Posts Tagged ‘Pete Astor’

May be an image of 3 people and text that says 'THEFT GHOST TRAINS & COUNTRY LANES STUDIO, STAGE & SESSIONS: 984-2015'

Among the crop of Creation Records bands in the mid-1980s, THE LOFT seemed the most likely to break through. Following the success of The Smiths, guitar-based independent pop was in vogue, Alan McGee’s Creation label was turning heads – its bands blending 60s psychedelia, the melodic end of punk and a new sound which would soon be immortalised on NME’s C86 cassette. And in this London quartet, Creation had their answer to bands like Television, The Only Ones or early Modern Lovers, offering taut, off-kilter songs with an irresistibly deadpan cool.

Sadly, after just two singles, 1984’s downbeat debut ‘Why Does The Rain’ and the punchier sequel, ‘Up The Hill And Down The Slope’ – an indie hit which the band performed live on TV show The Oxford Road Show, The Loft dissolved, with various members founding new bands The Weather Prophets, The Caretaker Race and The Wishing Stones. They left behind seven studio tracks, a BBC Radio 1 session for Janice Long and one track from a Creation LP documenting the scene’s roots in small club The Living Room.

However, The Loft’s legend endured, eventually prompting a reunion in the early 2000s with all four original members – singer/songwriter/guitarist Pete Astor, guitarist Andy Strickland, bassist Bill Prince and drummer Dave Morgan. Alongside various well-received live shows, that led to a new single, ‘Model Village’ (2006) and more recently a session for Gideon Coe on BBC 6 Music (2015). The Loft’s reputation as founding fathers of a new breed of mid-80s indie pop continues to grow to this day, with the band often cited as an influence.

Compiled and coordinated by the band, “Ghost Trains & Country Lanes” expands on previous retrospectives of The Loft, adding those reunion recordings (including three previously unissued tracks), the Gideon Coe session and several live recordings from that historic performance at The Living Room back in 1984. (including many exclusive songs which were never recorded in the studio).

• With new sleeve-notes by Danny Kelly, this is the definite tribute to The Loft. And with the release on 20th March of Creation Stories, the film adaptation of Alan McGee’s autobiography, the timing couldn’t be better.

Released 23rd April on Cherry Red Records. 2 CD, 8 new songs, 17 previously unreleased recordings, 30 tracks including a Living Room club set from ‘84.

Image result for pete astor

The first two 45s by The Loft had gone down a storm in the music press. Creation Records thought they were onto a good thing with The Loft. The four piece’s first two singles – “Why Does The Rain” and “Up The Hill and Down The Slope” in late 1984 and early 1985 had picked up a fair amount of critical acclaim and sold reasonably well for a purely indie-based label.  Theirs was the sort of music that had mainstream radio chart potential.

But The Loft called it a day in mid 1985 and out of the ashes emerged The Weather Prophets just under a year later with Pete Astor (vocals/guitar) and Dave Morgan (drums) joined by Oisin Little (guitar) and David Goulding (bass).

The debut single, “Almost Prayed”, wasn’t all that far removed from the sound of The Loft and by the end of the year a second single and a German import LP that had come out on an overseas imprint of Rough Trade Records had seen many tip them for great things in 1987.

But by now Alan McGhee had been given money by Warner Brothers to form a new label which he named Elevation Records and its first releases involved The Weather Prophets – two singles (one of which was a re-recording of The Loft’s debut 45) and an album.  But pop music and critical acclaim have always had a fickle relationship and those who had supported the band through the Creation years were disparaging with the Elevation releases although musically there wasn’t much between them.

The band went back to Creation in 1988 and released two more singles and an album which was a little bit rockier than previous efforts but still success eluded them. The band broke up in late 1988 at which point Pete Astor pursued a solo career and Messrs Morgan and Goulding became part of a new alt/country group called The Rockingirds.

The Weather Prophets are still fondly remembered and regarded as one of the ‘should’ve been’ bands of the era and so it is no surprise that they were included on the CD86 double CD. The song was one of the b-sides on their 12″ debut single for Creation back in may 1986:-

The actual single itself is a belter:-

Peter Astor’s previous band, the Loft, was a Creation Records labelmate of Felt and sounded like it, but with the Weather Prophets he smoothed the edges to create a more commercial, if somewhat generic, guitar pop style that lives on through groups such as Brideshead and Northern Portrait. Mayflower doesn’t have an abundance of individual character, but the songs and performances are excellent, even though the album didn’t achieve it’s hoped-for mainstream success. “Almost Prayed,” from the group’s first single, and new songs such as “Can’t Keep My Mind Off You” and “She Comes from the Rain” are full of hooky, jangly goodness.

from: “Mayflower” (1987)

Spilt Milk is the latest album from indie auteur Pete Astor, previously of The Loft, The Weather Prophets, and other esteemed acts. It was recorded onto ½ inch tape at the home studio of James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls, with James playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and singing backing vocals. “He was”, says Astor, “an amazing band.” Other contributions came from members of Astor’s live band, with Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Withered Hand) supplying vocals, Jack Hayter (Hefner) on pedal steel, Alison Cotton (The Left Outsides) on viola, and Robin Christian (Male Bonding) and Susan Milanovic (Feathers) on drums.

The album has all the hallmarks of a future Pete Astor classic, drawing together key strands and tributaries of his work over the years, blending intuitive songwriting, acute lyrics and incisive melodies. After many years making more experimental, electronic music Astor has come full circle to the sound that made his name. He explains, “I’m back to being myself, bringing together sounds that I’ve used over time to make a record that sounds more like me than me!”

From the opening track “Really Something” to the recent single “Mr Music” (a favourite of Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on BBC 6 music) the album’s re-connects Astor’s bespoke guitar pop with his long-standing embrace of The Velvet Underground’s musical DNA. Other standout tracks include “My Right Hand”, a hymn to everyone’s best friend, with guest appearances from Tony Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Philip Larkin and a host of ex-girlfriends; the slow burning drama of “The Getting There” recalling the atmospheres of Astor’s 80s kindred spirits, The Go-Betweens. Also, there is the wry drive of “Very Good Lock”, summed up by Astor as “a description of an injurious medical condition that often affects the male of the species”. Elsewhere there are the gorgeous harmonies of the grown up country lament “Good Enough”, which wouldn’t be out of place on one of George Jones’ most heartbroken albums.

Spilt Milk is part of a continuum: from Astor’s beginnings with The Loft and The Weather Prophets on Creation Records in the 1980s, via his solo work through the 1990s and his more left field albums with The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound on Matador Records, Heavenly and Peacefrog, through to his return to solo work with the Songbox album in 2012. As well as this ongoing musical activity, Astor is also Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches, researches and writes about music; 2014 saw the publication of his study of Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation as part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series.

Astor remains in touch, engaged and vital in a way that is rare with someone with such longevity. The album continues the story of one of one of England’s most respected and significant songwriters. As Astor says, “time passes, shit happens; some losses, some gains.

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It’s perhaps a little odd to be tipping a “new” act who’s been releasing music since the 1980’s, but as we approach 2016, there seem to be some renewed momentum to the music of Pete Astor. Pete initially found fame as a member of The Loft and The Weather Prophets who released music on the legendary Creation Records, and has continued to release both as a solo artist and in various bands ever since; he’s also one of the highest qualified songwriters you’ll come across, holding a senior lectureship in music at the University of Westminster.

Pete’s latest solo album, Spilt Milk, is in many ways the completion of a circular journey; it is the sound of a musician returning to his routes, and sounding much stronger for the journey he has undertaken. Recorded with Veronica Falls/Ultimate Painting member James Hoare, Spilt Milk is a classic British pop record, there’s shades of The Kinks, Ian Dury, The Go-Betweens, most of all though this is just the sound of that most timeless of things, a new record by Pete Astor.

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“Spilt Milk” the brand new album from indie auteur Pete Astor, previously of The Loft, The Weather Prophets, and other esteemed acts. It was recorded onto ½ inch tape at the home studio of James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls, with James playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and singing backing vocals. “He was”, says Astor, “an amazing band.” Other contributions came from members of Astor’s live band, with Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Withered Hand) supplying vocals, Jack Hayter (Hefner) on pedal steel, Alison Cotton (The Left Outsides) on viola, and Robin Christian (Male Bonding) and Susan Milanovic (Feathers) on drums.
 
The album has all the hallmarks of a future Pete Astor classic, drawing together key strands and tributaries of his work over the years, blending intuitive songwriting, acute lyrics and incisive melodies. After many years making more experimental, electronic music Astor has come full circle to the sound that made his name. He explains, “I’m back to being myself, bringing together sounds that I’ve used over time to make a record that sounds more like me than me!”

From the opening track “Really Something” to the recent single “Mr Music” (a favourite of Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on BBC 6 music) the album’s re-connects Astor’s bespoke guitar pop with his long-standing embrace of The Velvet Underground’s musical DNA. Other standout tracks include “My Right Hand”, a hymn to everyone’s best friend, with guest appearances from Tony Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Philip Larkin and a host of ex-girlfriends; the slow burning drama of “The Getting There” recalling the atmospheres of Astor’s 80s kindred spirits, The Go-Betweens. Also, there is the wry drive of “Very Good Lock”, summed up by Astor as “a description of an injurious medical condition that often affects the male of the species”. Elsewhere there are the gorgeous harmonies of the grown up country lament “Good Enough”, which wouldn’t be out of place on one of George Jones’ most heartbroken albums.

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“Spilt Milk” is part of a continuum: via his solo work through the 1990s and his more left field albums with The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound on Matador Records, Heavenly and Peacefrog, through to his return to solo work with the “Songbox” album in 2012. As well as this ongoing musical activity, Astor is also Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches, researches and writes about music; 2014 saw the publication of his study of Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation as part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. 
 
Astor remains in touch, engaged and vital in a way that is rare with someone with such longevity.  The album continues the story of one of one of England’s most respected and significant songwriters. As Astor says, “time passes, shit happens.

Image of Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Benzaiten

The Acid Mothers Temple

In typically fine form, The Acid Mothers Temple and The Melting Pairaiso UFO have delivered another smoker to Important Records. Double LP pressed in an edition of 1000 copies. Benzaiten is an In C style homage to the the classic Osamu Kitajima record of the same name. The Acid Mothers Temple covers the title track and reprise using Kitajima’s original composition as a departure point to explore the outer realms of AMT territory. Further instrumental explorations reveal textures of the original composition while launching out further into the cosmic domain. Numerous Acid Mothers original tracks are scattered in between. Benzaiten!

TRACK LISTING
1. Benzaiten
2. December Stops
3. Etekoraku
4. Etekobushi
5. Benzaiten Reprise
6. Benzaitenshu
7. Benzaiten Coda

Image of Pete Astor - Spilt Milk

Pete Astor  –  Spilt Milk

Spilt Milk is the brand new album from indie auteur Pete Astor (The Loft, The Weather Prophets). It was recorded onto ½ inch tape at the home studio of James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls, with James playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and singing backing vocals. “He was”, says Astor, “an amazing band.” Other contributions came from members of Astor’s live band, with Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Withered Hand) supplying vocals, Jack Hayter (Hefner) on pedal steel, Alison Cotton (The Left Outsides) on viola, and Robin Christian (Male Bonding) and Susan Milanovic (Feathers) on drums.

The album has all the hallmarks of a future Pete Astor classic, drawing together key strands and tributaries of his work over the years, blending intuitive songwriting, acute lyrics and incisive melodies. After many years making more experimental, electronic music Astor has come full circle to the sound that made his name. From the opening track “Really Something” to the recent single “Mr Music” (a favourite of Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on BBC 6 music) the album’s re-connects Astor’s bespoke guitar pop with his long-standing embrace of The Velvet Underground’s musical DNA. Other standout tracks include “My Right Hand”, a hymn to everyone’s best friend, with guest appearances from Tony Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Philip Larkin and a host of ex-girlfriends; the slow burning drama of “The Getting There” recalling the atmospheres of Astor’s 80s kindred spirits, The Go-Betweens. Also, there is the wry drive of “Very Good Lock”, summed up by Astor as “a description of an injurious medical condition that often affects the male of the species”.

Elsewhere there are the gorgeous harmonies of the grown up country lament “Good Enough”, which wouldn’t be out of place on one of George Jones’ most heartbroken albums. Spilt Milk is part of a continuum: from Astor’s beginnings with The Loft and The Weather Prophets on Creation Records in the 1980s, via his solo work through the 1990s and his more left field albums with The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound on Matador Records, Heavenly and Peacefrog, through to his return to solo work with the Songbox album in 2012.

Image of Jehnny Beth & Julian Casablancas - Boy / Girl

Jehnny Beth and Julian Casablancas –  Boy Girl

Pop Noire Records are pleased to announce the release of a collaboration between Julian Casablancas (The Strokes/The Voidz) and Jehnny Beth (Savages). The two joined forces to duet on a cover of “Boy-Girl”, originally released by seminal Danish punk band, Sort Sol featuring Lydia Lunch. “Sort Sol are cult in Denmark, and today very influential in the Copenhagen scene (Iceage etc…). I would be pleased to make their name known better”, adds Jehnny Beth.

The collaboration stems from the pair’s mutual admiration after meeting while on tour in South America, and having an interest in finding a way to work together. The idea to collaborate became to take shape when Johnny Hostile (Savages producer) suggested the song to Jehnny. “It really made sense when I heard it for the first time. It was the perfect song for Julian and I” says Jehnny who recorded the bulk of the song with Johnny Hostile in Paris, before it was handed to Julian to perfect.

Casablancas notes: “I had never heard the song before and still have no idea what the hell the words are talking about. It sounds like a Danish dude trying sound like he’s saying English sounding words”. The video, that pays tribute to the original version released in the 80’s, was directed by long time visual collaborator and Cult Records’ creative director, Warren Fu. Shots of Jehnny Beth were filmed in London by Giorgio Testi. Pop Noire is an independent record label based in Paris, established in September 2011 by duo of artists, Johnny Hostile and Jehnny Beth, along with French director and graphic designer, Antoine Carlier.

Image of David Bowie - ★ (Blackstar)

David Bowie  –  Blackstar

Spring 2015 brought the announcement of the off Broadway theatre production Lazarus, a collaboration between Bowie and renowned playwright Enda Walsh, to be directed by Ivo Van Hove. Lazarus is inspired by the novel The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis, and centers on the character of Thomas Newton, famously portrayed by Bowie in the 1976 screen adaptation. It will feature new Bowie songs alongside fresh arrangements of music from his back catalogue.

On October 6, 2015, an excerpt of Blackstar, a brand new original Bowie track, was revealed in the opening credits of The Last Panthers, a major new crime drama premiering across Europe on Sky Atlantic on November 12th.

On October 25 it was confirmed that Blackstar would be the title of both the forthcoming single and album from David Bowie. The single will be released on November 20th and the album will follow on David’s birthday, January 8th 2016.

Throughout his 50-year career, David Bowie’s work has always surprised, captivated and exhilarated. 2016 will be no exception.

Image of Hinds - Leave Me Alone

Hinds –  Leave Me Alone 

Since bursting onto the DIY scene last summer, HindsAna Perrote, Carlotta Cosials, Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen – have mastered a raw and playful sound all their own. With just a handful of released singles under their belt, Hinds have already earned early support from BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music, NME, Guardian, Beats 1, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The FADER, Gorilla vs. Bear, and many more. Now with the release of their eagerly awaited debut album, Hinds are firmly establishing themselves as one of the most exciting emerging acts of the year and show no sign of slowing down.

Kicking things off with their new single “Garden,” Hinds take us on a badass rock & roll ride on their debut full-length Leave Me Alone. Weaving sun-kissed, 60’s-inspired melodies, executed with a genius call-and-response between co-vocalists and band co-founders Perrote and Cosials, Hinds create the ultimate soundtrack to the best day ever – from start to finish – spent with your four best friends. In addition to previously released fan favorites including the band’s first-ever single “Bamboo,” “Castigadas En El Granero” – which translates in English to “Grounded In The Barn” – and the band’s first new song of 2015 “Chili Town,” Leave Me Alone only gets better with each song. Featuring bright surf-pop tune “San Diego,” the mixed-tempo “Fat Calmed Kiddos,” and a bitter ode to shitty boyfriends in “And I Will Send Your Flowers Back,” Leave Me Alone is guaranteed to bring the Mediterranean sun to you wherever you are in the world at any time of the year.

Image of Wavves / Cloud Nothings - No Life For Me

No Life For Me is the highly anticipated collaborative album between Nathan Williams of Wavves and Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings via Williams’s own imprint, Ghost Ramp. The album was recorded at Williams’s home during sessions in March and June of 2014, with production from Sweet Valley.

“For all their differences, a Wavves / Cloud Nothings collaboration makes a good deal of sense, and fans have been eagerly anticipating an album since it was officially announced back in March…. [The album] is a summery slice of punk that’s more SoCal than Ohio, even if Baldi can’t help but smear his unique brand of melancholy all over standout tracks like ‘Nervous’ and ‘Nothing Hurts’…. “No Life For Me is deeply indebted to early 1980s Southern California punk, a scene that’s probably buried deep in the soil of Williams’ mind by this point…. This is pop music executed with the no-frills precision of hardcore