Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Suburban Homes ... Are Bored EP


Provincial punk punch on The Suburban Homes' latest EP!


The Olympics and Paralympics aside, 2016 has been a terrible year to be British. The dissatisfaction that many have felt across the country manifested itself in the Brexit result, quite possibly the lamest, most self-defeating revolution ever. A political own goal more embarrassing than England's form at the Euros.

We were led down this route by battling Etonians, whose austerity politics satisfied the reactionaries of middle England, bolstered as they were by the press, who blamed the country's ills on anyone without a voice, the powerless rather than those actually in charge. Benefit seekers and immigrants took the brunt of the blame, while corporations and banks continue to screw us over.

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Er... yes. Big-time!

Perhaps here's not the place for me to get this off my chest. After all it's just a humble little music blog. But It seems that the heart of angry protest still beats in pockets across the country. The latest EP from The Suburban Homes gives hope that the youth may save us from ourselves once again. Or at the very least make a damn good righteous racket while trying to.

The Crawley punks' latest was recorded before the Brexit referendum and doesn't address it directly but it does tap into that sense of desperation and helplessness that many marginalised communities across the country are subject to. That feeling that we all deserve better than what we get. There may be a poverty of imagination across our political spectrum and we continue to be passified by our homogenised mainstream culture, which is precisely why The Suburban Homes deserve to be heard. I don't think this 12” EP is actually available as yet but keep an eye on the band's Bandcamp page for more info.


Click here for more on The Suburban Homes.

TRACK LISTING
Welcome To Shitsville
Small Town Boredom
Barbie and Ken
iPhone Suicide
Cul-De-Sac
Paranoia + Frustration = Constipation

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Fast Camels – Tales Of The Expected


Third LP from Scotland's premier neo-psych band!


Glasgow may be 5,000 miles from San Francisco, and nowhere near as warm and sunny but maybe it's looking out from a west coast onto a large body of water that induces a psychedelic mindset. Okay maybe not, but there's certainly plenty of that psychedelic mindset on the latest LP from The Fast Camels, one of the best neo-psych outfits in Britain right now. And plenty of the Glasgow-based band's inspiration comes from that other west coast. Check out their debt to Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit' on 'Watchmaker', or the dark acoustic vibes of 'Madame Matron' a track that would fit in easily on Love's Forever Changes.

It's been 2 years since their previous long player, Deadrooms And Butterfly Dreams, and 9 since their debut, The Magic Optician. There's been no major stylistic overhaul, with the band content to mix '60s psych influences with some '90s Britpop swagger. Though the band seem re-energised with a fresh batch of tunes that if anything surpasses their previous output, playing to their strengths in the studio and gelling like only a well-gigged and rehearsed band could.

The primary influences of US psych bands from '66 onwards (A support slot at one of the recent Love Revisited gigs must have been a boost and a validation) is there in the music but lyrically they couldn't be from anywhere else except these isles. The sense of humour found in their Kinksian vignettes is purely British, a tradition that goes right back to the days of music halls. Check out their dig at bar-room bullshitters on the title track opener, or 'Joy Of Roy', a character study that peers beneath the surface of ordinary everyday people to reveal their quirks and foibles. So musically it's a pill-poppin' trip down the rabbit-hole, while lyrically ripping the piss out of their acquaintances like only us Brits know how to do. A true transatlantic trip, and one you need to experience.


The Fast Camels are -

Drew Sturgeon: vocals/guitar
Mark O'Connor: vocals/lead guitar/12 string acoustic
Andy Rene: vocals/bass guitar
Joe Smith: drums/organ/vocals
Craig Jenkins: vocals/percussion

Click here for The Fast Camels' website

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Bordellos - Gary Glitter EP


A brave move to title your latest EP after one the music world's most reviled figures, but the The Bordellos are no ordinary band. The title track of their new release is not a celebration of the man but more of a lament for a time when mainstream music was colourful and exciting. Brian from the band explains - 

"It is a EP influenced by the sad decline of the magic that once could be found in mainstream music, now it seems to have all but vanished, music once could excite you entice you scare you make you feel uneasy or elated just by turning on the radio no matter what time of the day, this is our attempt at putting something slightly subversive back on the radio."

This theme continues through the other three tracks, 'Attack Of The Killer B-Sides' is a list of those classic tracks that are at least the equal of their more celebrated flipsides. Have a listen and add your own. 'Free Download Generation' is a satire of now, a time when new music is so omnipresent and readily accessible but little social or cultural impact. The final track 'Disco Pants' is a post-punk gem about community and retail therapy. How about that! Anyway it's a great EP and available (as a free download no less!) from their Bandcamp page. Get listening!


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Is This Music? - Teenage Fanclub Uncovered - A Spotify Playlist


With a new album from Teenage Fanclub on the horizon I've been immersing myself in the surprising amount of records of theirs that I own. LPs, CD & 7" singles along with appearances on compilation LPs and magazine freebies. With this in mind I present you with a Spotify playlist of songs they've covered. Some are on LPs, some on B-sides, some on tribute albums, but all given the Fanclub makeover and all an insight into their likes and influences. There were also a couple of Neil Young tracks ('Burned' and 'Don't Cry No Tears'), but they aren't on Spotify so I couldn't tag them on. Anyways, I'll stop prattling. Long live the Fanclub!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Embrooks – Nightmare / Helen (Ltd 7”)

The Embrooks first recordings in over 10 years! Out now on State Records!


It may be over a decade since The Embrooks committed any music to ½-inch tape but this brand new 7” single shows they can still come up with the goods. They've kept their hand in during the intervening years with drummer Lois bashing the skins for garage-y pub-rockers Thee Jezebels, and bassist Mole playing for numerous acts as well as setting up State Records and Sandgate Studios, a facility that ranks alongside the legendary Toe Rag for capturing an authentically vintage sound.

Where The Embrooks are concerned this sound is all about that mid-'60s “pop goes weird” moment, crucially pre-concept album, when 7” singles ruled. It's beat-driven art-rock still with still enough “pop” in it to care about melody and hooks. 'Nightmare' is the darker side of this single with pilled-up guitar motifs and scattershot drums. It owes much to The Creation, The Who and The Yardbirds et al whereas the flip 'Helen' shows the band's lighter, poppier side, albeit with a guitar sound nasty enough for Dave Davies. A cracking record, get it while it's hot!


Limited to 500 copies in front-laminated flipback sleeve.

The Embrooks are -

Mole—bass guitar, vocals
Alessandro Cozzi-Lepri—guitar, vocals
Lois Tozer—drums

Click here for The Embrooks on Facebook.
Click here for the State Records website.


Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Luck of Eden Hall – The End of the Lane (Ltd. Edition 7”)

Limited edition 7” from long-serving Chicago psych band!


For a band that's been around since the '90s TLOEH still come up with the goods. This very limited release on Mega Dodo Records contains two tracks of top notch neo psychedelia and comes complete with a cover illustration that will have book and art lovers wetting their pants. Author Neil Gaiman (yes that one!) has kindly donated a drawing for the front cover of the single. So frame the sleeve on the walls by all means but do play the record!
'The End of the Lane' is inspired by Gaiman's book The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It fades in gently with guitar motifs and softly sung vocals. With tasteful use of echo it's a soothing balm that builds into a more manic segment underpinned by frantic drums and guitar shreds.
The flipside 'Blown to Kingdom Come' is taken from the band's recent long-player The Acceleration of Time. A Bowie-esque full band stomper and a nice contrast to the gentle side of the band displayed on the lead track.


This 7” single is released on 15th of August and is available on two colours -

Blue vinyl edition limited to 150 numbered copies (Singles Club members only).
Black vinyl edition limited to 150 numbered copies (general release).

Click here for more on The Luck of Eden Hall.
Click here for The Luck of Eden Hall on Twitter.
Click here for The Luck of Eden Hall on Facebook.
Click here for Mega Dodo Records.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Sideways Society – 4-track EP of Bowie / The Action covers (Ltd. Col 7”)


Californian band's discerning tribute to '60s UK modernism!


A true gem this one. Following on from the appearance on the recent Fruits de Mer freebie Bowie compilation, Sidewalk Society have recorded a couple less obvious tracks by the artist formerly known as David Jones. And well worth your pocket money they are too! A great tribute to a great man, and a reminder that there's plenty of Bowie tracks worth investigating pre-Hunky and Ziggy.
In keeping with the mod-nugget theme are a couple of tracks originally recorded by The Action. An art-school mod frenzy vibe for those who dig that kind of thing (hell, who doesn't?!) A platter that's sure to have you heading for the dance floor, but packed with a heft of latent psychedelia to keep the Heads satisfied too.

Released as a limited edition colour vinyl 7”. (OUT NOW!)

Tracklisting
  1. Can't Help Thinking About Me (David Bowie & The Lower Third)
  2. Look At The View (The Action)
  3. Let Me Sleep Beside You (David Bowie)
  4. Strange Roads (The Action)

Click here for more on Sidewalk Society.
Click here for Fruits de Mer Records.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

San Antonio Kid - San Antonio Kid


Swabian tumbleweed and twang!


With the horrendous battle for the White House currently raging, perhaps it's time to remind ourselves that the USA is not all bad. It has after all given us so much in cultural terms. And especially where music is concerned. The broad umbrella widely known as Americana has taken hold everywhere. In the Swabian town of Augsburg, Germany lives a quartet of urban cowboys who go by the collective name of San Antonio Kid, their name taken from a 1941 cult western movie.
Their self titled eight track album re-imagines Ennio Morricone's paeans to wide-open deserts but via a traditional guitar band set-up. Kind of like a surf band that's got sick of the ocean and re-located 500 miles inland. It's a gem of an album for anyone who loves a bit of Lee Hazelwood, Spindrift or Alt-country in general. On top of that it may contain the best whistling solo ever committed to tape (or Pro-Tools for that matter!) on 'Strangers', a track that would have made the Kill Bill soundtrack had they got round to recording it fifteen years ago.
Anyway it's not just me that digs 'em. Their brand of tumbleweed twang has garnered them recent tours with like-minded Brits The Hanging Stars. Check out this album and watch out for them bursting through a saloon door near you soon!


Click here for more on San Antonio Kid.
Click here for San Antonio Kid on Facebook.
Click here for Off Label Records.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The 14th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus – August 5th-7th in Cardigan, West Wales


Fruits de Mer's annual extravaganza in west Wales! This summer's hot ticket!


Good ol' Fruits de Mer know how to turn an unbearably strange summer into one that's actually enjoyable. Anyone wishing to escape Brexit and and Donald Trump for a few days should head over to Cardigan in lovely west Wales for the annual FDM-run festival.

Acts appearing include Twink & The Fairies, Vibravoid, The Electric Stars, Sendelica, Soft Hearted Scientists and our good friend Ted Selke (Seventh Ring Of Saturn). There'll be vinyl goodie bags on the Saturday and Sunday too. What better chance to hang out with like minded people and hear some great music!

Along with the live apprearances, quizes and general good vibes, each attendee will receive three free CDs featuring tracks compiled by Fruits de Mer. The CDs feature bands playing at the festival along with a globe-straddling array of new and old favourites. Tickets are limited to 150 only and will no doubt sell out. What are you waiting for?!


Click here to purchase tickets online.
Click here for the Fruits De Mer Records website.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Missing Souls – Sweet, Sweet Sadie / The Alligator (Ltd 7”)


Storming garage soul 45 out now on State Records!


State Records further their reputation as the leading garage label du jour with this latest release from The Missing Souls. It's the band's first for the label but they already have a couple of 7” singles to their name along with a self-titled LP on Dangerhouse Skylab Records. The band hail from Lyon, France and have been together just under two years, in which time their stuff has been well and truly got together. This single recorded in-house at State's custom built studio is ample proof at that.

Both tracks here are covers. 'Sweet, Sweet Sadie' (originally by The Teardrops) centres around a fuzz guitar riff with a Phillicordia organ solo that takes the track into freakbeat overdrive. 'The Alligator' is a dance craze track originally by The Us Four, driven here by punding drums and complete with hand claps, a truly wild guitar solo and trademark boy/girl vocals.

This is a record that deserves to be played loud. A must have single for any self-respecting garage 'n' beat DJ. Freakbeat a-go-go baby!


Limited to 500 copies on monophonic black vinyl.

Click here for The Missing Souls' website.
Click here for The Missing Souls on Facebook.
Click here for the State Records website.

The Missing Souls are -

Zaza Sharps – lead vocals, bass guitar
Little Big Ian – lead vocals, guitar
Ricky Bilbao – organ, bass guitar
Lester Mizzi – drums, vocals


The Higher State – Volume 27


Folksiness, Farfisa and fuzz guitar on fifth LP from Kent's garage stalwarts!


The Higher State's fifth long-player is on store shelves now (or more accurately available to order online) and does not dissappoint. Ten years into their tenure the band is now distilled to a three-piece; Marty Ratcliffe on guitar/vocals/organ, Paul Messis on bass/guitar and Scarlett Rickard on drums. With the writing split between Ratcliffe and Messis.

The touchstones of The Byrds, Love and The Electric Prunes are here to satisfy the faithful, but despite their love of US garage the band have a distinctly (English) personality of their own. To call Volume 27 a protest album may be a step too far but there is a state-of-the-nation thread that runs though the record.

Musically there's folksiness, Farfisa and fuzz guitar, with production values geared towards treble-friendly AM radio. The ear-splitting guitar solos and frantic drumming are balanced by the gentler folk-rock type tracks which helps hold it together as an album. (Unlike a lot of garage LPs which all too often sound like a cobbled together collection of A and B-sides)

For a musical form that was supposedly crystalised and archived on Lenny Kaye's Nuggets compilation it comes across here as in pretty good shape and the perfect tool to kick against thepricks of today.

To paraphrase The Who - “Garage rock is dead they say. Long live garage rock!”

Click here for The Higher State on Facebook. 
Click here for 13 O'clock Records.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Jessica & The Fletchers – Marble Fountain b/w Crystal Tears (Ltd. 7”)


Barcelona Indie-Pop outfit return with limited edition 7”!


Listening to Jessica & The Fletchers' latest 7” re-awakened something of my fading youth. Too young for punk or post-punk, and jaded by the time Brit-pop took over the charts, my own year zero was back in 1986. Or C86 if you prefer. A time when the likes of Talulah Gosh, The Shop Assistants and The Bodines were putting out great records, doing grass roots gigs and getting recognition in the weeklies. It was an all-too brief flowering but regained important ground from '80s perfectionists and pony-tailed professionals. More importantly it gave females an equal footing in making music, something which hadn't really happened since the very early days of punk (a move sadly hi-jacked by punk's second wave and the onset of Oi).

Jessica & The Fletchers describe themselves as a noise-pop quartet and that's pretty much on the mark; bittersweet lyrics are sweetly sung and backed up by fuzzy guitars. One part flowers, one part razorblades. With a sound that's deliberately amateurish, in the purest and best sense of the word, the lyrics are winsome with themes of young and innocent love, somehow apart from the modern world but also very much needed. The songs are short, with no needless solos, and all about the melody. Perfect fayre to be pressed onto their natural home of 7” plastic.

For fans of Sarah Records, Talulah Gosh, Jesus & Mary Chain and fans of spirited and catchy pure-pop in general. Limited to 300 copies, this 7” comes housed in a Risograph fold-over sleeve with a hand-numbered postcard fetauring the lyrics to both songs.


Click here for Jessica & The Fletchers on Twitter.
Click here for Jessica & The Fletchers on Facebook.


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Ulysses – Law And Order


More tales from brave Ulysses! Bath pop-rockers return with their 3rd LP!


Imagine an album that's made by a quartet of natural born piss-takers, high on humour and melody, performed with killer musicianship, with a smidgen of global hi-jinx and deviant sex. Ladies and gents check out Law And Order by Bath quartet Ulysses. It's been three long years since the band's last LP, the feelgood rock-pop opus Kill You Again. OK so that's not a Stone Roses length wait but given the quality of their tunes it's difficult not to feel a little impatient. Law And Order does not disappoint, if anything it's their strongest album yet.

Ulysses take their cue from early '70s guitar bands, with songs that rock, are adorned with fantastically over the top guitar solos, but haven't forsaken the '60s principle of strong melodies. Think Thin Lizzy with a jokebook, or Badfinger on happy pills. The Badfinger comparison gains weight from the melodic nod on 'Crazy Horses Ride The Snake', some would say a downright steal from 'Come And Get It'. Whether stolen or borrowed you have to admire their cheek.They're at their best straddling the fine line between pastiche and piss-take. Like that kid who always sat at the back in class, being serious is not their bag man. But boy can they play!

While glam-rock may be the presiding musical influence, the band's aesthetic is equally informed by cheap spy novels, Jeff Lynne's fashion sense and quite possibly British sex comedies starring Peter Askwith. It all points to Ulysses as the sort of band that deserves its own cartoon or comic. The Bath Street Kids anyone? Full marks too for the great fonts and album artwork. Top banana and album of the summer hands down! Check out the documentary below to see what the band are about.


Click here for more on Ulysses.
Click here for Ulysses on Twitter.
Click here for Ulysses on Facebook.


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou - New single for UNICEF!


Good friends of ours Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou are releasing a new single with all proceeds from the download going to UNICEF to support their work in Syria. 'A Better Day' is taken from the Ethan Johns produced album Expatriot. Check out the video above and donate via the download link below.

All proceeds from the single are going to the UNICEF Children of Syria Appeal. Download for £1(or more if you'd like) and donate to support UNICEF's tireless work to save and improve the lives of innocent children in the most difficult and unfair of circumstances.

**DOWNLOAD AND DONATE HERE -https://tmandhl.bandcamp.com/track/a-better-day **

Visit http://www.unicef.org and http://www.childrenofsyria.info to see how your money is being put to crucial use.

Expatriot was co-released on 2/10/15 by Ethan Johns' Three Crows Records, and TM&HL's Anglophone Recording Company.

Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou have also recorded a session for Bob Harris' Radio 2 show, due to air on July 3rd. They'll also be appearing live at The Bedford, London as part of the Balham Literary Festival. Full details on the duo's website.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Blues Against Youth - Apprentice


One man, three chords, twelve songs and a few pals! Third LP from Rome's one-man blues band!


The third LP from Italy's Gianni TBAY is that rarest of beasts, a blues album that appeals to purists and neophiles alike. Firmly rooted in delta and country blues but infused with a 21st century suss and swagger, it's suitable for back-porch or boutique festival alike. This time round the one-man band has enlisted some backing from his musician pals to flesh out his take on gutbucket blues.

TBAY's primitive beats and sophisticated lyrics, honed via relentless gigging, are intact throughout the album's twelve tracks, but benefit from the input of the extra musicians. (Check out the virtuoso guitar shredding on 'Boundless' or wailing harp on 'Barbed Times'.) Unlike a lost of blues records there's enough variation to keep the listener interested; party blues, stomping blues, travelling blues, plaintive slide-guitar laments, it's all there! Equally at home playing Southern boogie (Somebody Settles Down) or paying tribute to his country influences via the album's sole cover (Hank Williams' Lonesome Whistle Blow) TBAY's latest outing has a train load of authenticity and spirit. Hitch a ride why dontcha!


Click here for more on The Blues Against Youth.
Click here for The Blues Against Youth on Facebook.
Click here for The Blues Against Youth on Bandcamp.