Thursday, 23 February 2017

Trimdon Grange Explosion - Trimdon Grange Explosion

North-east London folk collective releases full-length debut LP. And it's very good!

One album I've been listening to a lot recently is the self-titled debut by Trimdon Grange Explosion. It's the first release on their own Borley Rectory imprint. The London-based quartet make English folk-rock in the style of Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Pentangle et al. And they do it very well, mixing their own compositions alongside well known traditional songs such as 'Poor Wayfaring Stranger'. The band's use of rock dynamics, swells and repetition owe much to the work of Velvet Underground. Plenty of I-IV chord shifts and John Cale-style viola drone.

It comes as no surprise to learn then that despite this being their debut long-player, the band members have a history and a pedigree. All four were previously members of The Eighteenth Day Of May, and viola player Alison and bassist Mark also perform as a duo (The Left Outsides). The album is available as a CDR with A5 booklet and a limited edition cassette. Don't hang about though as according to their social media it's selling pretty quick!

Trimdon Grange Explosion are -

Alison Cotton (viola/vocals)
Ben Phillipson (guitar/vocals)
Mark Nicholas (bass)
Karl Sabino (drums)

Click here for Trimdon Grange Explosion on Twitter.
Click here for Trimdon Grange Explosion on Facebook.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Former Coral guitarist Lee Southall announces debut solo LP!


If you’ve been wondering what’s been keeping Lee Southall busy all this time, you’re about to find out. On Iron In The Fire, the former The Coral guitarist brings the outside world in through quality songmanship – showing that whichever paths our lives may take, our exposure to the elements will remain the same.

“I worked building dry stone walls on the moors,” Lee reveals of his whereabouts. “Living up there, the weather is always a big issue. There’s been a few emotional storms in my life over the past few years too so I guess the landscape got into the songs in some way. Iron In The Fire is about change, transformation, something being melted down and re-shaped.”

Taking an alternative path to each of his Coral cohorts, when the group disbanded in 2012, Lee left behind his native seaside town of Hoylake on the Wirral, and moved 75 miles inland to the ‘tops’ of Hebden Bridge. In search of a fresh start, the dramatic wind-beaten and changeable landscape gave Lee time and space to craft Iron In The Fire but equally, it lingers like the taste of the salty air hanging above the coast. “I’ve lived by the sea and watched weather roll in, but it's the same in Hebden, watching storms roll over the moors,” Lee says, who wrote the majority of the album in his new hilltop dwellings.

The album is very much the sound of Southall standing alone on his own two feet. “Music's in my blood, it's all I know how to do. The decision to work on my own album felt obvious, natural. Iron In The Fire feels like something I've been waiting for.”

The Starlights' Sound - Out Over Nothing

Music to daydream to. An ambient mix of shoegaze, deftly fingerpicked acoustic folk, and synthy soundscapes.

It's always a good day when the postman delivers a piece of vinyl to Harmonic Distortion HQ. A couple of weeks back this LP by The Starlights' Sound arrived unexpectedly. I must admit the name wasn't familiar and the sleeve held no clues to what kind of music lay within its grooves. Which is fine by me! So with an open mind and open heart I placed it on the turntable and lifted the needle into place...

What followed was most welcome; eight tracks of mostly instrumental, meditative music, somewhere between shoegaze, deftly fingerpicked acoustic folk, soundscapes and ambient music. A little digging on the web led to their Facebook page where they've described the record as “a collection of sonic environments designed to promote relaxation, visualization and lucid dreaming.” Which is pretty much spot on.

The project (that feels more apt than band) is based in San Francisco and was put together by Steve Perrone and Doug Hilsinger. Instrumentation includes guitar, bass, drums, organ and synths, but it's the addition of violin and cello that adds a reflective, melancholy edge to certain tracks. Listening to Out Over Nothing is like taking a peak into someone's private notebook. The tracks have an open-ended sketch-like quality to them as if they've been jotted down in a daydream to capture a mood rather than any specific thought. An album with a sphinx-like mystery attached to it, and all the more welcome and likable for that.

The album is available on vinyl (which is recommended!) or via the Bandcamp/Soundcloud links below. Interestingly The Starlights' Sound have made a video to accompany 'Pictures', a track from the album. I've placed the link below, find a quiet moment, shut out any distractions and enjoy.

Click here for The Starlights' Sound on Facebook.
Click here for The Starlights' Sound on Bandcamp.
Click here for The Starlights' Sound on Soundcloud.
Click here for Planet Seven Recordings.