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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dialogue taken from an extract of ‘Man in Nature’ by Alan Watts. Filmed, edited and composed by Anthony Tombling Jr. For more information on Unit 3 Films click here