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Posts tagged ‘independent music’

Earth Suite: Assassin of Sound

The photograph, design & layout work for the album Earth Suite by Assassin of Sound, along with a link to the album and the various draft ideas produced for the project.


Before the East Fell: Cassette Punks

I recently re-discovered a box of old cassette tapes, which I either made or exchanged between my friends when I was around 16/17 years old in 1977-1979ish. Now digitalised and uploaded here they provide an insight into the late 1970’s DIY punk scene. The tracks here, I’m guessing have not surfaced for a long time and include several bands from my native north-east — most, if not all I had seen live. Where a better-known group is featured, I have chosen to add a less-known track. As you will imagine sound quality is a little ropey at times, but please enjoy 45 minutes of noise recorded at a time when the internet was far from a concept.

Lensmen: Mr Wolfs, Bristol 29.10.18

29.10.18: As I’ve said previously about Lensmen that they are one of the best bands on the independent music circuit at the moment. I finally got to see them perform live Monday evening. A fair collection of vagabonds, strays and inquisitive minds are here tonight to witness them perform which is surprising given its a bitterly cold Monday evening outside. Lensmen are providing the headline set under the SongSmith event, which promotes new and emerging Bristol talent. Its a really solid performance, brooding bass, synths and beats hovering below twisted storytelling that grows in confidence as the set progresses. For those who prefer their music with intelligence then cast your eyes and ears in the direction of Lensmen. You will not be disappointed in my honest and humble opinion. My previous write up with links to the Lensmen’s music, future dates and adventures can be found here.

Today I Stumbled Upon: Lensmen

The sound of Lensmen occupies a personal space in my musical adventures. A space between my adolescence youth and early 20s, which is bookended at one end by the demise of Jim Morrison (1971) and at the other end the tragic death of Ian Curtis (1980). The shadows of these creative geniuses are cast large over the Lensmen’s output, so far. This is not by any means a criticism given I have admiration for any band or artist who wears their influences on their sleeves. The challenge of course always remains if they can utilise these influences and navigate the rocks of not simply becoming a pale intimidation or at worse a tribute band. While its early days and some of the tracks on offer are naturally raw you can get a sense of fresh musical ideas fermenting away, often bleak, but similarly fragile. Dark, yes, but with the craft of lyricist Alan Hughes, they have an emerging talent who like the aforementioned bookends were able to inject humour into their dark landscape. If Lensmen are able to navigate the rocks I see an interesting journey lies ahead. Enjoy.

Today I stumbled Upon: Arthr

In the crowded world of music production, I’m always on the lookout for artists and bands promoting their wears in an innovated way and with this in mind, the Arthr project recently caught my ears and eyes. The project is ‘born from a love of live performance, electronic and experimental music, alongside animation. The character Arthr represents the imagery, ideas, and creative identity behind the project, placed into real-world environments where he explores themes of nostalgia and time.’

The latest Arthr release is Whisperings of the World (featuring King Colobus), which also came in an elaborate limited edition cassette format (20 copies). Each cassette comes with a little self-made Arthr figure attached with only four (at the point writing) remaining for sale. You can see more information of this release by clicking here

The trials, tribulations, and frustrations of creating the little Arthr figures are captured in a recent blog message from the project, which you can read by clicking this link. You can also catch up on Arthr’s journey through nostalgia and time at the official You Tube where you can also see some of the creative background work going into building this fascinating project and concept, including live performances. Take a look, listen and Join the journey.


They Knew You Were Waiting

Friday night treat and a visit to the Louisana, Bristol to catch David Ford and Beth Rowley perform live. I must admit to a soft-spot for a songsmith and balladeer with the likes of Tom Waits, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, etc being a constant feature in my adult music collection. I make no apology for rating Ford in this league. I’ve been a fan since stumbling a cross his 2005 album I Sincerely Apologies by pure luck in 2007. Beth Rowley, I’d come across intermittingly given her Bristol roots and her debut 2008 album Little Dreamer. Class acts separately they have the confidence and talent to make the craft of song feel easy while poignantly striking at your very rib cage. Ford and Rowley wove their respected sets together perfectly. Ford providing instrumental support to Rowley’s opening set and Rowley joining Ford for a number of duets. Finishing off with their “none-encore.” A reduced to its bones version of George Michael/Aretha Franklin “Knew You Were Waiting for Me.” Based on last nights performance one can only hope that more formal recordings and releases are in the pipeline. Dates for the remaining UK tour can be found here.




Johnny Dowd, The Band Room 2.2.18

Today I Stumbled Upon: Sharp Reader

Something for the weekend? For lovers of guitar driven rock two of my favourite bands, which I got to connect with through Bandcamp have recently released some new material, Mouth Reader from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and The Sharp Medicine from Los Angeles, California. Enjoy the noise.

Today I stumbled upon Hope Sandoval

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions (click here) latest album Until the Hunter (November 2016) is an evocative and beautiful landscape of lullabies. Track 4 on the album is entitled Let Me Get There and features the wonderful Kurt Vile in a duo.

Sandoval started her musical career with a friend (Sylvia Gomez) in a folk duo called Going Home in 1986 and would later form Mazzy Star with David Roback and release three albums in the 1990s. Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions have also released Bavarian Fruit Bread in 2001 and Through The Devil Softly in 2009. Sandoval also featured on the Massive Attack track Paradise Circus from the 2010 Heligoland album.

BC Camplight: Chaotic Beauty

A last minute decision can often lead to surprising consequences. A pleasant, if not mildly overcast day (31/5/16) had turned BC Camplightto light rain and the attraction of a lazy evening endlessly flicking through deadbeat channels seemed to be on the cards when the mobile phone rings, it’s my bud Derek with an offer of a ticket for a BC Camplight gig at The Louisiana, Bristol. There is an acceptance that neither of us is fluent in the work of BC Camplight and as Derek puts it, “it’s worth a punt.”  Derek had sought, unsuccessfully to see BC Camplight last year, but circumstances had conspired to have the gig cancelled. BC Camplight is the moniker of American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Christinzio. Originally from New Jersey, Christinzio allegedly relocated to Manchester, following the advice of a fan on social media. In early 2015 Christinzio overstayed his visa permissions due to a leg injury and was made to leave the UK, resulting in the cancellation of his band’s summer tour which was to include performances at the Green Man and End of the Road festivals and an appearance on Later… with Jools Holland.

Tonight’s venue the Louis is one of those endearing venues with a knack of promoting bands on their ascendancy or providing the platform for artists who are quite content to remain below the radar appealing to a network of diehard fans who are equally content to hold onto their secret. Old gig posters are evidence of past glories, Amy Whitehouse, Florance and the Machine, Coldplay, Kasabian, Muse, The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Kings of Leon to name a few have trod the boards of its 140 capacity. The audience is literally standing in your face with private conversations between songs easily being picked by the performing artists and turned into amusing rounds of audience participation.
Courtesy of Mr Derek DoddDrinks in hand we make our way up the creaking wooden staircase. Tonight’s support is provided by Grace Lightman whose performance, band, and overall delivery is solid. An intriguing mixture of low-tempo soul and jazz with a hint (and I’m sure I’m not the first to this point out) of Kate Bush lingering in the air. The set is well received and with each song Lightman grows in confidence and seems to shake off the nerves. BC Lamplight takes to the stage in rather a shambolic method. Christinzio immediately informs the audience that he is receiving electric shocks from the keyboard, which is confirmed by the sound engineer that this is due to the “cheap gear” the group is using. It is also easy to detect that most, if not all the band, are the less for wear from their London gig, which turned into an extended birthday party for Christinzio at a student’s flat. The first song is interrupted by individual band members seeking alterations to instruments and sound. Even Christinzio is seen to be crawling under his keyboards adjusting wire, with shouts emerging, along with the occasional electric shock. The sound is not brilliant, but the character of a gifted artist and band is ingrained in the ability to manoeuvre around obstacles, even if most are self-made obstacles. BC Camplight does this with ease given the depth of talent on the stage, along with the rich material at their disposal. A fair chunk of the songs tonight I later learn are harvested from the band’s latest album ‘How to Die in the North.’

Performance wise I can hear an array of influences from Springsteen, The Beatles, The Beach Boys. Derek identifies Harry Nilsson influences. They are all there mashed up in chaotic beauty. Whilst an assortment of booze is exchanged between band members Christinzio announces to the audience that he is staying in the local Travel Lodge. Room 26,  “if some young adventurer is interested in a little post sordid birthday celebration.” A male member of the audience shouts out, “what if my wife finds out.”  Christinzio replies without missing a beat, “Did I say room 30.” Overall a gem of a gig and if you get the opportunity to witness BC Camplight live I suggest you take it.

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