- ► 2018 (48)
- ► 2017 (74)
- ULYSSES – LAW AND ORDER (Black Glove Recordings CD...
- TERRAPLANE – INTO THE UNKNOWN (Electric Magic LP, ...
- THE LIMINANAS – MELAMORE (Because Music LP, CD).
- PSYCHIC LEMON – PSYCHIC LEMON (CD, D/L).
- PICTUREBOX – SONGS OF JOY (Gare Du Nord Records CD...
- MAYFLOWER MADAME – OBSERVED IN A DREAM (Night Cult...
- V/A – PAPER LEAVES: A TERRASCOPE CELEBRATION (Ptol...
- HEAVY MOON – HEAVY MOON 7 (Arachnidisc Recordings ...
- ON DEAD WAVES – ON DEAD WAVES (Mute LP, CD, D/L).
- TÍR NA NÓG – LIVE AT THE HALF MOON (Mega Dodo LP, ...
- PAPERNUT CAMBRIDGE – LOVE THE THINGS YOUR LOVER LO...
- ▼ April (11)
- ► 2015 (58)
Saturday, 30 April 2016
Strange things are happening in the weird and wild West Country………….hotter than a carjacked Ford Capri with a boot full of K-Tel albums, Bath/Bristol retro rockers Ulysses deliver a new album of 70s influenced quirky pop delights and to die for big riffs with what is fast becoming their own distinct sound……… a nether land between psych, glam and rock, guitar stroking and pop sheen. With a knowing wink, Ulysses have smashed together the best parts of the pre-Punk era and with a combination of influences as diverse as, amongst others, Syd Barrett, psych-era Stones, The Cars, Thin Lizzy, Hot Chocolate, Sailor, Alvin Stardust and Paul McCartney & Wings, Law And Order is a fusion of Glam Rock stompers, cocksure riffarama, Prog/Psych dexterity and radio friendly Power Pop that lovers of classic rock will go nuts over.
Stylistically Law And Order comes from the period between 1970-1975 just after 60s BritPsych had splintered into a million pieces and where once people were fair and had sky in their hair, they were more than content to boogie like they were born to it. With modern studio polish added by producer Steve Evans (Robert Plant / Siouxsie / Goldfrapp), Ulysses have successfully taken classic sounds, familiar to those of a certain age, and with a modern Psych/Prog/Rock sensibility have reworked them for a new audience. If on their last long player Ulysses brought their sassy influences to the heart of the new rock elite, this full-length effort ups the songwriting and musicianship with hi fi production and licks aplenty……..opening with the album’s title track, Ulysses mine the same rich Pop/Rock seam that bands such as Cheap Trick and the Shoes worked back in the 70s and the track 'Typical Scorpio' combines Shoes-like Power Pop with Elvis Costello & The Attractions' mid-60s pop styled new wave edge, proving that it's not all long hair and soloing. However there is lots to love for fans of heavy guitar rock with a twin axe attack, both brutal and melodic, reminiscent of the classic Robertson/Gorham Thin Lizzy line-up with ‘Come On This City’s Gone’ being a near facsimile of the song structure and distinctive duel guitar play off from the Jailbreak/Bad Reputation period. Beautifully constructed, Law And Order is a sonic smorgasbord of Seventies sounds, along with heavy Glam Rock stompers like ‘Dirty Weekend’ and ‘Smiling’, the Psychedelic Pop swirl of ‘Yellow Sunshine’ and the face melting, spleen splitting, guitar shredding album closer 'How Long', an entirely new dimension to Ulysses' repertoire is revealed with Purson's front person Rosalie Cunningham's beautiful duet on the Progressive Folk-tinged 'Song That Has To Be Sung'. Although with one foot planted firmly in the era of loon pants, tank tops, stack heels and Chopper bikes, Law And Order is not completely a retro reconstruction for people who thought the day the music died was when Never Mind The Bollocks hit the shops but a brilliant, witty, relevant record that is not afraid to show it’s influences……………………highly recommended.
Law And Order will be out on CD and Download 3rd June 2016 via Black Glove Recordings and available from all the usual outlets…………a pre-order link is coming soon, so check the Ulysses website and Facebook page for more details.
Monday, 18 April 2016
What we absolutely love about German bands is that they either invent the future, developing a brand new musical language that it takes a few years to understand it’s nuances or lovingly recreate/re-imagine the past, exploring decades old genres and putting their own spin on it……………we have recently been digging the Samsara Blues Experiment who are a flashback both musically and sartorially to around 1969-1971, the proto metal period where Psychedelia got heavy and the Blues got tripped out. Like fellow heavy Blues travellers Blues Pills, the Samsara Blues Experiment take classic early 70s Psychedelic Blues and retool it for today. Their most recent release Waiting For The Flood mixes together heavy Psych Blues and Stoner Rock with more Eastern influences and contains four long tracks that the band twist and turn into strange shapes in a howling storm of musical dexterity forming epic stoner soundscapes, not unlike bands such as Earthless, Golden Void and Essemble Head In Sunburst Sound. Although really popular in their homeland and the rest of mainland Europe, the Samsara Blues Experiment are mainly operating well below the radar in the rest of the world……………if your thing is virtuoso heavy Psychedelic Blues that takes in elements of British acts Man, Khan and Camel, which can be heard in the creative expanse of the individual songs, and the occasional southern-style heavy rock of Corrosion of Conformity or Floodgate then we recommend you check this band out. Step back ten years and the template for the Samsara Blues Experiment was set by the German underground Psych Rock band Terraplane. A predecessor to the Samsara Blues Experiment, they could be seen as one of the forerunners to the current German Heavy Psych scene. Even though there was nothing new in terms of musical invention, being deeply rooted in the era of Classic Rock giants like Led Zeppelin, the psychedelic Stooges and The Doors, Terraplane provided a fresh taste of mellow, dark psychedelia and dry-to-the-bone Fuzz Blues. Terraplane’s second album Into The Unknown, now considered a classic of the genre, disappeared without trace just after its release in 2006 and was reported lost, presumed deleted soon afterwards…………this massively under-rated record now gets the reissue treatment from Electric Magic Records and for the first time is now available on vinyl.
Featuring Samsara Blues Experiment main brain Christian Peters getting his guitar sound together, Into The Unknown is a journey into the familiar with an abundance of cool classic rock references/influences on display. There are fuzzed out bluesy riffs a plenty on manic boogie tunes like ‘Orange Salvation’ and ‘Lower’ which in 1970 would have led to a mass outbreak of loon dancing, however it is on the longer tracks you can hear the roots of the Samsara Blues Experiment take hold. ’Moonflower Blues Pt. 2’ and ‘Mantra’ are both grounded in the early 70s progressive, proto Stoner Blues Rock of bands such as Blue Cheer, After Tea and Birthcontrol along with dense guitar sludge of Black Sabbath and the Stooges. The album’s title track closes the record and is an epic 15 minute Kosmic Jam that ebbs and flows through on a psychedelic expedition to the far side of the mind, a track that really sets the vibe for the Samsara Blues Experiment’s sprawling sonic adventures. Although virtually ignored when originally released Into The Unknown is ripe for re-discovery………it’s an album that gives a fascinating insight to the formative influences of the Samsara Blues Experiment and while there is a sense of a band finding its sound, all the tracks here are skilfully constructed and still sound relevant amongst the current wave of German Heavy Psychedelia.
Distributed by the German Psych/Prog label World In Sound, Into The Unknown is out now on the boutique label Electric Magic Records. Unless your local indie store is the kind of place that will stock records by obscure German bands, the album is available in a limited edition run of 500 copies on purple vinyl from either the Electric Magic webstore or the World In Sound “Tasty Odds” web page. Also available from the Terraplane Bandcamp page https://terraplane.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-unknown where you can buy the digital download which comes with an additional 5 bonus tracks. You can also find Samsara Blues Experiment LPs and CDs at the ElectricMagic and World In Sound websites.
Saturday, 16 April 2016
French Psych Pop duo the Limiñanas return with a new album of 60s Garage Punk, Italian Pop, groovy movie soundtrack and 70s Rock inspired tunes and much like their previous record, the 2013 release Costa Blanca, this is mixed with the sweetly swinging tradition of Serge Gainsbourg and the French yé-yé sound of the '60s. Composed of a core of drummer and sometime vocalist Marie Limiñana and bassist, organist, guitarist and vocalist Lionel Limiñana, Malamore has been recorded with a host of guest vocalists and musicians including ex New Order bassist Peter Hook and with its combination of fuzzy organ, half-spoken/half-sung vocals, and vintage production, the band captures the sexy, ultra-hip sound of classic French Pop.
The Limiñanas have been described has having a sound that blends sunny psychedelia with vintage pop but in reality they are far more eclectic…………….Malamore has moments of psychedelic pop bliss with tracks like the sun kissed ‘Paradise Now’ but generally this is an album that comes on like a fuzzed up mix of Serge Gainsbourg, the Velvet Underground, the Jesus & Mary Chain, The Warlocks and Lalo Schifrin. Opening with the widescreen cinematic rush of Athen LA, Malamore exists in a parallel universe where John Cale made albums with Gainsburg/Bardot not Reed/Nico and the Limiñanas are Tarantino’s go-to guys for soundtracking his 60s “Spaghetti Western” influenced movies. There are some really fantastic tracks on this record…………….. ‘Kostas’ and ‘El Beach’ have great “VU in Tangiers” grooves while ‘Prisunic’ and ‘The Dead Are Walking’ are classic French Pop fuzzed out to infinity. Peter Hook brings his distinctive bass sound to the luminous psychedelia of ‘Garden Of Love’. Malamore falls somewhere between classic psychedelic 60s pop and epic acid-fuzz “Wall of Noise meets Wall of Sound” and is a logical progression from the Limiñanas previous record……fans of the band will love this and 60s Garage/Psych heads will dig the classic sounding grooves on this album. Ebbing and flowing from scene to scene Malamore is a magnificently moody cinematic experience, music for the imagination as well as for the ears and possibly quite unlike any other record you will hear this year.
Currently available to pre-order from Amazon, Malamore is due for release next week (22/04/2016) by the Paris/London label Because Music and will be available on both CD and vinyl from all the usual outlets/Because Music webstore.
Friday, 15 April 2016
Being the jaded Psych Heads that we are, it is very rare nowadays that a record stops us dead in our tracks and we have to drop everything and listen………..the debut album from Cambridge Psychedelic Rock band Psychic Lemon is one such record and it has only gone and completely blown our minds. Recorded in their own studio in the back of a small garden, 5 minutes down the road from Syd Barrett's old place, Psychic Lemon make music “you can dance to sometimes, and get lost in always”. Taking inspiration from 70s Prog and Krautrock, mixed with more modern influences such as Goat and The Heads, Psychic Lemon have crafted a claustrophobic psychedelic squall of an album that really has got everybody who has heard it talking………..People, get on the buzz.
Psychic Lemon’s headswirler of a debut record is a relentless sonic assault from start to finish only letting up for a moment for the Floydian shimmer of ‘Analogue Summer’……….it’s a barrage of thunderous drums and pulsing bass lines underpinning scorching, tripped out guitars. Opening with the driving ‘TiCkToK’, Psychic Lemon have recorded one of the most assured debut albums we have heard for quite a while, songs taking their shape from classic Prog and the more jazz/improvisational based European “progressive” sounds from 68-73 have been stripped of any excess and have been infused with a new urgency. On ‘Death Cult Blues’ howling guitars face off with what can only be described as “Jazz flute”……..there is no escaping the early Prog influences but they are from the more kosmik German school of improvised sonic adventures than the “flash rock” of the likes Jethro Tull. The more recent Psych Rock influences can be heard on tracks such as ‘Dilator’ and the epic ‘Horizon’ which are swirling slabs of 21st Century Psychedelic Blues. We have recently been bemoaning the lack of genuinely exciting new British Psychedelic Rock bands breaking out, but Psychic Lemon really look like they may be the real deal based on this fantastic debut album……..there is a lot to love here, go be an early adopter and check out this wonderful record, we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
Psychic Lemon’s self-titled debut album is out now and is available on CD or as a digital download from the bands Bandcamp page at http://psychiclemon.bandcamp.com/album/psychic-lemon
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Strange things are happening………………..new from Gare Du Nord Records, the home of quirky Indie Pop and gentle Psychedelia, comes a new album of lo-fi, bucolic psychedelic pop for the post Brit Pop generation from the Canterbury based Picturebox. Following last year’s The Garden Path, the new Picturebox record is again inspired by early Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers, Syd era Pink Floyd/solo Barrett, The Beatles and Blur and is packed with so many sweet tunes it should really come with a warning for diabetics.
Led by and mostly consisting of resident home-recordist Robert Halcrow, Picturebox encapsulate the best of mildly eccentric British psychedelia. “The idea,” says Halcrow, “is to write songs about anything at all.” Anything such as errant butlers, the lurgy, having crushes, a love of French pop, US 90s indie stars and further education. Over the years, his musical vehicles for these tales have moved from a conventional guitar band backing to incorporating found sounds, crude cut-ups, home keyboards and looped beats, a colourful melange that belongs in a parallel universe where the Tornadoes are widely recognised as a proto hip hop act, where Belle and Seb never went all quality on us (though Robert is still a fan), and where Robert Wyatt's Kentish vocal delivery is the established language of pop. On Songs Of Joy, Picturebox update the fine Canterbury heritage of grand English whimsy………whereas the legendary old Canterbury Scene of the late 60s was sparked by Jazz and surrealism, these 12 songs and 1 instrumental are the other side of the Canterbury coin first flipped on The Garden Path encapsulating all the charm but none of the noodling of that era. Harking back to the memorably named Wilf's Tropicals pet fish shop, Nunnery Fields Hospital, Canterbury Crusaders Speedway team, as well as music from the past…….‘Garden Song’, featuring guests Ash Cooke (Pulco) and Helene Bradley (Citizen Helene), is a cut-up cover of a song by Rod, Matt and Jane (pre-Freddy) from the ITV children's show Rainbow. Songs Of Joy is as English as fairy cakes for tea and will not be to everyone’s taste, but if your idea of fun is a psychedelic picnic on a hot summers day……….this may be the record you are looking for.
Available on CD or as a digital download, Songs Of Joy is released on 13th May 2016 by Gare Du Nord Records and available to pre-order now from the Picturebox Bandcamp page https://picturebox.bandcamp.com/ or via the Gare Du Nord website. In the words of former Weather Prophet Pete Astor "Up the English gents!”.
Saturday, 9 April 2016
We were first introduced to Norwegian Neo-Psychedelic band Mayflower Madame when US boutique label Custom Made Music released the tracks ‘Into The Haze’/ ‘Confusion Hill’ as a limited edition, cassette only, single some twelve months ago. Originally a self-released single in 2013, ‘Into The Haze’ had echoes of the Heaven Up Here period Bunnymen.....”with lots of reverb and delay, the clear, cutting tones of Will Sargent-esque guitars slice through tribal drumming and portentous bass”. This fantastic track received some great reviews when first released. The b-side ‘Confusion Hill’ was a new track and had a much darker vibe comparable to “when Siouxsie & Banshees plunged into full-on psychedelia around the time of their A Kiss In The Dreamhouse album or the period before Robert Smith started making pop singles”. Mayflower Madame had tapped into a generally unsung period in the evolution of Psych Rock…….although many of the bands from this time ended up being put in a box marked “Goth Rock”, they were among the first psychedelic revivalists. The early 80s were interesting times as after the Punk year zero everything was in flux and the myriad of genres that followed had still to take their full form………in this environment Punk bands were discovering what are now considered now to be the Psych-Rock cornerstones (the Velvet Underground, the first Doors album, Forever Changes by Love, Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets compilation etc. etc. etc.) and absorbed these sounds. From this came the first wave of Neo-Psychedelic bands which included the more obvious psychedelic bands like The Teardrop Explodes, Echo & The Bunnymen, Robyn Hitchcock’s brilliant The Soft Boys and the darker proto Goth bands like The Cult, The Lemon Kittens, The Cure and Siouxsie & The Banshees (plus a special mention for the Cure/Banshees spin off, the acid fried The Glove). A year on and the band have a soon to be released debut album of deeply atmospheric Post Punk Psychedelia which, like their previous releases, still channels Echo & The Bunnymen, Bauhaus, The Chameleons, The Cure and Spacemen 3 along with newer bands such as Night Beats and The Warlocks.
Mayflower Madame’s first long player, Observed In A Dream, exists in a narcotic netherworld where songs of a sinister beauty emerge from a psychedelic haze. Opening with the lysergic swirl of the previously mention ‘Confusion Hill’, Observed In A Dream is an absolutely brilliant record, infused with all the dark intensity of the great 80s Psych/Goth records but not sounding out of place with any of the more recent Psych releases. Amongst eight tremendous tracks there are a few that really stand out…………’Lovesick’ is not unlike Echo & The Bunnymen covering Bauhaus with sparkling guitars blended with a real sense of menace while ‘Weightless’ absolutely shimmers with glacial guitars and ‘Into The Haze (Redux)’ is a reworking of the original single with some extra muscle added. ‘Observed In A Dream’ conveys “a shadowy and tumultuous world, sometimes ecstatic and noisy, but always indulging the soothing charms of melody”. Thematically, the album is about endings and the fluctuating, passing states of relationships and life itself. “From the smouldering serenity of ‘Confusion Hill’ through the feverish ‘Lovesick’ and the vivid ‘Weightless’ to the closing ‘Forever / The End of Everything’, the album reveals different stages of a partly subconscious journey and its accompanying feelings of obsession, anxiety, instability and longing”.
Mayflower Madame release their debut album on 22nd April on CD, vinyl and digital download via their own label Night Cult Records in Europe and Custom Made Music in North America. Check the various websites/Facebook pages for availability.
Taking on the flame from esteemed 60s/70s publications such as Zig Zag, Terrascope magazine is one of the most well respected, widely read, frequently quoted independent music journals in the world, taking in the finest offerings from the world of Folk, Freakbeat and Psychedelia, to Krautrock, Prog, Punk, Free Jazz, Electronica - and nearly every genre in between. Now celebrating 25 years of publishing this wonderful magazine the album Paper Leaves, a limited edition vinyl only compilation, has been released that reflects the diversity of music Terrascope covers. From old Terrascope favourites Bevis Frond and Nick Nicely to new bands like Dead Sea Apes, Paper Leaves finds space for Krautrock, psychedelic whimsy, Psych Rock, Acid Folk and far out Space Rock in a collection of eight stunning exclusive tracks from artists that Terrascope has championed past and present.
In keeping with Terrascope’s broad minded approach to great music Paper Leaves is a real mixed bag of musical delights. Side one opens with some old school Krautrock/Ambient soundscaping from Black Tempest (Stephen Bradbury) before easing into some beautifully warped psychedelia from Nick Nicely who contributes the elegantly twisted ‘Dance Away’ to the album. The remainder of the side is taken up with some heavyweight Psych Rock from the exceptional Manchester band Dead Sea Apes and the equally brilliant White Hills. Flip the disc and you will find an exclusive track from Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance/Comets on Fire), who has provided an acoustic cover of Wayne Rogers' song ‘Dead and Rising’ from his Constant Displacement LP, and some gorgeous twisted folk from London based Acid Folkies The Left Outsides who have beautifully arranged the traditional tune ‘Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime’. The prolific and talented Nick Saloman (Bevis Frond) has been there from the beginning as publisher of the now legendary (and highly collectable) Ptolomaic Terrascope and a new track ‘Back In The Churchyard’ graces this compilation before side two closes with the awesome Bardo Pond chipping in with a brilliant 11 minute slab of show stopping grungy Psychedelia.
Paper Leaves – A Terrascope Celebration is out now and available directly from the Terrascope webstore or from your local Indie retailer (maybe)…………….but hurry as there are only a few left.
Friday, 8 April 2016
Inspired by classic Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Harmonia and Black Sabbath, Heavy Moon is a instrumental heavy psych/Kosmic jam studio side project of Jakob Rehlinger of Toronto-based improvisational space-rockers Moonwood. Releasing mindmelting Prog/Psych albums since 2006, the seventh Heavy Moon album (fittingly titled Heavy Moon 7) is more of the same and an absolute must for all you stoner Spaceheads out there………..it’s a shapeshifting 10 track Kosmik collision of deep Space Rock, Krautrock and sprawling heavy Prog/Psych Rock and it’s an absolute ride.
This seventh Heavy Moon album is a collection of cosmic instrumental space rocks returned to earth from the planets Hawkwind, Floyd and Harmonia. There is a lot to love here for fans of the mid 70s output of Pink Floyd with Jakob twisting heavy Gimour licks around portentous proggy synths on the headswirlers ‘Floyd's Droid’, ‘Pink Stink’ and the very trippy ‘Gravedigger Dave’....... tracks that are all from the darkside of the Heavy Moon. Elsewhere there are the chugging guitars and spiralling synths of Hawkwind on ‘Flight 409 LAX-DUS pt.1&2’ and a La Düsseldorf quirky Krautrock shuffle on ‘Schütteln, klirren und aufrollen’. For the stoners, ‘Bonglord's Blues’ is a dense slab of experimental Space Rock that is so heavy it defies normal gravity pulling all surrounding objects into it's orbit. There is nothing stunningly original going on here, but like the other six Heavy Moon albums it’s an incredibly well crafted piece of work with Jakob absorbing inspiration from these aforementioned great bands and perhaps other cosmic forces…… plus it’s great record for a bong session.
A super seriously limited edition release by the Canadian purveyors of fine audio curios Arachnidiscs Recordings (their tagline "Music For And By Weirdos"), Heavy Moon 7 is available in three unique formats: The cassette has exclusive cross-faded collage mixes of 9 of the tracks while the CD is presented as 10 individual tracks, including the bonus track ‘Schütteln, klirren und aufrollen’. The digital download comes with it all! (Both CD and cassette come with the full download so no one misses anything)………..Available from the Arachnidiscs Bandcamp page at https://arachnidiscs.bandcamp.com/, but hurry, the physical formats are selling fast. To celebrate this release all the previous six Heavy Moon albums have been made available as "name your price" downloads at https://heavymoons.bandcamp.com/.
Combing the creative talents of Polly Scattergood and James Chapman (Maps), On Dead Waves is a natural chemistry experiment that has evolved into a brilliant sparse and atmospheric self titled debut record, rich in melody, rippled with an air of malice and flowing female and male vocals. The seeds of James Chapman and Polly Scattergood’s creative partnership were sown in 2011, at Mute’s legendary Short Circuit festival at London's Roundhouse. The night saw different collaborations with Mute artists and Polly and James paired up to perform each other’s songs. Though each had primarily worked alone before, there was something natural about the chemistry between them. "The gig was one of the most enjoyable I've done “says Polly. "And as soon as we finished, we said it'd be cool to do something else."
Mixing together dark imagery, the surrealist noir of the Badalamenti/Lynch soundtracks, Psychedelic Folk and a good portion of sparkling, reverb soaked guitars On Dead Waves have created a record of a real shimmering beauty. Opening with the sun flecked ‘Blackbird’ we are taken on a journey through dark and light, blending shadowy Shoegaze on tracks such as ‘Never Over’ and ‘Blue Inside’ with the iridescent guitars of ‘California’ and ‘Jupiter’, that is part Gothic Country and part swirling Psychedelia. All the songs are original compositions apart from one cover version………….On Dead Waves turn the old standard ‘Autumn Leaves’ into a Lynchian psychodrama, stripped down to just two voices, some gentle electronica and heavy on the reverb guitar which sounds not unlike like a minimalist version of Coldcut’s take on the song. On Dead Waves debut album merges two great individual talents, who together have really jelled as a creative partnership and have recorded something very special that we recommend you check out.
Out on Mute on 20th May 2016 on CD, digital and as a limited edition vinyl which comes with a signed art print, On Dead Waves debut album is available to pre order now from the Mute Store.
Pre-order the album from Amazon here:
Digital - http://smarturl.it/ODWAlbumDigital
Vinyl - http://smarturl.it/ODWAlbumVinyl
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
From 1971 to 1973, legendary Irish duo Tír na nÓg made three studio albums for Chrysalis records which were highly acclaimed by critics but didn't receive any big commercial success although they regularly toured the folk clubs of the United Kingdom or internationally as a support act for several major rock bands and were championed by John Peel. Returning with their first studio album in 42 years, Tir na nOg played an album launch show at The Half Moon in Putney to showcase the new songs from The Dark Dance along with some old favourites……….fortunately the tapes were rolling during this show and the good folks at Mega Dodo will soon be releasing Live At The Half Moon, an album that captures the spirit and vitality of their stunning live performances. Often considered as one of the first progressive folk bands with other artists like Nick Drake or groups like Pentangle and The Incredible String Band ,they have been described as Alt Folk, Prog Folk, Psych Folk, and even Space Folk! But the duo, formed by Leo O’Kelly & Sonny Condell in 1970, transcends all these categories. What is not in doubt is that they are two of the most original and influential songwriters and performers Ireland has ever produced. Their music mainly consists of their own compositions, based on strong Celtic roots and typically featuring intricate acoustic guitar playing and close harmony singing. The Dark Days album reintroduced Tir na nOg to the more discerning music lover and 2015 ended on a high when Classic Rock magazine voted their album The Dark Dance number 3 in its best albums of year.
Live At The Half Moon is good mix of the old and the new with nearly half the album including songs from The Dark Dance……………the new tracks ‘You In Yellow’, ‘I Pick Up Birds At Funerals’ and ‘I Have Known Love’ get an airing along with the totally psychedelic guitar and percussion workout ‘Ricochet’. True to its title, shards of echoing guitar notes bounce around the room underpinned by driving, trance inducing, tribal drumming…….a truly wonderful song and the best of the new bunch of tunes. From the first three Chrysalis albums Live At The Half Moon includes classic tunes such as ‘Time Is Like A Promise’, a fantastic live version of ‘Looking Up’, a bluesy ‘The Lady I Love’ and a stunning cover of Nick Drake’s ‘Free Ride’………….the CD includes ‘Two White Horses’ as a bonus track. Live At The Half Moon is an absolutely brilliant Prog/Psych Folk record that fans of the band are going to love and one that serves as an excellent introduction to Tír na nÓg for newer listeners.
Live At The Half Moon is set for release on 6th June 2016 on a limited edition run of 250 copies on groovy green vinyl and 250 on regulation black vinyl available to pre-order now from the Mega Dodo webstore. This fantastic album will also be available on CD and as a digital download. Tir na nOg also have two British tours lined up in June and September, we will see you there when they play Birmingham on June 7th.
Saturday, 2 April 2016
PAPERNUT CAMBRIDGE – LOVE THE THINGS YOUR LOVER LOVES (Gare Du Nord LP, CD, D/L). PAPERNUT CAMBRIDGE – OTHER THINGS YOUR LOVER LOVES (Gare Du Nord Cassette).
Following the 2015 release of cover versions (Nutlets 1967-80 and the Sullivan’s Travels EP) which took on artists as diverse as T.Rex and Cockney Rebel through Lyndsey De Paul and Alvin Stardust to Mikey Dread and Jacky, Papernut Cambridge return with their fourth LP, Love The Things Your Lover Loves, which is another stick of 70s inspired post psychedelic Pop Rock with pure pop sensibility running through the heart of a sweet collection of twelve brand new songs. The Papernuts continue to be inspired by melodic vintage pop production and songwriting, their studies of early ’70s pop for last year’s Nutlets project have undoubtedly informed this album, and there are other touches too with Byrdsy Space-Country and a headrush of Badfinger meets the symphonic sweep of ELO lush guitar pop. Although best known for his work as long-time guitarist for Death In Vegas, Ian Button’s Papernut Cambridge project could not be further away from the Krautrock infused, Indie Rock of DiV and closer perhaps to the much earlier Thrashing Doves, of which Button was a founder member. His pop sensibilities are clear, as alongside Papernut Cambridge he’s also been involved in an ongoing writing/production collaboration with another 70s aficionado Lawrence and his band Go Kart Mozart on their latest material, as well as writing and playing as part of the recently formed John Howard & The Night Mail project. His band of collaborators in Papernut Cambridge, which comprises former Hefner members Darren Hayman and Jack Hayter, Gare Du Nord Records labelmates Robert Halcrow, Robert Rotifer and Ralegh Long, Citizen Hélène and Emma Winston, are an interconnected collective of players and bandmates that have brought to life what was originally conceived as the perfect imaginary 70s pop group revealed in a dream sometime in 1990.
A beautifully crafted record of classic songwriting, subjects include tips for making relationships work, fidelity, naivety, cults and ‘ologies, civilization and space, Love The Things Your Lover Loves takes its cues from the smart, sparkling British music made in the post psychedelic era of 10cc, T.Rex, Be Bop Deluxe, Cockney Rebel and ELO. Mix this with the mid 70s Power Pop vibe of bands like Big Star, The Raspberries and Cheap Trick, then you get a record full of slightly Psych tinged, radio friendly tunes that harks back to an age that for every triple vinyl concept album there was always a killer 7” single. The album as a whole seems designed to further illustrate the band’s love of the directness and fun of (making) pop music, their rejection of the confrontational or difficult, or music that’s too tied up in its own studied drama and earnestness, and all with a nod to the disposability, or at least limited longevity, of it all. Opening with the album’s title track, a Bolanesque Glam stomper straight from the Velvet Goldmine, Papernut Cambridge have recorded an album that avoids being a pastiche but will sound comfortably familiar to anybody who was a teenager in the 70s. You could say that, like the previous Papernut Cambridge albums, this record is a love letter to Ian Button’s formative influences as the band effortlessly move through various styles……… ‘I Promise You’ stylistically coming from the same musical landscape as Big Star/Alex Chilton while ‘Radio’ is straight out of the Jeff Lynne song book. The carefully mixed and matched flavours from the Papernut Cambridge extensive collection of '60s and '70s pop influences also take in the psychedelic shuffle of Mungo Jerry (Chartreuse), the big Scott Walker string arrangements ('Them'), the swirling guitars of Bill Nelson on ‘Mirology’ and ‘ I’m Stranded’ has a pastoral vibe not a million miles away from the rootsy Folk Rock of Slim Chance. The standout track must be the gorgeous, spacy ‘Kardashev Fail’ where Papernut Cambridge ponder the future and an idea that a planet could potentially burn out its own sun to power a SETI program……….a three minute mini masterpiece where loose limbed funk evolves into a lush sweeping soundscape……Its pop music, but from another dimension. Inevitably too, there’s a song about the band. Papernut Cambridge have something of a tradition of self-referencing in songs, but while the theme song from their first album in 2013 attempted to picture the imaginary band that Button had once dreamed about, this one, 'We Are The Nut', updates things to now, and the current, real-life members. It’s Button’s way of saying that Papernut Cambridge have now become a real group and not just a quirky side project. Love The Things Your Lover Loves is a an total charmer of a record……………….although in less skilled hands it would be in danger of being a kitsch, 70s referencing guilty pleasure, this is an album of real substance. Taking on board classic Pop influences, Papernut Cambridge have lovingly crafted a record that still sounds contemporary proving that excellent song writing from whatever decade is timeless.
Released on the 13th May on Gare Du Nord Records, Love The Things Your Lover Loves will be available in several different formats…………………In addition to a CD and a digital download there will be a limited run of 2 x 10” white vinyl records in plain white disco bags (one hole) with a postcard insert, all inside a printed 11" x 14" degradable white plastic carrier bag. Special instrumental versions of the album tracks a.k.a. "Other Things Your Lover Loves" will be available as a cassette only release. The entire package, double vinyl, CD, cassette instrumentals plus a badge set and temporary tattoo sheet with designs based on the album artwork all in a carrier bag will also be for sale. Available to pre-order now from either the Papernut Cambridge Bandcamp site at https://papernutcambridge.bandcamp.com/album/love-the-things-your-lover-loves or from the Papernut Cambridge page on the Gare Du Nord website.