Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou – EXPATRIOT

Long awaited fourth long-player from TM & HL takes an intelligent and compassionate look at the hard times of old/new England.

For their previous album, 2012's La Ferme De Fontenaille, husband and wife duo Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou spent ten days recording in a barn located in the Pay De La Loire, France, aided by little more than a pair of guitars and a 4-track cassette recorder. For their latest album they've enlisted the help of recording legend Ethan Johns whose label Three Crows Records is jointly releasing the record with Trevor and Hannah-Lou's own Anglophone Recording Company.

The pair have busied themselves between album with a series of tours, most notably opening for Tori Amos throughout Europe and North America. Fortunately for us listeners they've also found time to write. Matching Ethan John's heightened sonic focus on the new album is the song-writing which is as sharp and incisive as anything from their back catalogue. As hinted at by the album title's play on words, EXPATRIOT sees the duo explore a recurring theme in their writing, that of nationality, what it means to be British, or more specifically English. And also just how deep rooted are the systems that perpetuate our problems with ourselves and the rest of the world.

The opening title track sets the tone, a rallying wake-up call to a population whose “daydreaming days may be done”. 'Galley Hill' casts a compassionate eye at the refugee crisis over an early Beatles chord sequence while 'Up Mercatoria' paints everyday vignettes of working life in an area of the duo's hometown and subtly references the founding blocks of how we interact with the rest of the world. 'Babe To Cradle' is an album highlight, a genuinely sublime track with Dylan-ish use of alliteration, examining monarchy as well as warmongering and extremism. For all the serious topics the album ends on an optimistic note with 'A Better Day' complete with a sing-a-long chorus and kazoo solos.

As a nation we precariously balance hope and despair, pride and shame. The latter pairing none more so when it comes to how we view and treat the rest of the world. Our borders may be made by God, but our frustrating insularity is wholly our own. It's a sensitive area and one that a lot of musicians shy away from. Not Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou. If only more musicians were prepared to examine these issues in such an intelligent and compassionate way. Especially now we need them to more than ever.

Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou will be supporting Ron Sexsmith on tour this October as well as opening for Jools Holland later this autumn - 

Jools Holland dates
Thursday 29th October – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
Friday 30th October – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
Thursday 12th November – Colosseum, Watford
Saturday 14th November – Barbican, York

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Tir na nOg – Ricochet (Ltd7”)

Tir na nOg's newest mystical masterpiece! A taster from their first studio LP in over 40 years!

Tir na nOg were and are trailblazers of genre defying acoustic music. The duo formed in 1970, released a string of critically acclaimed albums. and achieved a sizeable cult following before splitting in 1974. The pair re-united in 1985 for sporadic live shows and have recently stepped their touring up a gear, much to the delight of fans old and new.

Their reputation as acid-folk luminaries is now further cemented by the release of new track 'Ricochet' on a coloured vinyl 7”. Taken from the forthcoming album The Dark Dance, (their first in over 40 years), it resembles a devotional Sufi song more than it does Irish or English folk, with echoes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, acoustic Zep and even The Sisters Of Mercy. Drone, Arabic scales and percussion are the order of the day, lending the song an air of urgent mysticism.

The flipside features a previously unreleased live version 'Tir na nOg'. It's a cracking take on their signature song and proof that the pairs' talents and enthusiasm show no signs of diminishing just yet. Land of eternal youth indeed!

Click here for Tir na nOg's website
Click here for the Fruits De Mer website.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Wrong Society – She Destroyed Me b/w Without You (Ltd. 7”)

A double pronged ode to love gone wrong from Hamburg's newest garage band.

One of the garage scene's default lyrical themes, (hell one of life's themes I guess!) is love gone wrong, being mystreated by a lover who you'd put all hope and faith in. With this in mind it could be a case of treading (dirty) water for German garage band The Wrong Society whose second single, and first for Paul Messis' Market Square Records, has this staple subject at its core.

Through sheer spirit and conviction however this is not the case. She Destroyed Me is a four chord stormer charting the love-gone-wrong aftermath. It's bolstered by high-in-the-mix tambourine and a Vox Super Continental keyboard solo. The Hamburg based quartet have a more measured, reflective take on the situation on the flipside Without You, where the protagonist's feelings turn from anger to sadness. A nice addition to any deejay's 7" box.

On 7” black vinyl, limited to 300 copies complete with a hand-numbered postcard.

Check out The Wrong Society at one of their upcoming German gigs -

September 22nd - Molotow Skybar, Hamburg
October 1st - Feinstaub, Frankfurt
October 2nd - Goldgrube Kassel
October 3rd - Sonic Ballroom, Cologne
October 16th - Roadrunner's Paradise, Berlin

Click here for The Wrong Society on Facebook.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Magic Bus – Seven Wonders b/w Eight Miles High (Ltd. 7”)

Devon band's take on the Canterbury sound is as warm and welcome as a ray of late summer sun.

Magic Bus make music that lives up to their name; it delights, dazzles, and takes you places you want to go. Their first single for the Fruits de Mer label contains an original A-side, Seven Wonders, backed with their take on The Byrds' Eight Miles High. It may just be the pick of the crop of FDM's early Autumn releases.

If you want comparisons think Caravan and the Canterbury sound. Think gentle, pastoral home counties psychedelia. Think Englishness as encapsulated by Robert Wyatt-esque vocals. Think hops fields, sunny days and games of cricket. But really don't think at all, just listen. You won't be disappointed.

The initiated may have already heard Seven Wonders as it's taken from their Transmission From Sogmore's Garden album, their 2nd for Static Caravan Records. For the rest of us this first meeting is as warm and welcome as a ray of late summer sun. Along with its strong melody and harmonies worthy of Crosby, Stills and Nash, the band prove equally adept at wigging out as evidenced in the song's proggy coda.

Eight Miles High is a slowed down take on The Byrds classic with an almost Gregorian vocal intro. Any folk-rock urgency is replaced by a more measured jazz swing. Similarly it's flute and synthesizer that take flight on the solos instead of McGuin's garbled guitar. Very nice indeed!

Click here for the Magic Bus website.
Click here for Magic Bus on Facebook.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Nick Nicely – 49 Cigars (Ltd. 7”)

'80s lost psych classic gets a well deserved reissue on Fruits De Mer Records.

Cult musician Nick Nicely may not be known to many outside of the psych-scene cognoscenti, but he sure as hell knows how to make great music. The lead track of this 4 track EP is actually a B-side from his 1982 single Hilly Fields. Hilly Fields was actually reissued by FDM several years ago but now it's 49 Cigars that's getting some well deserved attention.

All the hallmarks of classic British Psychedelia are present, incorrect and there to disorientate your senses. Chug and drone, lyrics that engage but don't always make sense, sampled sonics that swoop in unexpectedly, along with backwards guitar breaks and a trumpet blast that's part fox-hunt bugle, part Proms pomp but mostly a reveille directed at the straight world.

Also included on this EP is a revelatory live version of 49 Cigars that brims over with brio and energy, an exclusive remix of Belinda (taken from Nick's latest solo LP) and Lobster Dobbs, a track taken from his Space Of A Second LP for LO Recordings. Fans of all things lysergic will find this as good an entry point as any into Nick's work.

Click here for Nick Nicely on Facebook.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Worthless – Children Of The Grave b/w Softest (Ltd. 7”)

Brooklyn acid-heads trip out into poppy psych and blissful soul on their latest single.

Market Square Records, the rapidly blossoming garage rock label, have diversified somewhat with their latest batch of releases which includes this limited 7” single by New York acid heads Worthless. It's the sound of '60s pop going psychedelic. The track's simplistic melody nicely draped in swirly atmospherics, echo and disorientating reverb.

Softest features a blissfully stoned circular groove, and comes across like an out-take from Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson. The sound of innocence getting experienced. Loping bass and drums that sound like they could fall apart into fits of giggles at any point. Midway through this mutates into a solid psychedelic soul groove worthy of Isaac Hayes, or The (Norman Whitfield produced) Temptations.

Limited to 300 copies only, this platter comes in a hand-numbered fold over sleeve, the inner side featuring a collage by Worthless' Curtis Godino, plus a free postcard. Get one now or regret it later!

Click here for Worthless on Facebook.

Vibravoid – Stepping Stone (Ltd. 7”)

Psychedelic Monkee business and heavy Traffic aboard the Lovecraft.

With Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork heading out on their latest nostalgic cash-in for the first time in ten years it's a happy coincidence that Vibravoid are releasing a brand new 7” featuring their take on The Monkees classic (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone. The garage rock staple gets a Freakbeat makeover complete with backward guitar solo. Neat!

If the Monkees cover doesn't float your boat there's always their version of Traffic's Hole In My Shoe which features guest vocals from Italian mod jazz singer Viola Road. A fairly straight take on the Brit-psych save for the middle eight section which is sung as opposed to spoken

Completing this 3 track 7” is a new mix of H.P. Lovecraft's The White Ship. Less about melody and more of a mood piece with atmospherics, synth shimmer and pulsating bass, it completes a pretty impressive 3 tracker!

Click here for Vibravoid on Facebook.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Paul Messis - The Blind Leading The Blind b/w As Time Rolls By

Sixth solo single from Sussex-based garage outsider.

Those of you who are unfamiliar with the recorded output of Paul Messis should listen up. For my money he makes some of the most authentic garage psych out there at the moment. And not only that his songs actually say something. That's right kids, music that actually speaks to you!
On his latest solo single he takes a stand against the hypocrisy of the modern world. For all its vocal dissatisfaction with the mores of today, the backing sounds just like an unearthed folk-rock nugget from the mid '60s. Two minutes of garage-psych spleen venting that brings to mind Arthur Lee's Love or early Byrds.
The flipside is an altogether more reflective affair with a tears-of-a-clown theme. Its C86 vibe provides a sweet counterpoint to the A-side's fuzzy snarl and bite.

Out now and limited to 300 copies on trad black vinyl housed in 'Market Square' company sleeve, all copies come with a hand-numbered Poster.

First 100 buyers of the 45, will get the record in a DIY photocopied fold-over sleeve made by Paul Messis.

Monday, 31 August 2015

ZX+ - Don't Drink The Water

Lancashire's one man band releases latest ragbag of ideas, invention and razor sharp guitars.

Remember when indie meant music unshackled by label or audience expectations, rather the bland compromised genre it subsequently became in the wake of '90s Britpop? If you do or wish you did then you'll probably like Don't Drink The Water by ZX+. A ragbag of no fixed genre but brimming with energy and razor sharp guitars.

ZX+ is not a home computer revamped and re-branded by Sir Clive Sinclair, but the musical conduit for one Stephen Evans. The Lancashire-based musician has written, sang and played pretty much everything on the album, bar the drums. Neatly trimmed and non-indulgent for a self-produced record, it shape shifts between up-tempo wordy romps à la Arctic Monkeys and melodic McCartney-esque folksiness, with some Cardiacs style quirkiness thrown in for good measure.

This feeling of not quite knowing what to expect is one of the record's main strengths. The album opens with The Crazies which contains quiet/loud dynamics and Mick Ronson style guitar hooks. From thereon in were treated to delicate folksy instrumentals and rum tales over punky backing, all held together by excellent musicianship, attention to detail, quality song writing, and Evans' northwestern brogue. A highly enjoyable album that deserves to be heard.

Click here for ZX+ on Twitter.
Click here for ZX+ on Facebook.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Papernut Cambridge – Nutlets 1967-80

An aural love letter to pop's last age of innocence. Papernut Cambridge's latest LP pays homage to the soundtrack of their youth.

One album I enjoyed last year was There's No Underground by Papernut Cambridge. A strong LP which mixed suburban sadness with soft psychedelia and '70s glam. It was a record that wore its influences on its sleeve. Those influences are now honoured in the form of 10 cover versions on their latest LP, Nutlets 1967-80.

It's a fan's labour of love. An unashamed sepia-toned trawl through the tracks of one's youth. At first glance it's a disparate selection of tunes but on listening it all makes sense. So what ties all these songs together? Apart from being of the same decade (almost), they all share a melodic inventiveness, invite you to sing along, and have a high feel-good factor.

There are big hits such as Jesamine and Love Grows Where My Rosemary Grows by The Casuals and Edison Lighthouse respectively, along with tracks not so well served by oldies radio stations – Lynsey de Paul's Sugar Me, Alvin Stardust's Jealous Mind and What Ruth Said by Cockney Rebel. The album ends with PC's take on Mikey Dread's 1980 track Rockers Delight. The reggae rhythms slightly at odds with the rest of the album's bittersweet pop, though no less engaging.

The 1980 cut off point is telling. By this time Thatcher was in power, the Cold War was at its height, music was getting increasingly digital, more machine based and somehow colder and less human. And though things wouldn't always stay that way a chapter of pop's history had ended. This album serves as a fitting tribute to those times. Redolent of flared jeans, star jumpers, Angel Delight, Smash instant mash potato and spending pocket money on 7” singles sold from a provincial town's white goods store.

This idea of the 1970s as a golden age of innocence has since proved to be somewhat misguided but this collection proves that the decade did at least have some great tunes. Pop would never be so unashamedly catchy again. Hats off to Papernut Cambridge for highlighting these overlooked gems.

Nutlets 1967-80 is an infectious, highly enjoyable companion piece to There's No Underground, and as with their previous recorded output is available on various formats, each containing different versions and mixes. It will put a spring in your step, a smile on your face, and tunes in your head that won't leave for days. You can't ask for much more than that can you.

Click here for Papernut Cambridge's website.
Click here for Papernut Cambridge on Twitter.
Click here for Gare Du Nord Records.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Interview with Ted Selke (The Seventh Ring Of Saturn)

One of the best albums I've been listening to this year is Ormythology by The Seventh Ring Of Saturn. The band have recently followed this up with an excellent double A-sided 7" single which sees the band return to their bubblegum rock/pop sound with cover versions of The Grateful Dead's Mountains Of The Moon and The Hollies' All The World Is Love. TSROS head honcho Ted Selke has very kindly agreed to share his thoughts on all things musical - discovering Middle Eastern music, favourite childhood 45s, studio techniques and more!

Click over the jump to read the interview.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run

Conceptual pop for grownups! Brent Thorley and Ian Pakes' latest opus takes a rueful look at the corrupting nature of ambition.

The Lancashire Hustlers are a pair of northern émigrés, now resident in London. They've recently released What Made Him Run, the second in their proposed trilogy of 'pop operas'. Over the course of the album's richly arranged ten tracks we're told the story of one man's life. It's a tale of the corrupting effect of ambition, ruthlessness,and towards the end, the sad nature of regret. Almost like a mash-up of The Beatles' She's Leaving Home with The Wolf Of Wall Street. The album's protagonist is obviously in some sort of mid-life crisis, his tale told via some well-crafted, grown-up literary pop.

Taken as a whole it's a rewarding experience, but each individual track stands up well. Not least in part to the pairs' innate understanding of each others singing and playing. The are echoes of other great collaborative duos throughout, most obviously Difford and Tilbrook, Tim and Neil Finn and Lennon and McCartney. It also reminded me of the kind of song suite Ray Davies might have made during the 1970s as the soundtrack for a made for TV special. Factor in some some Everly Brothers' harmonies and some pre-fame Bowie folk-rock and you have a winning sound right there. But it's the meticulously crafted songs and cinematic sweep of story that impress the most.

The Lancashire Hustlers play The Stage Door, Waterloo, London on September 12th.

Click here for The Lancashire Hustlers' website.
Click here for The Lancashire Hustlers on Facebook.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Magic City Trio - A Funnel Cloud In Albuquerque EP

Southern Gothic tradition found alive and well in. Currently residing in the deep south of Blighty!

Despite the band's fascination with nascent Americana, The Magic City Trio actually hail from the deep south of good ol' Blighty, deep in the heart of London. Not for them is grime music or the kitchen-sink observational brit-pop one usually associates with the nation's capital . Instead they make music that owes more to the American deep south - supersticious settler music, pre-war old-timey ballads, God-fearing folk songs, Mariachi and early country music are the basic tenets of their sound. Throw in a bit of Spaghetti Western vibe, some Duane Eddy twang and you have a pretty tasty recipe!

The band have travelled and gigged extensively and have just released their debut EP, A Funnel Cloud In Albuquerque, which features the title track along with another original track (A Prayer For Hope And Happy Times), and a traditional Baptist Hymn (The Lone Pilgrim). The deluxe CD version also features alternate takes of the two original songs.

Fans of The Louvin Brothers, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, The Band, and early Americana in general will surely find much to like in their time and space hopping music. Look at for the band this year as they make a transatlantic tour of open mic nights. Even better get in touch and book them for a show or house gig.

The Magic City Trio are -

Frank Sweeney (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Annie Holder (guitar, vocal, autoharp, kazoo)
Adi Staempfli (bass, vocals)

Click here for the band's website.
Click here for The Magic City Trio on Twitter.
Click here for The Magic City Trio on Facebook.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Bananas Magazine - Issue 11 OUT NOW!

Latest issue of garage, punk & psych zine, available from all good stores & distros is out now!

Always a pleasure to get hold of the latest Bananas Magazine and this issue doesn't disappoint. Alongside the sharp, insighful reviews there's the usual bumper-fest of features and interviews with the scene's latest movers and shakers. Bands such as Thee Marvin Gays, Thee Tsunamis and The Youth all share their thoughts with us humble readers, as do labels such as Dead Beat Records, State, and Hidden Volume.

If that's not enough there's volume 2 of their Bananas Peel Sessions, their accompanying online compilations. I've shared the Bandcamp link below but be sure to head over to the mag's website to check out the equally awesome volume 1, subscribe to the mag or track down those elusive back issues. For bonus fun play count the number of stripy breton tops in the mag's photos. No prizes though, this one's for fun only!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Will Z. - New Start

Inspired by Jain philosophy, Will Z.'s new album is one to immerse yourself in. A meditative spiritual journey unlike anything else you'll hear all year.

He may have the last name in the phone book but who is Will Z.? The answer is he's a singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist who first came to prominence as a member of Cosmic Trip Machine. His solo output has all had a similarly exploratory psychedelic bent, be it dark rock, folk or psych-pop. More recently his involvement with The Book Of Am project and work with Gong main man Daevid Allen (RIP), has lead him towards music of a more introspective, meditative nature. His latest outing is New Start, a serious though highly enjoyable and rewarding work inspired by Jain philosophy.

The album length release is broken down into six pieces, with each track based around a simple repeated musical phrase or motif which is then added to and embellished. With an emphasis on spirituality, philosophy and self improvement, the results are as meditative as the mandala on the record's sleeve. As the title infers there's something cleansing about this music, encouraging a dumping of previous methods and baggage, and replacing with a fresh approach, blank slate or beginner's mind.

Jain Devotion (Parts I – III) starts with a swampy, dense sound reminiscent of being in the deep rainforest. Eventually some electronic sound claw through the sonic swamp - morse, radar, and radio waves merging to find a harmonious drone. From this a slow mantra-like song builds, implying the beginning of a journey. And indeed it is, over the course of the album we're treated a delicious array of textures and musical pairings. From sitar and flute, oud and mellotron, to more familiar electric piano and bass. The overall effect is hypnotic, entrancing and nourishing. And best listened to in one devotional sitting. Turn off your phone, relax and float downstream indeed!

Click here for more from on Will Z.
Click here for Will Z. on Facebook.
Click here for the Mega Dodo Records website.