Image  —  Posted: February 7, 2023 in MUSIC

bdrmm – ” I Don’t Know “

Posted: February 6, 2023 in MUSIC

The Hull four piece have signed with Mogwai’s label Rock Action, embracing dance, ambient and experimental music, and the importance of keeping things ambiguous,

bdrmm have revealed details of their second album ‘I Don’t Know’, which marks their signing to Mogwai‘s label Rock Action. Check out new single ‘It’s Just A Bit Of Blood’ below,

‘It’s Just A Bit Of Blood’ comes with visuals directed by Chris Tomsett’s Innerstrings. The track will be familiar to longtime fans of the band, having been a staple of the band’s live shows for over two years. “People have liked to sing along to it before we even had it recorded, so it felt like a natural place to start,” said guitarist Joe Vickers. Bassist and keyboardist Jordan Smith explained that the song acts as a bridging point between the shoegaze-leaning sound of their 2020 debut album ‘Bedroom’, and a broader pool of influences that defines ‘I Don’t Know’.

“It’s got the first album’s sensibilities, but it does things in the way we work now, so it’s a nice jumping-off point,” he said. “We’re not putting the six-minute dance song out just yet, that can wait until release day!”

‘I Don’t Know’ sees the band embrace not only dance music but trip-hop, slowcore, experimental and ambient music. Drummer Conor Murray, meanwhile, has brought a heavy influence from his love of jazz music to the album’s beats.

Image  —  Posted: February 5, 2023 in MUSIC

The new covers EP from Tropical Fuck Storm is, believe it or not, unconventional. For one thing, it’s largely a return to the guitar-centric jams the Australian collective have slowly been gravitating away from on their recorded material for fear of it being precisely what listeners expected to hear. But for another, the short collection of songs is noticeably lacking in the “Running Up That Hills” and “Love Will Tear Us Aparts” most covers records tend to gravitate toward, instead opting for the second most popular track on The Stooges’ Funhouse to have “Ann” in the title, a cut from TFS’s own most recent record, and two songs belonging to groups that may or may not be entirely fiction.

Which leaves the crowning center piece of the record, a take on Jimi Hendrix’s epic 14-minute “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be),” which the band takes on surprisingly reverently as they stretch it even further into a marathon 18 minutes. According to co-vocalist Gareth Liddiard, the Hendrix homage was “an attempt to right the recent wrongs perpetrated against Hendrix’s classic ‘Angel’ by some idiot from One Direction doing a karaoke-style ‘tribute’ for Jimi’s 80th birthday.” I think Jimi would’ve approved of this version, and I’m glad he didn’t live to see his work become American Idol–ized.

This epic single arrives ahead of the Australian group’s kind-of covers EP “Submersive Behaviour”, via Joyful Noise.

Over the past decade, numerous supergroups have risen to the forefront of contemporary music. They’re all beloved heat seekers with unfathomable chemistry, however, the one supergroup I think about most often is The Arcs. Started by Dan Auerbach, Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, and Richard Swift in the early 2010s, the band quickly embodied a perfect mixture of neo-psychedelia and soul. They weren’t out to capitalize on popularity with sold-out shows in big venues. They played lowkey gigs in landmark clubs across America, like The Orange Peel in Asheville and the Civic Theatre in Auerbach’s hometown of Akron.

‘Electrophonic Chronic’ is the second album from The Arcs, the band founded by The Black Keys Dan Auerbach and which released its debut studio album ‘Yours, Dreamily’ back in 2015. Eight years later – and following the death of one of its members, Richard Swift – a successor has been shaped out of left-over recordings from the same sessions that yielded that debut.

Around 2012, Auerbach wanted to make a follow-up to his debut solo record “Keep It Hid”. He’d just put out the Black Keys records “Brothers” and “El Camino” back-to-back, and both Michels and Movshon had joined him and Pat Carney on tour in 2010. Whatever Auerbach’s second personal project would become, he was going to surround himself with musicians he trusted. “As soon as it was me, Dan, Nick, and Homer, we did a lot of recording sessions together, just for the hell of it, and there wasn’t anything attached to it,” Michels recalls. “Then, when Swift got involved, that’s when it really felt like, ‘OK, this is a band.’ It became clear very quickly that it was its own thing.”

Auerbach’s second solo record wouldn’t come until 2017, and “Waiting on a Song” was lightyears away from what he had made with The Arcs: songs torn from the cuffs of Captain Beefheart’s Safe as Milk and the hip-hop that inspired The Black Keys’ 2009 rap project “BlakRoc”. The Arcs were making music that became unique in how so many familiar parts stacked on top of each other to make a singular sound, which came from the guys spending countless days together just laying down whatever sounds came out of their instruments. 

The Arcs are special because every member of the group is a producer—or, as Michels affectionately calls everyone, “studio rats”—which has only widened their musical capabilities in the studio. Songs on their debut like “Outta My Mind,” “Velvet Ditch,” and “Pistol Made of Bones” may have fragments that fit on a Black Keys project like “El Camino” or “Turn Blue“, but it’s clear that The Arcs’ songs were gleaned by each member equally. Their second album, “Electrophonic Chronic“, is just as psychedelic as “Yours, Dreamily” was, except it’s much more harmonious and electronic. 

Robert Forster—former singer-songwriter for Australian indie rockers the Go-Betweens—has released his eighth solo album. He co-produced the album with his wife, Karin Bäumler, and his son, Louis, formerly of the Goon Sax. Forster also enlisted former Go-Betweens and Warm Nights bass player Adele Pickvance, as well as Scott Bromiley and Luke McDonald of the John Steele Singers, to contribute to the new LP.

This is a record of sombre hope, stubborn joy and a steadfast buoyancy perched on a wobbly fulcrum, grief and fear on one side, grit and belief on the other. This being who it is, no one familiar with Forster’s work and in possession of their wits would bet against him and Karin landing anywhere but on the latter half of that divide. “Candle”, sparse in its way but rich and direct is, start to finish, a-brim with the doing of life. And, if we may say, what a start.

One of the songs on the album, “She’s a Fighter,” was partly inspired by Bäumler’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy treatment and recovery. “She’s a Fighter,” bristling with the energy and spark it deserves, also, thanks to the tight acoustic coil it’s wrapped around, rather beams with a proud and loving streak of pure appreciation, its brevity, deft punch and minimalist lyric – add “fighting for good” to that title you have the words entire – as well a ringing curl of electric each contributing to an impression of basic awe and admiration toward its subject (notably, though nearly every track conceivably fits ‘that’ narrative only “Fighter” was written post-diagnosis). As opening statement it’s a stunner even though, by every thinkable metric, the record’s just getting started. There is simply no slack to be taken up anywhere on here, a fact the next track underlines with astonishing grace.

“The Candle And The Flame” consists of 9 songs written by Robert. Produced by Robert, Karin Bäumler and Louis Forster (The Goon Sax), “The recording sessions for the album were done sporadically over six months. Sometimes just one or two days a month. As that was all Karin’s strength and condition allowed her to do. So we had to record ‘live’, catching magical moments and going for ‘feel’. And that became the sound of the album.” says Robert.

Image  —  Posted: February 5, 2023 in MUSIC

VARIOUS ARTISTS – ” Intrigue “

Posted: February 5, 2023 in MUSIC

‘Intrigue’ is a 4XCD / 7xLP overview of progressive sounds and influences in UK music between 1979 and 1989. Steven Wilson chose the tracks, Carl Glover designed the beautiful package, and I penned the track by track liner notes, which ended up at around 22,000 words. I doubt I’ll get the chance again to wax lyrical about so many favourite formative influences such as Wire, Public Image, The Stranglers, Joy Division, Simple Minds, Associates, New Order, Kate Bush, OMD and Scott Walker, as well as lesser known lights like In Camera, 23 Skidoo, The Sound and New Musik. Hopefully it forms a coherent narrative and does everyone justice – buy a copy and decide!

“This is my personally-curated attempt to redress the balance, and to perhaps introduce any ‘80s-sceptics out there to the idea that conceptual thinking and ambition didn’t suddenly evaporate after ’77… ambitious, weird and thrilling music was all around you in the ‘80s —if you looked in the right places.” – Steven Wilson

Demon Records is proud to release “Intrigue – Steve Wilson Presents: Progressive Sounds In UK Alternative Music 1979-89“, a new compilation assembled by acclaimed musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer, Steven Wilson.

Featuring 58 tracks, the collection explores the creativity, experimentation and progressive spirit of alternative British music from 1979-1989. Artists include WireXTCThe StranglersUltravox, The Durutti Column, Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Tears For Fears, and many more.

There is an official launch at Rough Trade East in London on Friday 10th February 2023 at 19.00, the main event being a discussion on prog, postpunk, krautrock and experimental links and themes with Steven Wilson and Stephen Morris (of Joy Division/New Order), and yours truly as host cum quizmaster. Ticket details on the E flyer below – hope to see some familiar faces there after so long away from The Smoke.

The compilation will be available across three formats; The 4CD and 7LP vinyl editions both feature all 58 tracks while a 2LP edition offers a cut down selection of 19 songs. The 7LP vinyl edition comes with a Steven Wilson signed print (limited to 1000 copies).

The 7LP vinyl box set has been pressed at Pallas on 140g black vinyl. It comes with a 40-page booklet featuring an introduction by Steven Wilson and extensive track-by-track notes from James Nice. The 4CD deluxe comes in casebound book packaging and includes an 80-page booklet.

“Intrigue: Steven Wilson Presents: Progressive Sounds In UK Alternative Music 1979-89” will be released on 10th February 2023, via Demon Music.

The Soft Boys were an indie rock band primarly led by Robyn Hitchcock primarily during the 1970s, whose initially old-fashioned music style of psychedelic/folk-rock became part of the neo-psychedelia scene with the release of “Underwater Moonlight”. The Soft Boys have turned out to be one of the most influential bands in shaping contemporary alternative music, though few are completely familiar with the quirky group’s legacy. Formed in Cambridge, England in 1976 on the heels of the punk revolution, the Soft Boys eschewed the three-chord nihilism of punk and opted for a crude version of psychedelic/folk-rock that was well on its way out of fashion, but oddly, just on the cusp of a resurgence.

The band began life in 1976 as Dennis and the Experts comprising Robyn Hitchcock (guitar), Rob Lamb (guitar), Andy Metcalfe (bass), and Morris Windsor (drums). Alan Davies replaced Lamb after only four gigs late in 1976, and Kimberley Rew eventually replaced Davies. Matthew Seligman replaced Metcalfe in 1979.

On this day (May 26th 1978): neo-psych rockers The Soft Boys released their second single “(I Want to Be An) Anglepoise Lamp” on Radar Records (backed with “Fat Man’s Son”), both songs written by lead vocalist Robyn Hitchcock;  followed by the “Can of Bees” album in 1979.

A Can of Bees

The Soft Boys, like so many other underground miscreants in the ’70s, spent their formative years generating enough critical capital to earn much sought-after adjectives like “influential” and “underrated.” The Robyn Hitchcock-led band pseudo-psych rock outfit’s shared love for all things Byrds, Beatles, Dylan, and Syd Barrett was both venerated and blown to smithereens on their 1979 debut long-player, “A Can of Bees”.

More angular and jarring Hitchcock, Kimberly Rew, Morris Windsor, and Andy Metcalfe sounded positively possessed, channeling both ’60s progressive rock and late-’70s punk into an unholy guitar-driven onslaught fueled by Hitchcock’s surreal lyrics: opening a record with a line like “feel like asking a tree for an autograph” is one thing, but backing up those words with an atonal, apocalyptic blues riff is another. It’s an often brutish affair that works more often than it should, with highlights arriving by way of the pounding and addictive “Leppo and the Jooves,” the incendiary “Do the Chisel,” and the impossibly dumb but nearly perfect pop gem “Sandra’s Having Her Brain Out.”

“A Can of Bees” has seen its fair share of iterations over the years, often boasting multiple bonus cuts and conflicting track listings (the impossibly prolific Hitchcock would eventually become notorious for this with his solo releases), but they’re all more or less complete, and the material continues to inspire, even if it’s only a handful of ears at a time.

Underwater Moonlight

After recording the material that would later comprise the bulk of “Invisible Hits”, the Soft Boys recorded their masterpiece, the shimmering neo-psychedelic, one of alternative rock’s greatest albums with their 1980 ‘Underwater Moonlight’…The new line-up started fresh and recorded the album that found them trading psychedelic jams for a more straight-ahead jangle pop-guitar rock sound. The LP has become extremely influential in the guitar rock canon; bands like the Replacements, R.E.M., and the L.A. Paisley Underground scene all claimed it as a prime influence. The album launched a thousand bands, but it turned out to be the Soft Boys’ swan song. Essentially, the band didn’t change their style for the record — they merely perfected it. The Soft Boys don’t hide their influences — whether its the ringing guitars of the Beatles and Byrds or the surreal humour of John Lennon and Syd Barrett  in their lyrics– but they assimilate them, resulting in a fresh, edgy take on ’60s guitar pop. 

Armageddon released “Underwater Moonlight” in June 1980, and it has been released many times since. It was “A Can of Bees”‘ attractive younger sister; the dissatisfaction that many felt with our first album was melted away by the new arrival. 

Robyn Hitchcock’s subject matter tends to be more explicitly weird and absurdist than his influences, as titles like “I Wanna Destroy You,” “Old Pervert,” and “Queen of Eyes” indicate — even “Kingdom of Love” equates romance to bugs crawling under your skin. But the lyrics aren’t the only thing that are edgy — the music is too. The Soft Boys play pop hooks as if they were punk rock. “I Wanna Destroy You” isn’t overtly threatening like their post-punk contemporaries, but with its layered guitar hooks and dissonant harmonies, it is equally menacing.

John Peel hadn’t previously been a fan but he played a lot off “Underwater Moonlight”

Furthermore, the group can twist its songs inside out and then revert them to their original form, as evidenced by “Insanely Jealous.” Although the neo-psychedelic flourishes are fascinating, the key to record’s success is how each song is constructed around rock-solid hooks and melodies that instantly work their way into the subconscious. In fact, that’s the most notable thing about “Underwater Moonlight” — it updates jangling, melodic guitar pop for the post-punk world, which made it a touchstone for much of the underground pop of the mid-’80s, particularly R.E.M.

The band broke up in 1981 after “Underwater Moonlight”. Rew formed the more mainstream pop group Katrina and the Waves, so many things were calling ‘time’ on the Soft Boys. For one, Kimberley had been amassing songs since his old band, the Waves, floundered in late 1977: he had joined the Soft Boys on the understanding that Hitchcock was the singer-songwriter, but his frustration was palpable, nonetheless, at having no outlet for them. while Hitchcock went on to a prolific career with a similar whimsical, surrealistic style, forming Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians in 1984 with fellow Soft Boys Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe, who went on to tour and record for ten years.

Kimberley rejoined the Waves, added Katrina, and scored an eternal number one with ‘Walking On Sunshine’. He has also done very well with songs supplied to The Bangles. Matthew joined the Thompson Twins and then Thomas Dolby, whom he had long championed, for Thomas’s pop era. He has also played sessions for many from Donovan to Morrissey. 

They were briefly joined by Rew and Seligman in a re-formed Soft Boys for a UK tour in 1994 to mark the release of a box set of their work, and then reformed again in 2001 without Metcalfe for the 20th anniversary of “Underwater Moonlight” and the release of a new album, “Nextdoorland”, in 2002. They disbanded once again in 2003.

Nextdoorland

If pop music history teaches us anything, it’s that reunions of once-great bands are a dicey prospect at best, and for every act like The Buzzcocks who were able to come back at full strength, there are two or three that never should have bothered,

In 2001, The Soft Boys’ reunion tour (prompted by the augmented re-release of their classic “Underwater Moonlight”) proved to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the year, as Robyn Hitchcock, Kimberley Rew, Morris Windsor, and Matthew Seligman let loose a crackling display of sonic energy and revisited their older material with the enthusiasm of four newcomers tearing into their set for the first time.

All in all, the band performed an exemplary live show, but when The Soft Boys announced they were going into the studio to cut a new album, it was hard not to wonder, “OK, they can still do it onstage, but will it work again on tape?” Judged against The Soft Boys’ small but estimable back catalogue,

Their first album in 22 years, “Nextdoorland“, seems just the slightest bit disappointing — while the songs are fine, there are no immediate masterpieces and the production (by Pat Collier) seems a bit too spare and efficient, not always giving the performances the body and heft they need. But give “Nextdoorland” a few listens, let it sink in, and one reaches the inevitable conclusion this is still a great band, capable of making superb music.

As a guitarist, Robyn Hitchcock has never had a better foil than Kimberley Rew, and their interplay on these songs is simply superb; after several acoustic-based albums, it’s a pleasure to hear Hitchcock play electric guitar again, and his best moments with Rew recall the otherworldly six-string symbiosis of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. And if Windsor and Seligman rarely call attention to themselves as a rhythm section, that’s one of their greatest virtues; with subtle precision, they support these performances brilliantly, and these four players are a band in the truest and best sense of the word, working fluidly as a unit rather than as four individuals.

Is “Nextdoorland” an instant classic like “Underwater Moonlight” No. The Soft Boys are still a strong and viable band “Nextdoorland” is a more than worthy addition to their catalogue, and proves that two decades apart has not diluted their remarkable chemistry.

1976-1981 (Cd Only)

Although their five-year career reaped little in terms of commercial reward, the Soft Boys ultimately emerged among the most influential and best-loved of all the early “alternative” acts, as that genre thrust its way out of the twin wombs of punk and new wave. A convoluted back catalogue — as tricky and twisted in its own way as the very best of the band’s songs — has long been one of the Soft Boys‘ attractions for collectors, and “1976-1981″ must first be lauded for so effortlessly making sense of its labyrinthine convolutions.

The Two CDs, arranged in strict chronological order, not only resurrect a pair of early singles that defy the most energetic collector searches (1977’s “Give It to the Soft Boys” EP debut and the following year’s “[I Want to Be An] Anglepoise Lamp 45”), but also haul out a wealth of previously unreleased live and studio cuts, contextual buffers around the often vast steps the band was taking in between its regular releases.

Thus, three demos recorded in Robyn Hitchcock’s living room in early 1977 pave the way not only for the EP, but also for two further songs from the same session; both sides of the “Anglepoise Lamp” single are accompanied by two further songs intended for an accompanying, but ultimately abandoned, album; and a clutch of eight live tracks, also from 1978, depict the band marching through both its own idiosyncratic compositions (“We Like Bananas,” “Return of the Sacred Crab”) and some positively iconic covers — Lou Reed’s “Caroline Says” and the Monotones’ “Book of Love” among them. And that’s just the first disc — move on, and the “Can of Bees” and “Underwater Moonlight” albums, the discs for which the Soft Boys are today most widely acclaimed, are explored in lavish detail, again with material drawn from both sides of the cutting room floor.

There is, of course, considerable duplication between this and the sundry other Soft Boys archive projects out there “Invisible Hits” is especially well represented, but the anthology’s role is not to replace, but to highlight the absolute wealth of genius contained within those five years of striving.

Two more recordings were released posthumously: the “2 Halfs for the Price of One” EP in 1981, and some early sessions compiled on “Invisible Hits” in 1983. Their first EP was re-released in 1984 as “Wading Through a Ventilator”.

Albums:

  • A Can of Bees (1979)
  • Underwater Moonlight (1980)
  • Nextdoorland (2002)

Formed Since 2019 The Liquorice Experiment, the band members regrouped between Spain and the UK and started playing concerts in Valencia and Madrid where they have shared the bill with artists such as Elephant Stone, Mystic Braves or Muck and The Mires. The band has already confirmed dates for 2023. For now they will perform on 28th April at the Spanish festival Ebroclub.

After the pandemic the quintet returned to the stage with a much more forceful and frenetic sonic potion inspired by the primitive sound of the first bands that unleashed the British Invasion. After several concerts around Spain, the musicians travelled in April to the United Kingdom to record their new material. The result of that journey has been a dozen songs full of energy and beat sound combined with touches of garage and R&B. A time bomb for lovers of the most classic rhythm. The tracks on the album have been backed by legendary musician and producer Mole Lambert (The Embrooks, The Jack Cades, Baron Four), and recorded at the analogue North Down Studios in Folkestone.

The Liquorice Experiment have had a close relationship with this country since several of their members came together in London to make music in 2017. Since then, they have been regular hosts at London’s main underground parties where they released several singles such as ‘Circa 66’ and ‘Last Trip’. The band has not only performed at major shows such as Le Beat Bespoke and the NYE Rock & Roll Circus Party but has also played at major events such as the Mod Weekender Festival in Brighton and at the French festival Le Bim.

“How Many Lies” is the debut album by garage beat band The Liquorice Experiment. releases March 31st, 2023