Somebody, somewhere is recording something …
or something. Plunger aren’t sure as we couldn’t really be bothered to read the press release, but somethings definitely going on and you can read it here FIRST!
In fact we can’t even be arsed to copy and paste the WHOLE press release text like everybody else this time, but we’ve stuck the link below to the relevant website, where it’s all written out for you, probably.
www.whatsisface-thingummybobmusic.com (Pretty sure that’s the one.)
Erm…. while you’re all here, do you think we could shamelessly plug our range of Plunger mercha… no, no that would be too much even for us: as you were, sorry.
Happy, er, New, um, whatever..
Right, definitely no apocalypse gags this time, OK?
After last year’s tempting-the-wrath-of-the-thing-high-atop-the-the-thing preview of 2020 [https://tmblr.co/Zc96bk2mu5KfH], this year Plunger are steering clear of end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it predictions and sticking purely with nailed-on, dead-bang, copper-bottomed certainties within the UK independent music scene over the next 12 months…
Nostalgia - with things having been so grim, a hankering for better, simpler times will see every artist on the scene record new material (i.e. old songs you like better in their original version) with the Borussiamunchengladbacher Dontfrightenthehorsestra (winners of the Ovaltine Battle Of The Blands 1997, 98, 00 & 03) for an authentic Girl-From-Ipanema-Takes-A-Walk-In-The-Black-Forest-Diddy-David-Hamilton-Family-Choice-‘Hmm, this has a beat you can dance to!’-stylee vibe.
Gigs being a bit crap - After a year of no gigs at all, literally everyone in the country still with a pulse is going to hit those things like never before: to live, to love, to laugh: to dance like no-one’s looking… and to bellow inanities to each other like no-one’s playing, just so they can tell you how life affirming an experience it all was on social media.
Genregeddon - admittedly this has been coming for some years (as any blues purist will tell you […at considerable length]) but the idea of a band/artist/track being of a certain genre will cease to exist, making recent bad acid trip happenings like DEATHBLASTDOOMMETAAAAAAAALLLLL!!! magazine reviewing some easy listening crooner, and people nominating someone whose music sounds like Blackie Lawless assaulting a cat with a chainsaw as Country/Americana artist of the year while maintaining a straight face seem like ‘the good old days’.
Radio killed the radio star - the death of radio has been announced (falsely) many times in the past but 2021 is the finally year nobody bothers to tune in. This is because every single person on the planet will all be too busy preparing the playlist and bantz for their own shows (coming in your ears on Clitheroe 107.9 FM - Ribble Valleys’ #2 most popular station) to listen to anyone else’s.
Care in the Facebook Community - in a rare example of government/internet giant cooperation, NHS Mental Health Services will be granted automatic access to the many ‘fan-only’ Facebook groups, after the publication of a National Establishment for Researching Knowledge (NERK) report showing conclusively these were an almost perfect aggregation of the national population of mouth-breathers, knuckle-draggers, obsessive stalkers and delusional fantasists since asylums were shut down.
As if NYE wasn’t depressing enough normally…
Unrealistically high expectations for the event itself (and for the year to come) usually make New Year’s Eve a pretty grim occasion at the best of times, but bidding farewell to a year like we’ve just had with any fondness while in Tier 4 is going to need something special…
In that spirit we’ve asked four of Plunger’s favourite sloshed chefs to cast their pie-eyes over what 2020 had to offer and give us their take on what’s best to give your party popper a tug to.
If like me you’re celebrating with a noshtastic blow-out, the perfect accompaniment to my soft floury baps, juicy moist clam, and cream-filled ring would be something to caress the tongue, titillate the taste buds and arouse the senses:
Being from Essex I love America and all things American an’nat, I even pretend I’m American half the time, so here’s some dawgawn doozy drinks with a Stateside flavour, innit bruv?
As queen of the “…blackberry aromas with hints of hornbeam, a smidgeon of old sock, and a Duckhams Hypergrade finish” tasting note, flavours are key for me.
With everything monstrously changed this year there’s a real nostalgia for nostalgia as we ring out 2020, and there’s nothing more nostalgic than a dead chef recommending retro grog:
After all of that it’s not surprising that the pièce de résistance of our pièce artists, the sine qua non of New Year beverages as recommended by all our experts… the only way to end 2020 and start 2021 with a clear head is the cobweb-blowing, toxin-flushing, hangover-busting, reassuring plink plink fizz of Mike Ross’ The Clovis Limit Pt 2.
Exclusive Christmas TV movie guide for bluesers …
Here at PBC1 we mourn the demise of the big, holiday season, family movie we grew up with, so over the festive period we’ll be showing some of the old favourites for you to fall asleep to over your Selection Box.
Including timeless classics like:
The Magnificent Seven - Desperate peasants club together to raise enough cash to hire seven mysterious mercenaries led by an exotic outsider to rescue them, resulting in a hideous massacre.
The Great Escape - Trapped within the rigid confines of Stalag I-IV-V near Köln, several prisoners (including The Coolest King, The Forgery, The SOB, The Tiler) plan a daring flight from the clutches of ‘the goons’. Futilely, it turns out.
The Sound Of Music - Annoying blonde with habit of spinning around waving her arms about while singing leads to innocent family fleeing their home.
Mary Poppins - Mythical female with phenomenal powers parachuted into hum-drum family. Has to endure dancing with penguins and some Dick’s improbable mockney accent and cheesy grin, before finally floating away.
The Greatest Story Ever Told - beleaguered oppressed people seek long-awaited Messiah to lead them from the wilderness. When he does actually turn up they brand him a criminal, natch.
If any news story could chill your blood, this is it …
Plunger had a nasty moment when we misread a recent online headline as indicating the erstwhile Prince of 90s Pap Pop Robbie Williams was actually collaborating on a forthcoming musical project with horny-handed sons of toil and vanguard of the coming (yes, really, any day now) workers’ popular uprising, Sleaford Mods. Thankfully, once we’d come out from behind the sofa, it turned out The Shirtless One was just singing along to some tune by the miserabilists on his phone.
But it got us thinking…they’re both from the post-industrial Midlands rust belt (they’re practically neighbours in Stoke and Nottingham) so maybe the idea of mashing up their seemingly disparate oeuvres isn’t so far fetched?
Let loose on some of Robbie’s past glories we’re sure the Mods could work wonders… on the realities of modern love and loss in Angles
And through it all
she offers me protection,
a johnny for my erection,
a raincoat for my dong.
And i will turn it down,
i don’t like wearing rubbers:
and if the silly scrubber
kicks off then I’ll be gone.
If she wont take me…
I’ll shag her mother instead
Or perhaps the unvarnished truth of moonlighting as black economy decorator, in Let Me In To Paint You
Look me up in Thompson’s pages
(between the plumbers and the rabbit cages)
I only work for union wages (cash).
Little boys blue have screwed you too,
they won the election (and the previous two)
fourth time’s a charm, with a Jezza coup (natch!)
Or Relight My Pyre’s tale of incendiary passion on a council estate?
Relight my pyre…
with a fly-tipped sofa and a bread-van tire.
Relight my pyre,
cause I’m bo-o-o-ored and stoned.
Or maybe allow their imaginations to fly free, riffing on another of the Robmeister’s favourites, Back For Good Riddance
Want you back, want you back…
‘cos you took my giro and my stash of smack;
my Co-op baked beans family-size pack;
my grandmother’s G-plan magazine rack…
and the Tory wankers are a load of cack.
Couldn’t be any worse together than separately, really.
[pic nicked from NME.com, originally from Instagram]
You know what, Toto? Maybe we ARE in Kansas …
King King have always had an American flavour to their sound (helped by Alan’s excellent transatlantic vocal) but their latest, Maverick, finds them cruising the interstate, probably in an open top Chevy, somewhere between Baxter Springs, KS and Hollywood, CA having left Chicago far behind.
Maybe it’s not a Chevy but a De Lorean, because Maverick hasn’t just shifted 5,000 miles west but about 35-40 years back in time… The slick, glossy, high-polish rock is largely reminiscent of the likes of Foreigner, REO Speedwagon et al. lending a Breakfast Club / anything-with-Meg-Ryan-in-it soundtrack vibe with the story arc of good-times, love interest, heartbreak, struggle through adversity and heart-warming ending.
It’s a different sound to King King of old, with the exception of the opener Never Give In, which is more Free-style, and the southern-inflected Doobies-lite closer End Of The Line with some expressive guitar work. The new band are no slouches, particularly the keys from Jonny Dyke, Alan’s voice is as good as ever (although maybe with a touch of ‘treatment’ here and there?) while the solos in the main are a lot more Schenkery than he’s been known for previously.
While no FM-friendly rock trope is knowingly overlooked or underdone (quiet bit, double speed finish, etc.) there’s a couple of surprise introspective moments led primarily by Jonny’s piano, in the last dance smoocher of By Your Side and a rather Elton & Westlife When My Winter Comes.
It’s a sign of advancing years but Plunger defy anyone of a certain age not to think of dance floor favourites of yesteryear at various points throughout Maverick (Fame!, 5705, Eye Of The Tiger anyone?) but if you didn’t live the big-hair, big-shoulders, leg-warmers and wind-machine era then that won’t mean anything… if you did, it might just be a welcome reminder of your youth.
Just remember to push up your jacket sleeves and turn up your collar.
Maverick is released on 27th November via Channel 9 Music – King King’s new independent label. Available in various formats and packages from here: https://kingking.tmstor.es
Snowflakes aren’t just for Christmas you know?
Following the BBC’s cancellation of The Pogues’ seasonal favourite The Comfortable In His Own Sexuality Tale Of New York, pressure is growing to similarly ban a swathe of other popular songs deemed unacceptable by today’s listeners.
These are said to include:
The BBC are asking that the public submit their own suggestions for inclusion on the proscripted list…
Well, that’s pretty much “mission accomplished” …
Mango Thomas’ bio lists their desired listener reaction as “What the fuck was that?!” Yup, Plunger have been listening to their 7-track EP Mango Thomas Goes De.EP for a week and we’re still not sure we can adequately express how mental it is…
The fairground barker spoken intro Intro boasts of “the wonder, the madness, the magnificence that can only be Mango Thomas!” and he’s not wrong… just listing the kaleidoscopic elements swirling in the maelstrom of styles, genres and moods makes your head spin:
High whoops and didgeridoo low throb,
Lithe funk bass,
Old Skool wheely synth,
Canterbury Prog dreamy vocal harmonies,
Steve Hillage Green,
Banging laser-lit ravery,
Tomorrow Never Knows…
and that’s just in the one track LWAD.
The machine-code stuttering 23rd Century funk of Found My Place collides lush symphonic pads with Nile Rodgers choppy rhythm guitar, Hawkwind interstellar keys and glockenspiel (obviously), while Dank Day’s Tin Machine/Belew-era Crimson hard-edged frenetic-rock-in-sevens deconstructs via elastic stoner lines and heavy grinding to a supple funk passage complete with fine jazzy piano and multi-vox falsettos (still in sevens though) before closing in a scream-laden death metal explosion.
By now it’s no surprise the closing track Fluffy Melancholy might not be exactly what it says on the tin: Grantchester Meadows-y bucolic finger-picking, mesmeric piano, relaxed beats and a Camelesque harmony guitar melody do bring a hypnotic airiness, heightened by the gradual seeping in of Eastern flavours from synth strings, sarod-like lines and finger cymbals’n’tabla, to match the ethereal floating vox… until the final two minutes of off-kilter death-synth (that’s a thing, right?) brutalism, layered with wild screams, a muezzin call and general weirdness…
If that’s all a bit too vanilla for you, as well as the increasingly manic strut (reminscent of Hammill’s Open Your Eyes, particularly the wild Jaxononsax horns) of Intro, there’s also a Stanshall-on-PCP crazed vox-and-cabaret-orchestra-manipulated-to-extremes interlude of I’m A Sheep, and the very Zappa-ish twisted-stalker-groupie-answerphone-message of Melonie.
Bonkers. Pretty much the only thing missing is the kitchen sink (although that might be where the didgeridoo low throb comes from) but the important thing is… it works. The mix of disparate styles, the matching of modern dance influences to prog sensibilities, the rhythmic complexity, the invention and wit, and the ease with which all those are combined calls to mind the US jamband scene, where the likes of Phish, Big Something or Disco Biscuits quirk-out and genre-hop with gleeful abandon.
Wonder; madness; magnificence… that’s Mango Thomas alright.
Mango Thomas Goes De.EP is released on Sunday (maximising the weirdness) 22nd November, available to pre-order here: https://mangothomas.bandcamp.com/album/mango-thomas-goes-de-ep
There it is, Frank. 3 definitions but which is true?
“Well Wobert, I think I can wemove Woger’s wather impwobable explanation without further twouble. Wichard’s descwiption as ‘a thwee dimensional gwaph detailing a pwojectile’s twajectowy thwough space’ has its attwactions but I’m not weally shaw… Gwaham’s portwayal of piwates twaversing wough seas with their wudimentary map was vewy dwamatic but it lacks the wing of vewacity… you know I’m going to weverse my wationale and weturn to Woger. An ‘IBBA Chart’ is in fact a weasonable and weliable wepwesentation of a wecent welease’s populawity among wecord buyers.”
“Roger, it was indeed you who said those things, were they true or was it all actually a titanic humungous and egregious bluff?”
Any Larkin Poe fans keen to get under the covers …
… probably weren’t thinking of this. Larkin Poe became a bit of an internet sensation with their regular YouTube cover version sessions, so with shows cancelled and time on their hands it was only natural that the result would be a full album of the same, Kindred Spirits.
Recorded “live and raw” with just the two of them, it’s a pretty eclectic selection, spanning almost 100 years, from the early days of recorded blues to 21st century rap, all stripped back to varying degrees. An amuse geuele of a single verse of Robert Johnson’s Hellhound On My Trail has an appropriate backwoods porch flavour; Bo Diddley’s standard Who Do You Love is a fun, proficient (if largely undistinguished) back-stage jam, while Derek & The Dominoes’ Bell Bottom Blues lives up to its billing a bit more than Eric’s!
The sparse arrangements mean that Lenny Kravitz’s Fly Away has a darker mood (more “I wish I could”, than “I’m going to”); In The Air Tonight is delivered as moody South Central foreboding, with its menacing chordal slide and (drum machine or boot heel?) beats and claps taking the place of Phil Collins’ thunderous drums; and another moody cinematic number comes in Take What You Want by rapper Post Malone (no, I had no idea either, but I’ve checked and this one IS better) topped with a fluid, searing slide break.
To Plunger’s ears the two-hander set up doesn’t work equally well for everything: Nights In White Satin sees the original’s lush overblown melodrama and anguish replaced by a hushed resigned melancholia, with the breathier vox underplaying the emotion (particularly in the major-shifting chorus) leaving the slide to express the passion of the Moody Blues’ version* and Elton John’s frenetic purple heart-jive Crocodile Rock is turned into wistful ‘ludes-laced nostalgia with lazy drawled vocals and a dreamy slide fade out.
As big Allmans’ fans plunger were poised to fulminate at a cover of Ramblin’ Man, but fair’s fair, the sisters’ take highlights the underlying countryness of the brothers’ song: changing the original’s sophisticated bustle to a homespun hoedown two-step and adding a proper country ending works well, and they do include a lovely two guitar harmony hook.
There’s more invention brought to (You’re The) Devil In Disguise: Elvis’ lighthearted romp has the latin influences turned up to Once, with Mexicali spice introducing a borderland desertscape torch song complete with rattlesnake tambourine, venomous slide and surprise minor shifts in the chorus. Plunger’s favourite track (and the longest on the album) Rockin’ In The Free World does what the best covers do, as Rebecca and Megan use haunting steel swells and tremulous bittersweet harmonies to transform Neil Young’s 4/4 polemic into a waltz-time country lament.
The core Larkin Poe attractions shine out throughout: Rebecca’s voice is as beguiling as ever, Megan’s slide sharp and piquant: while we’re not certain this collection would have made the jump from YouTube novelty to record without the pandemic (there’s a hint of lockdown boredom-beating “What can we do nooooow?!?” about it) and it’s probably not the introduction to Larkin Poe for the uninitiated, it’s a definite must for their fans who want to get up close and personal.
Kindred Spirits is released on Tricki-Woo Records on 20th November
* (but Justin Hayward loves it apparently, so chacun a son whatsit and all that)
Latest Bond lead revealed… and no-one’s happy
Following months of speculation over the replacement for Daniel Craig in the long-lasting shootin’-’n’-shaggin’ franchise, the producers have announced the brand new 007 at a press event this afternoon, and the news wasn’t exactly greeted with whole-hearted enthusiasm.
“Travesty”, “a pale imitation of a rich heritage”, and “decades of tradition trashed in a moment” were some of the few printable reactions. Speaking exclusively to Plunger from beyond the grave, former movie mogul the late Chubby Calabrese said, “No matter who is we put forward as a ‘new Bond’, summabody they go bat shit crazy. We say Laurenz Focks an is all ‘Too white, too male, too Eengleesh… soooooo last century, move with times Daddio’. We try womans of colour an Middling Eengland write to Daily Mail in droves that ‘this not how it used to be in good old days when sun never set on empire’. This way, nobody happy, everybody lose. An the best thing is Joe Bonamassa, he used to people complain about ‘too white, too male’, and also about how ‘not like how it was in old days’, so he’ll be like ducks back for watering, innit? Anys how, I been dead for twenny four years, why should I care?”
Plunger understand that Mr Bonamassa’s contract is for three films, currently going by the working titles of Solos Last Forever, Barrelscraper, Dr, Please God, No.
In cyberspace, no-one can hear you scream “Yeah!”
‘Alternate reality’ has been with us so long now, it’s hard to say if the weird Twilight Zone was outside, where music venues stand silent and dark, or inside Brighton Electric, where the sound of bands playing issued from every room in the building when we arrived for the launch of Mike Ross’s The Clovis Limit Part 2.
Logistics and legislation sadly put paid to the idea of 25 ‘golden ticket’ holders gaining physical access to the live-streamed show, leaving the room a lot like a TV studio: lights, cameras, and a hard-working crew (including album producer Al Scott) finessing the sound and vision took up most of the space, creating a dilemma for the handful of spectators… Would it be unprofessional to clap? Will four people’s applause sound a bit thin? Does a whoop here break the spell for the viewer online? It wasn’t too long before the raw power of the music (and the beer) answered that with an emphatic “Who cares?”
Mike was joined by guest vocalist Jade ‘Like the Stone’ Williams, Stevie 'Keys’ Watts, Darren Lee on drums and Dan Lyons (initially in cosmonaut finery) on bass to deliver the album with surprising fidelity given the lack of multi-tracking and other studio bells and whistles. The gut-punch energy of Thanks A Lot and the stinging-slide bite and bile of The Only Place You Ever Take Me Is Down were if anything heightened, while Jade’s soaring wordless vocal brought an interesting counterpoint to Mike’s sublime guitar lines in the ABBish 6/8 break of None Of Your Business. Bittersweet harmonies and an acerbic squealing solo lent a sharper tang to the warm glow of Hammer, while Tell Jerry was taken as a straight-trio canter, embellished with a touch more jambandesque extemporising than the record, and the addition of drums and Jade and Stevie’s urgent bvs nudged The Loser more toward Jacksonville than Laurel Canyon.
Having had one costume change already Mike switched into gunslinger black for Leviathan, every bit as expansive and shimmering with menace as the album version, before a final break (and change) heralded the closing triad: Unforgiven, dedicated to Jules Fothergill, still sounded lush with only the one (chorus pedal-assisted) guitar, the solo sounding even more sweetly Dickeyish and Stevie’s excellent organ outing one of the few of the night properly to-the-fore in the mix (the only small quibble with the sound in the room); the cowbelltastic strut of Don’t Say A Word was more venomous and dripping with sleazy Stonesy swagger courtesy of Jade’s grit and power; and the finale Shoot You If You Run perfectly captured the bleak majesty, precision tutti gunfire bursts and searing passion of the original track… although not its extended guitar-and-Haw-Haw coda (which the online watchers were treated to thanks to a neat segue to the record for their closing titles).
While those watching online had those added bonuses (including atmospheric, specially-filmed, video images soundtracked by Mike’s Dystopia Rising preceding the show and in the occasional take-a-breather-and-change-shirt set breaks) they did miss out on the sheer rush of a blistering, cranked-up electric guitar ‘in the room’: after so many months of acoustics-only shows/streams it was an experience akin to being wired to the National Grid.
A stunning (and vanishingly rare) night of live music, something to brighten the dark, atmosphere-free, empty wastes that seem to lie ahead of us.
The Clovis Limit Pt 2 is out now, available to stream/download from the usual suspects plus in deluxe CD format here: https://mikerossmusic.bigcartel.com/product/the-clovis-limit-pt-2-transitions-deluxe-cd-digipak-album
“Desert Island Discs” to get a Blues makeover …
Rumours are rife that Radio 4 classic Desert Island Discs is scheduled for a new bluesier sound, following the arrival of national treasure, blues icon, and outspoken political firebrand Sir Ivan Kittiwake (OM, KCBE, ISMOTP) on the small Caribbean island of Cointreau. The tiny former slave trade staging post, best known as one of Oxfam’s Top Ten Tax Havens and home of the world’s largest open air brothel, can now add gritty, honest, truthful, blue-collar blues to its list of glittering attractions.
Listeners to the much-loved stalwart of BBC programming may notice a few changes: it is believed that instead of eight records, only one will be expected in the new ‘Blues’ format (since, let’s be honest, all blues songs sound the same). The ‘one book’ (plus the Bible and the collected works of Shakespeare) rule will still be there, although the updated show will now stipulate ‘eight luxury items or more’, because who can last anywhere without at least that many, darling?
UK bluesers needn’t fret that this will spell the end of Sir Ivan’s appearances here: Cointreau’s continuing status as a colonial possession of Ruritania guarantees free movement with the EU, so the regular visits for twelve-course banquets in swanky castles (in countries sanctioned by Brussels for various human rights violations) will be unhindered.
Julian Taylor proves a bit of a man for all seasons …
Having served up the quintessential summer fun soundtrack in the sunny funk of last year’s Avalanche, Julian Taylor’s latest, nominally solo, album The Ridge turns out to be a cosy winter warmer.
Nominally solo, as in the absence of the full-fat funk’n’soul resources of his band Taylor employs a more intimate ensemble for a much mellower mood. Mournful pedal steel heightens the nostalgic country vibe of the title track, together with sweet fiddle and a hypnotic train-track rhythm (especially effective in the extended fade into the distance coda), and shimmers its way through the laid-back Human Race; bright glockenspiel gently accents the acoustic-led sway of It’s Not Enough; chiming piano, sparkling pedal steel and a soaring fiddle lead feature in Over The Moon’s relaxed California beach stroll, and rich cello adds a polished sheen to the up close and personal Be With You.
More exotic flavours come in the the Mexicali borderland spicing of mass mariachi guitar and congas on Love Enough, the gypsy folk/tango of Ballad Of A Young Troubadour with its tom-heavy beat and wordless multi-voice hook, and the quirky indie Velvets ur-riff and spoken message of universal oneness, building to a (gently) ecstatic finale in the closer Ola Let’s Dance.
The gentler nature of The Ridge brings out the versatility and warmth of Taylor’s voice, hints of Campbell, Lightfoot, Mathis, Nelson, Sarstedt (and a lot of Orbison in Love Enough!) add to the album’s retro easy-listening cosiness: something boosted by many of the tracks having a “Don’t I Know This?” familiarity that’ll have you humming along even on first listen. It might not set your ears on fire, but it does wrap you in a warm pleasurable glow.
If Avalanche evoked skating-with-a-boombox-through-Central-Park-in-July, The Ridge is more hot-buttered-toast-by-the-fire-listening-to-Radio-2-on-a-dreich-day-in-winter… February 7th 1974, around 11.32am, would be Plunger’s guess.
The Ridge is out now on and is available from the usual outlets, and to stream/download here: https://juliantaylor.bandcamp.com/album/the-ridge
Raised pulse? Goosebumps? Heightened mood?
It’s true what they say, Speed really does thrill! Listening to Consider The Speed, Terra Lightfoot’s latest release, has some serious positive side effects. Three years (almost) to the day since her previous, New Mistakes [which Plunger raved about here: https://tmblr.co/Zc96bk2Q6yju5 ] Terra carries on where she left off, with the same vibrancy, joie de vivre and genre-hopping eclecticism.
Eleven tracks (recorded largely in Memphis) range from the good-time Glam boogie of the title track with its electric piano, to-the-fore bass and fuzz-edged guitar, to the dreamy bobby sox-via-Nashville waltz of Lost You Forever; from Two Wild Horses’ country-tinged gospel to the edgy New Wave defiance of It’s Over Now; and from the relaxed Malibu beach stroll of Love You So to Called Out Your Name’s urgent Delaney & Bonnie-on-Soul Train dance floor strut.
Terra and producer Jay Newland apparently bonded over (among other things) a love of CCR and there’s definitely a Creedencesque roadhouse rocker vibe to Midnight Choir, while touches of The Band surface in Ramblin’ Rose’s walking pace chug and descending hook, and the staccato Paper Thin Walls with its raw earthy guitar and 7/8 time chorus. Tricksy timing also adds an element of surprise to the deceptively simple horn-led soul of One High Note, while Empty House’s easy-going amble features some splashes of Dan-like sophistication in both the verse breaks and the guitar-and-piano outro (leaving Plunger waiting for an extended coda solo that doesn’t come before the fade: maybe ‘live’…)
Slick production includes an eye for the fine details, from Terra’s multi-layered vox adding the right level of 70s cheesiness to Consider The Speed or lush West Coastery to Love You So, through sweet Graceland-meets-Atlanta Rhythm Section guitar flourishes in Midnight Choir and her fiery overdriven but understated solo on Paper Thin Walls, to the echt 60s bvs and tambourine on Called Out Your Name, One High Note’s classic key change, and the stirring gospel voices of Two Wild Horses.
What ties it all together though is Terra’s stunning voice: whether being silky and seductive in Lost You Forever, emotional and heartfelt on Two Wild Horses or in It’s Over Now’s ecstatic swooping lines, the power and depth (neither a euphemism for ‘loud’ or ‘shouty’) positively radiate. It’s still like being fire-hosed with ice cold Dom Pérignon while flying at zero feet over sunflower fields strapped to the nose of a Lockheed Starfighter… or something. Exhilarating, and highly addicitive!
Consider The Speed is released on Sonic Unyon Records on 16th October
Rockin’ Rishi’s Blues (Re)train Fest
In The Marriage, two is most definitely company…
Dave Burn and Kirsten Adamson are both known from their membership of larger Americana/Country ensembles (AHAB, Orphan Colours et al) but Imagining Sunsets, their debut release as The Marriage, shows the enduring power of the duo.
Eleven small but perfectly formed tracks (only three sneak past 3 minutes) form a sparkling eternity band encompassing the highs and lows joys and sorrows of relationships, from the achingly sweet reverie of Diamonds to the troubled True Anger, and from Floating In Space’s brittle faux cheeriness to the warm humour of Toast. Spare instrumentation (acoustic guitar for the main, and even that is reined-in) lets the two voices hold centre stage, in almost a cappella fashion, affording their clarity, passion, vulnerability and joy full effect, whether in heart-breaking harmonies or two-as-one unisons.
That said, there are some lovely pedal steel washes from Joe Harvey-Whyte; Fred Abbott’s understated piano accents in For Worse Or For Better, and Dave’s own twangsome touches throughout. Rob Heath’s drums only make an appearance in the closing Box And Burn It, a surprisingly muscular Nu Country anthem.
That track aside, Imagining Sunsets more evokes the spirit of Greenwich Village in its 60s pomp than the brassier polish of Nashville or the West Coast, in its intimacy, honesty and fragility… and admirably proves that less really can be more.
Imagining Sunsets is released on 2nd October, available here: https://wethemarriage.com/store
Er… was it ’Big Box, Fishboard, Boxcard Little’?
… It’s been so long since people gathered (legally, at least) in a room to actually dance, actually together, that we might need an instruction manual when all this is finally over and the LEDs and lasers come on again.… GU-RU’s aptly titled Teach Me will fit the bill nicely.
In an A-B-C dancefloor primer, 80s house beats and sequencers shot through with 90s piano pulses and ornamented with 70s string textures and Moog lines, cook up an irresistible groove. an extra spicing of rainforest flute, subcontinental percussion, and Rio Carnival parade march lead via a brassy fanfare to a closing air-punching climax.
No matter how long you’ve been beached on the sofa, Teach Me’s masterclass in bangers will have you throwing eye-popping, teeth-grinding shapes like a PhD in rave in no time…
Teach Me is available to download now from here: https://gu-ru.bandcamp.com/track/teach-me