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 drove through New York state and loved every kilometre of the journey. There were scenic and historical rest areas all along the highways and byways. However, we didn’t stop for a proper visit in New York, city or state. That leaves the door open for us to return and take in at least some of what we missed driving through New York.
We didn’t encounter any Ghosts of New York State. On the other hand, I enjoy listening to Ghosts of New York State, the new single released today by Will Graefe and Jeremy Gustin, who make beautiful music under the nom de plume Star Rover.
“The seed of ‘Ghosts of New York State‘ began with the fingerpicked riff, which alternates between 6/4 and 7/4 meters throughout. We wanted this song to communicate the numb and dislocated feeling of the words while maintaining a propulsive groove and nervous energy. The burst of colour in the middle represents a kind of blinding epiphany. This song is about family and the weight we carry, sometimes unknowingly and unconsciously. The end mantra is ” The ghost, the host. The ghost, my host,” says Will Graefe.
There is also an excellent video based on the song Ghosts of New York State:
I will give a broader account of Star Rover on October 15, when the LP will be released. As of August 31, ‘Ghosts of New York State‘ will be available across digital platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. The ‘Star Rover‘ LP will be released on October 15 and pre-ordered via Bandcamp.
Summer is here, and I enjoy sitting in my zero gravity chair on the deck with my earbuds which is delivering The Gorstey Lea Street Choir to the musical part of my brain. It then fires off a ton of signals and brain triggers to let the rest of my brain register this as a good thing.
The Gorstey Lea Street Choir are Michael Clapham and Russ Phillips, and they have delivered a smash hit with their new album, … from Prince’s Park to Farsley – VolumeI. That Volume I part sent my heart a fluttering. Judging by how good Volume I is, I can’t wait to hear Volume II. Way back in May, I was gushing over how good their teaser songs were, and I commented that I would be marking July 9 on my calendar, the day their album was to be released. Well, it was in my mail on July 9, just like promised, so where was I when I should have been writing this blog. I was listening to … from Prince’s Park to Farsley – Volume I over and over again. I was in hook, line and sinker.
I don’t know how I add anything more to that. I highly recommend this recording, but be warned, you can’t stop at one listen. The music is powerful, the vocals are spot on, and the lyrics speak to everyone. They swing from dark and brooding to bright and excited. Their songs have maturity and reflect the friendship they have enjoyed for over 35 years. The music in this recording is smooth as silk which highlights the many, many hours spent practising.
THE GORSTEY LEA STREET CHOIR has knocked my socks off. This album was guided by a production dream team involving GAVIN MONAGHAN (Robert Plant, Editors, Squeeze), GEORGE SHILLING (Blur, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub) and Ride’s MARK GARDENER, with CHOQUE HOSEIN (Black Star Liner) electronically re-envisioning four of these tracks.
Manchester-based Caulbearers present ‘Solid Supposedfeaturing Somerset-based vocalist Ruth Blake, with haunting vocals and multi-layered delivery, perfectly resonating with the dream-like, otherworldly theme of the lyrics. The vocals bathed in distortion and delay, accompanied by Caulbearers signature horns, strings and live breakbeats.
The stunning B-side to their single ‘Burst Through The Borders’, a different version of this song was released on the ‘More Lie Deep’ EP (2011), In this rendition, frontman Damien Mahoney‘s vocals are switched out for Blake’s. This is part of an ongoing collaboration between the two artists, Mahoney also having produced her recently-released single ‘Brave Ships’ single.
Influenced by modern, urban existence and celebrating the sacred in the everyday and the supposedly mundane, the song’s lyrics for ‘Burst Through The Borders’ were inspired by dreaming of a beautiful revolution occurring in the markets, pubs, boardrooms, hospitals and schools of our towns and cities. The fantastic cover artwork was created by James Roper.
Shot almost entirely on mobile phones during the Covid 19 epidemic and under various states of lockdown restrictions in 2020, the accompanying video depicts eerily empty scenes of Manchester, the Blackburn countryside and the Norfolk coastline. This collaboration between Mahoney and editor / animator James Stirzaker is rooted in a long history of working with the band, including artwork for the ‘Over Comes A Cloud’ single (December 2020). As in the song, the natural world with its mysteries, wisdom and wonder, is the main protagonist.
“I wanted to capture all these locations at such a unique time when everything felt so different, to help tell the story of a song that imagines great transformations of our societies, spaces, cultures and of ourselves,” says Damian Mahoney.
“As a species, we have so many difficult challenges to find solutions for, that it can feel overwhelming to know where and how to start. I wanted to write something that had total faith in the possibility of change, in the ability to transcend the complexities of our modern lives with simplicity. The song imagines this energy of love flooding through the world and transforming the institutions and purposes of our societies and our lives. By its nature, it dismantles the barriers that cause hardship for so many and the borders that separate us from each other.”
Caulbearers was formed in 2007 with contributors from around the UK and Europe. A DIY ethic has coursed through the band’s work from releases, design and production to the recording process. This hybrid ensemble blends diverse musical styles, fusing them together live and in the studio, weaving nu jazz and folk with elements of hip-hop, funk, dub, soul and afrobeat.
CREDITS Written, produced & edited by Damien Mahoney Rhythm and guitar tracks recorded at Airtight Studios in Manchester Vocal & instrument recording by Damien Mahoney at his Padded Cell studio Mixed by Seadna Mcphail Mastered by Jim Spencer at Eve Mastering in Greater Manchester Video directed by James Stirzaker & Damien Mahoney Filmed by Elizabeth Murphy, Damien Mahoney, James Stirzaker, Elia Santini, Richard Smith and Amii Priestley Video editing & post-production by James Stirzaker Single cover artwork by James Roper Photos by Jan Schoof. Collages by James Stirzaker
I love it when some new music comes along, and it gobsmacks me right square in my face. Well, that happened to me this week. The artist in question goes by the moniker The Academy of Sun; quiet a mouthful ain’t it! They are a psychedelic post-punk quartet anchored around Nick Hudson on piano, synths, Hammond organ, harmonium, vocals, percussion, synths. Along with the rock-solid accompaniment of Kianna Blue on bass and synths. Guy Brice treats us to his guitar playing, and Ash Babb keeps it rock steady on percussion. This 7″ release from Heaven’s Lathe follows the sonic holiday of their 2020 album The Quiet Earth, which I highly recommend you to give a listen.
The A-side of this recording, ‘It Is Finished When It’s Destroyed,’ comes at us as a two for the price of one recording. It makes a grand entrance with smooth as silk synths and builds on that into soaring vocals that segues into staccato percussion and harmonious vocals. The second section sees Hudson’s keening vocal riding over the percussion of floor toms and more synths. Mixed by acclaimed US producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Danny Elfman, Earth, Mandy OST), the attention to detail and the tasteful placement of sounds make it all work together for one heck of a good song. The flipside ‘Ghost Foxes‘ opens with the rat-a-tat of drums and rapid-fire singing from Nick Hudson that left me tired just listening to. These two tracks present The Academy of Sun as a band going places.
“The first The Academy Of Sun track I’ve written since finishing writing ‘The Quiet Earth’ in 2018, this is an aquaplaning freight train of psychedelia and snarl – with the second part endlessly modulating over a skittery, syncopated drum pattern and Mariana Trench-plumbing synths. Whether it is lyrically directed at the heinous cabal of xenophobic disaster capitalists currently holed up in UK parliament remains to be seen (it is),” says Nick Hudson.
“‘Ghost Foxes’ was written for ‘The Quiet Earth,’ but never felt “right” until we were asked to create this release. A satire on esotericism, boasting yet another Herzog quote and some mesmerizing guitar tones from our plank-wielder, Guy Brice, ‘Ghost Foxes’ was always riotous to play live, and will be again.”
On Friday, July 2 at 6 PM BST, Heaven’s Lathe will be releasing this on a 7″ lathe-cut vinyl through Heaven’s Lathe on Bandcamp.
This black hand-numbered 7″ high-quality stereo lathe-cut vinyl features an engraved Heavens Lathe logo, a 230gsm sleeve, black inner sleeve and PVC protective sleeve. Ships within a white poly-lined inner paper sleeve and a ‘lathe cut’ care card include digital download. Otherwise, these tracks will be available digitally in mid-August.
Written by Nick Hudson, arranged by The Academy Of Sun:
Nick Hudson, Guy Brice, Kianna Blue, Ash Babb
Vocals & synths recorded by Nick Hudson at The Lament Configuration.
Bass recorded by Kianna Blue at Alfie Towers.
A side guitars/drums recorded by Joseph Thorpe at Brighton Electric.
B side drums recorded by Paul Pascoe at Church Road Studios, Hove.
A side mixed by Randall Dunn at Circular Ruin Studios NYC.
B side mixed by Paul Pascoe at Church Road Studios Hove.
Mastered by Randall Dunn at Circular Ruin Studios NYC.
Artwork & layout by Ash Babb, Cover painting by Nick Hudson.
All lathe cutting and engineering are by Michael Lawrence.
Ender Bender, aka Eddie Olguin, has Bewildered me on his new EP. Don’t get me wrong; I Have A Good Time listening to it. It has helped me Reconnect with summer, it was a bit late arriving, but I feel we are entering a New Era. I put this new EP on the virtual turntable and let the music Talk to Me.
Summer is upon us, which means driving around the local countryside and visiting some folks we have not seen since pre-Covid. We have had our second shot, and we still practice personal protection guidelines.
While we are out cruising, we like listening to some tunes, and this EP from Ender Bender, New Era, is just the prescription for some summer fun. With the temperatures hovering just below 30c, I think I’ll leave the top up and the A/C on, but we can still listen to this summer fun EP.
As Ender Bender, Eddie Olguin has served us a fun flashback to the synth-laden days of New Wave summers and jumping for retro joy. I heard a bit of this band over here—a bit of that band over there. And plenty of original fresh sounding music all over the place.
Eddie Olguin, in his own words: “Most of the music I have been listening to has a fun-retro 80s vibe, which served as the perfect distraction from the reality we were dealing with. This inspired me to create an EP that would also serve as an escape for others while positively touching upon the things we were forced to face, like the importance of friends and family and of truly leaving behind the petty bullshit that takes over our daily existence – we simply need to enjoy the beauty of life,”
Enjoy the beauty of life indeed, and while doing that, enjoy the beauty of this EP.
Have a Good Time 4:10
New Era 3:59
Talk to Me 4:15
That adds up to 18 minutes and 44 seconds of fun in the sun. Put it in a playlist and listen to it again. Make a mixtape for the road and listen to a New Era, a New Era for Ender Bender and five new tunes for you to kick up your summer fun.
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.
Summertime and the living is easy. I have been spending a good chunk of my day on the deck listening to music. I also watch clouds drift past on their way to who knows where.
I recently listened to ‘Transit Tapes’ (for women who move furniture around) by Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys.
I found it challenging to write this blog; I couldn’t stop listening long enough to write. So I am sitting at my desk as I write this, and my whole body is in revolt. My head is bobbing in sync with the music. My foot keeps time like a metronome. My fingers want to make chord shapes on the guitar instead of word shapes on the computer.
As with most other humans, one of the first things I do when I hear new music is to try and find a reference in my memory bank to something I have heard before. I play the who does this sound like game.
Nick Cave? Highly probable, Lucy Kruger cites Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as an influence, so that makes sense.
Jennifer Warnes? Only a little bit.
Neko Case? More than Jennifer Warnes but not definitive.
Margo Timmins? Yeah, I can hear a good bit of cross-over with The Cowboy Junkies. Check out, Sweet Jane or Misguided Angel. Are they dopplgangers? No, but they are similar.
At the end of the day, Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys sound like Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys. Go figure, eh!
Lucy Kruger has an ethereal voice that fits like a dovetail joint with The Lost Boys. This project is the first time Kruger has worked with drummer Martin Perret, guitarist Liú Mottes and bassist Andreas Miranda, who form The Lost Boys. The depth that The Lost Boys add is apparent in the dramatic soundscape heard in A Paper Boat or the slow rumbling climb on A Stranger’s Chest.
I would encourage you, the reader and listener, to search out what you can on the internet about Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys. Here are a few good starting points.
While reading what you can find about the journey that took Lucy Kruger to this point in time, I would encourage listening to her music. I would even promote listening to her back catalogue to listen to that journey and how it contributed to ‘Transit Tapes’ (for women who move furniture around).
This album scores an insanely high 9.5 out of ten which is rarefied air.
Buy it, listen to it. Listen to it in transit on your summer vacation. Listen to it while moving furniture around. Listen to it once, and I will boldly bet that you will want to listen to it again and again. I know I did.
While reading what you can about Lucy Kruger, I would encourage listening to her back catalogue and how that contributed to ‘Transit Tapes’ (for women who move furniture around).
‘Transit Tapes’ (for women who move furniture around) will be released by Unique Records on June 4th, 2021 wherever fine music is available.
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
I have found over time that some music grows better with time. Some music starts mediocre and doesn’t rise much above that, or below for that matter. And there is some music like the new offering from Pennies by the Pound, Heat Death of the Universe‘, that keeps sounding unique and exciting each time I listen to it.
Hailing from Helsinki, Pennies by the Pound was formed in 2016 by Johannes Susitaival as a solo project, but it quickly became a three-piece involving musicians from his past bands.
Vesa Ranta – lead guitar, rhythm guitar Tomi Laaksonen – bass guitar Rauli Eskolin – additional keyboards, background vocals on track 6 Alexander Meaney – additional lead guitar on track 5 Kaisa Ranta – additional vocals on tracks 3 and 7, background vocals on track 6.
Musically this is very much a prog-rock album, but it is more than that. It is also a rock album, just rock. It also gets filed under indie rock. It has grinding guitar riffs, soaring synth passages and heavy, heavenly choruses. It touches on punk and post-punk as well. My goodness, this album is a treasure trove full of gold. Johannes Susitaival; “This album is rooted in the fact that I became heavily interested in ’80s Marillion a few years ago, especially the ‘Clutching at Straws‘ LP. You can definitely hear the influence on the record, but there’s a lot of ’80s Rush too, spiced up with contemporary influences like Muse and Radiohead. I love prog and being a good Canuck I will admit that I really like Rush, all the years. Lyrically, well, I’ll step aside and let Johannes Susitaival you. “Lyrically, there is a loose theme on the album about the way people continue to actually socially distance themselves from others (even without or before the pandemic) due to the influence of social media and maybe the internet in general. The album title is a nod to that, the “heat death of the universe” being the lack of and eventual end of real-life social connections between people,” says Johannes Susitaival.
“As an artist, I’ve always been hesitant to make records that sound the same as the previous ones I’ve done, so the sound keeps evolving,” says Johannes Susitaival. “I wanted to make a record that is borderline ridiculous, in some ways, and definitely not very contemporary. Then again, for the first time in my life, I had a chance to work with a producer, whose work I have admired since the turn of the millennium and this definitely influenced the album and its sound”. The ‘Heat Death of the Universe‘ album is out as of May 21. It can be obtained directly from the band via Bandcamp and the standard platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.