Friday, 25 April 2008
Stovepony Records bring us What’s Kickin’ Vol 3, the latest compilation featuring bands who’ve played at the What’s Cookin’ club nights in Leytonstone. This enterprise run by Stephen Ferguson and his partner Ali, has been going for four years now in a series of venues in Walthamstow and Leytonstone and there have been many cracking nights along with a one-day festival last summer.
Stephen puts the compilations together along with Bucketfull contributor Gerry Ranson. They’re always good value and provide a good snapshot of the roots bands currently playing around the London pub circuit and beyond. There’s always some exclusive tracks and always some surprises.
This selection keeps up the good work, moving through the punked-up country of Some Dogs through the garage wildness of The Fabulous Penetrators to the differing bluegrass stylings of Southern Tenant Folk Union and Hayman Watkins Trout & Lee. There’s a trio of more pop-tinged tunes in The Epstein’s ‘Hudson’, The Shivers’ ‘Sweet Little Cheat’ and the Byrdsy ‘Friends Like Me’ from Cusack.
They had a launch party the other night over at the Sleepwalk and about seven of the bands played. That followed on from a similar night a couple of weeks back to raise money for Love Music Hate Racism. On that occasion Alan Tyler, Danny Wilson, and Pete Molinari all appeared but the stand-out set came from Steven Adams of the Broken Family Band. Steven played a set of covers from folk like Akron/Family, Clem Snide, Smog (‘Feather By Feather’), Will Oldham (‘No Gold Digger’) and the superb Knife In The Water (‘Nevada Spider’).
Posted by Nick Bob at 17:07
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Sunday afternoon saw the latest of the Bucketfull Of Brains/Turning Worm shows at the Worlds End in Camden.Previous shows have been impressive and this kept up the high standards. We had the Outdoor Types, Instant Flight, and Mary Epworth and The Jubilee Band, and everyone played cracking sets.
Everything started a bit late as certain gentlemen were feeling the effects of two consecutive twenty-hour days at the Camden Crawl, However once the Outdoor Types got going no-one cared about the wait. There’s a fine mixture of psych, folk, and proper pop music to them. Luke Novak is an excellent frontman and Laura Forbes mixes it up nicely jumping between keyboards and violin. It was good to hear their Shoenfelt-esque single ‘Jangler Swifteye’ performed live along with the somewhat perverse ‘The Doll Enthusiast’.
They were followed by the psychedelic wonders that are Instant Flight. Despite Marco Magnani being sick as a dog and hiding in the car for much of the afternoon when it came to the show they gave it all up. A mixture of songs from 2004’s Colours And Lights album – ‘Top Of The Mountain’ and ‘Freeway’ – and newer songs from the soon-coming Endless Journey. Most enjoyable of the latter was perhaps ‘Get Away’ where Lucie Rejchrtova leaves off her keyboards and blows a mean harmonica in a style once prevalent on tiny Hamburg stages when the world was young.
Last up was Mary Epworth and her Jubilee Band – Will, Aster, Horse and Andy. This was to be the launch of their new single –‘The Saddle Song’ - and thus it was, though owing to trouble at the pressing plant there weren’t any copies. Anyway you can hear it at their MySpace and they played it live as well. It’s a classic folk rock tune with a lovely sway, percussion and (on the record) a rustic brass band behind. They also played ‘Six Kisses’ and ‘Black Doe’ , an autoharp was exercised and Horse played some banjo behind his head, Hendrix-style, though the lighter fuel never came out.
Posted by Nick Bob at 15:44
Saturday, 19 April 2008
A record I've been listening to lots over the last couple of months is the Danny And The Champions Of The World record. This is Danny from Grand Drive along with various members of Brakes, Electric Soft Parade, and Goldrush, and sometimes live with Romeo from the Magic Numbers. It's a lovely, summery, rustic sounding set of tunes with lots of acoustic instruments, percussion, strings, woodwinds, and unidentified jew’s harp-like sounds. They're open-ended, permitting onstage extension and extemporisation; songs that feel no rush to bid their leave.
Dan's been performing them all over the place. He's been lighting out for the territories in his camper van, playing to anyone who'll have him. The band resemble the Passing Show or the Rolling Thunder Review.
Last night the album got launched down at the Windmill in Brixton. Fun evening with The See See and Indigo Moss playing too. The See See were excellent. Their meld of folk, psychedelia, and fine guitar playing - Richard Olson on an acoustic 12 string, Pete Greenwood on electric - is really taking shape and they've some memorable songs - 'Half A Man And A Horse's Head' come to mind.
When Dan took the stage - following a cheese auction - he was alone in his poncho and painted face mask strumming the guitar but gradually the rest of the band appeared out of the audience with tambourines and trumpets and more. Songs off the album like 'The Truest Kind', 'Red Tree Song' and 'I Still Believe' grew into Dead-like improvisations while Allen Ginsberg danced on the screen behind. Blissful.
Posted by Nick Bob at 13:42
Friday, 18 April 2008
Talking of Fatal Shore here's the review of their recent Real World album that I did for Rock'n'Reel magazine.
"Fatal Shore is a trio of exiles based in Central Europe. Australians Bruno Adams and Chris Hughes were in Once Upon A Time whose majestic ‘Planetarium’ was recently covered by Mick Harvey. Yorkshireman Phil Shoenfelt has a long, diverse history that began with Khmer Rouge in early 80s New York. For their third album Real World they are joined by multi-instrumentalist and arranger Yoyo Rohm and a string section.
This Real World is certainly dark and intense. Its soundtrack combines something of the cabaret and something of the Australian gothic, taking in blues, soul, and balladry. A profound seriousness is reflected in Shoenfelt’s precise enunciated vocals, contrasting with those of Adams who tends to the slightest of country inflections.
Roiling, grunge-like frenzies such as ‘Rainy Sunday Morning’ and ‘Train Song’, sit next to beautiful serene pieces like the Cohenesque ‘Faithless’, the tender ‘Out Of The Sea’, and the reading of Brel’s ‘If You Go Away’. A Mariachi element (and a touch of Wise Blood) pervades ‘Blind Jesus’ while gypsy music accompanies both the tale of ‘Vivi The Flea’ and the opener ‘Black Venus’ which borrows its tune from the traditional gypsy song ‘Khamoro’."
It's out on AMBOSS RECORDINGS
Posted by Nick Bob at 11:10
Last up was Phil Shoenfelt, accompanied by Pavel Cingl who'd been in Southern Cross with him and plays fine violin and mandolin. Their Live At The House Of Sin was recorded live in Prague in December 2007 and features a mix of Phil's solo songs, Fatal Shore songs, and a few other things too. Many highlights but my faves on the night were 'Twisted', 'Saviour's Day' and 'Damage'.
Posted by Nick Bob at 10:47
Next up was Mark Hulholland. I was put on to Mark by Nikki Sudden who reviewed one of his records for us many moons ago. Mark lives in Berlin and plays in a band called Two Dollar Bash. But tonight he's launching his new solo double CD on Easy Action. It's appropriate because half the album was recorded live at the 12 Bar in 2005. He's accompanied tonight on drums and percussion by Chris Hughes out of Fatal Shore - and once of Once Upon A Time Mark's originally from Scotland and has one of those gentle almost whispered voices accompanied to great effect by acoustic 12 string guitar.
The new record's called The Devil On The Stairs and there are a lot of songs from it tonight; along with the new '66 Dylan-y 'Departure Lounge Blues' and Epic Soundtracks' 'Something New Under The Sun'.
Posted by Nick Bob at 10:34
The last Monday of March saw three of our favourite singers all together in one place and all launching new albums.
We don't go to the 12 Bar Club as often as we used to but it's always a pleasure when the opportunity arises. And thus happened when Jason McNiff, Mark Mulholland, and Phil Shoenfelt all converged on the place.
McNiff's got a kind of greatest hits collection out - In My Time - with songs from all his albums and a few new ones too. He got to kick off with a short set entirely made up of songs from it with the exception of his cover of 'Famous Blue Raincoat'. It was very short actually and he didn't get to do his beautiful epic signature song 'Off The Rails'. Fortunately he'd done it the night before at Come Down And Meet The Folks where he'd also done Sally Timms' 'Horses'. A week later I caught him at the Windmill in Brixton where another new addition to his repertoire was 'The Lakes Of Pontchatrain' learnt he says off a live Dylan video.
Posted by Nick Bob at 10:09
Friday, 4 April 2008
Mick Jones must be the happiest man in the world. He smiles so much. No matter who he gets up to play with, he loves it.
Friday night was the sixth Carbon Casino and the second one I’d been to. Last time I got John Cooper Clarke and Tymon Dogg and that produced a pretty good; ‘Junco Partner’ with Tymon on fiddle, but last night we hit paydirt.
I was stood outside waiting for the queue to abate, reading the Independent arts bit, and texting girls in New York. Then my pal Tracy jumped out the door and started looking down the line. She runs up to me and says “I have to take this man inside to help me talk to Pete Wylie”. And I’m bundled up the stairs and “What can I ask Pete?”
Well that’s pretty easy 'cos questions to Wylie write themselves, but me and him go back to 4AD days and the prospect of seeing him again was great. So I tell her and then pick up a wristband and a glass of red wine.
Inside we grab a perch up the front stage left. There’s a whole bunch of bands tonight, not quite the projected 10 but close. Mainly young like the Sandinistas with their cracking guitarist named Francis. Then Adam Masterson gets up and sings his take on ‘Gates Of The East’ and, joined by Jon Byrne, ‘Waterloo Sunset’. Everyone gets quite emotional.
Then it’s Carbon Silicon time. Another fine set from them. I never get over hearing Tony James doing ‘Reason To Believe’, and what would Timmy think? Pete Wylie sings ‘Come Back’ and stays up with band for ‘Stay Free’; always one of my fave Clash songs, and it turns out Robin Banks is backstage too.
Posted by Nick Bob at 17:54
This is a new blog for a new Bucketfull Of Brains, though in many respects it resembles the old one quite closely. Many of the same writers, most of the same concerns, quite a few of our still favourite bands, and a retention of our, sometimes, willful obscurity.
It’s been a few months since #71 appeared and we have since then been looking at ways we can ensure both regularity and security. It’s been no secret that for a while the mag has been financially unstable. When Nigel founded it, and when Jon was running it at six issues a year, it sold through music distributors. Over the last few years many of these have gone out of business; those that remain aren’t interested in the relatively low profit margins of magazines. At the same time magazine distributors aren’t that interested in ‘occasionals’, and if they are they don’t have their interests at heart and end up running them into the ground. Comes With A Smile being a good example of this.
We’ve therefore looked for another way. And over the next couple of months that other way will manifest itself. But in the meantime this site will act as a conduit for information and hopefully will be of interest in its own right.
Posted by Nick Bob at 17:51