off with a couple of local unsigned bands in Guile and Skankadelia. I’ve been blown away by the quality and variety of material that has been zapped into my in-box via the ethernet in the last four weeks and the two opening tracks exemplify that perfectly. On the show I mistakenly describe Guile as local. They are in fact from Cannock, which is some miles away from Greater Mancunia, but given they’ve played FAC251 in town then I guess we can display some degree of local affiliation. You can read more about them on thier My Space page.

However I can confirm that Skankadelia are “local” in that they all went to Salford University – although like Guile there is a Midlands link to Leicester. The band are getting a bit of a reputation around our radio station and our boss Roland Gent is aiming to get them in for an interview. I am rather fond of their wonderfully upbeat music. Again you can check them our on My Space.

I decided to fit four Farley fumbles into the show – both in order to catch up but also because I felt his next four selections in the pile fitted together well sonically. I’d played “How he wrote Elastica Man” before some time ago. It’s by Elastica featuring Mark E.Smith and friend of the show Julia Adamson, played a big part in the tunes construction. After that another ex-Fall man features in his band Marc Riley and the Creepers.

Next up is Rose Kemp from her new album “The Golden Shroud” which is reviewed elsewhere on this blog. Her marriage of folk and metal is pretty unique and deserves wider attention. The new album from Disappears got a bit of a grumpy review in a recent edition of the Wire but I think it’s rather good as exemplified by the title track. Another local artist is multi-instrumentalst James Hill who goes under the name of Bikini Test Failure. His second album “Fleecing the easily pleased” is reviewed elsewhere on this blog and opening track “Yes we are having a good time now” is a stunner.

Back to Farley for two more tracks – first up the brainchild of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal was one of the second wave of bands to emerge from the sprawling Elephant 6 collective. The band’s proclivity for lengthy track and album titles is clearly evidenced by this selection.  The final Farley for this show is the eclectic Penguin Cafe Orchestra from the “Year of the Dog” soundtrack.

At the request of Stephen Doyle my fellow DJ at Salford City Radio i’ve dipped into my extensive King Crimson collection and selected a classic piece of prog rock from the band’s first album. The impressive playing of this band and the stylistic changes from prog to rock to jazz is stunning.

A couple of unsigned bands forwarded tracks recently. Warrington’s Bill Davro have a fresh new sound and more details of the band can be checked out here.  And to prove Salford City Radio is getting an international reputation for playing new music Norwegians John Snow submitted some tracks recently – more details about them here.

To finish the show something via my chum The Great Gibbo who pointed out that the new Steve Wynn album was rather good. He has a new band called The Miracle 3 and the album “Northern Agression” is his best release in a while.

Listen to the show by clicking on the link below.

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doom folk?

I’m a bit late getting to this one as it’s been out since October – however in my defense I only got it in November, and there have been one to two dozen album’s out since then which have pre-occupied me. Not an artist I was particularly aware of either – nor should really as I don’t tend to dwell in the hinterlands between folk music and doom metal (unless you count some of the dodgy sci-fi/horror books I occasionally read). This is a unique sound, which attracts me, nestling as it does somewhere between traditional forms and the modernist approach to metal. By modernist on the latter I’m focusing on what Earth and Sunn 0))) tend to deliver – in that it is base simple riffing at a particular pace (deriving initially, if you want to go back that far, to Black Sabbath I).

There are three pieces on the album – which is called “Golden Shroud” – one at just over nine minutes, and the other two at seventeen and sixteen minutes respectively. They aren’t songs in the traditional sense – more “pieces” of music as such. The format is an opening harmony vocal section in the folk tradition which then morphs into intense riffing at a funereal pace with  Rose singing in her particularly intense way. The most captivating (if that’s the right word) tune “Blood Red Run”, which manages to capture Frippish riffing with Iommi fuzz pyrotechnics, is packed with variation whilst managing to deliver some attractive repetition. It’s half way through this particular piece of music that you begin to appreciate the pure power of Kemp’s voice which can be soaring over battered strings one minute, and then delivering almost wistful pastoral section the next. The music tends to develop organically over the length of the piece with one track seemingly moving over to the next.

You are going to have to be into progressive doom metal to get into this I suppose, or alive to this mix of the folk tradition and rock – but I think the voice takes the music somewhere a little more exciting than the seemingly endless parade of doom/death types that seem to release an album a day via the former Soviet Union – so don’t be put off by the genre-boxing i’m using here……you may find something which mangles your head enough to require repeated listening. That was definitely the impact on my ears anyway. At one point I began to liken it to PJ Harvey at her most intense – and then it threw me back to the early Fairports, and logically, the noise Osborne, Iommi, Ward and Butler conjured up on the first album.

The closing track “Lead Coffin” is one of the most intense, and memorable, pieces of music i’ve heard all year. The sense of ritual repetition, and the searing octave leaps she makes towards the end of the first section this song are breath-takingly exquisite, if that wasn’t enough the music then takes on the dynamics of something from King Crimson’s “Red” album but with an added decibel warning for those with sensitive ears. It certainly wipes the floor with other music in this genre in terms of power and variety of approach.

If you want a change from the hum-drum then give this a go – it’s certainly unique and challenging.

Rose Kemp’s website is here