Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Please Check Your Emotional Baggage At the Door........

This is it the final day, and its been such a pleasure to get here, two days of fantastic music already gone and a whole day's worth of music to go before we reach the proverbial fat lady singing moment. But what a moment it's going to be, and before today is out, there will be krautrock, folk and an improvised drum circle and none of it will feel contrived. It will in fact be the perfect end to my highlight of the summer, so before I get anymore drippy and splurge even more on praise lets get on with it!


11:30am and for some reason I think I can hear a medieval marching band, if I was hungover or suffering from the effects of drink, but its far too early for that. I haven't even had breakfast yet, so its something of a relief when I spot Michael Tyack and some of the other Circulus band members have become a marching band and merrily wandering the campsite spreading their happy message. Even taking the time i'm sure to show some of the younger campsite members how to use the crumhorn they've brought along with them. A short while later Woodcraft Folk are pleasing the crowd with their folktronic take on krautrock like motorik rythyms. Gentle if slightly rigid vignettes bookended by chiming xylophones, bells and if they could get away with it a kitchen sink too. It's actually really hard to track down even the merest smidgen of infomation about this unit of likeminded folk, other than glowing reviews of their debut album which is currently enjoying a second limited pressing run on Earworm Records complete with a limited 5x5 hand screened print. We wander away just before the end of their set in order to make our way over to the DJ tent where James Yorkston hot off his almost epochal stint in the Folkey Dokey stage the night before. As we approach the tent there is an ominous sound being produced from inside it, a grinning Yorkston is tucked away behind his chosen weapon of mass sound production, bathing the gathered crowd and an undercover Adem in the gothic tones of Scott Walker's "Farmer In The City".

Back to the mainstage then for Juana Molina, anyone not familar with Juana by now should be locked away and made to listen to those "Panpipe Moods" compilations for the indefinite future. Anyway for anyone not currently on her wavelength I'll save you the above horror and explain that back in her native Argentina, Juana was a cause celebré for many year she was a ratings winning comedienne with her own weekly primetime sitcom. She gave all that up though to return to her first love music. Her fusion of traditional Argentinian folk music and gently lilting electronica, bring the sun to the mountains for a while and gets an appreciative crowd swaying like a Brazillian cantina. Currently promoting her third domestically available album "Son" on Matador records she has been hailed as a South American Bjork and will probably continue to earn plaudits with every new record. From one solitary figure on a huge stage coping really well to another and argueably one of the most sintillating acts of the weekend.

Marissa Nadler cuts a very unassuming figure as she nervously soundchecks a special mic effect in front of the assembled crowd. It's mostly to everyones surprise when she subsequently strolls back on a stage filled with guitars a few minutes later and informs us that she has left her band back home. She takes alot of time to thank the warm crowd reaction to material from both her previous releases and mixes in a number of new tracks taken from as the yet untitled new LP due January 2007 on Peacefrog Records. She finishes the set with a spectral reading of an Edgar Allen Poe poem backed by one of her own compositions, to say it was spinetingling would be at this juncture something of an understatement.

Marissa Nadler - Lily Henry & The Willow Tree

There's some time to kill for me until the next act I want to see, so I decide to have a wander about the minature village green on site where all sorts of odd craft stalls are gathered, selling anything from hand fashioned tunics to stalls selling postcards of "picturesque Britain" and oddly enough a coconut shy. I didn't hang around too long though because I was mindful of the popularity of a oppotunity to watch Sunburned Hand Of The Man peform a live soundtrack to the experimental film "Invasion Of The Thunderbolt Pagoda" by 60 counter culture figure and avant garde director Ira Cohen. The film itself is largely albeit very incoherent is not without its charms, a melange of the kaledoscopic fisheye lensed shots combined with examples of Cohen's own mylar photographry. For this performance SBHOTM are joined by Keith Woods of the band Hush Arbors. Its here that I meet up with the Steve & Sandro' two amiable Austrailians who seem to be operating on the same wavelength. I actually met them the night before during the Jack Rose set albeit briefly. Which is a handy segue into the next act as its him that we stood two feet away from during Bert Jansch's turn on the main stage. It's also safe to point out at this time that the normally quite rerved (I'd imagine) Jack Rose is whooping and hollering like a fan boy all the way through the three songs we hang around for.

On the way back to the Folkey Dokey stage to get a good spot for later we are distracted by a rabble rowsing incident around the Cafe stage. Turns out its Brandon Massei otherwise known as Viking Moses, a self possesed poet come folk Kurt Cobain. Also joining Massei as his own personal choir put together an hour earlier and very much learning the words as they went along are James Yorkston, Adrian Crowley and Marissa Nadler, there are also sugestions that Nancy Elizabeth Cunliffe is on bass and a random crowd member is on percusion. Being short I can't substantiate this though, so I'll take their word for it! As an aside this is very definitely a highlight of the weekend and truely a sight to behold, its almost as if someone has transposed that spirit that permeated the Newport Jazz Festivals of the late 60's and 70's and plonked it down in mid Wales. Back then it wasn't uncommon to see the greats getting up on stage and performing heart stopping sets together regardless of colour, class or creed.

It also serves as the best apertif to the dark laden gothic murder and folk ballards that Alaisdair Roberts has brought with him this weekend. Scottish based singer/songwriter Roberts was raised in Callander, but has since relocated to Glasgow where he has operated from for the last ten years. His earliest recording being produced under the moniker Appendix Out, he made the switch to using his name in 2001 on "The Crook Of The Arm" a collection of traditional Scottish and English folk songs released on the Secretly Canadian imprint. The followup "Farewell Sorrow" to this came two years later produced by the High Llamas member Rian Murphy and was succeeded again in 2005 by the Will Oldham helmed "No Earthly Man" both on Drag City records. The set he plays this evening draws on all three albums as well as unveiling new material from his forthcoming album "The Amber Gatherers" and one or two Duncan Williamson covers thrown in for good measure. A fact that doesn't go unoticed by the Scottish contingent present in the tent.

Last act and who better to close out an excellent weekend than those Bostonian freaks Sunburned Hand Of The Man and okay so I saw them earlier in the day but this is going to be so much different now they are untethered from any restraints and we are now flying "No Mind" airlines. Our captain for this journey asks us cordially to check our emotional baggage at the door and then dedicates the following hour to the Welsh Pysch rockers Man. This is my first experience of Sunburned live, having avidly followed them on record since their earliest recorded output. Tonight they are in full Krautrock mode locked tightly into a circular groove, complete with shamanic intonations. The crowd is moving as one almost, whilst on stage all manner of mayhem is unfolding guitars are looped at source, a Harmonium is defiled at one point Keith Woods is even seen to be attempting to play his guitar with a drumstick, I think the cider might have been affecting my view for a moment there. They play an encore which lasts a good fifteen minutes and then dissapear leaving an ecstatic crowd demanding more.

The weekend isn't over yet though as its time to wander the stage area, for a while considering whether to go spot the Bluegrass band that haunts the bonfire or join the drumming circle in the main promenade. The later wins out this time and by the time we get there its already packed out and in full flow, Congas, Djembes and Bongo's all being liberally abused, while all manner of other found instrumentation is deployed left right and centre. These guys don't stop either, they keep going slowly the rythyms evolve at one point a Saxophonist joins the throng and an impromptu run through the Specials back catalogue is instigated with everyone in the tent joining the in for the choruses. It's getting on for 3am now and finally my tent is calling I make good my escape and sink into a deep sleep, tomorrow is going to be depressing as its time to vacate the picturesque site of Glanusk but not without saying goodbye to all those people that made the whole thing special in the first place!


I Don't Do Happy Songs!

Day two and despite the slight rainbow effect that yesterday's cider consumption has caused in my head consolation can be found in the fact that at least its not raining. A couple of headache pills sufficiently dull the aching enough to allow for a wander towards the shower blocks. Mercifully the queues for said attraction haven't reached critical mass by the time I get there and even better there is still masses of hot water. Another tick in the book that is rapidly making this medieval village come festival one of the highlights of the year. Aggghhhhh enough pre-amble on with the show!


The day opens to the not that earth shattering post rock tones of Cardiff's Vito conjouring up images of Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai, its a pleasant enough start to day two. Things can only get better right? So its an air expectation that consumes us as Mancunian two piece Voice Of The Seven Woods take to the stage. Incorparting indian tinged ragas, loops and brain pounding beats; the lads entice a moderatly sized crowd to gather around the main stage. Their hand made CdR's were one of the best selling things on the merchandising stand, luckily those that missed out can still purchase these and the hand silk screened Andy Votel designed t-shirts direct from the boys themselves. Time then for a spot of lunch and as previously mentioned there was such a bredth of choice it was hard to know what to go for; vegetarian paella won out the battle this time as a quick look at the pieminister queue deemed it a little bit long, those are the breaks though for creating something wildly popular and then giving it to the masses.

Vito - Welcome The Lightning

Staying with the main stage seems to be a bit of a theme today so not wishing to break that particular trend I opt to hang around for ex Gorky Zygotic Mynci front man Euros Childs. He cuts a lithe figure on stage leading T to proclaim loudly that he looks as though he could do with a bit of feeding up. But before he can launch into material from his album "Chops" the bass unexpectedly goes tits up, leaving Childs no choice but to improvise and cover up the shortfall. Eventually with everything back on track we're off at a rolicking pace and even dodgy festival sound can't dampen the spirits of the gathered masses. A few new songs are unveilled which if anything sound better than the older material, I make a mental note to get along and see the other ex Mynci onsite; Richard James on Sunday as a result of the set (something I later forget to do.) The rain is back and there is just enough time to catch one or two of Tuungs set and the celebrated Greenman streaker, before heading over to the Folkey Dokey stage to catch hot young hopefuls Bat For Lashes.

Brighton based Bat For Lashes, blending a caberet atmosphere with their mystically tinged nocturnal indie folk. I'm a little disapointed when I get to the stage though as the band are still going through the motions of an extended sound check. Once things get going though and after an apology or three from Natasha Kahn it gets alot better. At times Natasha Khan's troupe of minstrels recall Goldfrapp with perhaps Cat Power's own Chan Marshall fronting them, but this is about as far away from the bestiallity themed electronica of the the former and there are also non of the stage fright that has been known to mar the later's shows. Not bad then for a band who haven't yet released an album proper. The album is due on September 11th fact fans on Echo records; consider this advance warning if the live version is anything to go by this is one to make sure you put in you shopping baskets when doing the weekly shop. The longer than normal soundcheck means I have to make a hasty exit at the end of the fifth song to make the main stage for King Creosote.

Kenny Anderson who has traded under a number of aliases including the KC moniker over the course of his quite impressive 33 albums bursts onto the stage grinning like a madman and proceeds to introduce his sparring partners for proceedings. Not anywhere near the excesses of last years bonanza where he was joined on stage by The Earlies and all of the 30 strong members of his Fence Collective and maybe also a few passing Japanese tourists. Still the cut price version is still pretty good and there are a couple of familiar faces in the shape of The Pictish Trail and Barron Le Rouge on guitar and bass respectively. The bombast of songs like "Twin Tub" and "6,7,8" even coaxes the sun out from its cloudy hideaway. As an encore Anderson enquires as to whether there are any aliens in the crowd and with that he is joined on stage by older brother Gordon (Lone Pidgeon) and some ex members of the Beta Band, appear on cue and they burst into a redition of the Aliens new single "Happy." So energetic is the song that Gordon Anderson briefly forgets where the stage is and fall off mid spin, only to be dumped back on stage a couple of seconds later.

The light is starting to fade now and its almost fitting as up next on the main stage is Micah P Hinson; a man whose enjoyed plenty of "life" in his short 24 years. Drug addiction, serving time in prison and being declared bankrupt all help to inform his take on gothic tinged country. Two albums under his belt so far we get a set encompassing these and peppered liberally with material on his new album "The Opera Cicuit" due on Sketchbook Records in September.

Time then for a switch in pace; over to the so far very reliable GM stage and at the risk of missing the innagral Silver Jews festival appearance, still the thought of watching Jack Rose was too big of a temptation to shake off. Rose who cuts a quite an anonymous figure amongst the masses. Originally from Virginia but relocated to Philidelphia in 2002 rose to the attention of the music media as a founder member of the drone/noise group Pelt whose influences included the recently spotted headed towards ATP; drone lords The Dead C. A sea change in Pelt and Rose's modus operandii saw them leaning more towards the minimalist guitar techniques of the late John Fahey. Releasing his first solo material in 2002 he has released a handful of material since which has garnered him wide acclaim including his 2005 tribute to the late master "Kensington Blues" on VHF recordings. What follows in the next forty five minutes is a studied practice in the art offinger picked guitar which is a marvel to watch, not only was it amazing to watch the sound was almost celestial.

Sticking with the GMC stage I hung around and waited for Malcolm Middleton to start, while it seems everone else was either headed towards Keiren Hebden/Steve Reid in the FD stage, or those who wanted to bored to death went off to see the suitably soporific José Gonzalez on the main stage. Turns out again it was the right choice as the FD tent was packed to the brim and anyone who ventured into the main arena was rendered unconcious in minutes. Malky who also plies his trade most often as member of Scottish misrablists Arab Strap is on form tonight opening his set by asking where everyone had got their "welly boots" from and then reflecting on the more exotic varieties he'd seen wandering around the site! Then we were treated to basically the entire back catalogue including a audience participation version of "1,2,3,4" and boyant versions of"Break My Heart", "Loneliness Shines" and "Autumn" as well as few new songs which aren't quite ready yet and seem to stop abruptly in the middle. It's a herois set and the usually quite dour Middleton puts down a request for a happy song next by quipping "I don't do happy songs!" he seems to almost be having fun. On which note it was time to retire back to tentsville again, making sure to pick our way through the guy lines on the way.

To be continued......

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Laughter In The Dark..........

To think one week ago I was living it up on the Welsh riviera taking in the sights and sounds of Greenman Festival 06. I wasn't really sure what the best method for reviewing the weekend through my eyes would be so I think i'll just blag it and hopefully in the course of the next however how long make a note of those acts that I thought really made the festival for me and hopefully those other wanderers that crossed my path through-out its course. Like a vast percent of the population of the festival I travelled down to the picturesque setting of Crickhowell on Thursday, so as to procure a fairly safe camping spot. Through the drizzle a little temporary village came into being, it was time for a wander around the site where slowly the concessionary stands and the bars were coming to life the sunny glow of a wine and cider powered evening sent me into a peaceful doze ready for all that Brecon could throw at us the next day.


Just what Brecon was going to throw at "us" the next day wasn't entirely unexpected but mercifully the rain was punctuated by at least a small dose of sunshine and some fairly wonderful music. Kicking off the weekend on the Main Stage was Brighton based singer/songwriter/poet and so it would seem Billy Bragg inspired political activist Chris TT. Next up and in the spirit of not moving much The Shortwave Set took to the stage with their blend of Victorian themed folktronica, as it had started to rain me and my other honorary Throwaway Stylers made the decision to have a wander up to Folkey Dokey stage. Although this meant missing one man band extrodinaire Philip Roebuck it did introduce me to the tearjerking slowed down folk baladry of Adrian Crowley. Dublin born Crowley self released his first album in 1999 before going on to record the followup in 2001 with Steve Albini at the helm. These sessions were released the following year on Ba-Da Bing records as "When You Are Here, You Are Family" a beguilling mix of Codeine and Leonard Cohern. A new record is currently in production, however my appalling memory appears to have consigned the title and label to one of the less travelled parts of my brain.

A quick wander later and I found myself just to the left of the main stage for gravel voiced, front porch blues man M.Ward. Backed by Adam Selzer who has worked with him since his early days in Rodriguez, he proceeded to roll through his back catalogue of material before making an unscheduled stop at The Carter Family's "Hey Stranger" and then introducing us to material from his new album "Post War" due on Merge records in September. Time then for a quick comfort break beore medievel psych act Circulus took to the stage and the evening got fully underway. Mike Tyack and his band of merry minstrels roll through their catalogue of material at a heady rate coaxing the sun out from its hiding place. A quick exit was in order though to grab a good spot for San Franciso's Skygreen Leopards.

Skygreen Leopards are yet another outlet for the songcraft of the Jewelled Antler Collective acolyte Glenn Donaldson. Eschewing the field recordings that have come to earmark JA releases, Skygreen is the pairing of Donaldson and Donovan Quinn; a magical psych-folk band with a unique perspective and clever wording ontop of well constructed and whimsical music. They introduce themselves as San Fran's answer to the Family Band before inviting the audience to be their family too! Managing a total of seven encores in the space of their alloted 45 minutes, due to a slight scheduling quandry. In the end its all good though and they leave everyone with a wide smile plastered across their face as they leave the stage for the eighth and final time. Their latest album "Disciples Of California" is due out on Jagjaguwar records in October 2006.

Skygreen Leopards - Disciples Of California

Due to a rather unprecedented number of people showing up to see Gruff Rhys, I made my excuses and had a wander over to catch the start of Teddy Thompson's set on the main stage. Sadly he seemed a little swamped by the size of the stage and I wandered off shortly the third song. Which is how I found myself nestled down the front of the Greenman Cafe stage watching the finger picking skill of the 24 year old Kent based James Blackshaw. Despite some problems with sound and Blackshaw's own self dreciation, he managed to turn out a magical blend of Steffan Basho-Junghans/Ben Chasney inspired song cycle. Currently in the process of recording new material his most recent release "O True Believers" is available now from Bo'weavil recordings.

James Blackshaw - Excerpt from "Transient Life In Twilight"

New Mexico's Hawk And A Hacksaw round out the night on the Greenman Cafe stage; Jeremey Barnes and Heather Trost blend together a mixture of accordian, percusion and violin. Barnes who is noted for being the drummer in the band Neutral Milk Hotel, and a key mover in the production of the Beirut album "Gulag Orkestar" released earlier this year to critical applause. A whirlwind tour of the Slavic regions of mainland europe, including a couple of songs from the new album "The Way The Wind Blows" the title of which is later revealed by Barnes to be a reference the radical revolutionary group the Weather Underground Organization, active during the US's ill fated occupation of Vietnam in the late 60's early 70's. The new LP should be out October on the Leaf Label.

Hawk & A Hacksaw - The Moon Under Water

Hawk & A Hacksaw - Portlandtown

After witnessing Barnes and Trost, Donovan's somewhat comedy take on his back catalogue seems somewhat less polished than normal. Aside from the rather odd Jamaican accent that peppers his on stage banter, he also chooses to preform the ubiquitous Sunshine Superman on three occaisons throughout his headline slot. As I wander back towards my tent I can hear take three, sharply followed by Mello Yellow. My head hits the makeshift pillow and i'm gone dreaming of cider induced klezmar punctuated parties and wishing that the students directly behind me would hurry up and decide exactly which decade was their favourite!

to be continued........


Mr. Airplane Man are a female two-piece hailing from Boston, who play stripped down garage rock, with thick distortion heavy guitar and Kinks-esque pop hooks. Formed in early 1999 - and later signed to Sympathy For The Record Industry - the duo have recorded three albums; with their latest, C'mon DJ proclaimed as their greatest yet. Named after a Howlin' Wolf song - and on Moanin' in particular - the band blend dreamy sixties girl-group pop with blues to form a sound that while reminiscent of the Shangri-Las and Thee Headcoatees owes a lot to the raw, punky R&B/pop of bands like The Outsiders and The Seeds.

Mr. Airplane Man - Not Living At All


'Tears came raining down/ and ran through the rivers to the sea'

Some context then: Fabulous Foxes is the nom de plume of singer/ songwriter Robert Clueley whose name is doubtless familiar to regular gig goers in his native Leicester and as far abroad as, erm, Nottingham. (“Y’know, Bob?’ “Yeah.”) He has also recently been seen performing percussive duties for Tookie Sherman’s new project, Super Bompers Band - aswell as sporadic performances in Leicester over the summer. The new look website even hints at some dates across the pond in October…

As far as genuine artefacts of his music go, Glaciers is a CDR of Fabulous Foxes’ material, recorded with horns, drums, violins and various brass instruments. Bob has been enthusiastically handing out copies since the beginning of the year, but I’d much prefer to focus one of his new recordings, ‘Being There.’ This time around it's simply Bob and Bob alone on vocals, acoustic guitar, and a bit of piano. The vocals do come across and slightly strained a laboured, but it is an extremely affecting song with definite affinities to Pink Moon era Nick Drake and Jeff Magnum.

Fabulous Foxes - Being There


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two Beards Are Better Than One......

Now in its forth year and rapidly gaining plaudits left, right and centre it was my pleasure to have attended the 2006 Greenman Festival this weekend. Hosted and organised by Brecon based indie folk duo Its Jo & Danny the festival found a new home this year. Namely the picturesque grounds of the Glanusk National Park at the foot of the Sugar Loaf mountain range.

70+ acts on three stages over three days and line-up which transected all sorts of folk from the traditional folk of the vanguards of the genre like Bert Jansch and Wizz Jones. To the electronica based noodlings of Tuung & the folktronica crew all the way through to the no mind wanderings in the free folk leanings of Sunburned Hand Of The Man.

Alongside the musical attractions were a number of other attractions; a literature tent which chaired interviews and discussions by numerous luminaries. Joe Boyd was the subject of one such slot, Joe whose book "White Bicycles: Making Music In 60's" is available in most good bookstores was a leading figure in the folk music industry that sprung up in the UK at the end of the 60's and he oversaw the production of a number of albums by artists such as Vashti Bunyan and The Incredible String Band. A cinema tent which premiered a live sound track to Ira Cohen's avant garde film "Invasion Of The Thunder Pagoda" as performed by Sunburned Hand Of The Man. There was also alot of provisions in place for the younger members of the audience in the form of both a science tent and a puppetry tent where numerous projects could be enrolled upon.

The food on site was to an immensly high standard; suitable concessions were made for both Vegetarians and Vegans being well catered for too. Lebonese, Mexican, Indian and the all conquering Pieminister pie stall which seemed to have a queue all weekend even when it was shut. The bars were both efficiently run by pleasent staff and had a range of alcoholic and non alcoholic beveridges that were again a very pleasing thing to see. The idea of charging a "deposit" on pint glasses meant that litter was kept mercifully limited in comparison to other music festivals i've visited' this in conjuction with a very strong recycling message meant that the campsite come Monday morning was almost completely litter free. A critiscism though aimed at the insular owners of the general store who seemed quite happy to slap very large mark-ups on their produce, which seemed to be in complete opposition to all of the other vendors on site.

So thankyou Jo & Danny for an excellent weekend; for some mindblowing music which i'll be delving into and writing up later in the week......... Oh and see you all next year!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What A Ride!

Canada a country that has a lot to be proud of right at the moment, with the whole critical praise being lumped on the Arcade Fire debut album way back in 2005! Then there is the whole continuing snowball effect following Spencer Krug, Carey Mercer and Dan Bejar around as we grow ever closer to the November release date of their Swan Lake project. But before all that in fact way back in 1990 those crafty Canadians were doing it for themselves even way back then......

Eric's Trip had the unlikely honour of being the first of a wave of Canadian band's to get themselves picked up by Seattle's Sub Pop. Formed in 1990 the product the very fertile music scene surrounding the small province of Moncton, and named for the track by NY's Sonic Youth. Principly formed by Rick White and Chris Thompson who were working together on a project entitled The Forest they recruited vocalist/bassist Julie Doiron-Claytor and there after were joined by Purple Knight drummer Mark Gaudet before officially taking on the Eric's Trip moniker. They debuted the band shortly after on a self released and self titled cassette release. Between 1990 and their 1993 major label debut "Love Tara" on Subpop they released a string of EP's.

Central to the band's success was the central boy/girl vocal sparrings of White and Doiron-Claytor; a sound which drew immediate comparrisons to Yo La Tengo. Also in key to their sound was a healthy dollop of noise informed pop of Sonic Youth and even further back to The Velvet Underground as well as that of contemporary bands around at that time like Pavement. It was this sound that began the move away from the "Grunge" sound that Subpop was becoming more and more synonomous with. A relationship that carried the band through three full length albums with the label and one which ended only after Doiron-Claytor's pregnancy forced the band onto an extended hiatus, which eventually culminated in their official split in 1996 after the release of their final album "Purple Blue." Since the band split all of the respective parties have kept their hand in the music scene surrounding Moncton.

In 2001 the band reformed for a one off performance, and then again in August 2006 to play the Sappy Records festival in New Brunswick, Canada.

My Bed Is Red

Spectacular Passages

From the early seventies, Loren Connors has recorded over thirty albums on over dozens of independent labels: from hazy blissed out meditative guitar pieces, to heartfelt acoustic guitar mantras and duets with artists such as Kath Bloom and his wife, Suzanne Langille. Night Through combines over three and a half hours of Connors' own guitar workouts as well as tracks from Connors' band Haunted House - who released one album in 1999. As a relative newcomer to his music it may seem rather premature to label the Family Vineyard release a ‘classic’ but sheer scope and vision of the music contained within this anthology is of such a quality to make you just as concerned as to why it’s taken so long for this material to surface.

Loren Mazzacane Connors - Trouble in Mind

But while the anthology chiefly draws his work as a solo artist, the guitarist also recorded under the number of pseudonyms. The most well known and instantly recognible of these, was Lorren Mazzacane, and from 1983 - 1984 he recorded three limited edition LP's with Kath Bloom and released them on his own St Joan imprint. Richard Linklater would later popularise the track 'Come Here' when it featured in his film 'Before Sunrise.' Nevertheless, while Kath Bloom has also benefited from a recent resurgence in her music - enough for Chapter Music to release 'Finally' earlier this year - Sand In My Shoe, Restless Faithful Desperate and Moonlight have never been reissued. The latter is spectacular example of depression era folk/blues; and quite literally an acoustic guitar and a voice. Mostly about love, lost love and despair at the human race. Listen to the following track at low volume.

Kath Bloom & Loren Mazzacane - Can You Find Me?


Loren Connors
Full Discography
Chapter Music
Family Vineyard

Saturday, August 05, 2006

It's Our Duty To Go Down With The Ship!

White Whale hail from landlocked Kansas, but that doesn't stop the high seas imagery that they've fashioned around themselves from flowing willfully through them. Throughout the near fifty minutes of their debut album WW1 they craft stories of wayward admirality, high seas travel, seamanship and an air of the absurdity of the tales often told by those who historically travelled the waves. Our intrepid sailors for this journey are Matt Suggs formerly lead person of the band Butterglory who blazed a trail of indiosyncratic Soft Boys/Pavement inspired indie rock in the early ninites. Bassisit Rob Pope formerly of the emo/indie band The Get Up Kids. Dustin Kinsey, John Anderson and Zach Holland all members of the Kansas based chamber pop inspired band Thee Higher Burning Fire.

The Whales musical identity whilst being anchored in classic rock, still have enough nous about them to embellish this with a sense of experimental accents. For every simply struck chord there is another far more exciting coda waiting around the corner. The central points of their debut album WW1 on Merge Records are two songs which appear early on in the album's cycle. "The Admiral" a wonky mixture of burbling synths and programmed beats, which sets in mind a journey across the high seas. "O' William, O' Sarah" is an epic tale of a gentleman sailors rise up the ranks to the admiralty which breaks down to bubbling bass line and conservative drum beat in the middle, whilst all manner of mechanical and non instrumentation flourish all around. Although these are just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg a self assurededly good record which points to even better things in the future.

White Whale are currently on tour of the US in support of their debut album:-

Jul 28 2006 8:00P Lawrence, KS @ The Granada (record release show)

Aug 2 2006 8:00P Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light

Aug 3 2006 8:00P Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506

Aug 4 2006 8:00P Athens, GA @ 40 Watt

Sep 8 2006 8:00P Dallas, TX @ Hailey's

Sep 12 2006 8:00P Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland

Sep 13 2006 8:00P Visalia, CA @ Howie's

Sep 14 2006 8:00P San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill

Sep 15 2006 8:00P Portland, OR @ Towne Lounge

Sep 16 2006 8:00P Seattle, WA @ Paradox

Sep 17 2006 8:00P Portland, OR @ Towne Lounge

Sep 18 2006 8:00P Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

Sep 19 2006 8:00P Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge

Sep 21 2006 8:00P Omaha, NE @ Sokol

Sep 22 2006 8:00P Columbia, MO @ MoJo's

Sep 23 2006 8:00P Lawrence, KS @ The Granada

[Buy White Whale merchandise at Merge Records]

The Admiral