Life Elsewhere Music Vol 212

This volume of Life Elsewhere Music will be the last of new releases for 2020, a year we all desperately want to be over. Yet, it must be noted that despite the extraordinary events of the past twelve months was the abundance of excellent new music. And this volume is confirmation. To begin, Covid affected everyone, especially musicians including, Yazmin Lacey & Congi. The duo out of Nottingham recorded in their homes during lockdown and by finishing each song in ‘two takes’, they say, “We kept the process as raw and organic as possible.” Hence, the EP title, Two Takes. Follow Me a deceptively powerful song about a relationship. Don’t let the bell-chimes trick you into not listening carefully. Baby Blue from Frazier Blue has familiar air, yet the smart production and use of different synth pads result in a mysterious love song. I want to hear more from this Sydney-based artist. There is something happening in Dublin. A beautiful city that appears to be festooned with creative talent. Gemma Dunleavy is a terrific ambassador with the release of her EP, Up De Flats. Commenting on those obnoxious blue police lights, so often seen late at night agitating council estates in Stop The Lights, Gemma asserts her opinion in a well-crafted song. A tip-of-the-hat must go to Brendan Doherty on drums on this track. Gemma Dunleavy says, “These songs are dedicated to the people of Sheriff Street flats and the North Wall Community.” You can hear some of the voices of kids from the estate throughout the EP. Some names for bands work so perfectly, but they may mislead you into a preconceived idea of their music, here’s a fine example, Space Basement Cult, a trio from Leeds in Yorkshire. You’ll hear, Phil, The Self-Centered Weatherman which may have you checking off a long list of influences, especially when you take a listen to the other side, Me, The Self-Centered Lover. Influences aside, clearly these lads know what they’re doing, after all, they say they make “Wonk pop”. Recently, Shoegaze has been motivating intuitive young musicians in Seoul, South Korea to have a go. With the album, Fogesque, Fog who label themselves, Seoul City Shoegaze exhibit their enthusiasm. We selected Dehumidifier which builds to an impressive wall-of-noise. Sin is on the almost whispered vocals and guitars, Ryu is on guitars, Oh plays the bass, and 9SUK takes care of the drums and is responsible for the artwork. Next, hold on, while I rave for a moment or two…honestly, I have no idea why I have not had them on the show earlier, but to makeup, you’ll hear two cuts from Rosehip Teahouse’s Fine EP. I Meant What I Said and I’m Not Whole, if there were time, I’d play the whole EP, it’s that good. The Cardiff-based band is Faye Rogers, Tony Williams, Josh Dickins, Will Dickins, and Alice Low. “A twinkling descent into sadness.” They say about their music and Faye Rogers writes, “The songs cover love, losing love, fighting an eating disorder that wanted to take me over completely, my unregulated emotions, dreams (both literal and metaphorical) finding some sort of meaning amongst it all and coming out the other side, slightly stronger as a result of it.” I am entranced. Adelaide is the cut you’ll hear from the debut EP, Devil’s Rain from Maria BC. Almost apologetically, they say the EP was recorded in their apartment during lockdown in NYC – they usually sing much louder but had to keep the noise down, so as not to disturb the neighbors. And I say, I’m just thankful you made the recording. Beautiful! Maria BC adds, “I hope people find some intimacy in these songs.” Noé Solange is a London based producer, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and (I believe) photographer. Her heritage is Dutch/Indonesian and being raised around the world, Noé pulls cultural threads from her upbringing. This all comes together in the gently persuasive love song, Falling from her EP Bound. Top marks for the production. On her website, Seraphina Simone says, “Writes music to make bad decisions to.” Well, I made the good decision to include, Blue Devil in this volume. Seraphina is based in London, but she grew up between London and LA, she writes, “My songs draw on the syrupy seediness of Cali glamour and murky, neon-lit London grit.” You are advised to check out more from Seraphina. Next, we go to Chicago where Serena Isioma doesn’t mess around in asking, Why Am I So Toxic. Thankfully, gender-fluid songs are being heard and enjoyed beyond limited audiences. On their EP, The Leo Sun Sets, Serena Isioma ably demonstrates they are a competent songwriter and performer who can deliver a message. Spoken word artists are coming to the fore again and Sophie Sparham is garnering much-deserved praise. She partners with saxophonist, Christopher Gregory for this album, Sunrise Over Aldi. Hailing from Derby, Sophie will probably be surprised to learn her distinctive dialect sounds exotic to the American ear. You’ll hear the title cut, but make sure you check the rest of the album out. Here is that question of name choices again, John Edgar has a beautiful voice, plays excellent piano, and writes gorgeous plaintive songs. And, he uses the moniker, The Dawdler which is, I presume is intentionally misleading. John says he is well acquainted with the darker sides of life, his new EP, Sign of Growth, touches on subjects such as death, loneliness, grief, and alcoholism. Don’t Get Blue is the cut we have chosen. A large thumbs up to the other musicians involved in this album. Excellent. Last but certainly not least are Caitlin Loney and Peter Woodford from Montreal who perform here as Freelove Fenner. Their album, Punishment Zone is a well-produced, somewhat restrained affair, showing off superb songwriting and performing. Shoulder Season is a fine example. Our next volume will the big finalé for 2020 where once again we present, Not The Best Of. That’s right, far too much incredibly good music has come our way in the last 12 months to make a Best Of list. Instead, we will give you the most-played at Life Elsewhere Towers. 

Thank you for listening to volume 212 of Life Elsewhere Music. Happy! Merry! Jolly!

LEM Vol 212 Playlist
  1. Yazmin Lacey & Congi – Follow Me
  2. Frazier Blue – Baby Blue
  3. Gemma Dunleavy – Stop The Lights
  4. Space Basement Cult – Phil, The Self-Centered Weatherman
  5. Fog – Dehumidifier
  6. Rosehip Teahouse – I Meant What I Said
  7. Rosehip Teahouse – I’m Not Whole
  8. Maria BC – Adelaide
  9. Noé Solange – Falling
  10. Seraphina Simone – Blue Devil
  11. Serena Isioma – Why Am I So Toxic
  12. Sophie Sparham & Christopher Gregory – Sunrise Over Aldi
  13. The Dawdler – Don’t Get Blue
  14. Freelove Fenner – Shoulder Season

The artwork for this volume is by Shane Compton “Axiom #4” 2016 12” x 8” mixed media on laminated wood. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 212