Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Illumine


Back in April, I shared 'Sleepwalking', an early first taster from the debut Low Chimes LP (here). The tune seemed to go down rather well, so I thought I'd give all and sundry a heads up that the album has at last hit the streets and is available to order here. I'm chuffed to report that 'Illumine' is well worth the long wait, strong in composition, performance and production.

Judging by some of the band's recent social media postings, new material is apparently already in the works. Low Chimes (then still trading as Hot Feet) were outstanding when I saw them perform in a tiny Norwich basement back in 2013 and I really do hope they head out to my neck of the woods again before they retreat into the studio to prepare LP number two.

Here's 'Sulphur Silk', my current favourite cut on 'Illumine', plus, as a bonus, a very nice live performance of 'Electric Bloom'.



Monday, 16 October 2017

Anne Briggs


Our mutual chum Charity Chic is without equal when it comes to sniffing out quality CDs from the piles of dross usually found in the darkest corners of the nation's charity shops. We've got no fewer than 9 such establishments in the nearby small market town and I can't remember finding a decent CD in any of them in the 6 years since we moved here. Car-boot sales though...they're quite a different matter. In the wee small hours of every Sunday morning, Mrs S and I step out into the pre-dawn twilight and drive off to the two largest car-boot sales in the local area, just over 20 miles away. Once there, we poke about in, pore over and rummage through all manner of old tosh and usually come home with a heap of dusty bits and bobs that, in all truth, we probably don't need. Over the past couple of Sunday's I've had an particularly high strike rate on the quality CD front. Take the 2007 remastered reissue of Anne Briggs' 1971 LP 'The Time Has Come' for example, picked up for a quid the week before last - a real gem. Here are two cuts from the album. Note how similar Anne's phrasing is at times, to that of her one time partner in music and life Bert Jansch - it's quite uncanny.

Anne Briggs - Sandman's Song 

Anne Briggs - Tangled Man

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Be-Bop Deluxe


Across their five studio albums, Be-Bop Deluxe existed at the meeting point of a veritable Venn Diagram of musical styles and influences. From the glam infused art-rock of 1974's 'Axe Victim' and the following year's 'Futurama', through the prog-lite of their two 1976 LP's 'Sunburst Finish' and 'Modern Music' to the final, new wave inspired swansong that was 'Drastic Plastic' in 1978. For all this apparent stylistic chopping and changing, Bill Nelson's songs were consistently accessible and often downright catchy. Take 'Maid in Heaven' from 'Futurama' for instance - 2½ minutes of pop perfection.

Be-Bop Deluxe - Maid in Heaven

Monday, 9 October 2017

Brigid Mae Power


Thanks to a recent post from Brian, I spent the best part of the back end of last week immersed in re-purchased fIREHOSE albums - and how marvellous they sound. A new tune from Brigid Mae Power managed to grab my attention though. Brigid has released a steady stream of fine music over the past 5 or 6 years via Bandcamp and latterly through the venerable Tompkins Square imprint, often sparse and eerily atmospheric in nature. 'Don't Shut Me Up (Politely)' is an unsettling piece, though with more musical flesh on the bones than we've heard previously. The folk-noir setting of the song brings to mind the work of Big Blood, a band I truly love and one I've championed on these pages many times. I can honestly pay Brigid no higher compliment than that.

'Don't Shut Me Up (Politely)' is the first taste of a new LP, 'The Two Worlds', due for release in early 2018. Count me in.

(To check out some of Brigid's earlier recordings, go here).

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Drift


'Drift', the second LP by The Apartments, originally released in 1992, has recently been re-issued on vinyl by the French label Talitres. As always on occasions such as this, I do a double-take at the date - 1992? Have I really had 'Drift' in my collection for 25 years? Following a flurry of activity in the mid-90s, The Apartments all but disappeared following 1997's 'Apart', fully re-emerging in 2015 with their frankly magnificent 7th LP, 'No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal'.

The band's one constant member, Peter Milton Walsh, has previously served time in both The Laughing Clowns and The Go-Betweens and if you have even a passing interest in either of those fine combos, I would heartily commend 'Drift' (and indeed all of the other six Apartments albums) to your ears.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Tom Petty


'Some things are over
 Some things go on
 Part of me you carry
 And part of me is gone'

Friday, 29 September 2017

Joyeux Anniversaire Brigitte


I dug out a few of Brigitte Bardot's Serge Gainsbourg collaborations yesterday, by way of marking BB's 83rd birthday. Then I headed over to YouTube to check out some footage from the period, kicking off with familiar clips for 'Comic Strip', 'Harley Davidson' and the fantastic 'Bonnie and Clyde', all from 1968, before heading back to 1963 for a groovy 'L'appareil à Sous' - at face value an innocent enough little ditty, although it's worth remembering that things are rarely the way they seem when it comes to Gainbourg's lyrics. My big discovery was a video for 1968's 'Contact', possibly my favourite of the Gainsbourg penned Bardot songs, which for some reason I'd never bumped into before. Far out!



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