I will be posting just a short note today for the Singapore-France duo Cravism x Maya Diegel. They have released their ‘Caryatid’ and ‘Ladies’ Night’ singles via Komplex Recordings with a video that features both songs.
The two singles are in a stunning video mix blending created by Arthur Etienne and Thibaut Vega. Several weeks ago, the duo released the first single, ‘It’s Okay,’ with soulful and jazzy textures laid over lush, mellow jazz hip hop beats, transporting the listener into a chilled relaxing realm.
Out in full on October 22, the ‘Caryatid EP‘ project entails a staggered release of a track every three weeks with accompanying films, in addition to a series of online live performances of these compositions.
Enjoy, I will be back with another installment in three weeks.
I couldn’t resist writing a short post about these two tracks from the band name of the year award winners, Emperor of Ice Cream. The album title of the year also goes to Emperor of Ice Cream for the EP titled Weather Vane. We are on a roll here, so how about just giving them the award for indie band of the year.
High accolades for a band that I had never heard of before today, but all hype aside, I do like this release. This release is a bit out of the ordinary. It is a reissue of an album that the band Emperor of Ice Cream first released almost 30 years after forming. Their debut ‘No Sound Ever Dies’ LP is getting a second pressing on white vinyl, CD, cassette & digital download via Ireland’s FIFA RECORDS 25 years after they had split in the wake of a broken contract with Sony Records. Shipping out on August 27, the day before its first anniversary, this long-player was mastered by TOM VOLPICELLI.
It may have taken longer than initially anticipated for this music to reach us, almost 30 years later, but I think it is a job well done. Based in Cork, Waterford, New York and Amsterdam, respectively, Edward Butt (bass), John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), Graham Finn (guitars)and Colum Young (drums) managed to assemble parts from home studios in Cork and Waterford. The final touches, edits, and mixes were completed in NY. “It’s an unusual way of doing things, but with the year that world has experienced collectively, not an uncommon one these days, unfortunately. It’s a strange task, to make music with people you haven’t been in the same room as for over two decades, but the challenge was a welcome one. Overseen by Graham from his New York abode, the drums were beautifully recorded in Amsterdam at IJland Studios by Remko Schouten, who has previously worked with Pavement, Stephen Malkamus & The Jicks and Devendra Bernhardt,” says John Haggis.
The new version of No Sound Ever Dies merges the raw energy from the band that started recording this album 25 years ago and the more mature but still sharp musicians that we hear today. There is a melting together of the old and the new that just plain works.
Emperor of Ice Cream has announced their new ‘Weather Vane’ single, set for release on August 24 via FIFA Records. Mixed and produced by Graham Finn, this single was mastered by Tom Volpicelli (The Who, Iggy Pop, The Alarm, Pat Benatar, The Bloodhound Gang) at The Mastering House in New Jersey.
At the same time, they present an audio-visual taster of the B-side ‘High Rise Low Rise’, a song about growing up amongst friends who the world sees only as misfits, oddballs and freaks. Nevertheless, the ideas and dreams that flow between these strange kids will change them all and the world around them forever. The accompanying video was written and directed by Veronica Terreblanche and reimagined by John Haggis with the director’s permission.
Shortly after releasing her debut 2-track single ‘Rose + Crown’ via California-based Mourning Sun Records,AMMO presents the video for the title track premiered via Post-Punk.com. Directed by AMMO herself, co-filmed by Christopher Slater, this hypnotic clip is enveloped in soft red-hued psychedelic gauze, with masked apparitions, along with AMMO’s captivating visage.
I don’t usually promote singles, lonely songs, not lonely people.
However, I will make an exception to that self-proclaimed rule today. I present ThatChitty Bang Majik and Escalator for your listening pleasure, two singles that kick-started my morning.
ThatChitty Bang Majik is a new single by a band that left an indelible impression on me back in May of this year when I posted my thoughts about their single and video Bluebird, Hollywood… Domino. That band is The Gorstey Lea Street Choir.
I still enjoy listening to them, and this new release only adds to my desire to own slabs of vinyl by them.
I am at a loss for words that describe what my ears are hearing when I listen to this song, so I will let The Gorstey Lea Street Choir, which is Michael Clapham and Russ Phillips, speak for themselves.
“The song came about last January after a Christmas repeat that we had both watched of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ Michael Clapham tells us.
‘We love the film and the soundtrack, and we started discussing ‘the flying car” and before you know it ‘…That Chitty Bang Magic‘ was born,” says Russ Phillips.
“This song represents the poppier side of our indie credentials whilst still retaining our core vibe, 12 string guitars chime alongside brass punctuations and Moog synths, with the two vocal Gorstey chant upfront, telling the story of the track. We are really looking forward to folks hearing the rest of the LP in early July when it arrives, the four new tracks and the four re-imaginations of ‘Extended Play One’ tracks by Choque from Black Star Liner,” says Michael Clapham.
I concur with really looking forward to hearing the rest of the LP in July when it is released.
As of June 22, ‘That Chitty Bang Majik‘ will be available everywhere digitally, including Apple Musicand Spotify. Additionally, the ‘…from Prince’s Park to Farsley – Volume I’ LP will see its release on July 9.
This music should garner The Gorstey Lea Street Choir extended air time no matter the format or delivery platform. Just listen to it is all I am saying. It is that good. I will put it on repeat, sip my beverage of choice and sit back to enjoy every nuance of The Gorstey Lea Street Choir.
Wow, I got carried away with that review. I need to get some words in this blog for the second single of the day. Phoenix-based dream-electronic artist FLDPLN presents his new single Escalator previewing his full-length album by the same name. Scheduled for release on July 30, it will be digitally available and on colour vinyl via the label Sillas Famosas.
FLDPLN (“field-plan”) is the new solo project of Andrew Saks, former frontman of Southern California shoegaze band Sway. As FLDPLN, he creates a primarily electronic project with songs that feature synthesizers, vocals and layered saxophones reminiscent of 80s pop.
“Escalator is really the result of my years of dabbling in electronic music production combined with my desire to reconnect with my roots, having been a saxophone player for most of my life,” says Andrew Saks.
“For this album, I wanted to write songs that are true to the way I hear things in my head, dreamy, blurry, beautiful without compromise and incorporate the horn as a textural instrument as well as another melodic voice.”
At times, Andrew Saks horn playing features soaring leads that lift the dreamlike and serene to near-anthemic heights while, in other instances, they convey an emotional, whisper-like voice. While certainly nowhere near new to experimental music, the tone and texture of the saxophone in this context effectively lends itself to ethereal lullabies and reflective daydreams.
While textures and sound are an integral component of the music, Andrew Saks does not shy away from hook-laden songwriting. This music is highly influenced by Andrew Saks childhood memories of going to bed with Walkman headphones on and later waking up in the darkness, in a partial dream-state with the pop songs of the 1980’s – Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Bruce Springsteen, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Debbie Gibson, Human League still whispering in his ears.
The ‘Escalator’ single is now available everywhere across online stores like Apple Music and streaming platforms like Spotify. The entire ‘Escalator’ LP will release on July 30 and can already be pre-ordered digitally and on colour vinyl via Bandcamp.
Brazilian progressive rock / metal trio Pentral reveal their new single ‘No Real Colour In Souls’, one of the grooviest songs found on their debut long-player ‘What Lies Ahead of Us’, a 10-track LP with legendary producer Tim Palmer (Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie’s Tin Machine, The Mission, HIM, U2, Pearl Jam) co-producing with Pentral, Sergio Fouad and Cesar Bottinha. Palmer also mixed the LP, which was mastered by Justin Shturtz (HIM, The Psychedelic Furs, Nancy Wilson, Slipnot, Tin Machine).
Hailing from Belém in northern Brazil, Pentral is made up of Victor Lima(vocals, guitars, songwriter, lyrics), Vagner Lima (drummer) and Joe Ferri (bass guitar), this album shares the tragic reality of many Amazon dwellers, whose habitat, lifestyle and livelihood are brutally taken from them, not to mention the destruction of the forest itself. Through their videos and lyrics, Pentral tells the story about this violence and pilfering of the Amazon’s natural habitat.
“A rhythmic lengthy track, Vagner is brilliant on the drums and Joe on the bass guitar. This was one of the hardest tracks to sing during the recording sessions. Lot of feelings involved, and I believe I could express all this vibe to the interpretation of the song,” says Victor Lima.
Earlier, Pentral released high-energy singles ‘Aiming For The Sun’, ‘All My Wounds’and ‘Silent Trees’– the sonic launching pad into a concept album reflecting on today’s society, presenting the saga of a lowly couple fighting for their lives and sanity. The accompanying video sequence was filmed in their native Amazon – a dedicated saga unfolds, track by track. Directed and edited by Roger Elarrat and produced by Luana Klautau, this also involves Lucas Escócio as director of photography, this video features actors Anne Costa, Guto Galvão, Eduarda Cursino, Boris Knez and Aldo Lima.
The lyrics speak about loss. The kid and her mother are wandering around the forest as they know they have to get out and try to go on with their lives somewhere away from that place. Racism is clearly portrayed on the song as well. This is an odious plague that still chases up the human beings and that have to be confronted. It’s a quite introspective song! It resonates with the name of the band – Pentral, which means Soul. At the end of the day, this is what we really are – a Soul, before, during, and after our material existence.
Their unique take on alternative rock can be described as progressive, heavy, groovy and melodic, while the band also deliver a strong political message about what is going on in Brazil and all over the world.
Pentral stands for ‘spirit’ in Latin, indicative of the message this band is trying to inspire via their sound – the need to transcend this material world through the power of music, without losing connection with reality and human frailties.
Deeply influenced by their Amazon roots, Pentral’s music is influenced by many global influences while also striving to honor Brazil’s groove and unique harmonies, progressive rock, metal music, atmosphere and melody. This debut album sums up years of experimentation and the search for human awareness of the environment, peace and equality.
“The album ‘What Lies Ahead of Us’ is like a “declaration” and it was conceived way before COVID-19 came out…But it kind of fits the current reality we´re going through. This pandemic is the outcome of the unfriendly way we’ve been treating our environment and ourselves as well, and it served to expose our insensitivity, our lack of empathy,”says Pentral frontman Victor Lima.
“It’s a story about a man and a woman who lives in the woods. The forest is invaded by a group of mercenaries (pretty common in Brazil) in order to burn the woods down and make money with that, the man is killed, the woman manages to survive and she is pregnant, then she gives birth to a girl, and They try to survive in the city, experiencing racism, violence, hunger, selfishness, indifference. The only thing they have – they love each other. So, the elements of the story – environment being destroyed, people suffering discrimination by the color of their skin, by the place where they came from, being selfish and violent for the sake of their own interests and prejudices, politics and religion abuse and extremism and the only way I believe things could be solved – the power of love. The album is like a journey of the three characters (a woman, a man, and their kid) passing through all the issues I’m talking about in the lyrics for these ten songs.”
CREDITS All songs written by Victor Lima Produced by Pentral and Tim Palmer Co-produced and engineered by Sergio Fouad and Cesar Botinha Justin Shturtz – mastering Tim Palmer – mixing, additional guitars, percussion and keyboards Victor Lima – vocals and guitars Vagner Lima – drums Joe Ferri – bass guitar Cover artwork by Heidi Teillefer
An email landed in my mailbox two days back from the fine folks over at Shameless Promotions PR. Inside the email was a link to a music video for the song Bluebird, Hollywood… Domino’ from a band that was all new to me, The Gorstey Lea Street Choir. A pair of names, one for the song and another for that band, that compelled me to know more about them. The band name comes with a story behind it. The song arrives as a story.
First things first, then shall we. Here is a link to the video:
The video is a bit psychedelic in style and not for people with epilepsy but decent enough. However, it is the music that grabbed me.
The song opens with a droning synth note, which introduces a rattling snare drum in waltz tempo, followed by the other instruments and a great bass line.
Michael Clapham, half of the duo who call themselves The Gorstey Lea Street Choir, tells us that “This song is a cautionary tale of days gone by, what may have been and where we are now, we are two men in our’ mid lives’ (average age 51 and a half). We have a lot to look back and learn from and a lot to look forward too!!! It’s amazing what we have created, two middle-aged men fumbling around with some of our favourite musical toys in Russ’s converted garage,”
The other half of The Gorstey Lea Street Choir, Russ Philips adds this about the song.
“We are both very proud of what this track and the upcoming mini-LP represents, plus we also cannot wait for you to hear the re-imaginations that our friend and collaborator Choque (Black Star Liner) has created to go alongside the 4 original tracks,”adds Russ Philips.
The band is essentially two friends on a life-long journey; having met as teenagers in the mid-’80s, it took until 2016 for them to turn their teenage plans — discussed back when both were involved in aspiring Manchester bands — into a reality with the birth of this project.
Michael and Russ formed the band after reuniting for Russ’s birthday party and a subsequent impromptu gig. After 15 plus years of not playing an instrument, singing or songwriting, Michael dove back in with an enthusiasm that led to such a massive response from the crowd and landlord alike that the two songs turning into two hours and a guaranteed booking the next month. ‘What’s your band name, boys?” they were asked and ‘The Gorstey Lea Street Choir’ is quickly retorted with a tip of the hat to Van Morrison‘s LP ‘His Band And The Street Choir.’
As of May 13, ‘Bluebird, Hollywood… Domino’ will be available everywhere digitally, including Apple Musicand Spotify. The entire album’…from Prince’s Park to Farsley – Volume I’ will be released on July 9 and can already be pre-ordered via the label’s Bandcamp.
Closing remark: mark July 9 on your calendar, you are going to love this album when it comes out.
I don’t usually write reviews of song videos, but I am willing to make an exemption with the new video from Wassailer, for the song Ghosts, from his album of the same name.
I’m a sucker for alt-jazz and visually exciting video’s and Ghosts grabbed my attention and a couple of watching’s later I want to watch it again. The song itself is a good listen but married to this video it is mesmerizing. The sax driving the music forward and the rock steady bass lines pulled me into the song ,and the way the footage pulsated entertained my eyes made the video addictive. I am hooked, no intervention required, thank you very much.
The album is out available for streaming, via Empty Street Records.
This is a great sone with a great video to round it out. I present for your viewing pleasure: Crawford Mack and his new single/video, Firing Squad.
Following on from the release of his gracious love ballad ‘Depends on Where You Stand’, we see a change in the singer, as he swaps orchestral melodies for downtempo acoustic stings in his second offering ‘Firing Squad’. Building a sharp momentum using melodious gentle guitar riffs and a rhythmic drumbeat, ‘Firing Squad’ explores the power of a guilt-ridden conscience that one might feel due to their own behaviour; specifically targeting the action of mistreating others.
Accompanied by a short film conceptualised by the songwriter, the new music video directed by Liam Hendrix Heath, borrows heavily from space oddity era Bowie and Stanley Kubrick; following an astronaut’s journey through suburbia and his past in a jarring, mirroring the claustrophobia and hidden menace of the track.
The lyrics draw on the use of power to oppress the powerless and were inspired by a reference in a William Mcllvanney book to the blindfold used in firing squads being to spare the shooters seeing the condemned eyes. The teacher in the film embodying a particular personal memory for Crawford.
Discussing the new music video, Crawford tells us: “I didn’t want to go for something obvious with a literal ‘Firing Squad’ and soldiers because I think I’ve seen plenty of that in music videos before. Liam and I spent a long time over lockdown talking through what the song was about for me, until one day out of the blue, he came up with the idea of the astronaut walking past tableaus that are flashbacks of his life. The idea grew from there until we started to create our antagonist teacher character for the final face-off.”
One of my favourite listens this year have been The Holy. They have a new video to go with their newest single release, The Rocket Song.
‘The Rocket Song’ tells the story of human arrogance which results in their extinction. Frontman Eetu Iivari says: “The last people living on earth decide to build a space rocket and try to go through black holes to new galaxies. But they fail, like we humans tend to do. We often think we’re unbeatable.”
Following the success of their dual-single release ‘Twilight Of The Idiots’ / No Trial In The Dark’, which received support from the likes of The Line of Best Fit and Clash Magazine; Finnish quintet, The Holy return with electric new track ‘The Rocket Song’.
Oozing with fiery guitar strings, pounding drum pulses and a touch of hallucinating synths, the group’s latest number surges with euphoria. Exploring other-worldly themes, ‘The Rocket Song’ tells the story of human arrogance which results in their extinction. Frontman Eetu Iivari says: “The last people living on earth decide to build a space rocket and try to go through black holes to new galaxies. But they fail, like we humans tend to do. We often think we’re unbeatable.”
However, with the world undergoing a turn of events recently with the Covid-19 outbreak, the band have discovered a new found perspective for the track. Iivari says: “It feels empowering to write a song when you’re feeling anger towards the world. But when shit actually hits the fan, it just feels sad, empty and depressing. I hope the song will help us remember these times in the future, and to remember how small humanity is in relation to mother nature. That we should respect nature far more than we do.”
In further discussion about the forthcoming LP he also said: “Mono Freedom is a utopian themed album. A fictional story about Mother Nature taking over the earth and how the last humans pack their stuff, build a rocket and head over to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there, but it’s one of humanity’s last ideas. All this is seen as a positive, not as a dark dystopian vision, as is usually the case.”
“The record and the lyrical themes are inspired by Alan Weisman’s book The World Without Us; a classic science book that explores a bunch of scenarios of what would happen to Mother Earth if humans were to disappear today.”
The Holy – The Rocket Song
Release date – 21st August 2020 via Playground Music
So, Crawford Mack went to a museum, and while wandering through an exhibit area with his female friend, he decides that his interpretation of the works on display depended on where he stood. So they stood in different places. Not happy with that, although it did provide them with new views of the works, they then attempted to engage with the works of art. That meant them dancing for some, posing for some and imitating some. Was it a success? Depends On Where You Stand.
From where I was standing, this is good music incorporated into an excellent video that would have made Modest Mussorgsky happy.