Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Mojo Brothers - Don't Lie To Me/Marie Ann (7”)


Garage brudders debut 7” - OUT NOW!


Currently taking pride of place on my turntable is this stomping 7” from Mojo Brothers, a two-piece garage band outta Germany. While a claim to be the world's smallest garage band may be disputed by The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Cowbell et al, they may well be the loudest! And unlike The White Stripes they can truthfully claim to be siblings. In your face Jack White!
Raucous fuzzy soul is the order of the day on the single's A-side, all pounding beats, snarly guitar and the pair's trademark harmony vocals. Imagine if the Everly Brothers had been punk rockers and you get the idea. Flipside 'Marie Ann' taps into a more '50s rock 'n' roll vibe complete with mid-song guitar wig-out.
So how do they manage live as a two piece? Well the drums and organ sound all come from Roman's keyboard. Neat huh! Anyways check out the video for 'Don't Lie To Me' below and head over to their lablel website to order a copy of the vinyl. Rock on!

Mojo Brothers are -
Roman (Drums, Bass, Organ, Vocals)
Matthias (Guitar, Vocals)

Click here for Off Label Records.


MOJO BROTHERS - Don't lie to me from MOJO BROTHERS on Vimeo.

Us and Them - Fading Within The Dwindling Sun (10")


Swedish duo's tribute to Sandy Denny!

This coloured 10” vinyl is out now on Fruits de Mer Records. It's a five-track tribute to Sandy Denny featuring three Denny-penned tracks and two more songs she made her own. Anyone doubting that Us and Them can due justice to the music of Sandy Denny need only check out the 7” they released a couple of years back which contained a sterling cover of 'By The Time It Gets Dark'.

As we approach the solstice, the sun is dwindling it does indeed get dark early. I can't think of a better soundtrack for to accompany the midwinter stillness. My advice – avoid the High Street madness, do your shoppong online (from Fruits de Mer reputable mail order service), find a quiet spot and let this music take its effect. It's a perfect piece of wintry folk, and another jewel in the Fruits de Mer catalogue. Just right for those moments of quiet reflection, when you take stock of the preceeding year and charge your batteries for the next 12 months. Have a great solstice everyone.

TRACKLISTING
Winter Winds
Farewell, Farewell
Next Time Around
Banks Of The Nile
Take Away The Load

Click here for more on Us and Them.
Click here for Us and Them on Facebook.
Click here for Fruits de Mer Records.


The Karovas Milkshake - In The Shade Of The Purple Sun


(This review first appeared in issue 53 of Shindig! magazine)

In their home city of Yekaterinburg, east of the Ural Mountains, The Karovas Milkshake have concocted an aural love letter to '60s UK psychedelia that should appeal to fans of the original genre as well as those of its recent torchbearers (The Bees, The Coral, Temples et al.)
Standout track 'Purple Sun Of Glastonbury' is a seven and a half minute sitar-driven freakout which conjures images of rituals, standing stones and the dark spirit of Brian Jones, complete with a searing backwards guitar section.
Light relief comes via the Austin Powers-y pastiche of 'Zombie Wok' and the jaunty continental pop of 'Cryptique'. There's also room for some Bolan-ish folksy warble (Apple Pie) and Barrett-fronted jug band blues (Sugary Life).
It's all executed with a playfulness that raises it a notch above most time travelling psych-pop. Yekaterinburg may not share a ley line with Glastonbury but on this evidence you'd believe it could.


Click here for The Karovas Milkshake website. 
Click here for The Karovas Milkshake on Twitter. 
Click here for The Karovas Milkshake Facebook.  
Click here for The Karovas Milkshake Bandcamp.


Bananas Magazine - Issue #14


Latest issue of the coolest zine around! Garage, punk and psych inky available from all good stores & distros!

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a heinous beast of a year. Brexit, Trump, all those deaths and the murder of a forward-thinking, kind-hearted MP. A seismic year, the effects of which have yet to truly affect us. Where the hell do we go from here?! It's a point well made by editor Christophe in his column of the latest issue of Bananas Magazine. What we do need to do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and continue to stand up and fight for what we believe in. As a musical community, (especially one as uniquely small yet global, as the garage scene is), is to keep the "citizen of the world" ethos alive, despite what Theresa May and nativist politicians the world over want to do. Hey, maybe here's not the place for politics but I just wanted to get that off my chest and try and remain positive.

Anyhow, one bright spot at the tail end of the year is issue #14 of the best garage 'zine around, a timely reminder that there are still good people, good events and great bands. If Ian Dury was around today it would be one of his reasons to be cheerful. Packed as usual with interviews, reviews, awesome illustrations that'll have even the most rural dwellers hip to the scene. Grab a copy from your local store or distro, or via the mag's website. And also check out their latest online comp, (see embedded player below). A soundtrack for your New Year's Eve party. Here's to 2017, stay strong brothers and sisters!

http://bananas-magazine.com/


Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Beckies - The Beckies


(This review first appeared in issue 52 of Shindig! magazine)

 
Hampered on its initial 1976 release by a refusal to tour and the feeling of it being a major label take on the new wave zeitgeist, this sole eponymous album has aged well. Marked by its warmth and pure joy of (power) pop, it may have been at odds with the prevailing AOR professionalism of the era but forty years on reveals itself as a lost gem.
Founding member of The Left Banke, Michael Brown had a genius knack for delicate melodies and classical influenced arrangements which sat well with the power pop brio of his newly found bandmates, who'd learned their craft in Chessmann Square, a journeyman group founded on a love of harmony-rich British Invasion bands.
The Beckies would turn out to be Brown's last release on a major label. This first time on CD reissue is a fitting tribute to the man, whose talents gave so much and deserved more in return.

Herbcraft - Wot Oz


(This review first appeared in issue 52 of Shindig! magazine)

 
Experimental rock trio Herbcraft continue to make music that challenges and compels in equal measure. For their fourth LP band mainstay Matt Lajoie and new recruits Joe Lindsey and Aaron Neveu have released an improvised rehearsal tape where ambient dub rubs up against mutant-funk and Sister Ray style jams. From the primordial soundscape of 'We're Gonna Make It', into the focused art-rock of 'Fit Ur-Head', learn to expect the unexpected.
'Push Through The Veil' is an uncompromising take on Afro-funk with rolling bass, drum clatter and unhinged but murky vocal wailing, whereas 'No More Doors' is a more abstract, swampy affair, all voodoo drums and interplanetary guitar scales.
'Bread Don't Rise' is the closest track to traditional rock, albeit with undecipherable lyrics and primal scream delivery. If you're looking for music on rock's outer reaches, music that's devoid of cliché and unafraid of experimentation, here it is. One for the heads.


Click here for Herbcraft on Bandcamp.

The Green Pajamas - Death By Misadventure


(This review first appeared in issue 52 of Shindig! magazine)

 
For a band with a back catalogue large enough to rival Grattan, (Sears if you're in the US), it's surprising that this Seattle-based group are not more widely known. Even more of a mystery given the strength of Jeff Kelly's songwriting on this vinyl reissue of their 2012 album. Though they may have strayed from the psych-pop/Paisley Underground roots of their DIY cassette releases of the mid '80s, their current brand of intelligent guitar-based pop for grown ups more than compensates.
The music veers from taut and muscular indie rock, through lilting piano ballads and McCartney-esque pop, to songs owing more to European gypsy music than they do Anglo-American rock. Despite such musical variations the album is held together by being a two part song-cycle that reveals depth and intrigue with each listen. If dark storytelling is not to your taste there's the upbeat 'Carrie', a true hit single in waiting.


The Sunchymes - Present...





(This review first appeared in issue 52 of Shindig! magazine)

 
The Sunchymes are a studio-based sunshine pop outfit from the distinctly unsunny environs of Northampton, and are a vehicle for the writing and arranging talents of auteur Aaron Hemmington. Their third album continues their ever more assured line in harpsichord and harmony laced soft-psych. Packed with Brian Wilson-esque melodies, chamber-pop arrangements and lyrics about parks, carousels and daydreaming, it makes for a pleasant, knowingly lightweight listen. The use of Mellotron strings and subtle phasing give the album a gently disorientating twist, though it's more psych that's safe for children than the full on lysergic experience.
'Time Will Tell' is typical of the fayre; breezy, upbeat and sugary. Despite lacking that killer song the album does a fine job in recreating a certain period charm and finely straddles the line between soft psychedelia and bubblegum. Abandon your alphabetical filing and stash this one between The Beach Boys' Friends and The Banana Splits LP.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

French Boutik – Front Pop


Parisian nova-mods' full length debut oozes style and sophistication!


We've covered French Boutik here before of course, and delighted in their previous standalone vinyl releases – Les Chats De Gouttiere 7” and Ici Paris 2x7”. Now stripped to a lean and mean quartet they've just released their debut long-player which more than lives up to expectations. No great game changing moves but there's a definite distillation and honing here, along with a growth in confidence.
With the boy/girl vocals and split between French and English language songs French Boutik bring style and sophistication to the fore. Their previous releases hinted at a band capable of a range of moods and styles. Over ten new original tracks and a neat version of Francoise Hardy's 'Je Ne Suis Pas La Pour Personne' the band get to show them in full
They describe their sound as Pop Moderniste and that's about right. Rooted in '60s soul and mod but with a nod to The Style Council and a touch of acid-jazz here and there (check out the flute solo on 'Hitch A Ride'). Factor in a little bossa nova, some louge-core within that musical melting pop you'll find French Boutik. Step in and enjoy!


Click here for French Boutik on Facebook.
Click here for French Boutik on Twitter.
Click here for Copase Disques.
Click here for Detour Records.

Icarus Peel - Forget-Me-Not Under Pussy Willow


Conceptual village wyrdness among the rolling hills!


A concept album about an undertaker and a gang of London villains set in a village between the Cotswolds and Milton Keynes! Yep you heard right. The leader of The Honey Pot and musical collaborator with Harmonic Distortion favourite Crystal Jacqueline has concocted a song suite set in a fictional English village. A seemingly normal world but scratch beneath the surface and the strangeness of old Albion soon reveals itself. Packed from start to finish with the sort of pastoral eccentricity that went out of fashion when Mr. Barrett retreated to suburban Cambridge, this album was apparently written as a bet. The nature of that bet may not be known but the resulting LP means everyone wins.
No-one would make the claim for Icarus Peel as being a great singer, his voice more suited to teaching geography than selling a song but that matters not and indeed is almost the point, with the songs all delivered in a straight, English folk story-over-style manner. Shifting between gentle psychedelia, acoustic ballads and soft spacey rock, this is a strange album for an even stranger year and a great tonic when the real world's ugliness is too much.


Available on limited edition black vinyl (250 copies) and as a 4 CD set housed in a handmade individually numbered wooden box.

Click here for Icarus Peel on Facebook.
Click here for Mega Dodo Records.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Oriental Sunshine - Dedicated To The Bird We Love

Deluxe reissue out 2nd December on Round 2 Records 

 

The long and winding countryside of Norway in the late sixties was hardly the ideal time or place to be playing psychedelic folk music. But the teenage duo of Nina Johansen and Rune Walle, aided by their friend Satnam Singh, triumphed over high odds to make one of the most spellbinding albums in the genre made in any country.

Johansen and Walle met at a Peoples College in 1968 in the rainy small town Manger outside of Bergen, and discovered a shared love of The Beatles, Joni Mitchell and eastern sounds. They soon started playing and writing songs together. Then they met Satnam Singh, one of the very few people of colour living in Norway at the time, and luckily he turned out to be an excellent flute and tabla player. It was meant to be — Oriental Sunshine was formed.

A sole album was made, released on Philips in 1970, with the trio joined by accomplished jazz musicians Espen Rud (Min Bul), Sture Janson, and Helge Grøslie (Junipher Greene). The album was recorded by the legendary Norwegian producer and recording technician Jan Erik Kongshaug. After the death of Johansen’s father and with Satnam Singh facing deportation the band lost contact for 35 years and no music has been produced by the group since. This truly is a one off, and a key, unique record in Norway’s psych history.

Round 2 are proud to present this long out of print rarity, with remastered audio, exclusive poster and liner notes by Richard Morton Jack.

Tracklisting:

Side A
Across Your Life
Mother Nature
Look At Me
Unless
Land of Wisdom
Let It Be My Birth

Side B
Can Anybody Tell?
Visions
My Way To Be Hurt
Where You Went (Tum Kahan Gaye)
I’m Going

Sam Knee - The Bag I'm In


(This review first appeared in issue 51 of Shindig! magazine)


Sam Knee's previous book A Scene In Between documented the fashions of the 1980s UK indie music scene. His new book widens the net to cover the golden years of Britain's musical tribalism, ranging from the leather gangs of the early '60s to the baggy scene of the '90s.
Alongside the great photos it's also a study of links between fashion and music. Knee's writing is incisive and sharper than the creases in a pair of Sta Prest, passionately charting the changing political and social mores as well as the rise of the beagle collar, lopsided wedge cuts and bondage strides.
British youth have always forged strong links between music and fashion, what better way of expressing your sonic allegiances than through clothes, hair and mode of transport. Knee chronologically dissects each tribe, be it teds, rockers, mods, space-rockers, suedeheads, anarcho-punks, goths or soulboys, noting subtle nuances, gentle mutations, and sometimes the seismic shifts between them.
The photographs are evocative and nostalgic, mixing rare shots of musicians with those of provincials youths in their finest outside-of-work clobber. Whether dressing up or dressing down, they all look to be having the time of their lives.
Some of these looks remain timeless but all too often they've ran their course or been co-opted by high street cash-ins. Knee's book serves as a reminder of how, at its best, British youth culture has a vibrancy and spirit that's somehow always one step ahead of the money men. Long may this last.

 Click here for Cicada Books.

The Hanging Stars - The House On The Hill


(This review first appeared in issue 51 of Shindig! magazine)


Anyone bemoaning the lack of recent releases by The Coral will take comfort from this three tracker by London's loose rootsy collective. 'House On The Hill' is a murder ballad which takes the Hoylake boys' folk-rock template and adds lush vocal harmonies and a twangy surf-guitar solo by guest Christof Certik. B-side 'Endlessly Aimless' has more of a fey indie feel, its themes of loneliness and longing given a psychedelic twist by the addition of Mellotron strings.
Rounding things off is a cover of The Gun Club's 'Mother Of Earth'. A live favourite, it's slightly faster than the original but maintains the tumbleweed country eeriness via pedal steel and baritone vocals. A slice of dark Americana at odds with the jangle of the previous tracks though no less satisfying. With three different styles showcased, it'll be interesting to see which wins out when their debut LP follows next year.


Click here for The Hanging Stars.
Click here for Great Pop Supplement. 


Trappist Afterland - Afterlander


(This review first appeared in issue 51 of Shindig! magazine)

Fans of The Incredible String Band, Heron and Comus take note. Australian acid-folkers Trappist Afterland have quietly released an album each year since their 2011 debut The Round Dance Of The Cross. They've honed their craft and vision on their fifth and latest Afterlander which has a sound drenched more in olde England myth and mist than Melbourne surf and sun. With its Old Testament prophesying and limited Christ-blood red vinyl release, the vibe is as eerie and sinister as a deleted scene from Witchfinder General.
Though the freak-folk flag is raised high the mood is resolutely downbeat, thanks to chain-like percussion, hypnotic use of drone and repeated chants and mantras. Despite an instrumental smorgasbord that includes oud, tanpura, tabla, bowed psaltery, hammered dulcimer, harmonium, cello and more it's let down slightly by a sameness in mood and tempo. Though if apocalyptic wyrd folk is your bag dive right in!

Click here for Sunstone Records

Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker - Land Of Plenty


(This review was first published in issue 51 of Shindig! magazine)


A live LP collated from the final two shows of a month long hometown residency, Land of Plenty showcases two musicians at the top of their game. Ryley Walker is perhaps today's most fêted finger-style guitarist, his Primrose Green album almost certain to feature in the end of year polls. He's joined by fellow Chicago resident and Darts And Arrows guitarist Bill MacKay for seven instrumentals which merge folk, jazz, blues, early music and ragas.
As with all great improvisational music, the pair push, compliment and inspire each other. Such seat-of-the-pants playing echoes Davy Graham's flights of fancy, the intuitive understanding of Jansch and Renbourn, and the emotional playing of Vini Reilly.
The heavy stereo mix (Bill to the left, Ryley the right) allows for isolated listening, though it's really all about interplay and counterpoint. With moods ranging from mournful, to contemplative, to celebratory, the music is always tasteful, fluid, and inspired.


Click here for Bill MacKay's website.
Click here for Ryley Walker's website. 
Click here for Whistler Records.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Alex Maiorano & The Black Tales - Everything Boom!


100% pure dynamite! Good time rock 'n' soul from Berlin!


Hey boys and girls, you lookin' for a good time? Well who the hell isn't these days?! If the news ain't depressing enough the weather is! Fortunately there's always the sweet delights of music. And they don't come much sweeter than this here garage and soul belter from Alex Maiorano & The Black Tales. I only recently got tipped off about them but their debut album has been blasting out from my speakers for the past few weeks. I may be late to the party but I'm hoping to make up for it by playing this belter loud.

With their mix of soul, rock 'n' roll and garage rock they sure ain't no soul-searching navel gazers. This is music to be played loud, music to soundtrack the good times, music to party to, music to get drunk to. It's an album that'll have you phoning your mates up at 3am to tell them you love them. Better still, invite them over to share in the good-time party vibes. With 100mph drums, wailing saxophone, crunching guitars and Maiorano's feelgoood songs and lyrics it's bound to get the party started.

If you like what you hear you'll be pleased to find the band have some UK and German gigs next month, hopefully in a town near you. Leave yer blues and the door, get down the front and have a blast. It would be impossible not to!

Upcoming Tour Dates
19.10.16 – Hamtorkrug, Neuss, Germany
20.10.16 - St. Moritz Club, London, England
21.10.16 - The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool, England
22.10.16 - The Lexington, London, England
26.10.16 – Yorckschlösschen, Berlin, Germany
04.11.16 – Komplex, Schwerin, Germany
24.02.17 - Wild At Heart, Berlin, Germany

Click here for more on Alex Maiorano & The Black Tales.
Click here for Alex Maiorano & The Black Tales on Facebook.
Click here for Off Label Records.

The Fuits de Mer Guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Ltd. Col 7”)


Thanks for all the fish! Three wildly different takes on a British TV-Theme classic!


This limited edition 7” has been out for a few weeks now but is still available from the Fruits de Mer website. Well worthy of your investigation and your pennies it features the spacerock theme tune from the TV adaptation of Douglas Adams' sci-fi classic, re-imagined by Astralasia, Icarus Peel, and The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies. The track 'Journey of The Sorcerer' was originally by The Eagles. Who woulda thought eh fact fans?!

The Astralasia version is a driving piece of galaxy-spanning electronica, just the ticket for a journey into the unknown. Icarus Peel takes it to a more reflective soulful level complete with Hammond vibes and guitar wig-out. The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies take is straight out of the Ladbroke Grove speed 'n' squat scene of the early '70s. Get groovin' freaks!

All copies come with a bonus CD featuring additional remixes and an additional version by Quantum Surf Rocket Garage Dolls plus new music from Astralasia and Sendelica's Pete Bingham. A bumper package!

Out now on a limited edition colour vinyl 7”.

Click here for Fruits de Mer Records.

Soft Hearted Scientists - Golden Omens


Modern life is weird! Prolific Cardiff collective's 7th long player!


It's been a busy few months for me and I've not always been able to post here as often as I would have liked. One release I definitely didn't want to let slip through the net is the latest opus from Soft Hearted Scientists. Hot on the heels of their recently reissued debut Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth comes Golden Omens, their latest album of new material, this time on a double CD. Split into 4 parts, it's a song cycle that once again helps us see the world with fresh eyes. This is a band with a seemingly bottomless well of inspiration from which they conjure up tunes to delight and entertain us.

There's a Robyn Hitchcock lyric that goes something like “a sideways glance in a full on world”. I may have that slightly wrong but it sums up what Soft Hearted Scientists are all about. Their songs are rooted in the ordinary and everyday but make you see the world anew, opening your eyes to the inherent weirdness and absurdity that surrounds us when we step back and examine what's going on around us. Odd juxtapositions and associations abound.

Not only that but musically they continue to come up with the goods. Gentle pastoral folksiness one minute, into soundscapes and Barrett-esque whimsy the next. As hinted at on the album sleeve, Soft Hearted Scientists are the musically equivalent of jellyfish, fascinatingly odd and funny, they swim beneath the surface, are endurable and ever present, and might just sting you. Encounter them and life is never quite the same again. Dive in and swim with them!


Click here for Soft Hearted Scientists' website.


The Wicked Whispers - New 7" single + upcoming shows!


Good news! The Wicked Whispers have a brand new 7" single out now on Electone Records. A double A-side affair, the 2 tracks are 'If I Set You Free' and 'Zodiac Girl'. In support of the single the psychedelic scousers have lined up some happening shows for October.

Check out the suitably colourful video for 'If I Set You Free' below and read on for the gig info!


The band play :
LONDON - Thursday 6th October 2016.
This Feeling at The Water Rats (+ West of The Sun / velettes)
Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/goo5cqx
Event page: 
https://www.facebook.com/events/1775269382686734/

LIVERPOOL - Friday 21st October 2016
Buyers Club (+ special guests DUSST & The Probes)
Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/hxwprwe
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/534597800060316/

BIRMINGHAM - Thursday 27th October 2016
Hare & Hounds Kings Heath (+ special guests Lee Southall (The Coral) +Ulysses)
Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/z2ae2t8
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1082848945097109/

Cyanna Mercury - New video + forthcoming debut album!


Good pals of ours, Cyanna Mercury, have a new video out for 'There Will Be A Time'. It's the 4th track to be revealed from their debut album, Archetypes, which is due out in November. The video is inspired in part by Alan Parker's 1984 film Birdy.

Dig in, get deep and enjoy!

For more info visit the band's website.

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.