Tales from the Attic
Revolutions of a 45 and 33 kind….
Guaranteed Bowie-free as tested by the sound and vision monopolies commission.
Hello pop pickers, welcome to our as advertised Bowie-free missive: a whole bloody month they’re doing on the GIITTV site dedicated to the chameleonic one, so if you’re here expecting words of wisdom on the Thin White Duke then do feel free to peruse the following thesis-styled ramble and register your complaints at the scarcity – nay – abject neglect to which we have delightfully amassed for your untold reading horror.
We are now live on WordPress – the site is just a basic warts and all template at present but we do have plans to reconstitute archived missives from our losing today days – there’s something like 400 plus such missives to go. It’s a slow process so bear with us as we trawl through old hard drives to rescue these lost salvos. In time we will look to updating acquaintances with bands and labels we’ve lost contact with over the years. As said, bear with us as this will be a mammoth task and we ask that if you’re in a band I’ve mentioned in the past please assist by sending over the reviews/posts with relevant links. On a related note we’ll be rebuilding our contact list via a wealth of sporadic emails going out over the Easter period. Incidentally the WordPress address is marklosingtoday.wordpress.com – I think… it looks a bit crap at the moment but rest assured when we have time in the course of the oncoming weeks it‘ll be knocked into something all singing and dancing.
This edition of Tales from the Attic has been, in the main, dieting on an assortment of –
1. Top Gear – yes you read that right, ’Top Gear’ – hosted by Mail readers personified – though let’s be honest – irreverent and funny with it.
2. Uttering under breath dark thoughts about work management and pouring forth scorn at every option on the dumber and dumber still Bert and Ernie double act that lurk at the far end of hell office – a place where I do daily penance 9 to 5 for misdemeanours I must have committed in a former life.
3. Hot milk and honey – I kid you not – I have stumbled upon perfection, well okay not as perfect as the young blonde lady who once upon a time happened upon my daily journey to hell office – see point 2 – and has now disappeared and left in her absence a very grieving heart. But hey ho life goes on.
Gracing this particular edition are aural delicacies from the likes of beaty hearts, ice sea dead people, john 3:16, hey colossus, elika, hectorina, the kramford look, black angels, mark brend, café kaput, the manitou, witchfucker, day before us, dakota bones, haxan cloak, sparrow and the workshop, luck of eden hall, beard of wolves, away days, strange brew, in memory of john peel show, creaking chair, winter tyres, tender trap, long drone flowers, will sergeant, wall, cold pumas, birthday kiss, death masks, momo tempo, belbury parish, roadside picnic ‘doberman’ and shana falama – the latter of whom may have already featured last time out – oh dear.
I’ll start this missive by saying that I want this particular release right now or else I fear I may well spontaneously combust. Latest outing via the heart throb imprint who it seems do a neat line in bespoke cassette releases – five of which I’ve just counted have seemingly ducked beneath our radar – is something rather wonderfully and entrancing from beaty heart. Strictly limited to just 100 copies, beaty heart a London-based arts and video collective describe their sonic dream works as ’psychedelic drum pop’ and ’funfair punk’ which in all honesty isn’t far off the mark given that ‘Seafood’, their latest offering, comes pre-packed with its own shades, sun and tanning lotion. So infectious is this this blighter that protective jabs are deemed an essential listening aid given its arrested in the kind of warping west coast melodic mirage that once demurred the grooves of Animal Collective platters of yesteryear. Marooned and sweetly caressed to a sighing sultry South Pacific soundscape of tropical skies dozing on the horizon, this feelgood kissed cutie syncopates to the breezy drift wind of calypso serenaded carnivals and the warming embrace of dizzily dinked earth beat accents which ought to appeal to long standing admirers of the 4 brothers. Elsewhere, there’s a seriously tripped out and bliss kissed ‘jungle’s cut’ of the same track tucked amid the cassette in which the original mix is seemingly put on a hot spin wash in a kaleidoscopic washing machine emerging out the other side all warped, wonky and fetchingly woozy.
Ready for something as rough as a bear’s arse and grizzly with it, wired up to the back teeth? Whippersnappers ice, sea dead people are back to terrorise your hi-fidelic harmony with a neat slab of broken and dented shambolic discord in the guise of an incoming second full length entitled ‘if its broken break it more’ via lost toys, which all being well is slated for release and frenzied counter action towards the end of April. A quick spy at the title track reveals that this lot have lost none of their impishness; instead, happily diluting into three and a half minutes an anxiety curdled stuttering shot of rapid fire attacking agit-punk pop that to these ears sounds like a studio gathering of The Fall, Sonic Youth and hey colossus type bludgeoning out a crippled homage to the mighty Wire.
Literally just out, a by all accounts tasty-sounding free-to-download compilation entitled ‘charming sepulcher – part 1’ is currently lurking in cyberspace from the French-based webzine have faith in sound. Featuring 11 artists currently navigating the deep minimalist environs of drone and inner space, the set features amid its digitised grooves an assembled gathering of saaad, sadon, hans castrup, sighell and lucidstatic types and will of course be earmarked for future lengthy mentions next missive out. However, for now a short mention for an exclusive cut from John 3:16 whose current Alrealon musique set ‘visions of the hereafter – visions of heaven, hell and purgatory’ is at present on the examining table being finitely inspected. Typically dark, dense and threatened in religious overtones and an oncoming dread, ’the holy mountain’ is somewhat mellower toned in texture, built upon a slow to burn persona and forged with as storm-gathering a panoramic majesty as a sky-fired arabesque drift wind. It’s turned upon the atmospheric handcraft of a ’true’ era Roy Montgomery found located in some desert dry wilderness sealing apocalyptic bargains with godspeed. Quietly epic. http://havefaithinsound.blogspot.co.uk/
So enamoured with us mentioning them by way of our scribblings to do with that ice sea dead people tracks (wake up at the back will you), the mighty hey colossus sprang from their hideaway hole and locked themselves in the studio all night to nail down a whole albums worth of bad, bad juju. Of course we jest but oh that it were eh? Set to gather much kerfuffle and the cause of much chiming of frantic shop counter cash registers on April Fool’s Day will be the docking of a new hey colossus full length. Entitled ’cuckoo live life like cuckoo’ this brute is scheduled to appear on the MIE imprint. This eighth sonic broadside sees part chimp’s tim cedar swelling the ranks in fine fashion. Serving as a brief taster of what to expect, ’hot grave’ has been unleashed upon the masses, a big, bad, brooding bastard it is to, heavy set atmospherics thickly chilled to a dense foreboding not unlike that oft heard on platters with the name the Grails stamped on its backside. That said, things soon manifest into something more stoner and psychotropic in flavouring with the onset of a clearly demonic like Pixies psychosis gnawing at the grooves, albeit as though in a choking headlock with Gnod. http://mie.limitedrun.com/products/511995
Something very tasty for those among you who prefer your sounds – shall we agree to say – porcelain-sculptured. Out via everything is chemical ‘virtual ambient’ is the latest limited 7-inch from elika, who if memory serves me right we’ve featured in these very pages previously. Three cuts sit up this gem like outing – a beautified slice of demurred ambience turned upon a delicately fragile crafting of serene detachment all aglow and finitely harnessed to a longing drift tide of cavernous opines. Captured in a moment of stilled elegance and steeled as though the fleeting yearn for a long past memory, ’endlessness’ is succumbed in melancholic reflection that much recalls the space consuming atmospheric detailing of Cheju. ‘A hurricane, a bar and an uncle’ barely breaches the ticker tape coming in at just 80 seconds in length to tread a path, once a familiar route way, for landshipping, while pick of the pack – the parting ‘I love you and I suffer’ is graced with a subdued and forlorn majesty that weeps and sighs like some scarred epitaph distress call emitted through the voids – utterly touching stuff.
Update from the ever so nice Elika tells us that the above mentioned single is in fact a virtual single – like its only available for download.
Holy shit what a deranged racket, damn well nearly laughed our kidneys off when this fried joker reared into ear shot. A short note from Dylan of the Charlotte NC based combo hectorina casually preps us for the arrival of the bands debuting double disc set ‘collywobble’, which get this is loosely based on the life of a former astronaut by the name of Jonah Collywobble who hooked up with a group of inter dimensional explorers on their search for the gateway to heaven. Now I know it’s a lot to take in so I’ll give you a second to digest all that… ready. Okay. Described as a mathy avant garage band Hectorina have just posted up a by way of introductions teaser cut as a taster for what’s to come entitled ‘an inter dimensional spat for the right to walk away the victor’, which I’m sure you’ll agree based on title alone is deserving of a listen. What manifests within the next 3 minutes and 58 seconds is an acutely wild and wayward head fryer whose frenetic psychofied and progged out opera imagines Sparks had they sported chest hair, feral face fuzz and persisted with a worrying penchant for Clockwork Orange whilst wearing straightjackets and upturned flower pots on their heads. An absolutely barking voyage on the good ship insane which to its credit manages to pressgang upon its melodic mayhem an assortment of thumper monkey, Crimson, Zappa, the Cardiacs and the Cravats types. Will melt heads – we need the blighter in our life right now.
Now, if we were the type of people who arranged our pants in order of colour and alphabetically arranged our CDs we’d be sitting here listening to Discordia’s criminally lost and dare I say wonderfully alluring ‘la luna Discordia’ and feverishly comparing notes with this next cut whilst decamped and sporting some neatly ironed psychedelically trippy shorts. Alas, we don’t and we aren’t. Still though, in the distant backwaters of our memory we hear that Discordia album not least since chancing upon the track ‘morning one’ which if you are taking notes – and you ought to be – comes off Dakota Bones latest release ‘Ǿ’ – only without the acute if you get my drift. A trippy blighter that’s being released via mj mj on a strictly limited 100 only cassette – one of which I want. A gorgeous cut that fuses elements of the orb’s ’perpetual dawn’ onto a dubbed out chill toned re-scoring mash up of Toshack Highway’s debuting platter from years back. Albeit, it’s re-shaped and bliss kissed by a clearly stoned out and loved up sound carriers, amid the grooves the lolloping haze of lazy eyed sunsets falling on the horizons and the longing lysergic trip spin of woozy mirages much aping the florescent lounge lilted flurries that are much admired and emit from the superimposers sound bunker.
Shimmered in a similar sonic vein to Elika is the latest outing from the cathedral transmissions stable – the celebrated bespoke imprint known for ultra limited releases by the likes of wil bolton, yellow 6, solipsism and antonymes – is the beautifully bleak ’souvenance lasse’, which we managed to sneak an earful of via a quick inquisitive rummage around Bandcamp. Prised from his ’autumnal wandering’, philippe blache under his aural guise day before us pairs up with markus pape for this simply fragile moment of serene soundsaping. All at once divinely tender and noir-crafted, ‘souvenance lasse’ is turned and forged with a sepia-skimmed classical touch, sound wise sitting between the aforementioned Antonymes and Max Richter, framed with an opining key braid there’s a quietly elegiac caress traced longingly across this tearstained retrospective that leaves you numbed and troubled in melancholia.
Still rummaging on Bandcamp only to stumble across this quite foreboding bad boy. MRTYU! hail from New Zealand and have obviously been reared on the ear ware of that fine nations late 80’s noise niks – Dead C, Alastair Galbraith, Bruce Russell, Roy Montgomery et al – as the track ’witchfucker’ so ably provides evidence of a droning shock of skree scorched white noise ushers in a discordant dead chill. It’s all underscored by a doom dripped desolation that’s cowed to a gnawing apocalyptic ill wind metered out to a vanquished landscape ruptured in decay and an end of days grimness. Not for the faint of heart . The cut incidentally comes as part of the ’witchfucker’ full length out via Aurora Borealis in limited cassette and vinyl variants.
With a second album looking on the horizon in the guise of ‘excavation’ via tri angle and a scheduled London appearance supported by the excellent micachu and raime, ‘the mirror reflecting – part 2’ sees the Haxan Cloak returning to terrorise turntables. Brooding and sinister, this lo-lit creeper prickles and chills in its initial greeting like some dark hearted entity from the other side attempting to trip wire through the dimensions. Once done, it manifests itself into an alluring hypnotic floorshow of purring opines bathed in a most unreal serenely symphonic sensuality. An ominously beautiful slice of sweet detachment.
I’m fairly certain that we’ve mentioned this lot in past missives though in typical time honoured I’ll be buggered if I can direct you to a citation since those blighters at losing today decided to pull all existence of itself from cyberspace. We now to have to go through the tiresome and time-consuming process of rescuing over three hundred missive postings from defunct hard drives – see opening rant on this particular missive for further details. Anyhow enough with the grumbling, I’ll just carry on here typing whilst sticking very large pins in these here dolls that I’ve happened to craft and carve in a likeness not dissimilar of those losing today wits. So where were we – ah yes – sparrow and the workshop have a new platter via song, by toad who incidentally once sent CDs which we favourably reviewed and then were never heard of again – how strange. Well, it seems there’s a forthcoming full length in the offing from sparrow and the workshop, as yet untitled, ripped from which is ’shock shock’ their forthcoming single. Tethered upon a subtle folk hue all cast in a spectral soft psych glow, there’s a muscular and seductive pop prowess exuding through the strut codas on view here, sat between the much adored stealing sheep and the smoke fairies. Bewitchment and enchantment are corralled upon these grooves that are ushered in and spirited away by a lost melodic tongue that gravitates to a sumptuously hazy 60s aura that aside being a tad drop dead gorgeous is at once spellbinding.
Woozily lysergic happenings from the long time admired in these pages the luck of eden hall, who have just posted a live set recorded last Thursday – 28/02/13 – for their hometown Chicago-based WZRD radio station. Expect plenty oodles of mind weaving soft psych and tripadelic tones from these lazy eyed psonic space cadets – available via http://theluckofedenhall.com/2013/03/01/live-performance-on-wzrd-from-022813/
Unless you’ve been located in a cold place outside the usual confines of time and space then you couldn’t have failed to note that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the BBC’s flagship sci-fi soap opera Doctor Who. A momentous time for a serial that limped through the 80s unloved by the corporation and bedevilled by schedule changes, lack of funding and slipshod storylines before the powers that be achieved what the Daleks and countless other foes could but only dream and pulled the plug on the Tardis’s matrix. We mention this on two fronts – first up the sad news reaching us earlier in the week of the passing of Dalek designer Ray Cusick at the age of 84 from heart failure. Legend has it that Mr Cusick accidentally came up with the idea whilst dining with special effects man Bill Roberts when he picked up a pepper pot and started sliding it across the table and with that the nightmare of every 60s child was born. As said, deemed as something of a joke Doctor Who remained tucked in the archives until resurfacing in the mid 90s. Headed up by Paul McGann, a feature length return attempted to jump ship in appealing to investors in the States, and again the Gallifreyan was subsumed and exiled into obscurity wherein it achieved an underground cult status buoyed by a creative market populated by audio dramas narrated by previous screen incarnations of the Doctors and a healthy diet of story books. Of course Doctors 9, 10 and 11 have since 2005 restored the shows to an unprecedented popularity not enjoyed since its heyday. And so there we were the other week finding ourselves tuned into the formerly named Radio 7 these days re-branded as 4extra listening to a McGann-era radio serialisation. Curiosity took hold and soon we were tripping over all manner of secret histories, sub plots and a hidden Whovian universe we never knew existed. Somewhere here after a casual rifling through cyberspace we happened across this little curio. A soundtrack no less for ‘the mechanicals’ story distributed by broken sea audio recorded and composed by the Manitou better known to kith and kin as British Columbia-based musician Joshua M Blanc. Classic BBC Radiophonic Workshop fare is what you get for your time and due diligence, albeit updated and eyed from a mid 90s warp-esque minimalist craft, a perfect companion for those of you who managed to nab yourselves a copy of ochre’s very excellent ’music from the tenth planet’ set from a few years back and I dare say that very excellent ’the séance at hobs lane’ outing from the mount vernon arts lab. Steeled in chilled atmospherics that creep with a tension seeped carnival-esque sense of the sinister, there’s a playful fondness for that old school hide behind the settee flavouring seeping out of these cosmic fairground sounds as though an Orbital c. ‘the box‘ and latter career Add N to X had been re-visioned by Raymond Scott whilst peeking through the eyes of the Barron‘s especially on the opening ‘the mechanicals – part 1‘. Etched in sparseness and couched in hymnal chorals ice chipped in detachment ’part 2’ is hollowed with the same analogue artistry as befitting the work of landscape whilst ’insufficient data’ is detailed. It has an ominously spectral wood folk chill factor that imagines Philippe Petit located in some servile mechanoid nightmare dosed up on a claustrophobic soundscape icily chimed to a meeting of Carpenter and Goldsmith minds. Creepily cool in short.
Yowzah. Now we here do love our soundz on the rackety and dare we say slightly wayward side which is just as well because things don’t come any more skewed or shambolic as the beard of wolves. Last mentioned here when we cast a critical eye over their debuting platter ‘wet mouth’, which in turn launched Too Pure’s critically acclaimed but seldom seen in proper promo form the seven inch Singles Club (which incidentally is part of the reason why we are holding the review of February’s release to ransom notwithstanding the fact that the Soundcloud link was without sound – ye just cannae get the staff these days) and in return got our ears spanked. Buoyed no doubt by letters of admiration and the foisting of gifts, invitations to celebrity balls and media invites, North Wales’s favourite upstarts have it seems ducked quickly into their local studios and hammered out an EP’s worth of teen spirited tearaways led from the fore by ‘my father drives the death star’. Now not being a Star Wars fan myself, who said it was the most overrated franchise in celluloid history? Even I can see the merits of owning your own death star especially when dark thoughts turn to work but then again I always was a sucker for a cloak and a facemask that made you sound like a 60 a day smoking Dalek. That said it becomes a concern when you realise that there are people out there motioning to have their government sanction funds to build a real one – Has the world gone mad? Do I breathe the same air as these hapless fops? Hello, it’s fiction guys, the clue being in the description ’science fiction’ – and this coming from a nation still having issues with flat pack assembly. Anyway where were we? Beard of wolves, new EP lead track, as advertised with the title we shall not mention again for fear of going off on one for a second time, clearly these young gentlemen have ongoing unresolved issues and could have pretty much nailed down the most infectious and sexiest thing to hit our hi-fi since wild bunch’s ’danger – high voltage’ in so far as it rockets along with a seriously dirty discofied underpin all trimmed with falsetto vocals and woozy mirror balls. It’s all smoked to Moroder-fashioned T-Rexian glam pouting purrs which splinter, fracture and fragment into a glorious schizophrenic slice of raucously unhinged rawk – absolutely deranged and criminally attractive. Elsewhere you get the aforementioned ’wet mouth’ which is about – well I’ll leave your imagination to figure that one out – and its attending flip cut ’dead heart’ – the former a cold shower necessitating and frantically psychotic slab of humping hormones wired up to the most manic melodic mayhem we’ve heard so far all year while the latter a squalling friction frenzied brute of post-punked paranoia. Which leaves new cut ’date flight’ to see matters out to the run out grooves amid a volcanic surge of no waved garage growled swamp dragged boogie replete with grizzled snake winding riffage that sounds not unlike a seriously twatted out Sonic Youth. Are these chaps on medication we wonder?
Something else we’ve grown quite fond of since it shyly appeared on our listening radar is the latest offering from Istanbul-based quartet the away days. Under the glow of quiet acclaim the band are currently putting the finishing coat to a debuting full length and are set to follow up their first EP – which to depressed grumbles from the back we appear to have missed – with the softly surrendering ’Galaxies’. This dreamily dinked cutie is framed in the forlorn intricacy of The Church albeit as though discovered stealing peeks at Vini Relly’s spectral song book. It’s beautifully airy and panoramic though all the same measured and murmured in a becoming amorphous frailty longingly kissed in the tease core trimming of delicately bound arpeggios and stratospheric dinks. To these ears it had us much recalling an as were bruised workhouse in some sort of tryst with an ‘iris’ era pellumair – indeed it’s that good, which reminds us I’m certain we have new gear from the latter mentioned to root out and see off with fond words.
Last missive out or thereabouts we ran the critical ear across fruit de mer’s excellent Hollies covers set ‘re-0evolution – FdM sings the Hollies’ which amid its grooves gathered together the finest souls of FdM’s extended family new and old to pay homage to Manchester’s finest. Seems like those dudes over at strange brew have been similarly smitten and have cobbled together their own little celebration in the guise of an 80-minute set that gathers together a hip jiggling jamboree of tunes either written, covered, performed along with various oddities and long lost nuggets. Your typical archive rummage includes two cuts from the aforementioned FdM homage from us and them and the electric stars who respectively cover ‘butterfly’ and ‘jennifer Eccles’. Elsewhere, among listings, special attention should be taken with the twilights version of ’what’s wrong with the way I live’ and the piccadilly line’s take on ’yellow ribbon’ – that said pick of the bunch has to be the rarity ‘wings’, which was donated to a charity album supporting the world wildlife fund wherein they shared groove space with the likes of the bee gees, lulu, spike milligan, harry secombe, rolf harris, bruce forsyth and some bunch of struggling dudes called the beatles.
Staying with podcasts and that sort of stuff, whilst having a rummage around cyberspace we eyed this and thought of you, a radio show aping and paying faithful homage to the spirit of Mr Peel – same eclectic taste as the great man although ostensibly more confused sounding. We’ve been through two shows so far and haven’t detected a record misfired whilst on a toilet break or played at the wrong speed – which to be honest is a bit difficult with downloads and CDs – but all the same I sense they are coming. They even had a festive 50 over the Xmas something which we‘ll tuck and tune into in the coming days… fill your boots here – http://feeds.feedburner.com/johnpeel/
Now for something very special and dare we say delightfully distractive. According to the attending press blurb the five track ‘noise body’ EP is the second release from the creaking chair, once an alt folk trio but now stripped bare to feature the mercurial musical handicraft of one Andrew A C Cooper who has on occasion been known to share stage space with the likes of Nancy Elizabeth, grass cut and tune-yards in his time. At present he’s cobbling and knocking together what will be his debuting full length for tentative release later in the year. More electronic and experimental is the promise on the tin lid, which within reveals an artistry that’s subtly etched upon a softly matured psych folk skin and spirited in a rare timeless English eccentricity. At its core it’s something rooted in a lost archaic tongue; it invades the listening space that circles a would-be minimalist minded Robyn Hitchcock and much recalls the kind of eerily odd notations of Paul Roland, who’s instantly called to the mind on the Meek-esque ’magnets’, which itself is artfully crafted to a would be ghost riding like apparition all speckled and subtly press-studded with a Love like artistry upon whose tail wind the spectre like call of Del Shannon drifts through the smoky haze. That said, the nearest reference marker if you needed one as a guiding line would without question be oddfellows casino in so far as that same unworldly locale existing between dream and reality is ushered into melodic view. None more so is this the case than on the sweetly hushed beguile of ‘spun’, a hollowing as were ghostly carnival spirits its way across the grooves casting an eerie enchantment as though the handiwork of a lazy eyed Syd Barrett threading a crookedly creaky rustic tapestry beset with ’on broadway’ mistrals from a twilight lit bandstand parade blurring in lysergic hazes. Somewhere else ’noise body I’ is crested and cooed of a delightfully hymnal like chill tipped lunar-esque velour while ’end, beginning’, perhaps the best moment here, echoes spectrally to a fragmenting and haunting ’wicker man‘-ish dialect on its initial appearance only to shift focus and woozily dissipate into a chilling slice of darkly hearted detachment, all moored upon a maddening hollowed chime cascade which not for the first time in this review had us much recalling the warping mindset of Mr Barrett. Genaro, who you might recall dropped one superb album via the missing in action of late benbacula imprint before heading off into the sunset, are dutifully needle stitched to the chassis of the much enthused around these here parts at one time in the distant recent past though of late distressingly quiet birdpen and swimmer one via the EP‘s opening salvo the motorik murmuring ‘noise body II’. Essential, in short.
A short note from Brian of the bordellos dropped in our in box t’other day raising expectations of a new bordellos album in the offing, a copy of which we’ve been earmarked to receive and which will no doubt be much celebrated here giving us ample excuse to dust down the bunting at the tales in the attic shoe and nail bar – well however else do you expect a lad to survive without the need to resort to having to multi-task? Mind you, we’ve had no customers yet and I’m of the mind that the in-house Chilean anarchist nose flute playing band with wooden spoon accompaniment isn’t to everyone’s taste especially since the racket they make appears to be alarming the local wildlife and occasioning nightmarish sweats and disturbing looking rashes among young folk as reported in the local parish newsletter. Anyhow, back to Brian’s note among other bordellos-related news hot off the presses as of yesterday, which if you’re reading this tomorrow was the day before and last week if you’re reading it next week. There’s mention of two new bands each with new releases; the second of which we’ll get around to in a second features Brian’s son Dan, while first up a Belgium based combo by the name of the winters tyres whose debut self-titled EP features four cuts penned by Brian Bordello. Now I’m not given over to going all slushy and doing the hearts n’ flowers thing but buggering hell ‘stuck on a memory of you’ just hurts, hurts so much in fact that we’ve had to raise the emergency medical box to rescue kerchiefs amid its seldom required contents plasters, pain killers, more plasters, some unmarked tablets from the 80’s judging by the use by date and a bottle of scotch which we’d forgotten was there and from which – purely medicinal you understand – we are partaking shots from in order to anaesthetise our wounded heart. This hurting honey trembles with frail introspection, a kind of forgot to post love note soured in a wintry casing and broken by an absolutely affecting sorrowful ache that mournfully bruises from start to finish like some abandoned shy eyed Sarah platter neglected and left to gather dust under a late 80s bed. All said I think some of these tears have been somewhat self-inflicted given we’ve misfired a few times and poked ourselves in the eye; blighter ought to come pre packed with counselling. Happily more upbeat and something that ought to appeal to the fortuna pop fraternity is the acutely cute ’sparkling eyes’ – a rush of teen-spirited twee effervescence sprightly swerving and swooning to a cosily homely harmonic handclapping and twinkling bells cortege lovingly sprayed with a sun speckling to which admirers of the recently re-activated tullycraft ought to demur in the glow of. The slacker meets the smokily feisty, a bit of an odd sort is ’I’m not such a bad girl’ – a pushing and tugging boy/girl conversation with a twist, each laying down their terms for romance and each seemingly stung by past crushes at the hand of love all set to a breezily tumbling pastoral trimming. There’s something of a devil may care aura, the gentle tingle of the hopeful and the expectant about ’setting sun’, disregarding its bruising and past failings it pits its central character in an introspective mood that isn’t moored by guilt or regret. Instead, shifting ahead, ready to embrace whatever is around the next corner, it features whistling, which is always a good thing on a record, something of I’m sad to say a lost art form these days and a decidedly airy and lazy eyed country strum. It all coalesces into something that one suspects would be the perfect soundtrack for those emerging out of the wreckage of a relationship waving a casual v-sign as they happily waltzed over the horizon. Think I’m right in saying that ’the boy next door’ is a self-penned cutie that’s succulently spring kissed and traced with a lightness of touch that adored and adorned the more shy eyed moments of the Sundays back catalogue, which leaves ’impossible’ to see out the pack and provide the set’s best moment; it’s beautifully wounded, scarred and steeled with an acute bruising so tender that it almost lifts itself off the very grooves to strike you low. Ones to watch I hazard a guess.
And there we were mentioning fortuna pop, though we still have to nab these treats from their web space since we fell off their mailing list. Ah well, grumbling aside, new stuff from the tender trap in the shape of a by all accounts – we say by all accounts because we haven’t heard the blighter yet – ’ten songs about girls’ is the new full length playing pop platter. Not sure whether it’s out yet, it could have been out for ages for all we know and you might have taken it to your hearts and now moved on to something else – I’m guessing tullycraft if you have sense. Anyhow, as advertised, there’s 10 songs, all about girls – I love descriptive honesty on records where what is says on the tin is what you get on your turntable kinda like the way you know anything by Justin Bieber is going to be a deeply unpleasant experience – cue the frantic penning – sorry texting – of death threats from the nation’s under 5 population. I mean, like, what are you going to do? Skip me to death? And so back to tender trap – shall we give this a whirl or give up the ghost now – on go on then – and only because the blighter’s quite catchy and cute in a kind of youthful Bangles meets the Raincoats type way – love the owl in the video by the way…
And so back with that note from Brian Bordello, which also advised us to take a peek at local combo – well Manchester-based it appears – the longdrone flowers amid whose line up playing keyboards and theremin is son Dan. Now I’ll start by saying that’s its not altogether obvious to the ears as to what passes for listening pleasure among the long drone flowers committee. Sure enough an obvious inclination for the usual lost and abandoned psyched out garage grooves adorning variously released vault-finding compilations that usually use as their remit that the band must hail from a place in the U.S. that no one’s heard of, consist of a group of n’er do well types who’ve since disappeared off the face of God’s earth and only occasioned the studio once to record something that even had their parents smarting when they received a copy. Add to that the kind of records emanating from small boutique imprints from the U.S. once found backlogging the Peel play lists in the post Nirvana fall out, all of which happened upon these shores in such miniscule quantities that a career in collecting hens would have been deemed an easier task. Then maybe add to this some stray elements of the Spacemen 3 and perhaps Suicide. Admittedly this is scuffed and decidedly bent out of shape stuff, which to be fair we here around these here parts much love. This three track release was recorded live in what one suspects was a smoke-hazed studio. We say that because there’s a definite shit-faced aura attached to said cuts, stoner psych white out with occasional moments of mania trip-wired by a clearly out of it and tripping hard Hammond backdrop all led from the fore by a worse for wear sounding vocalist. We do wonder whether he’s singing from the same songbook as the rest of the band, which before you start getting the impression is a criticism it isn’t for here there’s a definite Doors vibe being played out, though in truth that’ll be The Doors as re-envisaged through the spaced out ears of a Gnod on mind warping medication. Gloriously distressed and wasted, here you’ll find crooked psychotropic hymnals both ‘girl on the drums’ and ’righteousness’ are tethered to the kind of beatnik rock-a-hula – especially in the case of the former mentioned – that would make the likes of the living brain and mr ray’s wig world sit up begging for more. Favourite moment of the set though for us is the wilfully wired ‘I see (you are)’ – we’d like to say it was a JMC meets Beach Boys in krautrockian cranium crunching spectacle – alas it isn’t but then again it is, a curiously bastardised brew that seems to lunge and leer with an oddly claustrophobic menace amid a swamp-dragged fuzzed gouged coolness that hints at some orphan product of a youthful Gallon Drunk/Jon Spencer Blues Explosion bunk-up, which on repeat listens ruptures and rallies to something sounding not unlike it has to be the Daniel Johnston-involved hyper jinx tricycle soiree. http://thelongdroneflowers.bandcamp.com/album/shes-glaring-at-me-live-ep
New sergeant stuff…. prog-type loveliness that features ex-bunny bassist Les P – damn fine stuff – expect fond words here when we nail down a copy…
Mentioned Wall a while back in a previous missive. After some small typo corrections kindly pointed out by their press people we were promised physical copies of said record, which I’m guessing you won’t be too surprised to hear that never arrived. We were heartbroken. And so on the kitchen window we added them to the endless list of people who’ve let us down, don’t bother responding to requests (too pure – ahem) or generally just act arse-hole-ish – okay the latter we don’t because if we did we wouldn’t be able to see out of the window for post-it notes 10 deep. So where is the bugger going with this I hear you groan, and I’m with you on that because I’m wondering too and I’m writing the blighter. Anyway, Wall is a spectral songstress – frail and fragile as opposed to being a ghostly apparition – why oh why do we dig ourselves into these holes? Last time we mentioned her – in tales from the attic volume 6 in case you’re taking notes – we’d stumbled upon ’magazine’ during the witching hour one cold crisp night and were shall we say a tad taken. New EP entitled ’shoestring’ is about to emerge – Easter week or thereabouts if you’re still taking notes. And a gorgeous thing it is too, there’s a teaser track that’s just been posted from said set entitled ’left to wonder’ – a bit of a heartbreaker cradled in a melancholic glow and hushed by a forlorn surrendering that simply aches with a distressing abandon all bedded upon the sparsest of sepia-soaked melodies. Wall has also been dipping her feet into the waters of the remix/production pool, choosing as her first sound sculpturing local natives’ ’heavy feet’ whereupon she’s endowed the original in a sweetly caressed bathing of homely hymnal hues. It’s all beset in a crystalline tip toeing tenderness whose murmuring elegance casts star shone shapes amid a night show of lullaby lilted mirages. Nuff said.
Not sure exactly where this fits in with the grander schemes of things, but what we do know is that there’s an album kicking around by the name of ’persistent malaise’ which Matt of gringo records kindly sent down along with the excellent hookworms and sauna youth – all of whom will be featured in the next missive out – but this cut doesn’t appear on it. Anyway, while we do a little investigating let us introduce you to the cold pumas, who hail from Brighton and are currently wooing all here with this little dandy by the name ’the sensible thing’- sounds not unlike something dropkicked onto an early 80s Peel play list. It has lashings of austere motorik post-punk vibes, which initially grind like classic era Joy Division and instantly call to mind the likes of Artery/And also the trees, but scratch away a little deeper and the hail of ambition comes crusading through the impenetrable stilled and solemn haze like a visibly jubilant fanfare charge led from the fore by the Luddites criminally lost ’doppelganger’… I could be wrong, I could be right…
Okay, it’s a bit poppier than the usual stuff we feature here but I’m certain that you’ll live that knowing that grimness and gloom aplenty is prepped on the horizon with the advent of a new nails groover. The birthday kiss are duo Ben and Sarah who aside from hailing from Leeds, which I should point out now is not some form of ailment that you go to the GP for in order to get lanced, collectively cobble out a fine line in pristine pop prettiness ushered in by effervescent electronics and the kind of love rushing kick to head excitability that sends hearts a fluttering and pulses a racing. Case in point being ’choking’, which is cloaked in an undeniably 80s styled glossiness cruises to soar with such panic pop panache that unless our ears do deceive we’d say it sounds not unlike a chart worrying ’tango’ era Fleetwood Mac in some emotion crushing tryst with Jefferson Airplane. it’s adorned in storm tension trimmings all welded upon a forlorn cruise controlling bedding that pushes and pulls at the heartstrings and snags and tugs at the earlobes with its acutely crafted musicality. If that wasn’t enough there’s a new two track platter just out or about to come out via death party records entitled ’can you keep a secret’, which immediately endeared itself upon us with its lovably quaint faux ’king rocker’ styled drum rumble at the start. It dispatched shy-eyed kisses upon our listening space by way of some deliriously effervescent summer breezed 60s shimmies and is all spooled tastily in the kind of tenderly-trimmed pop pouting innocence that leaves you surrendering and jaw a dropped. Better still is the accompanying flip cut ’worth it’, whose muscular purr freewheels seductively to an adoring shimmer toned shoe-gazey bubble grooved motif that to these ears sounds not unlike some cross DNA experiment fusing those maudite dance nee the clerks types with the vacant kiss nee insect guide.
Now I know we’ve featured the death masks in these pages before; can’t say for certain whether they’ve bothered replying to begging requests to send materials for review but I could be wrong. Again something else highly recommended by Brian Bordello who these days appears to be getting so many mentions in these pages that we are seriously considering pledging finders’ fees which given we earn bugger all will amount to – well – half of bugger all. Blimey, it’ll cost us more to send it, which reminds us, please oh please press people when sending out stuff at least get the postage right maybe even put a stamp on the mailer. It does upset the royal mail folk, who in turn persist in knocking on the door with palms outstretched requesting we cough up penalty charges which having enquired about – after spotting that the shortfall in postage paid was but a mere 3 shiny new coins of the realm resulting in a surcharge of one pound and nine new pence – are these guys related to pay day lenders we wondered? It’s apparently levied to cover handling charges, some wit sticking a penalty label on the envelope and said mail man pounding the streets eventually up your path to regale you in this wonderful news. When tasked on the subject of missing records and mis-delivered mail said smile and joyfulness was replaced with a weary glare a harumph and an about turn from whence he came. And so to the death masks who I bet you thought we’d forgotten about. New cut ‘what I see’ comes featured on a new split platter with tear talk via edils records; quite dandy it is too, sounding as though its been dropkicked out of a vibrant early 80s Liverpool scene to unfurl and bask in the radiance of a classic era wild swans. It’s all magnificently dinked and shrouded in a soft jubilant glow and arched in a deeply alluring symphonic pout that stirs, swoons and swerves to a feel good crystalline splendour. https://soundcloud.com/deathmasks/what-i-see
Now ordinarily if like me upon reading a collection of descriptive words such as Africana, right said fred, salsa, right said fred (I’ll say it twice in case you missed it the first time), saucy, right said fred (again in case you missed it the first and second time), tropicalia, kooky, Latino and Herb Alpert all shoehorned into one sentence has you of the mind to take all your prized possessions and make a bid to run to the hills, then fear not for I am just disappearing over the horizon ahead of you; be warned because I know what’s coming next because I’m scribbling this down. The common sense part of me (and yes it is here somewhere often stashed in the arse pocket in a matchbox) is whispering in my ear that I should have nothing to do with this particular release and that repeat listens can only serve to rot my brain and cloud my judgement. The devil may care part of me on the other hand whilst frantically sending electric shock impulses to my feet causing them to tap wildly is screaming excitably that its so unfeasibly daft it borders on infectious of the type rarely heard here since M’s ‘pop muzik’ and has deemed it necessary to point out exactly at which point where in proceedings did we start caring about our judgement as if we had one in the first place. So before you all start nodding off at the back we’d like to introduce you to momo : tempo or if you will Timo Peach as he’s known to kith, kin and the zillions of listeners who’ve fallen under his spell. We say fallen under his spell because we assume it is he glaring hypnotically from the CD artwork like some n’er do well freak circus magician like love child of Jarvis Cocker and David Tennant (though having now seen the video maybe not so). Currently knocking together a full length follow up to 2010’s ’the golden age of exploration’, which to resigned sighs we here appear to have missed, ’undo’ serves as the first fruits of those sessions – a clever little ditty about the pitfalls of not having a system restore option for real life disasters and cock ups. Okay the right said fred comparisons might be a little unfair but trust me once heard and you’ll see where I was coming from. Safe to say, peach attends the same musical school as those audaciously clever types Pepe Deluxe in so far as he’s able to ferment a brew flavoured by such a varied array of styles which on paper shouldn’t sit easily with each other but by his creative hand manifests into a perversely peculiar pop calypso dinked with the smarties of the Sparks as though crash landed on a sonic landscape reared on the cosmopolitan sounds of yello’s precocious ’you’ve got to say yes to another excess’ and found cutting seductive shapes whilst drinking cocktails at a smoking sophisticat nightspot. ‘dead good’ is similarly cut in sharp threads, amid the chill toned jazz funk allure elements of emperor penguin subtly needle away between the grooves swapping notes with a ‘penthouse and pavement’ era Heaven 17 while a ‘pimp dad’s car’ mix of the lead cut draws things to a close not before injecting the original mix in a scatty schizoid electro surge.
Some of you might recall us briefly mentioning in passing a year or so ago or possibly longer I’m a guessing what at the time was an early preview of something that was due to adorn the wonderful sound imprint – which as you all should know plays home to the frankly underappreciated Superimposers – courtesy of the kramford look. Well we loved it and made a mental note at the time to check back in at a later date to give a heads up to what was going to be an intended debut full length by the name of ’1970’. It seems we forgot and said set came out and slipped us by. Not to worry, as the duo are about to release a by all accounts tastily packaged 10 inch set entitled ’bip bip bip…’ which ought to have first port of call appeal to admirers of the trunk imprint and those weird and wonky found sounds as craftily collected by Jim Jupp on his essential listening belbury radio broadcasts. There’s a sampler track ’afternoon on rat island’, which ought to give you a fair old idea of what to expect. Snaked in early 70s threads there’s a wonderfully sunburnt retro classicism that eyes emperor penguin’s luxuriously lounged out ’mysterious pony’ set from a few years back; so, mix into the bedazzled broth some softly exotic aspects filched from that excellent super furry-ish ‘monsterism island’ compilation and then recline back in your flock wallpaper and lava candle lit boudoir and dream away to lost sultry summer under the beguiling spell craft of this wholly trippy treat of chilled mood mosaics – while you’re doing that we’ll fire off electronic begging letters and try to nab a copy for full critical appreciation. http://wonderfulsound.tumblr.com/page/2
And from the kramford look to the belbury parish magazine – so seamless we blush. If your listening tastes flitter to an excitable frenzy with hearts a skipping to the sounds of playful jingles and retro incidental notations then you might well be advised to visit the latest café kaput mix cloud session, as ever carefully soldered together by Jon Brooks in his self-assembled time travelling sound shed. This latest transmission collective, entitled ‘the winter hours’, is an absorbing head-tripping journey to the textured inner world sound of electronics, sometimes playful (Michael Czajkowski) and beguiled (Broadcast – whose latest opus from which this chosen track ‘Collatina is coming’ is taken we cannot recommend highly enough), at others hypnotic (The Clock) and serene (The Focus Group) with the occasioning of the strange and haunting (Didier Debril) and the demurring (How to destroy angels – who on the evidence of ‘the sleep of reason produces monsters’ we need to hear more of). http://www.belburyparishmagazine.blogspot.co.uk/
And staying with strange sounds we’ve just eyed something rather tasty from ex-farina man Mark Brend. Under the guise of ghostwriter Mr Brend has been working on some sonic mosaics with a collective of friends that include ex-farina partners Matt Gale and Tim Conway along with guest collaborations with belbury poly’s Jim Jupp and Suzy Mangion of george fame. A seven inch is imminent via the chaffinch imprint, which according to the label blurb is a ‘walk in the 1930’s in the company of Charles Williams’, who for those previously unaware was a much lauded author admired by Auden and Eliot who described his novels as ‘supernatural thrillers’ and is thought to be the inspiration behind Lewis’s ‘that hideous strength’. There are very brief sound sample of the tracks on the label’s website – ‘dimensions’ we are assuming being the full on 11 minute suite here revealed as being touched by the stilled atmospherics of a rustic flavouring, which later manifests into a decidedly demurred though tear stained lunar lullaby. Elsewhere you’ll find elements of sweetly ached piano braids dissipating into haunting sepia skinned sound spectres, much recalling it should be said the latter work of dream of tall buildings and a beautifully airy crystal tipped pop purred pretty. As to the single itself, it’s strictly limited to just 200 copies. On a related note we here are still eyeing Mr Brend’s latest tome ’the sound of tomorrow’ published by Bloomsbury – we’ve been on its case for weeks now having been somewhat blown out by Waterstones, which might mean us having to sup with the devil and visit Amazon. Anyhow the book traces the mass populism of electronic sounds from its earliest roots via the media: http://minutebook.co.uk
And did we just mention dreams of tall buildings in passing? Justin Wiggan of said aural alchemists is something of a workaholic who simply can’t be trusted to walk past a studio without the overpowering urge to pop in and commit to tape from headspace some form of sonic sculpturing. For those well acquainted such invention has been known to cover a vast all encompassing spectrum of sounds and styles with the oft peculiar knack of either seducing (Cocoons) or scaring (Swallows) said listening patrons. Abstract, sometimes surreal, creatively adept, decamped at the farthest outer posts of the sonic spectrum and occupying a safe haven amid sounds secret inner space, wearing his roadside picnic hat Wiggan forges his craft by the exploring and bending of textures through medium manipulation. Recorded recently at the sound kitchen and, I’m suspecting, with no plans at present to release this officially, one such series of audiac experiments takes shape under the guiding title the Doberman variations. The idea here is loosely based on the unfounded notion of the selected artists in question’s obsession with Dobermans. Utilising an array of broken/scratched records, home made keyboards, prepared Dictaphones and processed vocals, the first in this eclectic series uses as its guiding point Grace Jones’s ’slave to rhythm’. Appreciably appealing to those of you subscribing to the extended sound family found on the missing in action of late Scotch Tapes – and here we are thinking of the likes of the insect explosion, sunken landscapes and al Qaeda – what emerges on this 34-minute sound-scape is a truly bastardised head trip that reveals the process of sound art in creative free-flow. Loosely engaged and absorbing, moondog’s counterpoint themes this slow but steady sonic germination builds in stature, detail and density to slowly shape shift from an initial sparse and minimalist starting point wherein the remote dronal tides, serenely subtle white noise shards and insectoid pulsars gather together to cast a disquieting and detached aura culminating in its final departure, which finds Ms Jones emerging out of the thick mind molten haze to draw matters to conclusion. Between these points Wiggan adheres to a fluid process of dismantling, rebuilding and tweaking to create a collage that continually terra-forms and sheds its sonic skin, amid the woozy psychotropia the chilled effect of groaning monastic chants and the frequency bleaching manipulations usher in a sense of ghostly decay which are soon eclipsed by the hypnotic hum of the locked run-out grooves aligned to solar flared interferences, which blur and fracture at the 20 minute mark. At this point, something of a mutant psych dub head trip slowly begins to manifest on the cosmic horizon and everything dissipates and melts into a fringe parting and tripping hallucinogenic haze the likes of which some space cadets may never return.
And staying with things shoe gazed, something which caught us on the back foot is a self released 6 track EP from Brooklyn-based combo shana falana entitled ’in the light’. Alas, there are no oodles of fancy info with which to serenade and cause you to drop everything and go forth in immediate search of it in order to call it your own. Just take my word for it that it’s quite special. All at once distant, forlorn and snow bleached in a tender flavouring that sweetly arcs and freewheels to a melodic framing that timidly skirts an early 90s indie landscape populated by the likes of the Heartthrobs, The Sundays and anything loosely attaching to Tanya Donelly. Self-described patrons of the art of the shoe gazed, there’s something somewhat of an undersell and a hiding of their light beneath bushel’s here given this lot have a tendency to migrate and flicker n’ flirt with a positive smorgasbord of styles and generic mix n’ matching. By and large that sees a subtle flavouring of windblown folk atmospherics breathlessly kissing at the string seeped classicism rooted at their craft’s core – case in point being the noir scratched exquisiteness of ‘tragic‘, with its willowy All About Eve-like braids superbly fragmenting at its finale into near fragmenting frenzy. A near faultless EP it has to be said, with each cut assuming a classic merit in its own right with title track ‘in the light’ just edging matters in the fight for the privileged best moment vote; not least because amid its tenderly torn shell it coos and chimes to the sweetly ached crush of a timid Frente in the swooning embrace of an early career Cranberries. That said, giving it a run for its money is the gloriously hymnal like lullaby ‘light the fire’ which emerges from its mist bound woodland hideaway draped and woven in an almost celestially trimmed uplifting radiance. Elsewhere the mysteriously enchanting ‘u r everything’ ushers in to a slow burning sugar rush peppered and cradled with a hollowed and spectral angelic demeanour that shimmers and morphs from shy eyed to radiant. It builds steadily in depth, dimension and texture, which leaves the effervescent jubilance of the parting ‘yeah yeah’ to ride out the set in the irresistible cavalcade of an oncoming blazing haze of feelgood euphoria. Like it says on the tin, ‘dizzy chant’ is just a side winding and mooching beauty hooked upon choruses of ethereal whispers all kissed with a succulent soft psych cosmic cosiness. More where that come from please.
Video for ‘yeah yeah’……
There’ll be more of this later in the week – promise – can’t say for certain what’ll be in it; maybe some roadside picnic, revenant sea, nails, kodaline, le mouv glitch pod cast, ghostwriter, loads of gringo-related goodies including hookworms, sauna youth etc… something gorgeous by sugar drum and some seemingly lost but now found static caravan lovelies and loads more besides…
As ever communications established via –
Snail mail –
71 Pennsylvania Road, Liverpool, L13 9BA
Finally, don’t forget that if you’re partaking in the record store day celebrations in so far as releases and stuff then please get in touch as we’ll be doing an extended tales from the attic record store day special. In addition any bands from Liverpool or thereabouts tune in and send your links, records and sounds because we’ll also be committing to a Liverpool special very soon – details to be posted once finalised.
As ever, take care of yourselves,