Monday 17 February 2020

Monday Long Song

'Light in the Dark' would fit comfortably on a Massive Attack record, while 'Elephant Walk' shares a sonic similarity with the music of The Comet is Coming. Elsewhere, jumping afro beats nudge up against pulsating funk rhythms and droning dubwise bass locks horns with chiming psych-infused guitar. This is 'Infinity of Now', the first album in three years from The Heliocentrics. The record's closer, 'People Wake Up', is a tune of two dark halves. The first part channels Jean-Claude Vannier period Serge Gainsbourg, before seguing into what could easily pass as the soundtrack for a for a psychological horror film. Check out this belting LP in full on their Bandcamp page (here).

People Wake Up

Thursday 13 February 2020

Old Friends

Diana Collier

On Tuesday evening I met up with W & P, a couple of friends who I first met in 1980, when we became part of a very tight little bunch centred around the Ipswich record shop where I worked. We all hung out, drank and went to gigs together for a few years, before inevitably, one by one, drifting off to follow our individual paths through life in various separate locations around the country.

Fast forward to 2004, when one day in the Norwich coffee shop I managed, I literally bumped into W, one of those long lost friends. We hadn't clapped eyes on each other in half a lifetime and had completely lost touch by the late 1980s. Last I heard he had been living in the East End of London, but unbeknown to me he and his partner had recently relocated to the very same Norfolk city as I myself had done couple of years earlier. Turns out the he was also still in contact with P, another of the old record shop gang and she too was moving to Norwich as soon as logistics would allow. The coincidences piled up.

In the years since that unexpected reunion, the three of us (and W's lovely partner) have been to a few gigs together and met up for the odd drink, but until Tuesday evening hadn't all sat down around a table for a meal and lengthy chinwag. It was an immense amount of fun. They are all in their mid-50s, I'm fast hurtling towards 60 and during our years of separation (and indeed in the years that we've been back in contact) we've each suffered loss, ill health and had to deal with all the other usual age-related stuff, but, miraculously, when all is said and done we appear to basically be the same people who painted the town red together 40 years ago. Subjects covered over dinner included an appreciation of hot water bottles, the joys of a seated gig and the digestive benefits of soaking rolled oats overnight. Maybe we have changed, just a little.

This is 'Friends' from 'Ode to Riddley Walker', the really lovely new LP from former Owl Service member Diana Collier. Check out the whole album here.

Monday 10 February 2020

Monday Long Song

While browsing the interweb one day in (cripes!) 2006, I tripped over 'Le Début', a digitally downloadable mini-LP from an outfit called The Banjo Consorsium. The French Canadian combo had an interesting approach of blending traditional instrumentation (occasionally including the titular banjo) with skittering electronics beeps, bleeps and rat-a-tat-tats, becoming a popular fixture in Swede Towers at the time. The following year, using elements of 'Le Début', the band issued a CD entitled 'A Turning One', after which they completely fell off my radar. A little light Googling, however, tells me that this music and more is now readily available via their Bandcamp page (here).

The Banjo Consorsium - Tuesday Craker

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Born to Sway in Front of You

Following the 17 year gap between Rustin Man's 1st and 2nd albums, 2002's 'Out of Season' and 2019's masterpiece 'Drift Code', the very last thing I expected anytime soon was news of an impending third album. Yet on Monday morning Paul Webb took to the socials to announce the March 20th release of 'Clockdust'. Not only that, he's also scheduled a short run of live shows for November, his first since he and Beth Gibbons performed 'Out of Season' in 2003. I'm aiming for the Union Chapel on November 14th. The tickets aren't even on sale yet, but I've already handed in a holiday request form at work to ensure that I'll be able to make the show.

Here's 'Jackie's Room', the first taster from 'Clockdust', plus a bonus of 'Judgement Day' from 'Drift Code'. Learn more and/or order records here.

Monday 3 February 2020

Monday Long Song / A Kungens Calendar - Februari

Back in 2013 the mighty Kungens Män (then only a year old) decided to release an album of downloadable music per month for a whole year, though for reasons best known to themselves, they actually kicked off the series in October, concluding it in September 2014. Therefore February's's entry, 'Februari: Kungens Män kräver förändring', is technically the 5th volume, but, call me old fashioned, I started in the logical place, at the beginning of the year!

The title of February's album translates as 'The King's men demand change' and it's crammed with the usual top notch improvised psych that we've come to know and love. Kungens Män released two official LPs in 2019, as well as a slew of additional music from a bewildering amount of offshoot projects, many of whom have already graced these pages and all of which are worthy of your further investigation. With barely a pause for breath, a brand new Kungens Män double LP, 'Trappmusik', will be with us within the week. You can still pre-order a copy here, should you feel so inclined. Fear not though, I shall no doubt be reporting back with my thoughts on the record in due course.

Meanwhile, all 36 minutes of 'Kungens Män kräver förändring' are available here for a 'name your own price' contribution. My favourite tune from it translates as 'Hairy Eyes'.

Kungens Män - Håriga ögon

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