Wednesday, October 31, 2018
With the end of 2018 looming the music industry is already gearing up with scheduled releases and tasters for 2019. With albums from Sharon Van Etten and Deerhunter already inked in for January it promises not to be as barren as that month sometimes can be. Ahead of that the latter band have just released this, Death in Midsummer and it's the best thing they've done for some time.
Following the slightly disappointing, (to me at least) Fading Frontier album from 2016 it's a sign that this most distinctive band is back. The song should ceryainly alongside the promo where Bradford Cox, that most specific of frontmen pulls out all the stops. Prancing on a swing in a yellow dress above a Georgia swamp, making shapes on a broad deserted road, wandering round a derelict swamp, while the rest of the band just stand by, it's all pretty arresting to say the least. The song meanwhile is a cracker, mortality is an obvious concern, though according to press releases it focus on the 2017 Russian Revolution. Whatever, it's all highly promising.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cleveland's Ricky Hell, also of Ricky Hell & the Voidboys, (wonder who that's in tribute to?) with three fabulously catchy independent pop songs. Somewhere between Grunge and New Wave.
All three of these songs just glisten and this is clearly a man to watch.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Och! The cactii are on fire. Very, very odd the world we live in musically in 2018. That a band so evidently in thrall to Orange Juice, Josef K and Aztec Camera should hail from Mexico City.
Such is the case with the splendidly named Okama Flannel Boy. On this, their four track debut EP they party like it's 1981. Lead singer Fernando Torres with a delivery that's midway between Edwyn and Morrissey with only the slightest Mexican accent twang. It's all decidedly strange.
Like those earlier bands, this might not be to everyone's taste. But I like it a lot. It's gauche, wanton and very, very young. All power to the elbows of Okama Flannel Boy!
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
There seems to be a growing line of bands and artists that take their names nowadays from those of other bands and artists. Day Ravies, Kurt Vile, Joy Orbison and Sauna Youth to name just a few. Kevin Hairs can now be added to this list. He sounds very little like Kevin Ayers and quite a bit more like The Television Personalities. Here's something from his latest six track cassette release.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
There is a feature on the jukebox at Rosie's which allows you to import music which I've only just found out about. The first fruits of that realisation are Younger Than Yesterday by The Byrds and New York Dolls by The Dolls. Here's one of David Crosby's finest moments from the former.
Lewsberg are Rotterdam's Velvet Underground. The label is inevitable as soon as you hear them. They do the loose, strung out cool, they do the arty expression.
These three come from their recent cassette only eponymous release. They're named after fellow Rotterdam writer Robert Loesberg. They mutter in Dutch or sing in English with Dutch accents. All in all they're pretty damned great.
Monday, October 22, 2018
From The Village Green Preservation Society, released fifty years ago, on the same day as The Beatles White Album. There's a wonderful article with interviews with both Davies brothers commemorating it in this month's Mojo.
American Richard Swift died this summer and I wasn't really aware of him, I'm sorry to say. I am now, with the posthumous release of The Hex, a set of songs he was working on before his death, just released, in fitting tribute to his talents.
Pieced together for release in the months since his passing, the album was pretty much complete anyhow, '11 songs performed by me for family and friends' is how Swift announced it on Instagram. It's a haunted record. Full of wonderful studio effects, which should come as no surprise, the man after all was probably best known as producer for The Black Keys, The Shins, Lonnie Holley and others. It's drenched in echoes of Soul, Blues, Doo Wop and Music Hall, all spinning around Swift's evocative vocals.
The artists who this record reminds me of most are Curtis Mayfield , Elliott Smith and Harry Nilsson. Swift often vacillates magically between the three. But there's much more to this too.This is a magnificent, emotion loaded record and stands as a wonderful statement of legacy.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
Martin Bramah is one of the most unappreciated men in the whole history of Rock and Roll. As a pivotal member of The early Fall and as leader of The Blue Orchids, the band he broke away from them with Una Baines to form at the end of the Seventies, he has one of the most interesting perspectives expressed in British music over the last forty years and in their latest album Righteous Harmony Fist, he furthers and refines that vision.
The record is aptly named. It might as well be a mission statement. Bramah's way of doing things was always complimentary but contrasting from that of his former compadre and rival Mark E. Smith. Sharing the same wry, cynical take on the world but varying in terms of their tastes and musical approach, you suspect that Bramah veered towards Television while Smith preferred The Stooges. Bramah leaned towards a certain order while Smith favoured discord.
As if to underline this, Bramah deals in a more linear narrative too. Every song on Righteous Harmony Fist tells a story. About how the way the powers that be dictate how life should be lived is not the only path through the woods. About how nine to five is a cruel constraint, about how in the words of perhaps Bramah's most famous song, we are all victims of a 'bad education' and need instead to set ourselves our own curriculum.
Righteous Harmony Fist should certainly be on the reading list. As with much of Bramah's work it feels like we're experiencing a highly enjoyable but educational magic mushroom trip. Landscaped by reeling hallucinogenic melody, woozy organ, slapping drums, keening guitars. And all the time Bramah's flat but urgent vocals. In addition to the early Fall incarnation which he played in the closest reference points are probably the early Teardrop Explodes and Bunnymen. The Doors too. Oh and Seventies children's TV classic The Magic Roundabout. Bramah's best known statement is the Orchid's first album, 1982's The Greatest Hit, where he first really laid down his manifesto. This sounds to me like the best thing he's done since.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
White Denim's new record Performance got a fair bit of critical acclaim on its release recently. It's not all for me, rather fussy for my tastes but I do like this which went on the jukebox last night.
Papercuts sixth album Parallel Universe Blues is an indie record in the most spectacular sense of the word. It's an amalgam of so many features of the genre, incredibly sensitively played, a set of ten gossamer delicate alternative pop songs.
The opening two tracks Mattress On The Floor and Laughing Man are as good an opening pair of songs as I've heard this year on any record. Aping the classic melodic trajectory of Wire's wondrous Outdoor Miner they set the bar high, but the songs that follow, maintain an impeccable poise and beauty.
The reference points are quite clear; listing Velvet Underground, Wire, Spacemen 3, Velocity Girl Primal Scream, Spector, early Cure and Jesus & Mary Chain will probably paint as good a picture as possible of what's being splashed on the canvas here. Priceless teenage emotion and moments, cast in aspic. The fact that this is Jason Quever, (the man behind Papercuts), sixth record is not insignificant. He's utterly mastered the sound and sensibility he's been working towards. It's craftsmanship.
A whiter than white sound. Bleached almost, hooped top and fringe, Chelsea boots, Quever shows a mastery of the sound and attitude that's quite impeccable. The album never lets up. It's a small classic. October has been the richest month of the year in terms of records that have grabbed my interest and Parallel Universe Blues sparkles as remarkably as any among them.
Friday, October 19, 2018
Remarkably James Dean appears not to have made an appearance on this series before. So, to make amends, here's a rather eclectic song for him from an Irish singer-songwriter David Keenan (not the music journalist and writer of the same name).
Royal Headache, another in a line of fine Australian bands re-igniting the fire of Punk and New Wave, are no more. Apparently their split was somewhat ignominious. But from their ashes rises the phoenix of Shogun & the Sheets. fronted by that band's vocalist Shogun.
And they carry on very much where Royal Headache left off, with this, their debut release. Hold On Kid is blazing. All the desperate fury of The Saints or one of those fabulous offshoot Seventies bands featuring ex-members of The MC5 or Stooges.
Pissing Blood veers more towards Alice Cooper territory. Never particularly my favourite part of the Punk Sea. It's all done with the greatest sense of detail possible though. There's something determinedly archivist going on here. But it has all the full on energy and restless fuel of those great bands, something largely lost in the decades since. On the evidence of this, they'll be well worth watching.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
We're already at the point where we're looking to the point where albums are being scheduled for release in 2019 and we're starting to get tasters for them. Such is the case with Sharon Van Etten, whose new album Remind Me Tomorrow is due mid-January. Here's a taster, and as you'd expect it tastes good! Slightly muffled in terms of delivery but full of intent and purpose.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
If I had known that this had been on the jukebox for ages, ages ago, I would have played it. Loads. Now I do I intend to. A wonderful record from the time I was just constructing myself around the music and books I liked. Also a British hit single. Incredibly evocative and atmospheric. The clip clop beat is quite purposely reminiscent of galloping hooves. I don't know any other Theatre of Hate songs. I don't need to.
Monday, October 15, 2018
There's no lack of impeccable recreation of classic era soul around nowadays for those who seek this stuff out. The Daptone Record label first of all. Home of Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley and many more dedicated to that particular dream.
There are other smaller labels with similar visions. Loveland, Ohio's Colemine Records for example. And from there comes this, How Do I Talk To My Brother, an immaculate album from Ben Pirani, as good a record as you'll hear this year of this abiding instinct and love for Soul purity.
Housed in an artful sleeve, the record sculpts a classic sound, is lovingly crafted, and full of classic, aching soul sentiment. All in all it takes you to a place where it's just wonderful to be.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
And from Felt to another group who were greatly under-appreciated during their long career but are now getting some of the kudos that they deserve. As Simon Reynolds said of them, 'Always the same. Always different.' The wonderful Stereolab.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Japanese hippies Kikagaku Moyo are back with a new album Masana Temples released last week. It's more of the same of what anyone who's listened to and appreciated their previous records might expect. Psych, Folk, Kraut and Jap Rock, changing and shifting moods, in turns rocking and contemplative and pastoral.
But there's a gradual refining of their sound going on, and Masana Temples contains a number of career defining moments. The album has received a series of rather lukewarm reviews, at least the ones I've read, but I reckon it's a fine record, containing several tracks that I've returned to again and again over the past week.
Yes sure they're hippies, band photos and press releases attest to this quite blatantly, but frankly labels like this mean next to nothing in 2018. I even saw one reference to John Lydon's 'Never trust a hippie', quote in a negative review of the record. But Lydon himself was an avowed Can aficionado, and this is the band that Kikagaku Moyo take their most obvious cues from. And the influence reaps rewards.
There's also a distinctly utopian feeling to proceedings - as one might expect from hippies I suppose. That's more than welcome in this day and age. Masana Temples keeps up the good work laid down by the bands previous release and more. Never mind the knockers.
And to end this series, almost inevitably with this. This has been a breeze, never a chore, an indication of just how many good and great songs Felt had. It's also great to see how proudly Lawrence is still curating their legacy. There's a great interview with him in A Pessimist is Never Disappointed the fabulous blog listed on the right hand side of this page.
A rather lovely, ethereal debut album called Awaken. from a young, Manchester-based singer-songwriter. Released yesterday. It's reminiscent of late Sixties, early Seventies Folk. Vashti Bunyan comes to mind as does Britt Eklund in Whicker Man. But the production is silky and modern and all the while Caoilfhionn's voice floats above proceedings. It's remarkably assured considering this is her first album.
Thirteen songs in all, each of them well-judged, pastoral and frankly just beautiful. Rose is trying something very interesting. It's familiar but fresh at the same time. Give it a listen!
Friday, October 12, 2018
Thursday, October 11, 2018
A week ago I posted young Welsh band The Red Telephone's first single. Since then a link and video for their new song has appeared and it's equally fine. Equally veined in late Sixties British Psychedelia with a caustic vocal reminiscent of Luke Haines and The Auteurs in their New Wave prime. Splendid!
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
With the Felt series coming to a close, it will probably be Stereolab next. So this find last night is in anticipation of that.
Joe Stevens' New York Project Peel Dream Magazine, are Anglo-Indie classicists, worshiping at the altar of the early Nineties. Taking the first part of their name from legendary British DJ John Peel, they could easily have gained his approval and been invited in for an evening session had they been active in those increasingly far-off days.
Their first album Modern Meta Physic, (just out), is a tasteful, hipster swirl. Taking its cue from the third and fourth,(unreleased until years later), Velvet Underground albums. Ultra Vivid Scene, the quieter My Bloody Valentine, The Delgados and most especially Stereolab also sprinkle ingredients into the mix.
It's a bit monotonous at times but monotony is definitely part of the appeal of this stuff and the more I listen to it the more more-ish it gets. There are some very fine songs here and altogether this a highly promising debut. Groovy baby!