What do you mean are we feeling okay – very funny – indeed – yes two missives in as many days would normally warrant an extended lie down and a period of long hibernation for these musings but hey we’ve already got another currently simmering on the back hob which should be with you sometime Sunday – and in Sunday I mean – this Sunday with a further to follow later in the week and then it’s the hibernation.
So what’s been happening in the tales from the attic sound pad – well we’ve packed in smoking. Well not exactly, its been 15 minutes since our last tab. Feeling good. We’re road testing those electronic cigarettes – not convinced though given they have a battery life of a fire fly and are twice the size of a usual cigarette giving a somewhat comical appearance much reminiscent of those candy type things from childhood. Most annoying thing is that I’ve never been asked so much for a light which when explained away encourages a somewhat knowing grin on the face of the asking party. We’ve also heard on the grapevine of electronic devices that resemble a cross between a bong and a pen. I could and would of course resort to being a social smoker if I knew exactly what a social smoker was, I mean is a social smoker the opposite of an unsocial smoker who perhaps swears and cusses at passers by, something I should say that reminds me of a famous routine by Alexei Sayle wherein he did a rant about going into Boots to commit drug abuse by shouting an screaming at the pain killer tablets.
Updates can be found via –
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Snail – 71 Pennsylvania Road, LIVERPOOL, L13 9BA, UK.
Here amid the bijou confines of the tales from the attic rock n’ roll tree house warming our hides on tea candles our thoughts often turn to such mind in deep thought matters as ’who nicked the ladder’ and where is our promo copy of the new Steven Wilson album. While penning – yea we chuckled at that to – these musings we fret and worry trying to think up ideas to attract readers – so far numbering three and dwindling – its something we’ve given up on in truth. So to make this something of a self interest marketing tool we will be doing – I believe you young folk call – shout outs to record labels requesting key releases – so without further ado –
‘WHERE IS MY STEVEN WILSON ALBUM PROMO YOU BLIGHTERS AND IF YOU COULD THROW IN A LITTLE LADDER THAT’D MUCH OBLIGED’.
Sounds and stuff…..the menu for those too lazy or fearing for their eyesight goes as follows….
Muted Rainbow, revenant sea, kenelis, monument XIII, the one ensemble, tulip mania, classic rock / rise above sampler review, tulip mania, soft hearted scientists, polly scattergood, the bloogs, rob clarke and the wool tones, scott and Charlene’s wedding, steven Wilson, Tully craft, youth lagoon, jonny cola and the A grades, haq, team morale, projecto cellophane, monster killed by laser, dream themes, shrag, joanne joanne, tokolosh, cymbals, m sage, wolf alice, lee Jackson in space, doleful lions, maps and diagrams and the crypts…..
In between a lull period during the Australian open final – indeed there was one – the unsightly and extended close up shot of Murray’s blistered feet being treated during the break between sets – and there was me tucking into me breakfast yoghurt – we fired up the communication channels to the inter web and took something of pot luck dip into the band camp universe to happily stumble across this little darling. Described as ‘a site of gradient exchange….improvisation based on colours and hues, blues and gospels in unknown languages….’ which I must admit had we read before we’d heard would have had us a mite perplexed and perhaps of the mind to skip and play elsewhere. Luckily we’d already hit the play button and were too far deep in affection to work out the cryptic word play. ‘weird waltz for three conjurors’ be the tracks name by an ensemble calling themselves Muted Rainbow who hail from China and who by the looks of things judging by the activity on their band camp page busy themselves by uploading a track a month for public consumption. From what we can gather a collective loosely based around the talents of Michelle Proksell and Gabriele de Seta who together concoct these recordings sparsely in bedroom settings. Culled from the ‘intuitions II’ set – also available for listening appreciation elsewhere on this site, ’weird waltz for three conjurors’ is a quietly dissipating firecracker of sound, fog dampened drone-scapes sparingly mainline beneath a rush of spiralling sonic swirls, the sounds woozy the texture fluid almost sleepy headed, sighing and spectral as it lollops in its own archaic bewitchment – quite dizzily disarming if you ask me. Root around the site a bit – back to June as it happens – and you’ll stumble upon ’Kafka’ which aside sharing sonic tongues with the likes of moonwood – who incidentally featured in these pages to much adoration last missive out – and MV & EE with its eerie and minimalist dust croaked blues scratched and clawed in discordant howls of sky scarring skree, this all too brief and blistered beauty sets up home on an axis intersecting the aural poles separating Bruce Russell and Roy Montgomery. http://mutedrainbow.bandcamp.com/track/weird-waltz-for-three-foreign-conjurors
There’ll be ‘epic’ roadside picnic pleasures to come later in the missive, for now though something of a tasty curio that sees much loved of this parish Wizards Tell Lies in side project shock as Revenant Sea fronting out Mr Wiggan AKA Roadside Picnic in a sonic face off. Prepped for a forthcoming EP entitled ’their words are lost in the din of jets’, ’the sun of these corridors’ has been leaked on the WTL’s sound cloud page and wonderful it is to. A truly revelatory experience that sees a joining of aural mindsets to conjure and craft something truly seismic and celestial, a colossal end of days happening as were, monastic, apocalyptic and spirited with what sounds like the onset of creations final moments, fracturing motifs spiked with impending tension play out upon this panoramic stage, here you’ll be immersed amid seas of sonic sunbursts heralding a full circle forming cycle of gradual decay imploding and dissipating into rebirth. Immense and ethereally epic. http://m.soundcloud.com/wizards-tell-lies/roadside-picnic-the-revenant/s-bV90S
Freebie download time. Now I’m certain that in the near dim dark past we’ve featured this lot in a recent tales from the attic broadcast – but can we find the relevant citation – can we bugger as like. One thing that is for certain is that its been way too long since the Kenelis ones graced our hi-fi – memory strays to a debuting release from many moons ago. Anyhow that was then this is now – hook up to the kenelis cyber site via the link below – talk about feeding with silver spoons – and announce your adoration by way of signing to their mailing list and in return they’ll enhance your record collections taste factoring by way of a thank you download of a cut entitled ’jealous’. ripped from their recent ’fake’ full length ’jealous’ is a searing pop dolly that curdles with fist clenching panic attacking fury all bled through with a shock-a-rola Gung ho garnishing that belies beneath its warring surface a sweetly demurred passion – kind of Breeders meets Belly retooled with a hardcore framing. Classy. http://www.kenelis.com/home.cfm
Must admit that this honey is a perfect listening companion at 4am in the morning which as it happens is the time right now give or take 10 minutes or so. Monument XIII is the alter ego pet name of Will Burnet – formerly masquerading as eeco unlimited and internet club, his latest opus ’honestly’ is a coolly spirited collection of mellowed mood murmurs ’ice’ available via the sound cloud link below is particularly sculptured and porcelain framed all devilishly caressed in an arresting easy on the ear simplicity that opines gracefully to a noir sketched nocturnal whisper that clips the tender romantic ache and classicism of both an early 70’s in situ Morricone and Mancini with its poised fragile beguiled beauty and lonesome reflective heartache being brought to sharp regretful focus by the appearance of an emotion sapping saxophone solo, listening wise sitting somewhere between Antonymes and Yellow 6 all said. A full download of the aforementioned album ‘honestly’ is yours for the asking via http://www.tinymixtapes.com/chocolate-grinder/listen-monument-xiii-honestly
More Volcano the Bear related ear wear comes in the guise of a new set by Daniel Padden’s the one ensemble who in collaboration with Sarah Kenchington has crafted something of a soundtrack paying homage to ’Dummy Jim’. Dummy Jim for those unaware was known other than James Duthie, a death mute Scotsman who famously travelled by bike on a epic 10000 mile tour in 1951 and recounted his tales in a journal entitled ’I cycled into the Artic Circle’ a copy of which found its way into a used bookshop on the isle of Iona where worked the director Matt Hulse’s mother. The album wonderfully described by those brainwashed guys apparently features 19 suites varying in length, style and texture, as Brainwashed notes it incorporates a kaleidoscopic buffet of ’anglo folk’ accents blended and bended in ’free jazz and drone’. three excerpt samples find themselves tagged to the end of this descriptive script all typically defined by Padden’s weird ear. Here you’ll find the divinely lush laden serenade ’the crab instructs her young’ which had we been none the wise we’d have hazarded a guess was something peeled from an early sonic incarnation of animal collective discovered hatching homely old world campfire gospels of sorts. Better still is the fog bound hark that is the funereal home coming drone-scape that is ’universal wonders’ which on its too brief appearance sounded like the highlands of Scotland relocated to deep Chicago. All said our favourite of the trio is ’cows’ – a curiously bent out of shape and crookedly clock working archaic rustic folk ramble that creaks, yawns and stretches as though a working farmyard nudged out of its deep sleeping slumber – quite satisfyingly odd.
An email from Tom of Tulipomania who its been ages since we heard from gave us a heads up to their most recent video. The band currently busy in the studio putting the finishing coat to a soon to be released and as yet untitled full length. For now though ‘rumble thud’. We must admit we’ve a fond spot for this lot not least because they appear to weave between generic classifications and in so doing make it hard to easily pigeon hole, case in point this little gem. Prized from their ’the whispering campaign’ set, ’rumble thud’ is courted by a darkly magnetic goth glamour much prevalent by way of a late 80’s 4AD roster, seductively dislocated and fracturing, the schizoid elements of a Bowie ‘scary monsters’ era filter just beneath the shadow lined surfaces within albeit as though remodelled and recalibrated by a clearly bliss kissed and demurring Associates in a studio collusion with AR Kane all welded upon a distinctly wiring Cure-esque pop framing that comes spiked by a definable old school Roxy Music allure.
The video can be viewed here…..
The more cheery among you might be advised to heed and hear the cover mounted sampler currently gracing the latest issue of Classic Rock. Last time we did an in depth review of a Rise Above sampler – mainly in the hope of currying favour and getting on their mailing list was several years ago. Well sometimes you just have to chance your hand and anyway when was the last time you saw a rise above release hanging around your local emporium waiting to gather dust. Exactly. Never. Painstakingly ploughing through the grooves of said CD we emailed said wordy thing off to the label. Result – not even a reply to say ’yea cheers’. so we waited and waited and still bugger all. So basically in a moody we stopped reviewing the releases that they weren’t sending anyway. Ha – bet that hurt. So at this juncture you might be rightly asking yourself – so what’s changed. well we’ve been hearing good things about a combo going by the name of – get this it’s a killer name – Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats who will shortly be gracing record world with a limited 7 inch release and an album to follow – well we say album – so happens we’ve lost the email proclaiming all manner of Uncle Acid happenings not least their – if memory serves right – debuting London shows – that said that’s what the inter web is for so if interested – and you ought to be – getting rummaging around that there cyberspace. The single – for those caring and still awake at this juncture is titled ’poison apples’ incidentally the name of this sampler CD with an added ed as in poisoned. it’s a bit of a thumper and imagines a super cooled and sexy Sabbathian thrug out with the Sweet Apples glittered up and exacting dirty deeds to a pulverising beatnik grizzled strut upon thought lost slabs of T-Rex boog-a-loo. Cathedral’s last stand is marked by ’tower of silence’ – culled from their forthcoming ‘the last spire’ set the band have decided to call it a day though not before exiting with this demonic slab of doom drilled stoner sludge which by rights should leave you emptied and devoid of hope and salvation. Admiral cloudesley shovell – great name – haven’t a clue what it means – ‘red admiral, black sunrise’ is a scalding black hole brooding beast, slavishly grizzled in stoner grooves and spiked in all manner beatnik décor. Absolutely superb and near leaving us jaw agape is ‘embrace the stone’ by Age of Taurus, a messianic slab of wide screened doom dipped groove replete with monastic chorals and clipped in hell’s venom as the opening brooding salvo quickly ratchets to a blistering finale. Staying with things dipped in doom dread, Septic Tank features various members of Cathedral taking things back to basics, the uncompromising ’the slaughter’ is equipped with a head butting bitches brew of trashed out grind core that’s utterly unruly, fierce some and quite frankly fried – like some smacked out imp crudely reared on a diet of classic earache ear wear. Rescued from the vaults rog and pip where according to the liner notes 60’s freak beat-ers the Sorrows in a former life, culled from a planned retrospective ‘why won’t you do what I want’ is the glam gouged sound of a dirty Sweet punching holes in a youthful Queen. San Diego’s Astra weigh in with ‘Quake meat’ to infuse some deeply alluring prog noodling moulded in melodic classicism. Some nifty and soaring post prog boogie from Saturnalia in the guise of ’winchester town’ should whet appetites for a proposed re-issue campaign on rise above’s relics sub imprint later this year. Most immediate of the sampler set is ‘into the night’ by hidden masters – a little gem undercut and framed in an infectiously effervescent skin that bleeds subtle psych overtones with a pop prog mindset while skirting and skipping across your stereophonic head with the most attractively acute angular motifs.
Those fancying their sounds somewhat more of the strut gouged variety ought to check out Swedish combo troubled horse whose ‘one step closer to your grave’ offers a potent slab of stadium scowling rock a boogie sounding not unlike a smoked out gillan, Canadian rockers Sheavy stump up the dream weaving and mellowed ‘pictures of you’. moss round up the pack with some ominous slo-core stoner sludge in the shape of ’horrible night’ which is so scarred in bad assed Sabbath like soul sapping solace that they make Earth sound like speed freaking pop darlings. All said highlight of the collection comes courtesy of the bewitching purson whose ‘spider world farm’ is cast in a spell weaving prog psyche tapestry invested in a mercurial mysticism that echoes classic era Curved Air. As to the magazine itself – bugger me 5 and a half quid cover price – a quick flick through reveals spots on Haim and freefall while the bulk of this edition is taken up by another lists extravaganza – as though you needed more – this one boasting 250 cuts you should hear before you die as selected by various personnel and billed as a connoisseur’s choice collating the lost gems from the kraut, alt, super group, melodic, prog, 60’s, 80’s, power, glam, goth, country and punk et al strains of rock’s ever extending family tree. Mott the hoople’s ‘roll away the stone’ is the subject of this months double billing ‘stories behind the songs’ along with joan jett’s ‘I love rock n’ roll’ while Dave Grohl is subjected to the infamous question and answer chair and bright spotlight. Elsewhere buyers guide trawls through the solo archive of Robert Plant while the issues centre spot finds itself occupied by Joe Cocker.
Its seems only right that Soft Hearted Scientists should find safe haven within the warm embrace of the fruits de mer extended family. Belonging to an endangered peculiar pop species the Soft Hearted Scientists are like nothing you’ve encountered. For us, we encountered and dare we say were much allured and bewitched way back in the midst of 2003 / 04 when through our letter box dropped a copy of their debuting EP ‘Wendigo’. within lurked four tracks of such unusual eccentric musicality that we found that platter pretty much on repeat play over the coming months along with its attending ‘Bethesda’ and ‘midnight mutinies’ sets all of which would find themselves gathered up and issued on a compilation set entitled ‘uncanny tales from the everyday undergrowth’ – heavily weighted within by the appearance of 6 selections the best being ‘brother sister‘ with its smoked seasoning of delirious airy fairy medieval motifs. ordinarily at this point I’d be citing all manner of cyberspace links leading to reviews we’d cobbled together over the years saluting and highly recommending this unique collective’s wares to all who’d listen (including as it happens the dudes at fruits de mer), alas some clown at losing today has seen fit to pull the site from existence resulting in14 years of reviews going missing into the great cyber black hole. Grumbling aside – this will be a sore saga that‘ll run with increasing frustration and anger – mark my words. Utterly at odds with what was passing for indie / underground hip-ness at the time the SHS were a rare breath of fresh air, curious and cuckoo but fresh all the same. In fact on a rare record spinning appearance serving to warm a small assembling of persons awaiting the taking to the stage of some band or other I do recall dropping into my esoteric and strangely baffling set ’the yongy bongy bo’ only to be greeted by quizzical looks of puzzlement and a detectable remote interest. Looks like this either mean one of two things – you’ve engaged and amazed your listening audience or else you’ve hit an impasse and perhaps a career in playing your record collection to a group of strangers is never going to happen. I was I regret to say never invited back again which I hasten to add to add wasn’t the fault of the SHS track in question and probably had something to do with the Merzbow track I threw in for mischief, methinks the gathered crowd of folky yokels weren’t quite ready for a 10 minute blast of ear splitting power drill sounds despite one wit enquiring as to which black and decker model I was playing. So what attracted me to Soft Hearted Scientists you might ask – well it seemed they came from a place of wonder, not quite of this time, somewhere steeped in enchantment, dragons and folklore, perhaps a place where the ails of modern life hadn’t corrupted and ruined, somewhere pure, undiluted and remaining – well – yesterday – if you get my drift. My life on the other hand was in sharp contrast dogged by ill timed trains, the drudgery of 9 to5 office boredom, bitching ex’s and living in dog shit digs with a housemate whose foot odour literally peeled plaster from walls and killed small animals. In short their world was an infinitely better place to inhabit than my own and so in their eccentric quirkiness and wonkiness I escaped. Their sound is fermented, casked and distilled in a timeless tapestry of village fayre fancies imbibed on the subtle brushstrokes of psyche, prog, pastoral rustics and an unworldly melodic vocabulary steeped in a pristinely purred pop pageantry. Of today‘s aural alchemists perhaps Cranium Pie would prove to be their nearest allies, though muddy the mix in a vibrant kaleidoscopic blend of reference markers such as love, tull, floyd with barrett – of course, Caravan, tunng, fellow countrymen Gorky’s zygotic mynci and the lesser known cast of the adored and much missed angst music imprint and a dashing of early Cud and you only begin to scratch away at the outer surface of the impeccable song craft hatched amid these mercurial minstrels. In April the band will embark on the self release of their – if my numbers check okay – 5th album. Entitled ’false light’ this limited set will be heralded by an exhaustive and humungous double vinyl retrospective from fruits de mer. ‘whatever happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists’ doffs its cap to these wayward Welsh souls – and yes it does feature not once but twice – an impish take on that famous ‘likely lads’ theme from which the albums title subtly borrows. Spread across 31 inches of coloured wax – like that’ll be a double album plus an additional seven inch EP – and housed in a lush looking gatefold sleeve that’s limited to just 800 copies, this 20 track collection takes the would be listener on a magic carpet ride through the Scientist ones past, present and future. With a smattering of cuts culled from each of the ensembles 4 albums along with a peppering of taster treats from the aforementioned ‘false light’ set and an EP of previously unreleased and exclusive to this retrospective gathering of out take sessions from ‘take time to wander in a whirling world’ recording. ‘whatever happened….‘ invites you to warm yourself to the deceptive delights of SHS. Here the willowy fairy dust folk genteel of the undulating scapes of ’whirling world’ admirably enacted by way of 5 cuts serve to softly seduce, the pick of the bunch being ’eyes’ with its purred and shimmered 60’s pop radiance nibbling around a sonic sketchbook possessed of small faces and zombies doodles. In remarkable contrast the four selections prized from the ’scarecrow smiles’ full length reveal moods coded with a more definably psych fixing all stowed away in a shadow grilled darkness the best of which sees ’the garden song’ hypnotically lilted in a macabre mooring lush in lysergic curvatures as though a classic era ’Alice’ inspired Syd transported to the disorientating mind scapes of a ’magical mystery tour’ era Harrison. ’wandermoon’ their last full length which sneaked beneath the radar in 2011 much paralleled in style the debuting Giant Paw set a year or so earlier is alas only serviced here by the inclusion of two cuts with ‘the trees don’t seem to know its September’ standing head and shoulders kookily screwed upon a lolloping crystal set styled sepia dripped harmony laden smokiness that nods to the exquisite song craft of Mr Wilson. Serving as teasers heralding the coming of ‘false light’ in April finds both ‘Halloween people’ and ‘night of the hunter’ nestling in the grooved undergrowth, the former a roving jig aligned in impish wordplay and attractive teased in rustic aromatics crookedly acute in the spring heeled musicality of sun bathed pastures. The latter a longing slice of demurred driftwood sun dripped in lysergic swirls and betrayed in a crystalline lazy eyed pop precision that hints at the handcraft of Partridge, Moulding et al. All said a perfect introduction for those unfamiliar and an about time affirmation indeed for those well versed in all things Soft Hearted Scientists that they are a truly inspired link to pop’s lost eccentricity.
Are Client still around, we only ask mainly because we know how fickle these bands can be, one minute they are there the next you take your eye off the ball and the blighters have disappear off radar. Of course the real reason for enquiring is because we’ve noted something of the Client DNA strains lurking amid the aural plexus of Polly Scattergood’s ’wanderlust’ albeit as though sequined into a multi generic cold cool nugget that shares space with Rubicks and Goldfrapp both found colluding together to bastardise remnants from Tubeway Army’s ‘replicas. Oh and this is quite frankly gorgeous in a classic era Knife type way and comes culled from Ms Scattergood’s forthcoming second full length via mute – free download via https://soundcloud.com/pollyscattergood/polly-scattergood-wanderlust ’
Not one for spoiling you but be honest if you haven’t taken the hint after three mentions on the trot then either I’m wasting my time or you’ve parked your backside on a different web site and are currently stocking up on naff selections recommended by said tasteless touts or else by way of a combination of Radio 1 play listings and persons possessed of a musical taste with a mental age of 4. Latest scallywags to the ever blossoming 60’s scouse scene – see wicked whispers et al and recently eyed on a must have fruits de mer sampler set are Rob Clarke and the Wooltones. Buttoned and braced in all manner of coolly coalescing smoked paisley pop purrs ’are you wool toned’ is one of those rare beasts plucked and fashioned from the finest threads of a lost time in pop’s rich past, silvered in the subtle breeze of the Byrds ’8 miles high’ and turned on by the mesmeric slow burn of a feint garage fuzz framing, this hippy chic sultrily twists and moulds itself upon a would be primitive Hamburg era Beatle-esque persona. In short pure class. That said before rooting out the bunting to adorn upon it it’s the flip side ‘colours of the sun’ that proves to be the main course here, darker in intent and glowed by an alluring softly spun lysergic lilt, this bruised and betraying wasted dude applies it psychedelic brushstrokes to mix elements of the misunderstood and the autumn leaves into its hallucinogenic haloed grooves.
Another record type thing with which we have bugger all information about. I’m suspecting that we might have featured the bloogs in past missives but due to the fact that some wit at losing today has pulled the site and with it a wealth of citations via 10 years plus of reviews then sadly you are going to have to take my word for it and hope that my fading memory is right. Mind you I could of course be getting mixed up with the boggs a record by whom we stumbled across only the other day not that this matters a jot to the bloogs who by now have given up scratching their heads and lost patience to bugger off down the local watering hole muttering ill thoughts at this scribe. ’freezing rain’ the latest outing from this London based quartet is a bit of a slow burner, its initial moments scratch awkwardly to a disjointed out of focus coda that sounds not to dissimilar to any number of early career b-sides found lurking on the flips of police records from yesteryear, from out of this shuffling and stumbling though emerges the sweetest off set effervescent tilt of shimmering 60’s harmonies your likely to hear in a fair old month or three whose bitter sweet rush ripples to the softening power pop purr of the jags and split enz.
Something else that’s been needling our hi-fi of late so to speak is a quite nifty EP from Scott and Charlene’s Wedding. Due out shortly by all accounts nailed upon 10 inches of wax via critical heights, this five track lovely – incidentally entitled ’two weeks’ EP is the follow up to their debuting ’para vista social club’ which alas and to much audible grumbling and grinding of teeth we here appear a little light on. From New York via Melbourne this collective headed up by Craig Dermody have a certain lo-fi jangling twee spirit about their persona with both the ridiculously infectious ’two weeks’ and ’gammy leg’ acutely cutting spiky shapes as though the fruition of a late night studio sharing experience between a youthful Go Betweens and the Pastels with the former particularly sun charmed in a sprightly and frisky dappling of quick silvering needlework much recalling the pooh sticks. Elsewhere there’s the slacker blues scowl ‘I wanna die’ which has you suspecting that amid it road rough treads there’s been a somewhat hitherto peaking at the pages of Jonathan Richman’s diary doodles afoot while the distractively jaunty ‘my world’ struts, stumbles and swoons like an a grade Pavement in full swaggering effect. All said best of the set is the parting ’hazy morning’ for amid the slacker toned discordance and fragmenting intones there’s a wonderfully attaching fucked up nonchalance unto whose spirit the DNA of Television is bleaching into the mix.
I’m suspecting this wont be the last time we mention the name Steven Wilson in this particular missive, the porcupine tree man has been in demand in recent times what with being tasked at re-mastering the back catalogue of King Crimson and his collaboration with Opeth main man Mikel Akerfeldt as Storm Corrosion. Then there’s been the juggling of porcupine tree duties and the quiet though acclaimed progress of his solo career which later this month sees the release of his third full length in the guise of ‘the raven that refused to sing’. here’s the animated video accompanying the lead cut must admit this freaked our cat Dylan something about Wilson’s hushed narrative had his ears a pricked and this is a feline whose sat through all manner of power electronics, noise and no wave niceties without so much as blinking an eyelid. Anyway adorned by the perfect accompaniment of a chilling and minimalist video penned by Jessica Cope which much mirrors those surreal eastern European animations that at one time spooked and ghosted upon the screens of early 70’s children’s TV unto artistic metaphors for death reign in ever deepening detail, Wilson’s touch is elegiac ally dimpled in all manner of spectral timbres. Meek and mournful, the albums closing call along with its 5 aural siblings is threaded together by the unifying theme of the supernatural and various ghost stories, here the protagonist finds his life haunted and stilled by the death of his baby sister as a child, lonely and elderly the story unfolds to reveal he’s lived his life alone soured in regret until one day a raven visits to whom in his sorrow he mistakes for a visitation by his sister. Haunting and harrowing framed to the genteel groan of a melancholic key motif set upon the slow infusion of delicately demurred strings, this masterwork reveals a starkly contrasting countenance wherein the authors ache devoured by both despair and fading hope is softly presaged and serenaded by the silken string classicism of the dramatic signatures lifting it from below. Tearfully elegant in short.
Absolutely adoring this, the return of the mighty Tully craft – ‘lost in the light rotation’ due out shortly via fortuna pop and magic marker is their first full length in 5 years. Serving as a sly taster of what to expect the title cut makes an appearance at the end of the month. Three and a half minutes of feel good exuberance which by rights should be bottled up and served from chemist counters, an utterly smile happy feast of biff bang pow indie pop a go for those floppy fringed heads among you who swoon to the chirpy charge of sun beamed riffolas, hearty harmonies twinkle set bells, Monkees like motifs and the general all around vibe of someone setting of a precocious pristine pop paint bomb in your favourite listening space. So infectious the blighter might require jabs.
Moving picture show goes like this…..
Youth lagoon for those unaware of such things – me included – is the melodic alter ego of one Trevor Powers whose debuting ’the year of hibernation’ was born out of a personal experiment to map the trails of his mind through minimalist and ambient sounds. So not quite your girl meets boy musical discovery fair then but then providing enough of a passing interest for the fat possum imprint to raise an enquiring eyebrow or two and sign him to their enviable roster wherein he was cajoled into touring said set before being guided back into seclusion to pen a follow up only to emerge into the radiant sun light some months later with a new bag of tunes under his arm in the guise of ’wondrous bughouse’. ’mute’ culled from that impending set is a gloriously trip dipped dream coat of sound, best experienced through cans in order to enhance the headphonic experience within, there’s something busy signals like about its wares which once connected to ear space form what can only be described as a huge pulsating ever growing orb inside the headspace upon which sits a demurring carnival of sound that one suspects finds itself located on a psychedelic ice cream van marshalled by Spiritualized under the warping tutelage of the animal collective. Utterly hypnotic, mesmerising and out there. Any questions. https://soundcloud.com/fatpossum/youth-lagoon-mute/
Long time no hear and returning to the fray with an absolute dandified slice of the dogs danders are Jonny Cola and the A Grades. Away from our listening affections for well too long and with good reason. Last adorning our turntable with the near perfect ‘halo’ set from way back last March it seemed that the A Grades star was finally in a much deserved ascendancy and coasting to wider acclaim and adoration setting things up at last for greater things. Fate however is a fickle mistress for lead grader Jonny succumbed to end stage kidney failure resulting in all band plans and an intended marriage to long time girlfriend to be being put on long term hold. Over the course of the pursuing months, a consuming regime of prescribed drugs and dialysis battled hard to negate the condition worsening, the long term prognosis though wasn’t good until in November Jonny’s fiancée made the life changing commitment and agreed to be a living donor. With the transplant a success and the recuperation process served the game is afoot with respect to the A Grades, the follow up to their debuting ‘in debt’ set is being delicately woven as I write with a release tentatively planned for later in the year. By way of a taster there’s the small matter of a taster single due for consumer unveiling just prior to Easter. To be released on limited 7 inch wax, the promo copies for ‘straight to video’ / ‘Marlborough road’ have been hardwired onto a DVD set wherein a 10 minute film footage rolls out to encompass the videos for the aforementioned cuts airbrushed into an impish framing that twists elements of ‘the ring‘ into a docu-soap like fly on the wall recording which cleverly ends at the beginning wherein our protagonist is given a video cassette entitled ‘straight to video’ – no spoilers there then. As to the songs themselves, rising phoenix like ’straight to video’ partly sours in its mortality, set in a dream like sequence it aches its soars with glittered ambition to reveal the ensemble at their most magnificent and majestic, bliss kissed with a stunning glam retro vibe that irrefutably tugs at a ‘different class’ era pulp styled outsider-ism whilst clipped with butler-esque ‘dog man star’ shenanigans and tailored with just enough strut cooled sassiness to have you wondering if the blighters been time tunnelled from a 73 edition of top of the pops. Over on the flip the sinew tensing throb of the rousing ’Marlborough road’ is a pictorial London after lights out set to a stirring transistor teasing calm to arms riffola. The bollocks by our reckoning. Out on scratchy incidentally.
Think I might be right in saying that we have a handful of bearsuit releases currently lurking around awaiting closer attention, heading the pile and falling headlong into our affections is a new collaborative set that pairs the talents of Harold Nono with N-qia who under the collective nom de plume Haq have hatched the simply immaculate ’nocturnal’. with ghost like delight this twelve track set is tenderly and sublimely seduced to a landscape that’s glitch glowed and immersed in an after lights out cool sophistication. Delicately applying elements of early / mid 90’s Bristol and Birmingham down tempo / electronica scenes, Haq hardwire to their spectral tapestry enchanting folk corteges – as on the ghostly siren-esque ‘lifted’ – that swap love notes with sepia twisted torch trims upon which are moulded and sculptured an array of rustling beats and lo-fi electronica. Unworldly and deeply absorbing, the sound of Haq is both bewitching and beguiled, like a secret hideaway accidentally stumbled upon they don’t take kindly to the hustle and bustle of day time preferring instead a hushed setting shadow lined and stilled. In terms of reference markers perhaps smile down upon us which brought to wider acclaim the enviable talents of moomlooo courtesy of the esteemed static caravan imprint comes close to veering into haq’s eclectic and mysterious noir scratched orbit. Not least is this the case than on the shy eyed frost framed beauty that is ‘jikan ga nai’. Somewhere else the dinked dizziness of the dreamily demurred ‘retrospect’ tunes itself into the frequency of the much missed l’augmentation those preferring matters more lulling and lullaby-esque will do well to explore the seductive ambient textures of ‘poison tree’ which had we not known better we’d have hazarded a guess was the fruition of some studio face down between a Debussy enthralled art of noise and Discordia while the lounge lilted and hazy ’the birds are eating the sun’ seems to occupy a wigged out early 70’s pan European horror sound tracking more commonly associated with Komeda and Korzynski. The same brushstrokes apply to the high wired tension stricken ’sleeper’ where the monastic trimmings opine to a fragmenting dream sequence recalling the frazzled psychosis of a ’suspiria’ era Goblin. The sets centre forming moments come by way of the adorable ‘bees in my feet’ and ‘riverend’ of which the former mentioned is here gloriously serviced by the succulent stroke of a light fading musetta like moodism sleekly shifts out of focus amid a delirious cortege presaged in dream states that recall a forlorn Broadcast being sympathetically cuddled by Komeda. ‘riverend’ on the other hand comes courted to the sugared rush of classically tutored string symphonics all steeled with an ethereal soft tread that endows it with a deceptively demurred dream casting as it swoons, woos and wanders amid the low lit shoe gazed environs to aurally imagine a heavenly blissed out this mortal coil being reframed by a lo-fi glitch geared Goldfrapp. Disturbingly beautiful all said.
And so to the third time lucky in our attempts to try and get this down in writing. All previous attempts have been rendered lost due to our on its last legs laptop deciding enough is enough and putting itself to sleep without having the good grace to auto save our doodling. So with that I’m afraid you’ll just have to put up with the truncated version removed of the fancy verbiage. What we were going to say was that Haq’s ’learning how to fall’ also appears on the latest pod cast posted by the Portuguese webzine projecto cellophane. Snuggled in the finite 32 minute grooving this selection – incidentally titled ‘swimming in the divine self’ serves as a showcase to some of the finest ambient / aural alchemists on the underground at this moment. Here you’ll be seduced to the refined majesty of field rotation whose zeitreise’ here found remoulded by the frozen vaults initially trembles to a timid tapestry more associated with Anionymes before shape shifting in demurred grandeur to spirit away as were the etchings of a youthful soundtrack savvy Sakamoto. Worm is green serve up ‘electric eyes’ a cold waved minimalist pop nugget fashioned in the cosmic trip hop brushstrokes of a lo-fi’d Grimes. Aches offer up the willow transcendental disquiet that is ’bullet sleep’ that said this could of course be trentemoller’s ’like two strangers’ – its hard to tell given each cut sublimely bleeds into each other. Glazed with a frosted soul aspect ’whore’ by archive has a definable ’portishead’ like bruising to its aural make up while those much admiring of the early 90’s work of both jah wobble’s invaders of the heart and barry adamson by way of muslim gauze may do well to sample the tripadelic self discovery manual that is hashisheen’s ’the divine self’. black city lights opt for a spot of star venturing cosmic cool for ’colour’ while mum round up the pack with the ice sculptured dimpled wonderland that is ‘faraway swimming pool’ .
Many thanks to the mud kiss fanzine for sharing this little charmer via face book, ’forteana’ is the debuting EP from Kent based electronic collective team morale. Out via the night talk imprint it follows some by all accounts well received mix tapes posted by the duo last year. Admittedly we do love the way it somewhat thaws and unfurls to smother you in its tingling embrace. ’aurora’ culled from the four track set is a sparsely affectionate aural odyssey delicately dipped in all manner of forlorn frost framed fancies that orbit about your listening space dispersing and dispatching beautified orbs of lonesome loveliness by way of a serene lull threaded together one suspects by a chill chimed cortege of lunar musical boxes, serenading cosmic ice cream vans and ether drifting heavenly chorals all delicately tied, bowed and sugar dusted in the stuff that holds stars in the night sky. But enough of that, those wishes to prove to us otherwise should redirect their internet browsing in the general direction of a self made video film montage that can be found here and goes a lot like this…..
A quick note from the mighty brew imprint alerts us to an incoming set from the mighty monster killed by laser. Graced with the addition of a pulled apart by horses man to their ranks the ensemble are busy in the studio laying down sonic slabs for an intended EP teaser demos of which have been uploaded for listening appreciation on this here sound cloud link. The label purrs with admiring prose citing elements of fripp, carlos and Gabriel in a cosmically progged Italo Gallo face off muddying the grooves and we can see why having sampled said delights for these bearded beatniks have time tunnelled their way back through the decades to stand at the court of the Crimson. This is vintage A class prog-ness that features a bitching and volcanic cover of goblin’s ’suspiria’ – name-checked incidentally for a second time this missive alone and a super shimmer toned chilled lunar lounger in the guise of ‘sleazy frizzi‘ which smokes likes some demurring noir drizzled soundscape pairing mancini and barry all said though it’s the brief blast of the cosmic funk juggernaut ’Krimson unit’ that had us gagging for more – a hyper driving monolith with a motorik undercarriage serviced by hawkwind and fuelled by Amon Duul II – https://soundcloud.com/monster-killed-by-laser
And back with fortuna pop who’ll you’ll find mentioned earlier in these pages via that drop dead gorgeous Tully craft outing. And its with a heavy heart and the wiping of a tiny tear news of the last ever shrag release. We’d heard the rumours and dismissed them mistaking them for malicious posts by envious souls. But alas its true or is it for the press blurb does clearly state the last single from their ‘canines’ full length. Whatever the case maybe Shrag have over the years grown and matured into one of the darlings of indie pop, rightly finding safe haven on the much loved fortuna pop imprint they’ve hardwired to their song craft an insidiously infectious melodic mindset that taps and tugs the memory to a golden age of fleeting sub three minute heart throbbed effervescence. These days removed of their once trademarked schizoid sculpturing ’on the spine of old cathedrals’ finds them purring to a radio friendly formula that tracks and turns to a sugar rushing collective harmonising that’s initially kissed as though the result of some Martin Rushent like excitable studio gathering of human league and altered images sorts which imparted with some nifty new order-esque noodling runs out to the end grooves leaving you somewhat head bowed, sapped and emotionally crushed.
And staying with fortuna pop a little longer there’s an ultra limited singles club type thing to be had which for your hard earned dosh you get yourself 12 jukebox holed seven inches all with exclusive flip sides and all pressed on coloured wax. No spider middles to play them I hear you cry fear not for the blighters are ahead of you and have included three custom made middles crafted in different coloured plastic along with a tote bag designed by Darren Hayman to carry them all in and a dinky badge type thing. I have no record player I again hear you cry – well there’s download codes for all the releases and as you’re a heathen I guess you could have hours of fun sitting on the naughty step with the tote bag over your head pretending to play these wax nuggets on an imaginary record player fashioned out by pretending to spin the records on your finger.
Been an absolute age since we featured anything in these pages vaguely having tattooed on its hide a connection pointing towards the guided missile empire. And so it was via a quick note from Paul of said imprint to take a gander at Dream Themes who’ll be making a rare appearance at Islington’s Buffalo Bar on Wednesday 13th March. This lot according to their press people used to be the London contingent of Frank Sidebottom’s oh blimey big band and these days since the passing of the paper Mache one can be found regrouped and trashing the living crap out of tv theme toons loved by one and all or as their PR will have it ’a high concept off shoot project in which they play slightly shit versions of TV themes’. here’s rock’s wild animals Paul, Rhodri, Dicky and Rob torching the cap out of the ’grandstand’ theme at a recent rare as hen’s teeth live spot replete with Who windmills and matching face fuzz – the easily disturbed and those lacking in humour need not apply….fans of the Mike Flowers Pops stay where you are….
Heading up the show with dream themes will be Joanne Joanne an all girl – wait for it – Duran Duran tribute band. You just couldn’t script it if you tried. The quintet are shortly due to enter the studio to record what they describe as their ‘difficult debut EP’. Video evidence here….
New single from Tokolosh – wooah what happened to their debuting platter – we heard sound links even reviewed it to much love and affection but did we see the blighter or indeed realise it was actually out. Alas no. Sneaked out via the esteemed Static Caravan imprint who should by rights feature later in this missive or failing that definitely in the next when we run the critical rule over a quite lovely Dan Haywood’s New Hawks platter. As said for now the second outing from tokolosh who if memory serves right are named after some impish beast with a thing for stones and who feature amid their ranks members of the Earlies and the Whip, the aptly named ‘shape shifter’ is by no means your usual pop palette, subtly weighted in a disarming Technicolor prog dreamcoat and forged in the spell casting of a decidedly disorientating old school crafting of folk mysticism, this celestial apparition broods and mooches with a betraying seduction as though moored upon some strange outpost where Rush-ian overtures blur and purr to an intoxicant flavouring of a mercurial Oldfield-ian piping. Over on the flip sits the adorably attractive melodic myriad that is‘bloodlines’ which again furnished in willowy textures whose grounding is informed in old school folk charms comes caressed and teased in the sweet amorphous haze of flute fused star lit electronic wisps whose faintness of touch and texture exudes a momentary apparition like visitation to your listening table – essential.
I’m certain we’ve mentioned these in recent despatches following the release of that awesome ’like an animal’ re-edit set – then again I could have been sleep listening in which case we better nab this and commit to print. Out by the loved but rarely seen tough love imprint Cymbals’ ‘the natural world‘ is another slice of amorphic aural amour flickering in ethereal wilderness, gorgeously coaxed and cradled in succulent 80’s motifs kissed with demurring euro pop accents whose initial lilt recalls those early career outings by the much admired the knife albeit here dimpled and demurred by an acutely attractive haloing of feint oriental weaves that call to this mind Malcolm McLaren’s ‘madame butterfly’ – https://soundcloud.com/tough-love/cymbals-the-natural-world-1
Those of you often found lying awake at night, your mind racing to such considerations as wondering what ethereal sounds cape might emerge had you the chance to lock both Pimmon and Sonic Boom inside a studio with a bastardised fisher price lullaby light show and a space mural for inspiration need ponder no more because it seems that M Sage has been gazing upon such a scene and been taking copious notes and concocting said doodles into a gloriously shy eyed and demurred dream coat. out via the admired moon glyph imprint who regular observers of these missives will readily be acquainted with, ’the receivers peaking’ is the latest slice of tape tastiness to escape the sound lab of this tiny DIY imprint. a resident of fort collins, M Sage may be more widely recognised by the tuned in cognoscenti as patient sounds head honcho. This limited release cassette marks his debuting appearance on the moon glyph roster and serves to showcase his enviable talents as an aural alchemist – ’fuji station – confines of time’ prized from that set finds M Sage shaking the shimmering sonic snow globe waiting for the white stuff to settle whereupon the alluring spectacle of twinkling star chimes and bliss kissed serene serenades cascade with amorphous fondness to snuggle sleepy headed to the hypnotic drone swirls as they ebb and flow to tease the celestial voids. Disarmingly beautiful. Somewhere else the sea scaped murmur of ‘ritual ashes’ lilts and lulls with tranquil tender much like a snoozing Wil Bolton in a lovelorn tryst with Gnac. Gemlike. https://soundcloud.com/moonglyph/m-sage-fuji-station-confines
Out shortly on chess club will be the debuting single from the much fancied Wolf Alice entitled ‘fluffy’ – and while we haven’t got full promo copies just yet we have sneaked an earful of its irresistible flip cut ‘white leather’. already engaging the hearts and minds of the fly and the NME – but hey don’t let that put you off – ’white leather’ is succulently decoded in a crushed feint-ness whose tender trimmed framing slyly cosies up to the affectionate lovelorn purr of the Sundays. A defence surrendering rain swept cutie hollowed in ache and crippled in bruising beauty and something which should by rights appeal to those much missing their Siddeleys salvos. https://soundcloud.com/wolfalice/white-leather
Oh come on you didn’t think you’d get through many more missives without the appearance of Volcano the Bear lurking in the shadows ready to spook you out your listening comfort. Eyed on what looks and sounds – from the few selected cuts we’ve managed to sample – is a rather considerable and dare we say damn fine set put together by Messrs Gustafsson, Johnson and Ruggett entitled ‘for Lee Jackson in space’. a mammoth 94 track compilation that pays respects to the writer and music enthusiast the late Lee Jackson who sadly passed away in March last year. All the bands gathered here at one time or other frequented Jackson’s listening orbit with nearly all the tracks donated here being new or previously unreleased. Among the crowd paying their respects familiar though sadly of late missing in action from these pages ensembles such as the Azusa Plane, MV & EE, Wooden Wand, Green Pyjamas, Charalambides, Doleful Lions, Roy Montgomery, Locrian, electroscope, primordial undermind and of course those imps and everyone’s favourite sonic sore thumbs Volcano the Bear who here serve up ‘tremondo’. distressed jazz, residents ragas its all very old school Volcano the Bear, the sound of demented toy boxes waking after lights out, uneasy, very odd and skittishly framed in a twisted Stockhausen hue but then you didn’t really expect dead eyed effervescent and easily listening sing-a-long verse chorus verse pop perfection. Oh you did well in that case and okay not up and at you but affectionately demurring all the same is ’the breaking’ by Marissa Nadler. Absolutely gem like, of the handful of cuts we’ve so far heard from this set this ’un has been the one catching our ear. A beautifully ghostly slice of hymnal rustics replete with lolloping lilts and cast in a timelessly turned 50’s like sepia trim much like something born of the splicing of DNA’s belonging to Patsy Cline and Hope Sandoval. A more in depth review of this set will feature next missive out.
Doleful Lions who we briefly mentioned in passing just a second ago also feature on another compilation set being aired by the hermetic library entitled ‘anthology album – magick, music and ritual’ which to date has managed to usher out 5 volumes worth of new found sounds found looming on the great alternative underground. Doleful Lions appear on the third instalment with the strangely titled ’underground werewolf scribe agape’. prized from their adored around here ‘let’s break bobby beausoleil out of prison’ full length, this sweetly sensitive and shy eyed thing is a little pocket pop symphony mellowed and curdled in all manner of sepia trimmed 50’s styled honeycombs and caressed with a hurting and humbling hymnal gracefulness that twinkles, coos and shimmies its way beneath your protective skin to arrest and charm you – a must hear experience all said. As with the aforementioned ’Lee Jackson’ set we’ll be casting a closer inspection of this series in a future missive.
And just in case you missed our review of doleful lions’ ‘let’s break bobby beausoleil out of prison’ which ordinarily if you had then tough given that losing today has pulled everything from the inter web or at least it would have been where it not for Jonathan including it on his band camp page which handily enough while your reading you can listen to said album….
Something else we eyed on face book while cobbling together reviews was a note from the dronarivm imprint telling us of an impending release from maps and diagrams. Now that’s a name we haven’t heard or had the pleasure of gracing our hi-fi in many a long year. ’timbre’ arrives as a strictly limited cassette – there’s only 32 of these babies – links / cover shots and sound cloud links below. A truly beguiling slice of stilled sound sculpturing both frail and fragile and hitherto touched with something of the celestial, immersed in deeply alluring dronal-scapes that recall at given points elements of Roy Montgomery, these porcelain passages on preview alone glide with lonesome resonance to shimmer, swirl and ebb and flow forlornly in the ether to cast emotional stones into the void creating trembling and mesmerising ripples. Gem like.
Former these arms are snakes and kill sadie types gather together under the moniker Crypts – there’s a self titled album about to imminently impact in the coolest of record stores via sargent house from which this darkly dinked treat of dissonant disturbance is taken. Entitled ‘fancy’ – this lot have apparently been drawing favourable comparisons to the likes of wolf eyes meets christian death and skinny puppy playing dizzee rascal. This bastardised slab of grizzled and toxic electronica scowls menacingly like some futuristic post apocalyptic preacher dude as though a terminator like Mr Cash, sparse and minimal the dead headed detachment bleeds from its very core with frayed delight mainlining on a schizoid cocktail of ministry meets r l burnside wiring pulsars albeit as though psychotically fused by a particularly off the wall and youthful clinic.
Due for frenzied record store activity next month is the limited 12 inch offering from the Cymbals. Issued via those quite nice folk people at tough love – at least that’s quite nice when we actually hear and see their ear gear – ‘like an animal’ prized from that set is given a sumptuously spatial 9 minute club cooling workout, think late 80’s ACR remodelling the acutely addictive artistry of the in recent times sorely missing in action seal cub clubbing club. Set to cause a swoon among the cooler classes on the club night scene ’like an animal’ is an intoxicating affair that’s inscribed with a seductive slinkiness whose softly gilded purr smoulders to a devilishly attractive and amorphously off centred after hours minimalist funk sophistication. By rights the blighter ought to come with a government health warning for once heard forever hooked.
Next missive pencilled in for completion sometime at the weekend – yes the weekend – two / three days time and will feature all manner of strange and wondrous sounds including – though these could be subject to change – stuff by Yellow 6, PROG, Roadside Picnic, a valentine’s day compilation – not as bad as it first sounds I’m happy to say and yes we deliberately held it back didn’t want to be accused of being obvious, if we have time and we will a special – well I say special more of an extended review of zero tolerance as they hit 50, possibly some kellar, floorian, the Tuesday club, wolfhounds, the creaking chairs, luls and if we find time an absolutely extraordinary and dare we say killer collaboration between Lloyd Cole and Hans Joachim Roedelius and more.
As ever contact details and a place to send your wax offerings, tape treats and download fancies are thus –
All that leaves me to say is take care of yourselves,