I like it when I blog about Canadian musicians to support my hometown artists. I haven’t had any from the Isle of Harris, my paternal grandmother’s roots; I am sure they have a few that I just haven’t heard yet. I also like getting Swedish musicians, my maternal grandparent’s birthplace. And today, I dip my pen into the inkwell to jot down some words about Tilde, who found her musical muse in Gothenburg, a long way from Korpilombolo, where my grandfather was born.
Enough of the genealogy; let’s get down to the reason for this dispatch, the music. Tilde has a solid and expressive voice that draws the listener in and then holds them there. She doesn’t just tell a story; she builds it within the framework of compelling music. The smooth reverb on the guitar is luscious. The strings are gentle but mighty. The percussion is understated but able to hold the rhythm with ease. And the voice. The voice. Oh my, what a voice. Tilde draws inspiration from Nina Simone to Amy Winehouse and then belts the songs out with a voice that is all her own. Do your ears a favour and listen to this album, you will not regret it.
I am a stickler for details, and little quirks that I don’t think should be there. I can’t find any on this album. It is as solid as the rock that Sweden sits on. We just had a lunar eclipse that turned the moon a dull red, not quite the Pink Moon that Tilde has crafted but close. A total eclipse is a beautiful sight to behold, and a Pink Moon is beautiful music to hear.
‘Pink Moon’ comes out on 19 November 2021 via Vacanze Records.
Having grown up in Jersey and the Caribbean, Sam Walwyn developed a sound rich with his experiences, blending indie-folk and alt-pop, tinted with flamenco influences. His curiosity for different musical cultures influenced his songwriting and use of rhythm.
Sam spent six months travelling, writing, and gigging before joining the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He also learned flamenco guitar alongside a maestro based in Australia. Only one year into his studies, Sam fell seriously ill and had to go back home to Jersey. Before he could walk or even talk properly again, he found he could play his guitar and began writing every day.
Sam took this time to develop his sound and uploaded live clips and short films to Instagram with his lo-fi bedroom demos behind them. Early support from fans attracted the interest from local promoters leading Sam to open for Gabrielle Aplin and share the stage with Newton Faulkner.
Sam’s debut single, “For You,” released in 2020, received significant traction, gaining over 300k streams. For You was featured on two major Spotify editorial playlists, ‘Easy’ and ‘Your Coffee Break,’ and was picked up by the BBC Introducing as ‘Track of the Week.’
After releasing his second single, “Clutter,” which was selected as ‘Track of the Week’ by the Introducing team, Sam started posting on TikTok, sharing guitar melodies and originals. One of his posts went viral, reaching more than 6 million views and helping build an audience of more than 100k followers.
In February 2021, he was selected to represent Channel Island on BBC Radio 1. He was chosen as a ‘2021 One To Watch’ artist by the BBC Channel Islands.
Sam Walwyn has made a considerable impression with his singles First Place, Littered Sense Of You, and Mama Plum that were stagger released throughout 2021. Now the fast-rising singer-songwriter has just dropped his debut EP ‘How Would I Know’ along with the title track of the same name. The EP brings all of his singles together for a pleasant 14 minutes of music.
I am sure that we will be hearing more from the Channel Island troubadour Sam Walwyn. I enjoyed the easy-going familiar feeling of his songs. This is music hungry for a bigger slice of the pie, so grab a place at the table and enjoy the music of Sam Walwyn and his EP How Would I Know.
I listened to this excellent album and found that I could offer little more than this, which I borrowed heavily from the press release. I liked what I heard, it is immensely catchy music, and the lyrics are witty, funny and acerbic at times. I endorse Ambiguous Poems About Death. I also nominate it for the album title of the year award.
Ahead of releasing their new album ‘Ambiguous Poems About Death’ via Manchester’s Analogue Trash label on November 26, British synthpop electro duo Spray present ‘Blurred In The Background,’ a clever and catchy taster of this 12-track collection, following up two ever-danceable witty singles – ‘Hammered In An Airport’ and ‘Félicette (Space Cat).’
Spray is music-addict siblings Jenny McLaren (vocals, guitars) and Ricardo Autobahn (synths). They have managed to build an enviable following of devotees to Spray’s brand of danceable and subversive indie disco pop since their 2002 debut ‘Living In Neon’ LP. They are also responsible for a smashing cover of Lisa Lougheed’s ‘Run With Us’ (also ‘The Raccoons’ theme song). Their unique brand of oblique synthpop is catchy as hell, both lyrically and musically, bringing them mainstream pop success in an alternate universe.
Spray’s musical DNA traces back to The Cuban Boys, who recorded one of the best Peel Sessions ever and went head-to-head with Sir Cliff Richard in a Christmas Chart Battle. Their hit single ‘Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia’ (a.k.a. The Hamster Dance Song) sold a million copies, reached number 4 in the UK single charts and landed them on Top of the Pops. In the words of John Peel, it was “the most requested song I’ve had since God Save The Queen.” They topped the John Peel Festive 50 Charts twice.
Spray was the secret weapon behind the UK’s 2006 Eurovision hit ‘Teenage Life,’ written and produced with Daz Sampson. Their treated vocals were used on the track. Ricardo Autobahn and Sampson’s dance version of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ (as Rikki and Daz) with the legendary Glen Campbell went Top-10. Spray recorded music with anarchic BBC star Hacker T. Dog. Ricardo also plays keyboards with Welsh punk-pop icons Helen Love.
Spray is again ready to entertain us with their new long-player – they’re second with Analogue Trash, following 2019’s ‘Failure Is Inevitable.’ Jenny and Ricardo have used the intervening time wisely. They have been writing, terrorizing social media, and working with puppets. They have also done several live shows, including August’s first post lockdown live offering in Liverpool.
“In early 2020, we bought a Behringer TD-3, one of the company’s excellent Roland TB-303 knockoffs. We had an idea of putting out a quick acid house-style album in the summer, something short, spiky and electropunk. This did not come to fruition as, like many, Spray found themselves locked down in separate locations, in their case on either side of Lancashire,” says Ricardo Autobahn.
“This album evolved into something a lot more elaborate as the pandemic went on. We tried not to write songs about the global situation because we figured everybody would be doing that. Still, the outside world couldn’t help seeping in.”
Undeterred by distance, recording and production duties were split between Spray Studio 1 (decaying, seen better days) and Spray Studio 2 (shiny, newly refurbished, sweet-smelling) and the album took shape with the TD-3 employed in all the songs, somewhere.
Packed full of acerbic wit with tongue firmly in cheek when needed for maximum effect, ‘Ambiguous Poems About Death‘ will delight fans new and old from the first listen. The long-player will be released on November 26 digitally and on CD, the latter format featuring separate blue cover artwork). It can be pre-ordered at http://snd.click/poems.
I have been listening to this album repeatedly, trying to find the correct approach to this piece of music. I haven’t seen it yet, but I am still listening and looking.
The album is by a band out of Toronto, one of the two epicentres of music in Canada, the other being Vancouver. For a band to rise above the rabble in Toronto is a feat in its own right. To put out an album of such high quality as this is incredible. Kudos to Sean-Patrick Nolan and Shawn Tucker, the cocreators of TRAITRS and this album, Horses In The Abattoir.
Let’s get that album name out of the way first. Horses in an abattoir are a bit unsettling. I know it happens, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read. Shawn Tucker gives some background to the name. “The theme of the record pulls heavily from the title: taking something innocent and beautiful and ending its life for no reason.”
The second thing that stood out at first glance was the band’s name, TRAITRS. I can honestly confess that I am not a fan of this type of wordplay. The proper phonetic spelling of traitors in American English is ˈtreɪtərz. In British writing, it is ˈtreɪtəz. In everyday English, it is trey-terz or trey-ders. I can see where they were coming from, but it’s just not my thing.
What is my thing is this album, Horses In The Abattoir. I still don’t have an angle on what is going on within this album. I hear a lot of 1980’s pop-synth, a tribute to those who have gone before, I suppose. If you are a fan of Wolf Parade, The Cure, New Order, The Smiths or Depeche Mode, you will, in all likelihood, enjoy this album. I did.
Putting all my criticism aside, this is good enough that TRAITRS should be headlining shows once it becomes safe to do so. In the interim, we can all do with some good listening to pass the hours and days of the pandemic enjoyably. Horses In The Abattoir will do that for you. I put this album on and went about some tasks, and before I knew it, done. So I played it again. And then I read the lyrics and listened with intent. I listened to hear the sounds within that we don’t hear when we treat music like elevator Musik.
“To me, this record is about passing time and ageing, the frailty and impermanence of existence. How everything we know and love exists briefly before disappearing into nothing. This record covers a wide emotional spectrum from the beautiful to the horrific, overwhelming strength to heartbreaking vulnerability. We started writing ‘Horses In The Abattoir‘ in Toronto during the summer of 2018 and continued writing the album on tour overseas. If there was any spare time between shows, we spent it writing in backstage areas, hotels and while crashing on the couches and floors of our closest friends. The album encapsulates both the promise and darkness that we experienced during this very exciting but equally intense period of our lives,” says Sean-Patrick Nolan.
“Professionally, TRAITRS was on the rise, and our shows were getting bigger and better, but personally, both Shawn and I felt like we were crumbling under the weight of personal loss, depression and exhaustion. It was a life-changing time period, for better and for worse, and ‘Horses’ documents both the darkness and light that Shawn and I endured during this time. Lyrically and musically, this is the most personal and brutally honest we have ever been. Blemishes and all, this is who we are.”
“The theme of the record pulls heavily from the title: taking something innocent and beautiful and ending its life for no reason. In retrospect, ‘Horses’ captures the darkest period of our entire lives, and that hurt bleeds out all over the record. I can definitely say we are still the same band, but certainly not the same inside ourselves. Somehow ‘Horses’ became its own beast and solidified its own place in the world. At times, it seemed like all we had left was ‘Horses,’ and the record felt much stronger and self-contained than us,” says Shawn Tucker.
“We stepped out of ourselves for a while, imploding, almost not finding our way back. It was a destructive time, and I didn’t even realize what was happening until the storm had finally passed. Despite all this, we had written 17 songs, over a hundred fragments and were excited to start a new phase of our career with Freakwave Records. When I hear this record, it pulls things out of me that you might not want to feel or confront, but that’s what making art should be about. This record’s filled with anger, sadness, beauty, hurt, love, loss and beyond. I’m very proud of this record. It’s our best work to date, hands down, our post-depression record.”
I agree it is TRAITRS’ best work to date, and it fits in perfectly with the dragged-out and tedious screed of the Covid era. The lyrics are clever and sung with the perfect voicing to convey the songs to us. I endorse this album without a second thought about its worthiness. If you like 80’s synth-pop, you absolutely must listen to this recording because it captures that era’s sound and gives it a modern take. I love it.
Horses In The Abattoir drops today, November 19, at the venues listed below. This album would be perfect for your weekend. Sit back with your beverage of choice, get comfortable and let the music soak into your brain.
This album was recorded with producer Josh Korody (F*cked Up, Japandroids, Dilly Dally, Beliefs, Nailbiter) at Candle Recording Studio and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Prince, Linkin Park, Katy Perry).
Coming out of New York, the music collective Loud Apartment released their new album, New Future, on November 10. Since then, I have been listening to it daily; that’s five days ago for those who are counting.
Loud Apartment is a fusion band fronted by Nevaris A.C., featured on keyboards, percussion and vocals on this new musical excursion. NYC’s musical melting pot also provided some golden nuggets of musicians, Bill Laswell on bass, turntablist DJ Logic, multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum (flute/sax), guitarist Will Bernard and drummer Location. The album also features a guest performance by Garrison Hawk.
This new album presents the sound of New York Fusion – a blend of sounds that have funk as a core ingredient. Primarily influenced by music from the ’70s and early ’80s, this is actually a modern sound that pays respect to the tune of New York. For this release, Bill Laswell created three Dub mixes from the tracks, designed as the second side of the vinyl pressing. These mixes create a sonic landscape reflecting on the themes of ‘Technology,’ ‘Rebellion,’ and ‘Rhythm and Rhyme.’
“The album looks to the future with hope but not in a naive way. There’s a lot of trouble in the world right now, especially with regards to the environment and human rights. It’s an urgent plea for radical change and a different world.” Nevaris A.C. tells us, “As the lyrics read, “technological revolution can bring solutions/innovation creation no degradation no pollution / too much exploitation from the governments and corporations/privacy invasion intrusion and manipulation.”
Loud Apartment manages to take the influences of funk, soul, rock, reggae, dub and hip hop, and the experience of growing up on the old upper west side listening to everything from Parliament-Funkadelic to Miles Davis. From Santana to Gil Scott Heron, Mongo Santamaria and Ray Barretto. Loud Apartment toss these influences together, and it comes out as a New Future.
Bill Laswell mixed and produced New Future, engineered by James Dellatacoma and mastered by Michael Fossenkemper. All of this comes together as a beautiful listening experience. I recommend a good set of over-the-ear headphones or a listening room with more prominent speakers that have room to breathe. No matter what your listening preference, this album will delight you with its blend of music styles and a vision of where music is heading, a New Future.
Post-punk swamp-goth rockersInca Babieshave released their new single ‘Crawling Garage Gasoline.’ The title reflects the imaginative gritty sound that the Manchester-based deathrock/postpunk outfit has become known for in the decades since forming in 1983. This single comes with b-side ‘Grunt Cadillac Hotel.’ Harry Stafford produced the accompanying film at NoiseBoy Studios in Salford.
With a guitar case full of new material, the Incas are gearing up to release their eighth studio album,‘Swamp Street Soul.’
Produced by Simon ‘Ding’ Archer(The Fall, PJ Harvey) at 6Db Studios, the clarity and fullness of sound on this 11-track offering surpass that of any previous Inca release.
“This ‘Crawling Garage Gasoline’ is a retelling of a 1980s Inca’s classic, all bluster and ‘pedal to the metal’ speed punk. The urge to re-record this came from its popularity as a live song at recent Inca gigs. Now paired down and with more bite, it has certainly stood the test of time. It was originally released on the ‘Surfin’ in Locustland’ EP back in 1985 and was also recorded for the Incas’ third John Peel session in June that year,” says Harry Stafford.
Today Inca Babies is a trio made up of Harry Stafford (guitar, keys, vocals), bassist Vince Hunt (A Witness, Blue Orchids) and Rob Haynes (The Membranes, Goldblade) on drums and percussion. It’s been seven years since the final release of their Death Blues Trilogy – ‘Death Message Blues’ (2010), ‘Deep Dark Blue(2012) and ‘The Stereo Plan’ (2014).
‘Swamp Street Soul’ takes us across a tightly euphoric path of differing moods and new arenas of guitar songwriting. Frontman Harry Stafford has written a gritty collection of tales that speak of madness, fearfully larger-than-life characters and over-the-top yarns, backed by a no-nonsense rhythm section locked into a pounding backbeat.
A vibrant part of Britain’s early postpunk/deathrock scene, Inca Babies’ story, began in 1983 in Hulme (Manchester). True to DIY ethos, they self-released their debut single ‘Interior’ in 1984.
With a further six singles and four albums over five years, all of which entered the UK Indie Charts, they also recorded four sessions for BBC’s John Peel show in 1984-1988 before calling it quits. Since reforming in 2007, they’ve released three albums and toured extensively around Europe, including Russia and North America and India. Renewed interest in the Incas was propelled by Cherry Red Records’ Best Of’ compilation release‘Inca Babies 1983-87: Plutonium’.
My morning routine is to put on a pot of coffee, do my morning rituals SSS, and with coffee in hand, I sit down to skim over the news. I am very selective in what information I choose to spend time with because I don’t want to start my day with depressing news about the latest bad news event.
While perusing the entertainment section this morning, an article from the BBC caught my eye. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210609-the-sounds-that-make-us-calmer I often use music and nature as balms to calm and compose myself. This article reinforced what I already knew. What was news to me were some artists composing music that features nature scapes as the lead singer/instrument. I plugged them into Apple Music to give a listen at a later time or date because there is an artist I am familiar with whose new album fits in nicely with the premise of this BBC article.
The artist that I allude to is Robin Guthrie, and the album is Pearldiving. I had listened to this lovely recording several times before reading the “sounds that make us calm” article, and as I read the news, a connection was made between the words on the page and the sound in the speakers. Voila, I had the premise of a blog about this new recording.
Robin Guthrie is not a stranger to WeatheredMusic; I posted a brief overview of his recently released EP, Mockingbird Love, on October 22. https://weatheredmusic.ca/2021/10/22/mockingbird-love/ He is also well known as a founding member of the Cocteau Twins group, some 40 odd years ago.
Over the years, Robin Guthrie has offered us a cornucopia of beautiful music to calm and center us. This album is a return to the instrumental genre, which is a favourite medium of his. He is a master craftsman, layering sounds that evoke connections and emotions through his skill as both a musician and a producer.
So there we have it, a song and a story about music that calms our souls in the troubling times that we find ourselves in the midst of. I hope you enjoy this album as much as I have. Take a walk through lush meadows and stroll through majestic woodlands as you listen to Pearldiving by Robin Guthrie. You can put on your walking shoes and plug in your earbuds/headphones for a truly immersive experience. Or you could sit back in your favourite chair, close your eyes and be transported to a calm place without leaving home. Either way, this album is a winner that you can’t go wrong with, enjoy.
I am sitting on pins and needles waiting for February 11, 2022, when Jacknife Lee and Cathal Coughlan release the 13 track album ‘a hAon’. I have sampled teasers from this much-anticipated release, Mister Imperator and We Need.
Mister Imperator, track two on the album a hAon, comes to us as an EP that includes the latest ‘Mister Imperator (Dub Mix)’, two more remixes and the original version of their recently-released ‘Mister Imperator’ single. If you have a pulse, this EP will raise it. The Maurice and Charles Remix, logging in at 8 1/2 minutes, is a standout for me; good stuff, eh.
Track three from a hAon is We Need, pre-released as a four-track EP that includes the Album Version plus three bonusremixed versions, Dub, TheFetch Remix and the Jape Remix. Hypnotic music with a beat will be great stuff to do my exercise along with; it will raise my pulse and entertain at the same time.
Anyhoo, I present these two EP’s for your listening pleasure and stay tuned for the February 11 release of the full-length album ‘a hAon’. I have provided links for you to listen to and find more information on the artists responsible for this blog post, Jacknife Lee and Cathal Coughlan.
There is an album that I have been listening to that I would like to share with you. The album is Endless From The Start, the band that made it is Union of Knives. No matter how compelling I desire to inform you, the reader, I find myself thwarted in my attempts to do so. Allow me to elaborate.
I have been listening to music for what seems like forever, and I have been writing about music in one form or another for donkey years. Within that framework, I have had dry spells where the creative juices ran dry, and no matter how often I put pen to paper, nothing issued forth.
This is not that. I feel connected to this music. It inspires me. I want to write, and I know that on some level, I can write, as you can see for yourselves since I assume you are reading this. The problem is this. I find it very difficult to describe to you what I am hearing.
This is not sugary pop music. It is so much more than that. This album is a veritable cornucopia of taste; it would launch your tastebuds into orbit if sampled on a spoon.
Well, my goodness, that passage was honest to goodness review material; let’s keep this going.
Dark industrial music elements churn and grind away, providing a template for other textures and vocals. There are layers of music on top of layers of music, and this music gets complicated, which only adds to its listenability. Listen after listen to this album offers new insights and hidden gems tucked away in recessed corners of Endless From The Start. That album title is very apt; the musical discoveries are indeed endless from the start.
The people known as Union of Knives are a Scottish trio consisting of producer and musician Chris Gordon (also known from the band Baby Chaos), programmer Dave McClean and singer Craig Grant. Perhaps it would be helpful if they told us a bit about the music rather than dithering on about what I heard.
Speaking about the new offering, the band’s Anthony Thomaz said, “There’s a River is a song about going forward with clarity and pushing through the surrounding noise by simplifying the complex. A conversation to self.”
While songwriter Chris Gordon added, “If you like your dystopian soundscapes with a sprinkling of hope and a dream-like narrative, then There’s a River is the track for you.” And, I will add, Endless From The Start is an album for you.
It certainly was an album for me. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Endless From The Start, from start to finish, a strong player all the way through.
I bought my first records in 1969. The first 45 was “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells. The first LP that I purchased was The Bee Gees Greatest Hits. Over the ensuing years, I have listened to these repeatedly and still enjoy them. Some recordings have that magical magnetism. There are also some albums that I fell in love with after only hearing the first couple of notes of music or lyrics. Dark Side of the Moon did that number on me in 1973. Those recordings don’t happen all that often, but when it does happen, it is golden.
It happened again this week. I was sent an email that asked me if I would consider writing a blog posting about the album Animals by Cat Dowling. I dropped the imaginary needle on the opening track. Boom! It happened. I felt the magic. I felt the music. I felt the voice of Cat Dowling telling me that this love would make my skin burn, and it nearly did. It certainly made my ears perk up. It sent a cascade of energy pulses racing through my brain cells which excited a bucket full of neurons. Yeah, this album has that power.
I have since listened to it four times, and the charm didn’t wear off; that’s a good sign. I am listening to it again as I tap away at my keyboard, and I can only marvel at how sound this recording is. Stuttering guitar chords build power in the songs. I am listening to the track Trouble at the moment. Powerful stuff. Higher and higher it goes with blistering guitar solos layered on top of some psychedelic stuff featuring manic drums, lots of cymbals and, as always, Cat Dowling’s voice. That magical, enchanting voice.
I was not familiar with Cat Dowling, so I had to do some research. She is from Dublin, Ireland and released her debut album, The Believer, in 2013. She seems to have flown under the radar because I can find precious little about her or her music. That is odd because her music should be played from the rooftops; she is that good, in my opinion.
Before she started her solo career, she was a member of two other bands, Babelfish and Alphastates. Two bands that I can’t find much information about. Regardless of where she came from, I have a good feeling about where she could very well be heading, that is, to the top of the charts.
I’ll let Cat Dowling tell us a bit about this album. “I wrote Animals during a busy period of my life when to find those rare moments to write music meant I had to be a thief elsewhere. But it was these stolen moments that gave me oxygen and a beautiful, almost supernatural energy. ‘Animals’ was written when everyone was sleeping. It started with the driving, repetitive rhythm, which had to be restrained so as not to wake a soul. It thus became hypnotic. It starts as minor and ends up major. It’s about the major and minor of life and of love and the constant pull in everything between major and minor and the light and the dark. It’s a song ultimately of passion, wildness, sensuality and love,”
Irish artist, illustrator, and animator, Marc Corrigan, created a stunning video for Animals. I’m not big on videos, but this one is a beauty. “Animals’ is a wild song. It never stops moving. When I first heard it, I could picture the ending straight away – a constant flow of wild animals morphing and twisting into each other. Once I knew that I just had to build up to it, set up a surreal morphing world. The imagery had to move constantly to keep pace with the music. It had to suggest animal instincts in a beautiful way. It had to be a constant high-energy piece that never let up and built to a crescendo. So I just kept drawing,” says Marc Corrigan.
The ‘Animals’ single is now available everywhere, includingSpotify, Apple Music andBandcamp. As of November 12, the full ‘Animals‘ LP will be released on CD, limited-edition cassette and digitally on Bandcamp, where it is available for pre-order. via Forever In Financial Arrears Records (FIFA Records).