Ezra Furman and The Visions – A Transangelic Exodus through Liverpool

If you need to find a door inside of your head that leads to somewhere else, Ezra Furman will show it to you.  This particular door opens up to us in Liverpool.  The narrative-driven album Transangelic Exodus is passing through our outward facing city.  We’re lucky.

Read More http://www.thevpme.com/2018/02/08/ezra-furman-visions-transangelic-exodus-liverpool/
From Pocket


The Lovely Eggs – 100 Club, London, 16/02/2018

If this is Eggland, you better check your hostilities at the door. Lancaster’s oddball outfit, The Lovely Eggs don’t want any of that arm folding, beard-stroking nonsense in the front rows. You’re unlikely to find it, to be honest.

Read More http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2018/02/20/the-lovely-eggs-100-club-london-16-02-2018/
From Pocket

‘I love this record – I think it’s my best’

Martin Carr’s latest album, New Shapes of Life, was written in the aftermath of Bowie’s death and is a wonderful collection of electronic-tinged, honest and reflective, futuristic-soul songs, but making the record took its toll on his mental health. We spoke to him to find out more…

Read More https://sayitwithgarageflowers.com/2017/11/05/i-love-this-record-i-think-its-my-best/
From Pocket

GIITTV: Charlotte Carpenter – Shelter EP (Let It Go Records)

The cover of Charlotte Carpenter‘s latest EP, Shelter, sees our heroine sat opposite a pint of bitter which may or not be hers (I bet it is!). Interestingly, the glass is half full…or perhaps it’s half empty? The answer to this perenial teaser is probably a closely guarded secret but key to understanding the pro-genesis behind the 4 track EP and the current state of her psyche. Look more closely at the EP cover and you will see her face split in two, subordinate to the outside light, whilst wearing a pink t-shirt under a black leather jacket and sat beneath a half and half window. The message seems uncomplicated, this is an EP of contrasts; either that or I’m reading waaaaay too much into matters.

Carpenter is arguably the most interesting Northampton export since Carlsberg opened up their brewery and her own particular brand of bluesy-rock goes down just as well with a packet of dry roasted peanuts. Not many artists are courageous enough to admit being inspired by a trip to a motorway service station (apparently ‘Shelter‘ conceived during one such visit) but then Charlotte Carpenter is no run-of-the-mill artist.

The title track percolates with a cinematic throb which provides the perfect bedrock for Carpenters’ robust vocal delivery; this is a marked progression from her previous offerings and demonstrates an artist who is growing in confidence and self-belief. Some may scoff, but there are echoes of Portishead‘s Dummy album throughout the track, a disturbing sense of the macabre mixed with a sense of impending doom. Previous single ‘Fire‘ is included here; it’s a full-on rock romp which could easily have featured as the soundtrack to a late-70s road movie and, once again, offers a contrast in pace to the rest of the EP.

The remaining tracks hint at the flip side to Charlotte Carpenter, showcasing a pencant for a delicate vocal with minimal musical intervention. ‘Hey Mr Cowboy’ comes over all spaghetti Western with an effortless strum complimenting a laconic vocal; if they ever re-make Pulp Fiction then this track is a necessity. Finally, ‘Lately’ signs off the EP with a ludicrously simple stab at my heartstrings; it feels as if the track was written in 5 minutes flat on the back of a fag packet but I bet it wasn’t.

None of this answers the question of whether her glass is half full or half empty but mine is positively overflowing. Catch her on tour now before she starts on the Diamond White trail to super-stardom.

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GIITTV: Tracks Of The Week #1

The She’s – Heartbreak

Wonky attitude-riven post-punk with a ’60s-tinged call and response choruses, from this brilliant San Francisco band of childhood friends. Lifted from their forthcoming album “all female rock and roll quartet” which is out on Empty Cellar Records 17th November. (BC)


Art School Girlfriend – Bending Back

Sumptuous minimal, pulsing pop from Polly Mackey who has been involved in a few musical projects down the years. Her new guise may be her best yet if ‘Bending Back’ is anything to go by mysterious and beguiling, echoing the works of Everything But The Girl only placed in a setting of contemporary production. Mackey’s gorgeously wistful vocals detailing the push and pull of the centre of control in a relationship. (BC)


Catholic Action – Black & White

Glasgow’s Catholic Action recently shared the video for latest single ‘Black & White’ lifted from their forthcoming album In Memory of. The track see-saws between an intimacy and riot of riffs and percussive breakdowns it’s delightfully reminiscent of mid-period Primal Scream and early Strokes. ‘Black & White’ was written by frontman Chris McCrory, as a reaction to finding out about the death of David Bowie. (BC)


The Purple Lights – Not Alone

East London duo The Purple Lights have come up with a totally original mixture of rock attitude and heavy reggae grooves, organic and totally authentic.  One of the hardest working touring acts and prolific songwriters, they’ve lugged their positive presences all over the festival circuit in 2017 and become resident artists at The Roundhouse.  This track is their most catchy, with lyrics that are designed to reassure anyone having a less than a great time in the world right now. Out on PLR Recordings on 17/11/2017.  (BW)


Photo: The She’s by Molly DeCoudreaux

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GIITTV: Various Artists – Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 (Light In The Attic)

Stereotypes of video games and technology might be crude, but they’re not baseless – Japan is rich in culture and heritage. But for the tenth most populous country in the world, its contribution to music can seem slight. There are many reasons for this: there’s the obvious cultural and language differences, but in 2017 with better understanding only a phonetap away, there’s a far more direct barrier – limited access. The portion of Japanese music available to Western ears on streaming services is minor, thanks to complicated licensing agreements and laws. Even with the world at our literal fingertips on Spotify, Japanese music remains a fairly specific interest. Light In The Attic, the wonderful label behind acclaimed reissues of music by acts from Lewis to Lizzy Mercier Descloux, attempts to fix it with a trilogy of archival compilations exploring specific Japanese scenes. The series’ first entry, Even A Tree… tackles a specific period of Japanese folk tradition, but the results feel more familiar than expected.

Fair warning: nearly all of this compilation is performed in Japanese. So if lyrical comprehension is vital to your experience of folk and rock, the charms of this selection might pass you by. Given how we experience our folk heroes like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, listening to music like this in a different way – not for its personal candour or political rousings but instead its sense of texture and melody – can be a strange experience.

But if you can get past that, the results are rewarding. At nineteen tracks, there’s a lot to pick from, but there’s plenty of highlights: Akai Tori‘s fingerpicked ‘Takeda No Komori Uta‘ marries ghostly Kate Bush vocals to droning cello tones; Sachiko Kanenobu daydreams through cooed “ba ba ba” vocals on ‘Anata Kara Toku E;‘ and Takashi Nishioaka‘s ‘Man-in No Ki‘ is a psychedelic spiral of proto-shoegaze guitar. The most familiar name here is probably Yellow Magic Orchestra member Haroumi Hosono, who unexpectedly dabbles in country guitar on ‘Boku Wa Chotto‘, but there’s only one dud and that comes from Fumio Nunoya, whose strained bellow jars on the thankfully-short ‘Mizu Tamari.’

What makes Even A Tree… so fascinating isn’t how different it sounds to Western tradition, but how similar. The voices are different and the melodies come from Eastern pentatonic scales, but a well-written song can transcend its era and culture, and most of this compilation manages to do that. There is so much out there – a cursory scan of Discogs re-issues or visit to cult blog Listen To This will only confirm how deep this alternative canon of music goes. To mine through it could only be an impossible task, yet Even A Tree… finds moments of neglected brilliance, showcasing obvious appeal from a cult niche.

Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 is out on October 20th through Light In The Attic.

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GIITTV: Marc Almond – Birmingham Symphony Hall, 17/10/2017

Marc Almond has the music business sussed. Not afraid to play the odd lucrative ‘nostaligia’ festival, (and rightly so), he is then free to concentrate on adding yet more gems to his extraordinary catalogue, taking whichever artistic direction catches his fancy. Almond can certainly not be accused of taking the commercial route; the art comes first, whether it be an album of Russian romantic songs (2003’s Heart On Snow) or indeed his new album, Shadows and Reflections, the theme of tonight’s show. An album of mainly covers, it would have been easy to go for the big-hitters, but instead Almond hand-picks some relatively obscure 60s tracks and adds a couple of self-penned modern day Almond classics.

The Symphony Hall stage is filled with Almond’s band, which comprises a full eighteen members and boasts five backing singers and a five-piece string section as well as regular guitarist Neal X (introduced by Almond tonight as “Neil Whitmore…because the venue is posh!”). Shadows and Reflections’ majestic opener, the simply titled ‘Overture’ emanates from the stage and it sounds immense; lush and dramatic, instrumental save for the swooping backing vocals. Almond appears to a great reception, dressed all in black with shades, and launches into the record’s title track. It’s immediately clear that he loves what he does, he can barely contain his excitement and comments on how lucky he feels to be playing such “lovely songs wth lovely musicians in a lovely venue like Birmingham Symphony Hall”.

Tonight’s show is split into two halves with the first section ostensibly dedicated to the new record; and indeed the first few songs come from the album (including a wonderful take on Billy Fury‘s ‘I’m Lost Without You’ and The Yardbirds‘Still I’m Sure’). However, never one to be predictable, the first half also includes a storming ‘The Days Of Pearly Spencer’ and a version of David Bowie‘s early track ‘London Boys’, originally recorded for the 2007 covers album Stardom Road (“David Bowie told me he liked it more than his version. Not really true of course, but a nice thing for him to say!”).

‘Blue On Blue’, one of the new record’s highlights is also a highlight this evening, one of Burt Bacharach‘s sublime canon that had its tune recycled for Royksopp‘s ‘So Easy’, and the two previously-mentioned self-penned songs from Shadows… appear next to each other. Stylistically, ‘Embers’ and ‘No-one To Say Goodnight To’ fit in perfectly with the album’s style and Almond is maybe only half-joking when he proclaims them “The best songs on the album…because I wrote them!” A lovely version of Young Rascals reflective ‘How Can I Be Sure?’, the album’s first single, is also a highlight.

A playful poke at Morrissey (or Siouxsie?) precedes Almond’s version of the Timi Yuro song ‘Interlude’ (“I had been meaning to record it for years and then someone beat me to it. I heard the version and it was mildly disappointing, which was a shame as one of my friends sang on it”). Almond still hasn’t recorded the song, but on this evidence, he certainly should.

A rousing ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ is a singalong anthem, like all the tracks tonight benefiting from the lush backing of the band. Fittingly, it is dedicated to its original singer and Almond’s co-vocalist on his Number One hit version, Gene Pitney.

If the first half of the show threw up some surprises, then the second half is even more unpredictable. ‘I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten’ re-starts the show, the song made famous by Dusty Springfield and originally also featuring on 2007’s Stardom Road. Two Russian songs, one that made Heart On Snow (‘The Storks’) and one that didn’t (‘The Sun Will Rise’) make an unexpected appearance, the former being re-titled ‘The Cranes’ as Almond had apparently misinterpreted the song’s title previously- it was dedicated to servicemen and women everywhere as its theme is that cranes “represent the souls of dead soldiers”. It is a beautiful track, but possibly not one for the Rewind festival!

Other highlights, among many, are the acapella ‘Scar’, accompanied by the five backing singers, and an energetic romp through the 1991 hit ‘Jacky’. Soft Cell‘s ‘Torch’ is absolutely stunning, transformed from synth duo to a vast, expansive sound, the five backing singers coming into their own, and the familiar riff played on an actual trombone. The incredible ‘My Hand Over My Heart’ stakes its claim as a strong contender for Almond’s greatest ever composition, its arrangement perfect for this evening’s set up, while ‘Tainted Love’ appears only as a brief medley with the Northern Soul classic ‘Gonna Find Myself A Party’.

By the time the ultimate Almond anthem ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ ends the show, Almond, in fine voice throughout, has once again proven that he is a true original.

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