Life Elsewhere Music Vol 229

Has over a year of living in a state of fear of COVID resulted in a glorious amount of superb new releases? It does seem in the last week or so I have been continually surprised and yes, impressed with the new music that has arrived on my desk. To begin, brothers Angus James and Oliver James formed The Death Of Pop on the south-coast of England in2013. For Seconds, the title track of their new album, they are joined by Thom James on drums and Edwin Pope on sax. In their notes they make a (jokey?) reference to 90’s shoegaze and 80’s new wave. We like The Death Of Pop references or not. Over in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Starlips maybe prowling around in dark corners. Well, that maybe what they would like you to imagine. Their two track EP, Sin Masse delivers the unrelenting Song and Siren. Both cuts are rich with noise you need to listen to both loud and carefully. Juliette Jade says her LP, Kaleidoscope is a collection of fifteen home demos, all  composed, performed, recorded, produced and reworked by, wait for it – Juliette Jade. The Paris-based artist emanates a style and sound that could be mistakenly categorized because Ms. Jade deserves her own genre. Now to a three-piece from Manchester who are a perfect example of people making music I am raving on about. They call themselves, The Early Mornings, their EP is titled, Unnecessary Creation. You’ll hear two cuts, Blank Sky and Just A Picture. Their DIY video is jolly good. I dare you to disagree with me! Over in Nottingham is producer George Gretton making smart music like Clear. Listen to this one again (and again). Top marks for the knob-twiddling. This is one of those tracks I would like to go on for at least another 4 or 5 minutes. A dance floor remix is in order, more please, Mr. Gretton. We go back in time for the next one, well, not that far back, it’s December 2020 and Oly releases the album, Shy Passion. Trojan Heart  is the cut I selected and you are advised to check out more from Public Works Records out of Miami, co-founded by Oly. When your publicity blurb says, “I’m a 15 year old singer songwriter from Leigh on Sea in Essex and have been writing music for a couple of years now. Suddenly here I am with my first EP! I started solely on piano, but have really enjoyed pushing my guitar and vocals too. I’m writing all the time and currently have another 5 songs almost ready to release”, that is an invitation to explore who and what this artist is all about. Ruby Hickman caught us by surprise. She is definitely talented and she certainly knows how to put a song together. As for the production, she doesn’t say who is responsible, but I’m guessing Ruby had a lot to say say about how her music was recored. From her EP, The Fake You we will play, I Hate You. To hear more from Ruby Hickman check out LE 418. Boston is in Lincolnshire in the UK, that is where Liam James Marsh (AKA Kid Chameleon) and Alice Kat hail from. Together they are known as Fine. Their LP is, I’m Glad It’s Over Now. Two cuts, I Sleep So Much Better Now and Where I Came / Where You Left give you a taste of how good they are, but you would  definitely be wise to treat yourself to their smashing album. The idea of writing, and singing a song about protruding front teeth sounds like a bit of a impossible proposition. Yet, Fightmilk took it on and have come up with an excellent solution. “Your two front teeth sit so sweet on your bottom lip”. Haven’t you had a crush on someone with a physical feature that could be considered unattractive, yet you think it’s so…sexy? Overbite is from Fightmilk’s second LP, Contender. I love it! Love her voice.! Fightmilk are out of London, they are Lily, Alex, Healy and Nick. So good! Me Me Me Records are based out of the astonishingly revitalized, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and they put out quality releases. When It’s Gone is by Amarcord from the Age Of Intimacy EP should have you searching for more from this enterprising label. Erika de Casier is a talent to watch out for. Drama from her LP, Sensational offers up a gentle and sophisticated R & B track for this Copenhagen-based artist. To round out this volume a cut from a curious compilation c/o Hermit Dubz. Each song here has a vocal version and three dub versions. A new and cool rendition of Heart Made Of Stone by Awa illustrates why modern reggae is essential listening. Enjoy!

The artwork for this volume is by Sandra Kendrick “English Garden, Teddington” 2010 3’ x 3’ giclée print on archival paper mounted on hardboard

LEM Vol 229

VICES & TABOOS

Much of the health advice we receive today tells us that in order to be healthy, we must consume a Spartan diet, exercise with the intensity of an Olympic athlete, and take a drug for every ailment. We constantly worry about the foods we should or shouldn’t be eating and the medical tests we have neglected to take. And all that worry costs us dearly–financially, emotionally, and physically according to naturopathic physician Dr. Harry Ofgang and health journalist Erik Ofgang in their new book, The Good Vices. The sub-title is From Beer To Sex, The Surprising Truth About What’s Actually Good For You. Clearly, the Ofgangs have a sense of humor, but we questioned if sex or beer should be labeled as vices. Make sure you listen to hear their answers.

Aging, sex, and death. When combined together, these three emotive words become taboo for many people. In Jill Ciment’s latest novel, The Body In Question she thrusts the question of age and sex and death to the forefront of her imaginative and provocative story set in central Florida. A sensational murder trial is about to get underway. Two of the jurors: Hannah, a married fifty-two-year-old former Rolling Stone and Interview Magazine photographer of rock stars and socialites (she began to photograph animals when she realized she saw people “as a species”), and Graham, a forty-one-year-old anatomy professor. Both are sequestered (she, juror C-2; he, F-17) along with the other jurors at the Econo Lodge off I-75. As the shocking and numbing details of the crime are revealed during a string of days and courtroom hours, and the nights play out in a series of court-financed meals at Outback Steak House (the state isn’t paying for their drinks) and Red Lobster, Hannah and Graham fall into a furtive affair, keeping their oath as jurors never to discuss the trial. During deliberations, the lovers learn that they are on opposing sides of the case. Suddenly they look at one another through an altogether different lens, as things become more complicated. After the verdict, Hannah returns home to her much older husband, but the case ignites once again after public outrage over the verdict. Then, the judge receives an anonymous letter telling of “two fellow jurors who had sexual contact.” This happens as her husband is dying. Ciment reveals in our conversation, her own story of aging, sex, death and how she used her experiences for her moving and powerful book.

Show 419

The Atkins Diatribe + New Music

Martin Atkins’ list of credits and accolades are more than most of you have had hot dinners. After all, the drummer extraordinaire has played with Killing Joke, Ministry, PigFace, and many more including PiL – Public Image Limited. Martin pounded out astonishing rhythms alongside John Lydon and Keith Levene on an album that remains shrouded in controversy, Flowers Of Romance. Now on the 40th anniversary of the release of an album that was scornfully panned by the critics and remains to this day a raison d’être for musicologists to argue over. Mr. Atkins in his usual candid tone asked to set the record straight about the recording of Flowers Of Romance. He begins by noting that famed bassist, Jah Wobble had left PiL as the sessions were about to start. Martin then continues with surprising details, most never heard before. These are stunning revelations about an album that now has been rediscovered and newly appreciated. Martin Atkins always charms us with his anecdotes, his sincerity way out front. In setting the record straight, Atkins uncovers the suspicion that making records is not in any aspect glamorous. This is history, a true story, told by a man who shares his memories with poignant honesty.

Also in the show, new music, starting with Blue Tomorrows with Neverendless from the LP, Future Proof. This is the work of Portland, Oregon-based Sarah Nienaber. She began the project in 2018 when she was already in Candace and Web Of Sunsets, but seeking a solo outlet. For the recording of Future Proof, Sarah Rose joined in on bass and vocals, with Michaela Gradstein rounding out the troupe on guitar. Do check out the whole album. Los Angeles-based Carson & Erik Lund make excellent music under the moniker of Mines Falls. Their new EP, Once I Was You is all reverent covers, including, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head featuring Sabine Holler on vocals. They tell me a new full album is on the way, they deserve your attention – alternative radio, are you listening? Josh Idehen has to be the busiest man in the music biz, he is always involved in a new project and each and every time he makes yet more cool music. This time Josh has teamed up with bass producers LV to give us Ancestors, you’l hear the radio edit. Full marks! Next, Clearcutter by Cameo Blush from a 3-track EP on the Unknown Untitled label. Splendid music. Play loud, listen carefully say the label. Agreed! Jon Jones of Roots Garden Records pointed me to Waggle Dance Records out of Bristol who are releasing super modern reggae with references to the Jamaican classics. Here then, you’ll from Perkie & Beanie with The Thief & The Liar from the compilation, Beating The Doldrums – The Co-operators & Friends.

Enjoy!

A Conversation With Rebecca Handler

After reading, Edie Richter Is Not Alone, the outstanding debut novel from Rebecca Handler, the big question was how do you talk to the author about her surprising book without revealing the “secret” I prepared myself by taking my time in reading a book that taunts you to immerse yourself in the tragicomic stylized writing and devour it in one sitting. Instead, I forced myself to gobble up Handler’s cleverly observant prose over three evenings. It was a struggle, but it was worth it. Rebecca Handler’s writing is so smart, so clever, she craftily intends you to not put her book down. I began our conversation with, “possum”. A reasonable start, the first sentence in Edie Richter Is Not Alone is, “The possum is dead”. From there, Rebecca Handler explained that Edie Richter is married, childless by choice, and moving from San Francisco to Perth, Australia. She leaves behind a sister and mother still mourning the recent death of her father, but Edie has a secret, she committed an unthinkable act that she can barely admit to herself. Edie Richter narrates her experience of complicated grief with brutal accuracy. As you read, you discover along with Edie herself what happened to an oddly ordinary wife and daughter, who in her stunned anguish resembles all of us. 

   

Also in the program, new music out of Hull in the UK, from accomplished musician Katie Spencer, along with Alan Thompson & Spencer Cozens give us a beautiful version of the late John Martyn’s Hurt In Your Heart. The legendary British songwriter, guitarist, and singer, born Iain David McGeachy in London, 1948, sadly died in 2009. Katie Spencer pays tribute to Martyn with Cozens and Spencer, two longstanding members of his band. The recording sessions for the three-track EP, Hurt In Your Heart were captured as live performances. Plus, new music from an artist who describes herself as, “A 15-year-old singer-songwriter from Leigh-on-sea in Essex and I have been writing music for a couple of years now. Here I am with my first EP. I started solely on piano, but I have really enjoyed pushing my guitar and vocals too“. Her name is Ruby Hickman, the two tracks I chose are, I Hate You and the title cut, The Fake You. A talent to keep a watchful eye out for. 

Norman B April 10, 2021

Show 418

A Conversation With Wally Salem

Wally Salem is a fan. His passion for the music he loves is unrelenting, he’ll talk non-stop, barely taking a breath as he catalogues details, facts, and anecdotes. His enthusiasm resulted in starting his own record label, The Beautiful Music, inspired he says “By the Beauty of Marina Records, the Pop Genius of Allan McGee’s Creation and Poptones labels, the eccentric Dan Treacy’s Whaam and Dreamworld label, the trailblazing Factory Records, the Pure Pop of Matt’s Sarah and Shinkansen labels, Joe Foster’s diverse musical heritage of Kaleidoscope Sound and Rev-Ola labels, Mike Scott’s the Big Music sound and Chicken Jazz label, Chris Seventeen’s love of music with the What a Wonderful Way To Turn Seventeen label and many other labels such as Tangerine, Swordfish, Summershine, Glass, Postcard, Swamplands, Wagging Dog, Little Teddy, Spin Art, Matinee and Detour to name just a few.” Wally adds, “I’m into music that is created for the sheer LOVE of it. Music that celebrates the melody and the harmony, the magnificent and the eccentric. The Beautiful Music is dedicated to distributing Music that soars above the musical landscape in the Jet Stream of POP”. During Wally Salem’s conversation with Norman B you’ll hear cuts from Nikki Sudden doing a cover of Television Personalities’ If I Could Write Poetry. Allan McGee’s short-lived band, Biff Bang Pow! with Someone Stole My Wheels. Tame The Wild Beast from Dot Dash and Skytone with It Doesn’t Really Matter. Also in the show, new but retro-sounding Sons Of Hallucination (ft. Charlotte Condemine) by Steven Jones & Logan Sky. Listen closely for the saxophone parts by Gary Barnacle, one-time member of Visage. Followed by Anastasia Coope who says, “I’m an 18 year old experimental psych folk musician. I began writing music in a serious sense when quarantine began at age 17, and have continued this endeavor throughout my first year at Pratt Institute where I study painting”. Anastasia gives us her self-produced single, Norma Ray. Taking us up to the close are Feu Follet out of France with Falling, featuring Natacha Lubin on vocals from their latest album, Beneath The Earth which comes with a splendid comic book. This one is courtesy of the industrious Alex Donat of Blackjack Illuminist Records

Artwork by Phil Larkin “Batman 11” 2002 4’ x 4’3” Giclée print on archival paper, mounted on fiberboard. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 227

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