Tainted Pink Turns Blue

Pink Turns Blue released their album Tainted this Friday, October 1, 2021, and I fell head over heels for it. This band is so good that I wanted to listen to Pink Turns Blue’s back catalogue. I had heard one of their albums some time ago, and I wanted to refresh my memory of them. I blocked off time this morning to listen to the new album and sample some of their back catalogues, but I was easily distracted and ended up wanting to hear every song from every album. That was too much of a good thing, so I am only talking about one album today, Tainted.

The band Pink Turns Blue got their start in the post-punk/new wave/darkwave/gothic rock scene in Berlin in 1985. That sentence is an excellent example of why I don’t like pushing artists into genre boxs’. If Two Worlds Kiss, the first record for Pink Turns Blue, came out in 1987 and thanks to the bands’ days of playing small clubs all over Germany, people recognized some of their songs. Having a record out made them suddenly feel like they were a real band. Walking On Both Sides became their first hit and got them up to number 5 on the Swiss single charts. That’s a good start.

Fast forward to today, and I am listening to You Still Mean Too Much To Me, a single from the new album Tainted from Pink Turns Blue. And as of today, it sits at #4 in the INDIE DISKO TOP 40. That’s respectable. Two albums from the same band thirty-four years apart, and they are still in the top ten charts.

Today Pink Turns Blue is a trio consisting of Mic Jogwer (vocals, guitar), Reubi Walter (bass, keyboards) and Paul Richter (drums). In the first generation of gothic rock, Pink Turns Blue was a duo consisting of Mic Jogwer and Thomas Elbern, plus A. Drumachine. They named themselves after a Hüsker Dü song. Hüsker Dü was a band that influenced them, along with The Chameleons, Clan of Xymox, and The Cure.

Their debut album ‘If Two Worlds Kiss’ brought dark undertones into their new wave sound, essentially advancing the darkwave sub-genre while becoming a seminal album in the post-punk genre. Emerging from the fear and uncertainty of a divided Cold War Germany, the band went on to release 11 full-length LPs, the latest being ‘The AERDT – Untold Stories’ in 2016.

On October 1, the ‘Tainted’ LP will be released digitally across digital platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify. Black vinyl, strictly limited to 500 copies with an 8-page booklet, will be released on October 29. CDs, which come with a 16-page booklet, are available now. All of these formats can be purchased exclusively via the band’s website, https://pinkturnsblue.com

So, what did I think about the album? HIT THE BRAKES! I went off on a rabbit trail there and had to do some severe delete and start again.

What did I like? Well, the music is top-notch for starters. It’s not a mystery why this band has been around for 34 years. They are good at making music. I like it when a band can take less and make more. For example, there are only three people in the band Pink Turns Blue, but they make it sound so expansive. That is a natural talent, folks. It often floats by under the radar, and not too many pay attention to it. But I did, Mic Jogwer on vocals and guitar, Reubi Walter driving the bass and keyboards, and Paul Richter providing the percussion make this recording sound rich and full. Well done, guys.

Pink Turns Blue beim New Waves Day am 18.05.2019 in der Turbinenhalle Oberhausen

On ‘Tainted,’ the band added an electronic element that harkens back to their early days when Pink Turns Blue was a duo consisting of Mic Jogwer and Thomas Elbern, plus A. Drumachine. The album title itself relates to the state of our world: climate change, its effects, the reaction to it, the split within society, isolation, health risks and financial uncertainty.

“When I travel the world, I encounter two types of people. Many are sad and void of hope that mankind is able to change. Others just don’t care or are sarcastic about just everything. I guess this makes me angry. I see all those toddlers with their lives before them, playing and laughing and inheriting a world in disarray just because of the greediness and irresponsibility of their parents. A call to try so much harder! Instead of using excuses for missing or inadequate action, mankind really has to get its shit together – now,” says Mic Jogwer.

“Obviously, young people seem to realize the cost of our shortcomings much better: all the carelessness about using resources, polluting the environment, the threatening effects of global warming, a poisoned environment and extinct species. They are at the beginning of their lives and the world is in crisis already. But most of us are using excuses or alibi “actions” to cover up our indifference or complacency. We pursue our own advantage at the expense of others even if the calculation does not add up in the end: if we don’t incorporate sustainability in our actions all will lose.”

Closing remarks:

Not even trying is one of the best shouts against the current conditions on this planet. Check out the video as well as the song.

‘Tainted’ LP pre-order https://pinkturnsblue.com/shop 

‘Not Even Trying’ https://youtu.be/FZuh3ZdEepI 

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/6mwyxXRojEFweYO7r655kL 

‘You Still Mean Too Much To Me’ https://youtu.be/goK9_etF2OY 

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/3utwmUD4YbpE5NnpS3LDAZ 

‘The Must Be So Much More’ https://youtu.be/313g81nFcEI 

‘So Why Not Save The World’ https://youtu.be/qTTbuTX5WHg 

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Exotic Quixotic

On the weekend my family knows where to find me. I will be in my office watching the Premier League. I do not have a favourite team, so I will watch whichever game happens when I arrive in my big comfy chair. The weekend is also a time for new music. Friday is album drop day, which means Saturday and Sunday have to share football with new music.

On this particular Saturday, Manchester United were playing, which meant two of the brightest stars in football would be playing. Christiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. Neither player contributed to the scoreboard, and their opposition for the day, Aston Ville, won the game with a late goal from Kortney Hause which turned out to be the match-winner. Bruno Fernandes of ManU via Portugal missed a stoppage-time penalty as Aston Villa recorded a rare Premier League victory over Manchester United, winning 1-0 at Old Trafford. The other Portuguese player on the pitch that day and arguably one of the best players in the history of football, Christiano Ronaldo, failed to put his name on the score sheet for that day.

That gives you, the reader, a snapshot of what I was watching yesterday, two football players from Portugal. What I was listening to and the reason for the preamble of this blog is the Portuguese music featured in a new album that I have been listening to,  ‘Exotic Quixotic.’   The EP is by a group of very talented musicians Neil Leyton, Mikael Lundin (a.k.a. Micke Ghost), João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, Abel Beja, Janne Olson and other artists that come and go within the collective known as Lusitanian Ghosts.  The band’s genesis happened when Neil Leyton brought Micke Ghost a Viola Amarantina from Lisbon to Stockholm. I would suggest that at this point you should watch the feature documentary film ‘Lusitanian Ghosts: Making Of the Lusitanian Ghosts debut album – Chordophone Rock n Roll.’ Watching the video will help you in understanding how these historical instruments are the real Lusitanian Ghosts.

This experimental folk-rock singer-songwriter record has only chordophones: Amarantina, Braguesa, Terceira and Campaniça, with guest appearances by an electric bass guitar and various percussion instruments. Lusitanian Ghosts replaced the snare drum in many songs with the Adufe, a Portuguese square drum.

I have waffled back and forth as to my opinion regarding this recording. It is undoubtedly a pleasure to hear these beautiful instruments that must have been a joy to tune to mesh with each other. These players have crafted an album that is unlike any other album. There are so many cultures around this globe and countless instruments unique to each ethnic group. I am glad to have been able to hear some good Portuguese-influenced music on their traditional instruments. Portugal has given us many unique gifts, from football players to musical instruments.

I am still uncertain about my feelings towards this recording. The musicians’ playing is marvellous, but something is missing—something to make this extraordinary music rise higher and more vital.

The chordophones took center stage but didn’t hog the spotlight, so they aren’t the problem. The bass and percussion held their fair share of the show and shone in their own spotlights; no problem there. About all I can say about the instrument playing on Exotic Quixotic is that it is top-notch. These guys know how to get a groove going, and it was a joy to listen to these masterful players.

Neil Leyton

The vocals are interesting. Neil Leyton is the lead singer and a co-writer of this album, and he has a decent voice. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t much above average either. It is well-grounded in the middle of capable. There are moments when his voice rose and shone, such as in the song For the Wicked. He was squeezing emotion out, and it was a beautiful thing. Neil needs to capture and bottle that magic. He shows us that he can do better, and I believe he has that power in his grasp. It just slipped away on a good portion of this recording.

There is one other thing that Neil Leyton could do to make future records rise above the crowd. He needs to throw his rhyming dictionary away. At 8:36 in the video, he is asking what rhymes with Johnson. Does it need to rhyme? I think he over rhymes, in my opinion. It sounds contrived and forced. Let your muse wander away from the rhyming dictionary and give it some freedom. Maybe read some freeform poetry. You write some good material. It just needs more space to grow, not so constrained by rhyming.

On another side note,  London Calling is one of my all-time favourite albums and songs. I have played it live with bands as well as torturing my guitar practicing in the basement. So, when I heard Lisbon Calling, I immediately got nervous that I was about to listen to a clone with different words. That didn’t happen, Lisbon Calling pays homage to The Clash, but it doesn’t rip it off. Well done, Lusitanian Ghosts; you flirted with the original but didn’t jump into bed with it.

By the time I had listened to this album about a dozen times, I had tried ever so hard to find the good in it. I did. There are lots of quality moments in Exotic Quixotic. I just had to listen harder and find them. I found excellent music coming from instruments that I had never listened to before; that is a good thing. I heard a band playing tight together that made the hair on my arms tingle. That is good.I listened to a lead writer and lead singer with potential, and I think he will rise to that high bar. That is good. I heard good production and mixing; well-done, lads. I found lots of good in Lusitanian Ghosts; let your journey of discovery begin now and listen to Exotic Quixoti.

Released on July 30, the ‘Revolt Against An Age of Plenty’ LP is available as a coloured double-vinyl gatefold LP and gatefold CD with 16-page lyrics booklet. It is also everywhere online, including SpotifyApple Music and Bandcamp.
‘It’s a Wonderful Lie’ https://youtu.be/1JSbB1NK1Yo 
‘Revolt Against An Age of Plenty’ https://youtu.be/_toOqZGoBBY 
Album teaser https://youtu.be/wgHy8NdfNN4 
Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/4O9Q9cddbc9OXXBPAt55CB 
Bandcamp https://thegreatleapforward.bandcamp.com/album/revolt-against-an-age-of-plenty 
Soundcloud  https://soundcloud.com/the_great_leap_forward/revolt-against-an-age-of-plenty/s-mxm1KFnoLLO 
The Great Leap Forward digital orders https://share.amuse.io/album/the-great-leap-forward-great-leap-forward 

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Filip Sjögren presents Paintroller

Following the successful release of his bittersweet debut single’ Too Late,’ Filip Sjögren returns with his band Hands Down and demonstrates his knack for making a pretty song. Sjörgren took a year away from working as a sound technician and producer to write a set of personal songs, so it’s no surprise that he knows the small tricks and attention to detail that makes a song work. Though the genre swings from jazz-inflected pop to indie rock, what unites these songs and brings them to life is the richness of the sound, the flow provided by the spark in Sjögren’s vision and the harmony of the individual parts working in perfect sync. 

Filip Sjögren’s day job sees him working as a sound technician and producer, so it’s no surprise that he knows the small tricks and attention to detail that makes a song work. That’s clear when he hops over to the other side of the recording studio with his band Hands Down. Though the genre swings from jazz-inflected pop to indie rock, what unites these songs and brings them to life is the richness of the sound, the flow provided by the spark in Sjögen’s vision and the harmony of the individual parts working in perfect sync. 

A paint roller crops up a lot in interior decorating but, as you might imagine, not so much in music. A quick search reveals only one song on Spotify that bears the title. But now that number is set to double. With his band Hands DownFilip Sjögren has shown he has a knack for making a pretty song. But with the swaying, dreamy song “Paintroller,” he may just have hit a new level.

The tone is an essential factor in the songs of Hands Down, and “Paintroller” is blessed with a rich, carefully- detailed instrumental backdrop, with swirling synths, stings and even saxophone all mixing harmonically a flowing cloak of many colours that Filip Sjögren shapes into a song. There’s darkness in the anxieties of his lyrics, but the music keeps things warm, and when the bright chorus bursts into life, it feels like light breaking through the clouds and illuminating this sparkling pop song.

Filip Sjögren says: “The song (Paintroller) is about being coloured by everyone else and having your ideas crushed by outside forces. Not feeling very welcome to the party, both in terms of music and society, feeling peer pressure. That’s what inspired the song. I had the whole song done at one point, and then I scrapped the vocal and wrote and recorded a whole new melody and vocal. We called that demo’ paintroller,’ and so that inspired me to write the new lyrics. I have no idea why that demo was called paintroller. But it is a very visual word”.

Filip Sjögren says:” ‘Too Late‘ is about seeing relationships fade away, not specifically romantic relationships, but with friends too. The song started back in high school. I had a melody that I couldn’t play myself, so I got my friend Hannes to play it and recorded it on my phone. I used that sample to write this song five years later, though it’s not on the final version. I love the dancy, jazzy vibe of it. The acoustic piano flows so well, and the drums have that beat. It’s not disco, but it’s slow disco”. 

That’s certainly evident in the song “Too Late.” A dancing piano line kicks things into motion, and from there, it grows into an elegant, dreamy pop song. It’s made up of subtle touches that mean it blooms over several listens, from the strings to the shivering bass line, and Filip Sjögren extends that subtlety to the melodies, which stay light and airy but still suck you in. In the end, “Too Late” is a little sad, but that doesn’t stop it from having effortless charm, and being sweet, breezy pop infused with the warmest of glows.

Meet Me At The Bar‘ kicks off as a stripped-back and raw rock and roll song but soon shakes that off. Filip Sjögren’s vocals ride alongside the rough-cut guitars until the scene shifts and transforms into a delicate, graceful pop song, the guitars swapped out for strings, and the bravado in the verses swapped out for a vulnerable falsetto. Hallmarked with Filip Sjögren’s signature songwriting, ‘Meet Me At The Bar’ is full of surprises and strange turns but has been stitched together into a song that is both sweet and cynical.

For Filip Sjögren’s, “the song is basically about me getting tired of Tinder dates. Meet me at the bar, and we will talk, and then we will go home and never see each other again. That spiralled into me, thinking I would never be able to love anyone. The music has a little kick, and I think that’s important. I always try to contrast the lyrics and the music because otherwise, it can become too sad and whiny. And I don’t wanna be a whiny guy!”

Filip Sjögren’s unique sound, production tricks, songwriting strength – not to mention the critical acclaim of Hands Down’s first few singles make the Paintroller LP an eagerly anticipated release. ‘Paintroller‘ will be available to stream the 8th of October via Youth Recordings.

http://www.mysticsons.com/

https://soundcloud.com/youthrecordings/sets/album/s-iMYwrZ6ugG9

Museum of Tomorrow

Zeerust #1

Tomorrows World by The Speed of Sound on the album Museum of Tomorrow

“We were offered Star Trek

But they fed us Soylent Green

And the 21st Century is not what it seems

Where are those shining city domes

and the monorails

Look out of your window

you can see the future has failed”

Zeerust #2

In The Year 2525 by Zager & Evans on the album In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)

“In the year 2525, if man is still alive

If woman can survive, they may find

In the year 3535

Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie

Everything you think, do and say

Is in the pill you took today.”

Zeerust #3

(It’s the Eighties, So Where’s Our) Rocket Packs by Daniel Amos from the album Vox Humana 

“(It’s the eighties, so where’s our rocket packs?)

I thought by now we’d live in space

And eat a pill instead of dinner

(It’s the eighties, so where’s our rocket packs?)

I thought by now we’d build a dome”

https://xkcd.com/864/

I quite imagine you, the reader, wondering what in hell a zeerust is or looking it up on the internet of things. There are plenty of hits that lead to a town in South Africa. That is not where I want to start. I want to start with one of my favourite authors, Douglas Adams, a British humorist and Science Fiction writer, and his collaboration with the BBC comedy producer John Lloyd.

From their book The Meaning of Liff, I lifted their definition of the word zeerust: “The particular kind of datedness which afflicts things that were originally designed to look futuristic.”

Let’s unravel this further with an introduction to who The Speed Of Sound isThey are a four-piece band hailing from Manchester, UK. A city described as having a proud history combined with a progressive vision. Manchester is a 40-minute train ride east of another town famous for its four-piece bands, Liverpool.

The Speed Of Sound’s line-up has changed over the years; on this incarnation, it consists of the father and son duo John Armstrong on guitars and vocals and Henry Armstrong on keyboards. Bolstering that combo is Ann-Marie Crowley on vocals and guitar, Kevin Roache on bass guitar and John Broadhurst on percussions.

I took the definition of zeerust from the book, The Meaning of Liff, combined it with Manchesters’ proud heritage, their progressive vision, and I added the band known as The Speed Of Sound. Then I shook it vigorously. What came out was an album called The Museum of Tomorrow. A record that held my attention like a magnet to a fridge door.

The Speed Of Sound channels the spirit of the CBGB club scene in its heyday. There are some textures of the New Wave movement in both the UK and North America. Pieces of punk are stuck on with safety pins. There are some tips of the hat to straight-up pop music anywhere from the ’60s to the ’80s. Lyrically The Speed Of Sound captures the idealization of zeerust, as illustrated in the opening credits.

By the time we arrive at track 8, The Speed Of Sound has morphed that zeerust into an Impossible Past. We wore mended clothes instead of buying new ones at the slightest whim or a loose thread. We kept calm and carried on with faded memories of things that never happened things. We yearn for a world of cabbages and kings. The golden time was never as sunny as our memories of it. And then the song ends on a dark note with bombs and demons, dark but also realistic. We can not return to a past that we remember as a summer that never ended. It did end, the same as the winter that never ended. It ended. I quite imagine we all have some form of longing to return to a past that our memories cling to as being better than they were. 

There is an adage that says, “we can never go home.”

I tried to go home several years back. It was a high school reunion. Please don’t ask what anniversary it was. It would date me. I didn’t know the people who had gathered there. They were all older than I remembered, except for me somehow. I had aged more gracefully. Right, I wish. Some had never left the town they had gone to school in. They had a very narrow view of the world that can come from living in an echo chamber. Some had gone considerably downhill over the years. Not that I was a shining example to all, I had my own “half forgotten lurking things.”

Holy cow, I have written 788 words on only a tiny portion of the album. The Museum Of Tomorrow deserves better than this, but I’m not writing a thesis, so this blog will have to do.

Let me conclude this wordy tome by saying this. Go and listen to this on your medium of choice. The Museum Of Tomorrow is available in downloads, streaming, vinyl, CD and Deluxe LP via California’s Big Stir Records. Here’s to hoping that we can add live shows to that list.

Album order https://bigstirrecords.com/album/1910197/museum-of-tomorrow 

Bandcamp https://bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/album/museum-of-tomorrow 

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/5NsxAmeLSISiNZH2BcwRVa 

‘Tomorrow’s World’ https://youtu.be/3lEovb1GxrQ

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/5a8X77zKnUANmr1dff8OUc 

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/the-speed-of-sound/tomorrows-world-1/s-3MM0ZZseKE1

Album teaser https://youtu.be/Kkcn4ZSyQDE 

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Amateur Radio

I had never listened to Pas Musique until the press kit for their album Amateur Radio landed in my inbox. I listened to it while I worked on a diorama that I was creating. The album sounded good. It actually caused me to pause at numerous points in the album to shift my focus to the music. The diorama teaches me the beauty of patience.

I often check out a band’s back catalogue, so I get a feel of where they are coming from and how they have grown and matured, although that seems to be an option for too many artists. Apple Music only had four Pas Musique albums, including Amateur Radio. Bandcamp had 29, I don’t have the drive to listen to all of their catalogue, so I focused on just this one, Amateur Radio.

Where to begin is a tough call on this recording. This band of musical talent hail from Brooklyn, and I think I’ll start with a video. A trippy audio-visual treat that featured the fourth track from the recording, ‘Ancient Scottish Legend.’ The video has a jerky camera effect frequently used in harrowing movie scenes. Add a grainy, dark quality, and we have the video that sets the stage for the album.

The track before this, number three by my reckoning, is It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl. This track is a cover of a song by Faust featured on their album So Far, the track was initially conceived in 2019 for the ‘KRAUT! Covered’ compilation curated by WFMU’s DJ Scott Williams. It is worth mentioning that Jeanne-Marie Varain, artist and daughter of Jean-Herve Peron of FAUST, also collaborated on the song, It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl.

So we have a framework that should give us an idea of where Pas Musique is coming from and a glimmer of where they are going. Both of the tracks mentioned above are over six minutes of listening time, typical for Pas Musique. These guys know how to grab a riff and work it over with their synthesized enhanced musique concrète.

Charlies Lament is the opening track, where they build a groove keep its momentum working through the rarefied air of six unique songs that clock out at 41 minutes total for the album. There are layers and layers of sound, and I am thrilled to find new gems with each listen, so excuse me please, I have to go and listen to Amateur Radio again.

Be sure to check out their merch at https://www.pasmusique.net/releasesstore.html

As of September 15, ‘Don Cheadle Superhero’ will be available via Bandcamp. On October 1, the ‘Amateur Radio’ LP will be released everywhere, including  Spotify and Apple Music. It can be pre-ordered on limited-edition white vinyl or a digital download at https://alrealonmusique.bandcamp.com.

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K69996ROMA:EP

Art can stimulate our senses, our emotions, and our feelings in numerous ways. Art can bring us comfort. My Dad was a fantastic guitar picker and singer who came out of the classic country and western era. He played Hank Williams and that ilk effortlessly. Well, not quite effortlessly. He lost the index finger on his left hand, and he learned to play guitar with only three fingers and three chords, D, G and A7. His memorial service was three hours long, as a steady stream of musicians paid tribute to him. Music provided inspiration and comfort that day.

Art can trigger a multitude of emotional responses. People cry at scenes in a movie, even when they know it is a work of fiction. People laugh at slapstick comedy routines and giggle at fart jokes. Music can lull a baby to sleep, as well as a few adults, myself included.

Art can be offensive as well as uplifting. That’s why we have death metal and contemporary Christian music. Both provide an emotional response and are usually polar opposites that can shift poles depending on the listener.

Art can also be jarring; for example, avant-garde paintings can be brutal in their beauty. Not everyone appreciates Jackson Pollock‘s paintings the same way. Some are willing to pay large amounts of money to enjoy his paintings in their homes. Others view his painting as nothing more than childish dribbling of random paint colours and scorn his work.

Music can provoke varied emotional responses as well, which brings us to where I am today. I have been listening to the new album K69996ROMA:EP from a chap named Nick HudsonNick Hudson is a prolific fellow in the art world who works in music, painting, film, and writing, recently completing a novel. I should also mention his involvement with the art-rock band The Academy Of Sun, who released their dystopian epic ‘The Quiet Earth’ in 2020.

I have played through K69996ROMA:EP a half dozen times, with an everchanging response. I found it fresh and exciting on the first listen; I would have given it a 10 out of 10. 

The second time through, I am catching some nuances that I missed the first time around, but that is normal for any recording, so no red flags; it is still a 10/10.

On the third to fifth listens, I am Googling and searching for lyric sheets. I should have asked Shauna; she is good at getting those to me. Instead, I am becoming more frantic, searching for clues in Wikipedia and elsewhere.

What is there between the walls of this album’s slipcover that jars me? Why has my response to this recording changed so significantly? What altered my perspective between the first listen and whatever the hell number I am listening to now?

The answer: I don’t know! I have no idea why I perceive this album with so many nuances. 

I am not a prude who the topic of homosexuality or murder would easily jar. Yet, jarred I am. The video contains no gratuitous violence and is no more jarring than the songs and the lyrics themselves. It did not increase my general feeling of malaise.

K69996ROMA:EP is a good listen just for the music quality. It has some excellent sampling and synth work that moves from gentle strings to more abrasive effects as the songs call upon them. I found the music to be engaging and worthy of the added time I spent perusing it.

The lyrics are what I first considered as a culprit, colouring my perception of this recording. I quickly crossed that off the list because the more I read about the characters in this musical tale, the more I wanted to know. I went down some nice rabbit holes on Wikipedia that informed and entertained me for hours on end.

So what jarred me? I have no better answer than when I started this blog. I have listened to this repeatedly while typing, some songs taking two or three spins on the dance floor as I danced my fingers over the keys. I have high esteem for recordings like this because it is not full of mass consumerism throw-away elevator music. Although I recently heard The Talking Heads in an elevator ride, I hold them in very high esteem.

I suggest that we keep listening to this album, K69996ROMA:EP, and if we get any profound insights, we let each other know. Deal? Let’s fist bump to show our solidarity and start listening all over again to a recording that jarred and inspired me, which is what good art should be doing.

K69996ROMA:EP’ https://youtu.be/JVbSebCuQco 
EP order https://nickhudsonindustries.bandcamp.com
‘Font of Human Fractures’ LP https://nickhudsonindustries.bandcamp.com/album/font-of-human-fractures
Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/5t6l342JKBDVl2NFddWOJ

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‘Ladies’ Night’ and ‘Caryatid’

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.

‘Ladies Night / Caryatid’ https://youtu.be/s6k243RDd5k 

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/7J67cxKmyEgwrzbBZpmDn2 

‘It’s Okay’ official video https://youtu.be/mKjdYXIszYw   

‘It’s Okay’ live in studio https://youtu.be/YVYBFly7iT4   

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/64JjV5za2m5rDDg0YZiqLE 

Apple Music https://music.apple.com/ca/album/its-okay-single/1578534166  

Things We Don’t Talk About

I haven’t listened to any hype, press release, or reviews of the album Things We Don’t Talk About by Bonander. I wanted to come to this musical soundscape without any bias. It’s a good thing I did it this way because this album hit me like a wet mackerel across my face. 

https://music.apple.com/us/album/things-we-dont-talk-about/1571425751

So, here goes my interpretation of this album, along with a few quotes from the artist herself, Bonander.

The opening strains of music on the opening track have a beautiful layering and echo of voices along with what I interpret as a digital tape loop. It is a short and sweet introduction to what is about to unfold in track two.

Gone In The Wind opens with gentle singing and soft keys that build within the first chorus. Only to slam into me with percussion too strong to ignore within only a few lines. The vocal styling is more urgent on Gone In The Wind than on Never Ask, which is perfect because of the lyrics. There is an edge to walk carefully within Gone In The Wind. “People called you crazy; I just called you wild.”

Kris Kristofferson wrote a song with eerily similar lyrics and an equally dark story. “Some folks called him crazy, Lord, and others called him free.” Gone In The Wind is the album’s most dramatic track. It is about a toxic relationship with someone you counted on as a friend. The pipe organ and strings are the most dynamic instrumentation on the album. Bonander tells us that “The fact that I sing the song in two octaves represent that suppressed feeling of rage and frustration, that later in the song is set free.”

Track three is titled, Martha. Could it be John Lennon imagining something and doodling on the piano? Perhaps it is Martha My Dear, a tune from him and three other scouse lads. Wherever Martha originated is a silly game. This song, Martha, is an ingredient for road trips and coffee bars. Powerful, Bonanders voice rips through the music and demands to be heard. It pulses and moves with an intensity that keeps me hanging on and hitting repeat.

Ms. Mitchell is next up, and it resonated with me due to my appreciation for astronomy, an excellent addition to my universal playlist.

The next track is called Backseat, sonically it builds and builds and drowns us in the music of long car trips and us kids falling asleep in the backseat of the car. That was OK when we went with Mom; she had a Chevy Bel Air, and the back seat was comfortable and big enough for a couple of kids to pile onto and fall asleep. My Dad drove a Mercury pickup truck, and falling asleep in the back was almost impossible. I like the use of Swedish in the last chorus. I have never been to the land of my maternal grandparents. From conversations with family who have been there, it sounds like it would be similar to some of the long road trips that my family have taken in Canada.

Annie is an interesting song. I love the cello and the feeling of darkness in the music. Here is what Bonander tells us about this track.

“Generally, both “Annie” and the upcoming singles contain more vulnerability and resignation than the anger that the EP “It’s A Girl rather consisted of, an exploration. The music deals from a feminist perspective with questions that have no clear answers. Take Annie as an example: One of the first female snipers in the southern conservative United States. That is – she was badass. But she also liked armies and worked for a female army to be created. For example, she gave no support for female suffrage and probably lived according to other shabby values of her time. She was a human being, neither “good” nor “evil.”

Bonander explains: “The lyrics are about meeting Annie in a kind of mysterious dream and trying to understand her better and worse sides. I wonder what she was thinking! On the one hand, she spent her entire life proving that she could shoot “just like the men,” on the other, she thought it was important to maintain gender norms in other ways.”

Now, keeping true to the mystical and poetic storytelling that’s surrounding her, Bonander displays a more fragile side of her songwriting with the new single “Then I’m Dead.” The song is an honest description of one of the songwriter’s biggest fears, the lyrics speaking for themselves. Bonander explains:

“We create this absurd demand for us all to post a perfect exterior on social media, create our dream life, and that nothing is impossible as long as you work really hard. But that’s the point: things are impossible sometimes, and that’s OK. And there is this human worth in everyone, despite how many hours a day you work, or how flawless your Instagram profile is.”

Arranged for a pump organ and string quartet, an organic and fragile sound texture is laid before us. The delicate arrangement meeting intimate lyrics creates a dream-like quality that doesn’t feel entirely safe—like a soft breeze steadily growing into a restless storm. Bonander tells us: “You can hear the treading that keeps the organ alive. In the string quartet, I tried to fashion the idea of a machine that builds up into this train of semiquavers, like a machine that gets stuck on repeat. I had real fun working with these instruments.”

Mother described by Bonander:

“A chant for the most powerful force in this world. To my mother, to your mother, to everyone’s mother and their struggle, their emotional investment, their viability and the important time they’ve put into all of our lives. I sang this song live with a couple of friends in the church because motherhood is as close as a religion that I’ll get. I want to get that live feeling of a chant, a song you can sing together, and then make the electronic soundscape clash with the acoustic one at the end.”

I couldn’t have said it better. I have a lot of respect for mothers in general. And an extra shot of love for my Mom and my wife, who is also a mother to our son.

The album Things We Don’t Talk About gave me lots of things to talk about, even if it was me talking to myself or a keyboard. Bonander closes the album with the achingly beautiful Silent Lights and Ode. It couldn’t have been any other way. It is the perfect ending to an album that brought me close to tears while soaring with loving and longing memories.

Things We Don’t Talk About is released through the label Icons Creating Evil Art

https://www.instagram.com/bonandermusic/

https://www.facebook.com/bonandermusic

For all press enquiries, please contact

megan@mysticsons.com OR james@mysticsons.com

Moll & Zeis

Earth felt like it was moving from the moment this LP opened with the song Earth Moves. With age comes a different worldview. It is not necessarily accurate; however, it is never the less our take on how this world and its inhabitants move forward through time and circumstances.

David Long & Shane O’Neill have cultivated that field, and the result is this gorgeous album, Moll & Zeis. I have to be honest; I had no idea what a moll or a zeis were. A quick search on the internet revealed that a moll is a prostitute and a zeis is either a fortune teller or an instrument used to harvest with, in other words, a scythe. I lean towards the prostitute and fortune teller.


‘Dreams Come’ https://youtu.be/FQBxiZj8Ti4 
Bandcamp https://davidlong4.bandcamp.com/album/dreams-come-3-track-single
‘Far From Home’ https://youtu.be/nGfnDNGS3dE 
Bandcamp https://davidlong4.bandcamp.com/album/far-from-home-3-track-single 
Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/0jMTOqvfqigYXYlH5OpssZ 
Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/shack9/sets/far-from-home-david-long-shane 

I like concept albums, I have been threatening to write a blog about them, and this album might be the catalyst that gets that concept moving forward. Anyhow, back to the future, and we have Moll & Zeis to entertain us. An album that I will let David Long tell you more about.

“We wanted to make an album that could and should be listened to all the way through. It was 

an equal collaboration, Shane and myself have known each other so long that there was never 

a problem editing each other if something didn’t fit with the song. We had no time restrictions, or 

release dates to go by, so we took our time with this album and thought about every aspect of 

it,” says David Long.

I found that listening to this album was better when I heard it in one go. Each song can stand on its own, but the album has a continuity that flows—everything about it flows.

Sometimes, it flows in darker places, such as in the song Far From Home, where the author confesses that they are scared of what the future might bring. During this era of Covid, that is a genuine fear for millions of people. These songs could spiral into depressing dirges if it weren’t for David Long and Shane O’Neill wrapping the pieces in gorgeous music.

What kind of music is this? That’s a fair question. The answer isn’t easy. It dances around in pop-rock but isn’t as simple as that. The depth of production takes it up and above pop. Alternative is what Apple Music calls it. That is a reasonable tag, alternative it is.

Moll & Zeis deserve the opportunity to grow and develop. A lot is going on if we take the time to listen, focused listening. Moll & Zeis is not single-use and tossed into the bargain bin music. I have had at least a dozen go-rounds and still hear fresh nuances, and I am sure that will continue each time I listen to Moll & Zeis. It is ethereal music. I love it!

As of September 10, the ‘Moll & Zeis’ EP will be available across online platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp.

https://davidlong4.bandcamp.com/album/moll-zeis
https://open.spotify.com/album/5J99pn4sfP9ywxQyIWi9iR
Earth Moves https://youtu.be/emFlXb8zgAY

Moll & Zeis https://youtu.be/mhKqtu4YyCU

Keep up with David Long and Shane O’Neill

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‘Never Here Always There’

Keeley presents the live performance of ‘Never Here Always There’, recorded at the Workman’s Club as part of the Dublin Quays Festival. Here they get deep and trippy with a rendition of this track from the EP that veers off in an otherwise unexpected but delightful direction. Enjoy this live performance and the full debut EP.

‘Brave Warrior’ is now available everywhere online, including Spotify and Bandcamp.

FOR SHARING
‘Never Here Always There’ (live) https://youtu.be/fkweYxOTLBw 
‘Brave Warrior’ EP order https://orcd.co/keeleybravewarrior
Bandcamp https://keeleysound.bandcamp.com/album/brave-warrior-ep
‘You Never Made It That Far’ https://youtu.be/iG2UGWK87dU   
‘Never Here Always There’ https://youtu.be/HYYj6RtOZnU
‘The Glitter and the Glue’ https://youtu.be/NQf4Cvejq-8 
‘Last Words’ https://youtu.be/zQ-deYzBmBc 

Keep up with Keeley
Bandcamp | Facebook | Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | YouTube | Spotify | Press contact

Keep up with Dimple Discs
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