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.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Papernut Cambridge - Love The Things Your Lover Loves

They are the 'nut, the 'nut, the Papernut! Happy Hauntology for now people!

We've covered Papernut cambridge's last two LPs on Harmonic Distortion before, 2014's There's No Underground and last year's cover set Nutlets 1967-80. Both great albums, but incredibly the band have found an extra gear. Their latest album, Love The Things Your Lover Loves, continues the theme of the preceding records ('70s-inspired upbeat glam-pop) but brings it into sharper focus.

Papernut Cambridge are a loose collective put together by head 'nut Ian Button, a musician who first came to prominence in the 1980s with Thrashing Doves and is perhaps best known as guitarist for Death In Vegas. For all his his '80s success and art-rock renown he comes across here as someone who thinks music peaked in 1973 with David Essex's “Rock On”. He might just have a point!

Love The Things Your Lover Loves features music that's informed by the soundtrack of childhood, but not in a wistful, nostalgic, life-was-better-then way, there's more of a positivity about it, it's more upbeat and celebratory. Call it Happy Hauntology if you want a genre. Button's take on retro-ish, warm, humanistic pop for now people has reached a new peak.

Whether celebrating fine monastic wines (Chartreuse), appreciating your loved ones (title track), or exercising some lyrical whimsy (St Nicholas Vicarage) the album has a much need optimism and feelgood factor about it, which chimes nicely with it's early summer release. This is complimented by the simple but effective artwork - a refreshingly simple two-coloured heart logo that's crying out to be stencilled onto a brick walls all over the country.

As always with Papernut Cambridge the album comes in a variety of different formats and options, full details of which can be found on the band's website. A special treat for analogue fans is the vinyl version which comes as two white vinyl 10” housed in a High Street style carrier bag (and true to the '70s spirit they won't charge you an extra 5p for it!)

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

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Love Revisited to tour UK in summer 2016!

Celebrating the music of Arthur Lee and LOVE, his band reunite for a 10 year anniversary UK tour.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Arthur Lee’s passing, LOVE revisited sees his longest serving band perform classic songs from LOVE’s first three albums Love, Da Capo and Forever Changes.

From 1993 until Arthur’s death in 2006, the band Baby Lemonade performed with him, being an essential part of the renaissance of LOVE’s music. This iteration of LOVE saw many sold out tours, as well as back to back Glastonbury performances and an appearance on Later with Jools Holland.

Joining Baby Lemonade is LOVE’s original lead guitar player and founding member Johnny Echols, who was part of the classic line up that recorded the seminal Forever Changes.

Johnny Echols and Arthur Lee were childhood friends whose families both moved from Memphis to Los Angeles. Teenage Johnny & Arthur teamed up to form the groups Arthur Lee & The LAG’s and the American Four before they formed LOVE in 1965. The classic LOVE line up featuring Johnny disbanded in 1968. Johnny reunited with Arthur Lee in 2005 to perform with LOVE once more.

Baby Lemonade formed in 1992 by Rusty Squeezebox, Mike Randle, David “Daddy-O” Green, later adding Dave Chapple to the mix. In 1993 the band landed the gig of a lifetime opening up for LOVE. That show was the last for that incarnation of LOVE as Arthur replaced them with the 4 Baby Lemonade members. Baby Lemonade released records on Sympathy for the Record Industry, Munster and Big Deal between 1993 and 2001.

Upon their return from a LOVE tour of Europe, in 1996, Baby Lemonade was shocked to find that Arthur had been sentenced to 12 years in prison on a weapons charge.

After nearly 6 years in prison, Arthur’s case was overturned and shortly after, at his request, Baby Lemonade began rehearsing for what would be non-stop LOVE touring throughout North America, UK, Europe and Australia between 2002 and 2005 where they enjoyed unprecedented success with sold out tours, back to back Glastonbury performances, Roskilde, Royal Festival Hall and an appearance on the Later with Jools Holland TV Show.

In 2005 the LOVE line up once again featured Arthur’s childhood friend and founding member Johnny Echols on lead guitar who returned after a 37 year absence.

In July of 2005, Arthur was diagnosed with Leukaemia and after a brave battle he passed away one year later. Arthur’s last show was with Baby Lemonade and Johnny Echols on June 23rd at San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord. The world had lost a true music legend.

In 2016 LOVE revisited will celebrate the music of LOVE and mark Arthur Lee’s passing by reuniting for a 10 year anniversary UK tour.

For details and tickets visit 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Games For May 2016 – The Half Moon, Putney, Sunday 29th May

This month's hot gig ticket! Bank holiday psych all-dayer! Four live bands and a mini record fair!

You have to love the month of May in merry old England! The sun and heat has finally arrived, there's not one but two Bank Holidays, the festival season is just around the corner, and it's also time Games For May, the all-day music event that's become a must-attend for any self-respecting psych fan. Jointly hosted by Fruits de Mer Records and Mega Dodo Records

As well as the four live bands appearing, (Sendelica, Magic Bus, The Honey Pot and Soft Hearted Scientists. More on those below), there'll also be a mini record fair with lots of rare and exclusive items from both labels and all the bands. Worth spending the day indoors I'd say!

All legitimate ticket holders will receive some free items on entry including a 4-CD set featuring the four bands along with a bonus CD of acoustic guitar instrumentals by Scott William Urquhart.

One of the exclusive records for sale will be a rather wonderful lathe-cut 8” (yes that's eight inch vinyl!) tribute to David Bowie. It features Cary Grace doing Black Country Rock and Sound And Vision which segues into Consterdine's version of Sound And Vision. Only 50 copies are up for grabs so get 'em while they're hot as they say. (Or spend a week's wages tracking one down on Discogs!)

Here's more about the 4 bands - 

Welsh Spacerockers. Their epic new album Cromlech Chronicles is out next week. We'll be running a review soon! Their contribution to the 4-CD set is an exclusive mix of highlights from their 10 years of music making. Check out their recent Ziggy Stardust 7".

Magic Bus
The Canterbury sound re-imagined in Devon. Pastoral prog at its finest. Their first single for Fruits de Mer came out last year. Let's hope there's more releases soon.

Soft Hearted Scientists
Favourites here at HD,Soft Hearted Scientists are set to release their 7th long player Golden Omens in July. If you're not familiar with them, get that rectified! Games For May will be the band's debut London appearance. 

The Honey Pot
Flagship band for Mega Dodo Records, featuring Crystal Jacqueline on vocals. The band will be promoting tracks from Jacqueline's newly released Morning Dew EP.

Unfortunately I'm unable to attend but you should! Tickets from the link below. Don't hang about!

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

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Beau – An Original Thought

Peel favourite Beau marks his 70th birthday with a brand new studio LP.

Almost a year to the day since Beau's previous album Shoeless In The Desert, the ever prolific Norfolk-based songster has a brand new 13-tracker released digitally by the good folks at Cherry Red Records. An Original Thought has all the hallmarks of a classic Beau album; the every present Harmony twelve-string guitar backing, lyrics that veer from the wry, to comic, and to poignant, along with the astute and compassionate commentary on society's foibles.

This time round the subject matter is, if anything, even more varied. There are the big themes of religion, patriotism, war and peace (The Thinking Of God, A Peace That's Bad). Politicians and tabloid journalism are also subject to Beau's critical eye (Skeleton's Dance), but there's light relief and celebration of the good in humanity too, our ingenuity and ability to invent (Everything's Possible), showbiz comebacks (The Trotter Sisters). It's all done in a manner we've come to expect from such a talented songwriter, the songs are funny but never frivolous, playful but never without a point. Amazingly the album was written in just 2 weeks, in what Beau describes as “... my most intense writing phase ever, even going back to my twenties!

Famously championed by John Peel, Beau featured on the DJ's Dandelion label back in the Perfumed Garden era. Of course the musical climate has changed massively in the intervening decades. Admirably Beau has stuck to the basic principles of what makes his music truthful and honest, rather than indulging in fads and fashions. His songs are recorded without unnecessary studio trickery or technology led instrumentation. All the songs are based on having something to say rather than filling out an album to push “the single”. This might make him something of an anomaly in the current climate but it's something that should be applauded. More power to his elbow!

If you're unfamiliar with Beau's work and want to find out more, check out his previous albums ShoelessIn The Desert, Fly The Bluebird and Twelve Strings To The Beau.

Clickhere for more on Beau.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The La's - Roots and Influences - A Spotify Playlist

Still up there in my all time top gigs is when I saw The La's live at Hull University back in the day. It was one of the few times I've been right at the front. I was, am, and will always be a proper fan-boy where this group are concerned. Hell, I still have the red rattle 'n' roll T-shirt I bought that night (and sometimes still wear it!)

There's been a disproportionate amount of column inches written about the band, considering the small amount of music they actually released so I'm not going to add to that (not yet anyway). What I will do however is post this Spotify playlist for you all to enjoy. It's highlights some of the acts that inspired Mavers & co. Some will jump out as obvious influences, be it the rhythm guitar and harmonies of the Everly Brothers, the almost skiffle sounds of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and of course that other Liverpool band of note, Johnny & The Moondogs, included here twice in their better known guise as The Beatles.

Others may not be quite so obvious but are still worthy of inclusion, mainly because the band has cited them as influences (in the case of Sweet and The Gypsy Kings). I have no idea whether they ever liked the Hollies (quite possibly not) but 'Carrie Anne' could well have been written by Mavers so in it stays! Suggestions for additional tracks and artists are very welcome in the comments box.

Skin up yer bastards!

Crystal Jacqueline - Morning Dew EP (Ltd. Colour 7")

Brand new EP from Devonshire's premier psych-folk vocalist!

I've written about Crystal Jacqueline's music before, with her most recent album Rainflower becoming something of a soundtrack to last summer. This four track EP maintains the high standard and contains three well chosen covers and one brand new original song. Jacqueline is ably backed throughout by her partner and musical collaborator Icarus Peel.

The EP opens with a five minute version of Bonnie Dobson's 'Morning Dew', stealing it away from its folksy roots and into ethereal dream-pop territory. It's quickly followed by a brand new original song, 'Ivy'. Multi-tracked vocals backed with finger-picked guitar and synth washes, it's short but sweet and bodes well for any future full album plans.

The remaining two tracks are well chosen covers of obscurities. (well, obscure to me anyway!) 'Moonsong:Pelog' is so perfectly suited to Jacqueline's voice it could well be mistaken for self-penned but it's actually by written by Joe Byrd and The Field Hippies and first appeared on the band's 1969 LP The American Metaphysical Circus.

Rounding off the EP is 'Sally Go Round The Roses', a song by one-hit-wonders The Jaynetts. Eschewing the R&B feel of the original for something more psychedelic and majestic, it's a triumphant end to this four song odyssey. As ever buy with confidence!

Tracklisting -
Morning Dew (Bonnie Dobson/Tim Rose)
Ivy (Icarus Peel)
Moonsong:Pelog (Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies)
Sally Go Round The Roses (The Jaynetts)

Released on May 9th as a limited edition colour vinyl 7”.

Click here for more on Crystal Jacqueline.
Click here for Fruits de Mer Records.

Friday, 29 April 2016

July - Can I Go Back Again (Ltd. colour 7")

Revitalised psych legends give nostalgia a good name! First single from the band's forthcoming LP!

A familiar name to fans of '60s UK psychedelia, July have made a number of selective live appearances since reforming for their 2011 comeback. And vinyl fans will be happy to hear they have a forthcoming 7” single due out in May on Fruits de Mer Records. 'Can I Go Back Again' is a track from the band's new album Resurrection, but features here in an extended version with the slightly more lo-fi demo version on the flipside.

The track opens with a drone and sitar motif before settling into vamped piano chords. Over the hypnotic backing the lyrics pay homage to the heady days of their '60s high watermark via lyrics which list titles of Beatles' songs along with snatches of their lyrics. A simple enough trick and one which on paper shouldn't work. Truth is, as the track progresses you're pulled in by its genuine yearning and simple charm. I get the impression they're not yearning for lost youth as such, more for a lost age of innocence and open possibilities. I think we're all down for that, where do we sign up?

Released on May 9th as a limited edition colour vinyl 7”.

Click here for July on Facebook.
Click here for Fruits de Mer Records.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Neighbourhood Strange – The Neighbourhood Strange/Wytches Sky (Ltd. 7”)

Is there something strange in your neighbourhood? Who you gonna call?

If your postcode has an SP prefix there's definitely some strange in your neighbourhood, namely The Neighbourhood Strange, a six-strong gang of '60s loving renegades who are on the verge of releasing their debut 45 on their own £.s.d Records imprint.

Pressed on reassuringly heavy black vinyl, with the band's circular logo on a similarly dark sleeve. Retro? Yes, but in a good way! The eponymous A-side harks back to the '60s purple patch, when psychedelia gripped the world's switched on youth. Though it's not the fully bloomed '67 flower power era the band echo, they're more attuned to the tightly clenched fist of 1966's dark satanic psych, with a sound propelled by nascent guitar fuzz, Farfisa solos and Jagger-inspired swagger.

The flipside 'Wytches Sky' takes a further step into the darkside of garage-rock. Not so much riot on Sunset Strip as strange rituals in darkened rooms. This is a record for fans of the Nuggets and Pebbles compilations, Aftermath-era Stones, Them and early Love. With the band already getting airplay on BBC6 Music, their future looks ironically bright! Look out for the band coming to make your neighbourhood that little bit stranger soon.

Click here for The Neighbourhood Strange on Facebook.
Click here for The Neighbourhood Strange on Bandcamp.
Out soon on £.s.d Records.

Five reasons to love Sandy Denny

Sandy Denny must surely be one of the greatest singers these shores have ever produced. She was gifted with a voice that seemed to carry an eternal truth. It was and remains a voice you simply could believe in and added depth and weight to any song she sung. A voice that didn't try and sell you the song, but made sure you simply had to listen.

This Friday sees the release of I've Always Kept A Unicorn, a 2CD set of acoustic songs containing demos, live performances, radio sessions and previously unreleased recordings spanning her all too short career. It features Sandy Denny's solo work along with recordings she made as vocalist with Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, The Strawbs and The Bunch. Alongside the 40 songs it also comes with extensive and beautifully written sleeve-notes by Sandy's biographer Mick Houghton.

To mark it's release here's a short list of reasons why everyone should love Sandy Denny. (click over the jump.)

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Sons of the Void - Sons of the Void

One for the modern day sonic adventurists. Eight tracks of poppy, jangly neo-psychedelia.

Currently gracing the turntables of many neo-psych fans is the debut LP from Sons of the Void. That the album hits a sweet spot is no surprise given that the duo behind the music have a proven track record when it comes to making music that transports, challenges and pleases in equal measure; David Max cut his teeth as bassist and songwriter in Hoboken psych outfit Tadpoles before moving to Switzerland for a 5-year stint on guitar and songwriting duties in Psychic TV. His meeting with Nick Nobody led to the pair building a studio, writing lots of new songs and striking out on their own as Sons of the Void.

Eight of those new songs have made the cut on the pair's self-titled debut long-player. Perhaps less experimental than his previous output and collaborations (Max has also worked with Sonic Boom and Gibby Haynes), the songs are in a poppier vein that will appeal to fans of both '67 psychedelia and bowl haircutted mid-80s indie as well as to us modern day sonic adventurists.

Characterised by gentle ascending chord progressions, pretty arpeggios, well thought out textures and gentle melodies delivered via soft, knowingly buried vocals. It's a sugary pill that's tempered with the occasional tangential heavy freakout and venture into sonics. Good to know that the search for the lost chord continues. 

Click here for more on Sons of the Void.
Click here for Sunrise Ocean Bender Records.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Galileo 7 - The Live-O-Graphic Sessions

Nearly live” LP from Medway's leading garage-psych outfit led by former Prisoners bassist Allan Crockford.

We've had the pleasure of featuring releases from The Galileo 7 in the past on Harmonic Distortion - Their FalseMemory Lane LP from 2014 and last year's 7” on State records 'One Lie At ATime'. Good to know then that the band are as busy as ever. To coincide with their recent French tour the band have released a blistering “nearly live” LP entitled The Live-O-Graphic Sessions. The 10 tracks give you an alternative “best of” and offer a taste of what the band sound like live. And that's pretty darn tasty!

Spontaneously recorded in the space of an hour with the help of Jon Barker (The Senior Service) at his ad-hoc studio set up amidst his lithographic printing press premises, the album is less soft-psych than their previous studio outings and back in touch with their garage band roots. Power-pop melodies and harmonies backed up with drumming set to the rarely heard Keith Moon energy level. The VU meters must have been working overtime, with the songs gaining extra brio and brashness as a result. Recommended.

The Galileo 7 are - 
Allan Crockford – vocals, guitar
Viv Bonsels – organ, vocals
Paul Moss – bass, vocals
Mole – drums, vocals

Look out for The Galileo 7 at the Medway Legends Weekender in San Sebastian, Spain on June 3rd.

Clickhere for the The Galileo 7's website.

The Boy from The Crowd - Revelator

Combining blues, garage rock with a hint of prime Bowie glamour and swagger and this is what you get. The Boy From The Crowd are an East London duo currently doing the rounds. Their album Where Bees Come To Die was released at the tail-end of last year. Check it out via the band's Bandcamp page or watch the rather stylich video for lead single Revelator above.

New band alert - The Bordellos

Heading from the unique hinterland betwixt scouse and woollyback that is St. Helens The Bordellos have have been ploughing their unique furrow over the last decade. Making music that's of no fixed genre but mixes post-punk with alt-folk and whatever form best serves their songs at any given time. Infused with an outsider spirit and twisted sense of humour that anyone along the M62 rust-belt will recognize.

Think Beefheart meeting Half Man Half Biscuit in a Joy Division tribute band (or summats like that.) Anyway you decide - Their Bandcamp page is full of free downloads that have overspilled from album and EP releases along with various radio session tracks and other odds and ends. Well worth a trawl through. It's full of music that doesn't take itself too seriously but still has more to say than most of the dross we're hawked by the corporate music machine. Of particular interest is their track 'The True Meaning of Record Store Day', a timely reminder to go out and do something less boring this Saturday than line up in a queue with amoral speculators.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Smashing Time - Satire on swinging '60s London.

Bugger all on the telly tonight so maybe time for this movie. A satire on the notion of swinging '60s London, written by George Melly and starring Rita Tushingam and Lynn Redgrave, what's not to like?!