Should I be amazed by the quality of new releases that continue to arrive? Some will say the abundance of excellent new music is a result of musicians being in isolation for a year. That could be part of why there are so many introspective releases. Yet, I also believe there just happens to be a lot of talented people who are making music I think deserves your attention. All the cuts in this volume fit into that category, starting with Suzi Sabotage who hails from Helsinki, Finland. Apparently, Suzi does everything, she sings, plays synths, and writes the songs. Apart from having a moniker I could not resist, Ms. Sabotage charmed me with The World Is A Heartache from her Postmodern Dystopia album. There is an honesty (a word I may repeat) coming to the fore in her work. Paula Borges and Jonathan Skinner know what they are doing and they do it well. As Hanging Freud this couple based in Glasgow has created their own distinctive sound. Yes, of course, there are references (that’s a good thing) but Paula originally from Brazil, and Jonathon from London prove with Puzzles from Persona Normal we need to keep a watchful eye on them. In an effort to deal with childhood trauma and teenage angst, Jen Dajung Kim started writing songs like she was filling a journal. In that journal, she recorded herself ruminating on self-identity, culture, religion, doubt, anger, and love. known professionally as Dajung, was born and raised in the Korean city of Incheon. At twelve, she moved to China and attended an international school, it was there that she acquired her bizarre monicker from her English teacher – Jay Knife – now the title of her album. Untitled showcases Dajung’s poignant songwriting, arranging and performing. I wish I knew more about Husbands and we had more time to plays both cuts from these two lads out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. You’ll hear, Must Be A Cop but I recommend you check out, Burn The Witch. They modestly label themselves as “OKC surf, pop, rock, garage, what have you”. There is a lot going on here that may not be so obvious at first. Listen carefully, then listen again. Luc Seacroft out of East London has been on my radar for some time. Every time he sends a new release, I know I’m in for something, unlike his past work. Luc likes to try new ideas our and I’m all for that. About Promised Land he says, “it’s a very personal song, about facing life’s woes head-on. It rejects the guarantee of a happy ending (or “promised land”) but in doing that, finds some peace”. Again, this is one of those songs you must listen to carefully. The subtle effects and processing Luc uses gives an accomplished sheen to the production. Nice artwork too. Erika Bach lives in Greece. Is it possible that those ancient relics nearby lend an authoritative aura to her work? As Lola Demo the singer-songwriter has been releasing well-crafted music for some time, she is also one half of m1nk with Barry Snaith. Erika’s latest solo LP, Stone is clearly a serious contemplation on all that concerns the artist. I have chosen two cuts to illustrate those concerns, Can’t Live Like This and the title cut, Stone. For each track, she has created a video which you are advised to search out. It should go without saying at this juncture, if Josh Idehen sends us a new release, then you can be sure we will get it on the show and send the word out to all smart radio programmers to do the same. The talented, hard-working Mr. Idehen is back with another collaboration with electronic duo LV. This one is titled Somehow. It’s fabulous and it features Shanaz Dorsett. Now, who likes a cover-version every so often. Here is the first of two in this volume. And, it’s an unlikely one, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Sweet Whirl & Gregor. Two successful artists out of Australia on Melbourne’s Chapter Music label. Honestly, it’s a bit of a head-scratching choice, yet their dancefloor-ready version is so radically different, you may wonder if your brain is playing tricks with songs you remember. Also on Chapter Music is The Goon Sax out of Brisbane. Formed in 2013, The Goon Sax are James Harrison, Louis Forster, and Riley Jones. Did you catch that name, Louis Forster, yes he is the son of Robert, of The Go-Betweens fame. In The Stone is the cut. Recently I saw a video of a live set by The Goon Sax – I was impressed. OK, onto the second cover in this mix, “We love Peter Gabriel” say Lowland Hum “shortly after having our first child, we decided to cover his 1986 release, So, in its entirety”. (That took me by surprise). Lowland Hum is a minimalist modern folk band based in Charlottesville, Virginia, made up of Daniel and Lauren Goans. The cut you’ll hear is In Your Eyes from their new album, So Low. Interestingly how their arrangements make Gabriel’s songs sound so vulnerable. Is it a coincidence that The Catenary Wires specialize in harmonies and they have a harmonium on their songs? And fine harmonies they are on their album, Birling Gap as heard with Face On The Rail Line. This five-piece hail from Rolvendean, Kent in the southeast of England. When he is not putting us all to shame with his extraordinary stamina running marathons, Alex of Blackjack Illuminist Records out of Berlin is making music and putting out new recordings. His latest release Alex wants you to know about is the LP, Mind Dawns from Distance Dealer. He says, “This is a brand new post-punk/synthwave band I’m also part of. it’s comprising of Vlimmer (me Alex in Germany) and Phantoms vs Fire (Brazil)”. Hit By A Brick is the track I’ve chosen, and I suggest, if you haven’t already, you check out more of Alex’s releases.
Over on the latest Life Elsewhere, you’ll find an interview with David Lowery about his late brother, Ian Lowery who fronted a number of influential bands, including, Ski Patrol, Folk Devils, and The Ian Lowery Group. But before that, Ian was part of The Wall. Dave recently discovered four recordings of The Wall that have until now, never, ever been heard before publicly.
- Suzi Sabotage – The World Is A Heartache
- Hanging Freud – Puzzels
- Dajung – Untitled
- Husbands – Must Be A Cop
- Luc Seacroft – Promised Land
- Lola Demo – Can’t Live Like This
- Lola Demo – Stone
- LV & Josh Idehen – Somehow (Radio Edit)
- Sweet Whirl & Gregor – Have You Ever Seen The Rain
- The Goon Sax – In The Stone
- Lowland Hum – In Your Eyes
- The Catenary Wires – Face On The Rail Line
- Distance Dealer – Hit By A Brick
Artwork by Ben Sabato “Self Portrait #5” from The Shadow Series 1998 12” x 13” Inkjet on fiber-paper