Monday, 31 August 2015

ZX+ - Don't Drink The Water

Lancashire's one man band releases latest ragbag of ideas, invention and razor sharp guitars.

Remember when indie meant music unshackled by label or audience expectations, rather the bland compromised genre it subsequently became in the wake of '90s Britpop? If you do or wish you did then you'll probably like Don't Drink The Water by ZX+. A ragbag of no fixed genre but brimming with energy and razor sharp guitars.

ZX+ is not a home computer revamped and re-branded by Sir Clive Sinclair, but the musical conduit for one Stephen Evans. The Lancashire-based musician has written, sang and played pretty much everything on the album, bar the drums. Neatly trimmed and non-indulgent for a self-produced record, it shape shifts between up-tempo wordy romps à la Arctic Monkeys and melodic McCartney-esque folksiness, with some Cardiacs style quirkiness thrown in for good measure.

This feeling of not quite knowing what to expect is one of the record's main strengths. The album opens with The Crazies which contains quiet/loud dynamics and Mick Ronson style guitar hooks. From thereon in were treated to delicate folksy instrumentals and rum tales over punky backing, all held together by excellent musicianship, attention to detail, quality song writing, and Evans' northwestern brogue. A highly enjoyable album that deserves to be heard.

Click here for ZX+ on Twitter.
Click here for ZX+ on Facebook.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Papernut Cambridge – Nutlets 1967-80

An aural love letter to pop's last age of innocence. Papernut Cambridge's latest LP pays homage to the soundtrack of their youth.

One album I enjoyed last year was There's No Underground by Papernut Cambridge. A strong LP which mixed suburban sadness with soft psychedelia and '70s glam. It was a record that wore its influences on its sleeve. Those influences are now honoured in the form of 10 cover versions on their latest LP, Nutlets 1967-80.

It's a fan's labour of love. An unashamed sepia-toned trawl through the tracks of one's youth. At first glance it's a disparate selection of tunes but on listening it all makes sense. So what ties all these songs together? Apart from being of the same decade (almost), they all share a melodic inventiveness, invite you to sing along, and have a high feel-good factor.

There are big hits such as Jesamine and Love Grows Where My Rosemary Grows by The Casuals and Edison Lighthouse respectively, along with tracks not so well served by oldies radio stations – Lynsey de Paul's Sugar Me, Alvin Stardust's Jealous Mind and What Ruth Said by Cockney Rebel. The album ends with PC's take on Mikey Dread's 1980 track Rockers Delight. The reggae rhythms slightly at odds with the rest of the album's bittersweet pop, though no less engaging.

The 1980 cut off point is telling. By this time Thatcher was in power, the Cold War was at its height, music was getting increasingly digital, more machine based and somehow colder and less human. And though things wouldn't always stay that way a chapter of pop's history had ended. This album serves as a fitting tribute to those times. Redolent of flared jeans, star jumpers, Angel Delight, Smash instant mash potato and spending pocket money on 7” singles sold from a provincial town's white goods store.

This idea of the 1970s as a golden age of innocence has since proved to be somewhat misguided but this collection proves that the decade did at least have some great tunes. Pop would never be so unashamedly catchy again. Hats off to Papernut Cambridge for highlighting these overlooked gems.

Nutlets 1967-80 is an infectious, highly enjoyable companion piece to There's No Underground, and as with their previous recorded output is available on various formats, each containing different versions and mixes. It will put a spring in your step, a smile on your face, and tunes in your head that won't leave for days. You can't ask for much more than that can you.

Click here for Papernut Cambridge's website.
Click here for Papernut Cambridge on Twitter.
Click here for Gare Du Nord Records.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Interview with Ted Selke (The Seventh Ring Of Saturn)

One of the best albums I've been listening to this year is Ormythology by The Seventh Ring Of Saturn. The band have recently followed this up with an excellent double A-sided 7" single which sees the band return to their bubblegum rock/pop sound with cover versions of The Grateful Dead's Mountains Of The Moon and The Hollies' All The World Is Love. TSROS head honcho Ted Selke has very kindly agreed to share his thoughts on all things musical - discovering Middle Eastern music, favourite childhood 45s, studio techniques and more!

Click over the jump to read the interview.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run

Conceptual pop for grownups! Brent Thorley and Ian Pakes' latest opus takes a rueful look at the corrupting nature of ambition.

The Lancashire Hustlers are a pair of northern émigrés, now resident in London. They've recently released What Made Him Run, the second in their proposed trilogy of 'pop operas'. Over the course of the album's richly arranged ten tracks we're told the story of one man's life. It's a tale of the corrupting effect of ambition, ruthlessness,and towards the end, the sad nature of regret. Almost like a mash-up of The Beatles' She's Leaving Home with The Wolf Of Wall Street. The album's protagonist is obviously in some sort of mid-life crisis, his tale told via some well-crafted, grown-up literary pop.

Taken as a whole it's a rewarding experience, but each individual track stands up well. Not least in part to the pairs' innate understanding of each others singing and playing. The are echoes of other great collaborative duos throughout, most obviously Difford and Tilbrook, Tim and Neil Finn and Lennon and McCartney. It also reminded me of the kind of song suite Ray Davies might have made during the 1970s as the soundtrack for a made for TV special. Factor in some some Everly Brothers' harmonies and some pre-fame Bowie folk-rock and you have a winning sound right there. But it's the meticulously crafted songs and cinematic sweep of story that impress the most.

The Lancashire Hustlers play The Stage Door, Waterloo, London on September 12th.

Click here for The Lancashire Hustlers' website.
Click here for The Lancashire Hustlers on Facebook.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Magic City Trio - A Funnel Cloud In Albuquerque EP

Southern Gothic tradition found alive and well in. Currently residing in the deep south of Blighty!

Despite the band's fascination with nascent Americana, The Magic City Trio actually hail from the deep south of good ol' Blighty, deep in the heart of London. Not for them is grime music or the kitchen-sink observational brit-pop one usually associates with the nation's capital . Instead they make music that owes more to the American deep south - supersticious settler music, pre-war old-timey ballads, God-fearing folk songs, Mariachi and early country music are the basic tenets of their sound. Throw in a bit of Spaghetti Western vibe, some Duane Eddy twang and you have a pretty tasty recipe!

The band have travelled and gigged extensively and have just released their debut EP, A Funnel Cloud In Albuquerque, which features the title track along with another original track (A Prayer For Hope And Happy Times), and a traditional Baptist Hymn (The Lone Pilgrim). The deluxe CD version also features alternate takes of the two original songs.

Fans of The Louvin Brothers, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, The Band, and early Americana in general will surely find much to like in their time and space hopping music. Look at for the band this year as they make a transatlantic tour of open mic nights. Even better get in touch and book them for a show or house gig.

The Magic City Trio are -

Frank Sweeney (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Annie Holder (guitar, vocal, autoharp, kazoo)
Adi Staempfli (bass, vocals)

Click here for the band's website.
Click here for The Magic City Trio on Twitter.
Click here for The Magic City Trio on Facebook.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Bananas Magazine - Issue 11 OUT NOW!

Latest issue of garage, punk & psych zine, available from all good stores & distros is out now!

Always a pleasure to get hold of the latest Bananas Magazine and this issue doesn't disappoint. Alongside the sharp, insighful reviews there's the usual bumper-fest of features and interviews with the scene's latest movers and shakers. Bands such as Thee Marvin Gays, Thee Tsunamis and The Youth all share their thoughts with us humble readers, as do labels such as Dead Beat Records, State, and Hidden Volume.

If that's not enough there's volume 2 of their Bananas Peel Sessions, their accompanying online compilations. I've shared the Bandcamp link below but be sure to head over to the mag's website to check out the equally awesome volume 1, subscribe to the mag or track down those elusive back issues. For bonus fun play count the number of stripy breton tops in the mag's photos. No prizes though, this one's for fun only!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Will Z. - New Start

Inspired by Jain philosophy, Will Z.'s new album is one to immerse yourself in. A meditative spiritual journey unlike anything else you'll hear all year.

He may have the last name in the phone book but who is Will Z.? The answer is he's a singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist who first came to prominence as a member of Cosmic Trip Machine. His solo output has all had a similarly exploratory psychedelic bent, be it dark rock, folk or psych-pop. More recently his involvement with The Book Of Am project and work with Gong main man Daevid Allen (RIP), has lead him towards music of a more introspective, meditative nature. His latest outing is New Start, a serious though highly enjoyable and rewarding work inspired by Jain philosophy.

The album length release is broken down into six pieces, with each track based around a simple repeated musical phrase or motif which is then added to and embellished. With an emphasis on spirituality, philosophy and self improvement, the results are as meditative as the mandala on the record's sleeve. As the title infers there's something cleansing about this music, encouraging a dumping of previous methods and baggage, and replacing with a fresh approach, blank slate or beginner's mind.

Jain Devotion (Parts I – III) starts with a swampy, dense sound reminiscent of being in the deep rainforest. Eventually some electronic sound claw through the sonic swamp - morse, radar, and radio waves merging to find a harmonious drone. From this a slow mantra-like song builds, implying the beginning of a journey. And indeed it is, over the course of the album we're treated a delicious array of textures and musical pairings. From sitar and flute, oud and mellotron, to more familiar electric piano and bass. The overall effect is hypnotic, entrancing and nourishing. And best listened to in one devotional sitting. Turn off your phone, relax and float downstream indeed!

Click here for more from on Will Z.
Click here for Will Z. on Facebook.
Click here for the Mega Dodo Records website.

Crystal Jacqueline - Rainflower

Pastoral psychedelia, acid folk, bright psych-lite pop and a Status Quo cover! It's all there on the second solo LP from Devon's Crystal Jacqueline.

A glance at the track listing tells you something of this second solo LP from The Honey Pot vocalist Crystal Jacqueline. Multiple references to the seasons, nature, mysterious and unobtainable female spirits, all the hallmarks of an acid-folk album you'd think. A record in the vein of Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day or Shelagh McDonald's Stargazer. And that's true to a point but there's much more to it than that. From the almost industrial sounds of opening track Siren it's obvious things are not so clear cut. Leave your expectations at the door sonic travellers for scattered among the Nick Drake-esque pastoral folk tracks are enough surprises, twists and turns to make this a much more multi-hued and varied affair.

For a start there's the inclusion two cover versions. A stab at Status Quo's In My Chair and a lovely assured take on Pink Floyd's Grantchester Meadows. The former is a tight Chicago R&B shuffle, souped up with effects-laden guitars, whereas Grantchester Meadows blue-sky folk gets an added space-rock edge. Strange Bloom has echoes of San Francisco's golden era, all bluesy and meditative, whereas Daisy Chain is a bright, psych-lite pop tune that in a fairer world would have a stay in the top 20.

As the album title suggests Rainflower thematically revolves around nature, seasons and the weather. For all its sonic diversity these lyrical concerns somehow piece it all together. A celebration of deep-winter and high summer, there's mystery, folklore, the beauty of bloom and the beauty of decay. And for all it's modern production it still resonates with the wyrd, deep-rooted ways of Old England. An album to re-visit and treasure.

Click here for more from on Crystal Jacqueline.
Click here for the Mega Dodo Records website.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Vidunder - Son Of Every Lie NEW VIDEO + Tour Dates

Heavy blues rockers Vivunder are out on tour this month promoting their latest album Oracles And Prophets (Crusher Records). As a taster of what to expect check out this new video for Son Of Every Lie, taken from the album.

Those tour dates in full - 

JUN 12 - DE, Kassel, Goldgrube
JUN 13 - DE, Regensburg, Tiki Beat
JUN 14 - AT, Vienna, Arena, w/ Black Mountain
JUN 16 - XX, Secret Location, Secret Festival
JUN 17 - AT, Salzburg, Rockhouse
JUN 19 - IT, Castel d'Ario MN, Roccanroll Festival
JUN 20 - IT, Milano, Lo Fi Milano
JUN 21 - DE, Munich, Backstage, w/ Danava
JUN 22 - DE, Solingen, Waldmeister Club
JUN 23 - DE, Berlin, Tiefgrund, w/ Danava
JUN 24 - DE, Erfurt, Cafe Tiko
JUN 25 - DE, Leipzig, Goldhorn
JUN 26 - DE, Würzburg, Immerhin
JUN 27 - DE, Kiel, Kieler Woche

ARCHIVE REVIEW #27 - The Dirtbombs - Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey

I was reminded of this LP recently after discussing Bubblegum pop with a pal of mine. I dug it when it came out but it sounds even sweeter now! My original review ran on Subba Cultcha when the album was first released.

Mick Collins and co. finally release their much promised Bubblegum LP!

Think you know The Dirtbombs? Purveyors of Detroit garage rock for what seems like forever, with front man Mick Collins previously responsible for the force of nature that was The Gories? Yes that band. The band that have been promising an album of bubblegum pop for almost a decade, an album most people thought would never materialise. You could almost think of it as some sort of ruse or joke. Well that album is here and it's pretty damn good!

Quick history lesson – Bubblegum for those that don't know is a genre of music that was created by journeymen record producers back in the late '60s as a kid-friendly cash-in. With musical roots in the accessible end of flower-power, beat music and folk-rock, it was often fronted by manufactured cartoon friendly bands, blokes in animal costumes or actual cartoons. Think The Banana Splits, The Archies, or 1910 Fruitgum Company. Though despised by serious music fans at the time, it's since developed a kitsch charm and appeal.

There's something about the music of one's childhood, it's deeply ingrained and has a sway over you that the music you hear later doesn't. It's obvious listening to Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey! (best album title of the year?) that Mick Collins has a deep affection for this music. The ten original songs pay homage to this strain of sunshine pop. It's twee, not in a sexless C86 way, there's just the right amount of fuzz and groove to keep the faithful happy.

Candy, ice cream, sunshine and fairground rides all get a look in on this LP of innocence re-found. The Gories this ain't, but it sure is fun dammit! I defy anyone to listen to the album's opening track “Sugar On Top” and not have a smile on their face. Also listen out for the deliberate melodic steal form The Beach Boys' “God Only Knows” on album closer “We Come In The Sunshine.”

Garage rock is a genre that often prides itself in being a ghetto. Mick Collins may upset the garage rock purists by opting to make music that has roots in exploitative pop, but hey how cool is it to exploit the exploiters! Sweet indeed!

Click here for The Dirtbombs on Twitter.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Seventh Ring Of Saturn - Ormythology

The long awaited second album from Atlanta's TSROS. Mixes psych-rock with middle eastern scales and rhythms in a most appealing way!

I first became aware of TSROS when they featured on Fruits De Mer Records' recent 7&7 Is box set of 7” singles covering The Grateful Dead. They were good at that but what's more of a revelation is the band doing their own material. Ormythology is the band's second full length album, several years in the making, self released on a lovingly hand-stamped CD. It contains a pleasing mix of what some people call college rock and music of an altogether more Byzantine/Arabesque nature.

Album opener “Burning A Hole” contains Nirvana-esque melodies, lyrics of a decidedly 1967 vintage (“cellophane sunflowers, what do you think about time?”) before nutmegging listeners with killer guitar solos that owe more to Turkish or Greek music than that of your more traditional guitar heroes. This is quickly followed by “Teli, Teli, Teli”, an instrumental which ups the Byzantine ante with guitar flights of fancy that both stretch out and wig-out in equal measure.

“Time To Fly” is a more straight ahead Anglo-American rocker, which brings to mind Teenage Fanclub or The Byrds, characterised by sumptuous vocal harmonies, and power-pop chord progressions. There's still room for the lead guitar to surprise and take the song somewhere new. Time To Fly indeed!

It's refreshing to know that some bands do look beyond the much mined seams of Hendrix, Page et al for their inspiration. Time signatures look beyond the usual rock-fayre, and the melodies are equally at home in a souk or incense filled temple as they are in a western rock venue. A cliche-free and illuminating experience is guaranteed for all who are adventurous enough to listen!

Click here for more from on The Seventh Ring Of Saturn.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Various – Momentary One & Two (Ltd. 7” singles)

Two very limited 7” singles featuring Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd covers! Available at the Fruits De Mer / Mega Dodo joint gig at Putney's Half Moon this Sunday! (24th May)

This weekend's hottest gig ticket is surely the Fruits De Mer/Mega Dodo all-dayer at Putney's Half Moon. Aside from the stellar line-up, there will also be ultra-desirable goodie bags for early arrivals. If that wasn't enough there'll also be a chance to get your your eager mitts on some other sonic items. Two of which being this pair of limited edition 7” singles featuring contemporary acts covering early Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett tracks. Although they've been issued before on FDM's Momentary Lapse Of Reason double CD (available to “club members” only), this is their first airing on vinyl. Limited to only 300 copies each, chances are they won't be around for long.

Momentary One features is marked out by it's sumptuous female vocals, while Momentary Two is a Syd special. Floyd fans will love all seven tunes as there's nary a duff track among them. If I was pushed to pick a favourite I'd probably go for Max Kinghorn-Mills version of Dark Globe, dreamy, wistful and melancholic. It had me searching out Barrett's original version with fresh ears. But hey, that's just me. Track down this pair of 7”s if you can and pick your own favourite, they're all worthy!

Momentary One
  1. Ilona V – Golden Hair (Barrett)
  2. Crystal Jacqueline – Grantchester Meadows (Waters
  3. Cary Grace – Cirrus Minor (Waters)
Momentary Two
  1. Max Kinghorn-Mills – Dark Globe (Barrett)
  2. Caudio Cataldi – She Took A Long Cold Look (Barrett)
  3. The Chemistry Set – See Emily Play (Barrett)
  4. Todd Dillingham and Golly McCry – The Gnome (Barrett)

Click here for the Fruits De Mer Records website.
Click here for the Mega Dodo website.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Beau - Shoeless In The Desert

How I survived the aftermath of the general election with a little help from Kurt Vonnegut and Beau's latest LP.

After the all too depressing results of the recent general election sank in, and the prospect of another five years of Tory government became a reality, my Twitter feed turned quickly from pre-election optimism and hope, to despair and blame. It also filled with scaremongering about what we as a society needed to prepare ourselves for. There was one tweet, amongst the deluge, that stuck in my mind and seemed to sum up where our society is heading. It highlighted a quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5, about how the American poor are encouraged to despise themselves, perpetuating their position and lack of opportunity while bolstering that of the rich and powerful. This, Vonnegut states, is in contrast to many other countries which have folk tales that value wisdom over wealth, and virtue over self-serving ambition -

America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” (Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse 5)

It's easy to see the parallels in modern Britain where our underclass is routinely ridiculed on TV, or attacked in the press, whereas corporations are free to avoid taxes if they pay enough donations to the right political parties. Timely then that the latest album from Beau should drop through my letterbox around the same time as did many electoral leaflets and voting reminders. It too chimes themes similar to those found in Slaughterhouse 5, along with other cautionary tales about corruption and misuse of wealth. Listening to Beau's latest work did give me some hope for the spiritual well being of our nation, which in the immediate wake of the election seemed somehow broken and in need of some TLC.

Shoeless In The Desert is a gentle compassionate album, and like those folk tales it champions wisdom and virtue. Recorded simply and in the timeless folk way of just voice and one 12-string guitar, no overdubs, it's an album that's all about melody and message. Themes spread across the album's fourteen songs include religion, immigration, environmental concerns, alongside more personal takes on relationships, ageing, and even a humorous sideswipe at coronary heart disease.

In our current sound-bite and shuffle era it's encouraging to see long-form songwriting done so well. And no wonder - Beau has been writing, recording and performing music for over four and a half decades. His early championing by John Peel tells you all you need to know about the calibre of his work. (Peel released Beau's debut as the first release on his Dandelion label). In a fairer world Beau would be a much valued cultural treasure, up alongside Dylan, Mitchell, Cohen and the like. As it is the world is not always fair, something that may become all too apparent over the next few years. Thankfully we have the likes of Beau to help fight our corner and cushion any blows. Long may it be so.

Click here for more from Beau.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Archive Interview #15 - James Skelly

As part of an occasional series I'll be posting archive interviews, pieces and reviews I've done for other sites over the years. This is a short but sweet interview I did with James Skelly (The Coral) centred around the release of his Love Undercover LP back in 2013. The Interview originally appeared on Subba-Cultcha.

June 3rd sees the release of Love Undercover, the debut album by James Skelly & The Intenders. Skelly is best known as the main vocalist and songwriter in The Coral, a band that have released a string of critically acclaimed albums, gaining Mercury nominations and the respect of their peers along the way. It's now three years since the last album Butterfly House. With no new Coral material on the horizon, having abandoned sessions with producer John Leckie for a sixth album half way through, the various members have kept themselves busy with side projects and solo albums. James' brother (and Coral drummer) Ian recently released his his album Cut From A Star, a record that maintains the Coral's gentle psychedelia. Hot on its heels comes older brother James' effort with new backing band The Intenders. It's an altogether more soulful, rootsy affair. though with just enough of The Coral's folk-rock to keep the faithful happy. Keen to point out that it's a group effort, the band will be touring throughout the summer (dates below). We caught up with James prior to the album's release to talk soul music, psych bands and gap years.

Harmonic Distortion – The album's opening track “You've Got It All” was co-written with Paul Weller. How did that come about and what's he like to work with?

James Skelly - He sent me a demo, but it had no words on it. He asked me if I could finish it, so I wrote the words and the chorus, and then we finished it in his studio. Ian loved the song and thought it would be right for the album, so I rang Weller and asked him if I could use it. He said yes.                                              
HD – There's are real live band dynamic on the album, and I know you're keen to point out the rest of the band's input on the album. Who have you got playing on the record and was there an instant chemistry when you all first got together in the rehearsal room?

JS - I played guitar & vocals, Paul Duffy - guitar, organ, & vocals, Alfie Skelly - guitar, Nick Power-piano, Ian Skelly - drums, James Redmond -bass. We've all played with each other before and we're all close friends, so it was very natural.                                                                                                                                                                                        
HD – You've worked with some big name producers in the past, whereas this record is self-produced. You obviously feel at home in the studio, are there any plans to do any more production work either for yourself for other artists?

JS - Yes, I love being in the studio and I've been working with a couple of young bands, Sundowners and The Circles, It's something I’d like to get into.                                                                                                                              
HD – Without going as far as to call Love Undercover a soul album, there's a definite Northern Soul/R&B vibe going on. Would that be an indication of what you've been listening to recently?

JS - I've always loved blues and soul music, I go through phases but that’s what I always go back to.                                    
HD – I'm really enjoying your song “Searching For The Sun”, could you tell us a little bit about how you wrote the song and what inspired it.

JS - I've had that song for a while, we demoed it with The Coral, then I demoed it. I ended up with something inbetween the two versions.               

HD – The songs on Love Undercover come across as less oblique than your songs for The Coral, there's a tenderness and warmth to a lot of the songs too. It seems to me these songs are a lot more personal than much of your previous work, would that be a fair observation?

JS - I'd say the songs are more direct. I wanted to get to the heart of the matter. I thought the lyrics on Butterfly House were as good as I was going to get in that style, so I felt it was time for a change.   
HD – I'd say there's a good case to be made for having one of the most instantly recognisable male voices from the last decade with Love Undercover containing some of your best vocal performances, there seems to be a real sense of spontaneity and joy in them. Who would you say were your main influences as a vocalist?

JS - Van Morrison, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Spector, Dion DiMucci, Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Ben E. King, Robert Johnson, Willie Deville, I could go on, but I'll leave it there.                                                                                                                                                            
HD - Would you say there was less pressure and expectation on this record than say there would be on a Coral album?

JS - In a way, because I only had to answer to myself, but I'm my harshest critic, so it didn’t make a big difference.              

HD – Sorry to bring up the C-word but I have to ask, it's three years since Butterfly House was released, is there likely to be another Coral album or tour at any time in the near future?

JS - Yes, I hope so, it has to be right though, I wouldn’t want to do it just for the sake of it.                                                          
HD – Your song “I'm A Man” has that Arthur Lee-style Mariachi vibe on it, I'm assuming you still dig Love, Beefheart and all? Do you keep up with any of the current crop of psychedelic flavoured acts such Temples or Jacco Gardner?

JS - I've heard Temples, it's good but there's a lot of lo-fi stuff around, I’m waiting for a young band to come and smash it.

HD – The song “Darkest Days” is a sublime ending to the record, with warm sentiments that characterise much of the album. Do you find yourself getting more drawn towards introspection as you get older?

JS - I've always been like that, I'm just hiding it less these days.                                                                                          
HD – You've been releasing critically acclaimed music for over twelve years. So many flavour-of-the-month bands have come and gone, yet you're still around, without courting the gossip columns, and still making great music. What do you put this longevity down to?

JS - I'd still be doing it even if no one was listening. It's all I know. I get the impression a lot of bands are just on a gap year.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Klaus Johann Grobe – Self Titled EP

Swiss duo's über rare debut EP gets a well deserved wider release. Dance friendly Krautrock, electro and post-punk funk vie for space on this 12” reissue.

Anyone looking to shake off the comfort blanket of English language music could do worse than check out this re-release of Klaus Johann Grobe's debut EP. The Swiss duo have fans in high places, as evidenced by endorsements and tour supports from pysch band du jour Temples. Though their music is no less psychedelic than that made by Temples, it's a musical strand that owes more to bass-propelled electro than it does to floppy fringes, vintage clothes and guitar pedals.

If the Temples recommendation is not enough you'll no doubt be wondering what this 12” slab of vinyl has to offer - Six tracks that mix early '70s Krautrock, '80s post-punk, Teutonic funk and electro. Add some eerie sci-fi synth lines and vocals all sung in German and you're somewhere close. It's a sound that contains echoes of the past while simultaneously pointing at possibilities for the future. All served up with a hefty dose of humour and panache.

As the duo's second LP gets a release via Trouble In Mind Records, Liverpool based label Salvation Records have wisely re-released this debut EP which was originally released in 2013 on a very limited pressing (only 168 copies on 10” vinyl). This wider release is now on 12” vinyl and digital download. Also worth checking out are Salvation's growing catalogue of fine new underground releases and well-curated reissues. Klaus Johann Grobe will be making several summer festival appearances over the coming months, get down the front if you get the chance.

Click here for more on Klaus Johann Grobe.
Click here for Klaus Johann Grobe on Twitter.
Click here for the Salvation Records website.