Thursday, 30 September 2010

Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 - Northern Aggression

More background on Northern Aggression

Steve Wynn - Northern Aggression

Here's 'Resolution' the first track made available from Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3's new album Northern Aggression out on Yep Roc in the USA and Blue Rose in Europe in November. Steve told me a couple of months ago that this record was really psychedelic - hard to disagree with that. Roll on Knust!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Jeremy Gluck & Marc Jeffrey - 12 Bar update and freebies

Michael Bayliss who played in a number of line-ups of The Saints with Chris Bailey will be joining Jeremy Gluck and Marc Jeffrey tomorrow night at The 12 Bar Club.

In a very generous offer the proprietor of Another Cowboy, who in the late 1980 released Marc Jeffrey's Playtime in this country, has provided a number of copies of the UK vinyl release as gifts for early attendees. Approach me, cross my palm with silver, or purchase a copy of Bucketfull Of Brains, and I will hand one over to you. When these have been dispersed there will be further copies available at very affordable prices.

Jeremy Gluck and Marc Jeffrey with Michael Bayliss
Amanda Ray
A late set from Trent Miller

Tues 28th September
8.00 PM

12 Bar Club
Denmark Street


Friday, 24 September 2010

Jeremy Gluck and Marc Jeffrey - The Trashing The Ash Show - Tues 28th Sept

Making up for the abortive show in April Barracuda JEREMY GLUCK and MARC JEFFREY of the Band Of Outsiders liven up the London autumn. Also on the bill are AMANDA RAY and ROSELANDS.

TRENT MILLER plays a late set

...JEREMY GLUCK served his apprenticeship as a an artist with seven years in renowned band The Barracudas, whose music is more beloved and popular now than ever, which latter claim backed up recently with the reissue of major UK indie Cherry Red of six of the band's albums. Their debut (EMI, 1981) "Drop Out" is considered a seminal, classic second wave garage release and was lately reissued by EMI in a deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition. Having split in 1984, the band reformed in 1989 and 2005, the last reformation seeing the release of perhaps their best album, an eponymous integration of all their styles and energies.

Upon leaving The Barracudas Jeremy Gluck was involved with working with French labels and artists (The Barracudas were and remain very popular across Europe). Then arrived a great opportunity that was the beginning of a now flourishing solo career. For a long time Jeremy had been friends with Nikki Sudden (ex-Swell Maps) and they had long discussed collaboration. In late 1986 Nikki called to say that he and what constituted a cult all-star line-up ( ) were finishing some recording and would Jeremy like to add some days to make an album with Nikki's cohort.

The resulting album, "I Knew Buffalo Bill", released in 1987 and featuring Jeremy, Nikki and Epic Soundtracks (Swell Maps, Crime & The City Solution, These Immortal Souls), Rowland S. Howard (Birthday Party, These Immortal Souls) & Jeffrey Lee Pierce (Gun Club), has been lauded ever since, cited by many European musicians as a key influence, been reissued on CD three times and is now the subject of Spanish deluxe double vinyl reissue by Munster Records.

"Burning Skulls Rise, an EP in similar styles to the more quirky and intense "Buffalo Bill" was out in '88; its title track has since been covered by Lydia Lunch, and used in a film soundtrack.

At this point a young family and other factors intruded and Jeremy took time out. Barracudas reissues came and went, there were some compilation tracks and obscure singles, but largely Jeremy focused on his other passion, writing, finding some success as a novelist and working as a journalist for some of the UK's foremost titles, such as The Guardian.

With the purchase of his first computer Jeremy embarked on an adventure in underground sound, adopting the name "Datawhore" to make a large body of guerilla electronic music, the gradual sophistication of which has led to numerous digital releases and some high-rpofile collaborations, for example with Bad Seed Mick Harvey, and Metal urban founder Eric Debris.

In late 2008, through Facebook, Jeremy came into contact with Marty Thau, whose Red Star Records stewarded Suicide to the world, a band revolutionary as their label's Maoist icon. This meeting eventuated a collaboration that has changed Jeremy's fortunes. and made possible the meaningful transition he sought from legacy cult artist to current creative maverick.

For ten years and more Jeremy has waited to be able to make the music he can now, and its excellence, in part due to his collaborators' gifts, is obvious. The Carbon Manual, based in Bristol, is some of the best recorded work he has done.

The "Whisper" EP, brings together some amazing mixes of one amazing song. Brendon Moeller, Dub Gabriel, Lola Dutronic and Amurgit - not to mention Marty Thau and Martin Rev - are all featured on mixes that go from future punk to retro pop.

And further work with Dave Fuglewicz, The Strone, Brendon Moeller and Dub Gabriel is the new future Jeremy Gluck is writing. At his greatest creative power to date, Jeremy Gluck is younger than yesterday.

MARC JEFFREY is perhaps best known for being a founding member of BAND OF OUTSIDERS, formed in New York City's East Village in 1980.

Band of Outsiders were formed in New York City’s East Village in October 1980. While playing the downtown club circuit (Max’s Kansas City, CBGB, A7 etc), the band recorded and released its debut single “Done Away” b/w “Tote Bag Ladies” in 1981. Not long after, a set at the Mudd Club caught the attention of Ivan Kral. The former Patti Smith guitarist produced studio recordings of the band during 1982-84. During this time the band played larger NYC venues (Irving Plaza, Danceteria, Peppermint Lounge, etc), and began performing regularly out of town throughout the DC-Boston corridor.

In late 1983, ZigZag magazine editor Kris Needs came to NYC as press agent with Specimen, the house band for the London club, the Batcave. As part of the Specimen’s US launch, a Batcave night was held in NYC at Irving Plaza, featuring Band of Outsiders (who Needs had been a fan of since the first single), and another NYC band, Certain General. Soon after, the two groups put out an album that featured both bands live and in the studio, followed by a joint tour. The album, titled Far Away in America, was released in April 1984 on the groups’ own newly-constituted Sourmash Records label. Needs’ liner notes evangelized the music and outlined the rest of the plan: following a string of gigs in the Northeast, the bands traveled to the UK for a series of London-area shows. Kral-produced sessions from June 1984 were released in the UK on an ep titled Up The River, and in France, along with some 1983 Kral sessions, on an LP titled Everything Takes Forever. Both releases were well received, and as a result the Outsiders would spend much of 1985 touring the UK and Europe and recording in France. April 1985, self-produced sessions in Paris yielded the ep Longer than Always. In October in NYC and November in Paris the group recorded tracks for its album Act of Faith. Throughout 1985 the group was generating rave reviews for its releases and performances in the UK and Europe. And Act of Faith, eventually released over a year after being completed, was hailed in UK fanzines like Bucketfull of Brains and Sounds as a masterpiece.

In mid-1987, the band self-released an expanded American version (including tracks from Longer than Always), titled Acts of Faith. Thereafter they left for what would be their final European tour, at the end of which they went separate ways. Back in the US, Acts of Faith continued to garner rave reviews in fanzines. On November 11, 1988 the group played a farewell show at CBGB. It was recorded and released as Armistice Day by Nocturnal Records in the US and Conviction Records in the UK. The set included a guest appearance by Nikki Sudden, and the album featured liner notes by the Barracudas’ Jeremy Gluck. In April 1999, the band re-grouped for one show, celebrating the 25th anniversary of CBGBs, on a bill with Certain General and the Fleshtones.

In October 2008, the group reformed to play a special benefit show, to help raise money for a liver transplant for Bush Tetras' original bassist, Laura Kennedy. This time they have continued playing, and writing/recording new music.

Read more:

Italian by birth but now residing in London, TRENT MILLER has been described as the Pete Doherty of the Americana movement. However, with his wistful acid-bite lyrics, mournful, chilling melodies and outlaw, renegade posture, a more suitable comparison might be to that of Gene Clark or Jeffrey Lee Pierce (The Gun Club).

His original mix of gothic and avant-country have seen the singer-songwriter gain a growing cult following in the underground folk scene since he first brought his music to London in late 2006.

Trent Miller’s debut album CERBERUS is released on his own Hangman Records label and contains fourteen self composed songs performed by Trent alone, just guitar, harmonica and voice and is already gaining wide acclaim for his brand of gothic inspired country.

The record is a one way journey on a railroad heading straight to Hell, an opiate-induced nightmare populated with junkies, hopeless losers and demons that has been described as ‘music for dancing on a grave’.

Trent and his band are currently working on a new album, WELCOME TO INFERNO VALLEY.

The extraordinary debut album by English singer/songwriter AMANDA RAY has already garnered favourable comparisons with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Janis Ian, not to mention Ray's own muse, the late Elliot Smith. Drenched in melody and melancholy, and stirringly produced by Jude Rawlins, this eponymous release has "instant classic" written all over it.

Dark, mysterious, fragile, existential... Amanda Ray's haunting songs are imbued with a deep lyrical imagery and a passionate heart. They are delivered by Ray with a raw beauty that lands somewhere between Karen Dalton and Sandy Denny, although she is also capable of edging into the sheer emotional firepower of Janis Joplin or Stevie Nicks. The performances are gift-wrapped in Ray's own spectacularly delicate southpaw guitar picking, ensuring that these songs are literally possessed by pagan folk wisdom and heartbreaking confession.

ROSELANDS are a soulful acoustic band formed by Glasgow singer-songwriter Mark McLaughlin, guitarist/vocalist James Byron and double-bass player Pete Rawlings. Recently joined by Simon Hulme on guitar and harmonies, the four piece are already earning plaudits on the live circuit. Soulful vocals, sweet three part harmonies, warm intricate guitars and double bass combine with accordion, mandolin, piano, cello and fiddle to produce crafted narrative songs which evoke thoughts of classic and contemporary acoustica - Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn and Patty Griffin. 'Faded Postmark', Roselands' debut album, was released this year, packed with songs of faded postmarks and Lowell George postcards. Of dreams of Kerouac and Brautigan and old John Muir. Of light falling on a girl like the sun shone just for her... These are songs which take you from rain dirty Glasgow streets through California, Iona, the islands and London's hand-painted skies

12 Bar Club
Denmark Street

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Life Is Too Short To Be Listening To Shitty Music – The End Of The Road 2010

Without a shadow of a doubt it’s the nicest festival in the UK today (Barry Stilwell’s Tapestry runs it close) and despite some serious hiccups over the last couple of years I’ve now been to four in a row. First attracted by the Howe Gelb-curated Friday night in 2007 and then rewarded with a classic Giant Sand performance on the Sunday it’s continued to be a source of surprise, delight and reward.

The Larmer Tree Gardens with their lawns and hedges, peacocks, sylvan grottoes, and illuminated trees create an enchanting setting and the easy-going atmospheres on the camp sites and in the late bars make for a relaxing ambience. It’s a part of the country that seems a world away from the craziness, and the vistas on the approach are magnificent. Add to that the strong likelihood of unexpectedly running into old friends, and End Of The Road truly seems the ultimate hour for magic.

The site now opens on the Thursday afternoon and estimates suggest almost half the punters arrived that day. Consequently for many to get into The Tipi Tent and see Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell proved impossible. Having left West London just after the rush hour we arrived at the site early Friday afternoon but despite our best intentions failed to see either CW Stoneking or Charlie Parr. Thus my first must-see became The Trembling Bells, but after a ramble across the site bumping into various Wolf People and Rockingbirds the first port of call was the circus tent and a bit of Elliott Brood. A couple of fairly raucous songs from the Canadian string band, ‘Write It All Down For You’ and ‘Oh Alberta’ made a good start to the afternoon before Lavinia Blackwall and company called from The Local.

In what’s been a vintage year for new releases right across the spectrum I do think Abandoned Love is my favourite record of the year, and the Bells do seem very capable of becoming the key band, the Fairports if you will, of this generation of folk-imbued musos. I’m yet to see the Bells absolutely bring off live what they achieve on disc but that doesn’t mean their shows aren’t always impressive. Today is no exception sounding at times beautiful and other times almost ear-aching as the PA couldn’t cope with a perhaps over- expressive bass sound. They begin with the gorgeous ‘Just As The Rainbow’ and in no time Lavinia’s wondrous voice is soaring. There’s another intriguing song in ‘All My Favourite Mistakes’, very guitar heavy in an impressive vintage Clapton-like style, and at least two from Abandoned Love; the glorious ‘Adieu England’ and ‘Love’s Made An Outlaw Of My Heart’ both of which show them to be as natural magpies as the composer of the original ‘Abandoned Love’.

Next I’m anxious to see again those Wolf People, who in a different way conjure and alchemize the sounds and excitements of 1969. My original thought on first seeing them was of Blodwyn Pig minus the sax, and like the Bells they’re imbued with the spirits of those times but again without sense of pastiche. Their Steeples album, due next month, is as thrilling as Abandoned Love as guitars intertwine and they conjure strange and dark ambiences. Today they excite, first with older tunes like ‘Cotton Strands’ and ‘Caratacus’, and then a trio from the new record; ‘Silbury Sands’, ‘Castle Keep’ and ‘One By One From Dorney Reach’.

The reason there have been Rockingbirds wandering around is that Sean Read and Andy Hackett are playing in Edwyn Collins’ all-star band. Mid-evening they along with Paul Cook, Barrie Cadogan from Little Barrie, and Carwyn Ellis of The Keys and Colorama gather on the Big Top stage, and like a soul revue they begin playing before Edwyn appears. This is the first time I’ve seen him since his stroke and given the toll it took this is an extraordinary and triumphant performance. As he appears it’s immediately clear how much he’s suffered physically but the words and the singing voice remain, and he delivers a great mixture of the old; ‘Rip It Up’, ‘Don’t Shilly Shally’ and A Girl Like You’; along with songs from his new Losing Sleep record including the title track, ‘What Is My Role’, and the Alex Kapanos co-write ‘Do It Again’.

Following Edwyn’s show it’s time for a wander and my first view of the Garden Stage. Modest Mouse are finishing up and we make our way into the woods and wonder yet again at the lights and the little spontaneous gatherings, and poke around in the library.

Saturday morning brings two cooked breakfasts and some idling with old friends in the camper van enclosure before a ramble back to the Garden to see Phosphorescent. Now that the phenomena with its assorted out-riders and bandwagon-jumpers seems to have run its course it is better possible to sort the wheat from the chaff, though in certain quarters there remains a damaging tendency to over-hype anybody who turns up referencing Neil Young. We have left the people who were there before it started; Gelb, Prophet, Escovado, Griffin, Langford; plus the few genuinely important people who did come up through it. It’s now possible to reassess, but also to appreciate newcomers on their own merits and without prescribed reference points.

Thus Phosphorescent: not really newcomers as they’ve been around for half a decade at least, and are led by Matthew Houck who a good decade ago was playing small London clubs as Fillup Shack, but impressive enough to transcend genre. I had been less than enamoured by the idea of them, guilt by association probably, and it was only really when I heard ‘Los Angeles’ that I was convinced. The Wednesday before EOTR I’d been to see them at The Scala but the show had been disfigured by poor sound mixing; songs completely wrecked by over-loud drums; though it was right enough by the conclusion for an epic version of said ‘Los Angeles’. I was expecting better in the Garden and I was not disappointed. Two songs from their Willie Nelson collection; ‘Reasons To Quit’ with super rolling piano and ‘It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way’; proved that it’s not a question of ignoring country but just to make something of it more than padding. ‘Los Angeles’ was superb again, and they concluded with ‘Mermaid Parade’, now an equal favourite.

I’d been recommended Citay by Tim Perry at The Windmill only days before, and just as well. Their performance in the Tipi Tent was one of my highlights, though it began a process that continued for much of the rest of the festival of trying to see two or three bands playing at the same time. Citay are from San Francisco, described lazily as Grateful Dead-like, certainly accomplished practitioners of multi-guitared psychedelia; we’ll see more of them. Soon returning after a brief excursion to see a few tunes from an out-of-sorts Voice Of Seven Thunders I found a massively full tent for Wilderness Of Manitoba. Their Fleet Foxes-like harmonies were exciting and vivid but the crush sent me off catch The Unthanks essaying Robert Wyatt’s ‘Sea Song’.

Saturday evening was marked by the dual clash of Caitlin Rose and Heidi Spencer, and Black Mountain and Yo La Tengo. I was highly dubious of Caitlin Rose when all the praise started flying around; another young female singer from Nashville seemed the last thing we needed. But listening to her songs on My Space was enough to prove that she’s something rather special. Very young, very precocious, and very talented, with a handful of exceptionally fine songs, like ‘Sinful Wishing Well’ and ‘Shanghai Cigarettes’, and more to come. She reminds me of Laura Cantrell and is likely the best female country-influenced singer to emerge since Laura. Accompanied by her equally youthful bass and lead players, and augmented by David Fricke-lookalike Spencer Cullum from The Deadstring Brothers on pedal steel she went down a treat. I had intended nipping off from The Local to the adjacent Tipi Tent to catch the second half of Heidi Spencer but getting there around 9.00 there was no sign and a completely different band setting up; the only time on the weekend when the schedule appeared to go haywire.

Black Mountain are a band I know purely by reputation, but understanding them to be steeped in early 70s heavy guitar music and feeling the need to cleanse palate I thought a taste of them was in order. In fact I got sucked in and stayed for the whole set. I loved the look of them, dark and greasy and bored, and loved all the buttons they pushed, all the way from Deep Purple to the grungy end of the SST contingent. Like Citay another treat to explore further. Thus Yo La Tengo drew the short straw and I just caught their concluding 20 minute jam and the short encore. A little ramble took us to The Tipi Tent where The Low Anthem and friends, dressed as pirates, were having a little Rolling Thunder-y play around; my jumbled recollections at this point only extent as far as ‘I’ve Been All Around This World’ and the general jolliness.

Sunday’s at EOTR have a slightly different atmosphere. There’s a steady trickle of people leaving from lunchtime onwards and by the evening the site tends to be somewhat depopulated. There’s also third-day-syndrome when the tiredness and the over-consumption is kicking in, and the measures against create in equal measure mania and lethargy. Thus it tends to be the bands who deliver exactly what’s expected who go down best. That had been the triple-whammy two years ago of Richard Hawley, Tindersticks, and Calexico, and was surely the case with The Felice Brothers and The Low Anthem this year. I had forgotten just how good The Felice Brothers are, having been much interested in The Duke And The King these last twelve months; this performance made you wonder how they’d ever thought to exist with two large personalities in one ensemble. An amazing sequence of songs from ‘White Limo’ ‘Marlboro Man’, ‘Fuck The News’ (“fuck the news, fuck the House Of Blues”), through Frankie’s Gun!’ ‘Greatest Show On Earth’, ‘St Stephen’s End’, and ‘Whiskey In My Whiskey’. It was moving and joyous, and while it may be heretical to suggest they channel The Band I’m going to do it anyway.

They were followed immediately by The Low Anthem, who now best encapsulate the spirit of EOTR. They combine a grounding in American folk music with a questing variety, a humour, and an intensity that never becomes over-cerebral and is never far from celebration even when it initially seems closer to downer. Oh My God, Charlie Darwin has become such a favourite that songs like ‘To Ohio’, ‘Charlie Darwin’, and ‘Ticket Taker’ are lapped up, as is the newer ‘Apothecary Love’, ‘Sally Where’d You Get Your Liquor From’ and the venerated ‘My God Damn House’. That was the second performance of the day for that latter song as former member Daniel Lefkowitz had played it in his solo set in the earlier afternoon.

Then came Wilco, who along with The Singing Adams, were my major disappointments of the day. I seem to have fallen out of love with Wilco over the last few years and I don’t understand why; it’s certainly not because they took an avant turn and got Nels Cline onboard which should have cleaved me back to them. Probably after the instant gratification of the two previous acts I didn’t have the patience. My initial response of ‘awful, awful’ was doubtless unfair but I couldn’t hit an empathy with them at all and left them to it after 25 minutes.

Steven Adams was a different matter. I’d always loved The Broken Family Band; their sense of mischief and assured off-colour witticisms, an element of tension that showed itself in curious exchanges, and the sense of not being quite of this crazy rock’n’roll thing and there being a shared understanding of that. On this afternoon it didn’t seem there and Steven gave an immediate hostage to fortune with his opening gambit; “you should have seen me in the old days”. That thought did return to mind during songs like ‘Spit In The Sea’. As with Wilco my problem I suspect, and really a case of discovering another way to someone whose talent can’t be in question.

And that was almost that except for Caitlin Rose who popped up again in a late night spot in The Big Top. This was now the fourth time I’d seen her in six days and familiarity did not whither her charms an iota, especially as after reprising her own material she left us with a divine reading of Dylan’s ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’.

That was my festival. I know looking down my print-out there were two, three, or more alternative festivals I could have been at, at the same time, in the same place. Bands I would have enjoyed as well, bands I would have discovered. But that’s the joy of this place, and the reason why ten days after they’d already sold a massive number of tickets for 2011. And why as the rain continues to fall relentlessly on the roofs of Kings Cross I think very warmly of that little space of green between Wiltshire and Dorset and look forward to being there next year.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Giant Sand release new album Blurry Blue Mountain

out October 25th on Fire Records

Inaccurately yet affectionately dubbed the Godfather of Alt. Country by the British press, Tucson, Arizona-based musician Howe Gelb has remained the sole epicenter and creative force behind the ever-fluid configurations of Giant Sand for over a quarter century. 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the bands 1985 debut long player “Valley Of Rain”  - the point in which Howes music visions began - and will see the release of the complete works of Giant Sand, Howe Gelb, Arizona Amp and The Bands Of Blacky Ranchette – a collection of works that maintains its own genre-defying singularity drawing on the not-so disparate threads of his south western roots, lo-fi, country, jazz, and punk ...  “Giant Sand is a mood," explained Howe, as if to simplify the dizzying breadth of his  prolific output as an artist. 

2010 will also welcome the release of the new Giant Sand record Blurry Blue Mountain – the follow up to the bands critically acclaimed 2008 album ProVisions 

“These recordings were done in the space between the waking world and the sleeping one. there exists a point there with a broad landscape that has seldom been loitered in. as with every previous album, none of this was planned. every record has its own atmosphere. for me they are always a new place to live in and spend some time before moving on.  On this album, it happened that every session we were able to record came between work loads that rendered us at that point of sleeping and waking. like the poppy fields in wizard of oz, we went in and out of consciousness at various times during recording.   This is not a bad thing. nor does it make the record sound like we’re asleep. it has the momentum of that place between sleep and being awake. and in that narrow slip of existence lies a landscape of reason that most of us hurry past in daily lives. this record is planted firmly there” 

“Between the crystal clear focus of your day to day and the luxury of sweet fuzzy sleep, we welcome you to the blurry blue mountain”.  - Howe Gelb 

1.  Fields Of Green 
2.  Chunk Of Coal 
3.  The Last One 
4.  Monk's Mountain 
5.  Spell Bound 
6.  Ride The Rail 
7.  Lucky Star Love 
8.  Thin Line Man 
9.  No Tellin' 
10.  Brand New Swamp Thing 
11.  Erosion 
12.  Time Flies 
13.  Better Man Than Me 
14.  Love A Loser 

There'll be a feature on Giant Sand in a forthcoming issue of Bucketfull. I had a long chat with him when he was over in July for the Barbican show. Aside from this new record there's a massive reissue programme taking place over the next year and a half - more info here